Considering the recent upsets in our lives (food poisoning, a torn ligament, and an unexpected trip to California), our Spring Break plans fell apart. I had to work my regular hours at work, but decided to work 3 full days instead of my usual 5 half days to give me a couple of days off. I finished work on Tuesday when the little travel bug started biting. But, I knew it was already late and I had to work again on Friday, so I decided a couple of quiet days at home might be relaxing. The next morning, over delicious coffee downtown, I decided that staycations aren’t really my style. We had to head somewhere close, dog-friendly, and new; we decided St. Augustine would be the perfect spot for our spontaneous adventure. A quick Google search and suggestion from Bringfido.com later, we had a cute room at a historic downtown bed and breakfast booked. The impromptu trip was planned in under 5 minutes, bags were packed hastily and we were headed south on I-95, Florida-bound. I’d never been to St. Augustine before (not counting stopping through quickly when I was a child), but I had always avoided visiting because my parents don’t like it. My husband and I are both so glad we gave it a chance, because we ended up loving it! First of all, the St. Francis Inn was perfect. I’d never stayed at a B&B before so I didn’t know what to expect. The owner and staff made us feel right at home and offered us everything from free breakfast, dessert, beverages and wine to bikes and lots of great advice for seeing the city. Plus, our room was so cozy and the grounds were gorgeous. We checked in at 4 pm on Wednesday and headed into the city with the ladies (Bella and Lexi). There was a lovely walkway along the water at the edge of the city and lots of small cobblestone alleys and restaurant-lined streets not open to cars to explore. It was a very walkable city, St. Augustine isn’t huge, and we stopped in at pubs and shops along the way. Most of them were very open to dogs and offered them lots of love, treats and water. The historic spanish influence separates St. Augustine from Savannah, Charleston and New Orleans. I found St. Augustine to be a less showy and more laid back version of Savannah and a Charleston without the flashy wealth. St. Augustine is quaint and romantic; the perfect weekend getaway. We got back to the B&B just in time for social hour. We grabbed a (a couple) of free glasses of wine, chatted with our fellow guests and left the girls in the room for a nap while we went out for a night on the town. It was a beautiful evening and St. Augustine was so romantic. This little city is decorated with lots of stringed lighting and was so fun. We ended up at a small cigar bar, sitting around a bonfire and swapping stories with other travelers. Time got away from us and we ended up having a late dinner at Scarlett O’Haras. The next morning we woke up early and walked along the riverfront to the Castillo De San Marcos, a monument and historic symbol of St. Augustine. We also checked out the Oldest House and Lightner Museum. Coffee from Crucial Coffee was another high point of the trip and a must-see in my opinion. The trip was over in the blink of an eye, but I’m thankful for the peace and cleared mind I get from traveling. We will definitely be going back! Also, I’m so impressed with my doggies, they were so well behaved! -A
I promise I’m still alive out here even though you wouldn’t know by my blog and social media. In the last couple of weeks I’ve been busy keeping up as life has thrown yet another curveball. Last week my hub and I had to catch a flight to attend his grandmothers funeral across the country in sunny SoCal. We dealt with 4 (4!) cancelled flights and rerouted flights and delayed flights and last minute one-way ticket purchases to be there (let’s all blame Dallas for the freak snow storms). Travel was exhausting, but it was so nice to be there with family. I met so many family members that I’d never met and saw a side of my husbands family I’d never seen. There was such an outpouring of love and support in the family. The funeral was very emotional and Eric gave a lovely eulogy; it was such a beautiful celebration of her life. The funeral was Hawaiian themed, instead of the usual dreary black-suit funeral because she loved Hawaii and bright colors. It’s a morbid thought, but I would want my funeral to be a collection of funny memories and happy stories from my loved ones, much like hers. We love and miss you grandma M!
With out internal clocks still set to eastern time, we woke up at 5 or 6 a.m. in California every morning. I didn’t really mind, because I’m becoming such a morning person. One early morning we travelled the winding roads up the San Bernardino mountains to the cozy little town of Lake Arrowhead. Lake Arrowhead, known as the Alps of Southern California, is where Eric proposed to me almost 3 years ago and is absolutely beautiful. I love the nostalgia and romance that this one small place gives us. We ate breakfast at a Belgian waffle cafe and watched the snow fall over the lake. We managed to be back before anyone else even woke up.
We said goodbye to family after 4 days in California and boarded a plane (3 actually) back to Savannah. The return trip was a blur of smelly airports and more delayed flights, but I got lots of reading done! Reality hit hard after missing class and work for so long. I had a test the day after getting back and a slew of assignments due. I’m really ready for Spring Break next week! I’ve really got nothing planned at this point from all the last minute traveling last week, but a small weekend getaway might be in the planning stages.
Ever since I downloaded the Timehop app on my phone a few weeks ago (I know I’m really late to the party), I’ve been eye rolling and cringing at my former self’s statuses. Boyfriend statuses and bad grammar aside, it’s a useful way to remember old posts and goals. It reminded me that one year ago today I posted my 30 Before 30 list. Your 30 Before 30 is pretty simple: 30 things you want to accomplish or do before you turn the dreaded 3-0. I had almost forgotten about that list I made on a good friends request 365 days ago, but here it is:
- Get my passport stamped✔️
- Gamble in Vegas
- Sign up for a yoga class
- Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
- Pay off those student loans
- Brew my own beer✔️
- Ace an interview✔️
- Plant a herb garden
- Visit an island country
- Go camping
- Get over my fear of scuba diving
- Run my first race
- Go to a wine tasting in Napa
- Land my first real job
- Learn to drive a stick shift
- Try golf
- Rock out at a huge music festival
- Hike part of the Appalachian trail
- Drive the entire length of the Blue Ridge Parkway
- Eat a cronut
- Boat on the lake in central park
- Give skiing a shot
- Read 25 of Time Magazines 100 best books of all time
- Learn about photography✔️
- Visit the city where I was born
- Take a class to learn a new hobby
- Cook every recipe in a cookbook
- Lose 30 pounds
- Take a hot air balloon ride
- Become a mother
I placed a check mark by the ones that I completed in year 25 of my life. I still have 26-29 left to complete the rest, which I think is doable. I feel like a few fun vacations will cover most of them! Upon second glance, I’m not really sure what I was thinking when I wrote #30: Become a mother; I’m not ready to be a mother and I’m not sure if that’s something we will do by the time I’m 30. Maybe when I’m 29 or 30; we’re definitely not in a hurry to take on parenthood.
This year I’ve got plans to tackle #8: Plant a herb garden, #10: Go Camping, #13: Wine taste in Napa (maybe), #14: Land my first real job, #27: Cook every recipe in a cookbook (at least get started), and #28: Lose 30 Pounds.
I selected the cookbook I’ll be baking, broiling, roasting, and frying my way through: Thug Kitchen. I’ve heard so much about it in the blog world and think it will combine my love of flavor and my desire to be healthy. It’s a vegan cookbook with an attitude; the wording is hilarious!
To a great 26th year!
I started this little blog with the intention of documenting my weight loss, half-marathon training, and recipes. As I racked up miles and whipped up healthy meals, my focus was the number on the scale. But, a lot has changed since my life hit an unexpected U-turn when I injured my knee running in December 2013 and wasn’t able to walk, let alone run. Running had always been my go-to workout and, to me, was synonymous with weight loss; it was a big deal. I had my first knee surgery in January 2014 and was glued to the sofa for months. Surgery didn’t work and my knee required yet another surgery in December (more sofa).
Since my activity level never surpassed sitting/limping, I slowly became depressed and unable to shed pounds. To improve my mood, I tried to focus more on healing my knee rather than losing weight. The problem was, I didn’t really know what to blog about anymore. So I spent the year blogging about my travels and daily life, and gradually began focusing on self-improvement and happiness. My blog is now less about weight loss and more about my recovery and journey to self-confidence and body acceptance. Yes, I still plan to lose weight and get healthy, but I also focus on what makes me happy: my friends, traveling, my family, and trying new things. This blog is now my space to share my experiences (and maybe a recipe here and there) as a twenty-something struggling to find balance.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
New year, new list! Here is the official list of goals/ resolutions for 2015 May it be a fabulous year!
New Year’s Resolutions 2015
Read more books
Get my first real job
Graduate with a 4.0
Eat out less
Travel to another country
Lose weight & love my body
Make a cauliflower crust pizza
Blog more consistently
Connect with those around me
Master making that perfect cup of coffee at home
Plant an herb garden
Build/rehab a peice of furniture
Heal my knee!!!!
Spend more time outside
Organize all my important documents
Improve my photography
Compliment people more
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
In the spirit of the holiday season, I thought I’d share what I’m thankful for:
- My family- we’re all close and we all generally get along= success! (we all have a great time)
- My good knee (and health in general)- because without it I’d be walking on my hands
- The close relationship I have with my husband. I know he will be there no matter what and he’s always my #1 fan.
- My sisters- yes this goes back to family, but you ladies without sisters don’t know what you’re missing. It’s like having a friend that you know has to love you no matter what.
- My friends. Love you ladies. I don’t have many, but the one’s I do have are amazing. I’d rather have 4 quarters than 100 pennies any day!
- Financial stability. Money, or lack thereof, is REALLY stressful, and we’re in a great place now. Breath in, breath out.
- Travel. I’ve always loved to travel, whether it be to a neighboring city or across an ocean. Over the last few years I’ve been lucky enough to travel to California (Sacramento, LA, San Diego), Athens, Hawaii (Kauai and Honolulu), Jacksonville, Asheville (numerous times), Orlando, Gatlinburg, Atlanta, Tampa, Amelia Island, Ponte Vedra, Myrtle Beach, Virginia Beach, Charleston, Blue Ridge, Paris, Amsterdam, London, Liverpool, Germany, Belgium, and road tripped across the country (twice!) and up to New Jersey.
- Cold weather. We don’t get it much here- but when we do I soak it in. (and I get to wear cute scarves and boots!)
- My 2 fluffy doggy daughters. They’re so well behaved and always there for a good snuggle and unconditional love.
- The mistakes I’ve made. I know this sounds weird, but making mistakes taught me so much and made me the person I am today.
- The opportunity to get an education (twice!). Going along with the making mistakes theme….I’m back in school and I’m really very lucky to have the ability to do that with the support of my husband.
What are you thankful for this year?
I’m back from my cabin getaway with the husband and kids (actually dogs). It was perfect. The cabin was relaxing, secluded and beautiful! We spent the days walking the dogs, soaking in the hot tub, window shopping, indulging and enjoying the fresh air.
I was a little apprehensive because this was the first time we’ve rented a place to stay that wasn’t a hotel. After Googling and reading a ton of reviews we decided on the Morning Song Cabin. The reviews were good and the owners were friendly. It ended up being perfect. The kitchen was fully stocked, it was spotless, and they thought of everything from books to boardgames to directions.
Since check-in wasn’t until 4 p.m. and I’m a morning person (sorry husband!), we set out super early and headed to Amicalola Falls. It’s the tallest waterfall in Georgia and has a hiking trail that leads to the southernmost point of the Appalachian Trail. So far my travels have led me to many different points along the Appalachian Trail, perhaps this is a sign! I was unable to hike or climb the almost 500 stairs down the waterfall because of my uncooperative knee, but the views were breathtaking. The trees were nowhere near as beautiful as they were last month in North Georgia, all the colorful leaves had fallen leaving the trees barren.
My sis and her boyfriend joined us on the second night for a night of mischief. In the morning I filled the cabin with the aroma of bacon and coffee to get everyone out of bed, and then before we knew it, it was time to leave. An awful 6 hours later we were finally home and had managed to escape Atlanta holiday traffic!
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving with the fam, and I’m ready to cook up a storm and then gobble everything down. I’m in charge of the macaroni and cheese and green bean casserole. I’ve found a gooey, creamy macaroni recipe and I’m making the green bean casserole from scratch because the traditional method of plopping a can of Campbell’s soup on top of green beans is kind of gross.
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: