Wednesday, October 28, 2020

I'm 22!

 Hi everyone! Today is my 22nd birthday (wow that year flew by) and I thought it would be perfect to do a recap of my year and give you guys a life update since I haven't in a while. 

Today has been such a great day! I started the day with a workout at my favorite gym, Rise in Hamburg, which was a great way to begin the day. After our workout, my friend Carolyn and I went to brunch with my mom which was delicious. I couldn't think of anything specific I wanted this year, so my mom and I decided to go shopping to pick out a few things. We had so much fun and I found a couple adorable pieces. When we got home we decided to take a short hike with Scout at one of my favorite spots- the foliage was stunning! Tonight we're having a few close friends over for some cake and wine and I couldn't be more excited. 


Before COVID hit, I went on so many trips throughout the year! My 21st year started off with a trip to Nashville with my mom that I'll never forget. We had the best time together celebrating our birthdays! After that I went to the Adirondacks to shoot with KJP- wow was it beautiful there. I visited NYC during Christmas time when I was younger and was thrilled to have the opportunity to go back this year! I stayed with my good friend Abby and we had so much fun. I hope to get back and visit her soon! During the holidays I was home with my family in Buffalo and took a few road trips in the area. For spring break my mom and I went to Flordia to visit my Aunt which was the best escape from the cold Buffalo winter. I just want to thank you all for your continued support because without all of you I wouldn't have these opportunities. I can't thank you enough!

In March school was moved online for what we thought was two weeks. I was about to leave to head home for the weekend when I heard the news, so I decided to pack up my desk along with a few things I would need for remote learning. Little did I know this would be my last time living at college. Thinking back on it now it was such a strange time and there were so many things I would've done if I knew that was my last time seeing some of my friends and as the typical 'college student'. Obviously, we all know that COVID-19 became a much bigger issue, and many of us experienced similar things when it came to school. There are so many people being affected by COVID in much bigger ways and I continue to pray for those who need it the most right now. I graduated in May which was definitely not your typical experience, but I was so thankful to be healthy and safe surrounded by my friends and family. To all of my 2020 grads- CONGRATULATIONS! I wish you so much happiness and health in the years to come. 

After graduation, I decided to blog full-time and see how it would go. It has been so rewarding and I absolutely love it. Being at home, my mom and brother have been a huge help. They are always there to help me with photos or help me with a transition for a fun reel. I get so many messages asking me what my career plan is and every time I read them I think in my head "I wish I knew". I really love blogging, but also would love to find something with a little more consistency and be able to do both simultaneously. I have a few ideas that I'm considering, and I promise I will tell you guys as soon as I know my next move. A lot of my close friends have been doing amazing things and I am so proud of them! A few have moved to places like Seattle, Portland, and Boston and I look forward to visiting them when it's safer. I am so lucky to be surrounded by such smart and hardworking women that continue to inspire me every day.

Typically I spend the summer traveling, but I spent my summer by the lake with my family which could not have been better. Our cottage has always been a happy place for me and somewhere I've spent so many summer days since I've been young. Another thing that brought me back to my youth was our family greenhouse! You may have seen on my Instagram, but since I moved home I've been helping my family run our greenhouse. It was such an escape for me during quarantine and something I've become very passionate about. Being able to be surrounded by plants and warmth in the cold months of quarantine was such a blessing. Through all of this- I really have realized how much I love being home and how important family is to me. So many of you check in with me about my dad and how he is feeling and I really cannot thank you all enough. It is definitely tough to watch the strongest person I know fight through this but being home has meant so much to me. The time I've spent with my family the past few months have been invaluable (even with the occasional disagreement lol) and I know I will look back in my life and appreciate this time more than anything. 

September had its ups and downs for sure. I went through a breakup that came very out of the blue and has been tough on me. I'm so thankful to have friends and family that were there to pick me up when I was down. I've also been working out a lot which has been really good mental health-wise. I had never gone through a breakup like this before and quite honestly didn't know how to handle it. I feel like I almost ignored it and my feelings when it first happened and then one day everything hit me like a ton of bricks. I took a girls trip soon after that which could not have been any better. I went with two of my friends who are like family to me and have always been there for me and I could not love them more. Even my friends that couldn't be with me were always there for me and so kind. If any of you are reading this- you mean the world to me. Through this experience, I learned that it's okay to be sad or angry- and most importantly it's okay to express those emotions. Typically I am a very happy and energetic person so when I see myself a certain way I try to suppress it and ignore what I'm feeling. That definitely is not the right move in this situation and I felt so much better after a few good cries. Even though this situation has been tough on me- I'm excited to focus on myself and what's to come. I truly believe that God always has a plan and everything happens for a reason.

I wanted to include this quote that I love. When we were finally able to open the greenhouse for in-person shopping I hung it on the door and it always motivated me. I loved that it used 'growing' instead of 'going' - very fitting for the greenhouse!

"When the growing gets tough, the tough get growing."

I am to be 22 and see what this year has in store for me. Thank you all for being my virtual friends and cheers to the year ahead!

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Gifts for the Homebody

 Hi everyone! I did a poll on Instagram a week or so ago asking when you start shopping for the holidays. I was surprised to see that many of you are starting soon and I want to help you guys find the perfect gifts for your loved ones. Today I'm posting the first of many gift guides to come this year! I figured gifts for the homebody would be the perfect place to start since everyone is spending a lot of time at home this year. Feel free to comment on this post or message me on Instagram (@belleoftheball45) and let me know what kind of gift guides you'd like to see next!

I have been using  Equilibria Women CBD for months now and it would make such a wonderful gift! You can use my code 'belleoftheball' for 15% off your purchase. I would recommend gifting the Balance Box because I think it is the perfect place to start with your CBD journey. It helps with things like sleep, anxiety, and so much more. You can also chat with one of their  dosage specialists to find the perfect routine for you!

Shop the post:

Monday, October 26, 2020

Finger Lakes Weekend Getaway Recap

 Happy Monday everyone! This past weekend my mom and I had the opportunity to travel to Aurora, NY, and stay at the beautiful Inns of Aurora. We were accompanied by one of my blogger friends Sydney from Summer Wind and her fiancé Andrew. They were such lovely company and I would definitely recommend following her if you don't already. Sydney lives in Pittsburgh and since I'm from Buffalo it made the perfect weekend getaway for both of us. I'm recapping our entire trip in this post and the Inns of Aurora were kind enough to extend code 'ABBY15' to my readers for 15% off your stay through May 1, 2021. It looks magical during the holidays and I'm already planning a trip back! 

Sydney and I also partnered with the Inns of Aurora, Tuckernuck, Dudley Stephens, and Barbour to giveaway a weekend getaway to the Finger Lakes- you won't want to miss it! Head here to enter!


On Friday we checked in around 3 and were greeted by Renee who was the innkeeper. She quickly became our friend and made the Rowland House feel like home. There are 5 different houses included in the Inns of Aurora - one more beautiful than the next. We stayed in the Rowland House which had exquisite views of Cayuga Lake. It was shockingly warm on Friday (80 degrees in late October is rare for Upstate New York) so we decided to soak up the sun and relax with some wine and cheese on the porch after settling into our room. The entire house was filled with the most spectacular artwork, all from the personal collection of Pleasant Rowland who was the visionary behind the Inns. Pleasant founded American Girl and did so many extraordinary things in Aurora- read more about her story and relation to the Inns here. After wine on the porch, Renee set up the most beautiful fire accompanied by s'mores! We wrapped up the night with dinner at Fargo, the plaid wallpaper in the restaurant was such a fun touch and it was such a cozy spot.


Wine on the porch outfits:

Cozy in Dudley by the fire:


The Inns have so many unique activities so we wanted to fit in as many things as we could while we were there. It was a rainy morning so we headed to the Village Market which to grab a coffee and baked goods. By then the rain had subsided and we were ready to go to our archery lesson with Matt and Mike. They were the best teachers and Sydney and I got the hang of it so quickly! It was such a fun experience and I would definitely recommend it if you end up going. The temperatures dropped almost 30 degrees from Friday, so we bundled up in our Barbour jackets and Dudley Stephens. The color block Dudley I wore is exclusive to Tuckernuck and I could not be more obsessed. After archery, we headed to Aurora Cooks for a chocolate tasting. They have so many different experiences at Aurora Cooks and it is such a beautiful space. I dressed up my Dudley Stephens by wearing it over a dress and adding some fun heels- they are so great to dress up or down! After the chocolate tasting, we had dinner at 1833 Kitchen & Bar which was lovely.


Village Market look:



Archery outfits:


Chocolate tasting outfits:


On Sunday we were so excited to meet with Laura who is the Director or Serenity at the Inns of Aurora. She was incredible and we had such a wonderful time tea blending with her! The class was held in the Schoolhouse which is such a beautiful building as you can see below. Laura also offers classes such as yoga, essential oil blending, spice blending and more. If you make the trip to Aurora you definitely need to schedule some time with her. It was such a unique and relaxing experience. After tea blending, we checked out of the Rowland House, and my mom and I grabbed lunch at Fargo before heading home. It was such a relaxing weekend and I can't wait to go back!


Tea blending outfit:

Lunch at Fargo:

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you are able to plan a weekend getaway to the Finger Lakes!

Monday, October 5, 2020

A Weekend in Maine!

 Hi everyone! I've always wanted to go on a fall road trip through New England and finally was able to make it happen this year. One of my good friends from high school recently moved to Boston, so it was the perfect excuse to make the trip. In today's post, I'm sharing our weekend in Maine- what we did, where we stayed, and more. 


My friend lives about an hour and a half from Kennebunkport so we decided it would be the perfect spot for our weekend trip. We found an adorable Air BnB called Spy Haven Farm. It is the most beautiful property and really felt like home. The family was extremely hospitable and we loved hanging out with their adorable pup. The location was great being only a few minutes away from Kennebunkport. If you're interested in staying there, here is a link for you!



Cozy Airbnb look:

We arrived in Kennebunkport in the evening on Friday and decided to make the trip in the morning to Acadia National Park to go hiking. It was about a three and a half-hour drive, but totally worth it. We woke up early on Saturday and hiked Beehive Summit. I was definitely intimidated by the trail when I saw photos- but in reality, it was such a fun hike and we weren't scared at all! The view from the top was absolutely incredible. I'm so glad we came during the fall and were able to see some beautiful foliage! After our hike, we headed to Bar Harbor for lunch. We ate at Side Street Cafe which was delicious- the apple cider margaritas were the perfect reward after our hike. After lunch, we walked around town for a bit, then made our way back to Kennebunkport.


My hiking outfit:

On Sunday we were so excited to finally explore Kennebunkport! We grabbed a light breakfast at Coffee Roasters of the Kennbunks and then walked around town. A few of our favorite stops were Local Color, Seacraft Vintage, and Daytrip Society. My friends @JackieGreaney and @PJHavel own Seacraft Vintage and I was so excited to finally stop and see the store. They have such a beautiful curation of vintage pieces. After we did some shopping, we had lunch at The Clam Shack. Lobster Rolls are one of my favorite meals, and this was one of the best I've ever had. When they ask if you want butter or mayo say both- you won't regret it! After lunch, we decided the perfect way to end our weekend in Maine would be lobstering. Before the tour, we stopped at Portland Head Light to take in the view. Then we drove to Portland to go lobstering with Rugosa Lobster Tours. The crew was so much fun and we learned so much on the tour! It was the perfect way to wrap up our weekend in Maine. 

Lobster tour look:

My  exact sweater is from Vineyard Vines! 

Thanks for reading!

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