Saying Goodbye to my 20’s!

#30/30

I’m writing this post on May 4th, 2017 at 10:30PM, my 30th post of 30 posts, just right before I turn 30 in an hour and a half. It feels slightly surreal ending a decade and entering into another.

Here’s my top ten of my 20’s:

  1. Moving 8 times within 10 years!
  2. Going to my dream school, Southeastern University.
  3. Backpacking Europe with Amy & Starting Bird’s Nest. From that, discovering a new passion for writing.
  4. Traveling to other countries like Israel, Nicaragua, Mexico, Bali, Thailand, and China!
  5. Pursuing my Master of Divinity at Wake Forest School of Divinity and being so so so happy to finish school!
  6. Eleanor, because that’s my girl.
  7. Moving to Charleston without a job or place to live, but it turned out to be one of the best decisions I made in my 20’s.
  8. Of my 20’s, I think 26 is still my favorite year.
  9. Working in hospice was one of the most valuable experiences I’ve had. Learning as a young person to live an abundant life without regrets, centered around Jesus, has been life changing.
  10. The biggest decision I made as a 20-something: Michael & getting back together, engaged, and married!

What a decade! I am so incredibly blessed. There’s been hard seasons- seasons of depression, a lot of work with school, and growing in everyway possible- but all of it has been a sheer gift from a loving and faithful God. I’m so blessed to have the family and friends I do, the community I have both near and far, and that I get to live this life. It’s humbling.

Cheers to my 20’s!

2 Years in Charleston & a 2014 Recap

It’s my 2-year anniversary in Charleston! Last year I wrote this love story about Chuck. Hindsight really is something else. I smile at the memory of that roadtrip down here, the days searching for a place to nest, and the many Dunleavy’s wings consumed because I fell in love with them right away and used the excuse that I didn’t have a “proper working kitchen.”

The first year was a beautiful collection of tasting and knowing risk and reward. I grew into the person I’ve been called to be and wanted to be. My second year let me settle comfortably into this town for a hot second…and then I reconnected with Michael and the year flew!

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I look back at 2014 and am still wondering if there was actually a summer! (There was, I just checked.) There were so many trips taken, countdowns counted, and not nearly enough beach visits as I wanted. Between work during the day, the gym at night, and every few weeks traveling to see Michael, 2014 blurred by!

I’m not complaining though. I threw out my old slippers (that I’ve had since 5th grade……………), got mom to take a selfie with me, tried my first “hot-off-the-belt” donut, and adored the holidays with family!

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Other highlights of 2014: I traveled to Bali, embarked upon a new writing project, had (and still have) an obsession with oatmeal, and party-it-up’d celebrating my friends’ weddings…2014 was sweet! Anhhh… and my favorite highlight of 2014: getting engaged this year!Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 8.11.16 PM

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2015 is going to be amazing. Amidst the wedding plans, honeymoon, and marrying Michael, how could it be anything less than awesome? Sure, a tad (understatement) stressful but it’s a gift and the adventure is wild! I’m humbly grateful.

I have a feeling in two years, I’ll look back at this season of my life and smile with the same endearment as I do to 2013-Shea. Hindsight will be a better view then, but right now I’m living in the moment and focusing on soaking up every precious day I have. It’s an abundant life and God is so faithful! Cheers to 2015!

Weekend Review

Hey You!

Did you have a good weekend? What did you do? The weather was amazing here in Charleston, as were the friends I spent time with and the food I created.

My friend Brandy is moving from back to Dallas soon (sad face) so on Friday night she and I went to Sesame for some burgers and caught a late night movie (Best of Me). On Saturday we celebrated her new adventure at The Alley for a little 80s-style bowling. My favorite quote from her this weekend, “I’m convinced the hole in our o-zone layer is from all of the hairspray used in the 80s!”

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I slept in until 9am on Saturday (9am!!!) and had the best breakfast. My version of PB&J old-fashioned oatmeal with hemp heart seeds and pink raspberries (I’ve never seen these before!) annnnnd a slice of whole-grain toast, asparagus, watercress greens, and a poached egg! Now before you go thinking I’m a super chef making poached eggs, I learned from A Pinch of Yum. Sitting on the front porch eating these creations made it even better.

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Other food honorable mentions: I made this kale/pomegranate/walnut/feta/rice salad (amazing) and created a homemade grilled buffalo chicken pizza…lightened up of course ;).

  • 1 multi-grain Flatout
  • 3oz of shredded organic chicken breast mixed w/1 teaspoon of Franks Hot Sauce
  • Nonfat plain Greek Yogurt mixed w/1 teaspoon of ranch seasoning
  • diced celery, orange pepper, garlic
  • 1 slice of low fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of blue cheese crumbles
  • Franks Hot Sauce drizzled

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When I wasn’t hanging with friends or cooking/eating, I hit up Pure Barre for a little lift-tone-burn, went to my neighborhood park to play around with the basketball, and ran a few miles. I smelled that “autumn fire burning” scent and loved every ounce of the sunshine.

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Both the church sermon and my small group discussions were good for the soul. Something that the pastor said has been on repeat in my head all day: “I will experience challenges far beyond my own strength. God doesn’t want me to be contempt or satisfied with past events of God’s faithfulness but practice faith daily in the challenges to see a faithful God.”

Good stuff, yeah?

Have an awesome Monday!

August Recap

I’m shocked at how quickly August has come and gone. Seriously…what happened? I’ve had to go through my iPhone photos to recall where I spent  the time. (I have an on-going joke with just about anyone who says, “Do you remember when we…” in which I usually respond, “Did we take a picture there? If not, no!”) Anywho, a little recap on the month of August.unnamed-6

It started with a trip to Memphis to see my main squeeze! We tried out some new water sports and soaked up some quality time together (which never seems like enough).

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The following weekend was celebrating my college roomie/girl’s-weekend-partner-in-crime/dear friend, Helen! We threw her a Charleston style bachelorette party that was filled with a buncha-stuff I shall not mention…but weeeeeee haaaaaaad fuuuuuuun!

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Time in Charleston never gets old—this city is still magical to me. I keep a pretty boring day-to-day with my day job, workouts, and grilling obsessions, but it’s a sweet life here and there’s not a day that goes by I don’t express some form of gratitude to live here! Oh, and Eleanor keeps things pretty entertaining at home. (Side note, can you spot the upside-down man in the picture? He was there for a solid 5 minutes just hanging there.)

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A brief trip to Virginia happened in the later part of this month to attend Abby & Tyler’s wedding! When Michael and I dated 10 years ago, I remember hanging out with Abby (Michael’s little sister) on occasion for some girl time. She was 13…and now she’s a married woman! It was such a sweet weekend to celebrate the couple and enjoy a full weekend with the Smith family!

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A bonus to going home for the wedding was being able to celebrate my mom’s birthday! Words cannot describe how proud I am of that woman. She has had one helluva year and has taken every challenge that came her way and proven how strong she is and how much love and grace she beholds. Her latest adventure has been dedicating her time to writing down her personal story to turn into a book! Her humble writing space about tore me to pieces when I saw two TV trays pushed together for a make-shift desk, nestled in the corner of her bedroom. I mean honestly, how precious is that?! Momma, you inspire me daily. Thank you for being my role-model and pursuing your dreams! Happiest birthday and cheers to the best year yet!

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I’m rounding out the rest of August out this weekend r.e.l.a.x.i.n.g. and perhaps binge watching a few Breaking Bad episodes (in between FaceTime with Michael, cleaning, cooking, gym time, and a few crafts!) Cheers to a 3 day weekend!

26: Trips, Food, & Love

I’m going to make a bold statement: Age 26 was the best year of my life thus far. I mean…it was epic.

26 was a year of continuing to become the person I’ve always wanted to be. There were a lot of disappointments, but some incredible lessons in love. I’m learning daily how to clumsily love better, both God and others…and trying to receive daily grace and love from God and others. It’s been a beautiful year and I am eager to see what 27 will bring. I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of change and growth. I truly believe the years are just getting better and sweeter!

A few highlights from being 26:

1. I shredded some “extra Shea” through Advocare and being really passionate about exercise and the science of food intake working for the body.

2. On my 26th Birthday, I started Pure Barre took a total of 210 classes within one year! Lift, Tone, Burn, baby!

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3. I could eat raw foods, salads, veggies, and protein alllllll day long but have had a slight obsession with bourbon pecan pie, french toast, and TCBY Fro-Yo this year.

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4. I went to my first (and probably last) night club in Miami, FL. I think I had the gist of it within 30 seconds!

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5. My family and I took a mountain side vacation together to Lake Lure, NC

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6. I celebrated my one year Charleston anniversary with lots of friends and food

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7. Ice and snow shut down Charleston for a couple of days!

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8. Helen and I went skiing for the first time for one of our girls’ weekends!

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9. Stephanie and I ventured to the other side of the world to Bali, Indonesia and had some incredible experiences!

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10. Saving the best highlight for last… being reunited with my high school sweetheart, Michael! We dated 10 years ago and after a lot of growing up for the both of us, I am so grateful to call him both best friend and boyfriend.

1625630_10201720682290211_4899466001597001571_nCheers to another year ahead!

 

The Charleston Adventure Has Begun, Recap of Week One

We are already into the middle of January—can you believe that?? I still haven’t posted my “2013 Wish List” (my version of a resolution list), but I’ve been a little busy MOVING!

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Leaving Chester, VA towards Charleston, SC on Monday, January 7, 2013!

I’ve been here in Charleston for exactly one week and it’s already been filled with SO many adventures! For example: seeing my awesome cousin and her husband a few times, driving around getting lost and lost-er…and looking at house, after apartment, after townhome, after condo, after a spot under the bridge where I thought I could reside if all else fails…

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Truthfully, I’ve been a little sticker-shocked at how expensive it is to live here. After 3 days of driving around town looking for “rent” signs, I was feeling a little defeated, a little homesick, and a whole lotta missing Eleanor (She’s staying with my parents until I could find a place to live).

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After a mini boohoo moment on Thursday with my mom on the phone, she helped me put a few things into perspective, prayed with me, and told me to give myself a break…I had only been there for 3 days! She was right (as usual), and Friday was a new day. This weekend was incredible: more time with my cousin, unbelievably gorgeous high 70s weather, beach walks, and…….finding the cutest place to rent! I cannot wait to show you pictures! Before and after to come!

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Sneak peek of my new place! YES, that is a farm sink!

Sneak peek of my new place! YES, that is a farm sink!

Other highlights of the first week:

  • -Learning that one wrong turn can take you to a different island!
  • -I’ve already made a couple of friends
  • -On Sunday I visited a church and really liked it
  • -Justin Timberlake has come out with new music!!!! Remember when I was hoping for that a few months ago?! WAHOO!
  • -Cheez-Its (made with whole grain) have been a few meals for me (pinching pennies!)
  • -Adventures in life are exciting and worth the risk. I’ve had to give myself a few pep talks and remind myself to be brave.

More to come on this transition. I’m still keeping a hushed word on my job here…but I promise to announce soon! Until then, I’ll close with my favorite lines from My Brightest Diamond’s song, “Be Brave

Be brave dear one,

Be changed or be undone

Be brave dear one,

Be changed or be undone