Adventures in July

Adventures in July

Remember when I told you that July was the first month Mr. M and I have spent in over a year not traveling anywhere?

Well, I lied.

Or I forgot, rather.

It wasn’t until I was looking over the month of July in my planner that I realized we drove to 3 states all in one weekend to celebrate love (a wedding) and family (a quick family getaway.)

To top that off, we had cousins come in town one weekend in July and we went to Asheville, NC for a day trip.

One day maybe we’ll spend an entire month located in one place. But this isn’t the day.

July felt like it was 10 miles long, so I’m quite excited to see August greeting us with cooler breezes and the smell of freshly sharpened pencils and notebooks. The schools in the area all start back this week, so I have the itch to go out and buy a new pack of pens just to join in the fun.

A Wedding in the Storm

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To start off July, we ventured over to Gatlinburg and drove all around windy roads to the tippy top of a mountain for a gorgeous wedding with gorgeous views. It was my first outside wedding during a thunderstorm, but thankfully it didn’t rain too hard and the thunder only rumbled ominously from afar. But hey, at least they got gorgeous ceremony pictures because everyone says the gray skies are better for photos than the sunshine. I loved getting to wear this gorgeous Zimbabwean print skirt that my MIL gifted me for my birthday last year.

3 States, 1 Weekend

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After we went to Gatlinburg, we ventured up another windy mountain to stay in a hostel with both of our families. This was the first time Mr. M’s family and my family has spent an extensive amount of time together. My dad found a hostel on air bnb that fit both of our big families for a fun weekend. It was so cool to see our families come together and love on each other, laugh with each other, and get to know each other better. We spent one of the days in Abingdon, VA riding 17 (of the 34!) miles of the Creeper Trail – a gorgeous bike trail with tree canopies lining your way. We’re lazy, so we only did half the trail. But boy, was my booty hurting by the end of those 17 miles. It was so relaxing to let go and enjoy nature. Also, trying to take the above picture was a tidbit dangerous.

Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls

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Except we did go chasing waterfalls and it was a blast. Mr. M made us be adventurous one Monday evening – a Monday evening of all evenings! – and find a waterfall with friends. Thankfully, the waterfall required 0 hiking effort, so we quickly climbed down the trail and spent a frigid evening splashing and playing in the water.

Asheville

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When we had cousins come in town for a weekend of fun, we took them to my favorite fun place: Asheville. Here’s a picture of me standing next to a door. Because bloggers do weird ish.

We ate at a delicious creperie where I tried goat cheese, duck sausage crepe and I probably won’t try it again. We did our usual thing, eat, go to a bookstore, and get chocolate at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge, where I tried a new fav – an affogato. Because what doesn’t say YAY like putting ice cream in your espresso shot.

July was a great month to rest, relax, and still go on a couple of adventures. Like always, this is the highlight reel. If you want to know what happened on the pages in between, I’ll tell you. But it wasn’t pretty. There was a lot of laundry, a lot of Netflix, and a few emotional breakdowns because that’s just how I roll.

Tell me, what was your favorite thing about July? 

Links You’ll Love

Links You'll Life

Somedays it’s hard to wake up and love who we are. Why is that? This Warrior Queen launched an e-course on self-love and now she’s selling an e-book!! Join her as we all embark on this self-love journey.

Did you know that you can do a lot of things in just 10 minutes (for instance, two 10 minute periods = one episode of The Office)? It Starts With Coffee brings us 25 Things You can Accomplish in just 10 minutes!

Kids say the darndest things, and these Thanksgiving posts are adorable!

Tomorrow I am roasting a turkey for the very first time. Pai & I are hosting Friendsgiving tomorrow and I’m excited/nervous and I really hope Pai gets the giblets out of the turkey’s. . . *ahem and not me. He says I have to do it too. But let’s face it. Who’s actually going to do it? (Pai. The answer is Pai.)

If you need me, I’ll be researching how to roast a turkey.

The Little Black Dress Playlist

Yesterday I was inspired by The Office to dance it out to some Chris Brown, so here are some (more) old school songs that made my little teenage heart wild with the dancing fever:

Run It – – Remember when Chris Brown was only 16 and already made an album and wasn’t that bleach haired guy who hit Rhianna?

Kiss Kiss – – Helluurrr C Brown and T Pain; I remember dancing to this at a birthday party when I was 15. Incidentally this guy tried to kiss me at this same party and I was totally eeked out.

Forever – – Remember that Youtube video where everyone danced down the aisle and the The Office did the same? I wonder if we can bring that back . . .

 

 

How Many is too Many #Hashtags?

How many is too many hashtags

I’ve become that instagrammer I hate.

The Grammer I loathed.

I’ve even shortened it to “grammer.” Like Andy Grammer. But I’m feelin really good right about now (see what I did there?)

I’ve jumped on the hashtag train. After reading so many “How to Grow Your Followers!” blogs, I’ve fallen into the trap of a lot of hashtags. I blame this Instagram challenge.

Actually I blame a lot of Instagram challenges.

Two springs ago I got the chance to hold The Blog Baton (does anyone hold this anymore?) and that was the day I started caring about my Instagram photos. I had to post around 6 photos that day, so I spent the day planning it out and I was so excited when the names turned into numbers. This was when it all went downhill.

I remember – I was so proud of this photo. In particular, my hair. I was training for a half and considering giving up shampoo for the No ‘Poo Diet and so this little baby became my best friend. Here we are, 2 years later and I still love dry shampoo more than real shampoo.

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And then Helene in Between introduced the 30 Photos in Between Blog Challenge. I took it upon my blogging & Instagram yoke to find pretty colors for pretty prompts.

I think this was my best one for that challenge and I still LOVE how the colors pop.

Hashtag

The 30 Photos in Between Blog Challenge went so well that she launched the 31 Photos in Between Blog Challenge in July and once again, I kept a look out for something pretty.

Hashtag

Of course I was ALL over that basicness with The Daily Tay. I’m a little said I didn’t win, because basically I am basic. Daily.

Hashtag

So when Sarah from Plucky in Love and Mackensie from One to Nothin emailed us about the new Plucky to Nothing Instagram Challenge, I stepped up. Except this time, I added hashtags. So rather than finding the perfect photo for the perfect prompt, I tested out what everyone said: “HASHTAGS HASHTAGS HASHTAGS.” I became the Instagrammer I despised. But now I can’t reform. In just half a month, I have seen my Instagram following grow! I wouldn’t say “exponentially,” but I’m falling in love with hashtags because it’s a great way to engage with other Instagrammers (bloggers) with like-minded photos.

Hashtag

I used Venus Trapped in Mars’ post about which hashtags are the best hashtags, and the results have been golden.

Needless to say, I’m excited to participate in Helene in Between and The Daily Tay’s new Instagram challenge My Holiday Spark. Maybe we’ll find another picture like this this holiday season, eh? 😉

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What is your take on hashtags? Tell me in the comments!!

 

If Your Dream Scares You

This summer I sat down with three excited, doe-eyed rising seniors who were interested in coming to college. I asked them what they wanted to do with their life; what are your passions? what is your dream job? They told me boldly about the dream to be a dentist, a nurse, to help people. I was going to help them achieve their next step in accomplishing their dream: Going to college.

Their enthusiasm encouraged me to think about my own passions. One of my biggest passions is writing. Since I was little, I’ve loved to read and write. I have a box of journals upon journals I kept, logging (mostly) the guys I had crushes on, stories that I started (and never finished)and little things God has done in my life. I love looking back on these to see who I used to be and how much I’ve grown.

One day I want to write something meaningful. I want to write a compelling essay, story, novel – something that changes your perspective on life, your culture, and your world. Yes, you may live in America and I may live in America, but we live in two totally separate worlds. Your history is different than my history. You have a story that is all YOU. Our stories of our lives are different. I want to explore those and share those.

I want to release our stories. I want each of us to be heard, understood, fully-known and loved. Whether I write the stories of women coming out of human trafficking, or create fictional characters who go through very real things, I want my writing to open your mind.

I believe that dreams that have been planted in our hearts since we can remember are opportunities. Over the years, the dream may remain the same but develop into a more mature action plan. Or sometimes they are just downright crazy. But we all know in the bottom of our hearts if we don’t chase the dream that has been stirring in our souls – the type of dream that makes your heart beat faster, makes you scared, makes you excited – then we will regret it. The thought of starting to chase a dream is daunting. But the thought of giving up a dream is devastating.

I sat down at my desk after talking to 3 high school students about going to college and I opened up my browser to look into MFA Creative Writing programs. All the while voices in my head questioned:

Have you even written enough to submit a portfolio?

You seriously need to spend more time reading and writing instead of watching TV.

These are competitive, and your GRE scores are average.

Are you really going to pay to be a “poor, starving artist?”

It’s hard to quiet those voices in our heads that remind us of all the things we can’t do. How do we believe in the things we can do?

By being bold.

By taking risks.

By surrounding ourselves in a community of people who believe in us.

What would you do to accomplish your dreams?

 

The Best Thing About Mondays

The Best Thing about Mondays

I can’t believe that is even the title, because #ew #Mondays.

At least, that’s how I felt last Monday. I woke up, still disoriented from the time change, dragged myself into the shower to promptly sit down in the shower because I was just too tired to deal. Halfway through the morning I started to feel grumpy and by lunch time I realized that the tuna salad I brought to make for lunch was just not going to do. I mean seriously, why did I think tuna salad on a Monday was a good idea?

So I drove over to the Dollar General store to eat chips and salsa instead. Because I can always eat chips and salsa.

Last Monday was the Mondayist Monday of Mondays and I was just ready to go home and curl up on my couch in some cozies and maybe watch a good movie with my boo thang.

Since this is a positivity blog, I can’t just stop there with all the complaining, because Mondays aren’t actually all that bad.

For instance, there’s the Spotify Discover Playlist. Spotify is a creeper and notes all the songs you’ve listened to that week and compiles a playlist of 30 songs they think you’ll like based on your previous song selection. Sometimes there’s 3 or 4 songs where I just say, “No. Why.” (AKA Weekend by Eden. Help.) but then there are weeks when every. single. song. is. on. point. (fleek?) They update the playlist weekly. So check out your Discover Playlist! I have a playlist that I keep where I just copy & paste all my favs from the Discover Playlist so I can listen to them all the time.

Coffee. There’s just so much beauty in the morning with a good cup of coffee. Need I say more?

Donuts. We should treat ourselves on Monday mornings. If you just so happen to pass by a donut shop on your way to work, treat yo’self

Mondays are weekly date nights for Pai and me. This is particularly why I love Mondays. With his grad school/work schedule/extracurriculars and my work schedule/extracurriculars we could very well go all week without seeing each other. My love language is quality time, and no date nights just will not do. So, Pai and I are intentional and have a date night once a week where we know for sure we will see each other. It makes me excited for 5pm on Mondays. 🙂

Mondays are also great because they are a fresh start to the week. Do you ever get to Wednesday some weeks and just cry out for a do-over? Congratulations, the week resets every Sunday night! Each Monday is a new day to start a new work out, a new day to give up so much Netflix watching, a new day to just smile and thank God you’re still alive.

What do you like best about Mondays?