Thursday, December 4, 2014

Mountain Trip: Banner Elk Weekend

J and I went to the mountains a couple weekends ago with some friends of ours from Augusta! Oh my word! It was an amazing trip! We drove up Friday after all meeting in Aiken. We stopped at the Beacon Drive In in Spartanburg for dinner. (because why else would you stop in Spartanburg. It's a scary place man. A scary place.)

We tried to continue our journey to the mountains but ended up wasting like 45 minutes making giant circles around Spartanburg because our GPS kept trying to take us back to the drive in. Every time we thought we were finally on track to head to our final destination we would be back at the drive in. It was miserable and J was driving and I'm pretty sure that's the closest to insanity I've ever seen. Have you seen the movie European Vacation? Remember when they get lost and they're stuck in the round about and keep passing Big Ben and Parliament? "Hey look kids! It's Big Ben and Parliament" and a few minutes late "Look! Big Ben and Parliament." a few minutes later, "Look kids!" "We know! Big Ben." "And Parliament!" Yeah. It was like that, except with the Beacon Drive In. Including the drivers insanity and the passengers frustrations. haha!

Anyway! Eventually we end up on the right track and I fall asleep so I don't really know what happened next. Until we got to the condo we rented. The place was BEAUTIFUL!!!! (You can see where we stayed and my review for them here.) 

We spent our Saturday exploring Banner Elk and we ate at an amazing smokehouse that I can't remember the name of. Oh my word the sausage was to die for and they had a broccoli casserole special that was killer! If I lived in the area I would eat there all the time. Of course we had to get pictures of the Elk. You can't go to a place called Banner Elk and not get a picture with an Elk. You'll see those below. There was also a cute little pet supplies shop that we walked through and I oooed and awwwed over all the little puppy things. I almost bought our Gatsby a sweatshirt but I don't think he would have liked that. So I sparred him. Plus it was like $50 for a sweatshirt. I don't even want to spend that on a sweatshirt for me, nonetheless a dog! Even if he's the cutest most adorable dog ever!

We also went wine tasting at Banner Elk Winery! Well, I didn't being the only in the group under 21. But J is 21 and our friends that went with us are both 22. So they enjoyed it. I will say, I have been working in the service industry for a while and that has taught me a lot about wine and my roommate has taught me a lot as well since she has been a bartender at a steakhouse that sells a lot of wine. So for being underage, I'd say I'm fairly knowledgeable about wine. The three of them....not so much. It was almost painful watching them interact with the staff as they tried the different wines. But it was a learning experience for them! And the staff was really sweet and helpful and didn't look at my boyfriend and friends with the same disdain and embarrassment I did. hehe! Just kidding! You gotta learn about wines somehow and a wine tasting is great for that because you can try different kids and kind of narrow down what your tastes are for. So it was good!

We also drove some of the Blue Ridge Parkway! If you are ever near this drive then this is a MUST do. I have driven on different parts of this road many times over the years. Growing up in NC meant that mountain trips were almost yearly and this drive was on the to do list every year. It's beautiful! It is built for sight seeing and doesn't have houses or businesses getting in the way of the amazing view. That's where many of the pictures below came from. We even got out and took a little hike to a pretty waterfall. The guys wanted to go to a higher peak but us ladies were cold and sore from our shoes. We stuck to our little hike and then waited in the car.

After that we stopped at food lion for food and went back to the condo and I cooked shrimp Alfredo for us and we watched the second Harry Potter movie and went to bed. We packed up in the morning, went on a search for coffee. And drove home!

So that was our trip! Enjoy the photos below!

^Look at J all tuckered out! So cute!

Are you a mountains or a beach person? Is there something that you consider a MUST DO when going to the mountains?

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Starter Stories: Our First Rental Home

If you read my last post you learned that my roommate and I recently gained guardianship of a teenage boy. Oh my word has that been amazing! For his safety I am not gonna be using his name on this site. But I think I'll ask him what he wants his blog name to be. We'll come up with something cool for y'all to know him by. For now he's gonna be known as our teenage boy. Anyway! As I'm sure you can imagine, a teenager needs a room. Him living on the couch of our two bedroom apartment wasn't cutting it. So we've moved to a lovely little three bedroom home. I was asked to share this story by Urban Compass! They are a great company for finding your new home in the New York area. Sadly we don't have an urban compass in the Charleston, SC area because if we did it would have made finding this place SO much easier. 


That was the home pre move in. The room on the left is my room. I'm gonna paint it. Because that picture does not do justice to how bright that blue really is. Because this is like highlighter blue. Blinding. I haven't decided my new color yet though. So it could be awhile before I get around to that. Then obviously the next one if the kitchen. This kitchen has a ridiculous amount of cabinet space! Oh my word! We had our apartment kitchen filled to overflowing with all of our kitchen things and now we have so much extra cabinet space we don't even know what to do with it. I told my roommate that it doesn't mean we need more kitchen things but we'll see how long that lasts. hehe!


^Obviously mid move in photos. We'll actually my blue room still looks essentially like that. I haven't finished unpacking yet. But I'll get there! Oh my gosh I let the boy drive the U-haul! It was so scary! But I'm sure they have better insurance on those things than I have on my car. You would think right? He didn't wreck it. So it's okay. But man was it scary for me! My roommate had to work during the move so the boy, my roommates friend, my dad drove down from NC, and a couple church and work friends helped us load and unload and clean the old apartment. I'm so glad to be done with that place! They were so difficult to work with! I can not explain the level of "Heck yeah!" I felt when I handed over the keys to that place! OH MY GOSH! It was amazing! We had the sweetest maintenance men there though. I miss them. I highly doubt they will come take care of broken things in our house now. 



Now look at our lovely little starter home! It's not completely put together. But we're getting there! We love it and so does our puppy, Gatsby, and our teenage boy! Now it's just a matter of putting up finishing touches like art on the wall and such. I'm so excited. This is going to be my roommate and I's last move together. When this lease is up we'll be parting ways. So time to make the most of this year and this adorable home!

Do you have any great moving stores to share? What's been your biggest move? Share your stories in the comments below! Or any suggestions on room color for me! 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

So We're Moms Now. And We're Moving.

Okay guys. I can't begin to explain everything that has happened since we last chatted. But lets start with the main 2 points. 1) My roommate and I have guardianship of a teenage boy we work with. and 2) We're about to move into a three bedroom house we're renting so there's room for our recently extended family!

That's right. We're moms now. Haha! This young man (who will remain nameless for privacy reasons) came to us needing a place to stay. And of course you can't just have a teenager living in your home without contacting the proper authorities and when said authorities investigated they gave us guardianship. Crazy, right? But goodness it's been awesome! We're so glad to have this young man in our lives! Sadly he is living on our couch right now but when we move he will have a room of his own and he's buying a futon from one of our co-workers. He thinks futons are the coolest pieces of furniture ever. It's adorable. So he's super excited about that. Plus he can paint his room whatever color he wants when we move! It will be his own space! This is really exciting! He is such a great kid and hard worker and now we're looking into colleges for him. I am so incredibly proud of him! He's such a blessing to us! It's been crazy to suddenly become a guardian at my young age. But I am so glad we have! He is ours. Our little family is comprised of two young women, a teenage boy, and an adorably fluffy dog! hehe! I love it! And J has taken all of this really well. Which is pretty awesome! I mean I didn't really know what to expect. It's not everyday a girl tells her boyfriend she has a teenage son! haha! But they get along swimmingly!

Now to moving! I am so excited about this move! We are renting a three bedroom home with a fences in back yard for Gatsby (the puppy) and it's in a cute little neighborhood! Essentially we are living the American dream! haha! Plus it has like a normal sized kitchen. Our kitchen in our apartment is extraordinarily tiny. Like only one person can be in the kitchen at a time. So we're pumped to have some elbow room. I put a picture below of our little home. Just 9 more days until we move in! Which means lots of packing in between classes and work for me. I've gotten empty bread boxes from work for packing. They're like the perfect size! I love them! And I actually won't be here on move in day! We didn't have many options on our date and I was already going to be out of town and then as soon as I get back in town my roommate is leaving town so she just decided they would move while I'm gone. Because she's awesome like that. So I'm getting everything packed early. It's super exciting! :)

Anyway! I just got home from dropping him off at school so I should go be productive myself. I will share more adventures of being a mom of a teenage boy later on. I am sure there are many to come!


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rent the Runway Review

I mentioned previously that I was going to be renting from Rent the Runway for J's ring ceremony. And I did! So now it's time I share my results! Below you will see the dress I rented. I had a $25 off code for it being my first rental.

You can find the perfect dress for you by searching through reviews of people with the same measurements as you! This is genius! I could find people with the exact same body type and size as me and see dresses they loved that fit them well! I found this dress by doing that. Some other girls my size have previously rented this dress and raved about it and their pictures they included in the reviews were stunning! And this dress on it's own is just gorgeous! Lace all the way down and a perfect navy blue! Needless to say, I fell in love with it. 
I did a four day rental. So it came in the day before the event. Plenty of time for what I needed! Oh! And in case you didn't know, they send you two dress sizes! So I got the 4 because that's my size, and they sent me a 4 and a 6 just in case this dress was sized small. That's fantastic! I would hate to rent a dress only to try it on and it doesn't fit and I'm out of luck for something to wear. They also already include a package to send the dress back that already has a shipping label. So for the return all you have to do is put the dresses in the envelope and take it to a UPS or UPS drop box. Because my dress return date was on a Sunday and UPS is closed then I slipped it into a drop box. The most pain free experience ever!

I got compliment after compliment on this dress! It was perfect! It was perfect for the occasion and the reviews I read were truthful! And the ease of the process was killer! I will certainly be renting from them again in the future! Heck, I may never buy a formal dress again!

I can't wait for my next opportunity to rent from Rent The Runway! 5 out of 5 starts for both the experience and the dress! You might want to check them out for your next formal event. 

They also rent accessories! In fact they have an accessories service that's just like netflix! You pick three and they send them to you and when you send one back they send you the next one and it's sooo cool! I just can't afford it right now. But maybe in the future!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Ukrainian Statistics Infographic

So check out these facts. I am doing some research on post institutionalized children for school and Ukraine is very near and dear to my heart. Let's look at some facts here.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Big 20!

I'm almost 20. It's weird to think about. I'm not really into celebrating my birthday. Never have been. Probably never will be. But this one seems to feel like some sort of milestone. Maybe because I made it through my teenage years? That's reason to celebrate I suppose! Or maybe because I've lived on my own for over a year now without any major catastrophes or break downs! (Yes there have been some mild break downs. But nothing too terribly notable. Actually I almost dropped out of college due to a break down at the beginning of this semester. But ya know, I didn't. so whatever.) Nonetheless. I am actually excited about this birthday! I've made it to my twenties! I have no idea what's coming in life and I'm trying really hard to embrace and enjoy this uncertainty. I'm entering my senior year of college this Spring and trying to keep an open mind about whatever life could bring along through this next decade! So yes, I Caitlin, the one who despises her own birthday, is super excited about this one! Plus Jeff is taking me out to a restaurant we've wanted to try because all I want for my birthday is an excuse to wear this adorable black dress I got at Plato's Closet like a month ago. (I spend too much money at Plato's Closet. I probably could start posting OOTD posts though. That might be interesting. Since almost everything I own is consignment or thrift!

Anyway, I got a little off track there. My point was that I can't wait for my 20th birthday this weekend! It kind of feels like I'm becoming a real adult. Not really, I'm still a child. I still call it a grown up purchase when I buy practical things. Like I still need to buy a dresser. That's a grown up purchase. I bought an air mattress a while back. Grown up purchase. Clothes from Plato's Closet, or random cute things to decorate my apartment, these are childish Caitlin purchases. After all, I still use Christmas lights to light my bedroom. I like to think this makes me cool and like hipster/boho/indie but in reality it's because I haven't bought a big lamp to light my room and I don't have an overhead light. (It does look very hip though!) So I'm not rally about to be a grown up. I'm still Caitlin and want to hold on to some of my childish ways and thoughts forever! But I'm a little more of an adult I suppose. I like this in between.

What birthday excited you most? Are you into celebrating your birthday or do you downplay it as much as possible? Share your birthday stories below! If I get some good ones I might feature them in a post!


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Colossians 2:10 - Possibly New Life Verse

Colossians 2:10 "So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority."

We all have the things we struggle with. And they change overtime. But there always seems to be something. I could give you a very long list any given day. Just be careful asking because you'll be stuck listening to me go on and on about my problems. And that's just it. My biggest struggle in this season of life is forgetting that I am made whole in Christ. I am so easily overwhelmed by my own brokenness and my own problems and I forget that despite all for that Christ has made me whole. In fact, because all of that he has made me whole! I couldn't be whole on my own! That's why I need Jesus! But I sit around dwelling in my own imperfections and wallowing in self hatred for them when I need to remember that I am whole and I am a daughter of the King most high! This of course doesn't mean I need to just let myself get away with things but rather means I need to give them to God rather than try to fix them myself. I need him more than I know. I guess this verse is just a great reminder of the fact that I don't have to be so broken anymore.

This is a song I have treasured greatly over the years. This is possibly the greatest version of it I have ever heard. Gives me chills every time. Jeff introduced me to it years ago. Check it out. It also reminds me of this fact of my need for him and his great sovereignty and love.

So anyway, now that I'v randomly shared my struggles with strangers on the internet, any good verses that have hit you recently? Please comment and share!