TRAVEL DIARY: VISITING THE FIANCÉ'S HOMETOWN: ASHTABULA, OHIO
If you've been following Freddie's & my journey, you probably know that we aren't *technically* engaged just yet. Yes, we went ring shopping together but the proposal reveal is something that will be happening in the very near future! I am so dang curious how he is going to do it. We tell each other everything and this has been killing us! Lol - However, when we were visiting his hometown this past week, his parents introduced me to everyone as his fiancé and I just adored the way it sounded so here I am, titling my blog with fiancé instead of boyfriend! Yolo.
Let me preface this blog with the fact that I have visited Ashtabula, Ohio many times in the past seven years. But believe it or not, I have only visited in the winter! This trip we decided to come for Fourth of July and holy moly, how cool it was to actually see this town and enjoy the SENSATIONAL summer weather. So many interesting and cool things happened & I cannot wait to share them with you!
After a busy travel day on Monday, we landed in Cleveland to be greeted by Freddie's wonderful parents, Renee & Fred Sr. We headed east an hour and arrived in Ashtabula! We relaxed and got to bed early as we had an exciting appointment the next morning.
On Tuesday we were scheduled to meet with a Master Tarot Expert named Justine Alessi (Author of Rebirth of the Oracle: The Tarot for the Modern World.) I have seriously been dying to go to her for YEARS - so knowing me, naturally, I had to visit this trip.
All of Tuesday morning I was feeling very excited and anxious. It was finally time to go, so I kissed Benji goodbye and off we went! After shutting the door to the jeep behind me, I began to get butterflies in my stomach as we walked up to her house. We knocked on the door & Justine greeted us kindly. We made our way back to her studio & sat down. Freddie and I decided to do three separate readings; one for topics specific to him, one for topics specific to me & one together for topics specific to both of us.
When getting a tarot reading, you go in with a few subjects you are interested in. Then you shuffle and hold the deck to transfer your energy to the cards and your cards are picked. We had an incredible reading & honestly my mind was blown. Every vision in my life was totally confirmed. The one thing I will mention is she was adamant about us continuing to write, write, write - funny, here I am, blogging away! Lol. All in all, it was a magnificent experience and one I would highly recommend.
The next few days were filled with fun in the sun - Wednesday was The Fourth of July. We started the day by visiting Lake Erie & then venturing back to Freddie's parent's house to be greeted by our dear friend Mio! We haven't seen Mio in almost a year so it was a special treat for all of us. Also in attendance was Freddie's cousin Sheree, her hubby Jeremy & their precious newborn baby girl, sweet Mila. We grilled, played volleyball in the pool (omg, so much volleyball this trip. I LOVED it!) & just enjoyed one another's company.
Thursday we went to a really cool & laid back pizza joint/bar & met with some of Renee's girlfriends who were so lovely! Let me just say, the pizza at this spot was OUT OF THIS WORLD. The secret recipe for the pizza has been handed down for generations and man oh man, was it deeeelish. If you're ever in Ashtabula, head to Iroquois Lounge for some bomb pizza! We ended the evening by going through old photo albums and I loved every minute of it! I am such a sucker for sentimental stuff & I feel you can learn so much about people from viewing old photo albums. It's one of my favorite pastimes.
Friday morning, Fred Sr. mentioned we could go for a bike ride. Right away, Freddie & I were in! However, I was envisioning a nice little five-mile bike riding trail; I hadn't been biking in years! In true bike riding fashion, we decided to take the top & doors off of the jeep to soak in the beautiful day. After the boys handled that, we got the bikes on the back of the jeep & we were off to the trail!
Upon arriving at this beautiful trail, we got situated and headed out. I brought a fanny pack because I like to have my essentials on me at all times (phone, chapstick, gum, etc.) As we began to ride, I felt so free. The sun was ever so gently shining down on us, wind in our face & the absolute perfect temperature of weather. This was pure heaven.
However, about an hour in, my little leggies were getting tired and this trail seemed to go on forever. Freddie & I asked Fred Sr. how far we had gone and he mentioned "About ten miles." TEN miles!? Daaaaang! We were doing this thang! We went a little further and decided to turn around to head back. In total? We rode for 20 miles. Boom!
As you can imagine, after this bike ride we most certainly worked up quite an appetite. Freddie always wanted to show me Geneva on the Lake and so we headed to the cutest little strip! It was filled with restaurants, arcades, bars & shops all right on the lake. We ate at Eddie's Grill and LEGIT had the yummiest cheeseburgers, hotdogs & slushy lemonade. I will dream of those cheeseburgers until the next time! If you are in the area, definitely make a stop there - however, it is only open during summer months!
After eating, we hopped in the jeep and headed back to the house. I was in the back seat, enjoying the wind lightly on my face, checking my e-mails. I noticed an e-mail from my contact at Dunkin' Donuts interested in another collaboration. I checked out the details and was crazy excited about their new product - DONUT FRIES. Are you kidding me!? DONUT FRIES. YUM. I wrote back to confirm the collab and quickly began brainstorming what shots we could set up for this campaign. A lightbulb went off and I knew exactly what we could do; fun in the sun on the DONUT raft! Yaaaas. We would unwind tonight and shoot tomorrow!
We woke up Saturday a little sore and really excited for the day. First on the agenda? Attending a 100th Birthday Party! It was such a lovely celebration with so many in attendance. We got to see a lot of Freddie's family as well as meet new friends! The birthday girl, Margaret, was beyond fabulous and truly looked so incredible for her age! She gave us a big hug and was so kind.
After the party, we went home and got ready for our Dunkin' Donuts shoot! Fred Sr. was a huge help in keeping me placed exactly where I needed to be on the raft in the pool while Freddie shot the photos & I held the yummy product. We had so much fun being outside and making this magic together!
We ended the evening by heading to Willoughby and meeting up with a bunch of family and friends. We did a late celebration of the cousin's birthdays & went to dinner and bar hopping. Seeing old faces and meeting new ones was such a grand time. The one thing I will say about people from Ohio? They are as kind as it gets!
After a marvelous trip, we hopped on a plane and headed back to Los Angeles. I absolutely loved our trip visiting family and unplugging for the week. It is so essential to recharge your batteries & visiting Ohio was the absolute perfect medicine to do just that!