A Year in Review

Hey, only 7 months since my last post. Better than four years, right? Alright, so we left off in June and I told everyone I was planning on visiting Hawaii. More on that later.

Let me start by saying, I didn’t hate 2017. I know it wasn’t a good year for a lot of people, and I’d be lying if I said it was all sunshine and puppies for me, but overall I’m really thankful for everything that happened. Even the not great stuff.

January – I ran the Hot Chocolate 10K at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, NC. Worst. 10K. Ever. Seriously, guys. It was like 14 degrees, we had to wait at the top of a hill with the wind blowing constantly (so a wind chill of ….?) for about 30 minutes before the race actually started, it was a trail run (didn’t know that when I signed up for it), and it was my first totally solo race. I did finish in the top 10 for my age bracket, which was pretty cool, but I have no desire to run there ever again.

February – You’re probably all very familiar with the happenings of February and the Disney Half-Marathon by now, and if you’re not you can read all about it here.


March – My friend Kerry and I ran the Ella’s Race 10K (sponsored by Chick-Fil-A. Hello, free breakfast sandwiches), during which I realized that what I suspected to just be post-half-marathon muscle soreness was actually more than that. I limp-ran across the finish line with a better time than the 10K I ran the previous October. Go figure. Since then I haven’t been running, I’m still doing other strength training and giving it time. My stubbornness means that I don’t want to go to a doctor who’s just going to tell me to do PT, and if that doesn’t work they’ll give me a cortisone injection or have to do surgery. At this point it’s only a problem if I run, so if I don’t run there’s not a problem… Seems pretty simple.

April – Fairly uneventful. Genuinely not sure if we did anything worth mentioning that month. I think we pretty much just worked and enjoyed it starting to warm up again by spending some more time outside.


May – May marked the beginning of summer. Afternoons spent reading by the pool on days off, enduring the happy madness that is Duke graduation, knowing that it’s almost my birthday…

June – I had bought Max tickets to a Glass Animals concert for Valentine’s Day that wasn’t until June, so we finally got to do that. It was a lot of fun, and since we’re officially too old for lawn seats (sitting on the ground for more than an hour at a time hurts) we had actual seats where we could relax. We also celebrated my 25th birthday with a trip to the Asheboro Zoo (I had never been before), tacos, and A UNICORN CAKE. You guys, that cake is one of the best presents I’ve ever received. My friend Lauren, who is a pastry chef/genius that I went to school with at JWU, put together the whole thing. It was nothing short of magical. And delicious.


July – I actually got to see fireworks this year for the 4th of July! This is momentous because it hasn’t happened since I started working in hotels. Technically, the fireworks were on July 3rd, but that’s the day Garner always does their fireworks. I also hosted the 8th Annual Agatha Christie Tea, and helped with my best friend’s surprise baby shower! She knew I was planning one for my visit in August, but had no idea I’d get to see her in July when she visited NC for the birth of her nephew. It was a great surprise and happy tears were shed.

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August – Max’s birthday, DC, and Hawaii. For Max’s birthday (which actually fell on Duke Welcome Weekend), we went down to Charlotte about two weeks early to spend the night at the Duke Mansion and go to dinner at Stoke (one of his favorite Charlotte spots). It was a wonderful and relaxing getaway, we felt extremely pampered.


The next weekend I flew to DC, just for fun. Every now and then I get kind of restless, and the job I’ve had babysitting for the same family for the past couple years now allows for a bit more flexibility financially to do that sort of thing. I flew up early Sunday morning, checked in to the Tabard Inn, then found an entirely gluten-free bakery a mile down the road that had eclairs(!), croissants(!!), and doughnuts(!!!). The rest of the day was spent doing a lot, and I mean a LOT, of walking around. I walked down to the White House, over to the Washington Monument, to the WWII memorial, then the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War memorial, the new Martin Luther King Jr. memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, and back to the National Mall. From there I happened upon the Enid A. Haupt Garden behind the Smithsonian Castle, and my goodness is it pretty. Highly recommend this tiny treasure if you get a chance.


After realizing I was sunburned and probably dehydrated I ended up at the only museum I visited on this trip, the National Museum of the American Indian. A friend of mine recommended it because the museum had a limited time display about the Inka Road, part of which ran through Peru. It was fun to see some things I had become familiar with during my time in Peru as a kid and getting to learn a lot of new things, too.

From there I headed back to the Tabard Inn where I enjoyed a great dinner, my wonderful Agatha Christie book, and then some live jazz music in the lounge. After getting ready for bed I wasn’t ready to call it a night quite yet, so I went back downstairs to get some tea and read for a bit. I met a fellow guest of the hotel, and we wound up talking for a couple hours. She ended up giving me a book, which was perfect since I had finished the one I brought with me.

The next morning I walked over to Georgetown, where I spent the day exploring some neighborhoods and having tea/reading at the Four Seasons. I finished the book my hotel friend gave me, and then found a bookshop where I bought yet another book (oops). My flight left at 9pm, so after a forgettable dinner (really, I don’t remember where or what it was) I ended up at the airport. My flights in and out of DC were entirely uneventful, until I got to Raleigh and a storm had caused a bunch of flights going to Charlotte to get re-routed to RDU. This resulted in my plane sitting on the tarmac for almost two hours before we got to a gate. Needless to say, I was very happy when I finally got home around 1am.

Hawaii. Hawaii carried over into early September, but I’ll keep it all here to make things easier. Between an early morning departure time, no delays, and time zone changes I was able to get to Honolulu by 1pm local time. The friends I was visiting, Evelyn and Austin, picked me up from the airport and promptly took me to lunch. Being able to stand, stretch, and not eat airplane food was fantastic. They showed me around a little bit, then took me back to their place so I could clean up and relax a little. The week went by in a blur, I may write a separate post a la Disney for a more complete look at everything I did while I was there, but the main reason I visited was to throw a baby shower for Evelyn. Her amazing and wonderful friends who lived on the island were the ones who really made it all possible, and I’m so grateful that I was able to be a part of it.


The thing about being best friends with someone for almost 14 years is that you’ve talked about a lot of things. Boys, growing up, what you’re going to do in college, getting married, having kids…. Actually getting to be there for each of those milestones is indescribable. Your best friend only has her first baby once, how could you not be there for at least part of that? I’m beyond grateful that I was able to go to Hawaii (which would have been fun in and of itself) and spend an uninterrupted week with my best friend (I think the last time that really happened was probably summer camp in 8th or 9th grade).


September – Much like April, this month was spent pretty much just working. I don’t think we did too much. Oh! I spent a good chunk of September recovering from a nasty cold/sinus infection I came down with shortly after getting home from Hawaii. I blame recycled airplane air.

October – For our second anniversary we went back to Charleston, where we spent our honeymoon. This time we stayed at the Francis Marion hotel, which provided a highly convenient location from which to explore. While there we went back to one of our absolute favorite restaurants, Pan e Vino. They have gluten free pasta that they make in house, what more could you want? Other than the beef carpaccio with truffle cream sauce special, of course… Out of the three nights we were in Charleston we ate there two of the nights. No regrets. We also went to the South Carolina Aquarium in Charleston and Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in the harbor where we got to explore the USS Yorktown and the USS Clamagore, a Cold War era submarine. Maaaaan, the people that work on submarines are a special breed. I could barely be inside that thing for the 15 minutes it took to go through it and it wasn’t even underwater. We also ate at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams.

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November – One of the perks of working at the Washington Duke Inn is that sometimes employees are able to go to Duke basketball games. Max and I were able to go to the Duke vs. Furman game, which was really fun. I had never been to a full basketball game before, so Max says I got a little spoiled going to Cameron Indoor for my first real game. I’m not going to disagree with that. We were also able to spend Thanksgiving with Max’s family for the first time ever as a couple, which was really nice.


December – December was a busy month for us, like pretty much everyone else. The first weekend in December we went to visit Max’s grandparents, we had a great time spending time with them and getting to do some skeet shooting. The next weekend we drove to DC with my parents to go to the National Air and Space Museum out by Dulles airport. We drove in on Sunday and it was really fun to go back to the gluten free bakery that I found in July. We also drank way too much coffee, had some good pizza, and enjoyed the fireplace at our hotel. We also walked over to a few of the memorials in the evening and got some nice pictures. On Monday we drove straight over to the museum and spent the entire day there until we decided it was time to get home.


The weekend after that I finally got to meet Austin and Evelyn’s baby! We spent Sunday just hanging out at Austin’s parents’ house, and then Monday we went on a food tour of Durham. Much tasty food was consumed and a great time was had by all. The next weekend was Christmas Eve/Christmas, which we were able to spend with my family for the first time. It was really wonderful to have everyone all together. The weekend after that was New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day/Second Christmas with the other side of the family, which was also a lot of fun and wonderful.

I really wrote this end-of-year post for my own benefit. Looking back and seeing everywhere I was able to go, the things I did, and the people I spent time with is a great reminder of how truly blessed I have been. I’m grateful for everything I was able to do in 2017 and I look forward to seeing what 2018 holds.

Until next time…


What I Wish I Could Tell 11 Year-Old Me

….and Advice for My Future Self

As I began mentally preparing to be 25 and no longer able to pretend I’m not an adult I started thinking about how different life is as an adult and how what was important as an 11 year-old isn’t really that important to me at almost-25 (surprise, right?). So enjoy this mostly not-so-serious list of things I’d tell myself if I had the opportunity.

-Eyebrows. You’ll think you’ve finally managed to tame them and get them into a shape you like, then two days later you’ll wonder what you were thinking they’re obviously hideous, better start all over. You’ll kind of get used to it, you’ll also realize it’s not as important as you think, then you’ll still care too much. Let’s check back on this in another 14 years.

-Acne. NO ONE TELLS YOU THAT IT NEVER GOES AWAY. Sorry. You’ll have a couple magical days about a week and a half before you turn 25 where you have ZERO blemishes and you think “Maybe this is what being 25 will be like,” but they’ll come back and you’ll stop being naive enough to think that it’ll ever go away. Sorry, Future-Self.

-Glasses. You make peace with them. Contacts are probably one of the best things that’s going to happen to you, but you’ll also realize a little further down the road that cute glasses exist, the early 2000s were just a terrible time for fashion things in general. Don’t believe me? Look at this. Things get better.

-Hair. It’s funny how you think it’s going to be straight forever. Wait another year and half and this weird wave/bump thing is going to show up on the left side of your head and just kind of hang out for a year, then cut your hair and watch when it’s suddenly curly *everywhere*. I still don’t understand this, but for now it’s still curly. Let’s check on this one in 14 years, too.

-Confidence. Fake it ’til you make it. My Grammy once told me that everyone is so busy worrying about themselves they’re not really focused on you. It took me too many years to realize she was right.

-Boys. Clothes don’t make the man. Or the muscles. Or the motorcycle. As the Paper Bag Princess once said, “Your clothes are really pretty and your hair is very  neat. You look like a real prince, but you are a bum.” (Also, if you’ve never read The Paper Bag Princess please take a few minutes to educate yourself) How he treats you is VERY important.

-Food & Exercise. This whole “eating whatever you want with no consequences” thing doesn’t last forever. Enjoy it while you can. Then maybe look up some tasty healthy recipes and find a way to be active that you enjoy. You hate running now, but just wait, you’ll miss it some day. Stay active as long as you can, however you can.

-Trust. If God wants it to happen, it’ll happen (regardless of what “it” is). Oh the heartache that could have been spared if you figured this one out early on, but it seems like you have to actually experience the heartache to figure that one out. And you’ll have to keep figuring it out because you forget it over and over again.

-Timing. God’s timing really is perfect (again, surprise!). This one is interwoven with trust, but you need to understand that though there are things that may seem to be out of reach sometimes God has a way of bringing things together at just the right time. You’ll get a tattoo to remember this, and subsequently forget and have to be reminded many more times.

There’s a lot more I’d have to say if I really could (you’ll like coffee, you’ll listen to some of the music you listen to right now and laugh really hard, you drive a truck for seven years, ENJOY THE BREAD WHILE YOU CAN, etc), but I thought this was a good start. If you could go back and give your 11 year-old self any advice what would it be?

Disney and Breaking Down and Half-Marathons, Oh My!

So this is the special post specifically about our grand trip to Florida and all that it entailed.

We planned to road trip to Orlando in Max’s car, which had been having some issues for a while. We briefly discussed the possibility of the car breaking down on the road and what we would do if that happened. Our plan was to leave Friday morning (early) and try to go to Epcot for a few hours, do Hollywood Studios Saturday, the half-marathon Sunday morning and Magic Kingdom the rest of the day. Weeellllll, half way between Durham and Orlando, in a little Georgia town called Midway (convenient) the car decided it had lived a long and useful life and it was time to call it quits. So there we sat on the side of the road in Midway, Georgia baking in the noonday sun. Doesn’t that sound like fun? AAA literally couldn’t figure out where we had broken down in order to get a tow truck to us, so we eventually called a local place and they sent a tow to us. When we got to the shop we decided it was time to part ways with Tom Celica, so we arranged to formally sell the car for parts on our way back from Florida, we would rent a car to finish our road trip.

Here’s a fun fact about rental car companies: when you make a reservation, they don’t necessarily have a vehicle reserved for you. I did not know that until I made a reservation through Enterprise’s central booking (because they pick you up and take you to the rental place, and hey, we didn’t have a car and did we really expect there to be taxis or Uber in this tiny little town?) and was consequently told when I called the local Enterprise who would schedule our pick up that they did not have any vehicles available for the rest of the day. Great. Meanwhile, Max was on the phone with Hertz. He was told that they didn’t have any vehicles *at the moment* but they were due to have some returned later that afternoon. *Technically* there were 18 other people with reservations for the day and only 6 cars due back, *but* if we were actually there when the car got returned… Well… So we managed to find a guy who drove a cab in Midway, Georgia (Thank you, Jesus. I genuinely thought we were going to be stranded.) to take us to the Hertz rental place where we sat for about an hour until a vehicle returned, which we got. All of this I count as a miracle. We drove the rest of the way without incident, and even managed to have dinner with my parents and sister (who wisely drove separately) at my old favorite restaurant in Orlando, Cafe Tutu Tango. If it sounds familiar, it’s because I’ve mentioned it before.

After a restorative and tasty dinner we drove out to stay with our hosts for the weekend. We stayed with my Peru-best-friend’s parents, who graciously hosted us and accommodated the multiple changes to our travel plans that occurred when the car died. It was wonderful getting to see them and catch up a little, I hadn’t seen them since their daughter (my friend) got married in 2013. They were also able to meet Max, which was really neat.

Saturday we returned the rental car and met up with my sister, as planned, to spend the day in Hollywood Studios. We dropped our things off at the hotel we were staying in that night (shuttle transportation to the starting line of the race in the morning), then had a day of fun. Max’s first Disney ride experience was Star Tours, which would have been a winner even if there hadn’t been a terrified little girl screaming throughout the entire ride (He found this hilarious. As did I. And Alex.) We ended the night with Tower of Terror, which was one of the highlights of the weekend. We had dinner at House of Blues before calling it a night and getting a few fitful hours of sleep before the big race.

The alarm going off at 3am was exactly as sad as it sounds. We stumbled out of bed and packed our things, dropped them off with the front desk as we checked out, and staggered onto the bus that would take us to the race. Max parted ways with me and Alex at that point so he could get a spot on the bleachers at the finish line. Alex and I then met up with Kerry, a friend of mine from when I worked at The Carolina Inn, and one of her friends who were also running. We had been planning to run together since about March, which was also good motivation to keep training. Kerry is practically a pro-half-marathoner.

The race itself was a pretty great first half-marathon experience. We were in one of the corrals towards the back so our start time was delayed, and there were also a ton of people who walked the entire way that we had to dodge while running, but other than that it was incredible. We got to stop for pictures with different characters along the way and run through Magic Kingdom and Epcot at the very end. Unfortunately, none of the people who travelled down to cheer us on managed to see us cross the finish line…

We limped around the rest of the day at Magic Kingdom, of course we rode Splash Mountain, mainly trying to keep moving until the fireworks show later in the evening. My parents and sister left after the fireworks, but Max and I had already reserved a FastPass for one of the rides, so we stayed a bit later. When we left the parks we were headed back to my friends’ house to spend the night again (via Uber, no car, remember?), but we decided to stop for dinner along the way. We were in the mood for a Mexican restaurant, which we managed to find about half way between. The most notable thing about dinner was the fact that we brought all of our bags inside with us while we were eating and the hostess had no idea what to make of the two people who were (probably) kind of smelly and extremely sleep deprived by the time we sat down at 11pm.

Max and I spent the next day at Epcot, which was the perfect pace for us. I was still pretty sore, so having an easy day to spend eating and looking at stuff was great. We ate our way (mostly) around the world, Max having fish and chips for breakfast in the UK while I had some macarons in France. We enjoyed lunch in Morocco and dinner in Mexico (we have a thing for tacos). We ended the evening with gelato in Italy and fireworks, which was lovely.

The next morning we said goodbye to our hosts and headed to the airport (via Uber) to pick up a rental car to take us home. Incredibly, it was a very simple process. The Orlando airport has way more rental cars than Midway, Georgia (WHAT? ARE YOU SERIOUS? WHAT A SHOCKING TURN OF EVENTS) so getting a vehicle was a matter of going up to the desk, saying, “Hey, I want to rent a car,” putting down your credit card, getting the keys, and leaving. Amazing. Our drive home was almost completely uneventful, other than stopping in Midway to officially sell the car the drive back was forgettable in almost every way. I say almost because my best friend called to tell me she was pregnant(!), so that was pretty memorable and awesome.

The weekend itself was overall really fun and we made some exciting memories, but I think the two biggest takeaways were these: 1) Max and I kept it together and didn’t fight at all during the break-down fiasco or while operating under sleep deprived conditions on Sunday 2) I actually ran a half-marathon.

Catching Up Again

*insert your own captivating and clever opening sentence here*

The first sentence is always the hardest so I’m just gonna let all (ha, what all? Like two of you) readers fill in the blank for me.

So. Life. The last time I wrote anything on here was June 2014, and it was a deeply insightful recipe for Maple Bacon Doughnuts. Most of you probably know what’s been going on in my life since then, but what would this blog be without me providing a “quick” recap?

In June of 2014 I was dating this guy, he was pretty cool and life was good. When we started dating the year before we decided that neither one of us was interested in dating just for the sake of dating. If we were dating, then we were going to be serious about it. With that in mind, we made a decision shortly after we started our relationship that over the summer leading into our senior year at Johnson & Wales University we would either break-up or take the next step. I can’t tell you with any certainty whether that conversation took place before or after the mighty Maple Bacon Doughnuts, but we came to the conclusion that since neither one of us was crazy and we still liked each other after a year we should get engaged. Other things were also discussed (minor things), like where we were spiritually, any concerns we actually had, where we would live, what life would be like in a sort of general sense after we were married… You know, that sort of stuff.

So Fall of 2014 was the beginning of Senior year and my constant anxiety that I’d be wearing something ugly when Max proposed (oh, spoiler alert, the guy I was dating was Max). July, August, September, October, November passed…. At this point I was worried that I wouldn’t get a chance to go wedding dress shopping with my sister (who was going to be home for two weeks for my best friend’s wedding) and my best friend in January. There was a discussion and I finally at least knew I would be engaged by January. Cause no one wants to be the lady who goes wedding dress shopping before they’re engaged. Or maybe that’s just me (really, I don’t know).

December rolls around and my best friend suggest we take a day to set up her wedding registry, so we went out for the day. Max and I were supposed to have fun and fancy date night that evening, so naturally there were discussions about what to wear. Eventually I headed back to my apartment to get ready for the date. As soon as I opened the door to the apartment I saw candles and flowers and Max kneeling in the hallway with a ring box. Cue the tears (so many tears). I really don’t remember what he said (sorry) except that he used my full name and asked if I would marry him at the very end. Obviously I said yes. With more crying. You know the funny thing? I have no idea what I was wearing when I got home. I guess that wasn’t so important after all.


January was my bestie’s wedding, and it was great.

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February was ~engaged~ Valentine’s Day, which consisted of going to see the Broadway cast of Phantom of the Opera in Charlotte and taking a day-trip to Asheville to see the Biltmore Estate. March and April were spent thinking about where we were going to live after graduation and where we would work. Max had a connection with a hotel that was going to be opening in Raleigh, so I started looking for a job in the area while he was talking to people about that. In the end he decided that he wasn’t interested in that particular hotel, but I had already accepted a job offer at The Carolina Inn located in Chapel Hill, which meant that we were headed for The Triangle. Through some fun connections at the first hotel where I worked, Max ended up getting a job offer for a hotel that was going to open that summer (July 2015) called The Durham.

Graduation rolled around, I packed up and moved out of my apartment that afternoon, and moved to Cary, NC the very next day. Over the summer I lived with my aunt, and Max lived with family in Garner. Very conveniently for us, Cary and Garner are only about 15 minutes away from each other. We spent the summer settling in to our new jobs, looking for an apartment for the fall, exploring Durham (where we were planning to live), and spending as much time together as we could.

In September I went on a cruise with my family. For anyone who is planning their own wedding (or just getting married), I highly recommend taking an internet-free vacation a couple weeks before the wedding itself. It was so nice to get some time off work to relax and spend time with my family without thinking about wedding stuff constantly.


When we got back I worked for a couple more weeks, started moving stuff into our apartment where Max got to live as a bachelor for a little while, then heading down to Waxhaw for the wedding.

What can I say about the wedding itself? It was (in the understatement of the year) great. We got to see friends who travelled in for the wedding, spend time with extended family, and collect all sorts of stories about Janice (if you want to know, ask). We are so thankful for everyone who worked together to make it such a wonderful day, including our friend-tographers, Rob + Kristen.

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We went to Charleston for our honeymoon where we ate our weight in delicious food and spent some quality time getting pampered at the Wentworth Mansion spa where we stayed.

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The rest of the “quick” update is actually pretty quick from this point forward. Married life is great. Married life is wonderful. I used to think it was cheesy when my parents said they were each others’ best friend (sorry, mom & dad), but now I get it. Married life is super fun and crazy quirky. Getting to start our own holiday traditions has been super fun, and something I really enjoy. Holidays are difficult when you work in the Hospitality industry, but so far we’ve been finding ways to make it work.

Moving to a new place and getting married at the same time is a big change, and one that made me realize how difficult it is to make friends as an adult. Seriously, how do people make friends?? Thankfully, Max already knew people in the area (benefits of moving near a place you grew up) and that helped me meet some people. I also eventually met some really great people through work, even though it took a while.

In January of 2016 I decided that the only reason I didn’t run was because I didn’t run, and that seemed silly. So I set a goal to run a half-marathon. The half-marathon was for a couple reasons. 1) I knew that if I wasn’t running to actually accomplish something, then I wouldn’t be disciplined enough to do it regularly. 2) I hadn’t been to Disney in a long time, so I thought “go big or go home,” I’d sign up for the Disney Princess Half-Marathon. Max is not a Disney theme parks kind of guy, but he said if I could run 13.1 miles he could go to Disney with me. That was all the motivation I needed.

I started babysitting on a regular basis for a local family in March that I still work with today. They’re a really sweet family and it’s been so fun to watch the youngest, who was only two weeks old when I first met him, grow over the past year.

Over the summer I got to go to the beach a couple times with one of my wonderful new friends, which provided some much needed time away from work. It was incredibly relaxing to be able to roll out of bed in and the morning and step off the porch and on to the beach. We also celebrated my birthday in June and Max’s birthday in August with festive activities.

Max pretty much went all out for my birthday, throwing a family party and a friends party a couple days before, complete with a birthday crown and gallons of guacamole. The day after the party we went down to Wilmington to spend the night on a boat. Yes, a boat. Did you know that you can AirBNB pretty much anything? Apparently you can. We spent the afternoon exploring the downtown area, seeing The Shallows with Blake Lively, visiting the Museum of the Bizarre (you get your money’s worth in laughs), and having a tasty seafood dinner before heading back to the boat where we enjoyed watching the sunset over the water and toasting to 24. We spent the next day at the beach and then stopped at Flaming Amy’s (you can’t go to Wilmington and not go to Flaming Amy’s) and Kilwin’s to get some fudge before heading home. Definitely my favorite birthday to date.


In October of 2016 we celebrated a (very successful) first year of marriage by taking a quick trip to Charlotte to watch the Panthers lose in their magnificently typical fashion and eat some slightly stale freezer-cake. We also decided to forego anniversary gifts and instead go on a shopping spree at Southpark Mall with “treat yo’self” motto. All in all, a pretty great weekend.


At the beginning of November we celebrated the start of my new job at The Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club. For several reasons I had decided it was time to move on from The Carolina Inn, and so far I am incredibly glad to be where I am.

In December we were able to celebrate Christmas Eve with Max’s family for the traditional gathering they have, and on Christmas Day we met my family half-way between Durham and Charlotte for Christmas Dinner at a Chinese restaurant. It was a unique experience, that’s for sure. We were then able to go down to Waxhaw a couple days later to celebrate Christmas full scale, which was really nice.

January was spent recovering from the holidays and gearing up for the half-marathon/Disney trip at the end of February. For more about the trip (it’s really a whole thing in and of itself) click here.


Since then, I’ve been recovering from a (suspected) IT Band injury, which has actually been pretty frustrating. Over the course of the last year or so I’ve become really accustomed to running and being more active, so having limited mobility for a while and not being able to run for well over a month has been a challenge. My goal at the beginning of the year was to run a race every month, unfortunately, is no longer feasible. BUT today I was actually able to run for a quarter mile completely pain free, which is a huge improvement from barely being able to walk up a half set of stairs. I’m trying to look at this time as a chance for me to learn more about weight-training and cross-training in general to help prevent future injuries, which has a helped a little. Anyway, if you could be praying for me about that I would appreciate it.

We also bought a car, which is pretty cool. We then sold my truck (farewell, Style), so we’re a one car family for the time being. It’s actually working out really well so far, Max only works a couple miles down the road from me, so we can usually ride to work together. If our schedules don’t match up, Uber has been filling in the gaps.

What’s next? I think that’s how I usually end these things, but it’s been a while so I might be wrong. Anyway, right now Max and I are both gearing up for the Duke Graduation Weekend here in Durham, as it’s the busiest time of year for both of the hotels where we work. The summer will be pretty slow once that’s over, so I’m going to take advantage of that and visit Evelyn in Hawaii! As you can imagine, I’m pretty excited about this little adventure, and if I don’t wait three years to write something on here again I can bet you’ll hear about it.

On a different note, I’ve been trying to find a way to handle a unique situation that’s somewhat emotionally complicated. Again, if I don’t wait three years to write again you’ll probably hear something about it, but I would appreciate some prayer for that.

If I’ve left anything out or you want to know more about something, let me know! I’ve realized that I treat this platform more as a diary than anything else, but I’d love to have a conversation about it if it starts one. If you’ve read this much, you’re a more dedicated person than I am. Good for you.

Gluten-Free Maple Bacon Doughnuts

So a few of you have requested I share my recipe for these bad boys…



…which I am more than happy to do.

Gluten-free people, rejoice! I have been told by several non-gluten allergy sufferers that these doughnuts were not only delicious, but they wouldn’t even have guessed they were gluten free. Score! I adapted my recipe from this one, which I found on the lovely blog Top With Cinnamon. Since I was lacking some things, didn’t like others, and was incapable of using regular flour I muddled through and managed to come out alright. Feel free to adapt as you go along 🙂

Baked Gluten-Free Maple Bacon Doughnuts (no yeast recipe) 

Yield: 9-12 doughnuts

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tbsp + 1 tsp brown sugar (I used closer to 3 tbsp, I think… I don’t actually having measuring spoons. Oops!)

1 large egg

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract (I’m pretty sure I used more than 1 tsp, but I love vanilla)

1 1/3 cup Betty Crocker All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Rice Blend

1/2 cup milk

For the glaze and toppings you will also need:

Bacon (however much you think is appropriate)

Walnuts (same deal as the bacon)

4 tbsp maple syrup

1 tbsp milk

1 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar

Preheat oven to 435 degree F (220 degrees C). Spray your doughnut pans with non-stick spray or brush with melted butter (I used the melted butter) using a pastry brush. If you’re using the DIY doughnut molds from Top With Cinnamon (which I did), place them on a cookie sheet. 

In one bowl cream together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vegetable oil. Beat in the large egg, then stir in the baking powder, salt, and vanilla. 

Next, using a whisk, alternately stir in flour and milk until everything is thoroughly combined. 

Spoon the batter into your doughnut pans and fill about 2/3 of the way full. On Top With Cinnamon bake time is an estimated 10-18 minutes, which is a pretty wide range. Keep an eye on them after about 10 minutes, I pulled mine out at 15 minutes and they were perfect.

While your doughnuts are baking, go ahead and cook your bacon. I threw a little bit of maple syrup and the walnuts into the pan when the bacon was almost finished cooking, make sure to keep a close eye on the bacon. The sugar gets super hot and makes it cook faster. Be careful when removing the bacon and walnuts from the pan as they will be very, very hot. Allow them to cool before breaking the bacon into small pieces.

Once the doughnuts are cool enough to handle, carefully remove them from the doughnut pans and place them on a cooling rack above something you can easily clean (you’re going to be putting the glaze on your doughnuts while they’re on the cooling rack, and they do drip!). 

In a bowl, mix together the confectioner’s sugar, maple syrup, and milk. Next, spoon the glaze over your doughnuts (I warmed my glaze in the microwave for a few seconds so it would pour a little bit better). While the glaze is still warm, sprinkle the candied walnuts and bacon pieces over the top of the doughnuts. If you have any glaze left over, feel free to pour more of it over the top of your doughnuts and voila! You now have some super magical delicious bacon doughnuts! If you come up with a better glaze or have some fantastic topping ideas, let me know. I’d love to try making them again with some different variations (using coconut milk instead of regular milk, for example) 🙂 


It’s About The Heart

I’ll be honest, as I write this most of my motivation is pure irritation, but I really want to speak out of love. So I’m going to do my best to put those irritable feelings aside and say what’s on my mind. It might not go anywhere, but you’re used that by now, I’m sure.

This morning I saw something on Facebook that…well, it irked me…



Hmm. Maybe I woke up too early. I dunno. But this got under my skin. To me, it feels like it has a, “she was asking for it” tone to it. The fact that while walking to work this morning (and wearing plain black pants and a non-revealing button up shirt) some man felt compelled to yell at me from across the street didn’t improve my mood. I had also just come across this article the night before, and I would encourage you to take the time to read it before finishing the rest of this post.

The heart of the matter is this: men and women both have responsibilities in this area. Women, respect the fact that men are more visual than women. Do not make your decisions when getting dressed in the morning out of fear or guilt, but just let that fact sit gently in your mind. Men, what someone else is wearing never excuses your actions. Charles Swindoll once said, “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.” The same is true of our actions, for men and women. 

As always, feedback is welcome.

Everything In Its Time

Oh lawdy lawd. I started this back on February 24th and never got past the title. Oops. Still, I remember what I was going to post about, and perhaps this is a better chance to go in depth about where my heart is right now than the other post.

By now all of you are probably aware that Ecclesiastes 3:11 is my all time favorite verse. At least, I hope so. For those of you who haven’t read my blog before, welcome, and now you know my favorite verse. If you aren’t familiar with the verse, it says, “He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”

Wow wow wow. This verse will never get old to me. A perfect reminder of God’s perfect timing, and that His ways are infinitely better than mine. So, why did I start this post on February 24th? Because on February 21st I got a tattoo to permanently remind myself of this amazing truth, and on February 22nd I was shown how fickle I am. Did you know that you can still forget awesome truths like that even when they’re tattooed on your body when you get disappointed? Ouch.

So what happened on February 22nd? Well, God changed my plans. SURPRISE! Gosh, you all must be tired of reading about my never ending struggle to accept the fact that God’s plans are sometimes different from mine. Why do you read this stuff? The plan had been to intern at a hotel with international sites, so that I could (hopefully) get hired after my internship and (hopefully) develop a good enough relationship with the company that (hopefully) they would be willing to sponsor a visa for me to do an international internship with them right before I graduated. Well, things were starting to move that direction. I was placed at my number one internship site (we got to choose five sites and prioritize them), which I was especially pleased about because that site only accepts one intern per term. I was supposed to meet with the Assistant General Manager to square away the details of my internship, but was never able to track him down until after the hotel decided to withdraw from the internship program. After I had already been placed there. Only two weeks before I was supposed to start. Yeah, not a fun experience.

So I was thrown for a loop. And I’m still trying to figure out exactly what all the implications are, but I think part of it is this: God doesn’t want me back in Europe quite yet. Why, I’m not sure. I may never be. But I am still reminded that His timing is perfect, and His plan is so much better than mine (as I’ve seen time and time again).

If you could be praying for me, I’d really appreciate it. As someone who enjoys having a plan, I have a hard time letting go of it when God says that’s not the plan He has for me. Pray that I will be able to live, once again, with just enough light for the step I’m on.

If you could also be praying that I would be able to find a way to find and get involved with a church, or women’s small group I would really appreciate that. My schedule has been rather demanding for the past several months, and I’m missing that community.