5 Places I'm Dying to Visit

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I will be the first person to admit I'm an introvert and I enjoy staying home. But every now and again I get the desire to step out of my usual boundaries and a trip out into the unknown to see what the world has to offer. I've often pondered if I had unlimited funds and ample time off of work, where would I go?! Well, I've thought it through and here are 5 places I'm dying to visit rated by distance from me.

5. Washington, DC

As the nation’s capital, it’s hard for this not to make the list. At a whopping 110 miles away, this is easily a day trip by car or train. The last time I’ve been was over decade ago and my interests weren’t quite what they are today. This is a trip that will surely be full of historic information, rich masonry and unique photography!

4. Savannah, Georgia

Known for its Southern antebellum charm, there’s no way this wouldn’t be on my list! Plus, it’s home to Paula Dean’s restaurant. I’m booking my vacation there around when I can get reservations into her restaurant for sure! This comes in at my second closest must travel place at only 468 miles from Richmond.

3. New Orleans, Louisiana

Nightlife and the bayou aren’t all this city has to offer. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the rich culture and odd dialects of this French-persuaded city. This trip has to be little more planned as it is 1000 miles away from home!

2. Arlington, Texas

Everything’s better in Texas, right?! This might seem a little odd on my list as most of the places have historical value or Southern charm. Well this historical value is more personal as it holds the history of NPG. Born and raised a Texan, I would love to see where his roots originally formed. We are out of driving distance at a long 1300 miles from our current home!

1. Dublin, Ireland

Only a small leap across the pond, this is my ultimate place to visit before I die! Being half Irish, I would love to visit where my ancestors came from and learn more about my heritage firsthand. One day I will be on a plane to visit my roots only 3500 miles from home.

Where are you dying to visit?

Raise 'Em Up

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

What a mess the weather has been the past few weeks. Virginia has gotten over 7 inches of rain this month so far! While I know we need the rain, only having 6 sunny days in May just puts me in a really down mood. Last week as I was driving home in the rain, I was listening to the Storme Warren show and they were doing a segment on who/what you would raise up trophy high. Basically it's a nice way of giving people or things a pat on the back that don't normally get a big thanks. 

When I've heard this segment in the past they raise up the teachers and firefighters, the people that matter on a daily basis, but may not get the thanks everyday. And while hearing Storme and his cohost talk about joy and praising others that deserve a little pat on the back, I started to feel my mood shift from gloomy much like the weather to bright and cheerful.

I started to realize that life (for me at least) has gotten so push and shove that there isn't time to stop and smell the roses anymore. It feels like it's all about progress and no time to enjoy what I have. It's really nice to take 5 minutes to stop and think about what or who is important and raise them up trophy high. 

When we are all focused so much on making progress and money it's easy to get greedy and lose sight of the important things. I hate to sound like your typical country song, but things are moving too fast, I feel like people have forgotten what patients and kindness are all about. 

So I have a challenge for you this week. I challenge you to take 5 minutes to slow down. Take those 5 minutes and think about who or what you would lift trophy high. This week try to spread joy instead of greed. Don't let the weather or something your boss said get you down. Hold the door for somebody behind you. Say thank you when somebody does something kind for you. Or even say "Hello" or "Good morning" to somebody you pass in the hallway. Let that joy you spread to others raise you up! You'll be surprised how much it will improve your mood and attitude as well!

Wedding Weekend With Confidence

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Where did the weekend go?! I swear it was just Thursday and I was getting up at 4:30 in the morning to go to work so I could get ready for tons of fun wedding stuff! This weekend was my best friends wedding and I just can't believe it went by so quickly!

My best friend Suzanne and her now husband got married on Saturday. They had dated for around 8 years so everybody is extremely happy they finally tied the knot! Suzanne was a beautiful bride and their wedding was super cute! She did a whole DIY wedding! I don't know how she managed to do it all herself!

I was fortunate to be able to stand up with Suzanne and support her as a bridesmaid on her wedding day! But my parents as well as NPG attended the wedding. It means so much when family and friends can get together and support new love.

The wedding took place on the river and it was the perfect spot for a wedding! I can't wait to see how those professional sunset pictures turned out! I snapped a few with my phone and even those were really pretty!

And what would a wedding be without a few selfies! NPG and I couldn't resist!

But on a serious note, I never was too self-conscious about wearing strapless dresses, but since gaining weight again I have become much more hesitant to put on a strapless shirt or dress. I now find myself trying to be careful about how I stand in pictures. But this past weekend, I didn't even think about it. I felt pretty and I just tried to let that feeling radiate through me. I think that helped my overall confidence level through the evening and into my normal life this week! Sometimes it just takes getting out of your everyday life and spicing things up a bit to find a bit of courage just to be you!

Following my Dreams of Photography

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

I have been one of those people who were envious of photographers and their beautiful pictures. I got a Nikon DSLR back in 2008 but never really took the time to learn how to use it for more than just a really fancy point and shoot. For about a year I had my eye on a DSLR that took pictures and recorded video. So finally around Christmas I bought it. Finally nearly 5 months later I'm starting to learn. 

Bare with me a little, I'll get back to talking about photography, a tangent is about to commence.

Saturday, my mom and I ran in a 5k to support NPG's college alma mater. I had never actually been to his campus even though it is only about 15 minutes away from where we live. It is really a neat little community. The campus is located on an old pecan plantation, so there are roughly 75 pecan trees planted in the middle of campus. The 5k actually ran though the pecan grove! They let the students and community pick the pecans when they are in season, which I think is super cool. Pecan pie anyone?!

Running through the grove - photo credit RBC 5k Staff Member

Crossing the finish line - photo credit RBC 5k Staff Member

I'm sure you see where I'm going with this...

Aside from graduating from there, the college is where NPG got his love of landscaping so he took me to one of his favorite and the most beautiful place on campus. Now let's get back on topic. I got really excited about this stunning little pond because it gave me a chance to enhance my new love of photography. I brought my Nikon D5500 camera with me to the race and set out to take some pictures and practice a little. I first started trying to shoot in manual mode roughly 3 weeks ago. My first try at manual mode on my camera didn't turn out quite how I wanted it to.

The next time I attempted shooting in manual mode I changed a few settings and I've slowly been getting the hang of it ever since. My Gerber Daisies have been the subject of most of my photography.

Now that NPG has introduced me to this wonderful garden at his college, I will be wanting to go back there to practice more. I got a few shots while we were there before I got too cold and wanted to go warm up. 

I am so excited to continue learning about photography and enhancing my skills. This has always been a dream of mine and sometimes you just have to follow your dreams and know that you can achieve them if you put your mind to it. 

What is something you have always wanted to learn to do?