Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Coffee Culture in CLT

Location: Pure Intentions Warehouse | N. Tryon

Y'all, did you know there is a whole really awesome coffee scene in Charlotte?  I had no idea how amazing this collective is until I was invited to an event.  This night was a latte art competition and coffee warehouse space opening.  I felt so cultured and honored to explore a new [to me] aspect of Charlotte.  These photos by no means do the event justice as I was only armed with my iphone after a yoga class.

I have an obsession with coffee.  I love writing over a cup of coffee, it truly helps my process and flow. After getting to see the talent and passion there is for coffee at Pure Intentions I am excited to truly explore charlotte's coffee scene a little more.

There is a whole group of people out there who love coffee even more than me.  They are educated about the origins and were rocking some coffee trivia at this event.  I find this whole world fascinating.  I am so grateful for just a small glimpse into learning all about the ins and outs of coffee.

I am now on the hunt for the perfect spot to blog and admire latte art in Charlotte. The atmosphere of coffee shops capture my heart. Any recommendations?

All of these photos are from Pure Intentions new warehouse, you can find this delicious coffee in various places all over Charlotte.  He also just starting canning his cold brew [pictured above], oh my goodness, once this goes on sale you have to get some. Talk about the perfect way to have a coffee on a hot day.  This will be my go to afternoon summer drink for sure! If you do try any Pure Intentions coffee let me know about it and be sure to use the hashtag #pourPure on social media!

What is your favorite thing about coffee? Besides drinking it of course!

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Importance of Friend Dates

Details: Top [Target, not online] Similar | Shorts | Sandals

As I have gotten older, I am truly learning the importance of friendship.  I constantly crave community, a group of people to just simply do life with.  With moving as many times as I have in the past I feel like I am pretty good at meeting people and making friends, it's the keeping in touch that's the hard part.  I have moved a lot of times for career and personal life reasons and with all those moves it typically means leaving people physically behind.

Sometimes, I get so caught up in everyday life that reaching out to people makes it to the bottom of my to do list.  One of my goals for this year is to change that.  I love my friends and my people, it's so important to me that they know that too.  I realized that often times other people are like me, going through the tasks of daily life and waiting to be invited.

If I want the community that I crave I have to reach out and make it happen.  That's why it's crucial to schedule time with friends.  Go out for coffee, meet up for drinks, catch a workout class together, or just invite them to hang out at the pool with you.  I always feel so much better after calling a friend and planning a friend date.

Life has a funny way of making everyone busy.  Time passes by pretty fast.  If we don't reach out and connect with the people that matter than they will start thinking that they don't matter to us anymore.  Call a friend you have been meaning to catch up with today and let them know you are thinking of them.  True friends will always make time.  Support your friends in all they do, don't wait to be asked to do something, and never be afraid to reach out no matter how much time you have let pass.

What is your favorite way to spend time with friends? 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend Vibes

Happy 3 day weekend, sweet friends!

Words can't even begin to describe how necessary a long weekend is for me.  We are in the throws of end of year testing and with that comes high anxiety from staff and students - needless to say the job of a counselor is busy this time of year.

I hope this weekend brings you to some sunshine, near the water, and close to friends and family.  I have a full weekend ahead of me.  Girl time, brunch, fireworks, good vibes, and no alarm for Monday.

With all the fun parties, sales, and celebrations that happen on memorial day kicking off summertime, take some time to reflect and remember the true reason we have memorial day.  We are remembering those who came before us and fought for our freedom. These warriors are the reason that we get to have boat parties and BBQ's at our leisure.  So thank you to those who have served and those who are currently serving our beautiful country. People made the ultimate sacrifice for us to be able to choose the life we want to live.  That deserves time, respect, and remembrance.

How are you spending your memorial day weekend?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Bikini Series 2017 | Halfway Point

I have mentioned Tone It Up before, probably way to many times, but my love for the trainers and this program are worth mentioning! I love how flexible tone it up makes working out and eating.  Just follow the rules - but make it your own.  It's a lifestyle after all.  They are constantly coming up with new recipes, workouts, and general life tips that are always positive and encouraging.

We are now in week 4 of the summer bikini series.  Although, I am pretty terrible at check ins.  Which is where you post your meals and workout photos on instagram to keep up with everyone else doing the challenge, and to receive and give encouragement.  My office has NO service so I just don't / can't use my phone then pretty much forget after I am home.

Even though I don't post check ins regularly it doesn't mean I am not following along with the meals and workouts.  I have been loving this bikini series.  I am learning so much throughout this process, especially since this is the first bikini series I have been following.

I haven't noticed too many physical changes or weight changes but I don't necessarily have a lot of weight I need to really lose. The changes I am seeing are more mental.  I am getting better at refusing foods that don't serve me healthy purposes or make me feel like crap.  I have also noticed that I am doing more every single day.  I always have been one to work out - but I also had days or weeks where I just didn't.  Now I am more consistent in doing something every single day whether it be a short video, walk with the pup, or inviting friends to go to bootcamp or yoga. In turn, doing something pretty much every day has incredibly helped my mood. I also find that when I workout I pick healthier options to eat because I want to fuel my body and treat myself better.  It becomes a healthy cycle.  It's so much better than the old spiraling into unhealthy choices that I fell victim to often.

I can't wait to see what the next 4 weeks of the challenge have in store for me.  Just in time for summer!!

What is your favorite way to improve your overall wellness?

Monday, May 22, 2017

River Jammin

I have mentioned before how I like to plan fun things to do with people as a form of self care.  Having something to look forward to, takes my mind off of whatever kind of day I had at school.  Doing fun things in my city, with my people, is one of my favorite things. 

Last week, after a long day at work, I couldn't wait to get to the USNWC for a yoga class in the trees and letting it all go after yoga while listening to some good music.  This was actually my first ever time at River Jam.  I am officially a fan and will definitely be back all summer long, whenever I can get a chance.  It's on my summer bucket list after all. 

I love that they have yoga class before the band starts playing so I can get a workout in and enjoy my evening.  

What is your favorite way to chill out after a long day?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Summertime in CLT

This is the first summer I will spend in the Queen City since 3 years ago when I moved back to Boone for grad school.  So much has changed in Charlotte recently.  It's growing right in front of my eyes.  There are so many new cool places or events to check out; I feel like I can't keep up.   I am fortunate enough to have my summers off [minus a few trainings here and there + babysitting and swim lessons I do for a side job] with more time on my hands I can't wait to explore my city.  I compiled a list of all the things I hope to get to do this summer in Charlotte, I'm sure I will constantly be adding to it as I find out about more as well!

Country concerts: To me summer and country music go hand in hand.  We already have tickets to Brantley Gilbert and Luke Combs this July.  Bring on the tailgates with friends, good times, and good music.

River Jam + Outdoor Yoga at the USNWC: Every Thursday evening a different band puts on a free concert at the Whitewater Center.  Bring a chair, your blanket, and your friends!

Ice Cream dates: There are some local ice cream shops that I just haven't had a chance to go to yet.  What's more perfect than supporting local, ice cream, and a hot afternoon?

Rooftop cocktails: Same as above.  There are some fun rooftop bars around the city with amazing skyline views.  I will definitely go at some point this summer for that insta worth cocktail skyline photo ;)

Pool Days: Enough said. Get some La Croix, a fun floatie, and your bestie to relax by a pool and get some rays.

Rock Climbing: Sometimes on a rainy day I don't want to have netflix marathons and clean I want to still feel like I can have an adventure.  So going to this indoor rock climbing center is definitely on my list.

Brunch: My favorite meal of all time.

Cheer on the home team: I haven't been to a Knights baseball game in years.  Now Charlotte has a fancy stadium in uptown, plus summer and baseball games go hand in hand.

Check out some farmers markets: Charlotte is definitely growing in the local green movement and I am so proud.  I have heard about a bunch of little farmers markets all over the city that I plan on spending some Saturday mornings exploring.

Hike Crowders: The closest thing to the mountains we have here is Crowders Mountain about 45 minutes outside the city.  It's a fun little day hike and perfect for those times I am craving mountains and hiking but can't make the whole trip to Boone!

Lake lovin: Charlotte is situated so nicely in between 2 lakes - one of them now has a public beach.  What I am really hoping for is some very nice friends to invite us for a few boating outings **wink, wink** 

Explore Parks + Greenways: Walking the dog is one of my favorite mindful self- care activities.  There are so many fun parks and greenways to walk around Charlotte.  There is even a plan to connect all of them around the city eventually.  How cool is that?!

Coffee Shop Adventures: I have a feeling this will be a fun little project of mine.  Blogging from new coffee shops.  I just love the atmosphere in coffee shops and this summer I will be on the hunt for my favorite!

Beach Trip: Charlotte is situated literally a days drive from adventure.  2+ hours to the mountains and 3+ hours to the beach. We are going to the OBX one month from now.  I talked here about what I am already planning on packing for this trip that I am bouncing with anticipation for.

Is there something you know about in Charlotte I should check out? If so please share and tell me what your summer plans are too! 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

3 Things I Want To Remember

Sometimes life gets so crazy.  That is just the norm for everyone.  The other day I was talking with my principal about the year and she took me by surprise by asking me about the highlights of my year and what I was most proud of.  I always seem to have a response about meetings and interventions and crisis response situations and how to best serve the kiddos but reflecting on accomplishments stumped me for some reason.

That got me thinking.  I am such a go go go person.  I thrive on the unpredictability of my job but also having a lot of things planned after work too.   I am always just doing then planning for the next adventure.  I am constantly trying to improve - be better, do more, have more fun events lined up.  But remembering, cherishing, and celebrating - that's not something I do often.

So today I wanted to share some bits of advice to myself and things I want to remember for myself at this moment right now.  Some things are just important.

Just start.  Whatever it is that needs to be done.  Those dreaded parent phone calls at work.  A workout you just aren't feeling like doing that day.  You are the type of person who gets s*** done and goes for it all the way.  If you start your focus and adrenaline will take over.  You can do the workout and you ALWAYS feel better and stronger after.  When you do the paperwork you end up getting inspired by a new organization system.  So just simply start - stick to it for 10 minutes and then see what happens.

Love on your people. Since you spend your days checking off items to do, sometimes you get so stuck in that list that you don't look up or intentionally connect.  Call a friend. Plan a coffee date.  Be with your people.  The To - Do list can absolutely wait.  Plus, it will always get done.

Dress your best.  You ALWAYS feel better and do better when you take the time to put on a cute outfit, your hair is done, and your make up is actually on.  When you look good you feel good and visa versa so take that time to take care of yourself and how you look every single day!

What is it that you want to remember today? 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Dear Graduates

Dear Graduates and Class of 2017,

This past weekend you have put on that robe and walked across a stage in front of all your loved ones who supported you through your journey.  Your time spent studying books taught you lessons that will help you in your life.  The real lessons, though, are learned through the people who have come in contact with, the stories you have been privileged to hear.  The lessons about life are learned through taking it one day at a time and asking lots of questions.  So much has been taught to use by simply using trial and error and trying to figure it out.

You are probably faced with the endless questions from others asking what are you going to do now?  Your eyes race to their faces hoping they don't see the panic in you when you tell them about moving to a new city, trying to find a place to live, getting a job [or not even having one yet!]  Let me tell you; it is okay not to know.  It is okay to be learning every single day after graduation.  It is okay to ask for help and admit you have absolutely no idea what you are doing.

Money will come.  Bills will be paid. God will provide for all that you need.  Your job is to enjoy the ride.

Be present in every single moment. Don't act like you know what you are doing and try to do it all alone.  You need people.  You need to go out on a work night and be there to cheer on a friend who is celebrating.  Find activities in your life that bring you joy and go do them.  As much as people are important, be okay with doing things alone, you never know what that will bring.  Be comfortable with who you are and simply be you.  Your path now is not going to be like anyone else's; even if you were in every single class together since freshman year! Don't pass up any travel opportunity that is thrown your way.  And if you find yourself in a situation that you need to get out of - trust yourself.  You can always go back to school.  You can always find another job. You will spend every day of your life still asking yourself "what am I doing?".

You were put here for a reason.  Be kind to everyone.  Pay attention.  Cherish and take care of the world we are blessed to live in.   Smile.  Laugh.  Cry.  Scream.  Feel.  Fight for what is right.  Practice self care.  Learn to have empathy. Be yourself.

Enjoy your new adventure & congratulations! 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Beach Trip Essentials

My family is heading to the beach right after my last teacher workday at school and I could not be more excited.  I may or may not have a countdown going as well as packing list running through my brain.  I need the beach so bad right now, so I thought I would put together a little list of all the things that I am bringing!   These are items that you can all throw in a bag and use for a day trip to the beach too! I never head to the beach without a few essentials!

1. Sunscreen This stuff is a no brainer but it's important.  I can't tell you how many people my age still don't use sunscreen all the time. I use a high SPF at the beach because I basically am out in the sun roasting but want to protect myself from the harm of the sun too.

2. Beach Towel I don't know about you but I need to have a very large towel at the beach or the pool.  A good towel serves so many purposes when you are at the beach - you can lay on it but not have to be in the sand - dry off from swimming - and later in the evening when it gets chilly you can use it as a blanket!

3. Cover-Up Typically I don't want to wear full clothes over my suit but the walk from where we are staying to the beach I need something to cover me.  I love this tee because it's oversized and comfy but also cute and the saying definitely hits all the beach favorite high points!

4. Bikini A girl has got to look cute and feel cute right?!

5. Beach Tote How else are you going to get all of your fun goodies from the house / car / condo to the beach?! I always throw a little baggy in my tote to hold my phone to protect it from the sand and water too.

6. Sea Salt Spray You can't be at the beach without gorgeous beach waves right? The picture is the beach wave spray I currently have from my Tone it Up bundle - but I linked another fun option!

7. WaterBottle When you are spending all day in the sun and being active it's so important to hydrate! I typically bring a billion nalgenes but I love the fact that these options claim to keep your water cold all day long but aren't as expensive as a yeti.

8. Lip Balm Something that a lot of people don't remember but you need to protect your lips with an SPF too.  They get burnt too and when your lips are burnt it's miserable.  Let's just say my days as a life guard taught me what not to do when protecting your body from the sun and now I am so careful to not get burnt and experience that pain again!

9. Bikini And another suit because we all need options!

What can't you live without at the beach? 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Gratitude Lately

Every once in a while - when I feel like I need to refocus and recharge I turn to gratitude.  I love making gratitude lists that remind me of all the wonderful things I have in my life.  Focusing on the positive gives me the fuel to change my mind set and take on the days ahead.

Here is a little of what I am grateful for lately:

Countdown to Summer.  We are less than 25 days with students left, people.  Here comes the beach trips, the country concerts, the sunshine filled days, reading books by the pool, and so much more!

Finding my Groove. This year of school has been a learning experience for sure but the past couple of weeks I feel like I have finally gotten the hang of my responsibilities - of course with the year almost over - but now I have ideas to get started on the right foot next year!

Tone It Up. The community. The workouts, The delicious nutrition plan.  Enough said.

Date Nights with the Parents. This past weekend we went out for pizza and a movie.  I brought a coupon and got a fun date night catching up with my parents after my trip.  I love spending time with those two.

Puppy Cuddles. because some days you just have to sit on the floor and pet your dog and he let's it happen; even encourages it.

Making Goals and Reaching Them.  Some of my big goals this year are financial ones [namely: pay off that student loan debt!] which, wont happen over night, but I have made a lot of gains and adjustments in my budget that helps me meet monthly goals and overall contributing to my big goals! Yay.

What are you grateful for today? 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Country Roads Take Me Home

Last week I had the privilege of chaperoning a week long field trip camping trip for 30 of my 4th graders at my school.  I was a little hesitant to go at first because I didn't know what to expect but now that I am home I am so grateful that I had this great opportunity. While I can't post any pictures of my students on here I can assure you they had a blast on this trip as well. 

My school was able to go on this trip through a grant from the National Park Service.  The school I work at is a title 1 school [for those non school lingo speaking folk that means low income] so camping / summer camps is not something that my students are ever exposed to.  We were able to have everything provided for us through this grant.  The trip was planned out so perfectly by one of the Rangers who developed the program.  We were the first group this was tried out on and you would have never known.  

The whole week was planned out with all sorts of hands on lessons for the students.  I loved watching their engagement in the lessons, learning about science and nature.  The kiddos eyes were filled with wonder and joy throughout the whole week.  Add in sleeping in cabins with bunk beds and their friends and campfires every night the week for the 4th graders was camp bliss. 

Not only was this trip a once and a life time experience for my students it was so good for me.  My head has been swimming with goals and plans and expectations but this week forced me to slow down and be present.  I went out and hiked multiple times a day, got to journal by the rushing river, and just simply enjoyed being outside in creation.  My soul is always the most at peace outdoors near mountains or water - this camp was perfectly situated by both! 

One of my favorite moments was in the evening all the adults were sitting by the campfire waiting for the kids to shower and start lights out.  I had a clear view into my cabin to keep an eye on my girls.  I looked up and saw them all playing uno together on one of the top bunks, smiling, laughing, and getting to be kids.  They got to experience true friendships and relationship building this week by playing games, being outside, and us banning them from technology [unless it was to call their parents]  

The kids wrote me thank you notes at the end of the week which reminded me that I am exactly where I should be right now.  There is such power in mattering, listening, and being present with people.  What my kiddos wrote proved that to me.  I know that they will remember the time I took to teach them about the stars, to play board games in the mess hall, to listen while sitting in rocking chairs by the river, and even to let them stay up late building relationships with each other instead of get mad and yell [even if it cost me my sleep!] 

Thank you Camp Brookside and the National Park Service for such a wonderful week.  You treated us so well and completely blew me away with this trip! 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Currently | May

Happy May sweet friends.  April was packed full of soaking up the sun, spending time with family and friends, getting some well deserved rest and setting new goals for myself.  There is so much to be grateful for and so much to celebrate.  I am joining in along side Anne and Nancy for the currently link up to share a little of what I am up to this month!

baking: Blueberry Chia seed muffins.  I meal prepped on Sunday to ensure that I had lots of fun and healthy options through the week and these muffins are one thing I made.  They are such a delicious snack at school mid morning when I need a little boost. 

listening (to): I love podcasts to listen to on my runs or walks.  As a self proclaimed and proud Laguna Beach / the Hills fan since high school I recently found LadyLovin from Lo Bosworth which is like being a part of a really fun girl talk the whole time.  

loving: The spring weather.  I have been trying to take advantage of being outdoors as much as possible.  I have become such a sun chaser lately and will do anything to soak up some rays. 

planting: Recently, I went to Lowes to pick up stuff to re-pot my current indoor plants and had to pick up a few more.  I have 2 snake plants and a few other leafy greens plus succulents galore. I only have one good window with light so my obsession needs to stop until we move.  I absolutely love how plants warm up a room. 

remembering: TimeHop last month has been littered with memories from beach trips to job hunting posts.  They have me craving a beach vacation but also feeling so grateful and blessed that I am where I am now with my job, my life, and my relationships. 

What are you currently up to?

Monday, May 1, 2017

Weekends are for Festivals and Charlotte Adventures

A few weekends ago the weather was the strangest in Charlotte.  On Saturday it was almost 90 and there was not a cloud in the sky.  Then Sunday came and it was rainy and cold!  The extreme shift didn't stop us from having fun adventures both days, though.

I love planning fun things to do on the weekend.  It gives me motivation and something to look forward to for a long week.  I made myself a promise that I would get out more and try new things even when I am tired from work and maybe even get a little crazy and do stuff on the weekdays.  That weekend there was so many fun events going on in Charlotte it was really hard to pick and choose what to do.

My bestie got us tickets for the Moo and Brew Fest.   This was the third annual festival but the first time we got to attend.  They had restaurants food trucks there competing for the best burger in Charlotte, samplings of local beers, and bands playing for a fun outdoor concert.  It was such a gorgeous day.   We had so much fun being out in the sun and running into friends and catching up with lots of people.  Mike and I are huge fans of any beer festival!

On Sunday, with my family, we attended a crawfish boil.  We have family friends who have been hosting this for years.  They are originally from New Orleans and fly the crawfish in fresh from Louisiana.  This is one of my favorite events all year long.  The running joke of all the family friends is that my sisters and I plan our social calendars around this event.  This was the first year I took Mike - he met all the Charlotte family friends and got to experience an authentic crawfish boil.  Such a fun time and the crawfish are so delicious.  I can't eat anything for days after because I am so full of cajun seasoning and crawfish.

This weekend was one for the books.  So many things to do, people to connect with, and fun times to be had.

What is your favorite way to celebrate the weekend?
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