YES, you’ve might’ve guessed correctly by the title! I am stepping out in faith to be more proactive in marketing myself in the photography world. A camera has been close to my hip since I can remember. I was on my middle school yearbook squad and LOVED every second of it! Since then, my camera has been attached to my hip on vacations, sorority functions and random outings with family shooting those “ordinary” moments.
With that being said, I have booked my first mini photo shoot for this Fall and I am ecstatic, excited and a bundle of nerves.
“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
— Elliott Erwitt
If you would like to follow along with me on this journey, please check out my website here and subscribe by entering your email on the right hand side of the homepage. It would really mean a lot! My website is still a work in progress, but it is still a step in the right direction!
If you are consider yourself an “amateur” or professional photographer, please feel free to reach out and send me any links, tips or tricks that have helped you along the way. I would LOVE to hear about what has helped you tick and help your business flourish. If you are also in the greater CLT area, I would also love to hear from you! Let’s get together and shoot!
Is there anything more stressful than moving, other than maybe wedding day? I feel like a pros at the whole (not so fun) process by now, so I thought we’d share some tried and true moving tips that will save you valuable time and money. We could all use more of both, right?!
MOVING TIPS FOR THE PRE-PACKING PHASE
Before you start haphazardly start throwing items in boxes at the eleventh hour, let’s think things through. Ideally, it’s a good idea to start planning your move a few weeks ahead of time. These tips will help you navigate the planning phase like a boss:
Purge Before You Pack – We don’t know who needs to hear this, but you know that pair of pleather pants you’ve been holding onto since middle school? Yeah, you’re never going to wear those again. So, before you start packing up all your belongings, take inventory, and be honest with yourself. Many movers charge by the pound, so it pays to purge what you’re not using. Make a sell pile and donate pile, then you know what to do!
Schedule Your Move for a Weekday – If your schedule is flexible, move on a weekday. It’s much cheaper to rent a truck on a Tuesday or Wednesday. And the sooner you book, the better the rate. Don’t forget to check online for promo codes or coupons!
Create a Moving Master Doc – Avoid moving-day mishaps by planning ahead. Start a quick spreadsheet in Google and document all the essential details of your move. Jot down important reminders, contacts for utilities, etc. When things get stressful, it’s easy to let minor details slip.
Look for Free Boxes – Boxes can be pretty dang expensive to buy, so go treasure hunting. Check Nextdoor, Craigslist, or the Facebook Marketplace for freebies! You can also find boxes behind shopping centers and grocery stores. I was lucky enough to get fry boxes from work, which was such a blessing!
Pro Tip: If you can’t find enough free boxes, buy them from Uhaul! After your move, take the boxes and receipt to them, and they will buy them back.
PACK LIKE A PRO WITH THESE MONEY-SAVING HACKS
Alright, now that the planning is behind you, it’s time for the hard part: packing! But don’t worry; you’ve got this! These tips and tricks will help make packing less of a pain:
Organize Your Supplies – “Honey, where’s the tape?” are four of the most dreaded words for anyone who’s eyeballs deep in a box fort. Save yourself some frustration (and avoid a few arguments) by keeping all your moving supplies in one spot. Grab some tape, markers, scissors, and tools, and put them in a handy bin that can travel with you from room to room.
Skip the Bubble Wrap – You don’t need to shell out money for bubble wrap! Use what you’ve got to wrap dishes and other fragile items. You already have to pack towels, linens, and clothes, so why not use them to safeguard your stuff?! Papers work well, too!
Label Your Boxes Well – Do not — we repeat — do not skip this step! Labeling boxes may take a little effort and planning, but it pays off big-time. On each box, note where it should go and list out the main contents. You will be SO glad you did! And you’ll save yourself from having to waste money buying items you can’t find after the move.
Pack an “Open Me First Box” – Think through all the things you’ll need on night one in your new home, and throw them a box that will go on the moving truck last. Be sure to include toilet paper, soap, trash bags, paper towels, bath towels, a shower curtain, paper plates, cups, and utensils.
Now you’re ready for the big day! Will it be exhausting? Yes. But does it have to be stressful and expensive? Nope! We’ve got even more tips to survive moving day and live to tell the tale.
TIPS FOR SURVIVING MOVING DAY
It’s time for the moment you’ve been waiting for: moving day is here! Have a filling breakfast, lace up your sneakers, and let’s get moving. These tips will help you minimize moving day mishaps:
Pack one Suitcase Per Family Member – Don’t forget phone chargers, toothbrushes, and PJs! Pack whatever you need to survive for the first week or so when you’ll likely still be digging out of boxes. Don’t forget some entertainment for the kiddos! Check out my video and see how I lived out of one suitcase for two weeks during my most recent move!
Make Labels for the New House – Grab some poster board and make a sign for each new room of your house. Make sure those signs match the labels on your boxes. (Ex: Living Room, Bedroom #2, etc.) Tape the signs up outside each room before you start unloading. It makes things go so much more smoothly!
Try this Bed Linens Hack – The morning of the big move, take the sheets off your bed, fold them up, and place them in a dresser drawer. Put your pillows in a drawer, too. Then, either wrap your dresser in heavy-duty plastic or use a little tape to keep those drawers shut. When you get ready for bed, your sheets will be right where you need them!
Make-Ahead Meals & Snacks – Moving works up an appetite, so make sure you have plenty of snacks at the ready! Try one of these no-cook dinners for your first night in your new home. Or, pull a freezer meal out so it’s ready to cook with ease.
Pro Tip: If you’re having friends help you move (which is another great way to save money), it’s nice to order a few pizzas and have plenty of drinks for everyone. Check out Little Ceasar’s. It’s our go-to pizza place for feeding a crowd affordably.
WE WANT TO HEAR YOUR BEST BUDGET-FRIENDLY MOVING TIPS
I hope these tips take some of the stress out of your next move. If you follow this advice, you will stay organized, feel more prepared and complete your move without breaking the bank.
You probably have a few tricks up your sleeve, too. So, spill the deets! Leave a comment below and share your best moving tip, trick, or hack.
I also want to give a big shout-out to my parents and in-laws for helping us ensure a seamless moving process! WE SERIOUSLY COULD NOT HAVE DONE IT WITHOUT YOU GUYS!
Just when Asheville was feeling like our long-term home and I was feeling like a “local,” the Lord had bigger plans for the Bridges bunch! With that being said,
Asheville has seen 90% of mine and Chandler’s marriage, including our first anniversary. We moved here just four months after we got married and have not looked back!
In Asheville, we adopted our kitten, Belmont! In Asheville, I bought a new car and is where we “survived” a global pandemic.
In Asheville is where I grew individually, spiritually and mentally, but also felt closer to Chandler in ways unexplainable. In Asheville, I accomplished things my younger self would’ve never thought possible.
After all, Asheville is where I put myself out there and started this blog. P.S. – Thank you all for following along with my many ramblings along the way!
Asheville has seen a lot growth, challenge and change for us both – individually and as a couple. It has brought me lifetime friends and a lifetime of precious memories. I wouldn’t have traded this time for the world and selfishly wish it would’ve lasted a little longer!
Our time in Asheville was short, but oh so sweet!
With that being said, I have learned through this move that sometimes less is more. A home, as I stare at some of these empty rooms and walls, is made of the people inside. I am so grateful for my little crew and the life we created here, but more excited for the next chapter.
As sad as I am to be leaving Asheville, home is wherever I am with you. You are the best start to my morning and the greatest end to each day. Asheville has been such an amazing ride and you are to thank for that. We’ve made countless memories here and as hard as it is to be thinking about another city, the Lord knows what He’s doing. Thank you for being a great provider for our little family!
Home sweet, you and me Ain’t got much, but we got all we need Wherever the wind blows, wherever this life goes Baby, all I know, ain’t nothin’ like, nothin’ like Home sweet You and me
Thank you to all of our family and friends who are willing and able to help us make the move from Asheville and Charlotte. I couldn’t have imagined doing it without you guys and we are so grateful for your willingness to be the hands and feet, quite literally, to move lots and lots boxes. Y’all are life savers! THANK YOU!
Choosing to say goodbye to this little life we’ve built wasn’t an easy decision to make, but we’re excited for this next season and all of the adventures it’ll bring! The memories are long, the happiness we shared here was endless and the //. Here’s to the next chapter, bittersweet as it might be!
If you are ever in need of any recommendations to do in the Asheville or Hendersonville area, please feel free to reach out! I would love to share some of favorite places around town!
We are loosely familiar with the greater Charlotte area, but we’d love to hear from y’all about favorite coffee shops, restaurants, breweries, etc! Drop your recommendations below!
Let me preface this blog with saying that I didn’t drink coffee at the beginning of 2020. When I moved to Asheville in January for my husband’s job, a coworker of mine worked her magic and changed my life in the best way, or so I like to think. Now, Iam obsessed with coffee. I have lots of ground to make up in terms of knowing all of the “ins and outs” of coffee, but here we are. This time of year is when the hundreds of seasonal drinks grace our stores across the nation. I walked into Starbucks at their holiday “premiere” two weeks ago and it was heavenly, to say the least. Christmas music was blasting, employees were decked out in festive gear from head to toe, garland was strung from the countertop and I got a free Christmas travel coffee cup with my purchase. His mercies are new every morning! 😂
I know better than anybody that coffee adds up quickly. We are in the day and age where it feels like 90% of millennials have mobile apps that you can order food ahead of time. You can reload “funds” in the blink of an eye and not think twice about it. In turn, DoorDash and UberEats exist because of this generation. Alas, I regress.
If you’re trying to save a little money, however, you can start by making your own coffee at home that taste [almost] the same but are much easier on your wallet.
If you are treating yourself to a coffee out, check out my personal favorites!
Like I said earlier, I never touched coffee until about February. My dad has always been a frequent flyer of Dunkin’ since I can remember, because #truenother. With that being said, Dunkin’ is now my go-to “pick-me-up” coffee of choice. Their Pumpkin Iced Macchiato and Gingerbread Iced Lattes are heavenly.
Farewell (AVL, NC)
Farewell is a local coffee shop here in Asheville. When I stumbled on this shop last winter, I instantly fell in love. Their new french toast flavoring doesn’t seem like a “traditional” seasonal flavor, but // to me.
For those of you who have been blessed enough to see a Krispy Kreme “Hot Now” sign at some point in your life, you know how delightful their donuts are. The pumpkin cake donut and the maple glazed donut are both so good. I’ll admit that Krispy Kreme isn’t necessarily my top coffee choice, but they still have some decent iced and hot options available to go with those “melt in your mouth” fat pills. Their caramel mocha latté is //.
For you basic white girls out there, Pumpkin Spice Lattes (PSL) and Peppermint Mochas are always a highly sought out drink at Starbucks this time of year. Nine times out of ten, I request my Peppermint Mocha or PSLs iced. There is something about an iced coffee that hits differently. However, a hot Creme Brûlée Latte on a rainy day is a nice change of pace.
Starbucks also has a long line of other drinks that are worthy of trying this holiday season.
If you are looking to spice up your coffee scene at home, International Delights has a handful of creamers, like Frosted Sugar Cookie, Caramel Waffle Cookie, and Pumpkin Pie Spice that are like Christmas in a cup. Keurig also has a handful of options that are easy to plug in your coffee maker for a grab-and-go kind of morning.
What is your favorite fall time coffee? I’d love to hear about your cup-o-joe “go-to’s” (store bought or homemade).
We all know that October is one of the best months of the year! October means the leaves are changing, Pumpkin Spice Lattes has graced our coffee shops and Halloween is only a few weeks away!
Below, I’ve created a few of my favorite movies and activities for the month of October. I hope you enjoy it!
☆ Hocus Pocus (1993)
After moving to Salem, Massachusetts teenager Max Dennison explores an abandoned house with his sister Dani and their new friend, Allison. After dismissing a story Allison tells as superstitious, Max accidentally frees the brood of three evil witch sisters who used to live in the abandoned house. Now, with the help of a magical black cat, Binx, the kids must steal the witches’ book of spells to stop them from becoming immortal and to save all of the kids on Halloween night. To me personally, this tale of the Sanderson sisters is an all time great and is one you can watch 1000x over. Hocus Pocus also came out in year I was in born! How neat?
☆ Halloweentown (1998)
Marnie and her siblings get a big shock when they follow grandma home to Halloweentown and find out they come from a family of witches. The town is the only place where supernatural beings can lead a “normal” life, but trouble is looming, and on her 13th birthday Marnie not only finds she is a witch, but that she and her family are involved in a fight against the evil that is threatening to take over the world.
☆ It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown You’re never too old to enjoy the Peanuts gang! Get excited for pumpkin picking, trick-or-treating, and more favorite fall festivities in this sweet cartoon for the whole family. It’s a light-hearted movie that is bound to lift your spirits! Grab a bucket of popcorn and relax.
FOOD AND DRINKS
Fall means that the beer scene is spot on. Some of my seasonal favorites are:
• Oktoberfest • Nitro Series Pumpkin Spice Latte
☆ Slow Cooker Apple Butter
Apple Butter has not always been a favorite of mine, but has become a Fall delicacy in my household over the last few years! My husband is a huge fan, so I always buy an extra bushel to make him a batch. This caramel apple butter recipe is mouthwatering! The easy thing about apple butter is that you throw all of your ingredients in a Crockpot and leave it for the next 8 hours. Add some ice cream with your warm apple butter and you will be wondering why it took you so long to find out about it.
☆ Apple Donuts and Cider
Apple Donuts from any local apple orchard is a must. They are all made in house and will melt in your mouth. The line at Sky Top is always a 20+ minute wait, but fo yourself a favor. They’re coated in a sugar mixture and are fried to perfection.
☆ Blue Ridge Parkway
Since moving to Asheville, the Blue Ridge Parkway has been one of my favorite roads to drive! It’s a 469 mike stretch through NC and VA and is such a great place to go clear your head. Now that the leaves are changing, it is one of the most breathtaking sights on the east coast! Grab a picnic basket and find one of the overlooks to enjoy the cool air and mountain views.
☆ Pumpkin Patches
I found a local pumpkin patch here in Asheville at a local Methodist church. Granddad’s Apples in Hendersonville, NC also has an apple orchard, a corn maze and a wide array of pumpkins to pick from. Take home anything from fresh-picked apples, to apple butter or hot cider. They have an kid’s area with hay bales to climb on, slides and life-sized games like Connect 4.
☆ Sky Top Orchard
Sky Top Orchard is hidden in the mountains of Flat Rock, NC. We went earlier in the season, so it definitely was more crowded than we had expected, but it’s always worth the wait. They have endless acres of apples to pick from. Grab a map and go find your favorites. You are able to mix and match, so it’s a great way to get apples for the entire family. Because of Covid protocols, we also got to keep the basket we picked with. That’s one positive thing from this virus, amiright? It made for a cute decoration on our front stoop. They also have an apple cannon that is /.
☆ Carving / Painting Pumpkins
Grab a pumpkin at the pumpkin patch or from a local grocery store and get to carving! My friends and I had a craft night together last week and loved getting to pick our own designs. If you aren’t sure of what to carve, check out Pinterest for some great ideas! Roast the pumpkin seeds for a healthy snack later on! If you aren’t into the whole carving scene or have smaller children, grab some paint and go to town. I honestly prefer painting mine, anyhow!
☆ Trunk-or-Treat One of the many Halloween childhood favorites was Trunk-or-Treat many moons ago! People park their cars in a line with their trunks decorated with a certain “theme.” Kids would be dressed up and go from trunk to trunk for candy. It was such a fun time with your church family and the local community. Check out local churches in your area for Trunk-or-Treat opportunities this year. It’s a safe alternative and isn’t as much walking from house to house. (haha) if you’re in the Asheville area, check out this one from Elevation church!
☆ Halloween Playlist
We all know that music puts us in a good mood! I’ve created a playlist so you can jam while cleaning the house, doing other chores or when you’re out and about running errands.
Chandler and I have officially lived in “The Land of the Sky” for almost nine months now, y’all! We have loved every second of our time in Asheville and are constantly finding new hidden gems around our new home.
Now that the leaves are changing and the fall breeze is quickly approaching, it is making me fall more in love with this city.
I’ve listed some of our favorite spots below so you can check them out if you ever stop in the 828. There are hundreds more I could’ve listed, but these are just a few!
✩ Farewell Coffee If you are ever wondering where I am on my day off, there is 99% I am at Farewell Coffee working on my blog and sipping on an iced coffee. Farewell is located on the South Slope of Asheville and has the most eclectic and cheerful vibe. You get lots of natural light and are surrounded by lots of potted plants, all of which are for sale. There is outdoor seating available and a few tables inside. They also serve wine and have pastries available.
✩ PennyCup Coffee Co. I just discovered PennyCup a few weeks ago and wish it had been sooner. Their Merrimon location has plenty of seating and window seat that is absolutely dreamy. They have a wall-sized mural that runs along the back wall and the most breathtaking woodwork. Their bathroom floor is also epoxyed with actual pennies which brings in a nice touch to their namesake. Their white chocolate iced coffee and lox bagel sandwich are to die for.
Breweries Lovingly named the “beer city capital,” Asheville has over thirty-three breweries and forty-eight in the greater AVL area as of 2019. We also have second highest number of breweries per capita in the country only after Portland, ME. Chandler and I have often gone on date nights to local breweries around town and not been to one we didn’t like.
✩ Hillman Beer Hillman is located on the outskirts of Biltmore Village. Hillman Beer is a small, family-owned business that was started by the Hillman brothers who came together to bring the pub style back to the brewery experience.
✩ Catawba Brewing Catawba Brewing is personally of my favorites! The roots for Catawba Brewing Company are strongly held in the mountains of western North Carolina, and more specifically, the Catawba River for which they are named. They have the best peanut butter & jelly beer that runs through the spring and summer time. Every Saturday, they have live music and local food trucks available on site. There are always lots of dogs running around, so it is a perfect place to bring your pet if you’re looking for a place to bring them.
✩ Green Sage Cafe Green Sage is committed to serving food that promotes health and supports a vibrant community. Their food is nutrient-rich, chemical-free, organic, and thoughtfully-sourced. Luckily for me, Green Sage is only a five minute walk from apartment. I’ve been able to take friends when they’ve visited and it’s a fan favorite all around.
FOOD FAVORITE: Pura Vida Bowl
✩ Biscuit Head Biscuit Head is my favorite brunch place in all of the world. They pride themselves on their biscuits the size of cat’s heads and have the most delightful jam bar, all of which are made in house. They are huge portions, so expect to be full well into the afternoon.
FOOD FAVORITE: Mimosa Fried Chicken Biscuit
✩ French Broad Chocolate Lounge The French Broad Chocolate Lounge sits on a downtown Asheville corner and specializes in using carefully sourced beans to create truffles, bars & other sweets. They offer homemade cakes, cookies and bon bons.
✩ White Duck Taco Shop White Duck also have three locations around the AVL area. We first tried WDTS before COVID and it was such a great find. You can’t go wrong with anything from this eclectic taco shop, but their Bangkok Shrimp Taco and Peanut Thai Chicken Taco are my personal favorites. They also serve local beer and an out-of-this-world queso dip. This is always a go-to for anytime we have any friends and/or first-time guests in town.
✩ Hemmingway’s If you consider yourself a foodie, Hemmingway’s is your restaurant! Located on the fourth floor of the Cambria Hotel, they have the best Cuban sandwich and Yucca Frita in the area. I first took Chandler here on the second stop of our Valentine’s Day progressive dinner and he instantly fell in love. They offer patio seating with a nice view that overlooks downtown’s streets and also offers a great daiquiri selection.
✩ Sunny Point Cafe Years before we ever thought about moving to the Asheville area, my in-laws would rave about Sunny Point. At this cafe, they serve solid comfort food (perfect for a weekend brunch) and always have a VERY serious line out the door. If you’re planning a visit, go early to beat the crowds!
Sights and Sounds
✩ Tubing the French Broad I’ve tubed down the French Broad twice with friends and it is such a great time! It has a steady current, but is relaxing and makes for great conversations down the river. If you are considering factoring this into your trip, it takes roughly two hours from start to finish. We planned our trip through Zen Tubing but I know there are plenty of other companies to tube with.
✩ Hiking Trails / Blue Ridge Parkway North Carolina has hundreds of trails to choose from. On Labor Day weekend, my friends and I went to Sliding Rock and Looking Glass Falls and they were both so much fun! If you are ever needing a new place to hike, check out this list from the Asheville Trails page.
The Blue Ridge Parkway is part of the National Park Service and is known as America’s favorite scenic drive. The 469-mile ribbon of road weaves around the peaks of the stunning Blue Ridge Mountains connecting Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and Great Smoky Mountains. National Park in North Carolina. You can drive, hike or bike the Parkway, all of which are great options. There are also many breathtaking lookouts that make a great spot for a picnic or to just sit and reflect.
✩ Asheville Tourists Game We weren’t able to experience a Tourist game this season due to COVID, but I am excited to see what the 2021 season holds. I interned at a Minor League Stadium during college (Go Drive) and have always been a big fan of baseball, so I am ready for games to start back up in the Spring. The Tourists are a Class A affiliate of the Colorado Rockie and the ballpark sits on a section of level ground partway up one of the city’s hills, providing a picturesque atmosphere.
Fall is almost here, y’all! Fall has always been my favorite season and means sweaters, leggings, boots and bonfires. Just two weeks ago, pumpkin spice hit my local Dunkin’ Donuts and it touched my soul a little differently.
As our first fall season in Asheville, I figured I would make a list of my favorite activities to do to help get us in the mood for the best season of the year. 🤩 Within the last week, the weather has dropped and it makes this girl one happy camper.
☆ Taste the apples of a local harvest
SKY TOP APPLE ORCHARD This has always been a Fall favorite of mine! Chandler and I have gone to Sky Top every year since we started dating and it definitely helps jump start your mood for the fall. This is a great place for families with kids, groups of friends and couples to go and enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery lined with acres of apple trees. Dogs are allowed, so don’t shy away from bringing your furry friends. Sky Top offers hay rides, apple cannons and the most delicious apple donuts and slushies. Expect a longer line when buying your donuts, but don’t let that detour you from getting some for yourself. These delectable desserts are made in house and literally melt in your mouth. We usually go in late September to get the full fall effect, but any time really is a good time. You can grab a bag of apples to go or fill your basket as you get lost in their luscious fields. Each different row of apples are clearly marked if you are looking for a specific type.
*Because of new Covid rules, you now get to keep the basket you pick apples with. I fully expect to use mine for some kind of fall decoration this year.
☆Spend a day baking your favorite fall treats
Baking has always been a “therapy” of mine, so I had to include this on my list! Set aside time to try a few new recipes. If you’re unsure of what to make, Pinterest is always a good place to start. You can always make treats for coworkers, neighbors or friends! If you do end up going to the apple orchard, make a batch of apple butter. It’s definitely a fan favorite and is super easy to make! Below are some of my other personal favorites!
Some of my fondest memories growing up were at the Piedmont Interstate Fair every year! We’d load up the whole family (cousins, grandparents and neighbors) and take a trip (or three) to the fair that week! We’d ride every ride at least once and eat funnel cakes until our stomachs hurt. I always loved stopping by the animal exhibits to see the horses, cows and rabbits. The Spartanburg fair always had such beautiful table exhibits and art galleries to stop and marvel at. Once I got to college, I drug my friends to the state fair and loved reminiscing on my younger days. Check out your local fair. It’s nothing short of amazing.
☆ Host Friendsgiving
Like Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving gives you another chance to indulge in the soul food that ensues around this time of year. Offer to host your friends and create a sign-up sheet for people to volunteer for different food and drink options so you don’t have any repeats. It’s a great night of community and a great refresher for the soul.
☆ Run (or walk) a holiday race
Every Thanksgiving morning, it feels like my entire hometown of Spartanburg is at the Turkey Troy 8k. It is an opportunity to see friends and other people that you wouldn’t otherwise see that day. Our race begins at Spartanburg’s Morgan Square and is a big loop through downtown’s local neighborhoods, parks and streets. People wear turkey hats, full pilgrim suits and crazy Thanksgiving socks for the race and it’s always a good laugh to see what new outfits people whip out every year. Starting at an ungodly 7am, you finish just in time to watch the Macy’s Day Parade and take a nap before the Thanksgiving feast starts. I’m sure there are plenty of race options in your area, so be on the lookout for those in the weeks to come. Get your exercise in early and don’t feel as guilty for the wearing your sweatpants later that night.
If you have any other fall favorites, I would love to hear from you!
If anyone would’ve told me in January what the rest of this year had in store, I couldn’t say I would’ve believed you even for a split second. March hit and every we knew as “normal” changed in an instant. Unemployment skyrocketed, lives were flipped on their head and families were left picking up the pieces. Masks have become the new fashion trend and an essential all in one.
Teachers and students were forced into an adaptive hybrid learning model of online and “in-person” almost overnight. Parents helped in taking on that role and kindergarteners were learning how to send emails.
Above all else, I am thankful.
This year has also brought new friendships and fostered old ones. With certain people in your corner, you can do anything. I’ve learned that friends are the greatest treasure in life and could not ask for any better one than those that I have. Many of my best friends have come to visit us in our new city and I’ve also been blessed to see friends in their “home base.”
2020 has also seen Chandler and my transition to a new city and adjustments in learning the ropes of our new hometown in Asheville. It has been exhilarating, freeing and humbling. I feel that from the minute we moved here, this was “our place.” Coming from the person who absolutely hates change with a passion, I knew it would take time to adjust. I not have asked for a greater place to live. (Which is also not too far from home)
Above all else, I am thankful.
This year has brought unwelcome and unexpected death. This year has also seen many challenges and chartered new territory. It has shown me that more things than not are out of my control and just how fragile life is. It has taught me that life is more about mindset than anything else. My emotions, reactions, perceptions and thoughts are completely up to me and how I control them. Through it all, I’ve learned that in the quiet comes healing and in less comes more.
Above all else, I am thankful.
This year has taught me to be more intentional with time and relationships. Spending time for self-care and for rediscovery fosters new growth. In those moments, I have also found my love of reading and processing the chaos through writing. Time with the Lord has also been more of a priority, which has been so, so refreshing. The sweetest moments of my morning have been spent with a coffee in one hand and my Bible in the other.
Above all else, I am thankful.
2020 has taught me that more times than not that beauty experienced in life is the most short lived, but to be grateful for it anyhow. This year has been hard but oh, so sweet. It has taught me that life can be both simultaneously. Learning to lean into the promises of the Lord has been a process everyday, but one that has helped me to hold true in His word.
I am thankful for “near misses” and I will continue this year with the promise that better days are ahead.
Above all else, I am thankful.
This year brought challenges no one saw coming, yet we persisted. Take every day as a new opportunity for good. You are stronger than what you think. Offer a lending hand, a listening ear or a prayer. Don’t be afraid to start something new. Start over. Allow this year to teach you something and do all things with a grateful heart.
I am thankful for the changing of the seasons from summer into fall, but a God that remains constant and steadfast. I am thankful for family, friends and a village that are there to pick me up when I need it the most.
Let’s make the most of the last two months in 2020. In 2021, we know there is hope.
To the man who is witty, charming and selfless, you are greatly appreciated and so, so loved.
When you came walking into my life four years ago at our Chick-fil-A store in Spartanburg, I had no idea how important you’d mean to me then. From brushing off the constant curiosity of our family and friends as time went on, my conversations quickly went from avoiding the topic at all costs to rambling about our numerous road trips to Braves games and our travels to many concerts up and down the east coast, literally.
You are my forever concert going partner and my favorite is to hear you singing loudly to songs you may, or may not, know all of the lyrics to. I also love that we share the love of sports and some my favorite time with has been spent has been at games together.
Your heart is invested in the meeting people in their current situation, always looking to pour into those who have a greater need than yours.
You have a great taste in all things Christmas and I look forward to you having our house decked out to the nines come winter time every year. (I get to decorate for all other holidays, right? 😂)
Your Braves and Panthers hats are the staple of any outfit, from your Sunday best to the first thing you put on for a day around the house. Your childlike spirit and your zest for life excites me to see you as a father one day. You will be the absolute BEST dad.
You value my feelings and validate my rambling tangents even when I don’t make sense. You are my shoulder to cry on and also the best part of my day. You challenge me to dream big on a daily basis and to grow outside of my comfort zone.
You are the reason for so many of my belly laughs and ear-to-ear smiles, as well as a few tears along the way.
No matter how rough the seasons might be, you are my stronghold. You hold me in the quiet, protect me in the stormy and love me mightily when I can’t love myself. To be loved by you and to navigate this life together will always the greatest gift. “Chandler’s wife” will always be one of my most treasured titles, always.
You are one of the best things that happened to me, always. I love you longtime.
As a project that I’ve been eager to start for some time now, this Spotlight Series will be a way for me to highlight those who have played a huge part in my life and to recognize them in just a small way! With that being said, the first in my spotlight series will feature…
… my mom!
To accurately depict what my mom means to me will fail to be a full picture of how great of a woman she truly is. For anyone who has been fortunate enough to meet her knows what a truly remarkable lady she really is.
My mom is a woman of character, positivity and prayer. My mom is a woman of determination and a pillar of strength.
She genuinely uplifts and fiercely protects. She is an advocate for equal education opportunities for all children, and strives for all to succeed in the classroom (& beyond). She is a cornerstone for her family, always extending a helping hand and offering a listening ear.
My mom is a loyal supporter of her Gamecocks and a lover of the color green. She loves lake days and searching for turtles sunbathing on logs.
To the woman whose “larger than life” laugh (and voice) often proceeds her, you are so appreciated and so so loved, Momma bear.
Thank you for ALL you have done for me in my lifetime and for all that are as a person. You are my greatest mentor and an even greater friend. Know that you are fiercely loved and you raised a pretty great daughter. 😉