Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Busy Holiday Season

I love love love the holiday season. But this year I have just been so crazy busy I haven't really been able to enjoy it like years past. Between being busy all day at work, photography really picked up there for a while & I'm still playing catch up on that end, anthony working all the time, life is seriously flying by. I am kind of ready for it to slow down any time now. 

Tonight I finally finished busting out the rest of our Christmas decorations. As soon as I get all the boxes put away in the next few days and the house thoroughly cleaned I will be sharing our home during the holidays with you. I also have a lot more to share that has been going on around our neck of the woods. If you follow me on Instagram you already have had a little insight but life has been good. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Saying Goodbye

Last week we received awful news that one of my Dad's good work friends that's family turned family friends of ours passed away of a heart attack. Bob was only 55. This was extremely unexpected and a lot of people in shock and grieving the loss of an amazing man. On Saturday we all said our last good bye and I witnessed one of the most touching, heartfelt testimonies of strength and devotion to God in such a hard time display, by Bob's children and wife. I left there knowing that with God's Grace and unending love of family and friends that the Dotson family is going to be clothed in comfort know that Bob is in Heaven now. The faith that I witness on Saturday made me realize the type of person I need to continue to strive to be on a daily basis. 

I was raised with a very strong faith based upbringing. Somewhere along the way I lost my way and became temped by Satan into questioning my faith and I wandered into a very dark and scary time in my life. When we got engaged I found myself turning back to our Church but not anywhere nearly as strong of a pull that I have been feeling in the last few days. Lately I had been exploring my religion and yearning to learn more and be a good Christian person, but after this weekend I realized that God is the one that we NEED in our lives more and more as we experience changes in our home and work environments, our marriage and in the challenge of establishing our own family. This blog of mine might be taking on a few changes in the next few weeks, months and hopefully years. I am hoping to share my faith driven lifestyle with all of you a little more and hopefully one day I am able to look back and see where God has lead me on this journey of life. With God as my guide, I know it will be one beautiful adventure.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Book Review :: Down the Rabbit Hole

While we were on our mini vaca I wandered into a Barnes and Noble one evening and stayed in there for almost two hours reading the backs of books trying to find my next read. I don't normally have this much time to spend in a bookstore because my hubby isn't a fan of shopping and I always feel rushed. This particular evening he was night fishing and I decided to go spend some time by myself. Towards the end of my browsing I came across the autobiography section and saw this book by Holly Madison. The bright pink book cover is what really caught my eye and seeing Holly on the cover gave me flash backs of my teenager days when I would sneakily watch The Girls Next Door on E! when my parents were not around. I never thought it wasn't wholesome television but it was right up there with the MTV channel in our Catholic home and Mom wouldn't have allowed it. 

Reading Holly's story I realized that I was too young to be watching The Girls Next Door because I never even noticed that over half the stuff was even going on. Holly's story definitely gave me a whole new view of Hugh Heffner and his lifestyle. I always figured he was a pervy old man but he also had some other major issues that unfortunately played with a lot of those girls minds. I didn't realize how hard it was for Holly and some of the other girls to recover their public image from the riskay, party girl life style to a more role model and successful career. 

If you were a young girls in the mid 90s who watched the Girls Next Door I would definitely recommend you picking this up because it will give you a whole new outlook on Playboy and I can promise you will not be able to put this one down. I finished it in 4 days, partly because we were on vacation and I had some time to totally do nothing but bury my nose in some pages and soak up some sunshine with my toes in the sand.

When was the last time you got to spend countless hours in a bookstore? 
I know I wish I could do it more often!
My next review should be the other book laying up there, All the Single Ladies by Dorothea Benton Frank. Has anyone else read it? I am having a hard time really getting into it so I can finish it. I have no plans for this Saturday morning so I am hoping to put a bigger dent in it. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Vacation Recap :: Charleston, SC (pt. 2)

Days three and four on our mini vaca were spent soaking up a little history and some rays on the beach. We decided after four years of going to Charleston to finally make a morning of visiting the Boone Hall Plantation. We walked around the grounds, visited the butterfly garden, ate some ice cream and then toured the mansion. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take any pictures of the inside of the house but we thoroughly enjoyed the little tour. After the house tour we took a bus tour around the grounds. 

After spending the morning at the Plantation we decided to head to Folly Beach for the day since sunshine was in the forecast. 

 For lunch we decided to give Taco Boy a try and it was really good. We will definitely go back next time. We ordered Mahi tacos and some quesadillas. It definitely hit the spot and the place was decorated pretty neat too!

We spent our last day on the beach at Sullivan's Island. I laid out and Anthony fished. 
I had no complaints other than the week went by way too fast and we are unsure of when we will be going on vacation again. I hate good-byes, but saying good-bye to the beach seems even harder.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Vacation Recap :: Charleston, SC (pt.1)

We decided on a whim maybe a month before that we were going to go down to Charleston before the Summer was officially over. Going in September was completely different in the fact that was almost literally no tourists and the weather was slightly different than when we go in July. This year we decided to take our kayaks so that Anthony could get some fishing done and I could just follow along and explore with him. When we got to town it was a little before 7 a.m. on Sunday so we decided to go to Sullivan's Island and watch the sun come up before knocking on my Aunt and Uncle's door early in the morning. 

Anthony couldn't resist getting his line in the water.

After we went to the house, unpacked and hung out for a little bit we decided to go put the boats in the water despite the overcast skies and rain in the forecast. It didn't take long after we were off that it started pouring. That didn't stop us, until my skin started itching like crazy!! I ended up pulling off the water and leaving Anthony and my cousin Bryson to spend the rest of the afternoon on the water.

Monday/Labor Day
Anthony let me sleep in before we hit up the beach for the day. Sullivan's Island was the pick of the day and unfortunately it wasn't the greatest because there were these flies all over the place that kept biting us like horse flies. We stayed for a few hours and then decided to hit up downtown Charleston for our traditional pizza from Pizzeria Di Giovani's. They have the largest slices of pizza ever and this year we decided to get a full pizza instead. After dinner we were going to walk around the Market but the vendors were all packing up and we missed all the hype. Instead we went to the new boardwalk on Shem Creek and watched some boats coming in and out and hung out just the two of us.

We were thinking we were going to catch a beautiful sunset off Shem Creek but the clouds blocked it and it didn't leave much to be desired but it was truly a beautiful evening spent with eachother doing some boat and people watching. This trip was mainly focused on relaxing and doing our own thing and I noticed that I barely took 100 pictures with my camera but we had an amazing trip. Tomorrow I will blog about the rest of the trip where we visited Folly Beach and Boone Hall Plantation.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Blog-tember :: Ipod Shuffle

If someone asked me to list my top 5 things that I could not live without and in that would be music. It is what calms my nerves, creates the best dance parties, has been the culprit of not enough late work night concerts with my best girlfriends and I always have music playing when I am driving somewhere, working around the house and exercising. Anthony and I haven't always agreed to the same genres. I am a die hard country music fan and well Anthony, he is not. In the last year or so though I have been trying to branch out and really enjoy what else is out there.

So here we go, I put my ipod (iphone) on shuffle and these are the first ten songs that played. I honestly didn't realize I listen to these so much, but as I listened to them I couldn't help but realize that I am singing along to every word. 

Edens Edge / Amen - This song is my ultimate sing along with the girls in the car. We can sing every word and the beat is just perfect for car dancing to!

Justin Moore / Flyin' Down a Back Road - The title of this one says it all. I am a die hard Justin Moore fan and this song reminds of Anthony and I's early years of dating. We would literally go backroading all the time. He had his license when we started dating and we both thought it was so cool to just drive around in the truck after school before he would take me home or on summer nights. We almost always took a dirt back road from each others houses just to waste more time and there was the occasional pull off that was perfect for a little make out session ;)   

Tracy Byrd / The Keeper of the Stars - This was "our first dance" song at our wedding and my shuffle just knows that I always love listening to this one so I can have a little reminiscing of my favorite day ever.

Dixie Chicks / Goodbye Earl - This one brings back my 13 year old self and I am not ashamed to admit that these girls still grace my music selection. 

Iggy Azalea / Fancy -Just because this is the perfect song to really jam out to while running.

Taylor Swift / Blank Space - I haven't always been a fan of T.Swift but some of her newer stuff is luring me in and her lyrics are so easy to learnt to sing along to.

Johnnyswim / Diamonds - This is a new one I have been listening to. Johnnyswim is a little different from what I usually listen to but it is the type of music that I can listen to while sitting on the front porch, reading a good book and letting loose.

Sam Hunt / Raised on It - I just love listening to the words of this song.

U2 / Where the Streets Have No Name - This would be my relaxing running song, perfect for starting out the run and loosening up.

Rachel Platten / Fight Song - This would be the song that I always play after U2. It puts my mind in a great mood for pushing harder when I am running and gets me breaking a sweat. Last week when this song came on while I was running at the trail I just started singing it outload and throwing some dancing into my run. About a minute into this I looked around and realized there was a family coming up behind me on their bikes and they were just laughing at me. All I could do was laugh at myself and when they passed me I told them that is what good jams will do to you. I am sure I was their source of entertainment for the night.

What are some of your favorite songs? I love a good recommendation and who knows you might find me my new jam! Hope you all have a great Saturday. I am going to finish cleaning this house and packing for Charleston. We leave tonight and I have so much to get done (procrastination at its finest)

Brave Love Blog

Friday, September 4, 2015

Oh Hey Friday

I am glad to finally get this work week over with. I used to think that every week of work before taking a vacation seemed to just creep by. However, this week flew by and I couldn't catch a break to get all the work done, it was carazy! This job is seriously causing me to be the busiest I have ever been. This vacation is definitely needed! 10 days off is going to be perfect to clear my head, get some sun and spend some quality time with my husband. On top of work I have been trying my darnest to keep up my running and it is proving to be a challenge. I only made it out two nights this week but those nights I was really able to clear my head and break a sweat. We finally splurged and bought a new desktop computer, we realized that working on our slow as Moses laptop was just not cutting it for my photo editing. I am seriously in love with it!!! Now I am pinning ideas for little office nook ideas. When I finally settle and how I am going to decorate this area in our living room I will be sharing it with all of you. And just in case I thought I wasn't busy enough I have been getting back behind the camera with some senior sessions. The kids that I have had gotten to shoot have been great in front of the camera and I have really been enjoying editing their pictures. For a while I thought that with all of the craziness at work I couldn't do my own thing and disconnect when I got off work but I am starting to get the grip of things and I think this trip to Charleston is really going to be the needed refresher and I can get back to my normal self. I hope you all have an amazing weekend!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Hello, Goodbye

Hello September, Goodbye August.
Hello Month with a Vacation, Goodbye Pool Days.
Hello Festive Candles, Goodbye Tropical Scents.
Hello Cooler Runs, Goodbye Sweat Sessions.
Hello Hoodies, Goodbye Tank Tops.
Hello Friday Night Football, Goodbye Lazy Friday Nights. 
Hello Baby Brother's Birthday Month, Goodbye Daddio's Birthday Month.
Hello Better Blogging Habits, Goodbye Blogging Dry spell.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Last Weekend Together

Anthony officially starts his new job as a post man this week which also means that this weekend was our last full weekend to have Friday, Saturday and Sunday together. It makes me a little sad to know I can't really plan big things to on Saturdays or even Friday nights but it also makes me a little eager to plan some fun stuff for myself. 

We enjoyed the whole weekend together this weekend. Friday night we cooked dinner together with plans of going to the fair afterwards but we both laid down and fell asleep for a couple of hours. It put a damper on that plan and we decided to skip out on going to the fair since it was so late and opted for some froyo and shopping at TjMaxx and Dunhams. 

Saturday we both slept in, tinkered around the house almost all morning and afternoon and I got in another nap. We met up with my parents and went to Columbus for my Dads company picnic at the Crew soccer game. It was the perfect night for some soccer. 

Sunday anthony let me sleep in and I woke up to Donald's Donuts waiting for me. We played with the dogs all morning, I did some reading while Anthony made some modifications to his kayak. Around noon we decided to hit up the pool before going to Sunday dinner at Grandma Spikers. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Life Lately

I am positive that July went by quicker than June did. This whole year has been flying by and I wish it would slow down. I am excited for leaves changing colors and brightening up the hillsides, everything pumpkin, bonfires, and sweatshirts but I am not ready to say goodbye to sunshiny days, swimming in the pool, and wearing flip flops and tank tops. 

Life around here has been pretty...crazy and a little not normal. I don't want to do another monthly photo dump because I feel like that is all I have done for the last couple of months and then disappearing for the next month. So I thought I would fill everyone in and what has been going on.

I got another promotion at work and am now a Case Manager due to the coworker I was coverings maternity leave deciding to be a stay at home with her miracle baby. Learning a whole slew of new tasks every single day is starting to be a little taxing on me and the stress levels have went up a few notches. It all comes down to the fact that it has brought me out of my comfort zone. Soon enough I will get a grasp on everything, unfortunately I don't think it is going to be as soon as I would like it. 

Anthony quit Sam's Club after being there for almost 8 years this past month. He was hired at the Dollar General warehouse in what he told everyone would just be temporary until he could get a different job. What we didn't realize was how short of a stint it would be, a mere 8 days! He was offered a job at the post office and he let his supervisor know he begins training on the 10th (tomorrow!) and they wished him luck! This is just a part time position with pretty good potential of becoming a full time one with is own route. This is all going to be a major adjustment but as always we will adjust and then more changes will come. 

I kicked off my birthday weekend getting ready to go out to dinner with my hubby and my co-worker/friend Nora and her husband Brian. We made plans half way through the week and I invited a handful of friends hoping it wasn't too late for everyone to make plans. Unfortunately almost all of them turned me down or didn't answer. I decided that we would have just as much fun going out in a small group, enjoy some margaritas and maybe hit up some bars on Linden Avenue. Much to my surprise Anthony and I walked into Tlaquepaque to meet Nora and Brian to see a table full of all of my friends!!!! I was SO surprised!!!! It was awesome to see all my favorite people in one place! We had a party of 19 people, we all ate dinner, drank margaritas, they sang Happy Birthday to me while I dawned the sombrero. The night did not end there and we hit up Linden Avenue to do some bar hopping. We ended up staying out until 1:30 and Anthony finally took me home. The surprise party definitely went down in my book for the best birthday yet!!! I cannot thank Nora and all of my friends enough for surprising me and celebrating!!!!!! It definitely made turning 25 a lot better. We spent the rest of the weekend hanging out with family with little celebrations here and there.

With turning 25 I made a couple mental notes of some things I wanted to start doing or do in my 25th year. One includes running. Running for many reasons, to lose weight, to stay in shape, to sign up for my first race and hopefully a few more after that, and most importantly to relieve stress. I have found that when my feet hit the pavement and its just me counting miles all of the stress vanishes. It is fun mapping out new courses to run and witnessing some of the prettiest sunsets while I am totally in the zone for spending some time on myself and clearing my mind.

Tyson and Diesel have been enjoying Summer with having different friends over to stay for different weekends. Mom and Dad went to Tennessee for an extended weekend and their dog, Tank, came to stay with us for a few days and right now our friends Jesie and Kris are on their honeymoon so their furbabe Emma is hanging out with us for a few days. Tyson and her have been running around like crazy and then they crash for a while and then they are back at it again. When we don't have company over I have been taking them on walks at least once a week when I am having a night off from running. Once it gets cooler outside we will be trying to do this much more often but with temps still in the 80s at night the dogs get worn out and we don't go as far.

Summer has been great so far and we are going to continue soaking up the rays and warm weather. I am looking forward to County fairs, swim parties, possibly some camping trips, and maybe some boating. Life is so fast anymore, I just wish it would slow down so we have some chances to absorb it all and document it so I can share every bit over here. I hope you all are having a great Summer!