3 Things to Do (& lots to eat) in Asheville, NC

Top Things to Do in Asheville, NC

Hello! We are on our second post for the travel series I started last month. Pai and I love to to take mini trips, and we are gearing up for quite a few fun mini trips for this fall! On the itinerary includes a road trip this weekend to visit family on the M side with the final destination being the beach, a quick Labor Day Weekend trip to visit the blogging bestie, Erica, and aW family weekend getaway may be in the works.

One of my all-time favorite places to go is Asheville, North Carolina. I love the mountainous drive and the little town nestled in the mountains that is vibrant with hippie life and good food. When we are needing a day away, we just hop in our car and go to Asheville. Whenever someone comes to visit us, I usually suggest to go to Asheville.

My good blog friend Tiffany from Endless Bliss came to visit me this summer, so, of course, we spent the day in Asheville. So many brick walls. So many ice cream stands. Basically every blogger’s dream.

Top Things to Do in Asheville, NC

I’ve not yet uncovered all the wonders of Asheville, but as long as I can convince my husband we need a day away every now and then, I will continue to unearth all the goodness Asheville holds.

Top Things to Do in Asheville, NC

Battery Parks Book Exchange

Top Things to Do in Asheville, NC

I will never not talk about this magical place. It’s a two story book store with a couple mid levels with more bookshelves. There is lounge seating everywhere, a coffee bar, wine bar, beer on tap, and used books galore. I love it so much, my sister threw my bachelorette party here.

French Broad Chocolate Lounge

Top Things to Do in Asheville, NC

The French Broad Chocolate Lounge is basically world renown. They harvest their chocolate from primarily local farms, and import some of their chocolate from Latin American countries. They are public about their mission to harvest ethically sourced (aka, they pay their workers) cacao, so their step in the right direction makes the chocolate taste even better. And there are a thousand different types of chocolates you can get. My first time, I got the liquid truffle. It was literally a liquid truffle – it was so sweet that I had to dip a shortbread cookie in there and buy a cup of coffee to pour the leftovers in. Their dark chocolate ice cream is bomb, and my most recent adventure – the affogato was also amazing. They mixed two amazing things – espresso and ice cream. Hello.

Top Things to Do in Asheville, NC

The Orange Peel

If you like music in intimate venues, this is the place to go. I have seen a couple different concerts here over the years and I’m basically ruined for any other concert venue. Being in a smaller venue makes you feel like you’re there as the artist’s best friend.

Vortex Doughnuts

I found these guys on Instagram in college and drooled after their donuts so much that any time I am in Asheville and have a free hand, I grab one of these amazing donuts. Their Vortex is amazing, but they also have a beer batter donut that I had to try. Thank goodness, it didn’t taste like beer.

Top Things to Do in Asheville, NC

Sunnypoint Cafe

Top Things to Do in Asheville, NC

When Pai and I went on a little mini-moonda in February, we ate at the best brunch restaurant ever – Sunnypoint Cafe. The wait for the amazing food is two hours at peak time, but I did not even care. You can drink the best Guatemalan coffee (free refills!) while you wait, and you wait outside in this little garden area. The long wait forces you to talk to people and look at their cute dogs. And then when you get to the food, it’s so unbelievably worth it. 10/10 would recommend.

Other Amazing Places You Should Eat

Top Things to Do in Asheville, NC

The Creperie – Step into Paris (in Asheville) and enjoy an interesting flavored, savory crepe. I got a duck sausage and goat cheese crepe; I felt very fancy. I mainly just ate the duck sausage and the goat cheese and left the caramelized onions to marry the crepe.

Farmburger – build your own grass fed burger.

Doc Shays – Thai all day every day.

The Bier Garden – Where sweet potato fries are life.

Jersualem Garden Cafe – Y’all, we had a belly dancer as entertainment while we ate our falafel. It was priceless.

Next time I go to Asheville, I have my sights set on this place my good friend told me about called Well Played – a board game lounge where they serve adult sized snacks. Give me all the adult sized Capri Sun you can.

Have you been to Asheville before? What are your favorite things to do?


5 Uplifting Songs to Start Off Your Week

5 Uplifting Songs to Start Off Your Week (1)

I like to start my Monday off by hitting snooze 7 times, snuggling up to my husband, and whining before we have to get out of bed and face the day. For some reason, Mondays are the hardest to get out of bed! One thing that is for sure to put me in the right mindset, though, is to tune my heart with some uplifting worship music.

Why Do We Worship?

For many of us, worship is something we do on Sunday mornings while listening to the music being played at church. We close our eyes, sing along and sway along without truly paying attention to what we are doing. I find myself guilty of this often. As I’ve grown in my faith, I have found worshipping to be something I can do every day without even listening to music. Like I have said before, worship is anything we do intentionally to give glory to God.

I love how Jonathan David Helser, a worship leader affiliated with Bethel, talks about worship. I have been listening to the Helser’s podcasts a lot while I’m at work, and it has been quite a treat. 10/10 would recommend. In one of his podcasts, “The Presence is Greater than the Pressure,” he says that “worship is not a genre of music, but a position of the heart. [Worship is ministering to God, and] those who most effectively minister to God allow God to minister to us.”

And sometimes on a Monday morning, I am not in a position to minister to God/anyone else. I’m grumpy, I’m sleepy, and I just want to crawl back under the covers. So I have a list of songs that I love to listen to that remind me of who I am, whose I am, and why I am loved. I’m excited to share those with you today!

5 Uplifting Songs to Start Off Your Week

Catch The Wind

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll have noticed that I screenshot and Instastory this song probably once a week. I can’t stop with this song. It’s a great declaration of strength, courage, and boldness.

Reckless Love

If you want to be absolutely wrecked, give this song a listen. We’ve been singing this at church for the past couple of weeks and I walk away overwhelmed and reminded how much God loves me.


The first time I heard this song was at a Bethel worship night last year with Pai. I was amazed by the beauty and intimacy of these lyrics. It’s a song of hope and longing, but knowing that your Savior is coming soon.

Sinking Deep

In case you haven’t guessed by now, my favorite attribute of God is his neverending, continuous love. I’ve found in my life that I don’t love myself or others very well until I know that I am loved by my creator. I love to listen to this song when I am feeling particularly numb or unlovable. When I remind myself that I am washed in the love of Christ, I can go throughout my week loving others and myself better.

Out of Hiding

A sweet friend who loved on me during my senior year of college introduced me to Steffany Gretzinger and her music (I wasn’t as big into worship music as I am now.) I was having a season where I was being particularly hard on myself, so she encouraged me to listen to this song every day. I found myself in my car, sobbing on a Tuesday afternoon listening to this and allowing God to remind me that I was his child.

Listening to worship music to start off the week, or any morning, reminds me of my purpose. My purpose is not to just go to work, do the paperwork, talk with the students, and go home. My purpose is to be the hands and feet of Jesus, love others like He loves me, and to serve others.

What do you do to get out of the Monday grump slump? 

6 Things I Didn’t Expect While Engaged

6 Things I Didn't Expect While Engaged

As of yesterday, Mr. M and I have been married longer than we have been engaged. Hallelujah.

I remember being SO excited for the engagement season. I wanted to take it all in and enjoy every moment because I knew I could never get back those 7 months of engaged bliss (I think we’re calling that mindfulness nowadays?). Now, I would never want back those 7 months of engaged bliss, because they weren’t always bliss. Of course, there were exciting moments, but there were more moments of tears, arguing, and stress than I expected. There are a lot of things that the Knot or Wedding Wire will tell you (which are great resources, btw) but there are a few things people won’t tell you, and I think it’s important that you know. . .

6 Things I Didn't Expect While Engaged

Everyone says the time will fly by. . . 

And yes, on your wedding day you will look back and think “Oh my gosh, that went by so quickly!” But the days seem long when you’re in the thick of everything.

You may will be full of butterflies and joy. . . 

Sweetheart, those butterflies are from anxiety and excitement combined, and joy comes in those moments where you sit back and remember that you get to be with your favorite person forever. Also, donuts. Joy comes in those sour cream donuts your fiance brings you because you are #stressed

You will hardly fight with your fiance. . . 

You are literally tying two families together forever. You are bringing in two flawed humans and figuratively sewing your lives together. You are bringing in two different backgrounds, family cultures, opinions, favorite foods, favorite routines and trying to merge them. Not only that, you are also planning a wedding. With two families, who each have opinions, who have expectations.

It’s exhausting. You and your fiance will fight. And if you don’t, I’m worried for you. Go to counseling. Actually, go to counseling anyway. Counseling is important.

6 Things I Didn't Expect While Engaged

You are overwhelmed by love. . . 

Mr. M and I had serious FOMO after our wedding was over. We went back to our hotel and had our own thing to do, but we knew we had just experienced the beauty of all our favorite people coming together in one place, and some of them were still hanging out . . . without us. I miss the engagement season solely because I miss my girls. The engagement season was one of those times where I was overwhelmed and so thankful because I had such wonderful friends, family, and family-in-law love on Mr. M and I in incredible ways.

You may get 4 toasters. . . 

When you have a big family and your husband has a big family, and you have great church families, sometimes you get four wedding showers. I’m not complaining. Some of the most special gifts we received was a Zimbabwean style print dress & matching shirt for Mr. M and I to wear at our rehearsal dinner. We also ended up with four toasters and seven throws by the end of it all. Note: if you get seven throws, keep them. If you get four toasters, return three and put it towards a cappuccino machine.

It’s all about your favorite person. . .

There were so many moments where I would lose it; I was overwhelmed, I was stressed, I just wanted a nap. Planning a party for 350 people was a little cray cray. But I had so much help from my mom-in-love, my mom, my sister, my co-workers, my friends, and most importantly, my husband – who said he wanted to be involved in all the decision making. (Bless his heart.) Planning our wedding together was amazing in that it taught us how to communicate, how to love each other when one of us (me) was being a crazy person, and how to problem solve. There were lots of cuddles, lots of prayers, and lots of reminding ourselves that the most important moment of it all is when we said “I do.”

6 Things I Didn't Expect While Engaged

If you’re married, what surprised you about the engagement season?

If you’re not married, what are you most looking forward to about being engaged one day (if you decide to get married. If you don’t, yay! Singleness! Feminism! You get to eat all the ice cream you want and watch all your favorite shows without someone wanting to change the channel!)

10 Facts that Prove Coffee Isn’t Bad for You

10 Proven Facts Coffee Isn't Bad for You

Every morning as I’m walking out the door, my (sweet, awesome, hott) husband hands me a tumbler of coffee, and I swear it makes me want to marry him all over again. In case you didn’t know, I’m obsessed with coffee. I love to drink it, smell it, try it in new ways. Earlier this summer, we had dinner with our friends and they served us Brazilian coffee after dinner. AKA espressos in the cutest little espresso cups. I fell in love.

I could talk about coffee all day long. Coffee fuels us. It brings people together. It makes people fall in love. (No, seriously.)

But sometimes there are those haters. There are those people who say, “Coffee is bad for you.” These are the kind of people I want to sic Lorelai Gilmore on. But instead, I would like to counter that argument with some hard facts.*

10 Facts That Prove Coffee Isn't Bad For You

Fact #1: Coffee is not bad for you because it gives you energy.

Sure, caffeine is the number one drug used in America, and sure it sounds bad if you say caffeine is a “drug.” But do you know what is also a drug? Ibuprofen. And if I don’t get my coffee fix, you can bet four of those little suckers are going straight to my liver ASAP because no coffee = major headache and low, low productivity performance. No one wants that.

Fact #2: Coffee is great for your digestive system.

Have you ever got 1/4 of the way through your morning cup and had to head off to spend some time in “the Oval Office” as they so call it? If you’re ever feeling constipated, just drink some coffee and BOOM praise the Almighty because your colon is cleared!

Fact #3: Coffee puts you in a good mood.

This is a proven fact. For me at least. And probably because I enjoy the smell of coffee. When I wake up in the morning to the smell of coffee brewing downstairs, I know today is going to be an OK day. When I’m having a hectic day and I step inside my favorite artisan coffee shop, I know all will be right with the world as soon as my cinnamon and honey cappuccino is in my hands. If your girl is in a bad mood, bring her some coffee. It will make her fall in love with you and put her in a better mood.

10 Facts That Prove Coffee Isn't Bad For You

Fact #4: Coffee keeps you from killing people.

We all know this. When someone is getting on my nerves, I have to take a deep breath, take a long sip of my coffee, put in my headphones, and pray to Jesus. It’s a four step process, but it works.

Fact #5: Coffee is healthy.

Coffee comes from a bean. . . beans are like vegetables. . . so by the transitive property, coffee is healthy. Right? I think right. . .

Fact #6: Coffee helps you live longer with a better quality of life.

Years ago when I was in college speech class, I did a whole informative presentation on the benefits of coffee. I had several sources that said that a) coffee helps you live longer and b) those who drink coffee on the reg decrease their chances of getting dementia. So anytime someone tells you coffee is bad for you, tell them to put down their soda, you’re choosing life.

currently very caffeinated 🙃☕️

A post shared by Christine drawing Krysteen (@yeahitschill) on

Fact #7: Coffee is a great ice breaker

Want to make a new friend? Ask him/her out for coffee! It’s not the commitment that dinner or inviting them over to your house is, but it also shows that you’re willing to go the extra mile and sit down with them in an artisan coffee shop and make eye contact with them for at least an hour.

Fact #8: Coffee relieves the awkward

OK so what if your friend date, first date, or tense conversation isn’t going well? You can look at your coffee, you can take a sip of your coffee. It is the physical manifestation of “Um.” Don’t know what to do with your hands? That’s what coffee is for.

Fact #9: Coffee is a great perfume.

I often smell like my grandmother (who smells like coffee) because I spill coffee on myself. While it may not be Dolce & Gabanna, at least it’s an attractive homey scent. You know all those older people that smell like coffee and you just want to give them a hug because they smell like comfort? You can smell like comfort, too! All it takes is one little spill and you’ll have a nice tan stain on your cream colored shirt and smell like a delicious cup of comfort.

Fact #10: Coffee gives you something to photograph.

Are you an amateur instaphotographer like me? Don’t know what to shoot? Take fun, artsy pictures of the artsy latte art that someone else did! It makes you look legit, and gets you thousands of coffee shop followers. #CoffeeisLife

10 Facts that Prove Coffee Isn't Bad for You


*These facts are not 100% scientifically proven by a study. They are proven from my daily life experiences.

How about you? Are you Pro Coffee or Pro Tea? What keeps you caffeinated during the day? How do you keep from strangling annoying people?

Setting Your Purpose

Setting Your PurposeGood Monday morning! Who here feels like the weekend needs to be a tad bit longer? I’ve loved July because we spent 4 out of the 5 weekends here in town rather than out traveling and beyond. For a long while, I thought July was the first month where we had not traveled at all in over a year, but then I realized we did, in fact, spend 4th of July weekend nestled in the mountains of North Carolina. But I’m not complaining. It’s been a good month of rest and relaxing before the start of fall and all its busyness. Which, by the way, I’m so pumped for fall that I might just start burning my fall candles tomorrow. The mornings are getting cooler and it’s making my pumpkin spiced coffee heart happy.

I’ve been thinking about the word PURPOSE a lot lately. Last week you’ll remember that I talked about running your own race, finding your purpose and fulfilling what you have been called to.

It’s hard when you don’t know what your purpose is, though. I’ve been in one of those “What is my purpose?” seasons for the last 2 years.

My first year after graduating college, I was caught up in learning the ropes of my new job. My second year after graduating college, I was caught up in planning a wedding. And now we are starting year 3 since graduation. I see everyone around me with fulfilling jobs, chasing their dreams, and spending countless hours in coffee shops writing papers (the dream.) In all of this, it seems like everyone knows what they are doing and where they are going. However, if you sit down with someone and ask them, “What is your purpose?” You might find that they are just as clueless as you are.

One thing the yogis do really well is setting intention. I love reading up on how they take time out of their day to sit, meditate, and set their intention. The intention can be “to love myself to the fullest,” or “to speak kindness to myself and to others.” You get the gist. I’m not into yoga particularly, although I do the child’s pose quite frequently when I’m trying to coax myself out of my cozy bed.

Even for those of us who aren’t yogis, we can take a page from their book and set our purpose (or intention) for the day.

5 Steps to Setting Your Purpose

5 Steps to Setting your Purpose

1. Wake up 15 minutes earlier.

I enjoy hitting snooze as much as the next guy, but the key component to setting your purpose is waking your brain up and giving yourself the space to think and reflect on your day/week.

2. Pull out the planner

I’m such a planner freak. It’s July and I’m already looking at the planners I want for 2018. (If you have planner suggestions, leave them in the comments!) One of my very favorite things about Mondays is pulling out my planner and looking over the week, adding and tweaking important appointments, to-do lists, and blog posts. When setting your purpose for the day, pull out your planner and see first of all what your day beholds. Is it a nice, relaxing day? Or is it a day full of meetings and appointments? Knowing what you are about to face will help you to mentally prepare.

3. Reflect

Reflection can come in a multitude of ways. You can sit and stare off into space, journal – whatever. The most important aspect is that you take these quiet few minutes of solitude with your coffee or tea to spend some quality me-time before you rush about the day.

4. Meditate

When I’m meditating, you won’t hear me sitting cross legged saying “Ommmm” and clearing my mind. Instead, whenever I do meditate, I like to pick a Scripture or a prayer and repeat it to myself whether as a whisper, in my head, or out loud. If I’m distracted by the silence, I may put on some worship music quietly to help me focus on the task at hand. The Scripture I pick out for the day may, in fact, lead me towards setting my purpose.

5. Set Your Purpose

What is it that you feel you are being called to today in this moment? That is your purpose. Write your purpose down, speak it over yourself. Live it out for the day.

Setting Your Purpose

Your purpose is not just for yourself. Your purpose is for others as well. If my purpose for today is to find a unique way to love myself, then I am loving others as well. When I learn to love myself better, I learn to love others better. If my purpose for today is to seek an opportunity to serve someone else, I’m not serving someone else for the feel-goods, but I’m serving someone else because I want to be the hands and feet of Jesus.