Thursday, October 23, 2014

5 Highlights

It's been over a week since I last had the time to sit down and share with y'all. So much has been going on over the course of this month. It's been a whirlwind, but things are starting to settle down a bit. That's normally how my schedule plays out, so I should probably be used to it by now. I feel like I've been missing out on a lot around here. Is it just me or does it seem like everyone is announcing that they're pregnant right now? Anyway, I'll fill you guys in on what's been going on lately.

1. Saturday was Jennifer and Jose's wedding (Friday was the rehearsal + rehearsal dinner). I shared a little about their engagement story here back in March. I was so happy (and honored) to be apart of their special day. I doubt the ceremony and reception could have been better. Everything turned out beautifully and everyone had a great time.


2. Last week our old porch was ripped away as we planned to have the whole thing rebuilt by my uncle and cousin. I can't even put into words how pleased I am with the way it turned out! It's incredible. They did such a great job.

Brace yourselves, the before photos are horrible. Our porch was in serious need of some TLC.

3. Work has been going well. Both G and I received raises recently, so we're pretty excited about that. It's been a long time coming for me especially (I've worked for that company for 6 years and this is my first raise).

4. Last night we scored a 7 piece patio set for our new porch at Sears. It was originally $800, but it was marked down to $240 so we basically made out like bandits. I've been taking full advantage of it today, especially with the nice weather.

5. Yesterday I purchased tickets for Anberlin's concert next month. They'll be playing with Copeland and anyone who knows me well knows that's my all-time favorite band (besides Sleeping at Last). Totally looking forward to going with Lauren.

Welp, those are the highlights. I hope you all are having a wonderful week!
I'll be sure to share more about Jennifer's wedding whenever I have the time :)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Currently // October

READING · I started reading The Maze Runner after we went to see the movie last month. I really enjoyed the movie, despite all of the bad reviews. So much so that I had the book downloaded to my Kindle app as soon as we got home from the theater.

WATCHING · Raising Hope. My brother introduced G and I to it a few weeks ago. It's stupid-funny, but it keeps us laughing!

LISTENING TO · Sleeping at Last. I doubt I'll ever get tired of listening to this band. Songs on repeat lately include: Neptune, I'll Keep You Safe, Watermark, Woodwork and Next to You. There's just something about his voice + all the instruments. Love it.

DISCOVERING · That I have the ability to be extremely strong-willed (which often teeters on the edge of stubbornness), especially if someone tells me that I can't do something. I'm 99% sure that I get it from my dad.

PLANNING · Our front porch / patio area remodel. My uncle and cousin began working on it last week and we've been throwing tons of ideas around for the design + layout. I'll just be glad once it's completed in a couple of days.

CRAVING · An iced dirty chai latte, but this homemade pumpkin spice coffee that I'm sipping on will suffice for now.

WISHING · I had the time to catch up on all things blog related. Real life has been draining me of all my energy lately, so I've been placing blog life on the back burner. I'm jealous of peeps who can successfully juggle both and put out awesome content.

FEELING · Kinda worn out. The past two days have been nonstop work. I'd like a break now, please. But, this is just the beginning. I'll be running errands tomorrow, 12 hour work days start on Wednesday and my bestie's wedding is on Saturday!

PRAYING FOR · My family, mostly. It's been a rough year for many of them. I'm praying that God gives them peace of mind, strength and discernment as they navigate through this rocky season.

TRYING · To manage my time better and be more productive on my days off.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Death Came in the Evening

Death. We fear it, we fight it, we try our best to escape it's grim approach. But, still it comes and we are left to sort out the aftermath, to pick up the pieces and reconstruct after it flees. We cannot hide nor run from it. Sooner or later, the clock will stop as it catches up with all of us. Time will stand still and our moments here will cease ... just like hers.

It's been nearly 3 weeks since death came to visit our family. It took her away that rainy evening in September. And even though we were never very close, the death of my grandma has left my heart heavy. Death's sting has been felt and now, we pick up the pieces. Losing someone you were never close with is a bit tricky. How can I long to have someone back who I never really had in the first place?

While her children and grandchildren mourned her passing, my sorrow delve deep into a sea of "what if's". What if I had gotten to know her better? What if I had put aside more time to visit her? Time, that's it. Time is what I longed for. Time to learn about her, time to learn from her. Time to speak to, to laugh with, to cherish the woman who had raised my father. But time's up and I can't get it back.

You will forever be my sweet lady of mystery. Everything you had to say, everything you had to teach, it all faded away with you on that day; along with any chance I had of forming a proper relationship with you. Now I'm left to sit and ponder the "what if's" that flood my mind. I'll hold tight to the memories that we were able to create while you were still with us. Rest in peace, Grandma Elsie.

Friends, if there are any relationships that need mending within your family, I have one simple piece of advice — get to mending! Be the bigger person, forgive, forget and love the ones who God has placed in your life. There's only so much time, don't take it for granted.

Friday, October 03, 2014

6 Hours in Atlanta

Well, Wednesday was certainly an adventure! Lauren's van finally made it back to the states from Germany and she was told that it was ready for pick-up in Georgia. So, naturally, I jumped on the opportunity to visit my favorite state with my best friend even though I was aware that it would be a very quick trip. And when I say quick, I mean less than 24 hours quick (but it was totally worth it).

It was an early morning. We boarded our plane around 5:00AM and made it to Atlanta by 9:00. There was a slight layover in Charlotte, NC (which really made little sense to us), but the tickets were cheap so it wasn't that big of a deal. After arriving in ATL and hailing a taxi from the airport, we were able to get her van and headed downtown to explore before our 7+ hour drive back home to Tampa.

First stop? Octane Coffee. Lauren had heard nothing but good things about this coffee shop and it was pretty good. We both had their caramellato (yum) and shared a couple macarons. After that, we headed across the street to Bellwoods Social House for some lunch. We split an order of fried okra and pickles (so good) and I devoured the best smoked chicken tacos + street corn I had ever had. Lauren chose the steak and fig sandwich. Everything was bursting with flavor. If you're ever in Atlanta, I would highly recommend this place!

We were really hoping to find an area with little boutiques instead of scoping out the mall scene, but we ended up at Lenox Square. It was a bit overwhelming since the place is huge. We walked around for awhile and by the time we were finished it was after 3:00. We made one last stop into Target for the essentials (a cell phone charger + comfy pants), then waved goodbye to Atlanta and hit the road.

About 3 hours into our drive, we noticed a sign for Big Peach Antique mall. As to be expected, we stopped in to check it out. 2 hours and a few purchased later, we were back on the road. It was such a neat place. The drive back was pleasant. Lauren and I reminisced about the past, sharing story after story. We jammed out to music, watched the cotton fields sail by and admired the sun as it dove into the horizon. We made it back around midnight and after 21+ hours of total travel time / being awake, we were both ready to knock out.

It was a great trip, even if we were away for less than 24 hours ;)

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Treasure Island

There's still a handful of posts that I haven't had a chance to share yet, including our trip to Treasure Island last month. My mama, Garrett and I were (finally) able to sneak away to the beach for a couple of days. The weather wasn't cooperating with us at all on the first day, it rained a little bit on the second and of course it was clear the day we had to head back home. Granted, we still had a relaxing mini vaca and that's all that matters! I took a ton of photos, so I'll keep my rambling to a minimum and let them do most of the talking.

Like I said, the weather was kinda yucky on Monday. It started raining right before we got on the road. At first, I was allowing it to put me in a bad mood until G talked some sense into me. And by talk I mean told me I needed an attitude adjustment, asap. Haha, tough love, but it worked! I snapped out of it when we pulled up to the resort. We checked in quickly and went out for a bite to eat at Sloppy Joe's. By the time we were finished, the sun decided to say hello for a little while. We walked along the beach as the waves crashed the shoreline. The remainder of the evening was pretty low-key. We got some drinks and caught up on some rest.

Tuesday was still a bit cloudy, but it only rained briefly during the afternoon. Mama and I went out for breakfast as soon as we woke up, while G slept in. Once he was awake, we drove over to John's Pass to walk around and check out the shops. We visited our favorite coffee spot, the tea and spice exchange and a handful of other places before going back to the resort. Later that afternoon, we found a hole-in-the-wall restaurant called Dockside Dave's to eat dinner at. What they lacked in ambiance, they made up for in the quality of their food. Seriously, the best (and biggest) grouper sandwiches I've ever seen. We made it back to the resort as the sun was setting and decided to walk down to the beach to get a better view. God couldn't have painted a better one that evening. It was beautiful.

There wasn't a cloud in the sky come Wednesday morning. It would be sunny on the day we were heading home, go figure. After packing everything up, we stopped at John's Pass one last time for breakfast + coffee. Despite the lousy weather, we ended up having a great time. And, as promised, here are all of the photos. I took a lot more, but here are my favorites: