Friday Five: Welcome Fall!

California 2018

1. Do you have any special rituals to welcome the approaching season, such as cleaning or decorating?


I guess I pull out my long sleeves and start wearing them before the weather even thinks of changing.

2. Do you welcome the approaching season or despise it?

Cooler weather? WELCOME!  

I do miss summer though. The beach, my birthday, vacations…

3. What has been the high point from the preceding season?

Travel to California!  Loved, loved, loved it! I never get tired of 85º weather and beautiful scenery. 

I think some people despise LA. I think those people are crazy. 

4. What has been the low point from the preceding season?

I fell on the ice and gave up ice skating for two months when I got a black eye. I don't want to be scared of something I love so much. It's just been so hard getting back out there.

5. What are you looking forward to in Autumn/Spring?

In autumn I enjoy the cooler weather, an excuse to drink warm drinks, watching the leaves change, and the impending holiday season. 

In spring, I like seeing beautiful flowers. I always do spring cleaning (unintentionally, I just get in that mood), so it brings me joy to clear out things I don't want or need. 

Happy Friday! Are you as ready for the weekend as I am?

September Lookback

"Time unchecked leads to a blank slate of nothingness. Time’s destructive march towards meaningless is arrested through memory and art depicting humankind’s struggles and accomplishments.” ― Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls

Why do I continue doing 'lookbacks' despite not writing actual blog posts? Because I don't want my time to dissolve into 'nothingness'. I want the passage of 'my time' to have meaning, whether it is merely self-growth or something more.

I hope one day I will be able to go back to writing helpful blog posts, but in the meantime, this post is here to document my growth and help me recognize that even when I feel I am accomplishing little, I am accomplishing much. ❤️

Listening to:

Extreme – "More Than Words"
Eric Clapton – "Change The World"


our time in Hawai'i. I heard Israel Kamakawiwoʻole's song "Over the Rainbow" and it just took me back there. Beaches, pina Coladas, and ALL of the gorgeous views. There were so many views there. 

I remember "Over the Rainbow" was overplayed everywhere in Hawai'i. We heard it so often! While it was annoying then, it was pretty great (unintentional?) marketing for the state. Where do I go every time I hear the song? There. So where do I want to return? Well… there


a trip to New Orleans in October with friends. There is a Halloween parade the weekend we are going, so that seems pretty exciting!

Anxious about:

Ice skating again. It's been almost two months since I fell. I need to get out there again.

Did you know that one of my favorite rinks closed? It makes me so sad. I was hoping to take lessons there. Of course, the same reason I liked it is probably the reason they closed: cheap cost and few people on the rink. 🤷‍♀️

Interested to Know:

if I will ever be able to reach out to someone I'm trying to befriend. It's so hard to make friends sometimes.

Keeping A Secret:

I watched Dawson's Creek as a teen and I still love it. Specifically the first season. I always wanted a group of tightknit friends like they were. I dreamed of being able to speak my mind and know that there were people who would always have my back. ❤️


Cynthia Rowley Azores Smocked Maxi Dress – It went on sale and I couldn't resist! I'm rather short though, so who knows if it will fit or if I will have to return it.
• Tires and wheels for my car. It was time.
• A Delsey carryon suitcase. Our (cheap) suitcase is a little worn. 😳

I got price adjustments on some clothes I recently purchased and that makes me so happy! I love when things work out like that.



Throwback Friday: Venice, Italy (2014)

“A man who has not been in Italy, is always conscious of an inferiority, from his not having seen what it is expected a man should see.” – Samuel Johnson

Editing images from a while back. Just wanted to share. Hope you all have an amazing Friday! ❤️

2019 So Far…

Every year, I do a mid-year overview of the places I've been and the things I've done. It helps keep me in-check and allows me to think back on how successful my year has been while also letting me see, yet again, all of the beautiful images I've edited. This year, I am also taking some time to look at my resolutions too. What is the point of resolutions if you don't at least attempt to keep them? (Though I've come to discover that my desires and what I deem as successes change as the year goes on. I'm not sure if that means I've changed as a person or if I've simply gotten tired of working toward my goals and find I need a break. Thoughts?)

So here it is, 2019 so far…

Berlin, Germany (January 2019)

We began 2019 in Sharm-El-Sheikh where the Hyatt Regency upgraded us to a suite! The staff was so excited that they had me excited about our upgrade! We rang in the new year at the airport but made sure we toasted with a hot cup of tea once we got to our hotel for the night.

Following Sharm-El-Sheikh, we found ourselves in Berlin where we explored the city with friends. One of my favorite things we did there was watch sunset from the top of the Berliner Dom; it was almost magical. (Though it would have been more magical if my camera card had not been full!)

Once we got home from our adventures abroad, we made the decision to pay off my Mazda 2014.

Georgia (1989)

The second month of the year had me digging through my past in search of myself. Granted cleaning out my parent's basement was on my 101 in 1001 list, but I had no idea what all I would find as I did so! After 4 weeks of working, I became mentally exhausted; I've been on break ever since. I do need to finish what I started, but I also need the mental capacity to do so.

San Luis Obispo, California (April 2018)

I took a different approach to 101 in 1001 by getting out of the house and ice skating in March. Doing so gave my husband and me a whole new hobby that we enjoyed doing together. We bought skates (used, for me) and a whole slew of items to care for them. Next up? Lessons. Or at least that's the plan anyway.

My husband also worked on setting me up with a Drobo and VPN so that I can edit images out of the house. Unfortunately, the network is rather slow only allowing me to download up to four images in an hour (which does not work when you are editing HDR and need three images!), but it is nice having the option to access my photos, no matter how slowly it runs.

Venice, Italy (May 2014)

The first week of April brought Easter and a mini-vacation. Justin and I took a long weekend in Miami, Florida sipping mojitos, enjoying Cuban food, and listening to Cuban music.

When we returned home, I began work on April A-Z. Dealing with a bout of depression, I approached April A-Z in a different way this year, editing one image a day and answering a few questions a day for the duration of the month. Sometimes it's helpful to just do a thing, even when you don't feel like it.

Miami, Florida (July 2018)

A friend of Justin's invited us to DC to tour the embassies in May. It was a lot of fun getting to see DC in a new way and it was helpful for me to have one-on-one time with friends. It had been a while.

Paris, France (May 2014)

As soon as summer hit, problems started arising. First, my dad went into the hospital for major surgery. Not too long after, my grandmother did as well. It was like we couldn't catch a break.

We ended up renting a family suite from the hospital my dad was staying in Athens, Georgia during that month just so that we could be close in case anything happened. While it was upsetting to be at the hospital, I did enjoy exploring all of my "old haunts" from my time in Athens at college.

Mustafa Mosque in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt (January 2019)

With the conclusion of 101 in 1001 fastly approaching, Justin and I ventured off to California for a July 4th vacation. We spent a few days at the beach, some time in the desert, explored the mountains, and then returned to the city to celebrate the nation's birthday. All-in-all it was an amazing trip.

When we got back from our trip, I received an email about discounted French classes, so, of course, we had to sign up.

And to end the month on a good note, all of the weight I lost earlier in the year helped me fit into a dress just in time for my birthday! Even though I still had a black eye from falling on the ice rink weeks earlier, I felt like a princess.

Angeles Crest Highway in the Angeles National Forest, California (July 2019)

At the beginning of August, Justin and I had one last summer hurrah as we explored the panhandle of Florida. We ate delicious cake at Modica Market, drank beer at Grayton Beer Co, and watched sunsets every night we were there. It was a truly phenomenal end to the summer season!

… But, How Am I Doing With My Resolutions? …

1. Finances – So-So.

+ We paid off the car, we've looked at refinancing student loans, and we are in the process of conquering our interest charges.

2. Blogging – Better.

+ I did start my goal of planning for April A-Z early even though I didn't use that material. (And, as it turns out, I lost a bunch of images due to a camera card failure, so my original goal may not have worked anyway.)
- I did not do much travel blogging. (Too stressed, too busy, lack of interest, distractions, difficult access to pictures…)
- Drobo and the VPN are set up, but they don't work as well as I hoped they would.
+ I have managed to participate in a twitter chat at least once a month for most months.

3. Travel – Meh.

- I had lofty plans. Only 1/3 has worked out. That's okay, I think.

4. Health – Also meh.

+ I am moving more – ice skating –, but I'm not really watching my calories like I should be. Guess I should get on that!
+ I've also lost about 10 pounds. Dresses have begun fitting again! Yay!
- But it took a bout of depression to get there.

5. Home – Better

- I started out the year cleaning and organizing, but I've fallen by the wayside. Maybe I will get better at it during the second half of the year.

6. Other – ?

+ I have managed to slow down and relax. I've been working on conquering my mental health. I have not been keeping up with my goals (practicing German, reading) or assuming the best in people. I really need to get better at that.
+ Decided to take French lessons, so that's cool (and slightly unexpected!).

…Going Forth…

1. I will carefully consider my budgeting strategies.
2. Continue participating in twitter chats and try to write travel-related blog posts.
3. Lay low on travel for the rest of the year. We are looking at New Orleans in October and Chicago in December, but it's hard to say if those will happen.
4. I will continue to work toward a happier mental state and choose to think more positively about my current position in life as well as how I feel about others.
5. At the very least, I should go through my closet… It would be great if everything had a home and I had an organization strategy.
6. Realize that everything will work out in the end. <3.

How are you feeling this year? Are you tired of meeting goals and deadlines? … Ready for a break? Or are you happy with where you are and feeling ready to take on the second half of 2019? Are you staying on top of your New Year resolutions?

September IWSG 2019

August Goals
Decide if I want to do 101 in 1001 again.
Work on Christmas present.
✗ Look at the budget.
Pay for car tags.

Additional Successes
• Asked off for October. Now to start planning NOLA!!
• Started French lessons.
• Figured out dates for 2020 summer travel.

September Goals
– WORK ON CHRISTMAS PRESENT! (It has to be completed by October.)
– Look at the budget. (Again.)
– Write an email to my employer.
– Work on NOLA trip.
– Go ice skating at least once. (I've been afraid since I fell.)

IWSG Question –– If you could pick one place in the world to sit and write your next story, where would it be and why?

I think it would be really beautiful and exciting to go to France (or anywhere really) and learn to cook and write about my life as an expat. Just get a small bungalow and write about my experiences. In French.

Of course, I think to do that I would need to be retired and have a substantial income.

And how many others have gone to France to write about being an expat and learning to cook? … Probably a bunch.

I still think it would be an absolute delight (and truly terrifying!) to explore the terrain and gain a skill I absolutely do not have.


To conquer my feelings of self-doubt, I logged into 7 Cups the other day to chat. I ended up being connected with a guy named Joe. My first thought was "he's such a guy". His responses were so matter-of-fact. In a beautiful way, he didn't have time for drama but he was patient and kind. And then he started flirting. Luckily, I'm married to a guy that isn't easily jealous, so I just went with it and had the best time.

As a person who writes, sometimes I deliberate on what I'm going to say far more than I ought. Sometimes words are just words. Sometimes it's better to just spit out what you want to say and not worry about how it is taken.

This is especially true with rough drafts, but I think it's occasionally true with people too. Just be your most real self. You can't hide who you are forever. (And if you are a writer, it's going to come through somehow! Even if your characters are nothing like you!)

Your Turn

Do you ever have a hard time putting your words/thoughts to paper/screen? What about speaking them? Can you say what you want to say the first time you are given the opportunity? Or do you over analyze every word and then find yourself struggling to get anywhere?

If you are someone that is amazing and charismatic and confident, do you have any suggestions for me?

Past IWSG posts: FebruaryMarchMayJuneJulyAug

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