Monthly Archives: May 2014

A little Q&A on a Thursday

Q and A

Lately, I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award a couple times! Most recently it’s been by Christina over at Route Bliss, so I’m going to answer her questions today on the blog! (Thanks Christina!) The Liebster Award is a way for bloggers to recognize other small, up and coming blogs. And, in case you’re wondering what Liebster means, apparently its a German term of endearment. Isn’t that cute? I’ve done a post for this quite a while back, but I think it’ll fun again to answer some questions from one of my fav travel bloggers!

1. Name one thing on your bucket list you want to accomplish in the next year …
I want to sleep in a tree house! I recently found this one on AirBnB and I definitely want to go. It’s been a dream of mine for a while so I’m excited to actually make it happen!

2. What did you want to be when you grew up?
So many things! I went from teacher to singer to nurse to everything in between.

3. If you could have any job in the world now, would you do what you do now or something else?
Any job in the world? Can someone just pay me to travel the world and blog about it? If not, I’ll stick with Teach for America, because I can already tell it’s going to be an incredible experience!

4. Coffee or Tea?
Both! Tea at night, coffee in the morning.

5. Favorite international accent to listen to?
Italian! Oooooh or Australian. So many accents sound exciting to me.

6. Favorite place in the US you’ve been (or dream of visiting)?
As cliche as it may sound, my favorite place really is at home in Idaho. It’s beautiful and comforting and wonderful.

7. What was your worst travel experience? (don’t have to go into detail, a summary is fine!)
Oh my goodness, probably in Mexico when I let my visa expire (oops!) and then tried to come back to the USA That whole process was a nightmare but I suppose it ended up alright.

8. Do you prefer to receive cut flowers or flowers with roots still attached?
Give me the cut flowers! Anything else will be dead before I can enjoy it! haha. I don’t have the most green thumb, but I love having fresh flowers.

9. Favorite animal?
Giraffe! Or Elephant. And elephant is totally my spirit animal but I like to think I’m tall so I say giraffe. I’m actually pretty short.

10. Would you rather get a tattoo or piercing?
Tattoo all the way. I think I have all the piercings I want but there are still more tattoos I want!

11. What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
How lucky am I that I haven’t actually had any terrible jobs? I mean sure, at my nursing job I was hit a couple times and had all sorts of gross stuff get on me, but I really loved that job too! Thanks Christina for the questions, this was a fun way to start my day!

Pros and cons of living with your significant other.

Pros and Cons

I don’t kill spiders.

I can’t and I won’t. Maybe I should clarify- the tiny little things smaller than a pencil tip? Sure. Any bigger than my pinky nail- that’s boyfriend territory. That’s when I shout and freak out calmly say to D that there is a GIANT KILLER spider and it’s going to eat me. And he comes over to wherever I’m yelling from and removes the threat.

So, as an ode to not killing spiders, I figured I’d share the top 10 perks and the low points of living with your significant other. Number one clearly being not having to kill spiders.

2. I am a movie talker. I’m sorry. I’m one of those people. But if I don’t quite understand what’s going on or I missed something I want to know RIGHT NOW what’s going on. That’s where D comes in. Sounds simple, but SO important to have someone there who can’t doesn’t get annoyed with me asking questions all the time.

3. Opening jars. Enough said.

4. I have someone to force me to workout support my workout ambitions.

5. Scared of that thing that sound that could totally be creepers but is probably a cat outside in the bushes? Big strong boyfriend man to the rescue.

6. Need some reassurance after a rough day at work? D knows the words I need to hear.

7. Sometimes I come home and the dishes are MAGICALLY clean. So that’s pretty neat.

8. You get the perks of being married… without actually having to get married. You get to know each other on a deeper level. Everything from bad habits to what they are like when they’re unbearably cranky to their deepest dreams and fears and hopes.

9. Cuddling. Cuddling every day.

10. Living in the comfort of knowing that every day you get to go to sleep and wake up with a person who loves you for everything that you are and supports you in your every goal and is there for you 100%.

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And now the cons:

1. Remember up in pros how I talked about knowing their bad habits? Yeah, that. For example, you learn that they leave their shoes right at the bedroom door every night so you trip over them in morning. Every. Night. They also learn how you go through phases of cleanliness like the phases of the moon (read: some weeks I don’t like to clean).

2. Sharing a bathroom. Men are dirty. Enough said.

3. Money talks are…uncomfortable. But if you’re actually ready for it, they become easier. Finances are a touchy subject for most anyone, so you have to be ready and willing to talk openly about them and what your goals are.

4. They are ALWAYS there. Again, good and bad. Having him around is the best thing ever, but sometimes, alone time is pretty great as well. Thankfully, our work schedules have allowed us to have time alone.

5. Less quality time together. I know this one seems counter-intuitive because you are together a lot of the time. But there’s a difference between hanging out in front of a TV show and spending real, intentional, time together. It’s important to remember to still plan out date nights and keep things fun.

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D moved up to Chicago last weekend, which means I have about 2 more weeks now of living alone before I follow up to Chicago as well. We won’t be living together in Chicago (I’ll be in TFA housing and then living a bit closer to where I’ll be working) which is a bummer but we know this is what’s best for both of our respective careers. Plus, we get the excitement of making plans and dating again! So really it’s all good.

What do you think? Have you lived with a boyfriend/girlfriend before? What were the good and bad aspects? Or would you even consider it?

What’s going on over here! | Daily Diaries

Daily Diaries

I made flight arrangements to go home! I’ll be back in the land of wheat fields for a visit in just a week!

Today, I’m ending my week-of-little-posting with a bit of a summary of what’s been going on! Soon you’ll see what all the time in hiding and sporadic posting has been all about, but I’m not going to give it away quite yet! (Oh, the suspense!)

Anyway, here’s my week in summary form!

Monday: My first day coming home to an empty house. It was definitely strange to not have D around in the evening. Pretty sure I ate popcorn for dinner. Why cook if it’s only me?

Tuesday: Snapped out of it. I watched the premiere of the Bachelorette with Megan after work and now I am so excited to see how this season turns out! I cancelled my internet at home as I don’t have a computer there right now and had just been using D’s. Thank goodness for spare time at work for important things like blogging! Ok, and ya know, doing TFA work and stuff.

Wednesday: Quietest day of work…ever. But I came home and cooked myself a good dinner and did some painting. It’s nice to have some quiet me time to just relax!

Thursday: Definitely not quiet at work. We were super busy and it was all I could do to come home and not go straight to bed. I got some packing done and cleared out part of my living room. Moving this time is going to be a bigger task than I originally thought. Time to start getting rid of stuff! I still went to bed early though- sometimes I’m 83 years old and need my sleep!

Friday: Today’s been pretty normal at work so far! I had a great conversation with Ms. Linda, the housekeeping lady. She’s become such a good friend and mentor to me in my time here. I’m going to be sad to not see her everyday!

We’re heading into a 3-day weekend around these parts and I am MORE than ready for some outside time and packing and getting rid of everything I don’t need anymore.

Want to talk about your daily activities? Link up by clicking the button below!

On being a transplant | Travel Tuesday

Transplant

My first home- Idaho

A lot of the time I think and write about travel, I tend to only focus on the international travel I’ve done. The traveling I’ve done overseas has been great to me and is a huge part of who I am. However, I think that I am doing myself (and you, my readers) a sort of disservice by not also acknowledging and talking about travel within the borders of our own country. This travel has had an equally huge impact on me and has allowed me to grow and change just as much.

To begin talking about this travel, I think it is best to talk about where I’ve lived and the influence moving across the country (a few times) has had on me.


I am an Atlantan. When people ask me where I live I automatically answer with Atlanta. This is my home and where I’ve spent my adult years. This is where I’ve loved and lost and learned and worked the most. However, when I think of home, this isn’t the only place that flashes in my mind.

My story began in Idaho. In some ways, my story is still continuing there through my family. They are my life-blood and biggest supporters (hi Mom!). I lived in Idaho until I was 18, minus the one year I spent in Mexico during high school. Idaho shaped me and raised me and have me the foundation upon which I’ve built my life. I am an Idahoan.

Moving to Atlanta was quite possibly the best decision I ever made. I became who I am here. However, this is not where I’m from and in a lot of ways, I think living far away from where you grew up makes you a little different than those who’ve stayed close to where they were raised. Not better or worse, just different.

It makes you 2 different people, all at the same time. I am the small town girl who is probably a little too trusting of the world and sees life in a simple way with an open heart. But I am also the woman in the city who knows how to navigate her way with the awareness, confidence, and speed required for life around here. I am the Northern girl with a love for the beauty of snow and the hills and fresh air, and I am the Southern woman who doesn’t like the cold and prefers to sit by the pool in the sun after a day at the office in a suit.

You get the picture. They are both parts of who I am. I’ve been able to pick what works best and feels best to me based upon how I was raised and how I’ve adjusted as I’ve grown.

In this same light, I know that Chicago will change me in some ways as well. I will be learning the culture of a new city, and growing as a person learning to navigate this world.

Soon I will call Chicago home.

Though I’m not from there and won’t claim to be, my transplant status gives me a unique view of home. I see home as a feeling, not a place. It’s a feeling I had with my host family in Mexico, playing Wii with my host in France, cooking dinner with my Nun Mother in Uganda, etc. It is a feeling of peace, of calm, of home.

I feel like I’ve gotten to a point of rambling with this post, but I’m interested to know what you all think. Where have you found home? Did you stay in one place all your life or move around? What place do you consider to really be your home?

Travel Tuesday

Weekly Wishes!

Weekly Wishes

An outtake from pictures this week- I’ll be sharing more of these pictures in the coming days!

Was it just me or did the past week seem to last FOR-EV-ER? It seemed to me that last weekend was a long time ago! But, in line with the week lasting a long time, the weekend did too! It was definitely refreshing and relaxing. I slept and snuggled with Megan’s puppy while she was gone for the weekend and shopped and got my oil changed and painted and had dinner with a good friend yesterday. The weekend was productive and lovely. Plus, on Saturday morning D left for Chicago! His first day of work is today and we’re super excited to see where this job takes him. I’ll be heading up there in a few weeks, so though I’ll definitely miss him, we both know it’s super temporary and for the best. By time I get there he’ll already by used to the area!

Anyway, on to my weekly goals!

Last week, I was going to:

1) List all of my furniture on Craigslist. Ha, funny Destiny. Nope, but I’ll try again this week.

2) Work on my TFA pre-institute work more. Yes! Still have some to go but I’m satisfied with my progress.

3) DO LAUNDRY. I STILL NEED TO DO THIS. I took some things to the dry cleaners so at least I’ll have work clothes!

4) Get everything set up for moving. Yep! SO weird to think about, but it’s all getting so real!

This week, my goals are to:

1) List my things on Craigslist. It’ll be nice to have a little extra moving money, plus I really just need to get rid of anything that won’t fit in my car. AKA furniture.

2) Laundry. Forever.

3) Look around on the internet at more neighborhoods in Chicago and see where I want to live! I have time to figure this out but it’s fun to just look around and get a feel for the different areas. 

4) Start packing things that I don’t use on a regular basis. Winter clothes, household things/decorations, etc. Time to start seeing what I want to take with me and what will be donated and sold. 

That will do it for this week? Leave me a comment with your goals for week so I can cheer you on. If you blog about them, link up with us by clicking the button below!

Coffee Date, Part 2.

I’m so excited to be taking part in this link up today. I think my heart has been needing a coffee date like our first and I know it will do me some good to sit down virtually with you and have some time to talk about whatever’s on out minds.

If we were sitting down for coffee, I’d ask you how you were. You’d answer with “good!” of course, and tell me some story about work or your pets. But then I’d ask you to tell me how you were, really. What have you been learning lately? What’s been weighing on you?

If we were having coffee, I’d probably order something iced. There’s just something so refreshing about cold coffee when the weather’s hot and you’re in a comfortable space. I’ve felt renewed after last weekend’s quick jaunt to the ocean, and I know it was exactly what I needed.

If we were having coffee, it might take me a while, but I’d confide in you that I’ve been struggling lately with feeling overwhelmed by all that is involved in getting ready for TFA. I’d tell you that there are moments when I want to throw my hands up in the air and hide under my blankets until it all goes away. Of course, I know I can’t do that, and that I am more than capable of doing this, but it would feel good to get the words out there.

I’d tell you that I feel like the kids whose lives I will be able to touch will make it all worth it. I know I am entering into an extremely difficult phase of my life, but I really feel like I can be good at this and that I will come out the other side 2 years later- stronger, better, wiser, and with a master’s degree.

I’d tell you that I still go back and forth between feeling great about my placement with pre-k and kindergarten and feeling resentful and that I won’t be able to do as much I would be able to with children a couple years older.

I’d tell you that being in Chicago still scares me, deeply. Though I’ve gotten past the initial shock of the neighborhood my school is in and I’ve begun to feel more capable of handling whatever it throws at me, there is a part of me that is still terrified. There is a part of me that still needs to spend time crying to my mom, or D, about how scared I was that day and learning that this is to be a normal part of my life.

I’d tell you that despite all of the negative thoughts that are spinning in my head about what I am doing, my heart feels peace about it, and I absolutely still want to do this.

After pouring all of this out of on you, I’d ask you for encouragement and support in this. I know it is hard to hear about the news of crime in the city and know that a friend will be purposefully stepping into a place like that, but please try not to worry. I will, of course, be as safe as possible, and I will be careful. I know I will be ok.

So, my friend, what would you want to tell me on a coffee date? What has your heart been needing to talk about?

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10 Things You Need To Know If We’re Going To Be Best Friends

10 Things You Need to Know

1. I’m a car singer. And dancer. If you don’t sing and dance really obnoxiously in the car with me I get pretty bummed.

2. I will probably eat off your plate. Not just sometimes, but almost every time. I just want to make sure yours is delicious too! And don’t worry, I’ll share mine.

3. I love taking pictures with you. I do. (As evidenced in the photos above) Let’s have photo shoots, ok?

4. You can always come over in your pajamas and/or yoga pants with no make up and your hair undone because, chances are, I will always be in yoga pants with no make up and my hair undone.

5. I love everything and everyone a little too fast and a little too hard. I grew up in a big family and to love is all I know. This means I will be hurt, but it also means I will always know how to heal.

6. I LOVE shows like Say Yes To The Dress and 4 Weddings and such… even though I’m no where near getting married.

7. I want to hold your hand. I’ll hug you whenever I see you.

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8. I will probably embarrass you by falling in public. It’s ok to laugh.

9. I’m not really sure what’s out there as far as religion goes, but I believe that there is something out there greater than us and I believe that my loved ones are looking out for me. I believe I can feel them when I need it most.

10. Most importantly- My family is everything to me. I treasure them with everything I have and will drop anything at the drop of a hat for them.

Now that you know my essentials, what are some things I need to know about you? Let’s be friends!

My mother was right. | An ode to Mom

an ode to mom

“My mother was right.”

A phrase I uttered weekly throughout college while giving campus tours to potential students and their families. My mother convinced me to just give Agnes Scott a try. “Just apply, you might like it.” I was determined that I would no way, no how, be attending a women’s college. But I applied anyway.

And with pride, during every tour, when telling my story of how I came to be at Agnes Scott, I would end up telling the group my mother was right. This would garner laughs from parents and groans from 17 year olds who were only there because their parents insisted.

I’ve already written about why I ended up loving my women’s college. This post, though, is about how much meaning there was behind that phrase that had nothing to do with my education.

My mother was right. Is right. Always.

Mom

I wish high-school me knew that then.

She is right in that she has always shown strength and grace in the face of hardship or trying times.

She was right in showing me that sometimes you just have to let people be mad. You can’t change it, but you can stop talking and walk away. Letting them think they won is ok sometimes.

She was right in showing me that some Rod Stewart and peanut M&M’s can fix almost any heartbreak or disappointment.

And for the heartbreaks that those can’t fix, you can always call home.

She was right when she encouraged me to get my education.

She was right when instead of telling me what to do and saving me from heartbreak, she let me experience the fall, as it was a lesson I could only learn the hard way.

She was right when she said I’d come home a new person after my year in Mexico.

She was right the many times she’s said “It’s all gonna be ok. All good.”

She was right to teach me so many things:

From how to value integrity, forgiveness, and true kindness to how laugh at myself and be able to joke and poke and not get easily offended.

She taught me to hold hands whenever possible with the ones you love. Life is better that way.

I learned confidence and strength and that lifting others up was the best way to lift yourself.

I learned that I was born to be a mom. I learned this because I heard my own mother say that phrase and all of a sudden everything made sense. Of course, I was made to be many more things before and in addition to that. But I was made to be a mother someday.

I learned that feeling our loved ones around us and having that “knowing” wasn’t creepy or weird, it is a gift that we were given to be treasured.

Through every goal reached, every heartache, every trial, tear, and laugh, my mom is the one I can always turn to for support and guidance. She taught me kindness and grace and extended both of these to me countless times, even when I was less than kind or deserving of that grace.

She taught me the biggest lesson of all:

Love can conquer all things.

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Love wins.

My mother was so right.

Weekly Wishes!

Weekly Wishes

Oh. My. Word. This weekend was pure bliss. It was D’s last weekend of freedom before he heads up to Chicago and enters the real world, and my heart had been longing for the ocean for so long. We decided a quick little weekend trip was the perfect way to celebrate and enjoy life down here where it’s warm before Chicago.

We played with some dolphins while on a boat our first day, then spent time on the shore enjoying the water and food and drinks and all of that that comes with time on the beach. Now I am sun tanned a little burnt (my face, ouch) and feeling super refreshed and ready to take on these last few weeks before I head up to Chicago too!

Since last week I set goals for the month, I’ll jump straight into this week’s goals!

1) List all of my furniture on Craigslist. Hopefully someone will want my like-new things and I can get a little more money for moving.

2) Work on my TFA pre-institute work more. I got a little behind on this which is definitely not something I want to allow myself to do.

3) DO LAUNDRY. Goodness I need to do this.

4) Get everything set up for moving- schedule my gas and electricity to be turned off and such.

That will take care of this week! What are your goals for the week? Let me know so I can help you along!

These are a few of my favorite things | Brunch Edition

If you’ve met me, you know I love me a good brunch. I mean, what’s not to love? Breakfast food? I don’t have to wake up early for it on the weekend? Eating with people I love? Yes, yes, and yes!

Last night I had dinner and drinks with some of my best ladies here in Atlanta to celebrate life- this is different for us, because we’re usually a brunch crowd!

friends

From top to bottom, on left- Barret, Laura, Victoria, Megan. Right- Lola, Adrienne, Me, Tempie!

So, here are my top 5 fav brunch places in Atlanta!

These are in no particular order; they’re all pretty equally delicious!

Flying Biscuit! Ohmygoodness. One of my favorite places in Atlanta. I have never been disappointed here and we always leave full. Their french toast with orange and raspberry glaze is to die for.

– Cafe 640. A small little place off Highland Ave. with a tiny parking lot but if you’re there on Sunday the street parking is free! Everything there is delish but if you’re being really bad the chicken biscuits = YUM.

10th and Piedmont. Cute little modern-y place with live music on Sunday afternoon. Their chicken and waffles are corn dog style, salads are HUGE, and the gravy they put over their biscuits is right on point.

-Pastries a Go-Go. Located in cute little downtown Decatur. For the longest time I walked right by thinking it was always closed, but it was so worth it when I decided to venture in. It’s a small and intimate place and the meals are HUGE so you will have plenty of leftovers for later.

– Mama’s kitchen. Nope, not a restaurant and not in Atlanta, so I’m cheating, but it’s my most favorite of all places ever. My Mama makes the best french toast you will ever eat and if you’re lucky on a Sunday my Daddy might have made some hash browns and bacon or sausage. Mmm. If you’re ever in Idaho….