Last Weekend of Freedom

This weekend one of my besties came down to take care of me and join me in my recovery laziness. I warned her that my life these days is far from fabulous and consists of sitting on the couch and watching large amounts of HGTV, but she assured me she didn’t mind. She was so wonderful; she cooked and cleaned for me and helped me take care of the girls. It was so nice having company. We even ventured out one day for coffee and I crutched(?) awkwardly downtown. Did I mention that she made me some fabulous cheese plates?

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And now, I’m just preparing myself for my last semester before graduating in May.

Best
-x

2014 Recap

January
2014 began with friends and fun! I went to Hilton Head Island with some of my besties and partied downtown for new years. I had injured my knee when I was running in December and was preparing for surgery. I had my first knee surgery towards the end of January and spent most of it in bed.
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February
By mid February I was feeling back to normal and trying to be more active and healthy. I went on a lot of walks downtown with hubby.

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March
I spent Spring Break in Gatlinburg, TN with the in-laws. Gatlinburg was a good redneck party spot. I think we spent the whole trip drunk between moonshine and whiskey distilleries. My favorite part was driving into Smoky Mountain National Park and driving up to Newfound Gap. The view was amazing and it was an Appalachian Trail access point, which I want to hike part of one day when my knee is healed.

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April
April was a wonderful month! There were walks downtown, a trip to Athens and a visit from a BFF. I hadn’t seen Val in years and it was wonderful to reunite. We went on beach trips and had girlie cocktail nights downtown. (there was also that bee getting into my bra incident that was really no fun). Also, in April I got a fabulous new haircut.IMG_2892

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May
In May I was done with Spring semester and had a week of freedom before the grueling summer semester. I spent that time hanging with my girlfriends, then road-tripping to beautiful Charleston, SC for some R&R with my hubs. We visited the beach, walked the historic cobblestone streets, and toured a plantation. It was lovely. Also in May, I discovered Zenni Optical and started my over the top glasses collection that I’m in love with!

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June
Summer school came on in full force and basically consumed my life. I was taking 4 classes that are normally 12 week courses in 4-5 weeks so I had exams, papers, projects and homework due almost every day. I spent weekends lounging by my parents pool and managed a quick weekend trip to Atlanta for Korean BBQ and Karaoke with friends.

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July
My second summer semester began (which included the WORST group project I’ve ever experienced I had a terrible partner). I watched World Cup games and cheered for USA whenever I wasn’t studying (blurry photo).  Also, I added to my glasses collection and managed a small weekend trip up to Athens. We visited a cute new brewery and ate some amazing food. I also helped my little sis move into her first real place.

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IMG_3920August
August was basically one of the best months of my life, because with less than 3 weeks notice we planned a trip to Europe and I was on a plane on a dream vacation. The adventure began with a huge road trip up to New Jersey, with an overnight stop in Virginia Beach. After 2-3 days of crossing our fingers and waiting (plus sleeping in the car one night), we boarded a plane to Germany, flying Space-A with the United States Air Force (did I mention it was completely free?). I need to post a full story of our big adventure, but short recap: we landed in Frankfurt and rented a car. We drove to Amsterdam where we spent 3 days before heading through Belgium to Paris (which I’ve dedicated 2 posts to: here and here). From Paris we booked a coach to London and travelled via the Chanel Tunnel, which was such a cool experience. We spent a few nights in London and took another coach up to Liverpool to visit my family. I reunited with an old friend and stayed with my Granddad in his idyllic little English town. We wished we could have stayed for week, but after 2 days we rented a car and left with heavy hearts. Luckily, my husband drove (on the wrong side of the road and no GPS) and we managed to get to the Mildenhall Royal Air Force Base to try to catch a flight back to the USA. After 3 days of being passed over for flights to the USA, we finally got on a flight to Seattle. We flew on a huge cargo jet with no windows and sat against the wall in little jump seats. After the plane took off, though, we were able to sprawl out of the floor and it was a pretty comfortable experience (despite the 9 hour+ flight). The whole trip back to Savannah was a whole miserable blur. There were missed nights of sleep, food poisoning, late flights, missing baggage, dead car batteries and jet lag. Eventually we arrived home and the whole thing was the best experience of my life!

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September
My fall semester was back in gear and I was back to the normal routine of class and studying. I discovered a new cafe in Savannah that I’m obsessed with now and practiced photography downtown with my new camera. I also spent a perfect, cloudy few days in Ponte Vedra, FL for our second wedding anniversary and got accepted to grad school! By this time my knee was really bothering me and it had been deteriorating slowly since March.

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October
This was a relatively quiet month. My little sis visited for her birthday weekend and we went for a fabulous meal downtown. I spent Halloween weekend in a mountain cabin with my girlfriends AND it snowed!! Also, I interviewed for a summer internship at the company where I really want to work.

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November
There were more walks with the doggies downtown and lattes in the park. On Thanksgiving week the hubby and I spent a few days at a cabin in the North Georgia mountains where we visited Amicalola Falls and Blue Ridge. Thanksgiving was spent with my family and we feasted like kings!

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IMG_4914December
And, December. In December I: finished finals, celebrated my birthday with the Black Keys in Charlotte, brewed beer, enjoyed a spa day, had my second knee surgery of the year, celebrated Christmas with my family, interviewed for an internship, and rang in the new year with champagne!

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IMG_5310And that wraps up 2014! What a year!!!

Best, x.

2014 New Year’s Resolutions Revisited

At the beginning of 2014, I made a list on the note app of my iPhone of New Year’s resolutions. I glanced at them every once in a while throughout the year to stay on track. Some things weren’t completed because my January knee surgery recovery didn’t quite go as planned, but I crossed off a few.

New Year’s Resolutions 2014

Cut toxic people out of my life✔️- This one is difficult for most, but completely necessary. I realized coming into 2014 that I was somewhat surrounded by toxic people and it was overrunning me with guilt and unhappiness. I’m trying to get my life together and become a more happy and focused person, and surrounding myself with toxic friendships wasn’t helping. You have control over who you’re friends with, after all. In 2014 I made a lot of progress with this and am now in a much more positive and happy place. I feel like the friends I have in my life now are the ones that support me and respect my opinions and life. There’s no need for drama, negativity, narcissism and manipulation!
Get to know my city better✔️- I definitely accomplished this one. I made an effort to go downtown, especially when the weather was nice. My husband and I explored new local restaurants, coffee shops and bars. I went into Savannah to practice photography when I got my new camera and brought the dogs downtown for lots of walks.
Run my first race- I made this goal before I had my first knee surgery in January 2014 and before my doctor told me I should avoid running for the rest of my life. Unfortunately, I never fully recovered from my knee surgery and ended up having another surgery a few weeks ago. Therefore, there will be no races in my future and I’ve come to terms with this.
Keep my 4.0 GPA✔️- This goal required lots of hard work and dedication, but it paid off! I’ve kept my 4.0 thus far and am proud to put that on my resume.
Lose 30 pounds- Yes, the typical lose x pounds this year resolution. Well, 2014 was a little unexpected. By March/April, my knee was feeling a bit better and recovery seemed to be going well. I threw myself back into working out and eating healthy. After a couple of months I realized that my body was no longer capable of the level of physical activity it once was. My knee was hurting again and I avoided walking, stairs, etc. I was back in physical therapy and it wasn’t improving. Then I had my second surgery. Sitting in bed isn’t the best thing for weight loss and there wasn’t much I could do about it. I got annoyed with myself because the scale wasn’t moving and I realized that the real thing I should be focused on is healing and rehabbing my knee. I’ve been trying to focus less on weight and more on happiness and body acceptance. Following the second surgery I’m feeling positive! If my knee heals and I am able to walk and be active without pain, then I will focus on a healthy weight loss and continue with being body positive in 2015.
Have more sex✔️- This should be on everyone’s list. Sex is good for us (safe sex obviously) and keeps us healthy and close to our partners. It’s easy to get caught up in our busy schedules and put sex on the back burner.
Learn to love myself– I can’t check this one off quite yet because it’s still a work in progress. I’ve improved my relationship with my husband and friends and myself. Love is a strong word and I’m not quite there yet.
Read more books✔️- I did accomplish this, but it doesn’t really mean too much. In 2013 I probably only read one book. In 2014 I’m assuming I read maybe 4 books. Which is a step in the right direction.
Travel to another country✔️- I definitely checked this one off. In 2014 I traveled to Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, France and England. It was the trip of a lifetime!
Stick to a budget– This year my husband and I got serious about money and downloaded the YNAB app. We set up a budget and tried to stick to it for about 4 months. We slowly slipped away from it, but still managed our money much better.  We reached our first MAJOR savings goal and are in a stable place financially. So, though not  checkmark worthy, we definitely improved and got rid of a lot of debt.
Reunite with Valerie✔️- I love that this one was on the list and that it’s checked off. Me and Val have been through a lot over the years and it’s been hard to physically see each other because of the distance. She visited in April and it was fantastic seeing her. We still stay in constant touch and I know we will see each other this year. I’m so proud of that girl for her amazing year! (love ya!)
Wear a bikini– Ya, again with the not losing 30 pounds and not quite loving myself yet, no bikini. I don’t know that I would put this on the list again, I just have my focus elsewhere.
Go hiking✔️- Obviously I couldn’t hike in 2014 like I did pre-knee injury, but on a trip to the mountains 2 months ago we went out on a “hike” to see how my knee would handle it. It didn’t cooperate at all, but I did get out there and try!
Stay close to my besties✔️- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, girlfriends are one of the most important people in a girl’s life! I’m close to my besties and saw them multiple times this year & went without big gaps of no communication.
Watch more documentaries– Nope. Just didn’t do this. Maybe next year!
Go to an art museum✔️- I didn’t just go to an art museum, I went to THE art museum: Le Louvre in Paris! What an experience. I think I could go there everyday for a month a see something new every day. It’s huge!
Try out a yoga class– I didn’t do this because I was worried about my knee causing me problems.
Develop a better bed time routine– Unfortunately, I’m still guilty of playing around on my phone and going to bed too late. I’m going to try getting to bed early and limiting screen time before bed next year.
Try brussel sprouts✔️- This goal seems kind of basic, but I’d never had brussel sprouts before and thought of them as disgusting. I tried them this year and love those little vegetable balls!
Don’t check social media when with friends✔️- Obviously everyone glances at social media throughout the day, but I caught myself doing this too much when I was out with friends. In 2014 I wasn’t perfect, but made a conscious effort to be more in the moment with friends and be 100% focused on them rather than get caught up in the lives of people on social media that aren’t as important.
Eat more consciously– I have a bad relationship with food and I know it. I eat out of boredom, celebration, sadness, and mindlessly. I am going to work on this in 2015.
Record what I eat– This one goes along with eating consciously. I definitely didn’t do this last year and I probably should have.
Smile more✔️– We’ve all heard of resting bitch face, and unfortunately I suffer from this. I decided that I would have to try to smile more to show that I’m not actually a stone cold bitch and I think I did this enough to deserve a checkmark for 2014.
Gossip less✔️– The good thing about detoxifying your relationships is that the toxic behaviors go with them. Yes, I still gossip sometimes. We all do, but when I’m talking about someone else, I try to only talk to good friends or sisters and only asking for advise and talking about things that happened in my life. I no longer just single someone out and talk about them behind their back for the sole purpose of hurting them.
Best. A.

Cabin Weekend

Last weekend I trekked all the way to North Georgia (through Atlanta) to spend a relaxing weekend with my favorite ladies. and it snowed!! The cold chilled me to the bone and I loved it! I also founds the most amazing fleece lined leggings of life- which was a win. We drank unspeakable amounts of wine and ate unimaginable amounts of cheese, I also spent too much money on jewelry and accessories (confession time is over). The weekend REALLY helped chill me out. I feel like when you focus too much on schoolwork it gets too overwhelming and the stress eats away at you. I left with anxiety about projects and tests and returned with a much more balanced view about everything (let’s not talk about my group member who’s not doing her share of the work though. Ugh). I’m ready to kick this semester in the actual face.

Some world from my beautiful weekend:

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Best x.

I’m a Bad Blogger

When it comes to blogging I’m definitely not a pro! Life gets a bit busy and my posts get few and far between. I thought it was time to do a bit of an update.

Thursday:
Today! I’m enjoying an evening to myself with a glass of wine (dry riesling) and House Hunters International. Plus, packing for a much needed cabin weekend in the mountains with my ladies! I’m looking forward to a weekend of catching up, hot-tubbing, girl talk, wine, cheese and antiquing. I can feel the stress melting away already! It might snow and the thought of soaking in the hot tub while watching the mountains get blanketed with snow makes me smile. Also, I’m bringing my camera, so stay tuned for fabulous views!

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Wednesday:
Homework, homework and more homework. Plus, they tortured me in physical therapy with electrical muscle stimulation and OUCH that stuff hurts!!!!

And, I got my new white balance lens cover and played around with setting the white balance manually. So far it seems great! The first photo is a lovely snap of my backyard on auto white balance, the second is with the white balance set manually with my news lens cap. I’m loving the more vivid colors!White balance pic

Tuesday:
Last class of the day cancelled= watching American Horror Story: Asylum on Netflix for hours. I skipped this season in the past and am seriously regretting it! Probably the scariest season so far!

Monday:
Bad news. My knee still isn’t doing well; it healed kind of sideways. My doctor wants me to try “aggressive” physical therapy and he gave me a brace that looks like a piece of hardware. I might have to have another surgery in December if I can’t get my kneecap to bend back to where it’s supposed to be. Damn these knees I was born with!!!

Sunday:
Caught up with a friend downtown over coffee. I tell her that I see her seasonally since we’re both so busy and she doesn’t live in Savannah anymore- so it’s always so nice to trade stories. I suppose I’ll see her again in the winter!

Best x.

Life is Always Changing

I stuck to the Super Shred diet for a solid week and a half until life threw another curveball (as always) and I had a friend visit. I know I need to learn to adjust my diet to the ups and downs of life, but it’s hard when I’m constantly adventuring with a BFF. I’ve know Val since middle school, but she moved away when I was in high school. We’ve managed to keep in touch and pull each other through hard times.  On a positive note, Val and I worked out almost everyday and we stayed active!

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The week was complete with donuts, running snake encounters, booze, bargain hunting, wasp stings, girls dates, sex shops and beach days!

IMG_3164We brought the dogs to Jekyll Island last Thursday for a day of sun! They had so much fun and were completely worn out!

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IMG_3166Also, check out my week in noms. Yes, that is the most delicious cheesecake of life!

IMG_3165Recently I’ve been realizing just how important girlfriends are. I’ve always been the kind of girl that has a strong connection with the man in my life and I don’t generally get close to too many people. No matter what though, it’s always your girlfriends that pull you through hard times and will be there no matter what! Ok, time to go, I’m getting sappy!

 

 

Ladies Weekend: Fun & Food

This past weekend I drove the 4 hours up to my old college town to connect with my 2 best girlfriends. It was really relaxed. We chatted, drank wine and had an all around good time together. My friend served a variety of delicious cheeses and made us some giant bratwurst for dinner to get the party started.

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Saturday involved hangover breakfast, a coffee date, boutique shopping, afternoon antiquing and going out for drinks and burgers. Responsible over 25’s still take selfies right? PS. Love you guys!

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Can Jean make me hangover breakfast every morning?

Can Jean make me hangover breakfast every morning?

Check out this beaut! I found it while antiquing for quite the deal!

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And now, after a fun weekend, I’m ready to detox both my liver and eating habits and get on the Super Shred eating plan! I’ve got my grocery list and meal plan ready! Here’s to the next 4 weeks!