20 Highlights with 20 Candles

I’ve never really been one to freak out over my birthday. To be honest, I don’t really know how I feel about birthdays in general. Maybe it’s because I think my mother should get all the glory for bringing me into the world. Or because I wish that birthdays weren’t the only time when my friends would remind me that we are friends. Possibility número tres is because cake with a name written on it shouldn’t be set aside for one day a year!

However, this year’s birthday (week) was especially memorable. Here are 20 reasons why, in chronological order, brought to you by my forgetfulness to take actual pictures. A.k.a. most are snapchats. You can pretend this post is a snapchat story and scroll through it just to look at the pictures. I know I write much too much.

1. Mel-O-Creme

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I was reunited with my favorite ice cream to ever exist. Sadly, it’s in Toledo or else I would be eating it right now. This is vanilla soft serve with crunch coat but I also recommend the blue raspberry freeze and reese’s pieces sundae if you ever find yourself in t-town during the warm months!

2. News with Jordan


I set up a TV interview for my internship thinking that my boss was going to be the one interviewed. When I got the email that the station wanted us on, I walked into his office and announced that he was going to be a star. He immediately refused and turned that role over to me and the other intern. She pointed right at me and the next thing I knew, I was sitting at the station, microphone on, chatting away with this incredible guy before our segment.

Our race’s charity partner for this past weekend was Save The Feet. Jordan Keefe started it after going to Haiti in college. While he was there, he was playing soccer with kids and noticed that so many were sitting out. When he asked them why, he learned that because they didn’t have shoes, the kids didn’t want to get a cut on their foot that could lead to a deathly infection. He came back and started this organization where he and his wife collect shoes of any kind and take them back to Haiti. He is easily one of the nicest, most genuine people I have ever had the pleasure of talking to. Ideas are spinning of how I can bring Save The Feet to my school.

P.S. How cute is my grandma in the TV’s reflection?!

3. Barry’s Bagels


It was national donut day but I would choose Barry’s over a donut any day! The vanilla cinnamon and everything bagels are the way to go if you are in Toledo or Ann Arbor. At pretty much every restaurant, I order something different with each visit because I like to explore with food but never ever with Barry’s. It’s just tooo tasty to mess around!

4. Ciao Bella

I was able to see one of my best friends before she studies abroad in Italy for six weeks. Even though it was only for five minutes because her flight was leaving that afternoon and my schedule was hectic, I am so happy that I got to see her! Plus, who else was going to remind her to not hop on Paulo’s scooter?

5. Baseball Game

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The Mud Hens played the Detroit Tigers and my uncle threw the first pitch! Due to his accomplished past (and present (: ), Megan and I were able to go on the field before the game started. We knew this beforehand and had a game plan set to meet and act natural around Justin Verlander. Sadly, we didn’t meet him but the game was still a blast and a half!

6. Family Reunion

My dad’s nine siblings live all over the country: Hawaii, Montana, Idaho, Florida, Virginia, Michigan and Ohio. This week was the fam bam reunion that only occurs about every five years. It was such a blessing to catch up with everyone and see how fast my cousins are growing up!

7. Candy Race Company


This cutie goes to school in Denver so I hardly see her anymore. The night before the race, she asked for all the details. My heart was so happy when she walked up to the registration table and gave me a massive bear hug. I didn’t expect to see anyone I knew bright and early but Hannah and my mom showed up!

8. Teagan’s last tennis match

It’s wasn’t my sister’s last tennis match but it was her last one that I could go to before she heads off to North Carolina in the fall. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that she is old enough to get in a car in August and not come back until Thanksgiving. I don’t think I’m ready for someone to replace me as her makeup artist or number one cheerleader. I may just have to become a North Carolinian very soon!

9. Celebrating mass

The mass was said in memory of my grandparents who both passed away many years ago. It was also the Feast of Corpus Christi so there was a beautiful procession outside. Being surrounded by my loved ones (literally, four rows of McNamaras) and being able to encounter Jesus in an especially sacred way was incredible.

10. The Triplet’s Graduation Party

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The main reason for the family gathering was for the three youngsters that I have the pleasure of calling my siblings. They have graduated high school and are off on their separate ways in a few shorts months. The food was maj, seeing friends and more family was even better and hanging out with the trip’s closest group of friends afterwards was so fun, yet so sad. It hit me that the next time a similar group of people will be together again will be one of our weddings.  So a long time, a very lengthy amount of time.

11. Kerrot Cake


Amidst the triplets’ donut cake, cookies, brownies, cake pops and salt water taffy (we had a lot of people to feed), my thoughtful mother got me a cake. I was not expecting it whatsoever, especially because this day was all about the Brennan, Teagan and Logan. She even got my favorite kind of DESSERT (I promise I know how to spell). Luckily, I don’t think carrot cake is everyone’s top pick so I willingly took care of the leftovers!

12. Meeting my cousin


This Prince George look-a-like was born in November but I didn’t get the chance to meet him until last weekend. Nicholas was in the hospital for months so visitors were prohibited for a long time. He is the happiest baby I have ever met and a complete miracle!

13. Monday’s blog post

I enjoy publishing every blog post but Monday’s was especially joyous. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you do so here. I asked 36 people what makes them happy and recorded their answers in one space. I’ve read it so many times because I remember which response matches up with each person and it makes me smile to witness their individual happiness. I got such great feedback and one of my friends even told me that it made her cry. Never would I ever have expected that!

14. Timbits


Are we noticing a food trend? This amazing girl that I spend the majority of my days with surprised me with donuts at the office! She even got my favorite flavors without knowing! I’m not one to need gifts to feel cared about but it was a little gesture that meant so much to me.

15. Flowers


The second surprise at the office came a few hours later when the delivery man walked through our door holding this gorgeous bouquet. My boss eagerly asked me in his South African accent who they were from. I told him my secret admirer, which translates to my parents. They are too good to me!

16. Birthday Collages

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The scariest thing about birthdays is when you get a notification. That notification holds the possibility of  embarassing pictures that you did not know existed. Luckily, those are accompanied by loving pictures that you didn’t know existed either. My favorite had to be these two.

1. I remember this day clearly because I ran lots of miles before dinner and was ravenous. The ice cream selection at dinner was prime so I shamelessly piled it on. I proceeded to get more stares than I could count as I walked back to my seat, that just so happened to be the farthest one from the ice cream. I don’t regret a thing even though I could barely eat it because my friends were laughing at me and I couldn’t stop laughing along with them.

2. Most people communicate with words but Tori and I communicate with a dance move. I highly recommend making the transition from talking to dancing. Okay, no I don’t at all but in addition to is what ya need in your life!

17. Condado Tacos

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For my birthday lunch, I wanted tacos. Tacos packed with fresh ingredients. I chose Condado on N. High Street and it was the best decision I made all day. They give you a list and you check off everything and anything that you want to come neatly wrapped up in a tortilla. Or not a tortilla because they have options for that too! That pineapple salsa. Majestic. The unpictured queso blanco. Divine.

18. Exploring the Short North

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This girl allowed me to steal her away for a couple hours and exploraDORA the area around Condado. I can’t say this is the place I would recommend for two young girls to go for a relaxing walk but it was oodles of fun!

19. Roommate Lovin’


2 bagels in one post? You got that right! My roommate attacked this bagel in sticky notes. I didn’t move it for hours because I loved it just how it was but I thought people might have wanted to sit down at our table to eat. My other roommate left a note for me on the fridge while the third arose when I did at 5:30 a.m. to quietly shout a birthday wish. How did I get so lucky?

20. Hoover Dam


This festive week came to a close with a peaceful walk at Hoover Dam. The sun was setting, the air was the perfect temperature and I was in good company. I attempted to go on a walk when I was home but before I got 1/17th of a mile away from my house, my sister forced me to get in her car so I could give her my input on her outfit. I tried to hold my ground but I’m a people pleaser. I pleased myself on this walk, surrounded by awing creation.


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