Thursday, November 15, 2018

Thursday Thankful List

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Ahh, November. The month that reminds everyone to stop and list what it is that they are thankful for. I’ll have to admit that this year really has been the year of non-stop thinking and feeling. With everything going on in our world, especially politically, it has been near impossible for me to shut it all out. It’s in your face whether you want it to be or not. I’ve been so disappointed, hurt, heartbroken and disgusted about so much of it but I am choosing to allow hope and optimism remain a part of who I am.

Because I have so, so much to be thankful for.

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First and foremost, I am thankful for God. He truly has been where my peace comes from. He is the reason I can smile even when it sometimes feels like I am nothing, I have nothing and that I’ve accomplished nothing. He always finds a way to speak truth to my soul and lets me know that the voices are lies and that He sees my purpose and knows what my future holds.

I am thankful for Sean, thankful for our 9th year of marriage (Nov 6th y'all!) & thankful that I have someone who knows just how to love me. I don’t think I’ll ever have the right words to explain how thankful I am to him but I truly hope that daily I show it.

I am thankful for my sisters. Boy, do they keep me sane! When I think I’m about to lose it they always have a way of bringing me back to the center. I’m thankful for sisters who always, always keep it real and who are not afraid to let you know when you’ve crossed the line.

I am thankful to my mom for the love she bestowed on me while she was here. The way she taught me about the importance of speaking positivity into our lives. The way she showed me what a true follower of Christ looks like. She is the epitome of all that I hope to be one day and I’m glad that she was the example I was able to see for 32 years of my life.

I am thankful for my dad who has really tried so hard to take on a new role since my mom passed away.

I am thankful for the amount of travel I am able to do each year. I am well aware that not many people are able to do this so I am incredibly grateful for the travel opportunities I’ve been able to have.

I am thankful for friends that keep me laughing and connected. Friends that you can have deep conversations with, share secrets with, with no fear of judgment.

I am thankful for photography as it has allowed me to freeze important and special moments in time.

I am thankful for the daily sunrise and sunset, foliage, snow covered trees and the crashing of the waves on the beach.

I am thankful for a warm bed to lay my head on, a warm house to fill with flowers and a kitchen to prepare food for myself and loved ones.

I am thankful for furbabies that have become true companions. They aren’t humans (OK, I'm not entirely sure about this) but they are extremely special and the way they love you and forgive you so quickly even if you step on their tail by accident. OK, maybe they aren't humans ;). You know the saying, “Be the person your dog thinks you are” … well, I hope that I am the person they think I am.

I am thankful for life, happiness, laughter, corny dad jokes and a big smile.

I am thankful for you! Truly. It has been a year of a lot of questions. One question being whether I should discontinue this blog. Many of you came out to tell me how much you enjoy and appreciate this space of mine and to be honest, I was and still am shocked. A lot of what you shared put plenty into perspective for me and in the end, I decided that even if not a single person read my blog, it would be OK. Being able to document my journey is truly a blessing in itself and I’m thankful that I can jot down memories, thoughts and everything in between. Life is a beautiful mess and it is an honor to be able to share it.

Now tell me. What it is that you’re thankful for?

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Tuesday Morning Ramblings about Blogging: Where do I go from here?

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Last week, I told Sean that I wanted to stop my blog. I know, I know, who was that? But I was serious. And I was surprised to find Sean talk me out of it. I thought if anyone would be thrilled with this declaration, it would be Sean. But he was not thrilled with it and told me all the reasons why I should not stop even going as far as to give me some ideas on what to blog about. Fortunately, I don't need ideas; I just want to love the blogging community again. Also, this is one of the reasons why I love this guy so much.

I don’t know, I just have begun to feel like I don’t want to blog anymore. I think it is partly me being lazy about writing & uploading pictures. It can take quite some time & for someone who does this for fun, well, that part isn’t really fun. I always know that I’ll regret it if I stop now since I’ve been writing on this space since 2010; so to give it up now just seems wrong. Years of memories have been stored here because I’ve been diligent about keeping this online journal of mine updated as often as possible.

It is also partly because sometimes it can feel like I’m talking to myself. Yes, I know that for the most part I really do blog for myself but I also feel that I’ve continued to blog all this time to connect with others and well, lately, it just seems that people are more interested in a flashy picture with a caption that isn’t even their own on Instagram. I know that just sounded like I drank a gallon of haterade but trust me, it’s not. I enjoy Instagram just like the next person. It is just that the connection we all received through blogging seems to have disappeared and I’m missing it. I’m finding it harder and harder to find blogs that are not for profit and it has begun to make this space a bit lonely if that makes any sense.

For now, I am wondering if it is time to take a step back from the blog and maybe not end it entirely but just visit when I want. To be OK with letting my blog sit for weeks without me feeling the need to write or share on it. But then I ask myself, what’s the point of my blog if I just let it sit dormant? What do I gain from that? And the memories and the thoughts, if I don’t share them here will I be sure to jot it down elsewhere? I’m not entirely sure I will as this blog has surely held me accountable for many years. Additionally, blogging has been such an outlet for me especially when it comes to my love of photographs and photography. I’ve been able to share my journey that include many of the beautiful and difficult moments. The truth is that this blog has helped me through the difficult moments as I was able to share my thoughts and somehow always got to the conclusion that life is still beautiful. But unfortunately I've gotten to this point where I wonder if I want to share anymore. I’m sure there are other ways for me to have a journal that does not involve having a blog.

To be honest, this post disappoints me a bit because I’ve been able to share my thoughts, memories, photography, travels, my life here and I’ve been able to go back and look at these posts. So for me to want to stop is unlike me so I think I just might need some time to navigate what it is I want my blog to do for me. I want to love blogging again. I want to love this community again. But it has become lonely. It isn’t the community it was when I first began blogging. And at this point, if I’m writing to myself … maybe it is time for me to do just that. I guess time will tell. But as I conclude this post I know this isn’t goodbye; I’ll see you soon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Girl's Weekend in Philadelphia ♥

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Last weekend, my girlfriend from college (Jihae) and I spent the weekend together in Philadelphia for a late birthday celebration. We are two days apart! We initially were going to do Charleston but decided that for just the weekend the travel time alone would take up too much time from our weekend. When Sean suggested we do Philadelphia I wondered why I hadn’t thought the same thing. Since Jihae lives in New York City it made so much more sense. We each would have a much shorter commute which would mean more time to spend together which of course made a trip to Philly seem more attractive.

Spoiler alert: We had an amazing time! We made sure to do a few touristy things, eat a whole lot and of course talk until we couldn’t talk anymore. We arrived early Friday afternoon and immediately after checking in (we stayed at The Windsor Suites – such a great location as we were walking distance to so many attractions!) we headed straight to Jim’s Steak.

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The line at Jim’s Steak was long and we waited about 30 minutes but it didn’t bother us because the weather was rather nice so we just talked while we waited. Our Philly steak sandwiches were good but not the best one I’ve had. When I know the best one in Philly, I’ll definitely share but until then it is a lot of fun trying as many as I can.

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There is mosaic art all throughout South Street!

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After lunch we walked over to check out Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens. It is a $10 entry fee (completely worth it!) and is absolutely stunning. I can’t imagine having the type of brain to create something out of nothing. “Philadelphia's Magic Gardens is a non-profit organization, folk art environment, and gallery space on South Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. To date, it is the largest work created by mosaic artist Isaiah Zagar. The Magic Gardens spans three city lots, and includes indoor galleries and a large outdoor labyrinth.” The artist is from Brooklyn so I immediately thought, of course, haha.

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After the magic garden we went back to our hotel to get ready for the evening. We went to Parc in Rittenhouse Square
for dinner and it was delicious! It is a French restaurant and I felt like I was back in Paris for a minute.
They had the best Pinor Noir I've ever had so I’m looking forward to going back again!

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After dinner, we went to Byblos for drinks and hookah. I do not have the lungs at all but we definitely had a good time.
After that we walked back to our hotel and called it a night.

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Saturday morning, I woke up rather early but I did not move from bed as Jihae was catching up on some beauty rest as she isn’t able to sleep like she use to with two little kiddos at home. She slept for nine hours and said that she felt like a new woman, haha. When Jihae finally woke up we got ready for the day and headed to City Hall and then to Elfreth’s Alley which is the oldest residential street in America.

There are 32 houses on the street (people still live in them) and they were built between 1728 and 1836.

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The homes along Elfreth's Alley have been well kept over the years and the cobblestones make everything so much more charming.

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After that we headed to Harper’s Garden for brunch. The restaurant’s décor is so on point and the food was just as great. Everything was so fresh and tasty. Jihae’s meal came with a side of arugula salad and she had me try it.
It was so delicious that we ended up ordering a big plate to share.

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After eating we went shopping. I picked up a pair of jeans from Madewell and Jihae picked up a
bunch of things for herself and family.

After shopping we headed back to our hotel where we rested our feet for about an hour before getting ready for dinner. We had dinner at Pietro’s Italian on Walnut street and had amazing meals. The arugula pizza is out of this world!
Our server was incredible and so personable and we just had a wonderful experience here.

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After dinner, we walked to Chris' Jazz Café for a night of live jazz music. It was great to be still and listen to jazz with one of my greatest friends in this world. We had such a good evening and when there was no more music to listen to we headed back to our hotel and called it a night.

The following morning we had breakfast at Sabrina’s Café. The wait is long but if you call ahead of time they will put you on the waiting list and tell you how long you’ll have to wait. So we arranged for us to get to the restaurant
around the time our table would be available.

We went to Au Pain Quotidien for coffee first (to kill time) and then when we headed to Sabrina’s Café we had a less than 10 minute wait. Our food was so good and our server was so accommodating when we told her that we needed to move quick
to ensure that Jihae did not miss her train.

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We then headed back to our hotel room to gather all our belongings and then I dropped Jihae off at the train station. It is always such a bummer when a weekend you had been looking forward to for months is over but I really had such a great time. It’s amazing to me that we’ve been friends since I was 18 years old but we still have not skipped a beat. It’s so important to me to ensure that friendships like these remain treasured and intentional regardless of distance and time.

It was truly a wonderful weekend and I can’t wait until the next one.