December 30, 2014

My 2014 in Instagrams

I post quite a lot on Instagram. It's probably my favorite social media site. I wanted to share a few of my favorites from this year:

My 2014: In Review
Follow me on Instagram
My 2013 in Instagrams

Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy New Year!! xoxo

December 28, 2014

2014: In Review

Whoa. I know. I've been on a hiatus since July and all of a sudden, here I am at the end of the year with a blog post.

But don't worry, I am still very much alive and kickin. I've just been ... doin stuff, being lazy, etc. etc.

But I am back today. Like I've mentioned in my 2013: In Review post, I like doing these "in review" posts because it helps me keep track of things we've done each year.

2014 was quite good to us. It wasn't as "traveled" as 2013 was, but it was good nonetheless.

Here's a summary of what went down in 2014 for J & I:

We still live in Nashville. I'm still working at the same place, but now in a different preschool room. Jason has been working very hard this year on his music and is getting closer and closer to his goals and dreams. I am very proud of him!!

If you're interested, you can listen to his songs here:

We had a few family and friends come visit us this year. First, our longtime friend from our hometown came to visit. We only got to hang out for a few hours, but it was better than nothing! Then J's niece came to spend her spring break with us. We took her to a few of our favorite places and ate... a lot! Then for Thanksgiving, she came back to visit, along with her mom (J's sister). It was a fun Thanksgiving. We were happy and excited to spend the holiday with family.

In August, we moved! Hallelujah! We were living in a pretty sketchy area. Now we live right in downtown and we love it. It's so close to everything -- the central bus station, the Farmer's Market, Broadway... lots of other stuff. Our new place is a lot smaller, but we do not care one bit. We are just happy to get out of the other place. Of course, living downtown has it's downsides -- like parking -- but we're making it work and enjoying our new place and plan on being here a while.

In May, we went to Aruba for my sister-in-law's wedding. It was such a beautiful event and such a fun trip with the family. Aruba is beautiful and we really enjoyed it. I wrote a small post on our trip that you can check out here: Aruba (part 1). I am aware that I was supposed to put up a part 2, but never got around to doing it. My bad.

We went on two hiking trips this year. The first one was in August for our 3-year wedding anniversary. We went to do the Whites Creek Trail, Irish Wilderness in the Mark Twain National Forrest in Missouri. It was pretty rough. It seemed like it hadn't been hiked for a while and trails were hard to find and follow. We even got lost for a few hours on our way back, climbing up steep mountains and whatnot. We eventually found the original trail-- thank goodness! For the second part of our trip, we went to Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park in Missouri. That was a much more pleasant experience and we really enjoyed swimming in the "shut-ins."

After that trip, we thought, "Why do we always go on hiking trips in the summer when it's so hot and miserable? We should go in the Fall!" and so we did. Our original plan for August was to go to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but there was a big storm headed that way, hence why we went west to Missouri instead.

We ended up going to the Smokys in October and it was beautiful! All the leaves were changing. The weather was cool, but not too cold. We hiked in the Cataloochee Valley. It's one of mine and J's favorite hiking trips we've ever been on. Just so pleasant with great trails to hike. We didn't see any bears, but we did see a lot of elk. We loved the colorful leaves covering the trails and seeing more when we looked up. The trails were well marked and well maintained. People were friendly. The creeks and rivers were plentiful. The backcountry campsites were maintained and easy to find. It was just overall a great experience and we're looking forward to going back!

J and I celebrated our 3-year wedding anniversary on August 27th. We had a relaxing day filled with food (of course) and a massage - which was much needed after our hiking trip in Missouri!

Before we knew it. December was already here. Early in the month, I received some heart-breaking news that my grandmother in the Philippines passed away. I am still very saddened by it, but I know that she is in a much better place with her husband and best friend. She will always be in my heart and watching over me. I will always remember her for being such a strong woman and for her sense of humor. I am very grateful for her for supporting my mom in moving to the States to marry my father. I'm sure that wasn't easy for anyone involved, but her blessing I'm sure made my mom feel better. My parents were able to fly back for the funeral. I wish I could have been there, especially for my mom, but she knows I was there in spirit. Miss her so much.

Then on the 23rd, I celebrated my birthday. I was leaving it up to J to plan it out for me. And he actually had a few things planned, which I thought was sweet because he is not big on celebrating anything. We started the morning out with breakfast at the Pancake Pantry, which has been on my list of places I wanted to try since before we moved here. I had their sweet potato pancakes. And they were amazing! We never thought pancakes could be so good... and they were.

After breakfast, I got my hair cut and highlighted. It was really overdue seeing how the last time I got a trim was on my birthday last year. I wanted to do something pretty drastic, but not too crazy because I was entering a new decade in my life. I think it came out pretty good. Here is the before and after:

It's a definite improvement, right? I think so. After getting my hair done, we went shopping and I got a whole outfit that J picked out (plus a few extra things). He was so patient and opinionated the whole time, I was impressed.We worked up an appetite -- shopping can be tiring! - so we ate a late lunch at Cheesecake Factory. For being a chain, I think their food is pretty darn good. And their cheesecake -- oh my goodness their cheesecake! We had a delicious meal there then went home and just watched movies. I had a great birthday and J spoiled me. I enjoyed it very much!

Our Christmas was quiet, relaxing, & lazy. We wish we could spend it with family, but it just didn't work out. Hopefully next year! We just stayed in all day, opened our gifts to each other, made a huge ham lunch/dinner, and watched movies all day.

Now we're here. The end of yet another year. 2014 was pretty good, but we have a feeling 2015 will be even better.

I'll try and blog more, but we'll see. I am making no promises.

I hope everyone had a great year and that 2015 will be good to you all! Cheers!

July 02, 2014

Monthly Photo Journal: March - June 2014

Wow. It's July. Already. So cray.

In June, I really slacked in posting. Sorry, but not sorry. I blame the World Cup for distracting me on the weekends.

I've also slacked on my Monthly Photo Journals for the past 4 months. Woops. So here I am, catching up.

Here's what happened in March, April, May & June in a few snapshots:

We ate some pretty good hotdogs & onion rings from The Dog of Nashville. // We tried out a Honduras Restaurant. We weren't too impressed with the food though, unfortunately. // Weather was warming up in March, so a couple of my co-workers & I went to Jenni's to eat some ice cream for lunch! // J and I had a little Sundate breakfast and walked to downtown to grab some breakfast at Dunn Bro's Coffee. They have really good sandwiches, muffins & coffee there!

Our niece came to visit us for a week. We did a lot and had a ton of fun! We took her on a hike around Radnor Lake. And we ate A LOT! Places we went to included: brunch at Mad Donna's (The Captain's French Toast & a pomegranate mimosa pictured -- both really yummy!) // tacos from Taco Mamacita (the Loaded Gyro & Korean BBQ tacos pictured above, with their Mexican street corn-- I highly recommend the Korean BBQ taco & the street corn!) // delicious burgers & sweet potato fries from Gabby's Burgers (their milkshakes are BOMB, too!)
Enjoying a nice Spring afternoon at Dragon Park. // Making a pitstop during a bike ride around town for a bushwhacker from 3 Crow Bar . // On my quest to find some good fish tacos in Nashville, I found some at Oscar's Taco Shop!

Enjoying some free, live music (gotta love Nashville!) during Musician's Corner at Centennial Park. // Ice cream stop at Maggie Moo's -- yummy ice cream!! // Stopping by the park for a snow cone during a bike ride.
Of course, the highlight of our May-- actually of our 2014 so far -- is going to Aruba! What a paradise. // We took a lot of fun sunset pictures on the beach there (more to come!) // While in Aruba, I also had some of the best shrimp I ever had in. my. life. !!(more on that later)

One of J's friend came to visit and we ate at a place called Marché Artisan Foods. Pretty good food, but a little too boujee (fancy) for my taste. Pictured here is the Brasstown Beef Hamburger -- but their menu changes seasonally. // We hit up the farmer's market, something we hadn't done in a while, and grabbed some coffee first. // One of my kid's parent gave me a bag of peaches straight from Georgia. And they were so good! I am now a believer that Georgia peaches are the best peaches! // Warmer weather means more cookouts with friends. Yay!

Well, I hope to be better at this blogging thing and do it more often now that the World Cup is almost over! I hope everyone State-side enjoys their 4th of July weekend!

June 30, 2014

Aruba (part 1)

In May, J and I traveled to Aruba for his sister's wedding. It was a week of paradise and good times. And like with any vacation, it was extremely hard to come home.

In a later post, I will talk about some things we did on the island, but for now, enjoy a few photos:

Aruba part 2 will be up soon, so stay tuned!

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