Mismatched Mess

of life, love, fashion, & forgetting to update


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#TexansAbroad | Dover, England

Dover Castle Grounds

This past weekend me and Taylor took a 40 minute train ride to the coast to visit the town of Dover. Hopping off the train, we made our way through town in search of a map of Dover and breakfast.

There was nothing remarkable about the particular breakfast place we chose. It called itself The Mean Bean. It served strong coffee and cold pastries. It was rather early so the place was empty when we sat down. As we sipped our lattes and made a loose plan for our day, the coffee shop slowly began to fill up. Each and every customer greeted the owner with conversation and camaraderie. They spread themselves out amongst a few tables, but the conversation never stopped. A few patrons table-swapped to have more personal catch-ups with their friends. The place filled with laughter, British slang, and the smell of coffee. We had stumbled into a local establishment.

This was actually a major find for us. We love Canterbury so much, but between all of the universities and its only industry–tourism, you can’t just walk into any given place and be met with locals. This place was the real deal. It was wonderful and amusing and refreshing.

Dover was refreshing.

Dover, Kent Ocean

Dover still has quite the tourist draw, with its famous white cliffs, a major castle, and its lovely seaside location. But there was such a difference between it and Canterbury. We were thrilled to step away from the hustle of tourists in Canterbury to the slower paced Dover.

We had an amazing time hiking the cliffs, visiting the castle and eating like locals.

Dover, Kent white cliffs of Dover

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Dover_Kent_2015 (181)

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Finding Ways to Keep Focused

Seinfeld | George Falling Asleep Under Desk

A couple weeks ago I described losing focus while working. I linked it to being uninspired with certain projects and blamed it on my personality type. (There’s always something else to blame, isn’t there?)

I really don’t like being unproductive when it comes to my job, but I can’t deny that I work best in bursts of energy. When I have those inspiring, energetic moments I soar. I absolutely love the feeling. I can multi-task like no other; creating, emailing, advertising…all at once. It’s amazing. But just like with the energy you can get from a sugar high, the crash is inevitable. And with crashes come lulls.

That’s what I need to learn to deal with. The lull. I need to learn to better manage myself during THOSE times.

I’ve been working on finding that balance and have learned a few things about myself along the way.

1. I’ve learned that waking up early is GOOD. It’s so good for me. I feel better through the whole day just by giving myself the proper amount of sleep and waking up at a decent hour.

2. Scheduling is my friend. I do tend to go off schedule when I’m having one of those bursts of creative energy, but on a daily basis it’s helpful to schedule my days.

3. When in doubt clean out the email! My mind is as organized as my email. I take time each week to open, read and file away emails. That way I can focus on the most important projects.

4. Change of scenery…occasionally. Once a month or less, I pack up my laptop and find a coffee shop in town to work in. I’m not going to deny the perks of working from home,but working alone all day everyday can get tedious, even for an introvert. Changing the scene every once in a while really helps me recharge.


Today’s Prompt: write about finding something.Today’s twist: if you wrote day four’s post as the first in a series, use this one as the second installment — loosely defined.


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Loss of Focus

The Office Jim Falls Asleep

A dull throbbing pain at my temple. The sound of a nearby wall clock ticking away the seconds. The steady hum of a computer fan. The rhythm of the office.

I blink my way out of a dazed expression and re-enter reality. I was just thinking about that one scene in The Office where Jim dies of boredom.

“No, not just thinking about,”as I look down at my to-do list,”living it.”

I adjust in my chair, realizing I had slumped over.

“What’ll it be today? A quick run to the store for a coffee? Or just go all the way and take a quick 15 minute nap right on the keyboard?”

I ponder where I’d go to get coffee…that 10 minute walk into town doesn’t sound too fun. But the 5 minute trip to the grocery store to check out their snacks and drink aisle wouldn’t satisfy my desire for a nice, hot latte. Better skip it.

“Need. To. Focus.”

I look up to my computer screen and see Facebook.

“Ugh. Oh yeah. I came here to update the pages for work and ended up scrolling nonstop through the most uninteresting news feed ever and why did I do that to myself? Facebook has me trained. Enough of that.”

Exiting the page the next Tab open is an article about ’10 Ways to Wow On Social Media.’ Scrolling down, I see an ad for another article: ‘When Baby Kittens Attack.’

“Yes!”

The first .gif of an adorable kitten lunging for a sleeping dog loads and, “Ugh when are the rest of these going to load I want to see kitt…”

“Focus!”…exits article.

“Yes…back to Photoshop. I need these retail banners finished before next Christmas. If that could be accomplished that’d be greeeat. Ha! An Office Space reference. This is my life right now. Alright, now what font would look best here?”

Changing the font on ‘SALE ENDS MONDAY!’ what seems like 100 times, I give up and delete the text.

“That was way too clichéd to write anyway. Back to square one. Ughhh this is hard. ”

Takes out phone and scrolls through Instagram. Stopping at an ad for a retail store, I’m struck by an idea.

“Wait. What if I created something like this for the store?…What if I create a whole theme?!”

I put the phone aside and open a new file in Photoshop. Product photos. Style. Colors. Arrange. A whirlwind of clicking as ideas pop into my head one after the other. My to-do list carries onto a second page as more ideas fill my mind. A mere hour passes and I’m emailing my boss the marketing strategy for the next month along with five example graphics.

I spend the rest of the work day excitedly carrying out the rest of my tasks. Energized, accomplished, and excited to begin the next day, I shut off my computer and leave the office. I walk 10 minutes to a cafe for a celebratory latte.


ISFP-active

This scenario happens to me all the time. I understand having mid-day lulls and the importance of taking breaks, but I’m learning that this lack of focus has a lot to do with my personality type. I hope to explore my ISFP personality and find ways to use it to my advantage! When I’m excited, I’m focused and determined. Otherwise I can really lose track. I hope to report back with some tricks and tips so that inner dialogues like the above happen way less often!

Want to learn your personality type? I used this site.
Also, sorry I made up the article about kittens. But here’s one just as good.


 

This was part of the Writing 101’s Blogging University. The prompt: Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t anymore. (I’m making a habit of not sticking to the prompt…but I don’t think it’s so necessary as long as I’m writing and learning…is that just me?)


 


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Smelling the Tulips | Writing 101: Day Two

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‘They’re my favorite flower,’ I hear my grandmother say, as I gaze over the vast field of never-ending violet. Ripples of color sway lazily with the breeze and, breathing deeply, I’m transported back to my grandmother’s kitchen. The soft smell of tulips sitting on the kitchen counter next to the coffee pot as Elvis Presley sings hymns softly in the background. She liked listening to that CD in the morning. I make my way through the field taking photos I can’t wait to post, excitement I can’t wait to share.

The things that connect us. The purple tulips in May, on her birthday. The slightly burnt coffee every morning strictly at 7 am. The voice of Elvis Presley in the morning. Things that connect all of us. The entire family. I don’t have to explain my nostalgia for Betty Boop, because they have the same nostalgia. I don’t have to wait for the laugh track when I mention my appreciation of salt and pepper shaker collections because they appreciate them too. They get it.

mamawThis woman who lived a full life, filled with everything from a childhood in the country to one of glitz and glamour. She lived. Her feisty, talkative personality filled her house with laughter. Her love of collecting filled her home, literally. But it was beautiful. It was all beautiful. Specifically I’m not talking about her milk glass collection or china teacup sets. Or her extensive, beautiful gold and diamond jewelry, mostly rings. She treasured those rings and wore them, all at once, on special occasions. No, I mean sneaking in her wardrobe as a child and playing dress up in her 1970’s polyester nightgown-and-robe sets. I mean waiting until she went to the kitchen to slip into her storage room to gaze wide-eyed at her giant collection of Betty Boop coffee cups and dolls and shirts. Once I gave her an old life-sized cutout of Betty Boop. She displayed it in her living room for years.

Finished Painting of Baker Homestead

We were never incredibly close. Or, perhaps, we were. To be close to Mamaw, was to savor the small moments. To be present and willing to listen; to be patient and willing to wait. I wasn’t a good roommate. I wasn’t. After college, I was just grateful for a room in her home at all. I came home exhausted from work and shut myself in my room to decompress for hours. I couldn’t stand watching The Bachelorette with her–even ironically–so I left that to my cousin. I would snap back with an attitude after 30-too-many-times her telling me to not wash my dishes/clothes/self while she was watching her evening shows. She couldn’t hear them, otherwise. I was patient, but I still think about the times I was not. Of course, she had an attitude as well. The kind of attitude that comes with the privilege of aging and not caring at all if what she said offended. To be close to Mamaw was to not care if she did offend, because you knew she was just trying to tell her funny story for a good laugh. Or she was just trying to make sure her precious Betty Boop valuables weren’t broken by the hands of a curious child.

I drift in and out of these memories of my grandmother. Visiting the fields of tulips is like an amplified megaphone; each petal, each smell shouting a memory directly at me. The beauty of those flowers, stretched miles and miles and miles, is overwhelming and awe-inspiring. These fields connect me to my grandmother, they connect us all. They affect me like they affect my family. There is a beautiful trust in that. Even thousands of miles apart, I know I am not alone. Through a simple song by Elvis Presley, we can share a memory, a story, a laugh. Through a single tulip, we can ensure our family history will be remembered in the most beautiful way.

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This was part of the Writing 101’s Blogging University. The prompt: If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

I’d love to visit Amsterdam during their tulip season for my grandmother! It’s on my Bucketlist, even. This spring I at least hope to visit one of England’s beautiful gardens.


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Homemade Face and Body Scrubs

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I’ve recently invested in some amazing Lush face wash and other face treatments. Their products are all natural and work wonderfully together, which got me thinking of how easy it is to make homemade, natural treatments. The fruit, vegetables and other ingredients we eat everyday have many natural vitamins and benefits that are great to use topically. I decided to do some experimenting in the kitchen to come up with some homemade face masks and scrubs to add to my natural face treatments. The results are great. So far, my favorite is the orange zest sugar scrub, because the smell is amazing. These face scrubs are all-natural which means they can only last a week or two in the fridge.

Orange Zest Sugar Scrub

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The oils in orange peels are extremely beneficial to the skin. The citrus helps brighten your skin as well as helps cure blemishes, dry skin and blackheads. The scrub I created can be used as a mask, but also is used for removing dead skin cells, thus removing scarring, and helping to heal blemishes. The sugar added in my recipe is simply a natural scrubbing agent.

Ingredients:
2 Oranges’ worth of peels
1 cup of sugar
Grater or Zester

Grate the peel into a bowl. Gradually stir in the cup of sugar. Done!

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One Other Use:
Mixing orange zest with yogurt makes a face mask perfect for brightening skin and curing dark under-eye circles.

Coffee & Chai Scrub

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This scrub is naturally more coarse, so shouldn’t be used daily on the face, but not one to pass up if you like strong coffee smells. The caffeine awakens and revitalizes the skin naturally. The coarse grains help exfoliate dead skin cells, making it good for helping remove acne scarring and cellulite on the body.

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons coffee grounds (brewed or fresh)
2 teaspoons chai tea
(If fresh grounds, use 1 tablespoon olive oil to mix)

Mix all ingredients together. Easy!

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One Other Use:
Mix a couple tablespoons of fresh coffee grounds into your shampoo. The acidity in coffee naturally removes product buildup and adds shine and depth on the hair. However, it also slightly tints the hair, so it’s best for brunettes.

Potato & Apple Face Mask

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Potato is a strange one to use, but the benefits are very interesting. Raw potatoes have natural bleaching agents, which can help lighten acne scars, dark spots, and under-eye discoloring. Potato also hydrates dry skin. Apples can boost the collagen and elastin in your skin, leaving a healthy and fresh glow. The apple also provides a slight color and fresh smell to this mask, helping mask the strange potato smell.

Ingredients:
1/2 potato
1/3 apple
1 teaspoon olive oil

Grate the potato and apple together in a bowl. It’ll be like mixing hashbrowns and applesauce once it’s all grated together. Mix with olive oil.

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One Other Use:
For a simpler use of potato, cut a potato into rounds place over your eyes to help lighten under-eye circles. Although, drinking water and sleeping well is the only way to truly reduce dark circles.


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Canterbury Festival

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Last Saturday marked the start of the annual Canterbury Festival and we decided to visit the city centre to discover how it would unfold.

Basically the festival seems to be a wonderful way to highlight and feature all the fun art events, plays and performances that will be going on from now until November 1st—and beyond. From plays, comedy, choirs, concerts, art galleries—it’s all featured all around the city and brings quite the crowd.

The festival began with the Espression Arts Parade, which was an adorable crafty ‘parade’ of children and families followed by a school band and people dressed in renaissance clothing. Before we moved, Taylor and I passed by the Espression Arts cafe everyday on our way to the city centre where we gathered it was a coffee shop and art studio for families. We could see mothers and children painting or reading through the windows.

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We spent the rest of the day exploring the area more and finding a few more shops we knew we would frequent. We plan on heading to some of the many events featured by the festival, starting with a comedy act on Thursday.

However one reason we’ll be skipping out on some of the events is to make a day trip to London to visit a close high school friend and her husband!! They are enjoying the London sights as we speak and I’m so excited to take a short trip to visit some familiar faces!

A quick update: Our new flat is great! We’re slowly acquiring a few necessities, since the flat was essentially empty except for furniture. Taylor had to take a quick trip to a shop last night in the middle of cooking just to buy us a skillet! We’re still using paper plates and cups–early on I jumped at the opportunity to buy some cheap coffee cups and silverware, but haven’t found any plates, bowls and cups I like within our price range. Other than the bareness of our cupboards, we’re settling in quite comfortably. I (finally!) found an art store and bought some paints and large paper. My practical mind knows we can’t afford to outright buy every single thing we need (or want) for this flat immediately, so decoration comes last–(oh how our livingroom needs a rug and plant! That’s all I ask for!) But that won’t stop me from doing my best to make art on my own with which to decorate!

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UK Update | Two Weeks Down

 

The remains of Canterbury Castle

The remains of Canterbury Castle

Our life in the UK has become much easier as we’ve settled into a semi-routine, discovered our favorite cafes and met a couple people. While we have become more comfortable, there are still quite a few issues we are working to sort out, so there is still a feeling of restlessness between us.

Canterbury is a gorgeous city with lovely parks and historical buildings at every turn. We are still in awe that we live here! Canterbury is actually a very tourist/university-driven location, so us being Americans don’t cause us to stick out at all. Taylor has met Canadian, French, German and Bohemian students and teachers. Go to any cafe and the possibility of hearing at least two or three different languages around you is quite high.

Of course living in a tourist and college town does have its downfalls we will need to acclimate ourselves to, such as having droves of people visit the city centre each weekend and the normally peaceful evenings turning into loud nights each Saturday due to students.

We are currently continuing to live in our tiny flat, however we reserved a flat that will hopefully be ours very soon. Waiting on hearing back from the realtor is making us even more restless, but the flat currently has people living in it that aren’t due to leave until the 16th of October so we just need to be patient.

Thankfully our money situation has improved, as well.  We were able to sign up for a UK bank and received a debit card recently, although we’re being sparse with our money as we  want to have as much as possible in the bank ready to be delivered to the new flat if we are able to obtain it.

We have slowed down on being ‘touristy’ to save money, although we did visit the Canterbury Castle recently. We plan on visiting the gorgeous Canterbury Cathedral that I love snagging photos of, we just haven’t been able to make time to visit.

The Fun Stuff:

We’ve started drinking A LOT more tea. At cafes you get an entire pot of tea for half the price of a coffee, and tea bags are much cheaper. I love tea!

Though some groceries offer an ‘American’ section, we’ve yet to find one, although Uncle Ben’s ready-made rice meals are very popular over here.

Eating at restaurants is very different. We have had several meals where our waiter wouldn’t come back to our table! We would sit there not eating for 5,10,15 minutes to no avail. At first it was surprising and confusing until we realized that, unlike in America, waiters are not supposed to bring the check (or bill) until they are waved over. We are quite used to being handed the bill without asking for it, but it is considered rude to do that over here.

Slang and Phrases
‘You’re having a laugh’ -meaning – ‘You must be joking’
‘That’s not bad’ -meaning- ‘That’s good’
‘Quite good’ -meaning- ‘A bit disappointing’
‘Takeaway’-meaning-‘Take out’, ‘to go’, or ‘delivered’
‘Go to hospital’ – a normal phrase used instead saying ‘go to THE hospital’
‘Watch the football’ – as opposed to ‘watch football’ (without ‘the’)–and of course football is soccer
‘Redneck’ – they think it means anyone from the South!


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Our Life in Canterbury | The First Four Days

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We finally made it! It feels like we’ve been waiting forever to begin this part of our life.
Over a year ago I wrote this post regarding the realization of the possibility of moving far away for Taylor’s PHD.
Little did I know then that we would end up in the UK!

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Day 1 | Tuesday
Our trip to Canterbury, Kent, England was actually really easy and pleasant. We spent the day at the airport with my mom, sister and father in law.
We had lunch at the Hyatt dining room then said our final goodbyes.

Once we got on the plane our last meal in America was flying over one of the great lakes nearest Canada. We then watched a movie, slept and tried to make the most of our 9 hour trip.

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Day 2 | Wednesday
Arriving in London Heathrow airport was a smooth process. Thankfully we found a cart to carry our 150ish pounds of luggage. Taylor bought a simple cell phone to contact our landlady, withdrew a little more money from an ATM, then we headed out to grab a taxi.
The trip in the taxi was really nice. We didn’t get to go through London, because the traffic was too bad, so we took the road around it. It took about an hour and half to travel to Canterbury in which time we enjoyed joking with the taxi driver about American and British stereotypes and learned a lot about England history. The driver was so nice and interesting. He actually lived in Kent as well (our address is Canterbury, Kent, UK) and talked about his children. His son has his own business putting together massive (15-20,000 people) techno dance events and his daughter was a model who was actually in Toni and Guy’s London Fashion Week’s runway show that same day.

So, this is where the first day in England loses its…charm. The taxi driver brings us to the flat we put a deposit on online. After waiting 30 minutes the landlady pulls up and was in complete shock there were two of us. We walk up to the place and it’s not what we were told at all! We knew it was going to be small, but it was way smaller than we thought it was. But it wasn’t just our error–the online realtor told us this place was for two people when it clearly is not, not to mention the fact the landlady didn’t even read the agreement and Taylor’s numerous emails stating there were two people.
I won’t go into the details, but we haven’t signed the lease yet and we are looking at other flats in the area already. Hopefully we will be out of here soon.

Because of the shock of the flat, jet lag and the time difference, we just collapsed on the bed and slept for several hours. Once we woke up we walked downtown and found a Pizza Hut that offered Wifi and contacted our family.
We then went to a nearby store owned by Wal-Mart for some basic necessities.

Look how exhausted we were!

Look how exhausted we were!

Day 3 | Thursday
The third day brought a couple more issues, but we felt a little better. We found a coffee shop for the wifi–it’s very nerve-wracking being totally reliant on Wifi to contact people! We then decided to take out more money from an ATM and…it stole our card! Fear ensued when we realized there were issues with our cards and only had a little cash with us. We bought some very cheap items to make sandwiches and splurged on a portable Wifi card so that we could sort out all these issues in the apartment instead of at a restaurant.

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Day 4 | Friday
Friday Taylor and his dad worked on sorting out our bank issues in America. It took most of the day, but it was finally fixed, though we still don’t feel 100% comfortable using the debit card we still have. As that was happening we walked up to the University of Kent where Taylor will be attending. The walk was not what we expected as the traffic was horribly busy and the trip was uphill. Once we got to the school we walked around for about an hour, but couldn’t accomplish anything until the following day. We didn’t want to walk back so we decided to try out a doubledecker bus for the first time. It was so simple and took us to the city centre right near our flat.

Day 5 | Saturday
Taylor walked back to the school and registered Saturday morning. We then spent the rest of the day finally fully relaxing and enjoying the fact that we were in England! We ate tacos and window shopped all around the city centre.

We’ve had so many issues, but now that we are more comfortable it’s really exciting being here! We will be tourists in our own city for a long time. The city centre is so busy with so much history. Once we get UK cell phones (smart phones) we will be much more connected. Our wifi is very limited and we’re trying to save our money until we get a UK bank and hopefully a new flat! Then we’ll be able to do much more exploring! We still can’t believe this is our life now and are so blessed to be here. The issues we are facing are annoying and stressful, but we know it will be settled soon!

We’ve had fun comparing the shops and TV stations. Everything is similar just with different names:

Stores:
ASDA – owned by Wal-Mart and looks like Wal-Mart
Big Box – Big Lots
TK Maxx – TJ Maxx

TV Shows:
Funniest Ever – You’ve Been Framed! – America’s Funniest Home Videos

Food:
Walkers Crisps – Lays Chips

Slang:
Tea (or tea time) – Lunch time
Quid – Cash
One off – One-time (example: one-time fee)


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Vacation 2014

My husband and I just got back from a really fun two week vacation! It feels good to be home but that two week break to see family and do whatever was so appreciated. Now that we’re back in the swing of things it’s full on PREPARE mode.

Friday we opened a new bank account that will make the transition to international banking easier. Today my husband will be putting the deposit down on our hopefully future flat in England and tomorrow we’ll be traveling to Dallas to have our fingerprints and other biometrics taken as the final step of the Visa application.

We also just bought suitcases! They’re the largest suitcases either of us have ever bought in our lives, yet in comparison with all the possessions I was thinking of bringing for a 3+ year stay, they are small!

I’m excited where all this heading! Tentative kick off date is September 10th…ish…

I will continue updating the blog on the process. Until then, here’s what we did on vacation!

Vacation Day 1 – I ended up working half a day to finish as much as I could on my giant to-do list, but after that we headed to Deep Ellum (Dallas) to see Antemasque and Le Butcherettes in concert. It was amazing! Antemasque’s energy was totally thrilling and Le Butcherettes—a girl vocalist/guitarist and a girl drummer? Yes please!

After the show we were stopped on the street by a man who showed us magic tricks and sold us a couple of t-shirts out of his backpack for $5. Totally legit. We then couch-surfed on our good friend’s couch.

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Vacation Day 2 – We watched Guardians of the Galaxy with our friend then began the travel to Texarkana, TX to visit another friend. Taylor and he caught up and had deep philosophical discussions over Starbucks for several hours before we headed out for a late night trek to Hot Springs, AK.

Vacation Day 3 – Waking up in Hot Springs at the old Angels in the Park hotel, we walked downtown for late morning breakfast before we visited our favorite spots in downtown Hot Springs. Lunch was a flight of locally brewed beers and hummus and dinner was our favorite German restaurant.

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Vacation Day 4 – We packed up early and headed to a Starbucks–the problem with taking a vacation in the middle of searching for overseas apartments and applying for visas is that there was always an email that needed to be responded to immediately so we took frequent Starbucks (aka wifi) breaks. We then mailed our parents some postcards then began a long trip all the way to South Carolina where we stopped at 1:30 am for a few short hours of sleep. For a late night snack I couldn’t resist buying the Lays Cappuccino Chips and a Starbucks frappuccino at a gas staion. The chips were not all that people made them out to be and the drink tasted like a bad batch of barbeque! Gas stations are hard to trust.

Vacation Day 5 – Four hours of sleep at a hotel and McDonald’s breakfast later, we were on the road again a few hours from our destination in North Carolina. When we arrived I met Taylor’s grandmother, great-aunt, uncle, aunt and cousin for the very first time. We also hadn’t seen his mom in 4-5 years. That night we stayed in a beach house, looking at old photos and catching up.

Vacation Day 6 – We spent the day with Taylor’s mom, aunt and cousin at the beach then the evening with his grandmother and uncle. Afterwards we headed to Raleigh, NC where we met with Taylor’s step dad. They bought us a room in a downtown hotel, which led to a lot of walking through the beautiful downtown area the next day.

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Vacation Day 7 – Waking up with room service coffee (just because we could), we ventured onto the streets of downtown and ended up at the North Carolina Natural History Museum. We explored downtown (found a coffee shop, of course) and then met back up with Taylor’s family for dinner out and the a trip to Krispy Kreme donuts.

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Vacation Day 8 – We began the day by walking to a cupcake shop for coffee and cupcakes! It was accidental thanks to wrong GPS directions, but it was a good stop nonetheless. Afterward, we traveled to Durham to meet with theologian Dr. Stanley Hauerwaus. Taylor and I (more so Taylor) love his work and forward thinking methods. We met him at Duke University in his office where they chatted about the future. He encouraged us on our journey to England and took a photo with us! The rest of the day, not gonna lie, was spent at a mall. Taylor found several outfits at H&M and some shoes, which he needed. We ended the day driving back to our hotel in pouring rain and had pizza delivered to our room.

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Vacation Day 9 – We traveled to Benson, NC after waking up at 6 am where Taylor’s mom showed us every home and landmark that had anything to do with Taylor’s childhood. It was interesting seeing a part of Taylor’s past. After breakfast we were introduced to Taylor’s old baby sitter then carted off with tons of drinks and ice. We then began what end up being 24 hours straight of being up.

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Vacation Day 10 – 6 am after driving 15 hours home, we made our way to our beds where we didn’t wake up until 12:30 in the afternoon and it was devine.

 


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Happy Blog-iversary!

Today is my ‘8 year’ blog-iversary. I wish I could say I had 8 years of riveting posts, but I can’t say that I do.

I’ve used this blog (under two different names) as a means to journal and share creativity. I haven’t always needed that outward form of expressing myself, so there are many empty moments through the archives. However, I thought I’d share some interesting times in my life as I go through college, marriage and career changes in the span of 8 (more like 5-6) years.

2009: One year into college, 2009 is the year I really start blogging!

I discover my love of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s fashion and get my first non-restaurant job. 

I am faced with the horrible choice of being forced to get my first touch screen and data-mandatory phone! (Back when phones were phones)

I realize I want graphic design to be my career.

I made many, many t-shirt d.i.y.’s. This one is a dress from a 4XL t-shirt. 

I get engaged in a surprise photoshoot.

2010: The year I decided to link my Tumblr and Twitter to my blog and almost all my posts have NO TITLE. What an archiving nightmare.

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I realize what a hoarder I am

I get super into Photoshop (some more)

I made my brother this adorable Max from Where the Wild Things Are costume

I get into photography.

I get obsessed with fashion photography and move to Chictopia for. a. while.

2011: I graduated college (mid-2010) and move somewhere with no Internet until I got married so I

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Post about my bridal portraits

Self-designed wedding invitations

Getting Ready

My awesome wedding party

A beautiful ceremony

And the reception (that I starved at)

2012: Working at an exhausting daycare job and feeling so creatively unfulfilled, I began blogging again!

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I opened an etsy store selling vintage purses. This later turned into designing flyers

I tried blogging something more meaningful for the first time on the blog. (I’m still struggling with this, but I have so much to say these days that the hard topics must be given a voice!)

I got a job as a secretary which quickly moved into managing websites! 

I started noticing some sad realities in my life. Mainly the gradual decline of friendships and relationships. 

I tried my hand at d.i.y. journals!

2013: The year I blog fairly consistently! 

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I start (and fail to finish) and 365 day Photo Challenge

I tried (and fail to succeed) to organize my blog

I hint at all the friendship struggles I was having (but still try to remain positive and not get too deep)

I try my hand at recipes! Yum! & Coffee

I “win” a fun blogging award and answer questions about myself!

My husband graduates with his Master’s degree and I realize what that means for us

I finally get promoted from managing websites to managing and designing websites! Finally using that college degree to the fullest extent! Except, my creativity for blogging leaves me. 

I learn the hard way about friendships. And, of course, give a vague nondescript version of the story.

2014: After a short lull (only like 6 months, no big deal!) I decide to start blogging again! 

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I’m trying to find my focus for 2014. I love d.i.y. and photography projects, but I really want to try my hand at writing more serious posts. I’m a quiet person and have let that affect my opinions on topics, so as not to offend or hurt feelings, but I don’t think that’s a good reason to keep quiet anymore. I hope I can find my path as I begin this blogging thing over again. Every year seems like I’m starting over, because I’m just trying to find my way. Here’s the beginning: 1, 2, 3