Weekend Recap: Hot Air Balloon Festival

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This past weekend was super busy for our family. Brett is involved with all of our local airshows and balloon festivals. He is a third generation aviation fanatic so the love of all things aviation runs deep.

Our local balloon festival was Friday-Sunday and Brett and I work on the media team doing Facebook and Instagram. The location of the festival is at a farm which is very close to where I grew up.The farm has apple orchards, pumpkin patches, a corn maze, farm animals, homemade donuts and cider, and every other fall activity imaginable. I went there every year growing up so it makes it even more special to be involved as an adult.

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Friday after work we headed to the farm for the first balloon flight and balloon glow. This was a balloon competition so each flight the pilots had bags to throw from their balloons to try to reach a target.

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We decided to sleep in on Saturday morning and do chores before heading to the farm. There was a car show from 11-2 so my dad, Brett, and our friend headed there. My mom and I stayed at my parent’s house and did some work. My parents are officially empty nesters so we are working on turning the two extra bedrooms into guest rooms. We also want to paint the whole upstairs and turn the basement into a family room area.

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Saturday night we headed to the farm for the balloon flight and glow. We met up with some friends and had cider and donuts. It felt like fall which made me excited for the months ahead!

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The Sunday morning flight was cancelled due to weather so we stayed home and did the rest of our chores and went grocery shopping. We took Oscar to my parent’s in the afternoon for a little play date and then my parent’s and a couple of our friends came over for dinner.

We had a great weekend! It felt like the beginning of fall in Michigan. I’m sad that summer is practically over but I’m ready for all the fall things!

How was your weekend?

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How We Can Afford to Travel

How We Can Afford to Travel

Why does traveling have to be so expensive? And why do I love it so much?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there’s just something about traveling that brings out the best in me! I feel alive, happy, and ready to take on the world! That’s why Brett and I make a point to save up for our next adventures.

How can we afford to travel as often as we do?

  1. We have a travel fund. I work in finance and I’m a big advocate for having a budget and saving for items you want to purchase or trips you want to take. For that reason, Brett and I always have a travel fund and are saving for our next trip. We put a percentage of our paychecks into this account and save it up until we are ready to go on our next adventure. Even if we aren’t currently planning a trip we are still putting money away for travel.
  2. We make travel a priority. It’s super easy to get caught up in all of the other things life throws your way. Brett and I make traveling a priority. In 2019 we weren’t able to plan a big Europe trip like we had hoped but we still set aside time to travel to places in the United States instead. This way we saved money but were still able to visit some new places and make memories together.
  3. We travel on a budget. When we go on a trip we aren’t staying in the fanciest hotels or splurging on new clothes and accessories for our travels. During our planning process we are mapping out all possibilities of places to stay, eat, visit, etc. We set a budget and stick to it. I do like to splurge for once in a lifetime opportunities but we always plan for those ahead of time and make room in the budget.
  4. We compromise. Planning a trip with another person can be difficult. Brett and I take turns picking the places we want to go. I planned our Europe trip in 2018 so he’s planning our 2020 trip. We can’t go everywhere at once so we compromise and take turns. Luckily, we both want to go to many of the same places so this has been pretty easy!
  5. Brett’s Job. We have been incredibly blessed by Brett’s current job for an airline. This allows us to travel at a very discounted rate but we haven’t always had this perk and have traveled many times without it. Brett’s job has allowed us to go on a few trips that we wouldn’t have normally been able to go on without spending more time saving our money. We are super grateful and don’t take this blessing lightly. We know that we won’t have these opportunities for long so we always try to make the most of it! I do want to stress that it is possible to travel without breaking the bank even without these flight benefits!

It’s not always easy, but we are determined to travel as much as possible before we have children. Traveling is one of our top priorities right now and I can only imagine how much that will change in the next few years. For now, I’m constantly on Pinterest planning our next adventure.

Do you have any budgeting tips for traveling?

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Photo by Frank Vex on Unsplash

 

Five on Friday #13

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Welcome to Friday, friends! 🙂

This week was okay. I had Monday off to go to South Haven with Brett so I only had to work four days. A four day work week seems so much more enjoyable than five days. How was your week?

  1. Our local balloon festival is this weekend so Brett will be busy with that. I will be joining him for most of it but I’m also hoping to squeeze in some time to get chores done and spend time with family.
  2. Brett and I went to dinner on Tuesday night with my grandparents and parents. My parents are celebrating 27 years of marriage this month! I cherish all the time I can get with my grandma and grandpa.
  3. I’ve been in a reading rut lately. I’ve started a couple of books but nothing has stuck which is super disappointing. Have you read any good books lately?
  4. I’m starting to get sad that summer is almost over. I’m happiest when the sun is shining and I can spend all the time I want outside. I love fall but it’s too close to winter. I am pretty excited to switch up my home decor and drink some hot apple cider though! Are you ready for fall?
  5. I was doing really good with my health and wellness journey but I’ve fallen off the wagon a bit these last couple of weeks. I’m determined to re-group this upcoming week and get back on track! I’m planning on doing some serious meal prep on Sunday to get me ready for the week.

What are your plans for this weekend?

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Photo by Matthew T Rader on Unsplash

The Blogger Comparison Game

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A couple of years ago I took an internet marking class in college that made me decide to quit blogging. I had already been blogging for a couple of years at this point and no longer could handle it. I hated comparing myself to other bloggers and their successes. I hated looking at my stats and feeling like a failure because I couldn’t meet the goals that I had set for myself. I decided that I hated everything about blogging and shut my door to the community that I worked so hard to connect with.

I never thought that I would come out of blogging “retirement” but I’m so glad that I did! I pretty much had to build myself back up from nothing and it was rough. I let fear and self doubt crush everything that I had created and I almost let that fear win.

Blogging in the age of social media influencers is much harder than when I started this blog almost six years ago. When I started writing a blog for a college English class I never expected to love it and want to keep writing after the class was over. Having this space has become my creative outlet and all of you have become my internet friends.

Still, I find myself comparing my little piece of the internet to other’s. I feel a sense of belonging in the blogging community yet still compare my posts and pictures to everyone else’s. I cheer people on while tearing myself down because I’m a perfectionist and nothing ever feels good enough.

The blogger comparison game is real. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way and I wanted to share how I’ve been coping with my feelings.

The wonderful bloggers who I follow are amazing people. I’ve never met them in real life but I can tell because they put so much into their writing. Instead of comparing myself to them I’ve been trying to instead put my energy into engaging and building others up too. If I follow you it’s because I honestly love reading your content and I want you to do well!

As bloggers we have the unique ability to put our thoughts out into the world in either a negative or positive way. Playing this stupid comparison game with myself was a negative behavior and it was hurting my blogging. I will probably never be a social media influencer and that’s okay. I’ll always be a shy introvert who is just happy to share her truth with the world.

Do you find yourself getting caught up in the comparison game? How do you deal with it?

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Photo by Emma Matthews on Unsplash

A Day at the Beach: South Haven, MI

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Monday was our 8 year anniversary, 2 years married and 6 years dating. Brett and I both took the day off of work so we could spend time together. We decided to head to South Haven which is about an hour from our house.

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South Haven is a little town in Southwest Michigan located along Lake Michigan. One of the best things about Michigan is all of the lakes! We usually spend time at one of our smaller local lakes but being only an hour from Lake Michigan is pretty amazing. South Haven is special to me because my grandpa, the landscape artist, worked on the design of the downtown area.

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We started our day at the beach by wandering through the downtown area with all of the cute shops. My favorites are the Blueberry Store where you can buy products made from locally grown blueberries and the pet store, Decadent Dogs. After wandering through a few stores we stopped for lunch at Clementine’s.

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Clementine’s usually has a line out the door and is a must for any trip to South Haven! Because it was a Monday we were able to get seated right away! I got the Outlaw steak and a strawberry daiquiri. This is my usual Clementine’s order.

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After lunch, Brett and I headed for the antique stores. We love to go hunting for antiques! My favorite thing to collect are tea cups and dishes of any kind. I’m lucky to have a set of china from my grandma but I still love collecting pieces of china here and there. Brett collects aviation related items and vintage signs. Brett was able to find an aviation sign for our outdoor bar and some vintage beer labels for our basement.

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We grabbed some boba smoothies and headed for the beach! It was the perfect summer day in Michigan, 81 degrees and sunny! The beach was pretty packed for a Monday but we were able to find a parking spot right away! We set up camp near the water and I read while Brett napped. We did a bit of swimming and hanging out on the sand bar.

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Being at the beach always makes me sleepy so after a couple of hours we packed up. Before heading home we made sure to stop at Sherman’s Ice Cream! Sherman’s is a must for any South Haven adventure! My favorite ice cream flavor is Chocomania.

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We had a great beach day and it definitely reminded me that I need to make more time to spend with Brett. We spend a ton of time with family and friends but rarely make time for just the two of us unless we are traveling. I loved spending the day with him!

If you are ever visiting Michigan, I would highly recommend a day in South Haven! We barely scratched the surface of all of the great things to do in this adorable beach town!

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Our Love Story: 8 Year Anniversary

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8 years ago today Brett and I went on our first date. Our mutual friend had introduced us through text one night when I was hanging out with her. We hit it off right away and talked everyday for a couple of weeks. Brett finally asked me out on a date while I was at my friend’s cottage on the lake. I was 17 and getting ready for my senior year of high school. Brett was 19 and was starting his junior year of college.

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Our first date was on August 19, 2011 at a mini golf and arcade place in our hometown. I remember seeing him for the first time as he got out of his car and walked towards mine. He was wearing a football jersey for our local university. The same university he was currently attending and I was hoping to attend in a year. I thought he was super cute and sweet.

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After our first date we were pretty much inseparable. We spent the rest of summer 2011 falling in love with each other. He took me to an early hot air balloon launch and we followed the balloons with his car. I navigated while he drove. After that we had breakfast at a cute little diner and then spent the day at the zoo. It was the perfect date day.

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Brett was so supportive during my senior year. He came to marching band competitions, football games, flute concerts, and every graduation occasion.  He took me to prom and we danced the night away together. He helped setup my graduation party and stayed with me the whole day.

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My favorite part of our story is our years in college. Brett was already attending my dream university so we ended up at college together! We both lived on campus my freshman year so we were able to eat meals together, study in the library, and hang out with friends. He helped me get acclimated to college and made the transition so much easier.

My junior year of college was when I decided to study abroad in London. It was a hard decision to make to be gone for 5 months but Brett was very supportive. I had been talking about studying abroad in London the whole time we were dating so he knew it was going to happen. He attended study abroad fairs with me and helped me choose the perfect program in London.

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Studying abroad was hard. This was the most difficult thing we had ever had to go through in our relationship but it made us a lot stronger. We were in different time zones and it was hard to make time to Skype. We planned on Brett coming to visit at the end of the semester with my mom and sister. It felt surreal when they finally bought their tickets!

Brett came a few days early so we could spend time with my new friends and I could show him around. I think he fell in love with London as much as I did during this trip. Once my mom and sister joined us we traveled around London, and to Denmark and Ireland. It was the trip of a lifetime!

The day I had to say goodbye to my friends in London was very memorable. Brett was planning on proposing to me and had been carrying around my engagement ring. He should have told my family his plan though! He left the ring in the safe while we went to dinner with my friends. My mom and sister found the ring box and opened it. While Dani was trying my ring on, my mom was texting her friend. Instead of texting her friend though she texted me on accident! She told me not to tell Brett but he had already seen the text.

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I spent the rest of the trip wondering when Brett would propose. He didn’t propose in Denmark even though my exchange sister had set up the perfect scene. He didn’t propose in Ireland or on our last day in London. On our last night we stayed in a hotel by Heathrow. We went down to the hotel lobby to print our boarding passes and Brett asked me to take a walk with him. It was on that night, on some random road near Heathrow Airport, where Brett asked me to spend my life with him.

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We decided not to do any wedding planning until after graduation. We got engaged in 2015 and planned for a 2017 wedding. Our engagement was also hard. I was only 21 so I felt pretty isolated. Brett and I had been together for 4 years and I expected people to be thrilled for us. Instead I just felt really lonely.

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We graduated in the spring of 2016 and both of us had to figure out what to do next. We started applying for jobs and having interviews on top of planning our wedding. We picked a date, August 19th, 2017, a venue, and I picked a dress. Finally we both landed jobs and everything figured itself out.

In December 2016 we moved into a cute little apartment together and made it into our first semi-permanent home. We both moved around so much in college so it was nice to finally be settled. We had so many great times in that apartment!

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Two years ago, on August 19th, 2017, I finally go to say “I do” and marry my best friend! You can read about my favorite wedding moments here if you are interested! Our wedding was English Garden themed with lots of flowers, music, friends, and family. We collected hundreds of antique teacups for the centerpieces and decor.

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Our honeymoon was in London and we were able to spend two weeks visiting all of our favorite places. It was the best! The last two years of marriage has been filled with ups and downs including buying a house, adopting a dog, changing jobs, etc.

Two years of marriage and six years of dating has flown by. We’ve had so many amazing memories together and I can’t wait for many more to come. Marriage isn’t always easy but it is always worth it.

Thanks for reading!

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I Just Want to Travel

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I love to travel. There’s just something so amazing about exploring a new place, culture, way of life, that really makes me feel alive. I love wandering around new cities and getting lost. I love listening to people speak different languages and wondering what they are saying.

Every year my vacation days refresh and I begin to plan all of the things I want to do and see. My work is pretty good about vacation time but it never seems to be enough for me. There’s a whole world out there that I want to explore!

Brett also loves to travel so we talk constantly about the next places on our bucketlist. In 2020 we really want to visit Amsterdam and Prague but I’d love to sneak in a few days in London. We didn’t plan a big trip in 2019 because we traveled to Florida, Arizona, Oregon, and Florida again. I think we will visit Massachusetts or New Hampshire in the fall though!

Travel is something that is always on my heart and mind. I visited Europe for the first time in 2011 and became addicted to exploring new places. There are so many places that I haven’t been and I’m looking forward to visiting all of them!

Do you love to travel?

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Photo by Karly Santiago on Unsplash