Category Archives: Five on Friday

Five on Friday

When we moved to South Dakota, one of the things that I missed most about North Carolina was simply my day-to-day life. Those were things I didn’t document because I didn’t even realize at the time that they were “things”. So I’m bringing back Five on Friday, because I’ve enjoyed looking back at them, and I’m sure that one day I will also miss my stage of life, and day-to-day life in this moment, too.


I feel like I have been doing nothing except traveling since October. I had a work trip to Minneapolis at the end of October, we have made several trips to Iowa, one weekend trip to our beloved Deadwood, and I went back to North Carolina for a dear friend’s wedding. While I’m feeling inspired by all of the traveling that I’ve been doing, I’m also exhausted, and I’m really looking forward to a laid back 4-day weekend for Christmas. We are planning lots of food, football, and kitty cuddles. My mom might even make the trip to spend Christmas with us this year. Next weekend it’s back to Iowa again for Mitchell’s family Christmas.

The picture quality is poor, but it resembles all of the different weather conditions I’ve had while traveling in the past few months!


It’s no secret to those who are close to me that our transition to South Dakota was a rough one for me. I picked up the book This is Where You Belong and it has honestly been life changing. It has taken me several months to read because I have to keep putting it down to process the information because I relate so completely to everything she talks about.


It has been about 2 years since I’ve seen real, legit, full-on snow, and I was so excited to experience a real Midwest winter again. That excitement didn’t last long after driving 8 hours in bad road conditions, though! We are expecting a blizzard Christmas Day, though, and with no plans I am so excited to drink hot tea (or maybe some wine) and enjoy it from my couch.


One of my best friends from North Carolina got married last month, and I was so honored to be a part of her big day. I love getting to go to the rehearsal, get your hair and makeup done, and be a part of something so special – it’s like being behind the scenes of something most people don’t get to experience. And being back in North Carolina felt so comforting to me; when I was flying into Raleigh, it felt like I was just flying back home from visiting. It fills my heart to have so many places to call “home”, and so many special people in each of those places.


Mitchell and I have planned our first (hopefully of many) trips to Europe together! We will be traveling to Barcelona in April as we discovered a good deal on flights that we just couldn’t pass up (I mean, literally my flight to North Carolina for the wedding was more expensive than the ones we found to Barcelona – how could we say no?!). I have been planning and pinterest-ing and dreaming of Barcelona – I am so excited! Have you been to Barcelona? What would you recommend?

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Five on Friday

We have really been laying low in preparation for the upcoming month of travel. Last weekend, we went to Wilmington and ate at The Melting Pot and to the mall there, since it’s a lot bigger than the one we have here in Jacksonville. As always, Sundays are for football! This weekend, much of the same is planned: catching up on cleaning and laundry so that we can [hopefully] come home to a clean house after Thanksgiving!

Insert: Random picture of our cat, who is posing so stoic for me

Insert: Random picture of our cat, who is posing so stoic for me

Right now, the University of Iowa is 10-0 in football for the first time in school history. While I am an Iowa State fan, I am pretty proud and excited for Iowa’s football team. It is one of those things that makes me so proud to be from Iowa! We will be watching the game this weekend at Buffalo Wild Wings, and I never imagined that I’d be going out of my way to watch an Iowa game. I cannot believe I’m saying this, but GO HAWKS! Plus, I really want one of these ugly sweaters! Now if only my Dallas Cowboys could win a game….

Our two cats love to play (when they are not sleeping 23 hours a day) and we have been getting a lot of packages in the mail from our Christmas purchases. We took a few of the boxes and made them little cat houses out of them, and they couldn’t be happier. Also, their favorite toys are not the ones we buy, but rather when we tear up little pieces of paper. Redneck central, but it saves us money!


Speaking of lots of packages in the mail, I do pretty much all of my shopping online – from my clothes, to the new vacuum we needed last month. I tend to find the best deals online, and I almost never buy anything unless it is on sale. If you haven’t heard of ebates, I encourage you to sign up. It is a website that gives you a certain percentage of money back for shopping at specific stores online. So, before shopping online, you would go to ebates, click on your store of choice, and automatically receive 3% back (the percentages vary from store to store) of your total purchase – it is so simple! It gets paid to you via paypal or a check four times per year. This quarter just started for me about a month ago, and I’m already up to $50 while my lifetime cashback is over $200; I think I’ve been doing it for about 1 ½ years. If you sign up here, I will get a bonus for referring you, and you’ll also get a $10 sign on bonus in the form of a gift card after your first purchase.

Ebates, I love you so much

Ebates, I love you so much

Yesterday, Walgreens had a great sale on personalized desk calendars (I told you I’m a sucker for sales) so I picked one up for my office. I was in the process of picking out pictures for each month of the calendar when it occurred to me how much Mitchell and I have traveled together this year! I know we haven’t exactly been sitting still, but it was special to see it physically in front of me all at once. I feel so thankful for this journey, and for our travels together. Thank you for following me on this journey.

We kicked off our year of travel with a bang on a family cruise in January 2015.

We kicked off our year of travel with a bang on a family cruise in January 2015.


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Five on Friday

It’s been a while since I have done a Five on Friday! I am excited to share this week because a lot has been going on!

1.Three weeks ago, Mitchell and I finally got to go to the mountains to check out the fall colors. If you’ve been following along, you know that we love the Bryson City/Cherokee area of North Carolina, and we were anxious to return to see the change of the leaves.  We had a fantastic time, and could not have planned a better weekend to go – the leaves were perfect despite my fears that we were going too early/too late. Stay tuned for a much more in-depth post about our weekend in the mountains, but for now, I will leave you with this preview:

On the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina

2. I was a cheerleader in high school, and one of my favorite memories from all of high school was going to state in football my senior year (actually, if I’m being honest, it probably is one of my favorite memories ever). It was such an exciting time, because it had been a very long time since the football team had made it to state, and the entire community was so excited (nothing like football in a small town). It was exactly ten years ago that I was there (where does time go?!), and was my alma mater’s first time back! They didn’t win, but the whole community is so proud of them, as they should be. And here’s a throwback for you from state exactly 10 years ago 😉

Cheerleading 2006

That’s quite a nervous smile! May I also point out how much picture quality has changed since 2005? This definitely was not taken with a camera phone 😉

3. It is going to be a travel-filled end of 2015, and I can’t think of a better way to end the year. In two weeks, we are headed to Florida to visit Mitchell’s family for Thanksgiving and I’m going to go back to Iowa the week before Christmas to celebrate with my family. I’ll be back in North Carolina before Christmas to spend the holidays with Mitchell. In the middle of the holidays, we will be celebrating that in Nashville. And finally, we are planning on renting a cabin in Gatlinburg for New Years Eve. I’m so excited for all that is to come!

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Last time we were in Florida was 1 year ago in December. I couldn’t have imagined at the time how my life was about to change!

4. I mentioned that we recently went to Washington, D.C. for the weekend. We had so much fun, and the more I visit, the more I fall in love with the city. Stay tuned for a more in-depth post, but we hit up the Holocaust Museum and the Newseum with lots of walking around and exploring in between.

Washington, D.C.

5. It’s been a while since I’ve read a good book. Since Mitchell got back from Iowa a month ago, we’ve been on the go pretty much non-stop. However, our visit to the Holocaust Museum has motivated me to finally pick up Anne Frank’s book. I am really embarrassed that I haven’t read this book yet; I’ve picked it up a few times, but never managed to read it all the way through. In middle school, I read Night by Elie Wiesel and it was fantastic. I think I might pick up that one and read it again

Since we have so many travel plans coming up, we are going to be pretty low-key this weekend. We have some local fun activities planned for next weekend, though, so stay tuned because I’m so excited!


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Five on Friday

It has been a particularly few hectic weeks at work. I think it’s starting to finally wind down a little bit, but one of my co-workers shared this the other day, and it really made me laugh. I wouldn’t trade my choice of career for the world, and I absolutely love it but you really have to have a sense of humor to survive. Laughter is what helps me get through the day.

Blue Ridge Parkway

As I mentioned last week, we are off to the mountains this weekend! We plan to make the 5ish hour drive after work on Friday. We plan to ride the train out of Bryson City on Saturday, followed by a short hike to a waterfall, then maybe drive the Blue Ridge Parkway again if it isn’t cloudy (I am bound and determined to catch a sunset from the Parkway one of these times!). Of course, we will be fitting in some casino time and a couple drinks as well. We will be driving back on Sunday so it’s just a short trip, but I took Monday off of work to recuperate 😉

Blue Ridge Parkway

We went to the North Carolina State Fair on Saturday! I will devote an entire post to this later, but we had a great time. It was the first time ever going to a state fair outside of Iowa for both of us. We ate a lot of good food, rode a couple of rides, played a couple of games, and had a great time.


You may already know that we are big Cowboys fans, and even though I’m afraid we might be in for a long season, we love football and spend most of the day watching it in our sweatpants. We also have a tradition to make snack food and eat all day long. This weekend I made broccoli cheese soup, buffalo chicken dip, and these peanut butter balls. The peanut butter balls were a new recipe, and not only were they so easy to make, but they were to die for! I really don’t like baking (too tedious for me) but this is going to be my go-to for dessert, and I’m going to make them for Thanksgiving when we head to Florida to visit Mitchell’s family.


Today is the 32nd anniversary of the Beirut bombing. Here in Jacksonville, they have a memorial which I have visited a couple of different times. I just wanted to take a minute to remember all of the sacrifices that have been made so that we may live the lives that we are accustomed to.

Beruit Memorial in Jacksonville, North Carolina


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Five on Friday

Five On Friday!

Mitchell has been back in Iowa for about a week now, and will be coming back home on Sunday. His trip back to Iowa coincided with my mom going back home from visiting me, so not only did I have to return to the real world after a relaxing and wonderful vacation with my mom, but I also had to return to an empty house. I must admit that although I love having the house to myself (honestly, when will I ever be completely alone for one full week again?), I miss him and I’m so excited for him to be home!


Hard to believe this was just 8 days ago. I hardly remember what the sun looks like!

Earlier this week, we were anticipating Hurricaine Joaquin this weekend; it looks like she’s going to be too far away from us to do much, which I’m thankful for. It would have been my first hurricane, and I was pretty nervous all week. I’m looking forward to a weekend of sweatpants, pumpkin-flavored coffee, and snuggling up on the couch with my cats and a good book. And, of course, I’ll be traveling to Raleigh (assuming Mother Nature allows it) to pick up Mitchell from the airport on Sunday.


This is the most accurate forecast I’ve seen so far

Anchors. I love anchors. I loved anchors before they were cool. I have an anchor tattoo with a chip in it, which symbolizes the inability to stay in one place for too long/the inability to be tied down (translation: travel). I had met someone in Key West who had a similar anchor tattoo, and told me of its meaning and I knew right then and there that this was the exact tattoo I was meant to have. Not only do I love anchors (I have really enjoyed my time working for the navy), but Key West is my favorite place in the world (where I got the idea), and of course, the meaning behind it sealed the deal.


I got the tattoo with my mom and sister, and this was right when it was fresh. Ignore the nasty shoes I’m wearing – I didn’t even realize those were the shoes I was wearing until my sister took this picture, ha.

So anytime I’m shopping and see something with an anchor on it, I usually have to have it. Well, on vacation in a beach town, that isn’t hard to find. So I went a little crazy and added to my collection! I am not used to having endless opportunities of anchor stuff. And, I must add this confession: I really didn’t need that tote because I also have an obsession with totes, and I have way too many already. But I loved it too much to pass up!


The bottom left bag matches the beach tote my best friends gave me perfectly, and it will be perfect for storing things I don’t want to get sandy, like my Nook, phone, keys, ect and the one on the top is going to be my new makeup bag


This might be kind of cheesy, but I started 100 Days of Happiness on my Instagram. Before vacation, I was in a horrible funk. I was really negative and downright miserable. I love living in North Carolina, but sometimes my job really sucks (just like anyone else’s) and not having as many friends to vent to at Happy Hour after work takes a toll. Thankfully, vacation left me feeling refreshed and to keep that feeling and to stay in the right mind frame, I decided to join my co-worker who is also doing the 100 Days of Happiness. I am really trying to become a more positive person overall, and I already feel like I’m in a better state of mind (follow me on Instagram).

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I have been reading Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (the author of Gone Girl). Unfortunately, my Nook is malfunctioning so I haven’t been able to finish the book which is killing me. So far, it has been impossible to put down, and I honestly contemplated heading to Target to buy it just so I can finish it. But I know that Mitchell will be able to fix my Nook, so I suppose I’ll (impatiently) wait it out.

Hope everyone has a good week!




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