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Life

Back in the US of A

August 18, 2016

Almost two months ago Adam and I were in Tokyo. For the last 54 days, we’ve been adjusting to life back in the US and life back in a city where we both grew up. Here’s what’s been going on in my neck of the woods since we’ve been back:

Quality family time

The vast majority of our social time has been spent hanging out with family. I guess we’re catching up on those eight years that we were gone. It has been really nice to be able to hang out at a more relaxed pace. I’ve been used to those weekends when we travel home and try and fit in as many things as possible before a 10-hour car ride back to Charleston. Now it’s nice to be able to swing by my parents on a Tuesday morning for breakfast without feeling like we’re rushing to get out the door.

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Enjoying some of Adam’s famous homemade pizza

Looking for a place to live

We’re currently living at Adam’s mom’s while looking for a more permanent residence. It has been beyond nice and convenient to be able to stay somewhere comfortable immediately after coming back from our trip. However, it’s not a permanent situation. As much as I love my current roommates, plus their dogs, we need to eventually find our own space. We’ve currently on the house buying route and if all goes according to plan, I’ll have some fun updates to share soon.

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That one time we dressed up for a friend’s wedding

Rediscovering our hometown

The last time I lived full time in Cincinnati was right when I graduated high school. Cincinnati has changed immensely in those 13 (!!!) years. There are so many new restaurants, parks, breweries, shops, and bars to check out. Neighborhoods that I might not have visited during high school have become completely revitalized. I’ve loved seeing the downtown develop into a gathering place and really look forward to exploring new spots and rediscovering hidden gems.

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Playing spectator at an FC Cincinnati game

Adjusting to a new work/life balance

In this new chapter, Adam and I are both working from home. Since we’re not in our permanent living situation yet, everything is fluid and changing. I’m slowly figuring out what “at home” or outside work location works best for me. I don’t know if that’s setting up a full office in our new place or finding a nice coffee shop to work from for a few hours every day. I’m also working on defining what my “business” hours are. Finding that balance between work time and leisure time is a new challenge since I’m freelancing and have started my own floral design business.

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With my mom and brother after lunch at Findley Market

While there are a lot of adjustments happening, our day to day life has been pretty slow paced. I think it’s exactly what we needed after a wild trip and big move from Charleston. Cheers to new adventures!

Life

Updates from Thailand

May 4, 2016

Hi, everyone! Today I’m linking up with Jenn and Jessi to share what’s been hap-pinning with me lately.

// We’ve been in Asia for a month! That is crazy to me. You wouldn’t know it from my blog (still working on those New Zealand recaps), but we’ve been in Thailand (and a little bit of Singapore) since April 5th. Wild.

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Oh hey, that’s me right now!

// Thailand has been interesting. I’ll write about the country and days in more detail, but suffice to say nothing is what it seems in Thailand.

// I’ve had one bout of sickness that lasted for about four days, but otherwise I’ve been doing well. Luckily my food poisoning wasn’t terrible. It was mostly inconvenient and a little painful. But not as bad as other stories I’ve heard. Adam has a stomach of steel and he’s been almost 100 the whole time we’ve been here. I’m hoping my stomach and bacteria toughened up during my short period of sickness.

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Thailand loves temples

// I’m going to start a new weekly feature on the blog where I post a photo of the week. Since my bulkier recaps are so far behind, I wanted to post something that’s a little bit more relevant to how the current week is going. So on Fridays, I’ll be publishing a short post with a photo and small update on how our week has been.

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My favorite activity, eating

// I really need to figure out how to watch Game of Thrones over here. I’m about to quit Twitter for the rest of our trip just so I’m not spoiled. I’ve already been a little spoiled and I don’t know how to avoid it besides just giving up social media!

// I, like the rest of the world, am obsessed with Lemonade. I even signed up for Tidal Singapore. The things Beyonce makes you do. I still haven’t listened to Views; Drake is farther down the totem pole.

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We went zip lining!

// We booked our return trip! We’ve been monitoring dates and flight miles for the last month and a really good deal popped up yesterday. We’ll be back in the good ole U S of A on June 25th. Now that we have a return date I really feel like we’re under a deadline! Only a little over 7 weeks to go! Eeek. We’re over halfway done with this trip.

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Celebrating Songkran, Thai New Year, in Bangkok

// We’ve also booked out the rest of our flights for the duration of the trip. Our remaining time is about another month in Chiang Mai, a night in Malaysia, 4 nights in Cambodia, 4 in Hong Kong, 15 in Vietnam, and then a week in Japan. So we’re basically chilling out for the next month and then it’s go, go, go our last four weeks.

// America, I thought you guys would be done with Trump by now. Please. Stop him.

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What up, America!

// I am newly obsessed with dim sum and am upset it’s taken me so long to discover. My only plan in Hong Kong is to eat as much dim sum as possible.     

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Just navigating through a million market stalls to get to our hostel

Hope you’re having a good week!

Life

What’s New With Me? Updates from Abroad

April 7, 2016
What's New With You

Today I’m linking up with Gretchen and Kristen to share What’s New With Me?

This post is totally all over the place. I need to start writing some more New Zealand recaps, but right now all I want to do is ramble about random things.

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Pad see eu!

Adam and I landed in Thailand about two days ago and it’s been a crazy cultural change. The biggest immediate pro is that things are cheap. Like super cheap. We just had some pad thai and pad see ue for 50 baht each – coming out to $1.42 USD. It’s awesome.

I really miss my big iced coffees. In New Zealand and Australia it was flat whites and long blacks the whole time. Plus instant coffee. Instant coffee is everywhere over here. I’m on a mission to find some sort of big ole iced coffee. I might even go to Starbucks when we’re in Bangkok and I don’t care if that’s cheating.

While we were in New Zealand and Australia, we never really stopped moving. We were in a new city almost every other day. I’m excited to finally be on the beach in Thailand where all I really have to do is sit by the water, play in the waves, and find food. Besides that, I can finally catch up on my blog (plus all y’alls!) and finally call my parents.

I’m totally into Little Mix’s Secret Love Song. Is it popular in the US? Catch me up on what’s cool, guys!

I’ve recently discovered that the Bravo App works outside of the US – I’m totally caught up on Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules. I feel kind of like an asshole watching trashy TV while traveling, but everyone needs a break sometimes. I really haven’t watched any television during the day, but when I have good WIFI, it’s really nice to crawl in bed and watch a show on my phone before falling asleep. Bring on, Southern Charm and RHONY!

Speaking of watching shows, I’m really going to have to figure out a way to watch Game of Thrones. I think we can mask our proxy for another IP that matches in the US. Wish me luck.

The scariest thing about Thailand so far is walking places. There aren’t really sidewalks where we are so most of the time I’m dodging traffic. In New Zealand and Australia they respected the crosswalk more than anywhere else I’ve ever been. I miss that. I felt safe.

Another strange observation – We met about a million German females in New Zealand. Where we’re staying in Phuket – Karon Beach, there are a ton of eastern Europeans. It’s interesting to see where people travel.

My breakfast of choice the last few days has been a fruit smoothie. Mango yesterday, papaya today. It’s so nice. I love tropical fruit so this is my heaven.

One of the pros of staying in hostels is getting tips and tricks on the cheapest and best places to go. Adam just found out from a bunk mate that we can spend about half as much as we were planning to get a bus and ferry to Koh Samui in a couple days. Big plus to saving money! I likey.

When we were in New Zealand and Australia we felt like we didn’t have any good “stories” to tell family and friends. Yes, we saw incredible things and traveled to new cities, but we didn’t have any juicy or wild stories. I feel like that’s totally going to change since we’ve entered Southeast Asia. This is a whole new world and I’m just trying to catch up on how different things can be.

The electricity just went out at our hostel. Of course right when I had to go to the bathroom. So I went to the bathroom in the dark and then had to wash my hands with bottled water. I guess if the power (and more importantly, the WIFI) don’t come back on soon I’ll have to read a regular paper book. Pshh.. C’est la vie, amirite?

What’s new with you?

Life

The Weekend Before the Trip

March 6, 2016

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What a weekend!

Things have been pretty go, go, go over the last few days. We’ve been squeezing in family and friend time and also making sure we have everything we need for our trip. In addition to packing for the trip, we’ve also been working hard to get all of our other belongings organized and somewhat manageable in storage. We’ve been busy!

Friday night I went to happy hour with my parents at Barleycorn’s and then Lindsey met up for a couple drinks. Time flew by! I was so happy Lu (Lindsey) came out to chat. I love catching up with friends.

Saturday was our big day. After a delicious breakfast at Adam’s mom’s house we went through our backpacks to 1) make sure we had everything we needed and 2) ensure everything fit. Check, check on both counts!

Saturday afternoon we went out to Dickmann’s to watch the Kentucky/LSU Basketball game. It turned into a mini “goodbye” party for our trip. It was so nice to see family and friends and get to hang out before we take off in a couple days. It was a quick hello, goodbye, and see you when we live here again in the summer. It was a blast.

After Dickmann’s, we wrapped up the night with a giant slumber party at Debbie’s. Adam’s siblings + their spouses + their kids all stayed the night so it was a full house. We ate, drank, played games, and had a great time.

On Sunday, the slumber party crew woke up for breakfast and hung out for a bit. Then Adam and I met my parents, brother, and his girlfriend in Cincinnati for lunch. I had a delicious bowl of pho from Pho Lang Thang.

After lunch, we walked around Findley Market for a bit and checked out all the shops and booths. Then we stopped in Covington to check out my brother’s new house. After that, we went to Adam’s dad’s house to hang out for a bit. And then (and then, and then, – the theme of this post) we put our car in my parent’s garage for the long-haul.

My mom and dad are graciously letting us store our belongings and car in their garage. Adam added some fuel stabilizer and unplugged our car battery so it’s good to sit in one place for the next few months.

Once our car was settled, Debbie and Earl picked us up for dinner at The Eagle. I continued my trend of eating too much and had some delicious fried chicken. Also on the table: collards, mac and cheese, spoonbread, kale salad (yay, a vegetable!), and french fries. Whoops.

We wrapped up the weekend with some Walking Dead (intense!) and now I’m ready to crash. Hope y’all had a good one!

Life

Five Pros to Living With Your Parents

March 4, 2016

For this week’s Friday Five, I’m sharing five pros to living with your parents. Adam and I are rotating crashing at our parent’s houses this week before taking off on our big trip. I’ve found that there are so serious positives to living at your parent’s house (for a limited amount of time) as an adult.

As usual, I’m linking up with April, Amanda, and Karli.

+ Unlimited wine

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We keep joking that since we’re unemployed we can just drink all day. I can’t say we’ve been drinking all day every day, but we’re definitely indulging more than normal. A nice glass (or two) of red wine has been a great way to end our stressless days.

+ Homemade dinners

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Our parents make the best meals. We’ve been spoiled with gumbo, lemon chicken, fajitas, and unlimited salad options in the refrigerator. I likey.

+ Treats all day

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A few things fun treats we’ve had the last couple days include: Girl Scout cookies, ice cream, Doritos, and Opera Cream Torte cupcakes from The Bon Bonerie.

Good gracious. I really hope I balance my food life back out once we take off on this trip.

+ Puppies!

My parents have three dogs and Adam’s has two. I love being around these dogs all day! I’m not quite ready to have my own dog, but I love getting in all the four-legged friend time this week.

+ Quality Family Time

Those other four items have been great, but it’s been really wonderful to spend time with our parents and family members. There’s a chance we won’t see anyone that’s familiar for the next few months, so we’re soaking up the quality time at home while we can.

Life, Planning

What’s New With Me?: Last Minute Travel Preparations

March 3, 2016
Today I’m posting with one of my favorite link ups – What’s New With You? I loved when Kristen and Gretchen hosted this linkup last month because it helped me find a lot of new great blogs. Hoping for the same this month!
What's New With You

Soooo…what’s new with me?

Well, if you’re new around here, within the last week Adam and I have left our jobs, moved out of our apartment in Charleston, drove 13 (!) hours to Kentucky, have been living at my parent’s house with all of our belongings in the garage, and are preparing to leave for a 4-5 month backpacking trip next Tuesday.

I guess a lot is new with me.

This is our “in between” week. It’s our week to spend time with family and friends before we go on our trip and finalize any last minute preparations. It really hasn’t hit me that I’m done with work. It just feels like I’m on a normal vacation up at home. Nothing has really hit me.

For my What’s New With Me? this month, I’m sharing the new last-minute trip items we’ve been purchasing:

permethrin

Buying Permethrin. Permethrin is a clothing treatment for mosquitos. You just spray it generously on your clothes before your trip and it protects you for up to six weeks of washings.

We weren’t originally going to use permethrin, because we weren’t traveling to big mosquito risks areas in our first six weeks. And then Cyclone Winston hit Fiji. After a cyclone a lot of standing water is left behind, creating a breeding ground for mosquitos. There’s now a greater threat of Zika and Dengue Fever in Fiji. Bring on the spray.

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Mini Micro Fiber Towel. This one might not be necessary, but I just couldn’t resist it at REI. REI is my downfall. We’re bringing larger microfiber towels for showering and the beach, but I thought it might also be handy to have something small for washing my face and just random clean ups. Many thanks to my wonderful mother-in-law for “insisting” on getting me the travel towel. She spoils us. 🙂

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Sheet masks. Thanks to Biana’s recommendation on her Dos and Don’ts for Surviving at 14-Hour Plane Ride post, today I’m off to Sephora to find some sheet masks. We’ll be hitting almost a full 24 hours of travel time on our flight from LAX to Fiji; if a sheet mask helps me feel a little refreshed, I’m going to try it.

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Luggage tags. We didn’t have luggage tags for our backpacks before. Those might be helpful…

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RFID Clip Stash Wallet. Adam ended up picking up a smaller travel wallet. He had a regular RFID blocking wallet, but after hearing from friends who have traveled, he wanted something smaller that he could wear in the front of his pants to avoid pickpocketing.

I think that’s it. I think we have everything we need. Thankfully I can’t squeeze much else into our backpacks, so it stops me from going overboard in REI.

What’s new with you??

Life

Charleston to Kentucky

March 1, 2016

Hi! I’m here. I made it! I’m in Kentucky. And I’m already a resident. My how quickly things change.

Last I blogged, Adam and I were ramping up for a busy weekend of having our last day at work, last minute Charleston goodbyes, packing up everything we owned, and taking off on a mini cross-country journey from South Carolina to Kentucky.

We made it. Somehow we made it. There were several moments during our drive yesterday where I wasn’t sure if I’d be in Kentucky today. That drive sucked. To put it mildly. My wrists are actually sore from typing right now because I was a monster gripping the steering wheel all day. I wish there was a drug like Xanax that you could take to stay calm, but you could still drive. A full day of being nervous and having mini panic attacks wasn’t good for my well being. I managed to stay bottled up most of the drive (safety, first!) and then promptly cried in my childhood bedroom when I got home last night.

So to backtrack a little bit ….

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Our last day of work picture!

Friday we grabbed breakfast at Brown’s Court and I said goodbye to my favorite bakery, I had my last day at work and got extremely emotional, I started watching Fuller House (not as terrible as expected), and we went to dinner at Xiao Bao for our last serious Charleston meal. We also spent a lot of time finalizing our packing on Friday evening.

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My office is somewhere in this shot

Saturday I slept in as late as could, kept packing, packing, packing everything, headed out to Sullivan’s Island to watch basketball with friends, and then got home early to keep packing. Packing has consumed our lives.

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With buddies at Dunleavys 🙂 and 🙁

Sunday morning we woke up, you guessed it – packed some more and then Adam picked up our moving truck. Our movers were scheduled to show up at noon and after an hour and a half of a no call, no show, no response we contacted another group of Craigslist movers. Apparently, our original mover was arrested the night before and was in jail. Wonderful. Thank goodness for Hauling Hubbies and Handymen. They came through last minute and delivered a wonderful moving experience!

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Sunday morning I took a last walk around our neighborhood. Couldn’t skip the pineapple.

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Snaps from our apartment

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We lived there!

We finished loading the truck about 4 hours after expected, but we still did it. After everything we owned fit into a 16′ truck, we said goodbye to our apartment. Tears. Tears all weekend.

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An empty bedroom and a shirt full of stains (sriracha…)

 

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Before we left Sunday night I stared out our apartment window overlooking St. Michaels Church

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Last picture in the apartment 🙁

We crashed at our friend Amy’s house Sunday night and managed to stay up for about 1/4 of the Oscars. I’m sorry I missed you, Leo.

Yesterday was the drive. The drive normally takes about 10 hours, but with a moving truck, a detour off 75, and a girl who never drives a car; it ended up taking a lot longer. 13 hours after leaving Charleston we arrived in Kentucky. Edgewood never looked so good. Suffice to say I’ll never do that drive straight through again. My nerves were shot. But we made it. I’m also sore as hell from packing the truck. Our apartment was on the fourth floor – my calf muscles are destroyed. I’m a delight!

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One of the many stops we made along the way.

Today we returned the moving truck, transferred our car title and became Kentucky residents. The DMV is slightly more manageable when you don’t have to worry about getting back to work.

Tomorrow I’m not sure what we’ll do. We’re unemployed and living at my parents, so anything is an option. Living the dream!

T minus one week until we take off on the big adventure!

Life

Friday Rambles

February 26, 2016

Like my brain, this post is a little all over the place.

Today is my last day of work. Weird. Today is the last day I go into the office, answer my work emails and see my coworkers. Mixed emotions here. Obviously, not going into work next week (or the week after) will be nice, but there are also a lot of things (and people) I’m going to miss. I was the first real employee hired at my company and I’ve been there for about seven and a half years, so this is a big life change for me. Yikes.

Last night we had a company happy hour that worked as both my going away party and the welcome party for two new employees. It was really nice to go out and grab drinks with everyone. We had lots of beer and lots of fried food at Closed for Business. After happy hour, Adam and I went to Minero with Sarah and Daniel. We’ll definitely see them again this weekend, because I still couldn’t say goodbye last night.

I feel like I’ve been saying “goodbye” to everything the last few days. I’m getting sappy and sentimental with it all. I get reflective in coffee shops, on certain streets, heck even walking up the stairs at work. Everything feels like a last time I’ll do this or that so I try and pause to remember that space, place or person.

I know places will still be here when I come back to visit. It just won’t be the same.

Tonight we have dinner plans at Xiao Bao Biscuit. I’m literally eating my way through Charleston. I swear under my bread belly, I do still have muscles. Thank goodness for Pure Barre.

This weekend will be a mix of packing up our remaining items and trying to get in our last goodbyes to friends and last visits to places. I fully expect to be a mess.

On Monday we’ll hit the road early to drive home. I’m not sure if I’ll have a post up or not. I might just check in mid next week once I’m settled.

Have a great weekend!

Life

Learn More About Me

February 23, 2016

Every once in a while I like to write a “get to know me post” for new readers and possibly longer readers to learn more about me. I always love reading these sort of posts from bloggers. I hope you enjoy it, too! I stole this survey from Christina and then added a few questions of my own.

Cocktail of choice?
I’ve been sticking with wine lately. I really enjoy craft beer, but I don’t enjoy the calories. If I’m drinking liquor, it’s normally vodka with either water and a lime or grapefruit juice. Rose has been my favorite wine – whether it’s hot or cold.

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Just casually hanging out in Paris

Vacation destination – repeat?
Paris! I’ve only been twice, but that’s enough of a repeat for me. I just adore that city. I’m hoping to go back many, many times. One of the big pluses to moving back to the Cincinnati area is that the airport has a direct flight to Paris.

Vacation destination – wanderlust?
Ahh let’s just say almost everything on our big trip over the next few months. I never in a million years would have imagined I’d be in Fiji and New Zealand in just a couple weeks.

Trip? What trip?
Adam and I are taking off for 4-5 months in Oceania and Asia in just a little under two weeks. Yes, two weeks! To say I’m a little overwhelmed (we’re also moving 10 hours away before leaving) would be an understatement.

Where did you go college?
I went to the University of Kentucky. Go Cats! I’m a huge basketball fan, so if you read here often, expect to hear a lot about my precious baby Wildcats.

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Celebrating Wildcat wins with my main squeeze

How did you meet Adam?
People are normally surprised to hear that Adam and I met in Charleston. We grew up about 15 minutes away from each other (our high schools played each other in sports) and we both went to Kentucky during the same time. 600 miles later we met in Charleston. We ended up meeting through a mutual friend and started watching Kentucky games together.

Off day routine?
It really depends on if I went out the night before or not. 😉 If not, I like to wake up early, enjoy my coffee, take a Pure Barre class, and then walk around downtown Charleston. Most of our weekend plans also revolve around eating a lot of food. I cook throughout most of the week, but the weekend is fair game. Bring on all the restaurants!

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Mango chicken and coconut fried rice – one of my faves

Can you cook?
Yes! I love to cook and love to constantly get better. Within the last couple years I’ve been trying to hone in on specific regional dishes and flavor profiles. Right now I’m really into cooking Asian food, fresh Southern meals, and I’ve been starting to experiment more with seafood.

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A bouquet filled with ranunculus, among other beautiful flowers

Flower type?
This one is so hard! I’ve been taking floral design classes and interning with a wedding floral designer for the last year, so I’ve been exposed to a lot of gorgeous blooms. I think my current favorite is ranunculus. I just love how soft and delicate they are.

Activities?

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With all my girlfriends at my bachelorette party in Asheville

I love:

Eating, Traveling, Watching Sports, Going to Keeneland, Being on the Water, Hanging out with Friends, Tailgating, Spending time with Family, Exercising, Watching Bravo, Watching HBO Shows, Reading, Floral Design, and Indulging in Lazy Days.

How about you, what are your favorite activities?

Linking up with Jenn and Jessi!

Life

How to Have a Great Weekend

February 21, 2016

Friday

Bar eats and drinks at Pearlz – our fave neighborhood spot for happy hour

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Post-happy hour wine and cheese at Bin 152

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Saturday

Wake up early and take a Pure Barre class

It was a gorgeous day! Spend the morning walking around downtown and running down the street to vote.

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Walk along the water and cry when you realize you move the next week

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Grab lunch at Fast & French and then swing by goat.sheep.cow. to pick up cheese, wine, and a baguette.

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Take a picture of a cute boy who looks French as he carries his baguette and wine down the street

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Have a going away party at Revelry with all of your Charleston friends. Have a great time, but be super sad.

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Wish you had taken more pictures at the party for documenting.

Grab dinner at The Alley and enjoy a fried bologna sandwich. Get completely stuffed and end up going home earlier than expected because you were so full.

Sunday

Keep packing up the apartment – try your best to make the next weekend’s move manageable.

Work on a couple blog posts.

Book an airbnb for the night we crash in L.A.

Watch Pride and Prejudice and cry.

Eat lots of bread and cheese: 1) the cheese & baguette we picked up from goat.sheep.cow. and 2) homemade pizza. I like my cheese and bread in multiple forms.

Prep for your last week in Charleston! 🙁 🙁 🙁