Daily Life

Girl’s Trip to Gatlinburg- Part 1

I got home Monday night from my girl’s trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and it was such a blast! My girlfriends and I haven’t all been together in probably a year, but we always pick right back up where we left off. We’ve known each other for so long that we all feel like family and we just get each other.

Today, I’m going to recap the first part of our trip. Tomorrow, I will be back to tell about the rest in Part 2.

Early last Thursday morning, my friends Jessica, Hannah, Lanaya, Bailey, and I all drove together to Lexington, Kentucky where my friend Courtney lives. It would be an 11 hour drive to get there, which we were all dreading a little bit, especially since we had five people sardined into a five-person car.

IMG_4197

Thankfully, since we hadn’t been together in so long, the first nine hours of the car drive honestly flew by. We were pretty much talking non-stop, filling each other in on our lives and joking around.

Those last two hours or so in the car though had us wanting to climb the walls. It was a torrential downpour (Ok- maybe a little dramatic there, but it felt like it!) and we were just ready to be out for good. We even resorted to playing 20 Questions to make the time go quicker. It worked for a little while. 😉

We finally made it to Courtney’s apartment a little before 8 p.m., drug our bags inside, and got back into the car to drive to dinner at West Sixth, the cutest little microbrewery with unique seafood options to order. I got a blackened catfish sandwich with black eyed pea salad. It was the perfect pick-me-up after our long day of driving. Courtney’s friend, Caitlin, who was joining us on our trip too, met us at dinner. She was so fun and fit right in with our group; we dubbed her an honorary Hiawathian. 🙂

That night, back at Courtney’s apartment, we talked and then headed to bed early after watching about half of Moana. (We had Jessica as a live soundtrack to the Moana songs 🙂 ).

Courtney and Caitlin both go to a workout class called CycleBar, and Courtney signed us up for the 8:30 a.m. class on Friday since your first class is free to try. I will have a separate post next week about my first experience with CycleBar, but just know, I was not prepared for the amount of sweating and exertion of that class. I have done spinning classes before, but this was a new level of intense. I looked at my watch multiple time thinking it would surely be over soon. While our legs were jello afterwards, we joked that we had earned our car ride that day.

After the 50 minute class, we quickly showered and loaded up into two cars this time (Hallelujah for extra space!) to drive the four hours to Gatlinburg. We rented a cabin through Amazing Views Cabin Rentals and had to drive to Pigeon Forge, about twenty minutes from Gatlinburg, to check in first.

IMG_4100.jpg

Our cabin wasn’t going to be ready for a little while yet, and we still hadn’t eaten lunch by around 3:30 p.m. so we beelined to Smoky Mountain Brewery for lunch…/dinner…? Linner?

Since I’m still not a big beer drinker, I just opted for the sample flight. The samples seemed huge compared to anywhere else though, and the waitress messed up my beer order so I ended up with four samples instead of three! Wheh! It was a lot for me (and I even passed them around the table several times!).

IMG_4102.jpg

Our waitress here was probably younger than all of us, and kept calling us all “Sweetheart” or “Darling.” She was by far the peppiest person I have ever met and was a little too over the top. The food was just decent (More to come on that later- Sorry, Bailey!).

We were anxious to get to our cabin and get settled in. We grabbed some groceries in town and then pulled out the paper with directions to get to our cabin because GPS wouldn’t work through the mountains. Our cabin was wedged up in the mountains through some seriously steep roads.

IMG_4115.jpg
Big Timber!

IMG_4196.jpg

We got settled in…and so did the rain. It was gloomy and windy so we stayed in, snacked, and talked before calling it a night.

IMG_4106.jpg

IMG_4108.jpg

IMG_4109.jpg
Hi Lanaya!

Our cabin had three levels: a loft up top, a main living area, and two bedrooms on the bottom level. Courtney and Bailey took the loft and the rest of us took the two bedrooms downstairs.

Unfortunately, as we were all crawling into bed, Bailey came downstairs asking if any of us had Pepto Bismol or Tums as she had just gotten sick (my worst fear!). We went to bed hoping that she would be fine in the morning, since that was our only full day in Gatlinburg!

That’s it for Part 1 of our trip! I’ll see you tomorrow for the rest!

Have a super day!

Question of the Day: Would you rather go on vacation to the mountains or to a beach?

Recipes

PB & J Overnight Oats

If you’re anything like me, I love to sleep, and especially during the school year, I only give myself about five minutes to eat breakfast before I have to scramble to finish getting ready. (The snooze button and myself are a little too good of friends.)

I wish I gave myself enough time to get up and make scrambled eggs or pancakes, but most mornings, I only have enough time to grab the cereal and pour (occasionally I’ll make oatmeal, but that’s rare). Even in the summer, I find myself not wanting to cook an actual breakfast since I already cook lunch and dinner. I don’t want to spend my whole day in the kitchen.

I’ve tried several recipes for overnight oats, and I was never very impressed until I found this one from Skinnytaste (go figure!)

I love the convenience of overnight oats, and I love knowing that they are a bit better for me than my bowl of cereal (plus these include a big serving of peanut butter, so that’s always a plus!)

If you need a quick, delicious, healthy breakfast, you have to try this recipe. The prep work the night before is well worth it!

PB & J Overnight Oats

Serves: 1

Calories: 288

Oats

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup red seedless grapes, halved*
  • 1/2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tsp. sugar

Toppings

  • 1 Tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp. jelly

 

For the oats: In an 8-ounce jar, combine the milk, oats, grapes, chia seeds, and sugar. Close the jar with the lid, shake the mixture, and refrigerate overnight.

For the toppings: The next day, take the jar out of the refrigerator, stir in the peanut butter and jelly, and serve.

*If you do not have grapes, I have found many other substitutions that are just as tasty. I have tried: diced apples, blueberries, diced strawberries, and even raisins. You can’t mess this recipe up!

 

Step one: Combine oat ingredients.

IMG_4090

Step two: The next morning, add peanut butter and jelly.

IMG_4091

Enjoy!

IMG_4094.JPG

Question of the Day: What is your go-to quick breakfast?

 

 

Daily Life

A to Z Survey

Happy Monday! My girlfriends and I are driving back home today from our Gatlinburg, Tennessee girl’s trip! I’ll be back later this week with more details about it, including my first experience trying a CycleBar class!

Today, I am trying a quick blog survey that follows each letter of the alphabet (I wrote this last week in preparation of being gone)! I always enjoy reading survey responses on other people’s blogs, and they are a great way to learn more about someone quick!

I saw this survey years ago on the blog Peanut Butter Fingers, one of the first blogs that I started reading!

Here we go:

A – Age: 25

B – Biggest Fear: SNAKES! (Just typing that makes me cringe.)

C – Current Time: 7:05 a.m.

D – Drink You Had Last: English Breakfast Tea (I got so used to having it for breakfast in Maine that I can’t stop now that we are home!)

E – Easiest Person To Talk To: Travis (I think sometimes he wishes I would stop talking so much. I definitely talk more at home out of the two of us 🙂 ).

F – Favorite Song: I love so many different types of songs, but a current favorite is “Body Like a Back Road” by Sam Hunt. Trav and I are obsessed with any Creedence Clearwater Revival Songs too!

G – Grossest Memory: …umm, anytime someone throws up? A gross memory that my dad has told me was that when I was a toddler, I took a nap on him, and later, he woke up to me flicking his lower lip saying, “boog…boog.” It took him a little while to realize that I was flicking that “boog,” or booger, onto his lip. Hahaha- gross!

H – Hometown: I grew up in the lovely Hiawatha, Kansas. I love my small town roots!

I – In Love With: Travis. And any Italian Greyhound dog that I meet. 😉

J – Jealous Of: People who are outgoing. I am loud and goofy with Travis and friends, etc., but I wish I wasn’t so shy and quiet otherwise. It takes awhile for me to feel comfortable and open up!

K – Kindest Person You Know: My Grandma Marilyn. She is the epitome of a giving, caring, sweetheart of a person.

L – Longest Relationship: Almost 9 years with Travis!

M – Middle Name: Brooke. I love that my initials are LBS and I was so glad they didn’t change when I got married (Pounds for life, baby!).

N – Number of Siblings: One older brother, Matt, who is 27.

O – One Wish: My wish is that all of my family stays healthy! (A close second is winning the lottery, but that’s probably not too realistic.)

P – Person You Spoke To On The Phone Last: My mom.

Q – Question You’re Always Asked: “How do you put up with middle schoolers?” 😉

R – Reason To Smile: We’re “living the dream,” as Travis always says. We have great friends and family, are healthy, have a comfortable home, and jobs that we both enjoy. Life is pretty great!

S – Song You Last Sang: “Sign of the Times” or “I’m the One” (In the car on the drive home from softball- Travis just loves when I serenade him with my lovely off-tune voice.)

T – Time You Woke Up: 6:30 a.m.

U – Underwear Color: Black.

V – Vacation Destination: I’ve had great trips to the Bahamas, Florida, Colorado, Turks and Caicos, and Maine. My ultimate dream vacation is to stay in an overwater hut in Bora Bora like in the movie “Couples Retreat.”

W – Worst Habit: Social Media. I get sucked in and can waste so much time on my phone. Eek- I’m trying to break that habit.

X – X-Rays You’ve Had: I’ve just had x-rays at the dentist’s office- luckily!

Y – Your Favorite Food: Peanut butter…or sweet potatoes (not together). I could eat both every day and never get sick of them. Ooh- I also love Thai food…and sushi, and chocolate chip cookies, and anything with a peanut sauce (The list goes on and on). I just love food.

Z – Zodiac Sign: Gemini

Hope you enjoyed those random little tidbits today!

Question of the Day: Play along and answer one of the prompts in the comments below:

  • Biggest Fear
  • Easiest person to talk to
  • Jealous of
  • Reason to Smile
  • Worst Habit
Friday

Friday Favorites

Now, I can say hello from Gatlinburg! Our girl’s trip is officially underway! We will check into our little cabin today and get settled!

Here are some highlights from this week!

one. Travis and I have been eating dinner late this week (around 8:30 p.m.) so that he can get as much work done with painting our house as possible. I had a crockpot meal going on Monday so I sat outside to join him, talk, and go through some pictures.

IMG_4073.JPG

My laptop, which I got my senior year of high school, is starting to get slower and it huffs and puffs like an old man when I have too many tabs open. All of my pictures are on this laptop, and I was starting to get worried that it would crash and leave me pictureless.

Instead of buying an external hard drive, like I was planning, we decided that I would just upload everything to Google Drive for now to keep it more secure.

Man, I love Google. (Our school got new MacBooks for teachers and students and is a Google school now, which makes it so convenient too!).

two. On Tuesday night, some of our softball team met up at Taco Lucha (another favorite of mine!) for their Tuesday night special of peanut butter tacos.

You know my love for peanut butter, so I was intrigued! They were salty and spicy with just the right amount of peanut taste!

MHK, I love you! Living here is the absolute best!

three. On Wednesday, I met up with a couple of my coworkers on the Language Arts team to talk about some things for next year. I usually try to avoid all things school for as long as I can in the summer, but since students will each have their own laptop next year, we needed to discuss how we are going to utilize the technology into our current lessons.

I love that we are getting more technology (because our school seriously needed it), but I hope we don’t become too reliant on it. My challenge for this next school year is going to be finding that balance.

four. You gotta love when you have friends who remind you that it’s National Lobster Day (last Thursday, June 15). They always have my back. 😉

IMG_4076.PNG

five. Since I am going to be gone for this girl’s trip, I made extra trips to the grocery store to get easy meals for Travis, left him like five notes (most of which reminded him to WATER MY PLANTS!) and made lists of possible snacks/meals that he can make. I think I’m more stressed about his meals than he is. 😉

He’s a good cook, but I love cooking so much that he hasn’t had do it to in quite some time. He’s also hoping to get close to finished with painting our house, so he doesn’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

If you see Travis this week, ask him how his meals are. He told me he wanted to grill brauts each night that I’m gone (I think he will be sick of them by around day three, but we will see 🙂 ).

Enjoy your weekend! I can’t believe it’s already the end of June! Summer is flying!

(Random) Question of the Day: Would you rather be able to control the weather or be able to talk to animals?

Daily Life

Hello from Gatlinburg, Tennessee (Almost!)

Good morning and happy Thursday!

My girlfriends and I are officially en route to Gatlinburg, Tennessee for our girl’s trip!

It’s a ten hour drive to get to my friend Courtney’s apartment in Lexington, Kentucky. Tomorrow, we will start our day with a CycleBar class and then drive four more hours to get to the cabin we rented in Gatlinburg!

There are five of us squeezed into a five-person car for the ten hour drive today! I’m praying that I’m not stuck in the middle seat the whole time, and that we have plenty of stretching breaks! 🙂 I brought lots of snacks (including my peanut butter and honey popcorn), so we should we covered there!

I’ve been friends with these girls since elementary school, and now that we are somewhat scattered, it’s rare to get everyone together! I’m looking forward to our “reunion” and five days of girl time! (Bring on the wine!)

12106746_10206811528625287_7463732481344841063_n

girls

Hope you have a good Thursday! It’s almost the weekend!!

Question of the Day: What are your favorite road-trip snacks?

Coastal · House

House Tour- Upstairs Guest Bathroom

Last week, my mom and I got our upstairs guest bathroom painted. I was honestly dreading it because the bathroom has full beadboard paneling, and I knew it would all need to be hand-brushed.

The paneling is very rough in some places too so we weren’t sure how easily it would be to brush the paint on.

After a couple years of looking at this dingy yellowish/tan color, I was beyond ready for a change though.

The before:

DSC01995.jpg

DSC01996.jpg

Thankfully, we sped through the painting, and it took no time at all (Leaving us plenty of time to goof off, shop, and drink mojitos 🙂 ).

I chose the color Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams, and because we have terrible lighting in this bathroom, it came out a little different than I expected. It looks very baby-bluish, and I thought it would be more of a light seafoam green. It’s cute, but doesn’t blend as well with my accent decor as I thought.

My mom offered to repaint it if I wanted, but I told her I would learn to love it. I was not up for redoing it :). It is growing on me now…after some time, and I still think that color would be perfect in other rooms with more natural light (I’m not giving up on you, Sea Salt!).

The after:

DSC02028.jpg

DSC02012.JPG

DSC02019.jpg

Sorry for the glare. I have one my favorite quotes by Emerson framed. I was so excited to find a buoy in Maine that matched the color of it perfectly!

DSC02030.jpg

DSC02027.JPG

I think my last project with this room will be to paint the frame around the mirror white to make it look a little more crisp and clean!

Sources

Paint- Sherwin Williams Sea Salt

Shower curtain- Target

Bath mat- Bed, Bath, & Beyond

Crab picture- Tuesday Morning

White frame- Ikea

Quote art- Etsy

Buoy- Bar Harbor, Maine

Blue frame and candle holders- Marshalls and/or gifts

 

Enjoy your day! 🙂

 

Daily Life · Family · Recipes

Help Me Out- Share a Story!

Today, I have a random request for you. It deals with a little project that I have been thinking about.

I’ve always full heartedly believed the quote that “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”

stomach

Luckily, thanks to my mom and grandma, I have inherited a deep love for cooking and truly believe that cooking is a labor of love.

When I think of my Grandma Marilyn, I always think of the cooking that she does for our family and for friends, community members, etc. I think specifically of her rolls and cinnamon rolls. They are basically famous in our small town.

I was lucky enough to see my grandma very often growing up and got the chance to bake with her many times. Thus, I learned her tips and tricks to making the rolls just right.

There are a lot of lessons to be learned in baking or cooking too. I think back to my ten-year-old self who went to bake with Grandma: the amount of patience, preciseness, and perseverance one must have while baking is immense.

Waiting an hour for dough to rise or kneading dough for twelve minutes?! Often times, I wanted to rush through it, but to do so would be to miss out on so much.

You see, that labor of love, and the work that goes into preparing something yummy to share is also why it is so rewarding to complete.

My grandma has almost created a “legacy” from her love of baking for others, which I feel so grateful that I will get to continue.

So, here’s what I want to know from you. Please comment: don’t be shy!

When you think of your own family, is there a “dish” or “recipe” that you associate with a certain family member?

Comment below with what that dish was and who the person you connect it with is. Feel free to also share any memorable stories you have about baking with that person.

I greatly appreciate your participation, in advance!

Have a good day! Happy baking!

Question of the Day: What is your favorite recipe to make?