thanksgiving in denver

Scott and I just returned from a wonderful Thanksgiving in Denver! It was bittersweet to be apart from my family in Atlanta, but it was special to spend the holiday with him for the first time and get to meet so many more of his family members and friends.

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Spending Thanksgiving Day together! 11/23/17

We flew from San Francisco to Denver extremely early on Wednesday morning (November 22), and much to my pleasant surprise, had no delays! We met up with Cindy (Scott’s brother’s mother-in-law) at the airport, and Eric and Dave picked the three of us up to head home.

The days that followed were full of lots of Rummikub, Bang, college football, and food! Lori and Dave hosted Thanksgiving at their house for a whopping 14 people—Scott + me, Lori + Dave, Kalley + Eric, Kalley’s mom Cindy, Cate + Justin, Erin + Cesar, Amy + Jim, and Scott’s BFF Jeff. (I’m exhausted just typing all that…I don’t know how Lori does it!)

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My favorite tree cutter!

On Black Friday, I got to participate in the 13-year-old Anderson tradition of going to a national forest to cut down a Christmas tree. Lori and Dave made a big pot of chili and bought permits for the whole group—there must have been 20 of us there to cut down trees and have lunch in Buffalo Creek! While I was hoping for some Colorado snowflakes this trip, it was actually in the 70s most of the time (warmer than San Francisco).

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Ready to cut down the Andersons’ tree! 11/24/17

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We didn’t stay this bundled up for long.

We did a little shopping on Saturday and I got to eat Chick-fil-A for the first time in 6 months. (I was more than a little bit excited.) We ate at an awesome restaurant on Saturday night called Hop Alley. It was so neat to have Scott’s whole family (and everyone’s partners) around the table. And Kalley’s mom joining us was a great addition—she is hilarious and a true extrovert after my own heart!

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The whole crew around the table at Hop Alley! 11/25/17

All in all, I feel so lucky to have a better half whose family is fun, easygoing, and kind to each other. They’re a joy to be around and I can’t wait to ring in the new year in Denver. But before that, we’re joining my family in Florida for Christmas!

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my favorite year to date

One year ago today, Scott asked me to make our relationship official. We had spent more than six months getting to know each other—slowly at first, through text messages and Snapchats. The casual conversations soon turned to sporadic phone calls, and those soon turned much more routine. Eventually, we were talking every day. We would FaceTime, text, talk on the phone…whatever we could make work with a two-hour time difference and 2,300 miles between us. When the time finally came that Scott visited me in Nashville, it felt like we’d known each other forever!

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Though I didn’t know it at the time, all of those months building a friendship (following a serendipitous weekend spent hanging out in SF when we first met on my vacation) were laying a foundation for a love that I’d come to give thanks for every day.

Scott encourages me to be vulnerable. I share my biggest insecurities, fears, hopes, and dreams with him, and he meets me with empathy and understanding.

Scott makes me more vibrant. I feel empowered to be my truest, most bubbly self in his company. He laughs at my jokes and makes me laugh even harder at his.

Scott makes the sun’s rays shine brighter. He lightens up my darkest days and makes my sunny days even sunnier. He reminds me to practice gratitude and never stop seeking out adventures.

Scott brings joy to my life. He is always willing to drive to that nearby town, kiss in that photo booth, or sing that karaoke song. I savor my weekends with him.

Scott makes me a better person—I want to love harder and give more generously. He continually serves me in a way I never imagined anyone would, and he inspires me to do the same.

The magic I’ve found in falling in love has made the last year the best one of my life.

I usually pride myself on being good with words, but when I try to convey to Scott just how meaningful he is to me and how much I love him, I always come up short. My words just don’t seem to carry the weight that my heart feels for this man. However, I’m hoping to spend a really long time trying to find the words that will do him justice.

My Scotty—happy anniversary. I love you past the moon!

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summer of love

I’ve been in San Francisco for nearly three weeks already! I started my job as a Recruiting Coordinator for a tech company on June 26 and the first two weeks have gone great. I even added my Florida Gators to the company alma mater wall already!

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For this first month and a half, I’ve been subleasing right near Haight – Ashbury. It’s been a blast to live close to good restaurants, supermarkets, and parks.

But, I needed to find something more long-term, and I finalized an apartment this week! I’ll be moving in with two girls in the Outer Richmond, super close to the beach and Golden Gate Park. It’s going to be quite a hike downtown for my commute, but luckily I will be super close to public transportation (and being just 8 blocks from Scott’s house will be really nice and convenient).

Speaking of Scott, we have loved our newfound ability to spend time together (instead of just FaceTiming) and we have already done some super fun things.

We’ve visited restaurants like Sakesan, Brenda’s, Barrel Head, and Sunset Reservoir. I also had the best cinnamon toast of my life at Trouble Coffee Company, an amazing milkshake at Calibur, and insanely delicious pastries at Mr. Holmes Bakehouse.

A couple weekends ago, we went up to Sebastopol (in Sonoma County) with two of our friends, Eric and Kasey. They’re wine club members at Moondance Cellars and we had a great time visiting the winery with them. It was a gorgeous property and they even had horses!

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For the 4th of July, we drove down to Capitola (a cute little beach town in the Santa Cruz area). We left gray and dreary San Francisco only to arrive to gray and dreary Capitola—bummer! But luckily an hour or so later (after some shopping and walking around town), it was in the 70’s and brilliant sunshine. It was so hot, in fact, that I had to go buy a tank top because my light sweater was no longer comfortable!

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Capitola was super cute and family friendly. It reminded me a lot of the beaches along 30A back home. Scott and I will definitely be visiting this spot again in the future!

Looking forward, we’re visiting a restaurant this weekend (State Bird Provisions) that we’ve been wanting to try for a long time. We’re visiting Scott’s family in Denver the first week of August (and we’re seeing The Head and the Heart at Red Rocks). We also hope to venture north to a swimming hole, and go see Wonder Woman. (We saw The Big Sick last weekend and loved it!)

All in all I am loving San Francisco so far. I am still getting used to the weather and public transportation, but aside from that—California is being good to me!

a look back on 2016

As I read Facebook statuses and Instagram posts, I see tons of content talking about what a miserable year 2016 was. In politics, celebrity deaths, police brutality, global acts of terrorism, and Florida Gator football, I can agree – it was a rough year. But personally, I had one of the most wonderful years of my life. And the best part? It was completely unexpected.

I started off 2016 with a few goals, which I shared here. With the exception of writing a book (still working on that), I think I did a great job with seeing my goals through – particularly the travel, snail mail, and podcasts.

So, where did the year wind up? I’ll list some highlights:

  • February: I met (in February, in San Francisco) my wonderful boyfriend, Scott. As a matter of fact, I am in a terminal in St. Louis now writing this post, as I travel to visit him for New Year’s Eve! Our meeting was unlikely (he’s a Colorado guy living in California, I’m a Florida girl living in Tennessee) but I am so completely grateful that it happened.

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  • March & April: I visited New York City and Orlando to celebrate the bachelorette party and wedding for one of my dear friends, Mara! It was such an honor to be her bridesmaid, and it was such a joyous couple of months celebrating she and Mark.

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  • May & June: I took a couple of fantastic girls’ trips! My BFF of almost 20 years, Taylor, and I went to Savannah and Tybee Island, GA for a Cinco de Mayo getaway. In June, I rented the Bachelor mansion (pretty much) in Ft. Lauderdale with all my best Nashville gal pals. We had such a good time!

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  • September & October: Scott and I had some great visits! First he came to me in September, and I showed him the best of Music City. Then I went out to San Francisco in October, where he outdid me and took me on a getaway to Big Sur (one of my ultimate dream travel destinations)!

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  • November & December: Lots of family time toward the end of the year! I got to go to Atlanta for Thanksgiving, and Pensacola for Christmas. I also turned 25, which felt like an exciting milestone!

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I ended the year, as I mentioned, by heading back to California! I can’t think of any place I’d rather start my 2017 than with my boyfriend in the Bay Area. I’m so excited to see what lies ahead for 2017 – I kind of can’t believe it’s already here!

what in the world have i been doing?

Whoa, where did the last many, many months go?  What have I been doing?  How has my blog gone so utterly untouched?

Here’s a little glimpse at what I’ve been up to, in no particular order:

  • Watching Hallmark Christmas movies since November 1
  • Starting and re-starting the fifth Harry Potter book for four months and counting
  • Walking the aisles of Target and buying things I don’t need
  • Looking at pictures of dogs, kids, and dogs with kids on Instagram
  • Reading travel blogs and planning dream trips to places like Iceland and Amsterdam
  • Talking to my (super, absurdly) long-distance boyfriend into the wee hours of the night
  • Getting addicted to Westworld, live texting each episode and exchanging theories with said boyfriend
  • Seeing how long I can go without doing laundry until I run out of undies
  • Watching old (and current) episodes of Survivor and wishing I was a contestant
  • Thinking about chopping my hair off (but not actually chopping my hair off)
  • Listening to Christmas music and anxiously awaiting the month of December
  • Drinking Diet Coke

So there you have it—it’s a thrilling life I lead.  I’m going to try to get back into the groove of blogging in the coming weeks, but alas, my late-night phone calls, Survivor marathons and trips to Target may continue to take precedence.  (I’m just being honest.)