Monday, April 30, 2018

Spring Things

Hey guys! It's finally feeling like spring here in Denver, and I could not be more excited! This year's weather has been crazy, huh? I know spring came late for most parts of the country, but I think it's finally here to stay. I am so excited about patio weather, planting flowers, and soaking up the warmth from the sunshine. I am still adjusting to Denver's weather - compared to the south, it's much more dry and a still a little chilly at night. But I'll take it if it means I don't have to deal with mosquitoes and the southern humidity come summer time, ha ha!

Today is an exciting day because we are finally able to move into our new house!! I could jump through this computer screen with the level of excitement I have right now. We bought and closed on the house back in February, but since then we've been undergoing some renovations - which took wayyyyy longer than I anticipated. Don't they always? Anyway, it's all complete for the most part, so move in day is today!! I can't wait to share more of the house with you once we get settled. The next few weeks will be all about nesting and getting ready for baby Lela to arrive - only 5 more weeks to go!

Since spring decided to finally grace us with her presence, I wanted to round up some spring things I love or have had my eye on! Have a great Monday and happy spring to you! XO -

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Babymoon at Amangiri

When Chris and I found out we were pregnant, we knew we wanted to take a babymoon. We both love to travel, and we wanted to take one last trip just the two of us - a trip to celebrate finally being pregnant and enjoy the dwindling time we have left as non-parents. This isn't to say we won't travel anymore after becoming parents - we just know that travel becomes a little more tricky and that a trip with just the two of us will be few and far between once our baby girl makes her debut!

We were still living in Nashville when we originally planned our babymoon, booking a long weekend stay at Blackberry Farm, a luxury resort in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. It's a place I have always wanted to visit, but plans took a turn once we found out that we were being relocated to Denver at the beginning of the new year (read more about that here). While we could have easily just flown back to Tennessee for this trip, we decided to cancel it and start looking at places to visit on our new side of the country - the west!

I reached out to my sorority sister and travel agent, Taylor from the The Simple Sol, to help us plan the perfect western getaway for our babymoon, and she came back with so many great suggestions - one being Amangiri. I had actually heard of this resort before, from one of Chris's high school friends who had been there a few times, and it immediately sparked my interest because it looked like no where we had ever been before.

Amangiri is a luxury resort tucked away in the canyons of the American Southwest in Canyon Point, Utah - right on the border of Arizona. It seemed to be everything we wanted in a babymoon - the perfect mixture of relaxation plus adventure, so we booked 5 nights at this remote hideaway and started counting down the days until we arrived.

When we got there, we were instantly blown away with the amazing scenery and the way the staff greeted us - we knew we were in for a special trip! The resort itself is so peaceful, with stunning views of the canyons during the day and the stars at night. Although there is only one dining area, you never get tired of it because the breakfast, lunch and dinner menu offer so many great options. Another plus is that you can be as active or as lazy as you would like. There is plenty to do - from hiking to horseback riding, but also many reasons to just relax - by the wood burning fires playing games, at their amazing spa, or in the heated pools (we were there in February, so it was a little chilly, but the pools felt amazing).

Since I am pregnant, there were many activities I couldn't do, so we stuck to hiking and the spa. We did a sunrise hike and a sunset hike, both of which were spectacular! The resort made the sunset hike even more special by having a viewing spot complete with blankets, wine (don't worry, I only enjoyed a sip or two), and hors d'oeuvres to watch the sun set behind the canyons when we finished our hike. You'll see pics below! We also spent a full day at the spa - complete with a couples massage, enjoying the heated pool, and relaxing by the fire with our books. Other than that, most of our time at the resort was spent playing games - we really got into Monopoly, ha ha!

One activity we did off the resort and loved was a guided Canyon Tour. These slot canyons were like anything I have ever seen - just stunning! Antelope Canyon is definitely worth checking out, as well as Horseshoe Bend. We loved having a guide because he taught us so much history about the canyons, plus took some great pictures of us exploring. We also did stargazing with an astronomer at the resort one night, which was a really cool experience!

I can't say enough good things about this amazing resort - it was truly a remarkable place! It made the perfect babymoon, but would also be great for a honeymoon, or even family vacation! There were a few families there during our stay, and we saw them doing so many fun family activities - like horseback riding, rock climbing, hiking, etc.

It was the perfect trip to take and spend some quality time with each other before our lives become bombarded with baby Lela, ha ha! But in all seriousness, I am so thankful to have had that time with Chris, and even more thankful that now our trips will have a plus one. We are looking forward to making many travel memories with her as well, but our time alone at Amangiri will always bring back great memories and a big smile to my face.

Monday, March 5, 2018

New Beginnings

Well, hey guys! It's been a while, right?! The last time I posted, I was announcing our pregnancy (after a long journey of infertility and doing a round of IVF) - but, goodness, a lot has changed since then. Don't worry, we are still awaiting the arrival of our precious baby GIRL in June and all is well on the pregnancy front. I still wake up every day and think, "I can't believe I'm pregnant!", and then of course I send prayers of thanksgiving immediately. I am truly so thankful for this little miracle growing inside me!

It wasn't my intention to go silent here on the blog right after announcing we were finally pregnant (by the way, thank you so much for all the love that came along with that post!), but there were several personal things going on in our lives that made it hard to keep up with blogging. I had every intention of sharing all this wonderful holiday content, but first trimester sickness and the re-modeling of our kitchen totally took all my time! Anyway, I won't bore you with more details about that, but all in all, it was just a time where I needed to step back and think about if I wanted to continue blogging at all.

I had come to a point where I was just feeling super overwhelmed with the blogging industry in general. Any other bloggers ever feel this way? The "keeping up" has just become so much to handle. The need to always be online, have pretty photos and interesting content, network on social media so many hours a day... it can become really stressful. Then you start comparing yourself to other bloggers and how far they've come, and before you know it, you're beating yourself up about not posting or your content not being good enough... well, you get the point. Long story short, I got tired of that vicious cycle.

So I stopped posting. I stopped being on my phone all the time. I stopped worrying about getting the perfect Instagram picture. I stopped stressing about photo shoots and content. I said no to collaborations and sponsorships that came my way. The hardships of keeping up in the "blogging world" totally went away, and it felt so freeing. I thought for sure it was time to say goodbye to this little space of mine.

It was also during this time that we got some BIG news - Chris got a promotion! He is now managing a team of reps for the southwest region (he's in the employee benefits insurance business for those who don't know), and I couldn't be more proud of him. It's something he has been working towards for a few years, and the opportunity to manage the southwest territory was too good to pass up - but.... it required us to relocate to Denver, Colorado!!

We found out in the middle of December that he had gotten the job, and he was to start on January 2nd.. say what?!! So we had to act fast. We put our Nashville home on the market, started looking in Denver, and he started commuting back and forth every other week to Denver in January. I knew we had to make the official move sooner than later because, hello, we have a baby coming in June, and I wanted to be settled before she makes her debut! Plus, the commuting back and forth while trying to sell and buy homes wasn't easy on Chris. Thankfully, our house in Nashville sold in one day, and not long after, we found the one for us in Denver. I really give all the praise to God for making things happen so quickly, because the Denver market is not an easy one to buy into.

To catch you up to speed - we packed up our things (well, Chris's relocation company did) and headed out to Denver at the beginning of February! The drive out here is actually something I'll never forget. We had Louie all comfy in the back seat, and spent most of the 18 hour drive talking about the future, setting goals, and imagining what life with our little girl is going to be like. While I was really worried and stressed about the move in the beginning, I felt at peace all the way here and that hasn't changed since. Even though saying goodbye to our life in Nashville (especially our friends and church family) was really hard, I know we are right where God wants us to be.

All that to say, I was sure it was time for this blog of mine to officially be shut down - with everything we had going on, plus me just feeling burned out... but over the last few weeks this little voice has stirred inside me to dust off the keyboard and get back to blogging. It's different this time around though. I want to blog for me. Not to "make it" in the blogging world, not to make sales through LIKEtoKNOWit, not to land more collaborations and sponsorships. I want to blog because I love to write. I love sharing my thoughts on certain things. I love having a place to document things. I love creating and inspiring other people. I want to get back to the roots of why I started blogging back in 2014 to begin with... and back then it was for all those things I just mentioned.

I don't want to stress about photos and getting so much content up per week. I just want to post when I want to post and share what I feel led to share. I may still post an outfit here and there, and I may not. I may only post once a month or once a week, or a few times a week and then not at all for a month. That's the thing - I don't want a schedule and expectations and rules to come with this. Sure, I realize I'll lose the interest of people and followers along the way, but that doesn't matter to me anymore. I know that the people who love my voice and the people who I've really connected with along the way will stick around, and in the end, I ultimately want this space to be for me. My hope is to just inspire people through it along the way.

So here's to new beginnings! 2018 started off with lots of change for me, and it only seemed fitting for some change to happen here as well.  I'm really not sure what that looks like yet, but I do know that I'm excited to be back and looking forward to logging in to this space of mine a little more often! Thanks so much for those who have reached out to me over the past few months to ask where I've been and to check in... I really do love my committed readers - y'all are the best. I hope you'll love where I take this blog and the change that might come, and if not.. that's ok too! Wishing you all a great week and look forward to seeing you back here soon! XO -