Meeting My Favorite Author For The First Time!!

If you happen to follow me on social media (which if you don’t, you totally should…all my info for that is always left at the end of my posts), you would have seen that this past Tuesday, October 16th, was SUCH an exciting day for me.

I got to meet my favorite author and pretty much the person who is responsible for inspiring me to want to write as more than just a hobby.

The author I’m referring to is Nicholas Sparks, who I’m sure a lot of you are familiar with his work. He is the author who wrote best-sellers like The Notebook, A Walk To Remember, Dear John, The Last Song and SO many others…many of which were later turned into films.

Since it’s still so fresh, and I’m still really excited about it, I thought it would be fun (like most other things that I try to do) and share my entire experience of it with you guys!

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The Waiting Process

I had literally been planning for that day for about 2-3 months in advance since I first heard about the event happening.

It was a big deal, I was SO excited.

I had actually taken off from work to be able to go to it, because I didn’t want to risk missing anything from the event.

So, I made sure to wake up extra early (at about 5-6 am I believe), get ready as fast as I could (doing my hair, makeup in about half hour which I’m PRETTY sure is record breaking time) and rushing out the door. I managed to get to the 14th Street (Union Square) Barnes & Noble store by 8 o’clock. The doors didn’t open until 9 though, so I had (along with many others) to wait outside for an hour.

Personally, although it was REALLY cold that morning, it didn’t feel like all that long of a wait (thank god for social media and YouTube).

Once the doors opened at 9 you were directed to the main cashiers to be able to purchase the book and receive your wristband for the event. After getting both, you had the option of either coming back later when the event started at 12:30 OR just hanging out in the store until it was time.

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I was still freezing from being outside AND starving, so once I got my book and wristband, I quickly made my way upstairs to the Starbucks to get my coffee and something to eat. After getting those, I thought I was being “smart” by running upstairs to get to the floor that the event was going to be at so that I could secure my good seat…I quickly realized once I got up there that a TON of other people had the same idea as me 😂. It was all good though because I still managed to be pretty close up, in like the 3rd row.

By the time I actually got myself settled with my seat and other things, it was only about 10am, so I still had about 2 and a half hours to kill before the event started. Again, the waiting really wasn’t so bad for me honestly. In that time I was able to watch YouTube videos, read the synopsis of the book and author’s note, and even walked around the entire store and managed to come out with 4 extra books then what was originally intended. Needless to say I was very entertained lol.

While I was clearly having the best time EVER wandering around my favorite store and finding more and more books for me to buy by the second, before I knew it it was 12:30 and the event was about to start.

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The Event

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The event itself was pretty cool and fun. The events coordinator for the store introduced Nicholas Sparks a little bit, then had him come up on stage to say a few words before the meet and greet/book signing actually started.

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When he finally came up, he spoke a little bit about his previous books and what led him to write this one specifically (the name of his book is Every Breath if I didn’t already mention that). He spoke about a few key points in this specific book like the characters, their backgrounds, what inspired certain details in the book and a ton of other things that I don’t want to get TOO detailed about because I don’t want to spoil anything. He also took a few questions from the audience which I thought was really nice because a lot of people don’t do that.

I even got to ask and have him answer a question!

I’m one of those people that gets SO nervous about things like that and second guesses whether or not I actually want to and/or should, even if I really DO want to. Anxiety freakin’ sucks man. BUT, I literally had to tell myself to get over myself and just ask my question because how often am I ever going to get an opportunity like this again, ESPECIALLY with my favorite author?

So that’s what I did, I got up the courage to raise my hand to ask a question, and sure enough…he picked me! 😄 My question was, “What advice would you give to aspiring writers like myself who can only hope to be half as successful of an author that you are one day?”

He answered by saying “Speaking for myself, I love to read, so you of course have to read a lot. But you know what else I think helps me? TV and movies, and you know why? Because they’re stories. And if you’re talking about TV, every 8 minutes they kind of have to end on a cliff hanger when a commercial is coming because they have to keep you tuned in. Well that’s very handy in writing as well whenever you end another chapter, because you have to end in a way to make them, your readers, want to turn that next page. So there’s lessons to be learned from any form of good story. So you have to read, learn to value stories, and to see how stories tick and wind, and practice honing reasons why one book is better than another.”

I paraphrased a lot of what he said obviously, otherwise I could’ve gone on forever with his response, but that was pretty much the gist of it.

After he answered my question was when the meet and greets and book signing actually started.

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Meeting Nicholas Sparks Officially

As if simply asking him a question from afar wasn’t nerve-wrecking enough, I was about to finally meet him officially too!!

The whole process went relatively quick, I mean obviously right? There were over a hundred + people there waiting to meet him and get their book signed so of course he had to keep the line moving.

But regardless of the fact that they (his people?) were trying to keep the line moving smoothly and relatively quick, I thought it was really cool and interesting to see the interaction he had with each of his fans. He was really friendly and managed to go out of his way to speak to his fans individually as much as he could, and was even willing to sign as many copies of his book as you bought.

At one point I even saw that there was this girl who had brought every single book she had of his in hopes of getting them all signed by him, and he actually did it. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I just think little things like that says a lot about a person/celebrity (in a good way), because he could’ve easily said no since there were so many people waiting, but he still made the time to do it in between signing his recent book for others.

Anyway, once my time came up, I was SO nervous. I didn’t actually know what to say to him, I wanted to make sure the picture(s) came out nice and a million other things were going through my mind too.

Ultimately, I actually got a couple of good shots of our interaction (see some of them below) and as for what I said to him, although it came out all jumbled up and I’m sure he didn’t understand half of it, I told him that he was my absolute favorite author and one of the main reasons that I decided to take my writing more seriously and hopefully become a successful author one day like he is. He said thank you so much, encouraged me to always keep trying and writing, gave me my signed book and I was on my way.

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Overall, although it wasn’t the ‘longest encounter’ ever, generally, it was a really great,  and very much worth it experience.

I don’t typically tend to do things like go to events like this, ESPECIALLY by myself because of my anxiety, so that alone was a BIG deal for me. Being able to step out of my comfort-zone to meet my favorite author, get to ask him a REALLY important question (to me anyway), get my book signed by him AND get a few pictures with him…what better?! He was also really nice about it all which made it even better.

I can’t even tell you guys how inspired and motivated I felt leaving the event that day, like I had so many different ideas for the blog going through my mind, so many things I wanted to start working on with my writing, etc. It made me really excited for not only my future, but my WRITING in the future. I’ve got some really exciting things coming soon for you guys and I can’t wait for you to see them.

I really hope you guys enjoyed this post. Thanks so much for reading, please like, share and follow if you aren’t already, and I’ll see you guys in the next one! 😊

-Xoxo, Leo Girl ❤

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Apple & Pumpkin Picking 2018!

Happy Monday everybody!

I hope you guys had a good, fun, relaxing and productive weekend like I did! 🙂 Today’s post is going to be about something SUPER Fall-like, which if you haven’t done, you definitely need to at some point!

I’m talking about going Pumpkin and Apple picking!!

This past weekend (on Saturday), me, Diego, a few of his family members, and some of our friends went to a farm to do some pumpkin and apple picking, and we had the BEST time. We went to Harvest Moon Farm and Orchard, which if you are from New York, it’s in North Salem (Westchester). I’m going to leave their website linked here for anyone that is interested in checking them out.

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If you’re anything like me, then you probably haven’t gone to do something like this since you were a kid. Up until last year, I hadn’t gone to do this since I was in like 3rd or 4th grade and they took us as one of our school field trips!

Diego and I had found this place last year, but for one reason or another, only got to go by ourselves. We ended up loving it so much, that we KNEW we had to go back this year and bring some of the people closest to us this time around so they could enjoy it as much as we did the first time, and that’s exactly what we did.

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We spent the majority of the afternoon there up until it was closing time for them (which was at about 5:30pm). We all had an amazing time and got to eat great food, pick a TON of apples, and buy some goodies from the store they had on their location.

One thing to mention about this place in general though, is that it’s all cash-only. So if you’re going to make a trip up here, come prepared with that. Personally, I brought $100 in cash and that was more or less fine to hold me off for the day and everything that we did. However, worse comes to worse (although I know people try to avoid this because of the added fee(s)), they do have an ATM on location in case you wanted/needed to take out more.

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One of the really cute things this farm has is their little Country Store. It’s actually one of the first things you see when you’re driving in to the farm. It’s decently big, and super festive for the Fall/Halloween season.

Inside the store they have everything from baked goods, to produce that they grow themselves on the farm, to homemade jams of all different flavors, and even decorations and pumpkin carvers for the pumpkins you pick up there.

This is also where people would go when they place any orders for pies around the holidays to pick them up (which I’ll talk more about later on in the post).

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Although obviously the main attraction(s) here would be the apples and pumpkins, they also have a ton of other things to do as well. There were countless amounts of amazing food vendor stands, little games and activities for kids, somewhat of a petting zoo for kids (which included horses, chickens, and goats), and even live music.

The food was AMAZING. Granted, I am a picky eater and will mainly stick to the foods I know and love like burgers, chicken tenders, fries, etc., BUT nonetheless it was all good.

I’m sure people would say/think that the food is slightly overpriced for what you would normally get anywhere else, but I think it’s pretty worth it considering everyone there  makes everything right in front of you, so it’s all fresh for the most part.

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Something I highly recommend for people to try when you come here is the HUGE turkey legs that they always sell. From what I’ve seen, it’s definitely a best-seller. Diego absolutely loved it last year, and ended up being one of the first things he wanted when we came this time around too (pictured above).

Among the foods I just mentioned, they also had things like ice cream, fried oreos, cider donuts, fresh squeezed lemonade (which btw 10/10 recommend that you try the strawberry lemonade because WOW.), and pumpkin pie cheesecake.

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This is the strawberry lemonade. I believe it was $3 per container like this. We legit kept going back to get more, and by the time we left, we had gotten like 4 or 5 of them. SO good!!

One of MY personal favorite parts of all this was definitely the pumpkin pie cheesecake…….you guys, if you know me (as I’ve mentioned several times in several different blog posts), I am SUCH a picky eater, more so with regular food as opposed to desserts, but nonetheless picky.

 

HOWEVER, when Diego and I came last year, he managed to get me to try a sample of the pumpkin pie cheesecake they had there, and I swear I fell in love after that. So much so that I ended up placing an order for the big size that they had to be able to have that as one of the desserts at Thanksgiving last year, and I FULLY intend on doing the same thing this year as well!! So worth it, and they are all handmade by this cute little family that’s always at the farm!

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Overall, it was a really great and fun experience. Diego and I had a lot of fun last year when we went, but I think it was even better being able to experience it with some of the people closest to us this year as well.

If you haven’t been pumpkin or apple picking, but have been considering going lately and aren’t sure which farm to go to (and are in the NY area), I 100% recommend Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard. It’s a great place to go with a group of your family or friends, and is super kid-friendly as well.

I hope you guys enjoyed this post, and I’ll see you in the next one 🙂 !

-Xoxo, Leo Girl ❤

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My First 2 Tattoo Experiences

Hey Everybody! The title of this post is self-explanatory, but I’m going to be speaking about my overall first experiences of getting tattooed; where I went, what I got, why I got it, and a ton of other things involving that.

Obviously everyone’s experiences are different and will be different, but I’m going to share with you guys how it was for me both times.

I really wanted to be able to document the first time I got tattooed, but it was so in the moment, that I completely forgot and by the time I thought about it, it was over. So, I’m going to be incorporating my first and second one in this.

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Firstly, I just want to start off by saying that I’ve always been interested in tattoos, like the artistic-ness of it, the meanings behind certain ones, etc. BUT, I really never thought I would ever be the type to want and/or get any. For a LONG time, I never even considered it. Like are you crazy?! Going through that pain, inking my body like that and having to literally live with it for the rest of my life!?! Naw, not for me, sorry….

However, I think that drastically changed (obviously lol) in the past year. I would say what really pushed me to get my first one, was when Spencer passed away almost a year ago (my cat who I wrote an entire post about and will leave linked here in case you wanted to check it out). It took me a while to really push myself to go and get it, but I knew that, for myself, I wanted and needed to do it for him.

I was researching like crazy, looking up ideas for what I wanted and trying to plan the entire thing out so it could be perfect. It was about a month after he passed that I settled on what exactly I wanted (which is pictured below).

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I finally ended up getting it on June 16, 2018.

I settled on what I wanted about a month after he passed away, but didn’t actually end up getting it done until about 6-7 months after I settled on it. There’s a variety of reasons for this, but mainly because of the nerves I had about it all.

I actually kind of got lucky because a friend of mine who I’ve literally known since I was a kid, is a tattoo artist, and so once I finally settled on what I wanted, I contacted her and she completely talked me through the whole thing and settled my nerves TREMENDOUSLY. Even on the day of, she was talking me through everything, answered every single question I had from the amount of pain I may be feeling, to the equipment she was using, etc. It was SO comforting and an overall great experience.

The name of the girl I went to is Shamalee Delacruz (her Instagram name is @tatubuny if you live in New York and wanted to check her and her work out, which you guys totally should). She is such a sweet person, and her work is really great. She’s so great at detail and making sure you get EXACTLY what it is you want, which is obviously extremely important when getting a tattoo. So I 100% recommend her if you’re considering getting any sort of tattoo work done.

I obviously spoke about the general meaning of it, as in who it was dedicated to, but to be more “specific”, my first one is just saying that Spencer will always be apart of me, in my heart. As for the placement of that tattoo, I got it on my wrist because it was somewhere that I knew I would always be able to see it. So now, whenever I miss him or anything, I just always look down, see it there and it always weirdly makes me feel better.

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So that was my first tattoo, which I got back in June. For my second one, which I just got done 2 days ago, I went to Shamalee again and got something that was extremely deep in meaning and important to me.

It always feels weird to talk about this one, just because it’s not something that I’m like trying to brag about to people, and I also just don’t generally talk about it much to anyone that isn’t super close to me (although I am trying to get better at being more vocal about it).

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Ultimately, the second one I got has to do with mental health. I’ve briefly spoken about it a few times on my blog before, but for those of you that are new and/or just didn’t know, I suffer from anxiety and depression. It’s something that I think I’ve always sort of dealt with throughout my life, but only recently did it start to get worse and really make me realize how real it is. This is something in my life that I’m probably always going to have to deal with, and if you know me, you know that I’m a fighter. But, when I have bad days, I have REALLY bad days, which I don’t always like to admit because of how intense it is, but the thought of suicide does come to mind every now and than. And I really don’t at all mean to say that light-heartedly, but it’s the truth, and because of that I decided to get this tattoo.

For those of you that don’t know, in literature, a semi-colon is used when an author could’ve ended a sentence, but chose not to. In this case, specifically, the author is myself and the sentence is my life. Something so tiny, yet so meaningful and impactful. So that’s the meaning of the semi-colon itself, as for the birds, I’ve just ALWAYS been obsessed with little bird tattoos for some reason, I think they’re so cute and just add more meaning to most tattoos. With that, a bird usually symbolizes freedom and perspective. See the finished product below.

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Got this one done on Saturday, September 29th.

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For both times, it was the weirdest thing because the days leading up to me actually getting them, I was nervous as hell. But the day of and throughout the entire process, I was strangely calm. Partly I’m sure because of how comfortable Shamalee made me, and I guess the other part is just because I knew how much they both meant to me and how badly I wanted them.

Which now leads me to one of the most important aspects of getting tattooed that most people wonder about….the pain. And rightfully so considering you should know more or less exactly what you’re getting yourself into before doing it. Now, as I mentioned earlier, everyone’s experience is and will be different, which means that everyone’s pain tolerance is different. Personally, being that I had never done anything remotely close to this before, I was pretty much going in blind since I had no form of reference for how much “pain” or not I was going to be in. The place that I got both my tattoos (the wrist area) is supposed to be an extremely sensitive spot for them; as in, it’s typically suppose to be more painful, especially since my second one kind of wraps around my wrist onto my bone. But personally, it really didn’t hurt much at all. It really just felt like hard, repetitive pinching….is that weird? Just me? Okay then….

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Overall, for both of my tattoos, I had two (thankfully) great and easy going experiences and healing processes.

And to be honest, I’m already addicted and planning what I might…..probably…..most likely will be getting next….don’t judge me!! 🌚

Anyway guys, that’s it for this post. Those were my first 2 tattoo experiences. I really hope that you guys enjoyed it. Leave me a comment down below or write to me on social media about what your first tattoo experience(s) were like, I’d love to hear from you about it! 😀

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you guys in my next one.

*Special thanks again to Shamalee for doing this for me and making me feel super comfortable throughout it all, and for doing exactly what I wanted! As well as Diego for taking these great pictures! ❤ *

-Xoxo, Leo Girl ❤

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