Love these two

With Grateful Song by Mandy King

I’m clearing out my Projects folder for the New Year and I found this page. I’m pretty sure I meant to share it in November, but it fell through the cracks somehow. Not sure why, it’s a definite favorite. (They’re all my favorite though) The photo was taken in 2012 during our Super Secret Thanksgiving Surprise.

Journaling reads- A walk on Thanksgiving with two of my favorite people.

Credits: With Grateful Song by Mandy King

Photo Walk: Downtown Nashville

I love downtown Nashville. So. Much.

I’ve spent so many hours walking these streets. Visiting my dad at work. Waiting on busses. Shopping. Going to plays and the museum. Running errands. Running for busses. Running to pick up my sister from school. Running to grab breakfast before work. And yes, falling on my butt once or twice from all that running.

I could write a book full of all the memories I have of this place. But until then, I’ll share a few photos we took when we visited Nashville back in November. I’m so glad we got to spend some time, just the two of us, walking around one of my very favorite places.

We took these in the space of about half an hour on our last night in Nashville back in November. They’re a mix of iPhone and big camera photos that I ran through Instagram with the Hefe filter.

Driving over the bridge.

This is new, I think.

I love the mix of architectural styles.

This is where my dad used to work. I would come here every day after school for years as a kid. As a grown-up I would meet him here for lunch (and sometimes a drink).
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Inside the Arcade.
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I sent off many packages to Jason from here while we were “courting”.

The ubiquitous Printer’s Alley shot.

The Batman Building.
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The stadium.

I could not get enough pictures of the fall colors when we were in Tennessee. 

Standing on the bridge has special memories for us. This is where Jason proposed.



Nashville, you make my heart sing.

Black Friday

The day after Thanksgiving was our last full day in Nashville.

Every time we visit, it’s mandatory to take my mom to Shoney’s Breakfast Bar. 
IMG_8046I know there are more pictures from the morning, but I can’t find them. Grrr…..

After we ate breakfast, I finally talked Jason into going to Krispy Kreme. I’ve been trying to get him in there for years! I love Krispy Kreme and there aren’t any stores in So Flo. Which is sad and they are totally missing out. Krispy Kreme is way better than Disney any day. You can watch the doughnuts go on their production journey through a window and it’s just mesmerizing watching them on the conveyer belt moving from the fryer to the glazing to the boxes… it’s magical. And the smell! So delicious!


Can you tell I’m super excited with my snowman doughnut?

We said goodbye to my mom and headed to Dad and Jeannie’s. We decided, after much back and forth, to g to Olive Garden for a late lunch. My family is indecisive to the extreme.

Jamie and I displayed great maturiosity by rolling around in the chairs.


You really can’t take us out in public…

One thing that I love about my relationship with my sister is that we can have serious life discussions one minute, and the next we’ll be acting like complete loons.

We had a really nice lunch of appetizers and picked off each others’ plates. I think we forgot to take pics of the food.


We dropped Dad and Jeannie off and then took J to work. I hadn’t seen her since she got her new job, and I was excited to see it. We chatted to her boss, who said what a good job Jamie was doing. Have I mentioned how super proud of her I am? I think she was a little embarrassed to have us there, well me more than Jason because he knows how to act normal 😛 But I was excited! I knew after I started taking pictures that I’d gone too far in my over-enthusiasm so we left.

IMG_8059But she couldn’t be too surly with me because there were customers around so HA!

Anyway, after that we wanted to go downtown really quick to get some photos with the big camera during the golden hour. I want to do another post with some of my favorite places, but here are a couple from my phone.


Love love love driving over the bridge and seeing the skyline. It makes my heart sing.





After the sun set, we headed to my Aunt Marsha’s for our last visit of the trip. It was nice catching up with Marsha and Claude. My cousin Trey, his girlfriend Honey, and her daughter, Sammy stopped by for dinner.

We didn’t stay long because we had a long day ahead of us driving home the next day.

A super busy, but wonderful day. Way better than shopping on Black Friday!

Super Secret Thanksgiving Surprise!

When we last left our heroes, they had just arrived in Nashville from a perilous journey across the wilds of Georgia…. Actually that was one of the least perilous journeys we’ve had. Our motto is “Any trip where the car doesn’t break down and nobody ends up in the ER is a good trip”.

We woke up on Thanksgiving morning and had a little time to kill, so I took a few pictures around our hotel. The decor was pretty eclectic. It reminded me of the hotel we stayed at in L.A. this summer, only with a Nashville twist.

A very non-Nashville thing was the Menu of Spiritual Texts which was pretty hilarious.


The elevator had red cow hide. I think that was what it was… it was furry.


The lobby had a really nifty dress made of crayons!

And here’s the outside.

We went to Starbucks for breakfast. While we were there, Jason called his parents to wish his parents Happy Thanksgiving and I called my Dad. It was pretty funny because Dad settled in for a nice long chat like usual, thinking we were still in FL, and it was so hard for me not to say “Stop talking! I’m right down the street and I want to SEE you!” But I managed to keep from spilling the secret… just a little longer…

We left Starbucks and drove to Dad and Jeannie’s. My sister had her bedroom windows wide open and her cat saw us. We were afraid the jig was up, so we hustled to the door, hoping nobody would notice our car in the driveway. We knocked at the door and I could hear Jeannie ask Dad to get the door. (We had planned that ahead of time).

He opened the door and his jaw dropped! I will never forget the look on his face. It was so hard to keep the secret, but totally worth it! He gave me the biggest hug and it was the best feeling to be able to hug my Dad again.

My sister heard the commotion in the living room and came out to investigate. I didn’t see her, but I heard this kind of strangled squeaking noise and there she was, hugging me too. Then she rushed into her room, She proceeded to nearly give her boyfriend a heart attack by crying and saying “I need a hug… my sister….” So of course he’s thinking something terrible has happened. Then she said “is here…”. Poor Ryan!

It was so fantastic to see everyone, but we still had one more person to surprise. My mom was on her way and we had to figure out what to do. She recently had a pacemaker put in, so we didn’t want to shock her into a heart attack, but there was no really gentle way to do it. We reviewed which of us knew CPR and hoped for the best. Jason went to go move the car and when we heard her ride pull up Dad went out to meet her (and catch her if she fell off the porch from the shock). I hid behind the door and Jason got out the camera…

She came in and saw Jason first. He got the best picture of her with her mouth wide open when she realized we were there. I won’t put it up here, because I know she’d kill me. But I do have it for future bribery purposes. 🙂 Of course she cried. And no heart attacks so that was pretty nice.

Surprising my family for Thanksgiving was the best! And I totally got the reactions I wanted. I think in the back of my head was the worry that they would all go “You? What are you doing here?”. Luckily that didn’t happen and everybody seemed really happy to see us.

After all the excitement died down, we got down to the business of cooking and visiting.

We didn’t get many pictures of Jeannie unfortunately. She was busting her butt cooking!


Mom made a bacon and cheese roll up thingy.


Jamie, Ryan, and one of their fur babies.


Jason, Jamie, and I went for a walk so I could join in the Mile A Day Challenge. Yes, my sister wears sandals in the winter. She also insisted on wearing flip-flops to my wedding… in December.


Then it was Grub Time! I think this was Jason’s plate.


We had turkey and dressing, ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, pork and beans, broccoli casserole, potato salad, deviled eggs, Hawaiian rolls, bacon and cheese rolls, and I’m not sure what else. I’m sure I’m forgetting something. For dessert we had Jeannie’s famous Dirt Cake, fudge pie left over from Jamie’s birthday the day before, and I think one more pie, but it’s slipping my mind. It was sooo tasty! Jeannie did a fantastic job.


Mom sent her iPhone around the table and we all took pictures. Some were less flattering than others (lots of unintentional up-the-nose shots), but here are a few.


This pic is a perfect illustration of how I am the slowest eater on the face of the earth. Notice how everyone else’s plate is empty or nearly so. Mine is almost untouched. This is no reflection on the tastiness of the food, I’m always the last to finish. And how we all put our elbows on the table apparently. And my Dad isn’t praying, he’s about to fall asleep at the table 😛 He wasn’t feeling well and ended up going to bed shortly afterwards.


So that was our Thanksgiving. Sorry for the super long post, but I want to get everything written down before I forget it. It’s only a week later and I’m already forgetting some of the details. It was such a wonderful day and I’m so glad I got to spend it with some of the people I love best in the world ❤

On the Road again. (Wednesday)

We had every intention of getting an early start to our Secret Thanksgiving trip. For us, a trip from West Palm to Nashville is around 17 hours. This factors in drive time + lots of potty and food stops + random stops if we see something cool by the side of the road + 2-3 traffic jams along the way. While we have made it in less time before, 17 hours is about average.

We usually try to get out by 6 or 7 in the morning, but we were pretty laid back that morning. It was nice because we were staying at a hotel so nobody would be waiting up for us. We did our usual get up, pack the car, gas station stop, then jumped on the turnpike. Then we realize we didn’t have the GPS, so we had to go back. I still don’t trust phone GPS’s for long trips. So we ended up not leaving until almost 8.

Goodbye palm trees!

 Breakfast of champions. All the talk about the Twinkie Shortage made me crave little cream filled cakes.

I always need to keep a ridiculous amount of junk in the front floorboard with me. We have plenty of room in the car, but I insist on cacooning myself in with my “necessities”. Most of which I don’t even touch. But you never know when you need easy access to toilet paper and notebooks on a long trip.

 They have these roadside stands all over Florida and we’d never stopped at one before. It had an interesting selection to say the least.

We were totally enthralled by all the interesting trees and the beautiful fall leaves. We took a ton of pictures and Jason picked up one for me to put in my scrapbooks. I heart him.

There was a hilarious squirrel eating out of the trash can at one of the rest stops. He kept running from one side to the other, then stopping just long enough for us to snap a picture, then continuing on with his squirrel snacks.

We made it through Atlanta relatively unscathed. The traffic was actually not too terrible considering it was one of the busiest travel days of the year. I always try to take pictures as we drive through Hotlanta and they always turn out pretty bad.

We decided to skip our usual Chinese buffet in Macon this year. Our stomachs weren’t in the best condition for sushi that night. So we had dinner at Cracker Barrel instead.

 I always start getting excited around Chattanooga. That means we’re finally in Tennessee and there are only a couple more hours to go. I celebrate by taking more terrible car pics.

We finally made it to Nashville and our hotel. It was a great trip up and pretty relaxing for a long car ride. We love taking long road trips together. It’s nice to have all that uninterrupted time together to talk and listen to music. We always talk about things we want for the house, plans for future lottery winnings, and more fun places we want to travel together.

This year we were on the road for my sister’s birthday, so I spent some time on the phone. It was So Hard to not let my family find out what we were doing. I had to tell everyone we were on our way to Costco and that’s why they kept hearing road noises. 😛

I think the hardest part of the day was staying away from social media, especially Instagram! Jason and I always use Facebook to keep everybody updated on where we are during the trip. And it’s virtually impossible for a day to go by without me posting to Instagram. It’s funny how that has become such an ingrained part of our lives. I really missed it that day. But it was So Worth It to keep the surprise going!

You can see how we came up with the Thanksgiving Surprise here.

‘Twas the weekend before Thanksgiving…

I’ve been a bit MIA for a couple of weeks. Part of it was due to general busyness, but most of it was because I had a secret. And I was so worried that I’d let the cat out of the bag, that I decided it was best if I avoided all social media last week. And omg it was So Hard!

So last Saturday we made plans to go see the new Twilight movie. Now that there aren’t any more Harry Potter movies, these are pretty much the only movies I want to see in the theater. It’s become a tradition for us to go see them opening weekend. Not because they’re good, but because we absolutely love making fun of them. It’s our own version of MST3K. So while everyone else in the theater is swooning over Jacob in all his shirtless glory, we’re whispering rude comments to each other. Very quietly of course. Don’t want to get mauled by the angry crowd.

But something strange happened around the fourth movie. They magically stopped being terrible. We were amazed! So I have to say, I was really looking forward to the fifth movie, especially how they were going to handle the ending. And it didn’t disappoint. Definitely the best by far.

Afterwards we decided to hit up Starbucks. We had a nice time sitting outside watching pigeons and talking. Christmas carols were playing. It was a really lovely afternoon. The subject turned to the holidays, and I said something about going to Tennessee for Christmas. That’s when Jason told me we’d have to stay in town this year because of some work stuff. We already knew we were probably not going to TN for the summer, so it just crashed in on me that it would be a long time before I saw my family again.

So we decided on the spur of the moment to spend Thanksgiving in Nashville after all. Because only my husband would think it’s perfectly fine to plan a 17 hour road trip on four days notice. Because he is amazing.

We decided to skip the tree lighting this year, but took a few pictures around City Place before it got too crowded.

Jason was starving, so we went to Miami Subs. We haven’t been there since we moved, so it was a nice treat. Then we headed home to do some plotting and scheming.

I knew that instead of having their usual Thanksgiving at my Aunt Marsha’s (she of the sausage ball fame), my immediate family was doing turkey day at my dad and stepmom’s house. My sister and her boyfriend have been staying there since their house fire, and they had also invited my mom to join them. Knowing that everyone would be under one roof this year gave me the idea of making it a surprise that we were coming up.

The only person we told in TN was my stepmom, Jeannie. Because I didn’t want to just show up uninvited at her house. I said “Definitely don’t tell mom or Jamie, but I’m not going to tell you to lie to your husband, so if you need to, you can tell dad”. She immediately wanted it to be a surprise for dad too, and I’m so glad she did. She is an awesome surprise keeper!

It was a pretty fantastic date day. It didn’t end up the way we’d planned, but some wonderful things came from that day 🙂