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!

This & That Update!

Hello!

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.

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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.

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Auntie Shea & Troy

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Evie Elise Stevenson

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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!

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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.

TV:

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!

 

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.

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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!

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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!

XO.

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!

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Family, Friends, Food, & Eeyore Eleanor: A Few October Highlights!

October flew, didn’t it!? Ours was packed!

The month started off with a mini surgery and whew, all is good now. I’m so grateful for health!

Michael & I headed to Blacksburg to brave the rain and watch the Hokies beat N.C. State. It was fun to see family and friends!
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Kristen came by the house for a few hours on a random Wednesday morning and oh goodness, it made me miss our childhood days SO much. Without fail, we would have a sleepover at least one night of every.single.weekend!

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The following week my momma came to visit for a few nights before my dad flew out to meet us. We went hiking, shopping, to the movies to see The Intern, and of course to the gym for a few solid workouts! We also took a tour of Michael’s current project, fully equipped with hardhats, safety glasses, and fashionable vests. Dad’s in the background photo bombing!

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Scattered throughout the month, Michael and I had a few dates around Johnson City. We enjoyed the outdoor firepit at Yee-Haw Brewing Co., went to see The Martian, tried the new Portico location, and indulged with some chicken & waffles from this very eclectic little homestyle restaurant called Salt N Pepper!

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I’ve been keeping busy with my Asheville trips to teach at Pure Barre and keeping up a good sweat with my Zumba classes at our local gym. The drives to/from Asheville are so pretty!

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I’ve been enjoying my slower mornings reading a few of my devotional books, as well as finishing Brene Brown’s new book Rising Strong. SO good!

My iTunes have been replaying Amanda Cook’s new CD Brave New World and Adele’s new single, Hello.

On the TV side, the DVR has been set to watching Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, The Voice, and Quantico.

Michael and I closed the month with dressing up our cat. Meet “Eeyore Eleanor”! She was depressed wearing her costume…just like Eeyore! (HA! Can’t get enough of this!)

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I can’t believe we are already in November. It’s started out positive with the leaves still full in their glory and I’m trying to embrace the time change with a positive attitude! This letter helped…

“On tap” for November: we are looking forward to celebrating with our friends Kat & Eric over at Johnson City Brewing Company’s  for their one year anniversary! Also for this month, I’m delighted to take more Asheville trips along with belting out Adele’s new CD (eekkk!!!). I’m eager to see The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 and Love The Coopers. Literature side, I am finishing up Barbara Brown Taylor’s Learning to Walk in the Dark and will soon start Sarah Bessey’s Out of SortsWe are anticipating a trip to RVA for Thanksgiving and of course snuggling up fireside as the weather chills the mountain air! OH, and eating bourbon pecan pie. BOURBON PECAN PIE!

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What highlights stand out from your October? What are you looking forward to this November? Favorite Thanksgiving dessert?

Cheers to a new, cozy month!

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This-n-Thats.

I could write about a bazillion different things but let’s be honest, ain’t no body got time for that. (P.S. Michael just introduced me to the youtube video from where that originates. Heh, late bloomer?) So I bring you some random this-n-that’s.

Katherine Heigl’s character’s name is “Charleston Tucker” on her new show State of Affairs. I loooooove the name!

Eleanor has been OBSESSED with this ribbon. It’s cute super annoying because she wants to play ALL.THE.TIME. Sure Eleanor, I’m ready to drag it around the house for your entertainment…who cares it’s 3am. I love her too much to take it away. I threw it in the trash a week ago and my roommate got it out. Eleanor is enamored with it.

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$2.55 for gas? Yes.please.thank you!

Honeycrisp apple + pomegranate seeds + a wee bit of Trader Joe’s Honey Goat Cheese on top of salad greens = winning.

My favorite movie as a child was “Cinderella”. I am a giddy 5-year-old watching this preview. Is it March yet?!

3 days until Michael comes to visit! THREE.DAYS.

I had the best sandwich of my life from Tattooed Moose called “The Thanksgiving Sammy”. In case you were wondering, it’s made of “herb roasted turkey, cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce, mayo & crispy onions on toasted wheat served with a side of gravy for dippin’!” I’ve thought of that sandwich every single day since I tried it 11 days ago.

The Hunger Games Mockingjay this weekend!

Nordstrom really does have the best customer service. Kuddos!

A Post In Which I Overload You on Pictures of Eleanor

It’s National Cat Day! MEOW & Hooray! My friend recently pointed out that Eleanor hasn’t made much of an appearance on Bird’s Nest since the boyfriend has come into the scene. Nevertheless, Eleanor is still my fur child and worth giving a shout out for this Cat Day! As you will see, Eleanor has a knack for sleeping on bags or my clothes, a solid watch cat (in which she let’s me know someone is coming to the door by her dart reaction to take cover), the cutest sleeper, and hoping to land her first TV gig as the next cat bachelorette. Folks, I now overload you with pictures of Eleanor :). IMG_1051 IMG_2312 IMG_1481 IMG_4218 1016288_4876738447715_151094956_n IMG_3798 IMG_4062 IMG_3178 IMG_3242 IMG_0066

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!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ELEANOR!!!

If we are Facebook friends, Instagram buds, or followers of one another on Twitter, y’all know 70% of my pictures surround my girl, Eleanor. I can’t help it. I judge myself how much I post pictures of my cat, ok?!

Today is no different, ‘cuz baby girl turns three!!! According to a cat years calculator, she is 28. So now it’s a little awkward at home when she thinks she can rule the house.

For example:

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But today is her birthday and I’ll let her be the princess on the throne:

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And I won’t even get upset when she spies on the neighbors.

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I’ll let her curl up and take as many naps as she wants…

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And I will give her lots of chin scratches, because she loves it.

538145_4214653616008_1490458293_nI won’t even question, “POOKIE! What the hell are you doing?!?!”

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I’ll just give his girl lots of hugs (before she darts away from me) and say “HAPPY BIRTHDAY, ELEANOR!”
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