10 Things About ME

Hello all you beautiful people! It’s a lazy day in our household and I figured it would be the perfect time to tell you all a little bit more about me and some of my favorite things. So, without further ado…

10. Traveling

You guys, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I love getting to explore new places, eat at local restaurants, and get lost in a new city. Check out my post with my 5 Best Travel Tips!

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Uptown Charlotte

9. Florida State University Football

Yeah, we may not have the best team or reputation lately but I will always be a Seminole!

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8. Elephants

There are so many reasons to love elephants; the strong matrilineal family, their love language is touch, they have emotions and never forget often times pausing to mourn where family members have passed. Symbolically elephants represent strength, honor, and stability. Plus baby elephants view humans the same way we view puppies, I mean how freaking cute is that?!?

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Yes this is a fake elephant from Jungle Cruise at Disney World, but it’s the best I’ve got.

7. Bullet Journaling

Okay, this one really changed my whole view of journaling. I always hated the whole ‘Dear Diary’ thing but have always wanted to journal. One day while on maternity leave, a video came across my Facebook feed about bullet journaling. There are no rules, you can make it as pretty or as messy as you want. You can draw, you can do short bullet notes, you can even rub the journal in the dirt, whatever you want! So I quickly went out and bought one. I joined a few Facebook groups and searched Pinterest for all the fun ideas. While I don’t have a single original idea in my head and copy everything for the most part from other images, the whole process is incredibly therapeutic. I have always wanted to be artistic and of course I’m not very good at it but it makes me feel like I have a small artistic bone in my body.

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Acceptance is my word of the year and Be Present is my family’s word(s) of the year. I love taking time each day (or week) and really try and focus on what these words to me and how they are being put into play each day.

6. Target

Are you even a stay at home mom if you don’t love Target?

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Little J making sure I head towards the toys next.

5. Reading

Is there anything better than getting lost in a good book? Confession: my guilty pleasure is young adult novels. I’m so obsessed.

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This was right after my husband built me this bookshelf, it’s definitely gotten a lot fuller and messier since then but I absolutely adore it!

4. Dogs

I don’t even have the words to explain how much these two mean to me. I’ve always been partial to dachshunds because that’s what we’ve always had but I’m sure my dogs are the absolute greatest.

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3. Coffee

That first sip of coffee in the morning when it touches your soul and you know that whatever life throws at you today you can conquer it.

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2. Pure Barre

I have always been the least athletic person you have ever met (I still am if I’m honest). I have never once found a work out and stuck to it. I knew that I liked the group fitness classes but always felt like such a dork in Zumba and forget any of the other classes (omg spin class was awful). But I have two great coworkers (who are more like family) who convinced me to try Pure Barre with them. My whole life changed since then. I was immediately addicted! Each class is set up very similar but the workouts are different with different instructors, it’s amazing for all fitness levels, ensures you’re held accountable (you can’t cancel class within 4 hours of class starting without being charged, something I definitely needed to ensure I actually went), and the most amazing group of women you have met who are there cheering you on! I could sing the praises of Pure Barre all day everyday! I’ve lost all my baby weight and even more, I’ve got some killer biceps and my abs are starting to pop through. But most importantly, I feel fit and healthy and it does absolute wonders for my mental health!

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Signing the barre after completing the Black Barre Challenge which was a year long challenge, I’m so proud of myself for sticking it out!

1. Being a mom

Oh man, there is nothing in the world that I love more than being a mom. I never wanted to be a mom, the idea of actually birthing and having a child scared the living crap out of me and when I found myself pregnant (big surprise to us) all of those fears and more came out. But when I held him in the hospital, it sounds so cliche, but it was the most amazing feeling in the entire world. I am so proud to be a mom but more importantly, I’m proud to be HIS mom.

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My tiny baby, chillaxing like a master.

 

Those are my top 10 favorite things but let’s be honest, I could go on for days!

What are you favorite things? Do any of my favorites stick out to you or do you share similar favorites? Let me know! I want to know each and everyone of you!

Remember: Happiness blooms from within 🙂

5 Best Travel Tips

 

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely LOVE traveling! Getting to explore new places, eat new foods, meet new people, etc. etc. I grew up on the road (like, I’ve been to 48 states, grew up on the road) but still going to new places (or returning) fills me such a sense of awe.

My husband’s company Christmas party was a couple weeks ago (in January, lol) in New York City. When I learned they were going to pay for spouses to come as well, I flipped out and began immediately scouring the internet for all things New York City! We lived in Connecticut for a few months when I was growing up and we drove over the George Washington Bridge a thousand times with my dad but we never had the opportunity to go into the city. When I typed in Pinterest, things to do in NYC, I was completely overwhelmed with the amount of pins proclaiming ‘New York Itinerary, What to Do and See in 4 Days in NYC,’ ‘How to Spend Three Days in NYC,’ ‘29 Free Things to do in NYC,’ ‘12 Things You Have to Eat when in NYC,’ to simply name a few that stuck out to me. From these I was able to come up with a list of attractions, things to do, and where I might want to eat. I got to thinking and was like, I can make one of these lists for my favorite things to do while I’m in NYC! However, the more I looked through lists the more I realized, none of them touched on the things I like to do when I go to a new city. I thought, instead of a list of things to do in NYC (since there are literally thousands of them), how about a different kind of list, things to do when visiting a new city? So here you go, my top 5 things I like to do when visiting a new city!

5. Eat Like a Local

I wish this didn’t have to be said but my husband is the type of person who won’t try anywhere new and will just stick with fast food/chain restaurants. For me, breakfast, lunch, and dinner is always all about local places. For one, I’m a huge fan of supporting small businesses and when you visit another city you literally can’t get that same food back home. Don’t be afraid to try new cuisines (I tried Indian food in NYC and I am now a huge fan). Pull out my friend Google and type in food near me, check out the ratings and browse the menus. Don’t get stuck in the fast food/chain restaurant rut. One of my dad’s favorite things to do is look up to see if the city was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, he wishes he could be Guy Fieri. Ask the people at the front desk of your hotel, the bartender, or your host (if you like to AirBnB it). Just don’t ever eat at a chain restaurant, you’re literally robbing your taste buds of something fantastic and I just can’t let you do that.

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Okay, maybe locals don’t eat at Tiffany’s Blue Box Cafe (unless they’re crazy rich) but don’t be afraid to splurge a little too! Some things are once in a lifetime opportunities. Also, instead of getting what was preset on the menu, I got the chef’s special for something extra different!

 

4. Look for the less common things to do

Obviously have your list of must sees but also look for the hidden things to do. Check out Facebook events, look for the local news website (watch the news when you get there!), and even get on snapchat and see what’s going on around you. There is always something off the beaten path that is a must see and what makes the city you are visiting unique.

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While in Charlotte, I joined the local mom Facebook group and asked them what were somethings we should do while visiting. One mom told me about Tiger World, in all my searching this never came up! (Another great idea to go with tip number 2!)

 

3. Visit downtown and go shopping

Find downtown and go exploring, don’t be afraid to get lost or to wander around aimlessly (more on this later). Find the place with the most local shops and take time to poke around, it makes for some great gifts to bring back or something unique for your home (instead of the typical shot glass or fridge magnet).

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2. Make friends with the bartender

Staying in a hotel? Hang out at the bar, even if you don’t drink you can order a soda and maybe some snacks. Strike up a conversation with the bartender, find out what they like to do in their free times, where their favorite spots are to eat, and where to get the best deals.

Not staying at a hotel? Find a spot near you, a bakery, coffee shop, bar, anywhere local and strike up conversation with one of the workers.

Just a spot of advice, I wouldn’t immediately get into asking them questions or else they may not give you the best suggestions, spent a little extra time just making small conversation and getting to know them before jumping into the touristy questions. Bartenders are people too, so don’t forget to tip them for their amazing service and advice.

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We found the most amazing bakery one block from where we were staying in Charlotte. Be sure to check out Villanis Bakery if you’re in the area!

 

1. Don’t be afraid to get lost!

This is literally my favorite thing in the world to do anywhere I go. Take a day and just drive around (or walk), take the first turn that seems interesting to you. If you see something that looks cool down one street, take a walk down that street. When I was in NYC, I literally walked 5 miles aimlessly around the city because I loved seeing everything. I can’t stress this one enough because it is such a carefree feeling to walk or drive around ‘getting lost,’ not having an agenda and not feeling like you have to get xyz done since you’re only visiting for a short amount of time. I promise, try this one time (even if it is just for a couple hours) and let me know how it goes. Once you are fully lost and ready to head back, my friend Google is right there to help you get home.

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We randomly stumbled upon an authentic Banksy in NYC and I just about lost my mind!

 

That’s it, my best 5 travel tips for visiting a new city (or revisiting one)! What else would you add? What are some of your favorite things to do? Did you try any of the things off my list? What was your experience like?? I want to hear from you!