to st. petersburg.

that one time, i went on a mini road trip.

…two years ago.

yeah, oops.

bags

truth be told, this was a miracle trip.

you see, kat was to book hotel reservations. emmy was to buy tickets to a concert.

kat did her job. emmy did not.

tickets sold out.

emmy miraculously got tickets three days before the concert.

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&& then we went to one of my favorite art museums of all time.

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thank you dahlia for your masterpieces.

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thank you clearwater beach for the pretty sunrises.

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&& the delicious grub.

food

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to michigan.

In honor of my sister’s birthday weekend, here are some snippets of my time in Michigan back in June to visit her!

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My sister, Katie, thought it would be fun to sign me up for a 5K the day I flew in. About five minutes in, I thought walking the course sounded more enjoyable. They had some recycling themed sculptures along the riverwalk.

Promptly after, we found a brewery where I soon discovered that the sun sets far in Michigan later than the sunshine state.

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The next day, while Katie went to work, her boyfriend showed me one of the local diners. Where I got to order my norm: Two Egg Breakfast with turkey sausage and hash browns.

nom. 

We then headed to the downtown area where I met up with Katie. Where I got to roam quaint bookstores and more local boutiques full for goodies.

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We then headed to Gallop Park to hit the water with some kayaks.

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Fun fact: I’m the worst Floridian. I’m not a fan of humidity. I was stunned when about an hour into our kayak trek that I had not sweat one bit.

#InHeaven

Later that evening, we headed to a nearby town where we indulged in some tasty Mexican food.

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The next morning, we hit you the local farmers market.

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That farmers market is where I had some of the best ham and cheese crescent I’ve ever had.

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The next day we hit up Teaspressa. It blew my mind.

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Another fun fact:
Coffee makes me sleepy. 
Yes, it’s a curse. 
So I’m a tea person, needless to say.
&& this place was absolutely divine.

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We headed to a park and I had my first game of disc golf.

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 Shout out to my sister, her roommate, and her boyfriend for showing me the local gems of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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so long texas.

I’m a firm believer in lazy Saturday mornings. Even if it is the final day of my Texas vacation.

I introduced Chadan to I Love Lucy while his dad made apple rum waffles.

&& one thing you should know about me. I love waffles. Like a lot.

Apple rum waffles and baby cuddles? I was in heaven.

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We then buckled up and headed to Austin to visit some friends and explore a tad more of Texas.

After lunch at a tasty spot, we hit the streets of Southern Congress.

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Can we take a moment to admire this stylish mom ^

I see that top bun, that (matching) diaper backpack, Sun Rays, and that cold shoulder top!

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While wondering the streets of SOCO, we came across a little festival. I was able to score some snazzy bow ties for Max.

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Were you ever really in Texas if you didn’t visit Allen’s boots? I think I’m still in shock on how much a pair of authentic Taxas sells for. Like, we’re talking the same price as rent and plus some.

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While people were searching for cowboy hats I was rocking a baseball cap, maxi dress, and Birkenstocks. I didn’t blend in very well.

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We also came across a southern candy parlor. They had some hella cute/hilarious sugar cookies.

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I may have contemplated buys this whole box to give to friends on their birthday. I figured I shouldn’t since I sent most of my spending money on wine. The struggle.

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After wondering the streets of Austin, we headed back to Jalen’s cozy home. We picked up dinner at the Bucky’s (an epitome of a gas status that’s the size of a walmart). We finished off with babe cuddles, tasty dessert from the evening before, and continued our Netflix binge of The Good Place.

Like we kept watching more episodes, just to stay awake. We may or may not have been in denial of my departing morning flight the next day.

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The next morning I packed my precious cargo (aka bottles of wine) and had one last hand holding session with this cute babes we we headed to the airport.

Fun Fact:
I’m a homebody and pretty introverted.
When I travel, I’m typically ready to go home by the end of the trip.
This was the first time I didn’t want to leave.
It was the perfect trip full of exploration and equally enough time to relax with baby cuddles and girlfriend time.

~

Before leaving for this trip, I had a number of people say, “have fun catching up with your friend.” I’m so thankful for technology because, despite Jalen moving over 1000 miles away, we’ve been able to stay in contact almost every day. Shout out to the Marco Polo app!

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Thank you Jalen for being such a thoughtful host and knowing me & my interests to make this trip so delightful.  

Thank you Bryan for your tasty cooking and and being a personal driver while your wife and I indulge in two (or three) wine tastings.

Thank you Chadan for being one of the cutest, happiest babies in all of the lands.

Oh, this Marco made me giggle as I was anxiously waiting to board my flight home.

Like I said, she gets me.

Jalen knows my priorities.

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two thousand nineteen.

So, it’s New Year’s Eve.

I think the unspoken rule is that anyone with some form of social media should highlight their year to share with the world. Which sort of puts me in a predicament because this year has been insanely challenging.

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This year, as some would say was “a series of unfortunate events.”

I battled with chronic anxiety which led to a period of depression.

But God used that to break me and to reveal his love for me.

God is using the “challenges” I’ve faced this year to push me out of my comfort zone.

Anxiety is a part of our lives, but we don’t have to let it keep us living in a prison of fear or retreating in shame. We have the opportunity to look it square in the face & allow God to used it to transform our lives.
~Rhett Smith

Apart of addressing and working through my struggle of anxiety, God has been putting new desires while working through insecurities and uncomfortable emotions.

Which brings me to the mentality I want to bring into this next year.

When we aren’t intentional about the desires and passions we know God has put on our heart, they will slip away before we even notice.

There have been times in this last year when “I just want a break from life with anxiety.” I’d just stop addressing my travel buddy that can feel like such a burden and just pretend like I’m fine. Sure enough, when I neglect time in the word and self reflection, when I stop listening to my body and giving it the supplements and nutrition/exercise to help ease anxiety, I don’t grow.

Goals that will keep my heart growing.

~

Take the time to notice the details. 

of people, of situations, of events, of someone’s hello and goodbye – if it’s not an echo of God’s grace and mercy, then it’s a cry out for one. I want to be a noticer.

Practicing thanks and prayer

for the easy days, for the days struggle shows up more than anything else. Having the patience – to notice – that thankfulness in prayer – to refocus my mindset in His word.

Choose patience

with people, with exhausting anxiety, and uncomfortable growth.

~

While this year has had more “sad” moments than happy ones, that’s okay.

God broke me.

I’m seeing everyday how His love for me is completely overwhelming.

He is good and full of mercy.

He is working on parts of my heart that I didn’t know needed improvement.

I’m learning to trust him in a way I haven’t before.

So in that, I’m grateful for those “sad moments” which led me to place.

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that one super southern evening.

Back to Texas part two!

“The perfect southern evening in an old timey spot.”

One thing that is a large contributor to any type of perfect evening is wine. Luckily my local Texans know the hot spots. After a day of exploring the riverwalk, I gladly hopped into the back seat to hang out with this cute stud.

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Location: The Historic District of Gruene, Texas.

When you picture the perfect little southern Texas city, this would be it. Gruene is home to one of the first music halls in Texas.

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It’s also home to the first tall cactus I’ve ever seen in person.

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We headed to Winery on the Gruene which had the perfect texan feel with the most unique fruit infused wines. I was in absolute heaven.

Fun fact: A majority of my budget was reserved for wine. When Jalen & Bryan (my wonderful hosts) would come back to Florida after visiting family, they would come back with the most tasty wine. On this trip, I may have spent a good $30 on a half bottle of wine.

Yeah, that happened.

&& I don’t regret it one bit.

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Next stop: The Grapevine

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Again, a winery with the feel of old school texas with the one of my favorite sweet reds I’ve had yet!

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My wine recommendation:

Three Dudes Red from Grapevine
Blueberry Shiraz from Winery on the Gruene
Gewurztraminer from Winery on the Gruene
Sweet Memories Red from Winery on the Gruene
Strawberry Riesling from Winery on the Gruene
Caramel Bay from Winery on the Gruene

After a couple of wine tasting, we walked on over the Gristmill Restaurant.

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This quaint spot was cotton gin processed crops raised by local farmers until the wooden structure burned to the ground in 1922. Now is a remodelled into this southern, rustic gem of restaurant that now home some of the tastiest southern, comfort food.

&& sangria.

Do you notice a theme for this trip?

Skip to 3:36 for the evening scenery!

I ended the evening with sitting outside overlooking the Guadalupe River enjoying some country fried steak with a side of cute nephew cuddles.

I think it’s fair to say that someone was eyeballing some of that queso.

We headed back to Jalen’s homey abode and proceeded to drink more wine, have some tasty dessert from their local grocery store, and began to binge watch The Better Place until we could no longer keep our eyes open.

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My friends get me.

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silent tears.

This spring this little human started saying she “needed to hold my hand to fall asleep.” It’s one of the cutest, most sweet moments I’ve cherished in my nanny career.

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This summer was rough when wrestling with anxiety and depression. I remember silently crying during one of these moments because it didn’t bring me joy.

It scared/frustrated me that I was in that head space.

When I got out of that place, I remember being upset with myself that “I let my anxiety get to that place.”

Now, I look at this moment and I’m reminded of God’s sovereignty over my year, despite the emotional turmoil my mind puts me in. I see how He’s using this journey of addressing anxiety as a sanctifying process.

Yes, this moment still gets me teary eyed.

…but for a different reason.

I like this reason a tad more.

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an impromptu friendsgiving.

Fun fact:

I love fall.

Like a lot.

I’m the worst Floridian. I thrive in temperatures under 70*

One day, I’ll fully embrace the idea of change and move up north and be among the chilly mountains.

In the meantime, I’m making the best of Florida’s version of “autumn.”

When September approached, I may have decked out our living room with pumpkins despite me not being a fan of the taste of pumpkin and it still being 98* outside.

While seeing more and more cute festive fall decor and festive activities on pinterest, I decided to having a Celebration of Fall meal. Which naturally turned into a small, quaint Friendsgiving.

We had a few mission humans that were in Texas and dance classes.

One thing I do cherish about my singlehood, so being able to spend a tad too much on seasonal decor with no pushback from whomever.

Though I seem to justify it by the classic “I’ll be able to use it again next year.”

I will say that “plastic bin for fall decor to place in attic” is on my shopping list, so next year. So, having my “decor” section of my budget will pay off next year!

You can find my Chili Chili Bang Bang recipe here. I’ve recently started adding just a smidge of brown sugar and it is rather delicious. Some other tasty treats that may or may not have made the cut can be found here. Along with some festive decor ideas.  

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With my friends popping out little ones, I’m constantly looking for activities that I can make a tradition with them. This year, I think pumpkin painting may be an #AuntieEmmy tradition.

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I’m so thankful for this sisterhood.

This year has truly been a challenging year. Mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally while addressing my battle with anxiety head on. These ladies have constantly stuck with me and encouraged me every step along the way.

Dear Friends,

I know this year has been a tad trying. My complaining, my moments of tears, my lack of positivity, my moments of silence… the list goes on. But, through it all, you’re still here and I’m not sure how relay relay how thankful I am for that.

You’re friends who encourage me to keep going.

You’re friends who know what to say, without me asking.

You’re friends who listen to the same story over and over again.

You’re friends who make me laugh in the midst of hardship.

You’re friends who send scripture just at the right moment.

You’re the friends I grow old with.

 

Thank you for being truthful with me and challenging me to be better.

Thank you for being selfless, listening to everything I had to get off my chest.

Thank you for being understanding, for always allowing me to express myself.

Thank you for bringing joy to my life.

Not just joy from making me laugh, but also joy in knowing that I’m understood.

Thank you for choosing me.

You’re not just a friend to me, you’re a soul friend- the type of person who changes someone’s life, who makes it better.

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