October 2016: Weekend Trips, HS Reunions, & Everything in Between

Good things have happened this October! The month started out with returning from a girl’s weekend to St. Louis with my momma. We went there to see Joyce Meyer, Beth Moore, Christine Caine, and John Gray speak. Kari Jobe and Laruen Daigle were there singing away. I’ve been huge fan of Daigle’s album “How Can It Be”, so to hear her throughout the weekend was awesome. The speakers were SO good. The best part about the entire weekend? Spending it with her❤.




The month continued with the frenzy of planning homecoming at my job. Full-on Spirit Week/Powderpuff Games/Dance—the whole sha’bam. I even convinced Michael to chaperone with me! He treated me to a nice dinner before the dance at a place we’ve been wanting to try beside our neighborhood. Look at that stud!


With cooler temps in the air, we’ve been vib-ing with all of the fall feels. We made s’mores with our charcoal grill. City life! I’m also starting to crave all of the warm soups, hot teas, and a bedtime of about, ohhh say 8pm.



This last weekend was a blast from the past with my high school 10 year reunion! I remember in HS campaigning to be president of the class and vividly remember saying, “Vote for me! I promise to plan a great 10 year reunion!” With a lot of help from the other officers and volunteers, Woody Thomas with Magic Special Events, Brock’s BBQ, and of course the front office at L.C. Bird, I say the reunion weekend was a major success! How can you not have fun with childhood friends, a photo booth, and a few brews?! And once again, my guy was by my side helping the entire weekend. I adore him!







Yes, I made a lot of people come to reunion! Good thing, because each one said they were happy they came!🙂

The last bit of October will be spent soaking up the wee bits of evening sunlight. I foresee another grill out and s’mores feast. On Saturday, we might go to a cider festival after teaching a few classes at Pure Barre for our annual Tuck-n-Treat. I’m still brainstorming Halloween costumes. Suggestions? I already have Eleanor’s costume in mind…just wait for Monday! She was “Eeyore Eleanor” last year and played the part with her moody disposition.

12193745_10204698102843864_8488464184366423306_nAs busy as this past month has been, my cup runs over. I feel so blessed to be apart of so many wonderful circles. A girl’s trip with mom is something I’ll cherish forever. My job is fun and the people are great. Seeing friends I’ve known since kindergarten did the heart good. I’ve never loved Michael more. Life is good, we are blessed.


The best part of recaps are the things that have nothing to do with one another:

Did you hear the latest (brilliant) Girl Scout move? Thin mints cereal. Limited edition!

This mug is great!


I’ve (miraculously) read two books this past month: Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist and Very Married by Katherine Willis Pershey. Both were good reads!

I made this sausage, potato, & kale soup last night after seeing it on a friend’s Instagram. Thanks, Brett! Instead of heavy cream, I used a can of coconut milk. Next time I’ll swap russet potatoes for sweet potatoes.

That’s all I got! Happy Weekend!

Five Favorite Foods for Friday: Edition 4 “Snack Attack”

I’m a snacker. I’d rather forgo big meals and nom throughout the day. Of course it’s easy to let a handful of this, mouthful of that, and a few more of these turn into a big meal in itself. To build my food day, I always have the basics and then build my snacks to add a little food pizzazz. The basics every.single.day: two organic eggs, steel cut oatmeal, a salad of some variety with handfuls of veggies, and lean protein. Today’s FFFFF features my latest snacks that spice up the basics. I try to keep my snacks as healthy as possible. You know, real/natural/whole foods that aren’t processed and loaded with ingredients that I can’t pronounce.

Here’s what I’m munching on:

1. Raw Nuts: Cashews have been my go to. I add a few almonds and a Brazil nut in there for nutritional value, but mmmhmmm, unsalted cashews are like buttah. I find the best deal at Costco.


2. Fresh, Freeze Dried, & Dehydrated Fruit: The season calls for fresh red grapes and honeycrisp apples. Those two never disappoint! But have you tried freeze dried fruit? WOAH. Raspberries, mangos, strawberries…they taste like candy, provide the perfect crunch, and melt in your mouth. Trader Joe’s have them on the cheap. For a chewy fruit, I’ve enjoyed Trader Joe’s Unsweetened Baby Pineapple.


3. Kale Chips: Kale Chips are SO easy to make. Now that it’s getting colder and I’ll be using the oven more, I’ll get back to making my own creations like this sriracha recipe. For convenience, I really enjoy Made in Nature Rosemary Truffle. You can find their flavored kale chips at Walmart or their Olive Oil version at Costco!


4. Naan & Hummus: Sometimes you need a snack that isn’t picked straight from nature but just straight delicious. Cue in Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Tandoori Naan and CAVA’s Crazy Feta Hummus. For a once-a-week treat,  we love to throw the Naan on the grill as an appetizer. Warm it each side, dip into hummus, close your eyes and take in the moment. I know CAVA sells their hummus to our local Whole Foods in the DC area, as well as in Charlottesville, VA Beach, & Richmond (at Ellwood Thompson). Check here if Crazy Feta Hummus (or their other flavors) are nearby.


5. Cheese: Another snack I have to limit to enjoying once or twice times a week! Kerrygold Dubliner and Bellavitano Merlot have served total satisfaction. Perfect combo nutty, creamy, and tangy cheese. Both cheeses are available at your local supermarket and Costco. (Costco for the win again!)

What snacks are you loco about?

Five Favorite Foods for Friday: Edition 3

Haaayyyy it’s Fridaaayyyy!

I have a delicious recipe to share with you…keep reading for my Thai Grain Salad!


Here we are round 3 of five new favorite foods for this Friday. If  you missed edition 1 & 2, check them out here & here.

1. First up, we have another Costco AND Walmart find! Seeds of Change offers 90 second ready-to-heat organic rice packs. I’ve only tried the Brown Rice & Quinoa (6 pack at Costco) and Seven Whole Grains (at Walmart) but I’m eager to try their other flavors with this $1.50 off coupon! (If I eat this as a plain side, I like to dash Bragg Liquid Aminos on the quinoa & rice for flavor.)


2.Peanut Sauce: I’m always on the lookout for an easy and healthy peanut sauce to dip veggies in and drizzle over my latest Thai salad creation (recipe below at #5!). I’ve also mixed the peanut sauce with the Seeds of Change Quinoa & Brown Rice and steamed broccoli for an Asian side dish. YOU GUYS. This sauce is the best I’ve tasted, so go ahead and do yourself a favor and double the recipe. Keep it healthy and clean by using pure ground unsalted peanut butter. Wiz it together in your smallest high speed blender and resist the urge to lick the blade.

3. Turkey Chili: Now that it’s officially fall, I’m getting myself in the mood for cooler temps with this turkey chili. This isn’t a new food find for me since I’ve probably made this about 8 times, but if you’re needing a healthy chili recipe: t-r-y it. Stove-top or crock-pot, it’s delicious. The only changes I typically do: puree the diced tomatoes and add salt to taste.

4. 10 Minute Farro by Trader Joe’s: Farro is such a hearty and slightly chewy grain in all of the best ways. This little bag is only $1.79 but it makes a decent number of servings. Toss on salads, use it as a side, or throw it in a homemade soup near the end of the cooking time.


5. I made this Thai Grain Salad on Sunday and Michael and I have been munching on it all week and it’s kept in the fridge perfectly. It’s great served cold or warm, though I tend to prefer it warmed. I wait to add the peanut sauce on top, as well as top it with chopped raw cashews. I even tossed shredded chicken for some lunches and whew, that was awesome! Here’s the base:


  • Trader Joe’s 10 Minute Farro
  • 1c cooked quinoa
  • Red/orange/yellow bell peppers (about a 1/2 pepper of each color, chopped well)
  • 1c shredded carrots
  • 1/2c chopped green onion
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced finely
  • 1 package of Trader Joe’s Ready to Eat Edamame (or 8oz of shelled and defrosted edamame)
  • 1/2 cilantro (or more), stemmed and rough chopped
  • Pink Himalayan salt to taste


  1. Cook the farro and quinoa according to package instructions
  2. Chop peppers, onions, and cilantro
  3. Add edamame
  4. Allow farro and quinoa to cool
  5. Toss all ingredients together
  6. Salt to taste
  7. Portion your plate & then drizzle drench with peanut sauce
  8. Top with chopped raw cashews

That’s a wrap for FFFFF edition 3! Any new foods you’ve discovered that I need to know about? Cheers for the weekend!


This & That Update!


Here we are mid-September and only 2 short days left in the official summer season. If I could bottle the sunshine and warmth, I would. The sun is setting earlier (which makes me really bummed), but thankfully there’s enough happy-clappy good stuff going on (hello new fall shows!) that everything balances out. I thought we are long overdue for a “this & that update”, so here we go!

Summer Recap: This summer was super crazy with moving, decorating, searching for a job, and adjusting to life in Alexandria, so a new season is welcomed. We are unpacked and only have a few more pictures to hang and projects to tackle. Our renovations have made us love our house even more, especially our outdoor space. We designed a back patio and landscape so grilling out under the Edison lights has become a favorite of ours. And let me tell you…my husband’s steaks have been ON POINT lately! On the garden side, I grew a ton of basil (which I put on everything), but my tomato plant was a bust. The squirrels took it upon themselves of overseeing the plant…which left me about 2 red tomatoes to enjoy. Thanks.



BABIES! Some of my favorite people have had babies: Kristen had her baby boy, Travis Harmon Deaton! Helen had her baby girl, Evie Elise Stevenson! My brother and sister-in-law Lori had their baby boy Troy Taylor Hawkins! I met my little squishy nephew and I was smitten. You’re probably thinking, “She must have baby fever!” Look, here’s the truth: NO! I love these tiny humans and of course I want babies…but the only fever I have right now for is ample sleep, random date nights with my man, and well…after hearing these labor stories my dear dear friends have braved…I’m good right now! So good.


Auntie Shea & Troy


Evie Elise Stevenson


Kristen & Travis!

Job: I am really enjoying my new job! It’s been refreshingly fun to be around students, plan events like a tailgate party, and gear up for homecoming and spirit week. The days are busy and the time flies! The people are pretty great and each day is different. I even had the privilege to chaperone a field trip to the Capitol last week—how awesome is that?! I’m also excited that I fall under “teacher category” and receive a discount at these places. Yay!


New Discoveries:

-I’m enjoying Guest of a Guest daily emails, although the D.C. updates are a little sparse. I wonder if they need a content writer?? A little superficial/petty/trivial/light-hearted entertainment. For example, they deemed that my engagement ring was the hottest trend of 2016. Cheers for oval diamonds and rose gold bands! And this article on SoulCycle is great.

Dirty Lemon Detox: I was intrigued when I read about this detox you order through a text message. There are 6 bottles per case and the ingredients are basic: lemon, water, ginger, dandelion, and activated charcoal. I’ve heard the benefits of charcoal are noteworthy. However, I think the detox drink could probably be imitated for half the price at home. I justified the purchase to Michael with “I don’t buy lunch out.” He didn’t “buy” it.


It’s time to set your DVRs for a few new recordings! I’m most excited about The Good Place with Kristen Bell (which premiered last night at 10PM) and Designated Survivor (September 21st, 10PM). A few other honorable mentions I’ll check to see if they’re season-long worthy viewing:

I’m also delighted to have Modern Family (9/21) Grey’s Anatomy (9/22) & Quantico (9/25) returning this week!

What show(s) are you tuning in for?

End Notes That Have Nothing To Do With One Another:

Nick Viall the new bachelor? (Insert eye roll.) He would NOT be my choice. Of course I’ll still watch it come January.

Chokers are making a fashion comeback and I’m not digging it.

Eleanor is camouflaging with the carpet.pookie

Happy Tuesday & soak up the last two days of summer!


Five Favorite Foods for Friday: Edition 2

Last FFFFF was a hit, so I figured another one would be welcomed!

First though, my parents came to visit us last weekend and we had such a good time with them! We showed them around our new house and all of the renovations we’ve added. I loved watching their faces as we did our own version of an HGTV reveal! We also went out to eat at a few of our favorite spots (Don Taco, Old Ebbitt Grill, & Landini Brothers), and I even managed to convince my dad and Michael to paint an accent wall behind our bed. I kept saying to Michael that we needed a bold color…like really bold, but he wasn’t convinced. I even had a dream one night that the wall was painted and I woke up convinced the wall had.to.be.painted. Plus we had a great coupon from Sherwin-Williams for 40% off! That alone is worth pulling out the brushes! Am I right or am I right?! Look, I’m just a girl with a dream and a coupon!

So on Saturday after the guys hit the gym and mom and I explored the farmers market and did a little shopping on King Street, they tackled the wall and an hour later, voila!

The before:


The after(!):


When I meant bold, I really meant bold! This color is a dark charcoal called “Peppercorn.” Normally I abide closely with my whites and greys, but oh I’m so obsessed with this wall. Almost nightly I exclaim, “I love this wall, don’t you love it!?”

Anyways, more pictures of our home to come!

Now on to the new foods you gotta try.

  1. Just Beets {aka Beet Chips} from Trader Joes ($2.99): These babies have ONE ingredient. You guessed it, beets! The crunch and flavor factor are perfection. unnamed-4
  2. The Best Ever Lentil Salad: I’ve made this twice now and I am already planning to make it again this weekend. The flavor combinations work so well together and the abundant leftovers hold great in the fridge. This is going to be my go-to at the next dinner party or potluck!
  3. Grilled Squash Prosciutto Skewers with Mint Sauce: This was a new recipe I tried this past weekend with my parents and it was a total success! Since we already had the grill going for steaks, we added these for an easy side dish with the lentils. YUM AND YUM.
  4. Figs: It’s no secret I’m a fig lover, especially this recipe using fresh figs!  But when my little darlings aren’t in season, dried figs come to the rescue. When I saw this huge bag of dried figs for $9.99 at Costco, I almost gave the bag a little hug as I put it in my cart. I love a fig or two with a small handful of almonds or cashews before a workout or for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up. Throwing one in a protein smoothie bowl is also a great addition!
  5. Double Chocolate Ice Cream with Peanut Butter Swirl: I decided to break out the ice cream maker and try this healthy (yes!) ice cream earlier this summer. With summer ending too soon, I’m thinking one more ice cream creation is a must.

    Photo Curtesy of Against All Grain

    Photo Courtesy of Against All Grain

That’s the top 5! Have you discovered anything new recently in the grocery or new recipes? Please comment and share!

Happy Weekend!

It’s Still a Gift.

Well, it’s official: I’m a full-time employee! Leisurely mornings and folding laundry while watching Hoda and Kathy Lee ramble on and on are ovahhh. Sure, it’s an adjustment being somewhere for a certain amount of hours a day, putting on makeup, and no longer living in leggings…but I’m truly grateful for this job—this gift.

Miss you KL & Hoda!

Miss you KL & Hoda!

I remember when I moved to Charleston: jobless, homeless, and unsure of what awaited. God provided everything! I found a place to live quickly, a new community, and a job with hospice at just the right time. I remember the “happen-chance” of finding the post for the job, interviewing, and receiving the generous offer. I was giddy with gratitude! I couldn’t stop thanking God for my job, a gift of provision from the Creator!

Now like any job, I had my learning curves, management changes, and tongue-biting moments. You know what I’m talking about! Towards the end of my time at my previous job, gearing up for my wedding and saying goodbye to Charleston, I had sunk into a pit of “jobitis.”

*Jobitis Defined: what seniors get their last year of high school, applicable for the job scene.

In one of my jobitis moments, I was full-throttle in inner-dialogue complaint-prayers. It would often start, “Lord. Oh lawwwwwd. Help me. HALP ME. Imma…”

{God interrupting me}: It’s still a gift.

I was immediately reminded of my joy, gratitude, excitement receiving the job initially. The fact that the job was a gift from God did not change, it was and always is a gift—just my attitude and outlook on it changed over time. Like any new shiny present, we are enamored at first with the newness of a gift. Wear and time play their roles and unless the gift is of true sentiment, most end up in the donations pile. Right when I was ready to donate my previous job to the donations pile, I was clearly reminded that I was to keep a grateful heart and remember God’s provision!

My new job is with a local high school as the Student Activities Coordinator. The details of the job (location, hours, salary, etc.) is a true reflection of God’s blessing, once again! All of my heart’s desires were both met and exceeded. True grace, true provision, and a true gift.

As I approach this job, I’m staying mindful that this job is a gift and it will always be a gift, even when I go in to work tired or even when the to-do list never ends.

Your job is still a gift!

Your spouse is still a gift!

Your housing is still a gift!

My dear friend Katie sent me a new job blessing from John O’Donohue’s book To Bless the Space Between Us. Because there are so many lines I love, I’ll pass it along to you today. Maybe you’re in new job, starting a new adventure, or just need a new attitude! Either way, cheers to grateful hearts and remembering our many blessings.


My Thoughts on Facebook Challenges (I’m looking at you, Love Your Spouse Challenge!)

I always see the trendy challenges going around on Facebook. You know them. Two years ago it was the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Someone would have them record dumping a bucket ice cold water on themselves to bring awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. If you got tagged in the post, you were either supposed to dump a bucket of cold H2O on yourself and/or make a donation to the ALS Association. I gotta admit something to you today. My Bali backpacking buddy, Stephanie, challenged me to the ALS challenge. Did I pour freezing water on myself? Nope. Notta. Not even an ice cube down the back. I’m also pretty sure I didn’t give a donation, if this post is about being honest. (Sorry Steph :D!)

So this year comes around and we see wives posting pictures of their husbands for the “Love Your Spouse Challenge”. From what I understand, it’s a seven day challenge where one posts memories and pictures with/of their spouse and then tags two people to do the challenge. Welp, I’ve been challenged by my dear Carolina and I smiled and decided to sit another challenge out. (Heh, sorry Carloyn!)


Then my mother-in-law challenged me to the Love Your Spouse Challenge and you bettah believe I’m going to post a picture of how much I love her dear son! Let’s just say you don’t refuse a woman who has given birth to and raised 4 boys and 1 girl!

Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 11.39.16 PM

So here we are on Day 1 of the Love Your Spouse Challenge and I want to share a picture of where it all started: Homecoming 2003. Apparently it was my Michael’s parents (known affectionally as Momma J and Red) who suggested to Michael that he take me for the homecoming dance! What’s even funnier is that years later, my parents suggested I marry Michael!

Homecoming 2003

Now that leaves me to give you my honest thoughts on these challenges. With all of the fuss over politics, heartbreaking terrorist acts, and racial divisions, we need as much love, positivity, and celebration as possible! One scroll through Facebook has an abundance of opinions, frustrations, and alienations from one another. On the same thread, there are engagements, weddings, baby gender reveals, new job announcements, and vacations left and right.

Cynicism is an easy trap to fall in, often getting annoyed by trends or someone else’s happy news, but the REAL challenge is to celebrate, honor, and embrace all of the GOOD and JOY and LOVE. Amen?! Life is too short and life is too precious to live in pessimism and world-weariness. So friends (and friends of friends), post as many pictures of your sweet baby you want! Keep raising awareness for the organizations you’re passionate about! Shout from the rooftops how much you love your spouse!

I love this reminder from Philippians 4:8:

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

And now for my final part of the Love Your Spouse Challenge: the part where I get to challenge two more people to participate! Now I’ve noticed the trend is to tag another two women…but I don’t see gender specific rules. So therefore I’d like to see two men post some love for their wives. First up: my own brother Brandon Hawkins!


For kicks and giggles, the second man I’ll tag to the challenge is none other than my own husband, Michael Smith! Uh huh, yep. Show me some love sweet husband! How do you refuse the woman you share a bed with every night?!

Cheers dear friends! Keep celebrating. Keep tagging. Keep spreading love. Our world desperately needs it. Happy Friday!

Five Foodie Favorites for Friday!

I’m savoring my last bit of “retirement” before I start my new job in August! You know, sleeping in, working out mid-morning, eating a leisurely breakfast, making smoothie bowls for lunch, and taking “Eleanor” breaks during chores and errands to give my girl a backstretch and chin scratch.

Chin scratches = Eleanor smiles

Chin scratches = Eleanor smiles

With this time off, I’ve also had the time to stroll the grocery for new finds and create a some recipes that you should know about. Here are five foodie favorites for Friday! (See what I did there? ;-)) (Are you now thinking I’ve had too much time off and need to get back to work? Michael, that question is rhetorical and not for you. :-* kiss kiss.)

Breakfast: Egg whites, one egg cooked medium, asparagus, mini heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, salt & pepper. Holy moly. (Oatmeal on the side, because well, oatmeal er’day.)


Elderflower tea: This stuff is gold. Naturally sweet, non-caffeinated, and perfect warm or chilled.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 9.49.12 AM

Popcorn with truffle oil & grated parmesan: I’ve been on a big popcorn kick lately! Michael doesn’t seem to mind when I bring a big bowl of stove-popped popcorn, cooked in coconut oil and topped with a drizzle (heh, ok few globs) of truffle oil and grated parmesan throughout the bowl. You should see us battle for the extra cheesy pieces. Ain’t pretty.


Giant green smoothie bowls: These beauties are made with 1 cup of Califia Farms toasted coconut almond milk, 1/2 frozen banana, lots of handfuls of kale & spinach, wheatgrass powder, Orgain organic protein powder (found at Costco!), fresh mint, and a few handfuls of ice. Blend, bowl, toppings galore. #healthyfroyofix

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 10.01.57 AM

CAVA: This is probably our favorite new restaurant we’ve discovered since moving here! Imagine a Mediterranean version of Chipotle. Greens, grains, lentils, pita bread, hummus galore, chicken or lamb, quinoa, feta, olives, mint, pickled vegetables, extra sauce…ALL IN ONE BOWL. The CAVA experience isn’t over. They have these fresh juices that are SO SO SO good. Some creations include strawberry mint, apple cardamon, lavender lemonade, carrot ginger…mmmhmm. For those not in the DC area, sorry, truly sorry. As of now they’re only around here (and in the DC airports) and one soon premiering in NYC, but I have a feeling the chain is going to be nationwide because they are THAT good. Danny & Kaitlyn, double date to CAVA when y’all get up here!


Photo curtesy of CAVA

Photo curtesy of CAVA


Photo curtesy of CAVA

With that, what are some of your favorite foodie finds that I need to know about?

Happy Friday!

Unpacking, a New Job, & Life in NoVA!

Y’all. Let’s be honest: my blogging game has been off. Like… “Here’s a post, miss you/love you, bye Felicia!” About that…

We’ve moved for the billionth time in one year to our new home in Alexandria, VA! Because we are here to stay, we’ve been in full “set-up-life” mode. Unpacking, trying way too many restaurants, delaying the inevitable DMV visit, and hitting up a few Nationals baseball games! Michael has been busy with his work while I’ve been teaching at Pure Barre Alexandria, on the hunt for a job (digging through 1,000 indeed job posts…writing cover letters galore), making too many trips to Homegoods, and did I mention unpacking? Hanging picture by picture, tacking one storage dilemma at a time, and wondering when my husband will unpack his remaining three suitcases of clothes. Which always follows up with, “WHY DO YOU HAVE SO MANY CLOTHES?!” To be fair, he questions why I need so many pictures/decorations/kitchen gadgets/…and a cat.



For only being here two months, we’ve transitioned with such ease. I’m excited to share that I’m going back to high school! All of the job searching has paid off: I’ve accepted a position at a local high school as the Student Activities Coordinator, helping organize clubs, retreats, and planning major events like homecoming, prom, and graduation. I’ll also be ahead of the yearbook and work with students everyday to create the yearly masterpiece! Sounds like everything I actually did as a student in high school!😉. This job is truly an answer to prayer!

We’ve been visiting a local church since we’ve moved here and have had every intention to “church hop” to find the right one for us, but we keep going back to this one because the messages have been so excellent. And finally, we have loved getting reacquainted with old friends who have lived in the area, as well as meeting new ones! So far, life in northern Virginia…errr “NoVA” has welcomed us with open arms. Even Eleanor seems to be fully content in her new home, making the most of the unpacking mess!



Walking to Pure Barre at 5:30AM...up with the street lamps!

Walking to Pure Barre at 5:30AM…up with the street lamps!

With that, I’m off to go take a morning nap. I took a 5:45am platform class at Pure Barre and then taught the 7am… and whew, I.IS.TIYAHD. (I’m tired). Don’t worry, it won’t be Autumn the next time you hear from me. I’ve been compiling a few of my favorite finds that are so great, I have to share!


P.S. Last night’s dinner was chipotle barbacoa tacos (in lettuce wraps) and my oh my. I’m once again reminded that these babies are insanely delicious!



Goodbye Isn’t for the Faint of Heart

After graduating high school, I’ve had the joy to attend college in Florida, grad school in North Carolina, and then spend a couple of magical years in South Carolina. After Michael and I were reunited, we were married in Virginia, moved to Memphis for about 6 weeks for him to finish a job, and then were routed to Johnson City, TN! We’ve spent the majority of our first year of marriage here in Johnson City and Asheville, NC, as I’ve found my Pure Barre family there. {Whew, I’m exhausted just writing about all of those moves!} unnamed-1

With each place I’ve had the privilege of calling home, I made a sweet community of new friends, established a sisterhood of energetic Zumba devotees, and found my favorite restaurants, thrift stores, walking trails, and “nested” each home. When each season came to a close, I had the stark reality of how heavy a goodbye feels and the reminder that leaving a community isn’t for the faint of heart.

Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 9.18.04 PM

I’ve carried my experiences, long lasting friendships, a cat, and a whole lot of boxes from place to place. Honestly, I feel so blessed to reflect on all of the life I’ve been living! It certainly outweighs the ache of leaving, but the reality of “goodbye” is always a gut-punch and heart-twister. Maybe my personality tends to being more sensitive to these moves, but either way, I have no regrets embracing each community with a heart wide-open.pb

With that, we have another move on the horizon to the DC area! Michael and I are moving to the heart of Old Town Alexandria, VA the first week of May and this time, we are unpacking all of the boxes, hanging pictures, and planting roots. We are going there to stay! We will be living 8 miles from the President! There’s a sweet relief knowing that we can build a community with intention and do so without fear that a potential goodbye is looming. This is truly a gift to us as we enter into our second year of marriage!



As excited as we are to move to our new house and get into the grove of city life, we are truly going to miss Johnson City & Asheville. The Wellness Center has been a beautiful place to workout and meet some awesome people. To the ladies who’ve been faithful to come to my Zumba class, my goodness I am so overwhelmed with your consistent smiling faces and shakin’ booty moves! Your energy has been contagious! To my sweet friends at Pure Barre, woah, thank you for embracing me with wide-open (toned) arms from day 1! I am truly so humbled. Oh my, I am going to miss Adriel’s bootcamp at Real Hot Yoga on Saturday mornings. That class is salvation through buckets of sweat! Then there are the gorgeous mountain views and local breweries (Johnson City Brewery, we will miss you the most–please send growlers!!). Michael and I will be planning weekend get-aways to the area to get our fresh air and crisp brews fix.




Goodbyes aren’t easy but we are blessed to carry the sweet memories, friendships made, and lessons we’ve learned from our jobs and first year of marriage with us to our new city. Thank you Johnson City and Asheville for being so welcoming to us! Cheers to a new adventure!