7.18.2017

BE AUTHENTIC


I used to be completely enchanted with the blogging world. I religiously read around 15 blogs and really tried to embrace the lifestyle. There was a point where I was blogging and attracting a bit of attention, and it probably had potential to go somewhere. I couldn't find it in myself to stick with it, though. And I always wondered why. After all, I love to write down my thoughts and it was really neat to see people coming back to read each week.

The more I think about it, and the more I think about and learn about the blogging world (well, the blogging industry, now, really), the more I understand why I couldn't find it in me to actually grow my blog way back when. I can't even remember the name of it- and that should tell you something.

I was essentially trying to fit myself into an equation. Write like that + post this kind of pictures x have this style - saying anything too deep = successful blog. I lost my passion for it because I was squeezing into what I "should" be, what I needed to be to get page views.

I read relatively few blogs today. Mostly because, and this will sound harsh, they are so insincere. Oh did you see that Blogger A went to Nantucket? No? Well Blogger B did, as well, so you're not missing much. And so did Blogger C and D and E and ...

I try really hard to read blogs where the writer has passions aside from the latest surprise sale and getting paid to sit on the beach and wear a certain swimsuit. Don't get me wrong, of the few blogs that I love, most of the girls still have sponsored content- and that's okay! Not every post is an #ad and they actually give you insight into their everyday life.

I can tell which of the blogs I have bookmarked are the ones with substance because they're the one I never find myself skipping over, always reading for new content. I hope to write so that whatever readers I have, if any, feel like they're getting something from this little space on the internet. I want to reach people on a level that is higher than "ohhh loooook at this shirt!!! it is $97.58 and perfect and click this link so I get commission on it!!!!!"

I hope I don't sound mean or rude or disapproving of the way that some bloggers make a living. I respect it and I respect the people that enjoy those blogs. I have a feeling, though, that there are a lot of people like me who just want a little more from the blogging world.

7.16.2017

SUNDAY SCRIPTURE: SING

One of my favorite places and ways to worship (outside of church) is in the car. Playing Christian music and singing really loudly is one of the best way to put me in a better mood or to help me find the good when I think the world is against me. I love Psalm 104:33. It paints a picture of joy!


This graphic was my first time using Adobe Illustrator, so hopefully you'll see my skills improve! I also included a playlist of my favorite Christian songs for y'all to sing along with!

7.14.2017

FIVE ON FRIDAY: VOL. 1

Happy Friday! I'm working four 10-hour days at my job right now, so that I can have some days off, so technically yesterday was my Friday and today is Saturday part 1! I'm running some errands this morning before heading to Morehead City to spend the day and part of tomorrow with my friend Emma! I'll meet up with my family in Emerald Isle for the weekend before coming back on Monday and starting my week on Tuesday.

I collected a five things that I found this week that I loved and had to share!

ONE // Amazon Magazine Subscriptions for <$1 an Issue!


I just ordered a 6 month subscription to Country Living magazine for $5! I couldn't pass up the offer and found a bunch of other magazine subscription for less than $1 per issue on Amazon, including Good Housekeeping, Cosmo, Better Homes & Gardens ($5 for 12 issues!), Coastal Living, and more! My favorite, Southern Living, comes in at $1.08 per issue! Make sure you turn off auto-renew if you order but don't want to be charged again.

TWO // This picture of Sailor


Just look at this and tell me it's not the cutest thing you've ever seen. I love her. This was taken after she couldn't walk on one of her back feet and then jumped out of the car at the vet's office and could walk just fine. I still love her.

THREE // Ocearch Global Shark Tracker app


I downloaded this for fun the other day and now I'm hooked (pun intended?) on checking it to see where the sharks are going- and if any are off our coast! The shark's tags ping when they surface to update their location. I'm sure a lot of you have heard of the famous Great White, Mary Lee- her tag is registered with the app, so you can see where she's at!

FOUR // Adobe Illustrator


My computer at work has the full Adobe suite on it, which is AWESOME, so I was teaching myself how to use Illustrator this week. I made the picture above (that's my handwriting!!!!) and am getting the hang of some of the features. I'll probably do a tutorial on how to put your handwriting in text over a picture sometime soon!

FIVE // This door mat from Etsy


I have never seen something to more accurately describe me. I so wish I could fit this in my budget for my apartment! Order it here!

Happy weekend, y'all!

7.13.2017

SUNFLOWERS

There is a field of sunflowers in Raleigh that has suddenly become famous. Park-a-mile-away-and-walk famous. There were murmurs about the field that is owned by the City of Raleigh, but it all of the sudden blew up. I've seen a blogger from Raleigh posting pictures there and Southern Living reposted someone's Instragram picture of it! It truly is a hit, and what's not to love? Sunflowers are my favorite flower, so I couldn't pass up an opportunity to go take a few snapshots of the field. I recently bought a new lens for my camera, so it was the perfect opportunity to test it out.

My parents and sisters had been Sunday evening and the flowers had started dying a bit since then. The vast majority of them were turned away (towards the east, where the sun rises), but they were beautiful nonetheless! The field is located along the road and along a walking/biking trail. There is a fence that separates the trail from the field because the field is city-owned property. It has become such a tourist attraction that there are now signs (and there have been multiple news reports) telling people not to trespass beyond the fence. No one pays attention to that rule, though, and there were multiple people in the field with their children taking pictures and even picking the flowers.

The flowers will be harvested later to be processed into biodiesel and the City of Raleigh has been applying wastewater sludge from the nearby water treatment plant to the field. I have to think that the people laying on the ground out there have no idea that's the case. It makes for beautiful blooms, but not necessarily the place to put your baby on the ground and take pictures!










The beauty of sunflowers never ceases to amaze me! Harrison asked me what I wanted him to put in his garden this year- I replied "sunflowers." Naturally, the sunflowers were the only thing he killed. Thanks, babe. At least I got my fix not too far from home!

7.07.2017

BLUE RIDGE PARKWAY

I spent last weekend at Harrison's and we had intentions of going hiking with Sailor. Rain was threatening all Friday and Saturday morning, so we opted instead to leave Sailor at his house and drive a ways down the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The Parkway is a national parkway running 469 miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Shenandoah National Park through 29 North Carolina and Virginia counties. I have mostly been on the Parkway towards Asheville, so I was excited to explore some of the sights up near Boone. Harrison and I didn't really have a plan (I navigated from his house to the Parkway via a map, and I'm a little surprised we're not still lost somewhere in the NC mountains), but just wanted to take our time and enjoy our day together.

We got on the Parkway where it intersects with NC 18 and headed south. We stopped at a few overlooks, and even though it was cloudy, we still had some incredible views! As we wound through the mountains, we took our time and pondered how people who on the Parkway considering it closes at some points during the winter. If anyone knows, please tell us because we couldn't figure it out! The mountain laurel is starting to bloom, so that gave an extra element of "wow, that is so pretty" to our drive. 




We passed a field of what we thought looked like yaks, so I made Harrison turn around so I could put my camera to use! They turned out to be Scottish Highland cattle, a hardy breed known for tender meat. They were really cool- and the babies were precious! I'm still working on convincing Harrison to buy a couple (; (Side note- one of my favorite things about the Parkway, and the mountains in general, are the locust-wood fence posts!)








We stopped at the Moses H. Cone Memorial Park which includes the 1901 estate of the prosperous textile entrepreneur. The manor is now home to a craft center featuring handmade goods from local artists. The estate has miles of trails and we saw plenty of bikers, runners, dogs, and horseback riders! Harrison enjoyed reminiscing about rolling down the hill in front of the house as a kid. A few miles after, we came across Price Lake which looked like a lovely spot to go kayaking! There were tons of people enjoying the afternoon on the water and fishing. There was even a man stand-up paddle boarding!






We were getting hungry and trying to figure out where to go, but we ultimately decided on going to Grandfather Mountain to go across the Mile High Swinging Bridge! I had never been, and the price is a bit steep ($20 per person), but it includes a lot of other things, so we decided to pull the trigger. We went up the mountain first and quickly realized that they didn't lie to us about the wind. I was afraid of being blown off the mountain! Apparently, though highly debated, the highest wind speed on Earth was recorded at the top of Grandfather Mountain. The bridge itself is 80 feet above the gorge below it, but sits at 1 mile above sea level. I'm terrified of heights, but I didn't have too much of a problem crossing the bridge! After the short hike to the highest elevation I've ever been at (outside of an airplane), we made our way back down the mountain. One of the curves was ran by Forrest Gump in the movie (Tom Hanks actually filmed it himself, as opposed to his brother as his "run double"), so that was a neat tidbit to learn. They also have animal habitats (we saw a bear playing in her pool) and a museum that we looked through. 












After Grandfather Mountain, we headed to Boone and had a (very) late lunch at Lost Province Brewing Co. Downtown Boone is full of little spots, but we picked a good one! They have a "fancy" spin on pub/American food and really good beers. We had a buffalo chicken pizza and shared a flight of beer samples, which was the perfect amount for the afternoon.


We headed back relatively early, and thankfully so, because we ended up with a flat tire about 5 minutes from Harrison's house! Our adventures never have a dull moment!

6.26.2017

CLIFFS OF THE NEUSE STATE PARK

I have such a passion for the state of North Carolina and all the gems hidden within it. I was thinking about this today as I was trying to find something fun for Harrison and I to do this weekend. I thought, "If I love NC this much, why don't I write about it much?" Combine that with reading the latest issue of Our State magazine and I decided that my little space on the internet is going to see a whole lot more of my NC adventures from here on out!

I have a lot of great photos from the past year or so from around the Old North State, so while I'm waiting for my next opportunity to photography this home of mine, I'll post some retro reviews!



Harrison, Sailor, and I took a day trip to Cliffs of the Neuse State Park in Seven Springs, about halfway between Goldsboro and Kinston. Cliffs rising 90 feet above the Neuse River, and extending 600-yards down the south bank, are the distinguishing feature of this park - a true oddity in eastern NC! The cliffs were formed due to erosion from the river.

The area that the park is on was once a ceremonial ground and a gathering place for hunting expeditions for the Tuscarora and Saponi tribes. The river was used for travel.

The community of Seven Springs was once a resort-town called Whitehall that drew people from all across the country seeking cure from a variety of ailments during the 20th century. The mineral water from the seven different springs (hence, Seven Springs) was said to cure many a disease. Whitehall was also home to the construction of the CSS Neuse, an ironclad built by the Confederate Navy as an attempt to retake the lower Neuse River and New Bern. The ship ran aground and was destroyed to prevent capture.

Cliffs of the Neuse State Park is wooded with nice walking trails. We took an interesting loop because a deluge of rain flooded part of the trail! Our detour took us by the 11-acre lake, open Memorial Day through Labor Day for boating and swimming. There is also a large picnic area that would be perfect for family gatherings or as a nice stopping point mid-hike. The trails themselves are pretty moderate, the longest of which being two miles one-way. There is a lot to see if you keep your eyes open, including former naval store trees, rare Galax, eastern fox squirrels, whitetail deer, and even river otters!

There are 35 camping spaces for tents or trailers as well as a pretty new visitor center that is full of fun information about the area, history, and wildlife!

For a quick trip from Raleigh, it was a nice trip that we all really enjoyed!






6.20.2017

CHANGES

I have a problem with change. I hate it. I'm a Libra (the scales), and about the only thing I believe about any of that is that I need balance. I crave it. I require it. I seek neutral, the status quo. So when something happens that shakes up the balance I have established, I don't handle it well. There are things I can prepare myself for really well and the transitions tend to go smoothly, but other things... it's not quite as pretty.

I haven't publicly announced it yet, but I started working on June 5th for the Academic Programs office in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at NC State! CALS is the college that housed my major, so I was really excited to be able to work at State, first of all, and, secondly, to be able to work for a office that I had some experience with. So here I am, in my third week of the real world and this change has been pretty smooth so far. It'll probably hit me when everyone is going back to school in the fall, because, honestly, it kind of just feels like a summer internship. Except it's actually my life now. Weird.

Spending this summer away from Harrison... not so smooth. It's strange being away from him because I'm used to my best friend being around to buy me food get food with me and take me on adventures. Even last semester when he was student teaching, I still saw him almost every weekend. I'm really learning to make the most of the times I do get to see him now. It hasn't been uncommon, and it won't be uncommon, this summer to go two or three weeks without seeing him. I know I can't complain too much because there are tons of people out there whose boyfriends, girlfriends, or spouses are further away than that or deployed, but it's still tough to get used to (especially when your love language is quality time).

What I've found helps me keep a positive attitude, however, is writing down something I'm grateful for every morning. In the notebook I carry with me, I write my piece of gratitude along with a Bible verse for the day. Holding tight to the fact that God isn't setting us up for failure or hurt is something that keeps me in good spirits, even when I miss Harrison a ton!