Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Talk Tuesday: What Do You Love Most About Summer?

summer nights on our deck |

I'm ready for fall. I'm over this hot, humid weather here in the South and summer vacation for us has come and gone. Pumpkins, sweaters, and crisp air sound glorious; but the other day I was taking Louie on his daily walk, and I noticed a few things…

It was a later walk than our usual - closer to sunset. The street lights had just come on, and it was that perfect time at dusk where you don't really need a street light to see, but they add a nice "summer night" feeling. I could hear crickets singing, saw lightening bugs in the distance, and could smell
fresh cut grass and grills being lit for the evening.

As I walked by a few houses, I saw kids playing in the yard while their parents were on the porch with a beer. Dogs were being thrown frisbees and balls in the park across the street, and the ice cream truck was doing its last run around the block. Summer was all around me, and as we walked our usual route around the neighborhood, I thought about the things I love most about summer.

I love being able to take Louie on evening walks with a little daylight left. I love the sound of lawn mowers running in the early morning. I love sitting under our bistro lights with a glass of wine while Chris grills our dinner. I love the smell of salt water and sand. I love the anticipation of an upcoming vacation and the relaxation of it once I'm there. I love the activity in our neighborhood. I love the summer vegetables picked from a garden. I love walking to our favorite ice cream spot after dinner for a sweet treat. I love Saturday morning bike rides to pick up fresh bagels down the street.

Those are all the things that I know I'll be craving again - after the holidays have passed, and I'm officially over the cold weather. In that moment, the 90 degree heat (even at sunset) wasn't bothering me as bad, and the thought of summer slipping away and fall approaching didn't seem as glorious.

In that moment, I loved everything about summer. So I decided to soak it all in, and enjoy these last few weeks of the summer season. Am I still excited about fall? Yes. Because I love that season too. I guess I realized that I love every season for its own reasons, and I've decided to love the one I'm in right now.

What do you love most about summer? Let's talk about it!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Friday Favorites

When I ask Louie if he wants to go on a walk, I get this…every time. He jumps up and tilts his head, like he's trying to figure out if I really just said the "W" word. He loves his walks!

"Always find time for the things that make you feel happy to be alive."

This weekend I'm finding time to go antique shopping, have lunch with a good friend, and bake chocolate chip cookies. It's the little things that make me happy, y'all.

For more inspiration, check out my Pinterest board, Words to Love.

I'm still soaking up summer and ordered this needlepoint American flag hat for an upcoming trip to the lake for Labor Day.

This Michael Kors Chambray shirtdress is adorable and on sale!

J. Crew is also having a sale right now, and I'm loving this flutter-hem topcrinkled gingham shirt in navy, and polka dot dress that can be worn into fall with a denim jacket and tan mules (use code REFRESH for sale).

This making me want to collect a variety of old candlesticks, a simple white pumpkin in the kitchen giving me all the fall feelings, these 10 Bible verses to comfort you while you're trying to concieve, and this coconut flour and zucchini bread recipe that I can't wait to try!

Follow me on Pinterest to see more of my weekly pins!

This article on 3 Ways to Spend the Day in Nashville definitely reminded me why I chose to put "tour my own city" on my 30 Before 30 list! I've lived here for 5 years and there's still so much to see and so many places I need to go eat!

This post on incorporating what made you happy as a kid was spot on with the sleepovers and games. It's crazy how we don't really appreciate our childhood until we are adults.

*Obviously Friday Favorites look a little different around here! I've put FF off for the past few weeks because I've been brainstorming some new ideas to incorporate in this weekly Friday post. I realized that only sharing pictures for Friday Favorites became kind of redundant. So, I decided to share some other favorites with y'all - a moment from the week that I love and captured, words or thoughts of inspiration, along with good finds, memorable pins, and interesting posts or articles that I came across throughout the week. What do y'all think of the new Friday layout?! I'd love to hear your feedback! Comment below, email, tweet, or message me on snap (username for all social media: annaleewhite). I hope y'all have a great weekend!! 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Maui, Hawaii

Cover up (sold out), similar here // Hat // Earrings // Sunglasses

Every summer, Chris and I try to take a vacation together, and it's something we look forward to every year. Last year, we enjoyed a very low-key, relaxing week in Jumby Bay, Antigua. While we absolutely love Jumby Bay, this year we decided to switch it up a little and headed to Maui, Hawaii for a little relaxation plus adventure.  

Maui is the perfect place for a little R&R, but also an amazing place to explore. There is so much to see and do! We had a good mix of days spent sipping on cocktails at the pool or beach, and getting out to explore in the Jeep we rented for the week.  

We also ate a lot. So much so that I am saving all the food pics and restaurant reviews for another post - check back tomorrow for my list of Maui must eats! Today, I rounded up some of my favorite pictures from the week to recap our trip, and I also want to share some of the highlights of our trip with you guys! 

Where we stayed:
  • Hotel Wailea - We love quiet, quaint hotels, and that's exactly what Hotel Wailea is. It's romantic, has a great pool area, delicious food, and a very friendly staff. We got an ocean view suite with a stunning view of the water. Watching the sunset from our balcony every night was breathtaking! We've stayed at the Grand Wailea before, and while it is very nice, the resort crowd just wasn't for us. If you want to get away from that, Hotel Wailea is your spot. 
What we did:
  • Road to Hana - a Maui must do! It's a scenic drive around the island to the small village of Hana. You can read more about it and our experience in my post here.
  • Helicopter Tour - this is the absolute best way to see the island!! I'm so glad we booked this because it was definitely the highlight of the trip. We went with Blue Hawaiian's Hana/Haleakala tour, and it was amazing! 
  • Beach days - there are so many wonderful beaches on the island of Maui! We spent some time at Wailea Beach - our hotel beach and great for paddle boarding, Big Beach - gorgeous water with huge waves that break at shore (be careful - I totally got wiped out), and Charley Young Beach - beautiful sand and great for swimming. 
  • Explored the island towns - There are so many great areas to explore on the island. We made it to Paia - the cutest little sufer town, Kihei - cute shops and good night life, and Lahaina - adorable, historic town with good food and shopping.

Swimsuit // Hat // Sunglasses

These pictures take me back to such a happy place. With all that Chris and I have been through lately with our fertility journey, it was so nice to escape and just focus on each other. We left feeling rested, more connected, and ready for the next step. I feel so blessed to have Chris and that we have the opportunity to travel together right now, and I don't take that for granted. 

Have you ever been to one of the Hawaiian islands? I would love to hear about it! Also, if Maui is on your travel list and you have more questions about planning your trip, please don't hesitate to ask me - I would love to help! Thanks so much for reading.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Everything You Need to Know About The Road to Hana

Y'all, I've never been more excited about a blog post as I am this one. It might be is my favorite post of all time because it involves one of my favorite days to date - a day spent exploring The Road to Hana with my man in Maui, Hawaii. The Road to Hana is a scenic drive to the small village of Hana - along the way you'll see waterfalls, bamboo forests, lava rock formations, blank sand beaches, spectacular ocean views, and much more. Needless to say, it's quite the adventure!

Making the trip to Hana is one of our favorite things to do while on the island - so much so that we've made the drive three times (once on our first trip a few years ago and twice on our most recent trip)! There is so much to see and do that we can't just get enough of it. I took so many pictures of our adventure over the two trips we made, and today I want to share some of those with you and fill you in on everything you need to know about the Road to Hana!

Island Dress (under $20!) // Hat // Sunglasses // Bag, sold out (another favorite here)

What you need to know:

Rent a car. Don't experience this adventure on a tour bus. Trust me, you'll want to be in charge of your own time and stops. We took a Jeep Wrangler all three times - with the top and windows down of course!

Fill up the gas tank. Paia is last town you will come to before making the drive up to Hana. Stop here and fill up your gas tank. It's a long drive and you won't see another gas station on the way.

Pack snacks and drinks. There should be plenty of food stops along the way, but sometimes they are closed - so pack food just to be safe, especially if you are going to stop and hike some of the trails.

Use the app. To get the full experience, download this app. The guide points out the must stops and gives you the history of Hawaii along the way. We really enjoyed it!

Bring cash. Many of the food stops only take cash. You'll definitely want cash to buy banana bread, Hawaiian shaved ice, fresh fruit smoothies, and more!

Bring a change of clothes. If you plan on doing any swimming or hiking, bring extra clothes! I wore a swimsuit under my dress, but also brought a change of clothes to hike in. 

Bring towels. Even if you don't plan on doing much hiking, you'll definitely want to swim in some of the pools and waterfalls - so don't forget towels!

Our Favorite Stops and Must Do's:

Painted Bark Eucalyptus Trees- take pictures of the these beautiful, rainbow like trees.

Kaumahina State Wayside Park- stop for restrooms and stunning views of the rugged coastline.

Ke'anae Village and Peninsula- stop here to admire this small community built by lava flows - the coastline here is spectacular and you'll see a church that dates back to the 1860's.

Halfway to Hana Store - a food must stop; try their delicious homemade banana bread and cool down with a shaved ice.

Coconut Glens - if this little shack is open.. STOP - his ice cream is to die for.

Nahiku Marketplace - a great place to stop for food (try the fish tacos..they're the best I've ever had!), to stretch your legs, and shop.

Upper Waikani Falls (The Three Bears) - a triple waterfall and plunge pool that's great for swimming!

Wailua Falls - an 80 ft. cascading waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation; it's so pretty and you can jump in - one of the best moments of our day, for sure.

Seven Sacred Pools - these pools are located in Haleakala State park (must pay to enter) and are some of the most stunning falls on Maui. 

Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Falls - a 4 mile (round trip) hike to a jaw dropping 400 ft. waterfall, and along the way you'll travel through a magical bamboo forest. This hike was our favorite!

Have you ever driven the Road to Hana? If so, I'd love to hear about it! It truly is a once in a lifetime experience. If you've stumbled across this post because you're planning to make the trip to Hana soon, please don't hesitate to ask me any questions - I'd love to help! 

PS. I shared another tip about the drive back from Hana here (hint: keep going past Hana!). 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Talk Tuesday: Where does the time go?

Well you guys, it's here. The last year in my twenties - what?!! I turned 29 two weeks ago, and I can't help but think - where in the world did my twenties go?? Better yet - where does the time go? I know I'm not the only one who wonders this. Year after year, we  celebrate another birthday and ask ourselves this question. Unfortunately, I think it's a question that will never be answered. Time will always keep ticking faster than we want it to (except the microwave timer, waiting 2 minutes for that always seems like eternity).

However, I have decided that I can soak up every minute by taking the time to really do things that I enjoy. I want to be more in the moment and to cherish this last year in my twenties. There are so many things I want to do and accomplish this year - so to kick off year 29, I made a 30 before 30 list. Although it's sad to think about my twenties coming to an end, making this list definitely got me excited about what's to come and where life is headed. I may not know where the time goes, but I do know what I'll be doing to cherish that time. I can already tell that it's going to be a great year - so cheers to year 29!

30 BEFORE 30:

1. Plant a garden
2. Buy an original piece of art 
3. Re-do our kitchen
4. Plant more flowers
5. Complete the KonMari method of tidying up
6. Bake a cake from scratch
7. Host a winter wine tasting party

8. Do a "staycation" in Nashville with Chris
9. Visit the Highlands for our 5th anniversary (booked!)
10. Hike to LeConte Lodge and stay overnight (on the wait list)
11. Take a weekend getaway to Blackberry Farm
12. Visit Chris's family in California
13. Tour my own city

14. Get to my goal weight and stay there
15. Run a 5k
16. Complete the Whole30 program
17. Go gluten free for one month
18. Find a workout class to do once every week

19. Complete my blogging class
20. Take a photography class
21. Attend a blog conference
22. Really Learn Photoshop & Lightroom
23. Launch an ebook

24. Join a church and get involved
25. Join a small group
26. Complete a marriage Bible study with Chris
27. Do more volunteer work in the community
28. Attend an event at the Nashville Symphony
29. Make a photo book of all our vacations
30. Find a fertility clinic we are 100% happy with
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