Pump the Brakes

Friday, August 29, 2014
Hey Steph how you doin'
Where ya been?
Probably planning a new trip
Cuz here I go again....

So I realize that I used to blog, like, 2-3 times a week and now I'm lucky if I get behind this keyboard a measly once a week...
I've pumped the brakes on blogging for a cornucopia of reasons..

Mostly because I realized that I enjoy being outside SO much more than sitting on my ass.

Mitch also recently got me a FitBit exercise device thing that counts how many steps I take a day, helps me keep track of all the calories I eat, etc. It's awesome! I love challenging myself and checking my stats throughout the day. I know that if I were to continue blogging as much as I have been, I would definitely not meet my goal of 10,000 steps a day.
Fitness > Blogging.

And you know what else I love?
My husband.

I've been spending a lot more time with him whether it's going on walks or going off road exploring new, quaint, Southern towns...

This man is an angel from above let me tell you.
He wraps my disgusting poison ivy legs in the CVS parking lot just so I can run errands in comfort

I'll spare you the photo of them unwrapped.

Oh and hey! I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
I've said before; I have a love/hate relationship with social media.
And this is one thing I love about it.
Can you believe how much money they've raised!?

I think it's also important to realize that this is just one of several awful, life changing diseases out there.
Depression, Autism, Aspbergers & Epilepsy are a few that personally affect my family and I.

It was so much fun filming and editing this video.
I think I'll start documenting trips this way!

Other than that my friends, I have no other excuses for my blogging absence! I've really just been enjoying the natural beauty of the South. Being outdoors with the natural world and away from social media, awful news and the unoriginality of society is truly what keeps my spirits so high. I thrive off moving to the beat of my own drum. I was born in Southern Indiana and so many sights and smells down here bring back such fond childhood memories. I'm in heaven, really.

I spent a lot of my life living in New England. There is no denying that it is a very beautiful place.
But, for me, it always felt like I was wearing two left shoes. I always knew it wasn't where I belonged. My spirit doesn't mesh with the energies up there; it never did. I feel myself when I smell honeysuckle in Spring. When I hear wind chimes as a soft warning of an incoming storm. The loud noise of summer bugs paired with the beautiful sight of a swarm of lightening bugs...that is my home. The thought of New England being an annual Summer vacation spot, though, sounds absolutely perfect.

For now, I'll be down here enjoying stunning sunsets with the peach trees

My friends! I want to stay in touch more so than once every week or 2. I am regularly on Instagram posting just about every single day. It's a great place to quickly share photos and details of my adventures. Please follow me there
@freespiritfun1 <-- don't forget the #1 ;)

Oh and also, we  have a huuuge trip coming up!! We're going far, far away from the South...
AND I CANT WAIT. I live for exploring new places.
You know I'll be blogging about it once we return.
But in the mean time....here is your clue:

Image via Pinterest

Southern Sunday

Friday, August 22, 2014

The South, although covered in poison ivy, is so beautiful.
I can sit here with border line elephantiasis legs and still say that.

Last weekend I was browsing a local pro photographer's Pinterest board trying to find picturesque places in the area to take some photos.


Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden.

A beautiful 20 minute drive from our apartment to Belmont, NC.

When we approached this place we heard faint, African style drums playing over loudspeakers.
Jumanji style.
Heart = won.

Lucky us, they had a 'ZimSculpt' event taking place with local artists from Zimbabwe showcasing their Shona sculptures. We chatted with the artists for a little while, they were so kind. Always willing to answer every question I threw at them - which was everything from:
'Is it difficult to create a feathered texture into the stone?'
to, most importantly,
'Do you like cats?'

The rest of the garden was nothing short of a scene from Alice in Wonderland.
Peaceful, natural beauty every where we turned...

This place is awesome. They have acres of land covered in professionally designed gardens, trails along the lake, an orchid greenhouse...it's truly the perfect place to spend a Sunday.

They decorate the gardens for the holidays in December - I've already wrote down in my agenda for my birthday:

I hope you all had a great week. Mine was full of itching & scratching, duck feeding, and of course, nightly walks to catch a beautiful sunset and count my lucky stars for another day of life.

Cheers <3

25 & Feelin' Alive

Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Here we are in the heart of Summer.
It's warm every day, ice cream is a regular food item, I have poison ivy and Taylor Swift released a new single.

Life. Is. Good.

I've been out & about a lot lately taking all sorts of photos.
I don't like to call myself a photographer....because, well, I'm not.
I like to call myself a Day Dreamer.

I was always that kid who got in trouble at school for staring out the window too much.
These ideas for photos pop into my head out of nowhere. Usually when I'm listening to music.

And then I go out and bring them to life.

A lot of times once I'm out in the world taking these photos, I will stumble upon some pretty amazing, unplanned things.

Like this:

Talk about right place right time.
I was amazed. I think trains are so cool. Plus this one said 'SOUTHERN' all over the cars.
Beautiful reminder that I am no longer a slave to New England winters

a few minutes after this we heard a loud cracking sound coming from the woods that made us stop dead in our tracks and just stare at each other with open mouths, patiently waiting for another  clue as to what was happening ....
Huge tree fell in the woods.
What are the odds!?

I love cattails. I was so happy to see them all over the place down here because they are a magical reminder of wonderful childhood memories growing up in the Midwest. That and I'm a bonafide cat lady.

Not sure what I love more about these photos; the fact that I am so genuinely happy over a weed or the fireflies that made an appearance in the background...

I've officially lived through all 4 seasons down here and I must admit I like what I see.
It is warm from February-November. The Summer seems endless.

I go on nightly walks, mostly by myself, as a time to recuperate and detox myself from all the negative energy from the day. It's been working out quite well, and I have new friends that recognize my voice...

One of my usual walks is a nice trail around a pond and these two goofballs are there every night.
They come running every time they hear me say
'Well Hello there!'
It's the cutest thing ever.

They tried to follow me home last night. They wobbled behind me up this gravel hill towards my car.
If I didn't live in an apartment they would be quacking around my backyard right now.
Getting chased by my 25 cats...
Moving on.

Everything is so green here! Ivy lines all of my favorite trails. It gets out of control in the Summer and I love it

We've also seen some mystical creatures we didn't know exist this Summer.
Like life size mushrooms.
Also,when my mom was in town the other week, on our way home from the grocery one night a RED WOLF ran out in front of our car!! It was so cool! We went to the local nature center the next day to ask if the red wolf inhabits this area - sure enough, they do. But they are extremely rare.

The next night my mom and I both had dreams of lizards.
So weird.
But anyway.

I'm loving my time here in the South. I'm not sure if it will be forever --  I'm just going to enjoy the red barns, warm breezes, and delicious peaches while I'm around.

And on that note...
I'm off to feed my ducks.

Mountain Time

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My mom and brother came into town to visit for a long weekend last week. We decided to run away from the hustle & bustle that is Charlotte and out to a quiet log cabin tucked away in the cool mountains.

Of course, it was was cold and rainy as soon as they arrived.
This Summer has been so dreary for us here in the Carolinas.

We rented our cabin through Valle Crucis Log Cabin Rentals and were very pleased.

Not to mention their office is right next door to the coolest, vintage, country-style General Store.

Our cabin 'Mountain Time' was a few miles drive from the rental office. Nestled tightly within the Blue Ridge Mountain range, it was so quiet out there you could hear a hummingbird flap his wings. Heaven.

We are a family of adventure seekers. We are lifelong learners who yearn to explore new areas.
However, this trip was different. For the first time, we decided to stay put.
And it was amazing.
Mama P made us a homemade Southern-inspired dinner. We all ate together, laughed, got caught up, then spent the rainy evening in the over sized jacuzzi. Talk about vacation.

We made popcorn on the stove and watched funny movies at night until we passed out.
We spent our mornings making fresh coffee and enjoying it in our PJs on the sunny balcony.
Afternoons involved picking flowers & berries around the mountain.

The small neighborhood we stayed in had a few other cabins around the area. Including one I dream about staying in....house up on the hill, I call it.

Mitch really wants to move out West to the mountains. I'm a beach girl so I always pull him East to Charleston. However, after this peaceful trip....I might reconsider. This place is so wonderful.

Another first this trip -- I stayed behind the camera the entire time. I really enjoyed taking photos of everything & everyone. Photography is a new hobby of mine and it's been really fun so far. I can't wait to learn more and invest in better equipment.

Side note before I wrap this up: We saw the movie Boyhood on Thursday and as expected, it was phenomenal. I was so wrapped up in the story I had no idea that it lasted 3 hours. So emotional, relatable and inspiring. What a great work of art by director Richard Linklater. The movie was filmed over the course of 12 years so the aging of the cast is 100% real. I highly, highly recommend this movie.

Wishing you all a wonderful week!
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