Throw Leaves, Not Shade โœŒ๐Ÿป

how to, Life

Have you ever noticed that when you’re doing well for yourself, you encounter two kinds of people:

1. The ones who are genuinely happy for you.

2. The ones who try to discredit you and make things difficult for you.

I don’t know why that’s the way of the world, but it is. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

So, I thought I’d write a sort of letter of encouragement. I haven’t experienced too much of this lately(knock on wood!) but at times, it can be difficult to navigate. You start wondering what you ever did to people to make them so jealous or mad or just resentful of you!

I’m here to tell you, it’s a problem within them, not within you.

I guess I was just thinking the other day, as I was walking around and enjoying all the changing leaves and smells of fall, that we are a lot like trees.

We have roots that hold us down, keeping us grounded and practical, but at the same time, we have branches that are constantly reaching towards the sky, dreaming and wanting to achieve the impossible.

This is all fine and good…at first. Trees are usually in a forest. A forest is your people–a group like your family, friends and closest acquaintances. They are people who love you, but sometimes, when you start to sway with the wind that they can’t see and they don’t understand, they can become mean spirited at times.

That’s not practical.

You can’t do that. You don’t even know how!

Sometimes, people don’t mean to be unsupportive. Sometimes they literally don’t understand your dreams because they aren’t theirs.

I also heard a quote the other day that I love:

“If you want to do something, talk to the people who have done it.”

In other words, don’t listen to those who don’t know what they are talking about. Emulate those that you want to be like and get pointers from those who are already doing what you’d like to be doing, not the entire peanut gallery!

While I was walking around and looking at leaves, I also heard these words in my head:

Throw leaves, not shade.

If we continue the metaphor that we are trees, we can also choose to be one of two ways. We can throw leaves around like confetti, celebrating in our successes and other people’s…

Or, we can throw shade and constantly darken other people’s lives with our negativity and mean talk.

The choice is yours. Which will you be?

P.S. These pictures are kind of fashiony ๐Ÿ˜‚. For anyone wondering, the booties were a Christmas gift last year, the yellow top was $10 at Old Navy(STEAL!) and the overalls are from Shein, I love that website.

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Changing Leaves, Abandoned Houses & Mint Ice Cream๐Ÿจ๐Ÿ

Life, thrifting

The weather has been gorgeous in my hometown lately.๐Ÿ‚

This last Saturday, my husband Tim and I just hung out with really no plans and it was so fun! Sometimes, work gets so busy for him and I’m caught up in so much petsitting that we have to make time.

So, we went out into the country and took pictures of the changing leaves and just did some exploring. We even went to a Goodwill we had never been to before. If you know us, you know that’s rare.๐Ÿ˜‚ Most of the Goodwills in our area, we’ve been to, and we have them classified: this one has the best shoes, this one has the best furniture, this one has the most cool and random things, etc…

We stopped when we saw this old, historic looking house. Probably from the late 1800’s, early 1900’s, but it had so much charm. It had an old metal gate falling down all around it and the prettiest front porch. I love finding places like this.

We also went to Cruze Farm and got some ice cream! They have such unique flavors and all of them are made with fresh cow’s milk! I tried their new mint flavor and Tim tried “Brookie dough”, a brownie and cookie dough combination.

This weekend was so fun and much needed! It’s a good reminder to just slow down, stop and take in what’s around you. Cleaning can wait until tomorrow. Some obligations can too.

Make the most of today.

P.S. The skirt I’m wearing was a thrifted tennis skirt and I love it. Top was from Old Navy for $10 and hat was from Ross for less than $7. I’ve been really into mixing patterns lately. I haven’t been in the mood or had time to thrift lately, but I’m hoping sometime next month when things slow down, I’ll get the chance to!โค๏ธ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป

Top 7 Instagram Spots in Quebec City๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ

A List, how to, Travel

Quebec City, Canada.๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ

It is such a beautiful place, full of French style architecture, cobblestone streets and gorgeous buildings and views around every corner!

Also, Quebec is where I went on my most recent trip, surprise!

Since I got so many pictures on this trip, I thought I would share, in my opinion, the Top 7 Instagram Spots in Quebec City!

1. Gare du Palais

Address: 450 Rue de la Gare du Palais

This train station is, simply put, beautiful. Whether on the inside, outside or in the garden surrounding it, you are sure to find a photo opportunity worthy of gramming!๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป The lobby is open even to nonticket holders who aren’t taking the train, so explore to your heart’s content! There is even an adorable little cafe you can enjoy. Also, don’t forget to check out the ceilings inside!

2. J.A. Moisan

Address: 699 Rue Saint Jean

When you’re in Quebec and you’re staying in Quebec for an extended period of time, you’re going to need groceries, and what cooler place to get them than at the oldest grocery store in North America?

This old timey store has a general store feel to it with its dark polished woods, nice displays and not to mention, all the delicious jams, cheeses, breads and desserts you could ever want! Stop here not only for your staples, but snap a few pictures as well!

3. Fairmont Chateau Frontenac

Address: 1 Rue des Carrieres

If you walk through the walls that surround Old Quebec, you can’t miss this hotel! It is a 5 star hotel perched up on a hill in the historic section of Quebec and is, coincidentally, the most photographed hotel in the world!

You will see many people snapping pictures with this castle like hotel looming in the background, but I’ll share another location from which you can get the perfect view of it for your pictures!

4. Pierre Dugua De Mons Terrace

Address: Parc de Champs de Bataille Avenue

This is one of the most stunning pictures we got on this trip! This terrace is really part of a park, which has terrific views of Quebec and Chateau Frontenac, without all the tourists and buses crowding into your pictures!

We just managed to catch this before the sunset. A lot of people were taking pictures on the grassy knoll above this, but I thought this bench not only looked like a more natural place to sit, but it just drew me in and looked like a great location for a photo!

5. Rue du Petit Champlain

Address: 61 Rue du Petit Champlain

This is a street that is not short on views! To access it, you actually come through a square where a lot of the cruise ships dock and let off passengers, so depending on when you go, there may be tons of tourists, or none at all. Around a few corners, you will find these stairs, where you can capture many buildings and an atmosphere at once.

You will also see the Furnicular, or small train that goes sideways up the mountain, which is very cool, and several touristy shops and restaurants. When taking pictures at this location though, be courteous. Don’t block the middle of the stairs, step off to the side, like I did in this picture. You still get the view, but don’t cause an obnoxious traffic jam!

6. Montmorency Falls

Address: 5300 Boulevard Saint Anne

Now for this one, you will have to have a car or take the bus, but I can help you out! After a week, we pretty much nailed the Canadian transit system, so here goes! (Honestly, the bus is a better bet, but if you insist on going to the falls by car, there is a $12 parking fee.) I would get a 1 day RTC bus pass, which can be purchased at the pharmacy chain called Brunet for around $17.20.

Directions to the Falls:

1. Get on the 800 green bus going to Beauport.

2. Ride until the very end. Literally, the end. The bus should just stop, but push the button if needed to signal that you want to get off. You will know you are there when you see a gas station called Couche Tard. No, I’m not kidding. ๐Ÿ˜‚ After much curiosity, we looked it up and it means “night owl”, not someone who watches way too much Netflix.

3. You can cut through the woods, or walk until you pass a red schoolhouse on the left, and then you should see the way to the falls.

Montmorency is great because it is FREE!๐ŸŽ‰ It is also 100 feet taller than Niagara. You can get some great pictures from the viewing platforms or the suspension bridge that hangs right over the falls! For the brave souls, you can also stand at the bottom and get sprayed like we did. ๐Ÿ˜‚

7. Rue d’Aigullion OR Rue Richeliu

Now please don’t hate me, but I don’t have the exact address for these colorful houses because they were so close to the VRBO apartment we rented(more on that later!๐Ÿ˜‰), but I believe it was one of the above streets. It runs parallel with Rue Saint Jean, where we were staying, and we just happened to find them!

They were beautiful and pretty much anyone’s dream. At the time I had this picture taken, there was a dumpster, but with some careful body placement and photoshop, I was able to remove it!๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with taking pictures anywhere in Quebec! It is a beautiful place and these were just a few of my favorites! If you come here, you have to stay in the Old Quebec area or mainly, Upper Quebec.(The town is split into two levels with many stairs you can take to get to either level.) It has such an amazing charm and not to mention, places to eat! Look for that list soon!๐Ÿ‘€

If you are a couple going on a romantic trip, I would highly recommend this loft we stayed in around Old Quebec! It was perfect for just my husband and I and had a bathroom, little kitchen and breakfast nook, and bed! All the essentials in a little studio floor plan and easy walking distance to everything!

Above are a few of my own pictures of the space! It was easily accessed, the host was excellent at communicating and not to mention, it is such a cute little place and honestly very Instagrammable itself!โค๏ธ

We loved exploring Quebec! If you haven’t gone, you should make it your next fall trip destination! If you have been, I want to know, what were some of your favorite sites and things to do around the city?

5 Ways to Make Your Dreams a Reality

how to, Life

If only life were as easy as a Disney movie.๐ŸŽฅ๐Ÿฟ

Well, I take that back. A lot of Disney movies have one or both parents missing or dead and some pretty bad stuff can happen in them, but what I mean is…Disney movies are typically full of characters that are dreamers.

You all should know the plot and formula by now, if you’ve watched any amount of them. The main character has a dream to do something or be something and…they usually end up doing it. Sometimes, they might need a push or something or someone else in the plot pushes them forward, but the point is, they usually achieve whatever their “dream” is.

Now, it isn’t always easy, but I think in our culture today, we associate dreams as being easy. It’s easy to dream and fantasize…but not so easy to take action steps to get us to our dreams.

I’m not saying I’ve lived out every single one of my dreams, but I have gone to Italy, something I’d only dreamed about doing before. The other day, I was watching an Indiana Jones movie that was set in Venice for part of it and I couldn’t believe that I had actually been there! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

So, here are 5 practical tips for how you can take action steps and get closer to making your dreams a reality!

1. Don’t set so lofty a goal.

Dreams are big for a reason, but sometimes–we can dream too big. You should always aspire to something, but start small. For example, I would love to travel the entire world, but I instead made a more realistic goal: to go to Italy for 17 days. And you know what? I did it! Start with smaller goals and work up to your big ones! ๐Ÿ’ฏ

2. Always be working to better yourself and learn things.

No Instagram success was built overnight. No CEO of a Fortune 500 company sat down at that desk after just turning one measly application in. The truth is, it takes hard work.

If you aren’t getting better, you’re usually getting worse or just…staying average.

For example, I’ve wanted to get better at social media lately. This has resulted in me reading up on everything to do with the subject. I’ve also wanted to invest more in my Instagram photography, so I’ve been looking at cameras. Read all the books you can, research and study because nothing happens by accident or overnight.

3. Make a list of things you can do each day or each week.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but if I don’t make lists, I’m prone to forget things! It’s not natural to constantly be working on the same thing or to remember everything you’ve been mentally digesting, so make yourself lists. 5 Action Steps To Start My Own Blog. 5 Things to Do To Improve My Photography. 5 Ways to Save up for My Next Out of Country Trip.

When you write things down, you not only sort of will them into existence, but you make them more concrete. You hold yourself accountable. You make lists for the grocery store and that stuff is all gone by the end of the month! Why not invest in yourself and your personal skills and dreams by making a list to help you achieve those dreams?!

4. Stop looking sideways.

I REPEAT—with a bullhorn and with emphatic tone—–STOP LOOKING AT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE DOING!

Okay, you can. To an extent. But do not get sucked into the trap of comparison. Instead of saying, “I wish I had what she has.” or “She makes doing what I want to do look so easy!” say, “What can I learn from this person?”

I’m going to use Instagram as an example because it has been on my mind lately, but I used to look at other travel bloggers and hate myself. It wasn’t until I realized that these stylized images are just that—stylized. They are literally only a fraction of a second of those people’s days and lives!

Instead of comparing myself to that fraction of a second, I attacked my own battle plan. I looked at what I could do to change my own feed. How could it be better? How could I get better at taking pictures and telling a story? Think of positive things and positive things will come!

5. Never give up.

It’s easy to give up, but dreams aren’t achieved easily. Think how much better your dream will taste and be when you actually GET IT.

So, get out there.

Stop making excuses.

Stop looking at everyone else.

And focus on YOU.

The going will be tough and you will have naysayers. Put in your earplugs and blinders and get to it.

Jonesborough Storytelling Festival

Life, Travel

Jonesborough, Tennessee. It’s a historic little town that is only an hour and a half from Knoxville, and yet I’d never been there until the other day.

Jonesborough is actually the oldest town in Tennessee and also home to the international Storytelling Festival. We had the opportunity to go this year when we were gifted tickets by some sweet friends and we loved the experience!

When you come to the festival, you are given fabric patches, like the ones we’re wearing! They are a lot cooler than nametags!

Photos were prohibited in a lot of the tents where the actual storytelling was going on, but we took a lot of pictures of the town, which is so charming! When you’re walking around, you see a lot of churches, old squares and general stores–it’s easy to picture horses going up and down the streets once upon a time!

The old brick walls of Jonesborough are also peppered with old advertisements, my favorite!๐Ÿ˜ There’s just something about faded paint!

But enough about the actual town! The Storytelling Festival was great! Speakers from all over the world come to weave tales and share anecdotes; it’s a festival that is going on 46 years strong!

It was very cool getting to hear stories from so many different varieties of people. We all have stories to tell and it made me realize that we shouldn’t discount our stories. If we don’t share our stories and what we’ve learned in our lifetimes, our stories die with us.

This is a festival that anyone can enjoy! There are tents scattered around the city, which you can walk to and pick and choose which speakers you listen to!

We laughed, we cried. I didn’t expect to go through so many emotions at this festival, but I did! These speakers share things from their personal lives, using comedy and sometimes even tragedy, to drive their points home.

Storytelling is rooted in every single ancient civilization that has existed here on earth. It also has deep ties to the South, where stories are told as often as sweet tea is made or pecan pies or casseroles are pulled out of an oven.

If you haven’t heard of or been to the Jonesborough Storytelling Festival, you need to check it out! It is held every October and is so fun!

5 Ways to Cheer Yourself Up When the World is Full of Hateful, Nasty Scumbags

how to, Life

Good afternoon!๐Ÿน

Now. I know if you were to go by the title alone, this blog entry seems like it might be a little…negative. But really. I don’t think everyone is mean and nasty. I genuinely think that, for the most part, that that old man who flipped me off in traffic for blowing at him when he was swerving into my lane…must have just been having a bad day.

Or that lady who said the other day when I was buying a bouquet(for myself, as it turns out, because that’s how I do), “You must be buying these because you’re celebrating something. Must be nice to have good things happening in your life.” in the most sarcastic tone I’ve ever heard…must have just been going through something.

Alright, let’s be real. Sometimes, people are just…people.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t still believe there is good.

So, here are a few things you can do on those days where you’re just…really annoyed with or feeling hopeless in regards to humanity at large.

1. Treat yo self.

Really. This is such a mood booster! I don’t care if you buy yourself flowers or a foot long from Subway! To each their own. Do something or get something for yourself. Don’t get something because you think it will impress someone else—factor everyone else out of the equation for a few minutes and just do something or get something that you actually want. If you don’t like coffee, than don’t fake it like that time I thought it’d be a good idea to go to a cafe and “work on” my computer. I didn’t get anything at all done. I honestly don’t get how people go to coffee shops and get work done. How is it conducive to work?! I think we’re all just lying to ourselves and each other and looking busy. ๐Ÿ‘€

But anywaysssssss.

2. Do something nice for a stranger.

You thought this was going to be a self centered list, huh? Well, NO. Sometimes, you just have to take care of yourself in order to take care of others better. ๐Ÿ’ฏโœจ

I personally like buying the food of people behind me at drive thrus. Or giving someone an extra tip. It’s the little things that you don’t even have to do that are the best!

3. Surround yourself with positive people.

This should be common sense, but a lot of times, we find ourselves hanging out with Debbie Downers, fun suckers and just people who like to put us down whenever they aren’t feeling so hot.

Find good friends who are glass half full kind of people. You’d be amazed at how much it will change your mood!

4. Find an outlet.

For me, my outlets would be playing random 90’s computer games on my PC, thrifting and going to estate sales, blogging and photography and so many more things!

Just find something that makes you forget everything else for a while.

5. Imagine the possibilities.

I’m a little bit of a daydreamer. I like to imagine possibilities rather than impossibilities.

When you think in positive terms rather than negative ones, it can change everything. Seriously, if you’re always doom and gloom, than no wonder the world always seems like it’s full of nasty hateful people! We all have days where this may seem like the case, but just accept that other people have bad days too and don’t let it ruin or affect your mood! Don’t let someone’s 5 minute temper tantrum or blow up cloud over the rest of your day.

Hope you guys have been having a good week and remember—you can always believe there is good, but we should also be the good!

5 Ways To Prioritize Whatโ€™s Important to You

how to, Life

Sometimes with how busy and crazy life can get, it’s easy to give up on the things we actually love doing.

We make excuses, time gets away from us, or sometimes, we just genuinely are exhausted from all the “responsibilities” we have. Ugh!

Lately though, I’ve been noticing some things about prioritizing the things I love. It’s really just a matter of sitting yourself down, making some goals and prioritizing…well, your priorities in life!

Here are some tips for how you can make time for the things you love doing during the day!

1. Look at your calendar and find those empty spots during your day/week.

If we were to really think about it, we have an hour at least each day where we can make time for the things we love. For me, that would be finding time to practice photography and blogging! I don’t know about you, but these times are usually when I’m just watching tv or on my phone anyway! Instead of completely wasting that time, I’ve been trying to take advantage of it instead! Really, it comes down to time management! If you sit down and map out how you can best use your time, you’ll find that you have more times for the things you love than you once thought!

2. Learn to say “NO”.

This is a hard one for me, but I’ve gotten soooooo much better at it! In order to make time for the things you like doing, you’re going to have to say “no” to some things. Sometimes, it might be easy because these are things you kind of didn’t like doing anyway, but occasionally, it means turning down a fun night out with friends. Learn to say “no” so you can say “yes” to the things you want to improve on or have time for in your life!

3. Ignore the critics.

Maybe you don’t have any critics, but chances are you might. Whenever you’re trying to institute a lifestyle change, you will usually experience some pushback from those closest to you. Maybe they think your blogging is silly. Maybe they think you’re ridiculous for taking that bagpipe class! ๐Ÿ˜‚ If it’s what you want to do, than ignore the critics. Some people just don’t like change!

4. Have fun with it!

If you view this priority as “work”, chances are, you are going to drop it within a week. Make whatever you’re doing fun! If you’re trying to exercise more, tell yourself how lucky you are to have two legs that work and allow you to run. If you’re trying to get better at photography like I am, have fun coming up with locations and concepts for a shoot! Don’t take it too seriously!

5. Research, practice and invest in yourself.

Especially when you are learning a new skill! Read up on what it is you’re trying to learn! Practicing your skill naturally will make you better at it! If you look at it as investing in yourself, you will keep at it longer and prioritize these things more naturally!

Is there a skill that you all would love to learn? What steps are you taking this week, right now, to prioritize it?