food · travel

It’s Been A While

“It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform.”
― Roy T. Bennett

Hey y’all. I’ve been extremely absent the past two months..from a lot of things. September was an interesting month. I decided to leave my desk job of three years with no job lined up. I’ve never done anything like that before. I’ve always planned and made sure I was ready before taking any huge life steps. Sometimes though, you have to put yourself and your health (mental and physical) first. I had been declining health wise for months and a bad bout of pneumonia last spring didn’t help. So, I left. Thankfully, Alex had just started a new job that could support us both while I figured things out.

I don’t usually discuss our lives outside of what we’re eating or where we’re going, but I’m going to. If this isn’t your cup of tea and you want to skip to where it gets fun. Go ahead, it does get fun a little farther into this post.

I’ll admit, I was terrified. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I knew I needed a break though, and my ever loving and supportive husband told me to work part time. Now, a little bit of background for me, I’m a photographer and graphic designer by trade. I decided once I left my job that I’d be going back into that. Nothing was going to stop me this time. So I got my shit together and put together an online portfolio for both.

I’m working at a restaurant now. A lot of people doubted that I’d be able to handle it at first. They didn’t think I had the personality buuuut this is honestly the most fun and enjoyable work experience I’ve had in years. I also get to focus on other things now that I only work part time. It’s been an amazing two months as I recovered from what was becoming a very toxic work environment. I’ve taken on a book cover commission (yes, I design book covers), I’ve done engagement photos for two of my favorite people, and I’m also going through a weight loss transformation and have lost 25 lbs. I still have more weight to lose, but I’m so pleased with myself. I feel happier, healthier, and just all around stronger.

Now onto the fun stuff! We haven’t stopped traveling about or eating delicious food, I promise! In September we went hiking and took a stop in Asheville to eat at one of our favorite places, Mayfel’s. It’s Louisianan inspired fare and absolutely delicious.

I absolutely love Asheville. Every single time we go, we always wonder what our lives would be like if we moved there. Both of us are obsessed with being in or around the mountains, so it would just make sense for us. It’s also surrounded by the Smoky Mountains. Asheville is full of good food, good beer, and history. We have yet to go, but the Biltmore Estate is a good reason to visit Asheville too.

Now, our hiking trip was out near Helen, GA. Helen is this adorable town in the North Georgia Mountains that is modeled after a Bavarian town in Germany. It’s a total tourist trap, but so much fun to visit. There’s plenty to do for the outdoorsy people like us. You have tubing, lots of hiking trails, and there’s Unicoi Lake as well for a laid back lake day or weekend. Unicoi has camping spots, cabins, and a full lodge for a pleasant vacation.

We really enjoy Smithgall Woods, which is just outside of Helen. You do need to pay, but it’s five dollars and gets you all day parking. They have different trails for different hiking experiences. We’ve done the mine trail and got chased out by a boar. Please keep in mind that you will have limited cell service on these hikes and are surrounded by wildlife. Clean up after yourself and be respectful. ALSO, the only bathroom is at the visitors center. Use it. Don’t get all the way out and realize you need to pee. It’s no fun when your husband is your cackling lookout while you’re squatting behind a tree. This last time though, we decided to hike to the summit for the ‘gram (and the exercise).

Moving on to October. It was a ridiculously fun month. We spent a long weekend in Norfolk and Williamsburg with our best friends. The very first photo was our sunrise view from our Airbnb. It was spectacular. Before they arrived, we spent the day exploring the USS Wisconsin with my dad. He also took us to a hole in the wall burger and beer spot around the corner from the floating museum.

The sights and smells of the ship brought back childhood memories. The one thing I’m still not fond of? Those damn stair…ladder…things. As a kid, when we were visiting my dad on whatever ship he was on, I could climb up or down on my hands and knees. There’s just some things that aren’t appropriate as a twenty-seven year old adult.

On Saturday, we headed into Colonial Williamsburg for our friends’ engagement photos. Taken by yours truly. I’m so pleased with how they turned out, it also helped that Robbie and Erin are ADORABLE. Seriously, look at them.

That evening and an outfit change later, we skipped over to Busch Gardens. I don’t know if you’ve ever been, but Busch Gardens is my happy place. I’ve been going since I was a toddler and it’s still the most beautiful theme park I’ve ever been to. I really enjoyed sharing the experience with my chosen family. However, the highlight of the night was fitting five grown ass adults into a single teacup. You read that right. Five of us in a teacup. I’m honestly amazed the thing didn’t lift off and shoot us into space. Also amazed none of us tossed chunks. We had pretzels a little before this shenanigan. Never again.

I look so nervous in this (photo cred to Erin)

So while the last few months have brought a huge amount of change, it was all change for the better. I’m looking forward to 2020 as a whole. We have so much planned and I cannot wait to share it all with you. As usual darlings, travel well and travel often.

P.S. You can check out my portfolios here and here.

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