6 Tips for Online Dating

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Hi, guys! Happy Tuesday! So February is one of my favorite months because it’s just such a LOVE month.  Not only is there Valentine’s Day, but it’s also the month that Nick and I started dating AND got engaged (he would want me to tell you that it wasn’t all on the same day). Anyway, for those of you that don’t know, Nick and I actually met online! I know, crazy, right? I still can’t believe it. We always get a million questions after someone finds out. I’m pretty sure it’s because we are normal adults (kinda) and we found love on the internet. Online dating seems to have a negative stigma sometimes and it can be overwhelming, frustrating, but also very rewarding! It’s not for everyone but it is for you if you want a different way to meet people. It’s 2017 and we use technology for just about everything else, why not this? An algorithm gave Nick and I a 97% match. Mind. Blown. And my biggest reason you should try it is simple… What if it works!!!

Here are my 6 tips for a successful online dating experience:

  1. The username
    • You finally talked yourself into this and now you have to think of a username? Eek. Don’t stop here. Because I would constantly delete and remake a profile, I used a few different names. The last one that I used was song lyrics that I liked at the time. I was “LittleTalks” and it was one of my better ideas because it attracted people that liked the same music as me. Try thinking of a hobby or interest you like when coming up with a name.
  2. How to pick your profile photo
    • Use current photos! Catfishing is real, folks. You can ask Nick about his story. Thankfully, it never happened to me.
    • Don’t go overboard. Post one head shot, one body shot, and one with family/friends.
    • Keep your clothes on ladies and gents if you’re looking for the real deal.
  3. What to say about yourself
    • Don’t give everything away! This makes it easier to ask questions in messages so that you can get to know one another.
    • Be honest! I remember rolling my eye’s at Nick’s profile when reading that he taught his grandma how to golf, funny story… he actually did!
    • If you have a sense of humor, try to show it! If you’re serious, show it!
    • If there are questions offered from the dating service, answer them. This is how their algorithms work in finding you the best matches.
  4. Messages
    • Who messages who first? Blah, I know. If you’re interested show it, but be a little creative in your first impression. If you can sense their sensor of humor and you’re attracted to that, compliment it. If they are a foodie, ask what their favorite place to eat in the city is.
    • Don’t overthink it, just be yourself.
    • This is the point where it’s okay to be picky! If you met everyone you messaged with, you’d be very busy.
    • If you’re not interested at any point, let them know.
    • If you’re interested after some messaging, get their information for one of their social media accounts if it makes you feel more comfortable. No, this isn’t creepy, they shouldn’t have anything to hide. Add them on Facebook, that way they can see you’re somewhat normal too.
  5. Meeting
    • Are you still not sure about this whole online dating thing? I wasn’t either. Though I knew I was interested in Nick, the whole idea of meeting him was very intimidating. So I highly recommend Skype, Facetime, Google Hangout, whatever to see each other’s faces and talk for a bit. This makes the first meeting feel so much more normal.
    • Don’t meet someone unless you are comfortable with it and genuinely want to meet them. This makes the whole experience way more fun!
    • Be smart! Go to a public place and tell a friend what you’re doing, ya know, just in case… or have your sister stalk you on the Find my Friends app (Heather!).
    • Grab a coffee or a cocktail. Don’t commit yourself to an entire meal or activity for the first time meeting. If cocktails lead into dinner, then perfect, things are going well!
  6. Happily ever after… or not… but maybe!
    • Be patient, your dream man or women isn’t always online waiting for your profile. It’s like real life dating still, you’re just using a website to help introduce you to people. If it doesn’t work out for you, at least you tried!

Are you considering online dating, but haven’t pulled the trigger yet? Here are some other things you should know:

  • Online dating can be like a second job. There’s a lot of people out there. If you’re serious about it, it can take a chunk of time to weed through the masses.
  • Do you want to wait until you meet someone in person? Yea, I did too. But, just do me a favor and keep in mind that when you meet someone at a bar you know nothing about them. When you meet someone from online, you at least know something about them! It should be less intimidating.
  • Try a free online dating website to see how you feel about it. There is no harm in canceling it.
  • You are going to see someone you know on the site, maybe even an ex… and maybe even your ex’s best friend who will message you. That’s a true story. But, get over it, everyone wants to find their love!

I want to conclude and give a special thank you to OkCupid for allowing me to find the man of my dreams!

Have you had success with online dating or not so much? What advice would you share?

XO, Anna

Things to do in Deep Creek Lake, MD

Things to do in Deep Creek Lake, MD

Whoa, has life been busy! Between work, moving, doing some renovations at our house and a zillion doctors appointments there is hasn’t been much time or energy left for blogging. I sure have missed it! Though we have had the itch to travel this summer, we’ve been spending all our money and time on our new home, which is so worth it before the little one arrives soon. We did get to spend some time during our short staycation at Deep Creek Lake in Maryland. My family has a place there and it’s always a nice getaway. Obviously spending time on the lake itself is so fun! Who can deny some sunshine, boat blown hair and jumping in the lake? But this summer had me thinking that some of my best memories at Deep Creek actually aren’t on the lake. There are so many fun things to around the lake, so I figured I’d share my favorites!

  1. Swallow Falls State Park 
    • This one will come up a lot if you search the area for things to do, but there is a reason for it!  It’s a beautiful park with gorgeous waterfalls. In the summer you will find people swimming in the water. I like it best in the early morning when you can follow the easy trail to see multiple different falls… quietly!Things to do In Deep Creek Lake, MD- Swallow Falls
  2. Deep Creek Lavender Farm
    • Mmm, the smell of fresh lavender is so relaxing! They have limited hours so be sure to check their website, but I have shown up when they were closed and just took in the pretty views and smell. If you go when they are actually open you can pick your own lavender and shop in their little store. It’s so quaint!Things to do in Deep Creek Lake, MD- Lavender Farm
  3. Day-fire
    • Relax and enjoy the outdoors! Now I know you’re thinking this one is silly, but I’m encouraging you to have a campfire during the day! It’s our family’s favorite time to do so. With little ones around, it’s shifted this way and I think we all like it better! It makes it easy for cooking up some fun and different foods on the fire. Things to do in Deep Creek Lake, MD- Day-Fire
  4. Candyland
    • Do you love candy? Take a drive into the Oakland and treat yo self to aisles of any and every kind of candy you can imagine! There is also a nice variety of Amish food products. You can find it at 12679 Garrett Hwy, 21550 Oakland. Now, don’t get a stomach ache!Things to do in Deep Creek Lake, MD- Candyland
  5. Firefly Farms Creamery & Market
    • Cheese lovers, look no further! They are actually making cheese here… like for real. So go hungry, taste some different cheeses that are oh-so-fresh and take some home to munch all night long! The staff here is so friendly will walk you all the cheese flavors. They also do cheese pairings with wine, but you’ll need to plan ahead for that. I haven’t done that just yet, so if you do, let me know what you think! Things to do in Deep Creek Lake, MD- Firefly Farms(photo taken from FireFly Farms Facebook page)
  6. Take a day trip! My two favorites are to either Grantsville, MD or Thomas WV.
    1. Grantsville, MD is about a 30-minute drive from the lake, but it’s a fun change of pace! Do some shopping at the Spruce Forest Artisan Village, eat lunch at The Cornucopia Cafè and visited the Casselman Bridge.Things to do in Deep Creek Lake, MD- Day trip to Grantsville, MD
    2. Thomas, WV is about a 60-minute drive if you’re up for something a little further. You’ll see the “Smallest Church in 50 States” that you can stop at on the way to break up the drive. The town of Thomas has an amazing art scene, which was such a surprise that we stumbled upon while driving to Blackwater Falls State Park. If you’re a sucker for waterfalls like myself, you’ll love this park! Be sure to make time for the Lindy Point trail for some amazing views. When you’ve worked up a hunger, stop at The Purple Fiddle. If you’re lucky you’ll stop in right in time for some live music!
  7. Schoolhouse Earth
    • If you’re a shopper, this is a must! It’s such a fun and unique store to browse. There is some gorgeous jewelry, gifts, gourmet food, and tons of home goods. Not to mention there are some animals out back for the kiddos to feed!

There dozens of other spots to check out while at the lake like the Honi Honi, Fun Land, golfing, and some other spots that are more well known. Am I missing something you love to do while there? Let me know!

I hope you find some fun off the beaten path and enjoy your time at Deep Creek!

Xo, Anna

6 Tips for Online Dating

IMG_6798

Hi, guys! Happy Friday! So February is one of my favorite months because it’s just such a LOVE month.  Not only is there Valentine’s Day, but it’s also the month that Nick and I started dating AND got engaged (he would want me to tell you that it wasn’t all on the same day). Anyway, for those of you that don’t know, Nick and I actually met online! I know, crazy, right? I still can’t believe it. We always get a million questions after someone finds out. I’m pretty sure it’s because we are normal adults (kinda) and we found love on the internet. Online dating seems to have a negative stigma sometimes and it can be overwhelming, frustrating, but also very rewarding! It’s not for everyone but it is for you if you want a different way to meet people. It’s 2017 and we use technology for just about everything else, why not this? An algorithm gave Nick and I a 97% match. Mind. Blown. And my biggest reason you should try it is simple… What if it works!!!

Here are my 6 tips for a successful online dating experience:

  1. The username
    • You finally talked yourself into this and now you have to think of a username? Eek. Don’t stop here. Because I would constantly delete and remake a profile, I used a few different names. The last one that I used was song lyrics that I liked at the time. I was “LittleTalks” and it was one of my better ideas because it attracted people that liked the same music as me. Try thinking of a hobby or interest you like when coming up with a name.
  2. How to pick your profile photo
    • Use current photos! Catfishing is real, folks. You can ask Nick about his story. Thankfully, it never happened to me.
    • Don’t go overboard. Post one head shot, one body shot, and one with family/friends.
    • Keep your clothes on ladies and gents if you’re looking for the real deal.
  3. What to say about yourself
    • Don’t give everything away! This makes it easier to ask questions in messages so that you can get to know one another.
    • Be honest! I remember rolling my eye’s at Nick’s profile when reading that he taught his grandma how to golf, funny story… he actually did!
    • If you have a sense of humor, try to show it! If you’re serious, show it!
    • If there are questions offered from the dating service, answer them. This is how their algorithms work in finding you the best matches.
  4. Messages
    • Who messages who first? Blah, I know. If you’re interested show it, but be a little creative in your first impression. If you can sense their sensor of humor and you’re attracted to that, compliment it. If they are a foodie, ask what their favorite place to eat in the city is.
    • Don’t overthink it, just be yourself.
    • This is the point where it’s okay to be picky! If you met everyone you messaged with, you’d be very busy.
    • If you’re not interested at any point, let them know.
    • If you’re interested after some messaging, get their information for one of their social media accounts if it makes you feel more comfortable. No, this isn’t creepy, they shouldn’t have anything to hide. Add them on Facebook, that way they can see you’re somewhat normal too.
  5. Meeting
    • Are you still not sure about this whole online dating thing? I wasn’t either. Though I knew I was interested in Nick, the whole idea of meeting him was very intimidating. So I highly recommend Skype, Facetime, Google Hangout, whatever to see each other’s faces and talk for a bit. This makes the first meeting feel so much more normal.
    • Don’t meet someone unless you are comfortable with it and genuinely want to meet them. This makes the whole experience way more fun!
    • Be smart! Go to a public place and tell a friend what you’re doing, ya know, just in case… or have your sister stalk you on the Find my Friends app (Heather!).
    • Grab a coffee or a cocktail. Don’t commit yourself to an entire meal or activity for the first time meeting. If cocktails lead into dinner, then perfect, things are going well!
  6. Happily ever after… or not… but maybe!
    • Be patient, your dream man or women isn’t always online waiting for your profile. It’s like real life dating still, you’re just using a website to help introduce you to people. If it doesn’t work out for you, at least you tried!

Are you considering online dating, but haven’t pulled the trigger yet? Here are some other things you should know:

  • Online dating can be like a second job. There’s a lot of people out there. If you’re serious about it, it can take a chunk of time to weed through the masses.
  • Do you want to wait until you meet someone in person? Yea, I did too. But, just do me a favor and keep in mind that when you meet someone at a bar you know nothing about them. When you meet someone from online, you at least know something about them! It should be less intimidating.
  • Try a free online dating website to see how you feel about it. There is no harm in canceling it.
  • You are going to see someone you know on the site, maybe even an ex… and maybe even your ex’s best friend who will message you. That’s a true story. But, get over it, everyone wants to find their love!

I want to conclude and give a special thank you to OkCupid for allowing me to find the man of my dreams!

Have you had success with online dating or not so much? What advice would you share?

XO, Anna

Hawaii- Part Two

part2Aloha, again!

I hope you enjoyed my first post about our trip to Hawaii. It truly is a beautiful state and I had a dream last night that we booked a trip back! Though Waikiki was fun, we were ready to get away from all the hustle and bustle and check out another great spot of Oahu that I found while doing some research. We booked an Airbnb and when Nick was done working for the week, we took the scenic route to the North Shore. First off, I would highly recommend you take the long way when doing this drive to be along the coast. It’s truly beautiful! The photo above was taken from the car. The North Shore of the island is so much more laid back and much more our speed. Haleiwa is the main town there which looked like it was taken straight out of some sort of surfer movie. It was quaint and so much more relaxed than where we had just been. Noticing the laid back trend yet? There is only one resort in the area! Here is where we stayed, The Little Studio by the Sea. If you find yourself needing a place in the North Shore, I highly recommend it. So like Hawaii- Part One, I’ll run through what were my favorite activities:

Ziplining

Lucky for me, Nick had a surprise planned for me during our first day of “official” vacation since he was finally done working! We were going ziplining!! So this was a bucket list item for me that I was also always kind of worried about so never pursued. He booked us a tour with CLIMB Works and the adventure started right from what beginning where we took an ATV ride up the mountain. It was all seriously SO FUN! Don’t get me wrong, I was nervous every-single-time it was time to let go, but the staff was incredible. They were entertaining, personable and knew their stuff. Their mission, in a nutshell, is that CLIMB is an acronym: Challenge. Learn. Inspire. Master. Believe. It was super inspiring and they eased you into pushing yourself within the course. Plus, it’s through their farm, which meant tropical snacks along the way!

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Snorkeling

One of the major perks we found through Airbnb was that our place had all the beach equipment you could need while on vacation, which included snorkeling gear. To get to one of the most popular snorkeling locations in the area, we just had to walk down the street and we were there at Sharks Cove! It was pretty crowded there and no sharks were in sight (whew). We ended up going out a little further away from all the kiddos and explored until our hearts were content. It’s so cool to see the fish and coral in their natural state! I didn’t take the camera with us, but we walked back in the morning to snap a quick photo of our snorkel spot!

sharkscove

Food Trucks

Holy food trucks. If you haven’t figured out yet, we happen to be staying in the best sport ever and we were also next to food truck heaven! We ate at a lot of different places and even had the very popular garlic shrimp at Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, but we had two favorites.

The first was the pizza from Impossibles Pizza, sounds crazy, I know. Pizza in a food truck is good? We put in our order while walking down for sunset and it was ready for pickup by the time we walked back. You can see for yourselves with the reviews! Though we heard when the surf is good you can’t find this truck anywhere. I’m 100% serious. Hawaiin life sounds pretty amazing sometimes.

The second was Aji Limo, where we both had poke bowl dishes. Poke is kinda like raw seafood salad, that is a cross between sushi and ceviche. It’s seriously so good and I don’t know how I didn’t have it in my life for 28 years!

Beaches

We opted for a beach day over shopping in Haleiwa basically for lack of space to bring back and because we are in Hawaii after all! All of the beaches are gorgeous, we hopped around to a few, but we spent most of our time at Waiamea Bay and Three Tables Beach. We relaxed, took in the sunshine and watched some surfers catch the waves! We spent our last day beaching it until dark. I couldn’t think of a better way to end our trip.

sunset

Just like that our two night adventure in the North Shore and our Hawaii trip had come to an end. We endured the ten hour flight and were back in the chilly Pittsburgh. It was a trip that I will alway be very gracious for, for many different reasons. But, the main reason was that it couldn’t have come at a more perfect time in my life and was an amazing recharge for a start to new career chapter. Mahalo, Hawaii for being so friendly and beautiful. Until next time…

XO, Anna

Day Date- Apple Picking

Day Date- Apple Picking

When you want to get in some fall activities and the budget is tight, what do you do? Our conversation went something like this…

We could pick pumpkins? Eh, that’s fun, but we’ve done it a million times. We could go to a haunted house? Eh, that’s too scary. Then my husband says, “In Michigan, we picked apples in the fall!” And guess what, I never have!! Thank goodness for my smartest friend, Google. She found Norman’s Orchard in Tarentum, PA that was only 15 minutes away from us. Score!

We pulled up to Norman’s Orchard not knowing what to expect. What we found was the owner sitting in his garage full of apples for the less adventurous, a good old fashion scale, and some baskets. We had to sign a waiver (smart!), learned the science of the questionable ladders and about all different apple trees around the orchard. Then finally, we were handed a basket to have some fun!

We had a great time walking around the orchard in the crisp fall air, finding the “good” trees to pick from. After climbing the somewhat scary ladders and collecting the very best apples, we went back to scale our apples. Our fun day date cost us around $14 dollars. That’s including a gallon of fresh apple cider and a lot of apples! Norman’s Orchard is old school, but that was part of its charm. With that being said, if you visit, wear your boots and bring your cash.

We not only took home our apples but a new memory. Nick and I love trying new things together. Even when one of us has already done it before, it’s always a beautiful thing to show your loved one something new. This is especially the case when it comes from your childhood!

With that being said, what is your favorite apple recipe? We have a lot of apples to eat!

Xo, Anna Day Date- Apple Picking