Tag Archives: Tennessee

2015: My Year in Review

2015 was very much a monumental year for us. Not only did I take a new job that will ultimately get me where I want to go, but we also got to travel to so many new places, and see so much. Here are some of our highlights from this  year!

We started off our year with a bang when we went on a cruise with Mitchell’s family; our 7-day cruise visited Grand Turk, San Juan, Saint Thomas, and Half Moon Cay. A mere 2 days after the cruise, we packed up everything and drove halfway across the country to start a new life in North Carolina.

I didn't have high expectations for this beach, which is privately owned by the cruise company, but Half Moon Cay was one of the most beautiful beaches I've been to with sand so soft I swore it was powdered sugar!

I didn’t have high expectations for this beach, which is privately owned by the cruise company, but Half Moon Cay was one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve been to with sand so soft I swore it was powdered sugar!

We spent most of February trying to get settled in North Carolina, and didn’t do a whole lot of traveling. We went to an over-crowded chocolate festival 40 minutes away and made our first trip (of many) to Wilmington. And, oddly enough, I don’t have many pictures of Wilmington despite our many trips there!

March brought our first visitors from Iowa, and we went to Myrtle Beach for the first time. We didn’t do a whole lot of touristy activities due to time, but we did explore the WonderWorks Museum, ate at a nice restaurant, and enjoyed our hotel’s hot tub. We learned the value of having a tourist destination so close to us, something we aren’t used to!

Beautiful Sunset at Myrtle Beach

Our love for gambling brought us on a spontaneous trip to the mountains in Cherokee, where the closest casino is; this is something completely new to us as we’re used to being within an hour of 3 casinos. On our way home from Cherokee, we briefly explored Asheville (didn’t love it) and took in the mountain views.

There's a good view around every turn in Cherokee

There’s a good view around every turn in Cherokee

May brought us our first 3-day weekend together; we obviously took advantage of this time and went to Gettysburg which was such a unique experience and travel destination. On the way home, we took a minor detour and hit up the casino in Baltimore. And even though this isn’t necessarily a travel experience, one of my favorite memories since moving here was in May; on my birthday, we rented a kayak and took it to a sandbar where we fished, found crabs, and drank beer all day.


From about March to August, Mitchell was working 6 days a week with the only exception being Memorial Day weekend. We had to be creative in our travels, and I didn’t want to stretch Mitchell too thin. That means most of our weekends were spent at Topsail Beach, about 45 minutes away from our house. We made an exception one weekend when we took a ferry to Shackleford Banks where wild horses roam the small island!

Horses and a beach at the same time? Um, yes please!

Horses and a beach at the same time? Um, yes please!

We crossed off one of my Bucket List items in July by going to Washington, D.C. for the 4th of July. I have always wanted to see the fireworks at the National Mall ever since I saw them on TV as a kid. Even though the rain made it a much different experience than I had imagined, it was still incredible to cross off such a big thing from my bucket list. We also moved from our crappy apartment to a nice, big house!

Washington, D.C.

In August, we mostly enjoyed Mitchell working normal hours again and finished settling into our new house. We knew that September was going to be a busy travel month so we laid low other than a day trip to New Bern.

New Bern, North Carolina

Labor Day weekend was spent in the mountains. Of course I loved the mountains when we visited in April, but it was this trip that made me fall madly in love. We explored Bryson City and made plans to return when the leaves began to change. Two weeks after our mountain trip, my mom came to visit and together we tackled Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Wilmington, and Topsail Island.

Charleston, South Carolina

October brought us back to the mountains for an incredible weekend. We explored a little more of the mountains than just the casino (only half joking), took a train ride, and just took time to enjoy ourselves. I’m not quite sure how we got so lucky, but the weekend we were there was the most perfect weekend for fall-color-viewing! We also checked out the North Carolina state fair! Iowa is known as being one of the best state fairs, so checking out a different one was a good experience, and it was so weird to be chilly at the state fair, since ours is in August!

North Carolina State Fair

November brought us a spontaneous trip to Washington, D.C. Let me tell you, spontaneous trips here bring you to much cooler places than what we are used to! And spontaneous trips are the best trips, especially when you can get away during non-tourist season (hello, cheap hotels and no lines!). We visited Mitchell’s family in Florida for Thanksgiving and had the best time there, too. They took us to the beach and we went boating every day. Also, this may be surprising, but we hit up the casino in Tampa on our way home.

Path to a Florida Beach!

It would only seem fitting that the year would end the same way it began – traveling halfway across the country. My mom got a new car and sold us her old one, so I flew home for the holidays then drove the car back to North Carolina. It was another check off the bucket list because I’ve always wanted to drive [halfway] across the country solo. Of course, I’d like to do it again and be able to take my time so that I can stop at all the places and do all the things! Before I flew home for the holidays, Mitchell and I took advantage of a huge Southwest sale, and spent our anniversary in Nashville. A post about Nashville is coming, but let’s just say that I did not have huge expectations but it ended up becoming one of my favorite vacation destinations to date.

Nashville, I love you so much!

Nashville, I love you so much!

That’s my year in a nutshell! My whole life, my grandma has said that time goes so fast, and the older you get, the faster time goes. She is so right because I honestly don’t know where 2015 went. I don’t know what 2016 will bring, but I have a feeling it is going to be the best year ever!


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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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