Weekly Roundup | New York, Pennsylvania

Friday, September 25, 2015

Hello from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania! It's been a long week and we're happy to be settled in one place for the weekend. We're currently staying with Dan's uncle and aunt at their home here in PA. The rest of his family will be joining us this evening to celebrate his uncle's 40th birthday over the weekend. It should be a really great time!

I've been on the road and absent all week and I feel like it will be a few more weeks before I can get back to a consistent blogging schedule. Things have become increasingly unpredictable as we try to get moved and settled and I'm afraid it will be a couple more weeks before we see the end of this.

Hopefully we'll have a path set in place soon, though! I had an interview in Manhattan on Wednesday and Dan and I rushed to make it all happen. On Tuesday we unpacked and repacked suitcases, drove all the way to New Jersey, parked the car, hopped a train, and landed in our hotel room after midnight. Craziness. I interviewed late Wednesday afternoon, which gave the two of us plenty of free time to wander my old neighborhood and enjoy each other's company. The interview went really well and I'll find out if I got the job on Monday!

What a whirlwind! We just realized that those two nights in Manhattan were the first two nights we've spent alone (just the two of us, not with family) in seven weeks! Unreal.

I went all the way to New York City and only took five photos on my crappy old phone. Shout-out to the girl in Washington Square Park who took this beauty for us. It's bad when the best photo you took was one of your breakfast.

Listening To
  • Sia,"Alive" Sia's new album "This is Acting" releases soon, full of songs she originally wrote for different artists. This song was originally written for Rihanna, then Adele, but she's happy it was never released by either and she had the chance to release it herself.

Blogger Love
  • Helene is hosting another free webinar, this time on how to "Get Noticed Now." I attended her first webinar on getting paid to blog and can already tell you, this one will be awesome!

On the Internets

Weekly Roundup | Transitions

Friday, September 18, 2015

Weekly Roundup | Em Busy Living

This past week has been the least productive and least fun in quite a while. I've been sick since last Friday (a whole week) and when you're sick it's easy to think about all of the negative things around you. Living out of suitcases and boxes has become extremely tiring. Sleeping in a new bed every few nights, staying with different family members... I'm so grateful, but it's so tiring. It's been six weeks since we left California and that's a few weeks longer than we expected to be unsettled. We're very done with this.

But things are finally happening! I finally landed an in-person interview, so the next couple of weeks should be very interesting. We'll be back and forth between Virginia, New York, and Pennsylvania the rest of September and I hope by October 1st we'll have a new place of our own (finally)! Send us good vibes, prayers, and anything positive that everything starts falling into place soon. It's much appreciated!

‣Please excuse the mess that is my current blog design. I've been thinking a lot about changing it up and started just playing around with my code and a few design elements, leaving it quite the mess without taking it all the way. I want to completely rebrand and eventually switch to Wordpress, so it's just a matter of me completing my design and developing my Wordpress site before moving everything over. Until then, don't mind this current disaster!


  • The Jungle Book (trailer) This trailer finally came out this past week and I'm so excited! I'm loving this Disney animation classics > live action thing that's going on!
  • Mockingjay 2 "For Prim" (trailer) This new trailer is quite different, but they can just keep sharing things to pump everyone up about this series finale! I can't wait.
  • Allegiant (trailer) If you haven't seen Divergent or Insurgent yet, don't let this teaser trailer spoil it for you!

Blog Love

On the Internets

Grandin Village, My Favorite Roanoke Neighborhood

Monday, September 14, 2015

Grandin Village in Roanoke, Virginia | Em Busy Living

I mentioned in my post about Black Dog Salvage that my favorite Roanoke neighborhood was just across the Memorial Bridge. I've been so excited to share a bit about Grandin Village because besides the heart of Downtown Roanoke, Grandin is truly a place I would love to call home.

If Downtown Roanoke is where I'd love to live in an old warehouse apartment, walk to work, and be amongst the nightlife, Grandin Village is where I'd want to buy a home and settle into the comforts of a small but walkable neighborhood. (Plus, these two areas are only two miles apart!)

Grandin Village itself isn't very large at all. While the commercial Grandin area only takes up about five actual blocks, it's history and charm has landed it on the National Register of Historic Places. The surrounding residential neighborhood, Raleigh Court, is full of a mix of beautiful craftsman, foursquare, and Tudor-Revival style homes dating back to the early 1900's. If we ever decide to move back to Roanoke, please let it be to one of these beautiful homes!

The Grandin Theatre, Grandin Village in Roanoke, Virginia | Em Busy Living

The center of activity in the village is the historic Grandin Theatre. The theatre opened in 1932 and operated continuously until 2001. After a year of renovations, "The Grandin" reopened and remains the only historic movie theatre in Roanoke. Even with only three screens, the theatre remains a favorite to movie buffs in the region, often the only theatre in the area offering showings of indie or low-budget films. Of course they do offer blockbusters like The Avengers, etc, but I can always count on the Grandin Theatre for showings of movies like Moonrise Kingdom and Perks of Being a Wallflower, movies that the larger theaters here tend to snub. They also do midnight showings of movies like Gremlins, The Room, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, so you can see why I love it so much!

Roanoke Natural Foods Co-Op, Grandin Village in Roanoke, Virginia | Em Busy Living

One of the most popular businesses of Grandin Village is the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-Op, almost directly across the street from the theatre. The Co-Op offers fresh and all-natural foods and products, including produce grown at Roanoke's urban farm, Heritage Point. There's now a Co-Op storefront along Market Street in Downtown Roanoke as well, which tells me they're in constant and high demand. You'll frequently find a drum circle out front, which only adds to the already-chill vibe of the neighborhood.

Urban Gypsy, Grandin Village in Roanoke, Virginia | Em Busy Living

There are several locally-owned restaurants in Grandin, as well as one coffee shop and one cupcake shop. (I'll make some dining recommendations below.) There are a few retail shops as well, and you can't walk by Urban Gypsy or New To Me Boutique without stopping in.

CUPS Coffee & Tea, Grandin Village in Roanoke, Virginia | Em Busy Living

Grandin's sole coffee shop, CUPS Coffee & Tea, just happens to be my favorite coffee shop in the entire city. I've had many study groups, wrote many papers, conducted many artist interviews, and designed many spreads for my magazine from the comfy booths at CUPS. The owner Michelle has such a lighthearted and eclectic style, lining the walls with art by local artists, offering board games for patrons, and lining shelves with a variety of bobble-head figurines. Tons of shelf space is reserved for mugs brought in by patrons, left there to be used on their next visit. Coffee and other beverages come in "cup sizes" likened to bra sizes, which you can't help but to smile over as you order. They also offer locally-made pastries from Bread Craft and Wildflour. I always get a B-Cup with cream and a flaky chocolate croissant when I visit...yum!

Too Many Books, Grandin Village in Roanoke, Virginia | Em Busy Living

Farthest from the central hub of the village, Too Many Books is worth the two-block jaunt down the street. Full of used, rare, and even signed editions, it's too easy for book lovers to disappear into this shop and never want to come out. The owner has been in the current location for over six years, but it has long been a Grandin staple.

If you're in the Grandin area, keep an eye out for the village's "angel," James. Click here to read a sweet bio of this local man who has dedicated his life to helping his community. You'll also recognize James' face among those on the mural on the south wall of CUPS, painted by my friend and local mural artist Toobz.

"The World is a Village" Mural by Toobz Muir, Grandin Village in Roanoke, Virginia | Em Busy Living

Want to visit Grandin Village? Here are a few of my recommendations:
Zip Code: 24015

  • Street parking is free where permitted (watch the time limits), but there's a large free lot behind the Co-Op if street parking is unavailable. (Lot parking beside the Co-Op for shoppers only.)


Dining & Coffee

Shopping & To See

Weekly Roundup | Lake Days

Friday, September 11, 2015

Weekly Roundup: Lake Days | Em Busy Living

Dan and I spent Labor Day weekend with my parents and their friends at the lake, something I used to do frequently but haven't done in about three years! My parents' friends are like surrogate parents to me and I absolutely love spending time with them, from trips like this to beach vacations to annual Christmas parties. It's like being with a big extended family and I've really missed being around them all.

We rode the boat over to "their beach," set up a couple of tents, and pulled out the coolers and grill. I'm fairly certain my father and two other guys managed to cook nearly 100 hot dogs, which was definitely overkill for our group of about 20. My uncle showed up in his boat with my cousins and I rode around with them for a while as the kids took turns riding the tube behind us. It was just such a nice time. Tons of laughs and lots of great meals; my kind of lake weekend!

In case you haven't noticed, I'm down to only posting twice a week. I definitely intend to go back up to at least three a week as soon as we have a few more things in place with our lives. I have many plans for this space as we start our new lives in New York, we just have to get there first. But right now, job hunting and organizing our lives is my first priority. (And wish me luck... I have a few interviews falling into place over the next week!)

  • I visited one of my favorite shops in Roanoke last week and shared a bit about it on Tuesday. If you're into restoration, DIY, or salvage of old architectural pieces, Black Dog Salvage is the place for you!


  • Divergent & Insurgent We've had a couple of dinner+movie nights with Dan's parents this week and chose to watch these two with them. Now they're excited for part three next March. Have you seen these movies, or read the books? I really loved the books, but it definitely didn't have the fandom of The Hunger Games or anything else dystopian.
  • Wet Hot American Summer Dan and I watched this on Wednesday to prepare ourselves for the Netflix Original reboot, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp. 15 years after the original movie (in which you saw the last day of camp), this new Netflix show takes place on the first day of camp, has the original cast, and from what I've seen so far, is amazing.
  • The Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials (trailer) I read the first Maze Runner and decided not to continue the series after I finished, but I did go see the first movie when it came out last September and really enjoyed it. I may not read The Scorch Trials, but I definitely want to go see this when it comes out on the 18th!

Blog Love

On the Internets

Black Dog Salvage, Home of the Salvage Dawgs

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A visit to Black Dog Salvage, Home of the Salvage Dawgs, in Roanoke, Virginia | EmBusyLiving.com  #BlackDogSalvage #BlackDog #SalvageDawgs #DIYNetwork #DIY #Salvage #Restoration #ThatSalvageLife #Roanoke #SWVA

One of my favorite places to visit in Roanoke when I have a bit of free time is Black Dog Salvage. Conveniently located just over the Memorial Bridge from my favorite neighborhood, Grandin Village, I can't resist stopping by to wander through to shop and fantasize about renovating my future home. From dreamy claw-foot tubs to huge stained glass windows, the guys at Black Dog have it all.

If you're a fan of the DIY Network, you may be familiar with Black Dog Salvage though their salvage and renovations TV show, Salvage Dawgs. I imagine that all of Roanoke was excited to find that one of their favorite business was getting it's own TV show, and I love turning on the TV and seeing some familiar faces and places on the screen. Because of the show's popularity and success, people from all over the country and the world pour into BDS for a chance to explore their finds, take selfies with the staff and crew, and see Sally, THE black dog, in person.

I have to admit, I had a Salvage Dawgs marathon one lazy day at my parents' a couple of weeks ago and can watch episode after episode without ever getting tired of it. I'm not the only one who could binge-watch renovation shows every day, right? This must be why every waiting room ever has either the DIY Network or HGTV on at all times. But back to the shop...

A visit to Black Dog Salvage, Home of the Salvage Dawgs, in Roanoke, Virginia | EmBusyLiving.com  #BlackDogSalvage #BlackDog #SalvageDawgs #DIYNetwork #DIY #Salvage #Restoration #ThatSalvageLife #Roanoke #SWVA
A visit to Black Dog Salvage, Home of the Salvage Dawgs, in Roanoke, Virginia | EmBusyLiving.com  #BlackDogSalvage #BlackDog #SalvageDawgs #DIYNetwork #DIY #Salvage #Restoration #ThatSalvageLife #Roanoke #SWVA
A visit to Black Dog Salvage, Home of the Salvage Dawgs, in Roanoke, Virginia | EmBusyLiving.com  #BlackDogSalvage #BlackDog #SalvageDawgs #DIYNetwork #DIY #Salvage #Restoration #ThatSalvageLife #Roanoke #SWVA
A visit to Black Dog Salvage, Home of the Salvage Dawgs, in Roanoke, Virginia | EmBusyLiving.com  #BlackDogSalvage #BlackDog #SalvageDawgs #DIYNetwork #DIY #Salvage #Restoration #ThatSalvageLife #Roanoke #SWVA

While over half of the warehouse (including upstairs) is taken up by architectural salvage, a large part of this space is home to the Memorial Bridge Marketplace. Here you find stall after stall of antiques, art, and other amazing pieces created by local artists and artisans. I love wandering around to see what is new each time I visit, frequently leaving with a new antique camera to add to my collection or a stack of new letterpress cards created by my friend John of Appalachia Press. (John also has an amazing storefront in downtown Roanoke on Salem Avenue. Go and visit him soon because he's in the process of trying to sell his building. Sad face.)

A visit to Black Dog Salvage, Home of the Salvage Dawgs, in Roanoke, Virginia | EmBusyLiving.com  #BlackDogSalvage #BlackDog #SalvageDawgs #DIYNetwork #DIY #Salvage #Restoration #ThatSalvageLife #Roanoke #SWVA
A visit to Black Dog Salvage, Home of the Salvage Dawgs, in Roanoke, Virginia | EmBusyLiving.com  #BlackDogSalvage #BlackDog #SalvageDawgs #DIYNetwork #DIY #Salvage #Restoration #ThatSalvageLife #Roanoke #SWVA
A visit to Black Dog Salvage, Home of the Salvage Dawgs, in Roanoke, Virginia | EmBusyLiving.com  #BlackDogSalvage #BlackDog #SalvageDawgs #DIYNetwork #DIY #Salvage #Restoration #ThatSalvageLife #Roanoke #SWVA
A visit to Black Dog Salvage, Home of the Salvage Dawgs, in Roanoke, Virginia | EmBusyLiving.com  #BlackDogSalvage #BlackDog #SalvageDawgs #DIYNetwork #DIY #Salvage #Restoration #ThatSalvageLife #Roanoke #SWVA
A visit to Black Dog Salvage, Home of the Salvage Dawgs, in Roanoke, Virginia | EmBusyLiving.com  #BlackDogSalvage #BlackDog #SalvageDawgs #DIYNetwork #DIY #Salvage #Restoration #ThatSalvageLife #Roanoke #SWVA
A visit to Black Dog Salvage, Home of the Salvage Dawgs, in Roanoke, Virginia | EmBusyLiving.com  #BlackDogSalvage #BlackDog #SalvageDawgs #DIYNetwork #DIY #Salvage #Restoration #ThatSalvageLife #Roanoke #SWVA

If I convinced to you visit Roanoke with my post Roanoke, Viginia: My Second Home, definitely add a visit to Black Dog Salvage to the top of your to-do list!

Address: 902 13th Street SW, Roanoke, VA 24016 (Directions)
Hours: Monday - Saturday, 9am-5pm
Social: InstagramTwitter, Facebook

Weekly Roundup | Hello September

Friday, September 4, 2015

Mural in Downtown Lynchburg, Virginia | Em Busy Living, "Weekly Roundup"

Hellooo September! I honestly can't even believe it's here already. I am extremely excited for fall this year after two years of "fall" in Southern California. I'm ready for actual crisp weather, wearing sweaters, and the gorgeous changing colors of the trees (especially as seen driving through the Appalachian Mountains!) I bought this amazing sweatshirt tee at Loft* a couple of weeks ago and I've been begging the 90˚ heat and humidity to just go away already so I can wear it. I also just bought these Dr. Martins* so I guess you could say I'm totally prepared. Nothing like slouchy sweaters and a good pair of black high-tops to make me feel like myself again!

So you may have noticed that it's September and we're not exactly in New York City yet. When people keep asking us, "When are you moving again?" I keep answering that we've already done half the work and are in no hurry to get the rest of the way. While that is true, there are a few reasons we're not currently unpacking our suitcases or boxes in our brand new apartment yet. #1, there is no apartment yet, and #2, I am still on the hunt for employment. #2 has a lot to do with #1 and one day I'll write a huge long post about just how complicated it is to get an apartment in the city. "Qualifying" and finding one is such a huge barrier of entry that it's a wonder that anyone moves to the city at all. "If you can make it there you can make it anywhere" isn't a well-known phrase for nothing. We actually know we are more than able to afford some of the places we've looked at, but according to the realtors of NY we "qualify" for way less (even way less than we paid in California.) So, TL;DR: I really should find a job before we move to NY so we can get an apartment bigger than a sardine can.

Luckily we're in no rush. While living out of boxes and suitcases isn't the greatest for our blood pressure (or our frequently-stubbed toes) it is pretty great for our bank account, which hasn't felt such a loose grip in quite a long time. So no, we have no idea when we'll be in NYC, but until then we're really enjoying being around family and friends here in Virginia. (We're just talking days or weeks here though...not too long.)

I've had plenty of time to apply for (about a million) jobs this week and applied for one yesterday that I REALLY want! Cross your fingers and say a prayer that they'll take a long hard look at my resume and feel like they really just can't go on without me. When I say I want it bad, I mean like really bad. It's in Brooklyn and I just can't imagine a more perfect position for me in a more perfect place.


  • Narcos on Netflix We've only watched one episode but it was pretty dang good. Has anyone else watched it? What did you think?
  • The 5th Wave (trailer) The 5th Wave book series is absolutely one of my favorites and I've been waiting for this trailer fooorrrreeeevvveeerrrrr. It looks so good and I can't wait to see this movie in January! Aliens! Starring Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass), Nick Robinson (Jurassic World), Alex Roe, and Liev Schreiber (X-Men)

On the Internets

So one last thing... I've been toying with the idea of adding sponsorships and ads on my sidebar (besides the two lovely ladies presently there.) Thoughts? Suggestions? I've recently been approved for a New Adproval beta account and I'm curious to give it a whirl!

*Affiliate Links

Five Year Anniversary at Disneyland

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

I am absolutely drained from this past weekend. From wedding prep to the actual wedding to the fact that I came down with something very un-fun in the midst of it all, I have very little energy or willpower to get up and do anything with my life right now. I've been laid up in bed since Sunday evening and I have no intention of going anywhere anytime soon, so I've been reading blogs, watching Netflix, and applying for jobs like my life depends on it. (Which, I guess it does, which is another story for another day.)

While digging through photos on my phone, I came across the one above and realized that I never shared any of the very few photos we took on our anniversary, which we spent at Disneyland. So now, because I have nothing else to share at the moment and because I'd like to share these...some photos of our anniversary at Disneyland! (Although, sorry for the quality. My little point-and-shoot is all I'm willing to drag through a theme park.)

Dan and I celebrated our five year anniversary at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, which was just eight miles up the road from us when we lived there just over one month ago. ("Woah" to that fact, too.) You may have read my anniversary post, "Five Years Ago Today," which posted that morning as a look back on our wedding day, but you may have also noticed that we actually loaded up and moved out of California the very next day.

So putting two and two together, you'll notice that we were absolutely crazy and decided to spend an entire long, hot day at Disneyland only 24 hours before we had to load up a U-haul and drive clear across the country.

Yep. Crazy.

Here's why: When Dan and I got married five years ago we spent our honeymoon at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. I've always been obsessed with everything Disney, he'd never been before, and you can't exactly spend an entire week lying on a white sandy beach on some exotic, tropical island when you're a ginger. (Thanks Dan!) We settled on Disney World for our destination for these reasons and more; we'd have a different park to visit every day, amazing restaurants to dine in, and we could pull the entire trip together in a neat little package that included it all. (I once saw a girl I know from high school on Facebook making fun of people who choose Disney as a honeymoon destination. I'd like to tell her where to put her opinions. Also, international was not an option at the time.) We had the absolute best time there for our honeymoon, reverting to child-like status every morning then dressing up and heading out for four-course dinners every night. One night we made a pact: we should return to Disney World every five years for our anniversary, just us or with kids too (whenever we have those.) Our first five year mark just happened to fall on our very last day as full-time California residents, and I'm so glad we set aside the stress of packing and moving to enjoy it!

Because we'd both done Disneyland before, we didn't feel the need to do absolutely everything. We picked only the rides we really wanted to go on, which was far less stressful than past visits. I have to say though, Disneyland is far smaller and far more packed with people than Disney World in Florida. Lines seem twice as long, the parade was barely visible over distant heads and small children on shoulders, and standing on Main Street for the fireworks show was our only option because we literally could not move to get out of the tight crowd. I'll be happy to head back to the Florida park for anniversary ten! (Hopefully with some little ones in tow!)

PS - I'm such a kid. I still get excited over Disney princesses like I'm seven, and no I'm not ashamed in the least about it!