Thursday, September 20, 2018

Anniversary Reflections: Year Four

Today marks four years since Mike and I said "I do."
Seriously, this one's been a good one.  I don't know how to describe it besides to say that everything seems to have just perfectly fallen into place.  We have our home-life balance (where I do the laundry and you do all the dishes - haha), weeknights of kickball, dinners cooked together, weekend adventures, and cuddles with our cats.  We don't have a ton of traditions, but we have made sure to keep our photo one going again this year!
As with our first 3 years, we had plenty of amazing trips together.  It started with Mike surprising me with a trip to DC for my birthday, and it continued when I returned the favor for his birthday in Dallas.  Besides that, we have traveled to five of the seven weddings we're attending this year and drank a lot of beer along the way.
But to be honest, the trip I will remember the most was our rainy weekend in the Smoky Mountains.  We climbed 6,500 feet up Mount LeConte in the pouring rain, and I can remember after climbing the 8.8 miles up the mountain, Mike telling me how proud he was of me.  It was quite an adventure, and I can't wait to go hiking again soon.
Happy four years, Mike.  Thank you for always pushing me to be better, encouraging me in everything I do, and always being there to sing a song with my name in the lyrics!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Going with the Flo(rence)

I am thrilled to say that we have weathered Hurricane Florence.   This time last week, we really thought that there would be a Cat 3 or 4 direct hit to the Carolinas, with a storm 1000 miles wide.  Schools cancelled, starting on Tuesday, mandatory evacuation orders were made, and the state reversed the highway to get as many people out as possible.  Since the storm wasn't expected to hit until Thursday, we decided to wait it out a bit but still prepare.  This was the slowest moving hurricane ever, and with every 3-hour update, it was tracking more and more north, away from us.  There are a lot of people in and around Charleston saying that the governor took too many precautions too early, but really, they gave us 48 hours from its expected arrival, and I appreciate them really taking it seriously. 

Well, it took an extra full day, until Friday, to hit in North Carolina, and all of my prayers go out to our neighbors to the north.  At landfall, the storm was moving at 2 mph, so it has been raining and raining near Myrtle Beach and north.
By Wednesday afternoon, we were going pretty stir crazy, so a few of us took a walk downtown to see what everything looked like and get some fresh air.  Honestly, you could tell that people already knew it was most likely going to slide north because there wasn't nearly as much prep as there was before Matthew or Irma.  
Before the storm got here on Friday, we even set up a little impromptu kickball game because all scheduled sports were cancelled due to the evacuation. 
Over the long weekend, we ate a lot of food, played a lot of cards and Mario Kart, and even braved the storm for some rain tennis when we couldn't sit inside anymore.  We got truly lucky with this storm.  We were fully prepared for the worst, had our hurricane shutters up, and were prepared to leave if need be.  Again, prayers to North Carolina as they begin to recover, and if you would like to make a donation to relief efforts, here is the link to Michael Jordan's NBA Cares website, where you can choose a variety of charities from which to donate.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Five on Friday: Florida Getaway

Happy Friday, friends.  We are expecting Hurricane Florence to hit us today, so much of this week has been about prepping and waiting.  I've seen a meme a bunch of times on social media that says, "waiting for a hurricane is like being stalked by a turtle."  So true with this one moving at 10 mph - haha!  It was supposed to be here yesterday morning, but it's kept slowing as it approaches the coast.  

For my Friday post, I thought I would throw it back it last weekend, when we were visiting my aunt in Florida.  Her back porch looks out onto St Pete Beach, and it is seriously my happy place!  Here's what we were up to during our long weekend.
1 ||| On the way down, we stopped in Orlando at Disney Springs to see all of the Halloween decorations.  They now sell Dole Whip in Disney Springs, so that was a must as well as the "millennial pink" champagne at Amorette's Patisserie.  It absolutely lived up to the hype! 
2 ||| While in St. Pete, we visited a couple of breweries: Green Bench Brewing and Cycle Brewing.  Cycle was definitely known for its stouts, which I appreciated but aren't quite my style, while Green Bench was more about IPAs.  They do a rotating FLIPA (Florida IPA) series, and when we were there, they had the Key Lime Pie version: tart, citrus, and a little cinnamon. So good! 

3 ||| On our way back from the brewery, I spotted the cutest mural!  Sunshine is so perfectly Florida, so of course we had to stop for a photo!  I decided to Google and see if there were others in the area, and it turns out that St. Petersburg has an awesome outdoor art scene.  We stopped at a couple more on the way back, and we will definitely make a whole tour of it next time we're in the area.
4 ||| Of course, we also made a stop at my favorite Italian market ever: Mazzaro's.  It's a cheese shop, wine shop, coffee bar, bakery, prepared food and deli counter; and they make their own pasta, pastries, and mozzarella.  I brought home some of my favorite cookies (rainbow cookies - in the bottom corner in that case below), a few dinners for the weekend, and my aunt bought an entire pastry bag filled with cannoli cream to pipe our own cannolis all weekend.    
5 ||| Last but not least, we visited another new ballpark!  This was city #11 for us, and we were excited that the Tampa Bay Rays were finally in town on one of our visits.  Tropicana Field is a dome and just turned 20 this year.  Nothing really stands out in terms of food or atmosphere, but the Mister Softee was really good, they have a sting ray touch tank, and I got a photo with their mascot, Ray!  Plus, there was no one there, so we were sitting in the fourth row by the fifth inning.  I was so excited that my parents could finally join us for one of our stadium adventures, too.

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