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!


Lipsense: Fall Trends

how to, Life

By now, surely some of you all have heard of Lipsense.๐Ÿ’‹๐Ÿ’„

People definitely have their opinions about it. I love it.

As someone who has always loved the look of lipstick but hated that it comes right off, Lipsense is a gift from the heavens!

I connected with a girl who sells it on Instagram back last January and have slowly tried some different colors over the last year or so and am obsessed.

Now that fall has rolled around, I decided I needed a new color! This bright and cheerful red is called “Fly Girl” and I wore it around today. It is so pretty! I also have the colors “First Love” and “Bella” a light and medium pink that are great and for more neutral, every day wear!

If you don’t know how Lipsense works, it is really simple: It stays on for HOURS. I have worn it through eating, drinking, kissing–it lasts all day! Lipsense also has different, customizable looks! There are tubes of a glossy overlay that is clear and it can give either a matte or glossy look to your lips! I think they even have some glitter options as well, but I have done just fine with matte and glossy looks, depending on my mood!

Anyways, I just thought I would share a product that I love and swear by! As a girl who likes makeup but doesn’t have no time for that when it comes to lipstick that comes off or gets on your teeth, Lipsense is AMAZING.๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป

I plan on wearing this beautiful red color on an upcoming trip! Any ideas where I’m going?๐Ÿค”๐ŸŒŽ

Drop your guesses in the comments!

๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น 10 Tips: Venice, Italy ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น


Venice is one of the most amazing, unique places on earth. We spent 4 days + 4 nights there and even in that amount of time, we probably barely scratched the surface of what there is to see and do there!

But I thought I would pull together 10 tips for when YOU visit Venice! ๐ŸŽ‰ Also, I’ll include our 4 day itinerary at the end of this list! ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป

Tip #1: Get lost!

When it comes to Venice, there is so much to see! Even with a map, you’re going to get lost. While most of the time, that seems like a bad idea, in Venice, it’s the exact opposite. If you wander through the streets and bridges going over canals, you will find some great things. You can never go wrong with the pastry and coffee places you find, the small hole-in-the-wall churches usually have decadent mosaics and paintings on their ceilings, and you can stumble upon hidden landmarks!

Take for instance, Liberia Acqua Alta. This place is apparently very hard to find, and due to our short time in Venice, we had sort of ruled out seeing it…until we just found it on accident one day! We had set out and decided to tackle a different area of our Venice map we hadn’t seen when we found it! So, get lost. Wander and see what you can find!

Tip #2: Get a Venezia Unica Card.

These are cards that not only provide unlimited use of the city’s vaporetto system, but also have other benefits, like seeing popular tourist destinations AND even free WiFi for a day if you are under 29!

My husband Tim and I got the “Rolling Venice Card” for 72 hours which included as many rides on the vaporetto as we wanted and WiFi for a day! It was well worth it because even though Venice is a very walkable city, you will want to see it from the canals also! This card also covered our water transport to the outerlying islands of Burano and Murano, which are a must see!

The important thing to note here though is this: TheVenezia Unica Card DOES NOT cover transportation from the Marco Polo Airport to Venice.

For that, you will have to book a desperate transfer via an Aliguna Waterbus on the Blue Line, which was right around โ‚ฌ40-54, if I remember correctly.

Tip #3: See Burano and Murano! But if you have to pick one, pick Burano!

Now, this one is subject to opinion, but out of the two islands, I liked Burano the most! It is great for pictures and has the colorful buildings and even a lesser known Leaning Tower that Instagram dreams are made of! ๐Ÿ˜ However, if you are going based purely on seeing the lace making or glass making, go to Murano for the glass making.

It is amazing to see the glass creations there and for some reason, it just seemed more visual and was cooler to see than the lace making on Burano!

The vaporetto ride from Venice to Murano is shorter than the one to Burano. I think our ride to Murano was about 10-15 minutes while the ride to Burano was closer to 30-45 minutes from Cannaregio where we stayed.

Tip #4: Check out a mask store or atelier!

A trip to Venice isn’t complete without seeing a mask maker and exploring one of their stores! Even if you don’t come during Carnivale, Venice’s February celebration where people dress up in costumes and masks, it is one of the biggest trades known strictly to Venice!

We visited a store called Sogno Venezia Atelier and the owner Julia had a wealth of information on the art of mask making and she makes all her own costumes!

Masks are only part of Venice’s allure and mystery, but be sure not to miss out on learning more about them!

Tip #5: Stay in Cannaregio!

This is also just opinion, but I felt like Cannaregio was the best and most central location for us when it came to staying in Venice! We were not far from the airport, we were away from the touristy areas and in more of an actual Venice neighborhood, but still within walking distance of the sights, and we were close to the Ospedale stop, or Hospital! You never want to think you’ll need it, but it was nice to know it was close!

We also were near plenty of markets, which we went to to buy fresh produce and things to make meals at home sometimes!

Tip #6: Go during the shoulder or “off” season.

March is considered a slow time in Venice. It is typically a little chillier and right after Carnivale, so flight prices drop. We scored our tickets for around $700, which was a great deal when compared to anywhere from $1,000-$2,200!

If I can suggest though, go in late March or be prepared for cold temperatures. We layered a lot. March is also the time for “high water”, so you will see higher water and even flooded streets in Venice due to the rain. We had to use catwalks to walk over the water sometimes, but if worse comes to worse, they do have these strange looking rain boots you can purchase everywhere. They look a lot like Saran Wrap that just goes over your feet! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Tip # 7: Ride down The Grand Canal.

This is just a MUST. And kind of a given, but you have to see Rialto Bridge from the canals. It is a beautiful sight, not to mention, a relaxing ride. You will get some of your best pictures riding the vaporetto! They have these awesome little back sections of the vaporetto boats where you can go out a door and literally be in the open air. Just hold onto your phones! You don’t want to drop that into the canal!

Tip # 8: Take a gondola ride…but during the day.

Day fares for gondola are cheaper than at night and you’ll get less grainy, higher quality pictures. Now, while the vaporetto is great, gondolas are amazing because they take you down the tight, little back waterways of Venice that are quiet, secluded and interesting. We saw hidden passageways, passed a private courtyard where a couple was drinking red wine and they toasted us… ๐Ÿท๐Ÿ˜‚

It was all very Venetian and we wouldn’t have seen any of it if we hadn’t gone for a ride! The fare is generally โ‚ฌ89, but you can ride up to 6 people in a gondola and that total is split amongst riders, it is not per person!

Tip #9: Go to Cemeterio Island.

I did not take many pictures at Cemeterio and some people think cemeteries are morbid, but I thought it was a cool experience! If you like seeing how Venetians live…and how they died, Cemeterio is an interesting place to go. It is a 5 minute ride from Cannaregio across the channel.

There are beautiful monuments there and even windows that just face off into the sea. While wandering around, we came across a landing of black and white tiles that just gently sloped into the canal and we discovered that it is there that boats dock to offload coffins.

It’s impossible to realize all the things that are different about Venice until you really stop and take a look.

Tip #10: Talk to some Venetians.

Whether it was talking to our waiters at the trattoria down our street, Julia at the mask shop, or anyone we encountered, the Venetians are an interesting people. They are very passionate about things and are set in their ways. They certainly won’t go out of their way to help you, but they are nice if you catch them in a good mood.

If I had to rank all the towns on their “friendliness” that we went to, Venice wouldn’t have the top spot, but more on that later! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Bonus Tip #11: Get used to “Italian Time”.

Italians have their own clock that they go by, whether it’s getting somewhere and meeting up with someone or just eating dinner. Dinners are usually 4 hour affairs with multiple courses and you have to ask for your check, which was strange to us Americans.

One reason for this is that Italian waiters are paid a living wage. In America, waiters barely make $3 an hour and live on tips, so it’s all about turning tables. Get used to taking your time in Italy and you will enjoy your trip so much more!

Those are all my tips for Venice! ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿท๐Ÿ•

Here is a brief itinerary of our time in Venice! ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป

March 14th: Landed in Venice

*On this day, we basically ate dinner near Rialto Bridge(very touristy, but the pizza was good) and went to our VRBO home to catch up on the time change! Not much accomplished this day.

March 15th: Murano & St. Mark’s Basillica

*We rode over to Murano to see some glass making and also checked out St. Mark’s Basillica and square! We did a lot of wandering this day and got a lot of ground covered!

March 16th: Burano, Riding a Gondola, and Riding Down Grand Canal

We rode over to Burano early and also had lunch there! Poppy had fish with the heads on. ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜‚ We also rode the vaporetto all over, including down The Grand Canal, and got gelato. ๐Ÿง

March 17th: Cemeterio, Libreria Acqua Alta and Sogno Venezia Atelier

We saw a bunch this day! We explored Cemeterio, Libreria Acqua Alta and I bought a Venetian mask!

Stay tuned for my next blog on Florence, Pisa & Lucca!

And there is a quick video I made of Venice, which is on my IGTV, or Instagram tv! I hope you’ll check it out!

Dragon Lights Festival ๐Ÿ‰

Life, Travel

Hey, guys! Long time no blog. ๐Ÿคฆ๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ I apologize for being gone for the better part of a month and a half—I’ve finally returned from Italy and life has been…well, life. It wouldn’t be a vacation if you didn’t come home to unexpected things happening, am I right? I’m so ready to go on another one lately, just with the way things have been going! ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™„

But ANYways, enough excuses! I thought I’d share some pictures from a beautiful lantern festival I went to recently! After this post, I promise I will be writing some blog posts about all that we got to do and see in Italy! And sharing so many pictures! ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡นAnd if you don’t want to wait on me(I’m still kind of on Italian time. It’s so cool, they’re never in a rush to do things over there!๐Ÿ˜‚) you can check out some of my vlogs on my YouTube Channel! ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป

So, about a week and a half ago, I went with some friends to The Dragon Lights Festival ๐Ÿ‰, a traveling festival that goes around the country, teaching things about Chinese culture! There are dancers, performers, and of course, thousands of colorful paper lanterns!

I also got to have an impromptu photo shoot with my friends, which was so neat! The kimono I used in these pictures is actually for sale on my Etsy page! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ My grandmother actually had the great idea to take pictures of it at the festival, even though it’s Japanese, of course, and I love how the pictures turned out! If you want to see more pictures, here is the link to our Etsy shop!

Have any of my readers out there been to a lantern festival? Or any kind of cultural festival? I think they are so neat! Not only were the lanterns so pretty, but it is neat to soak up other people’s cultures and get an appreciation for their traditions!

You can kind of see in the pictures, but it was an overcast and cloudy night, but thankfully, the rain held back for us!

I hope everyone else has been doing great! ๐Ÿ˜„ I can’t wait to share some of my Italian adventures with you all!


A Musing

I was never an A+ student. I was always one of those kids that people thought was a “straight A” student because…I don’t know. I had both my parents? I wasn’t ever really acting out and I was shy? I don’t know, but it still makes me laugh.

I was a B and C student, average, at best. I never really “succeeded” in school, but from a young age, I remember just not caring. The only reason I found myself wanting to be “better” was because I didn’t want to disappoint someone else.

I was more creatively inclined. I was in band and loved music. I was great at English and Creative Writing, but I sucked at math. There came a time though, when I was in high school that I started to realize…how pointless and dumb some aspects of school were. I liked learning things, but I thought life was a better teacher. Experiences were a better teacher. And I should want to be better for myself, not for everyone else. I needed to break apart from the huge, people-pleasing streak I have in me and start doing things…just for myself.

It’s taken a while to get to this point in my life. Did I get a college degree? No. But am I happy? Yes. I can truly say that I have a job that I love. I am self-employed and own my own petsitting business and not a day feels like work to me.

I guess I just wanted to write an inspirational post today because I thought someone else out there might need to hear it.

Don’t ever feel like you have to live up to a single letter on a page or report card. Don’t ever do something if your heart isn’t in it. And don’t try to better yourself just because you think that will make someone else happy–you have to want it too.

It hasn’t been but in the last 5-6 years that I have started making deliberate choices for myself and I’ve gotta say, it feels good.

Success is measured, often times, by people who believe the letters they are assigned on a piece of paper, the people who fall in line and do as they’re told.

Even though I got B’s and C’s and sevvvvvveral D’s and F’s, I knew that wasn’t me. I didn’t let it define me.

I know some might say that I didn’t have “work ethic”, but I do. I just genuinely hated algebra. ๐Ÿ˜‚

If there’s any advice I can give, having been on this earth for 27 years, it’s don’t sweat the small stuff. College doesn’t define you either. Do what you think you were meant to do. The rest will fall into place. โœŒ๐Ÿป

Itโ€™s All in the Details


ย  You know how you get excited when your favorite team wins? When they make it to the Final Fourโ€”thatโ€™s a thing right? Forgive me here because I donโ€™t speak sportsโ€”but your team makes it and you just want to scream and cheer?

Or that feeling you get when someone higher up at work realizes all the work youโ€™ve been doing? Or when youโ€™re all about Pumpkin Spice Lattes or, in my case, Peppermint Milkshakes from Chicfila, and when that season rolls around and you can get them again, you are just filled with ecstasy and youโ€™re like, โ€œYEAHHHH! This is the LIFE!!!โ€

Well, thatโ€™s the feeling I get when I find super good deals, specifically on clothes, while Iโ€™m out thrifting or at estate sales. ๐Ÿ˜ I think Iโ€™m going to have to do a roundup blog on some of the best deals Iโ€™ve gotten and my favorite thrifted pieces! ๐Ÿ‘—๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘˜

For now though, I just want to highlight some cool things I found the other day. I know it must seem like I buy clothes all the time ๐Ÿ˜‚, but I really donโ€™t. A lot of the time, my outfits incorporate stuff Iโ€™ve had forever, or Iโ€™m getting stuff for like $1. ๐Ÿค—

Anyways, this green top(which looks blue-ish here) was a STEAL. Long story short, I returned some shoes like a year ago and had credit at this store and it turns out, they have clothes now! This top was on clearance for $6. I looooove the ring detailing on the sleeves and itโ€™s a longer tunic top, so itโ€™s amazing with leggings! Also not pictured(but Iโ€™ll post about it for my Fall Blog/Vlog at the Pumpkin Patch ๐ŸŽƒ) a button up skirt I got for $3!!!

I love finding tops like this for fall. ๐Ÿ˜ They make it so simple to pull together an outfit!

I also yanked out this H&M sweater Iโ€™ve featured before. It was found at a local Goodwill for between $3.99-$4.99!

I am embracing the layered looks, long tops and boots! ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป

Anyways, hope you all have a great night! This weekend will be a busy one, but Iโ€™ll post about our adventures at the corn maze+reveal my Halloween costume! ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

How to Get the Best Deals on Flights โœˆ๏ธ


ย Hey, guys! โค๏ธ

I had several people respond positively when I said I might do a post on this subject, so here it is!

I am super passionate about traveling and seeing the world and itโ€™s probably safe to say that most of you all would jump at the chance to travel some too, right?

But if youโ€™re like most people, me included, money plays a big factor in our traveling plans.ย 

ย I am a bargain hunter. If youโ€™ve read my blog long enough, you know this about me! I wasnโ€™t always this way, but after moving out and getting married, I realized how much things cost…and how I could score amazing deals on things. I usually find my best deals thrifting and clothes shopping, but travel is no exception!

Two weeks ago, I found an amazingย deal on a flight to Italy for not just my husband and I, but my grandfather and parents. Because of this, we are now getting to do something Iโ€™ve always dreamed of!

So, Iโ€™m going to share what worked for me with you guys! I hope these tips will help you to find some great deals on flights! If this post goes over well, I might also post about VRBO or some other ways we have saved booking accommodations and more for this trip in an upcoming post! So, here are my top tips for How To Get the Best Deals on Flights!๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป

1. Map It Out.

Sometimes, you have no destination in mind, you just want to get away, I get it, but I suggest picking a place on the map and going from there. I chose Italy because it has so much to offer! Pretty much any country is older and more established than the United States, but when I got to thinking about it, Italy is full of sights and things to do, from Venice and Florence to Rome and the Amalfi Coast and so much more!

By picking the place I wanted to go, it motivated me to learn everything I could about traveling to Italy and finding the best deals.

2. Multi City Flights VS Same City Flights

ย I think a lot of times when we travel, we think inside the box. We fly out of one city and into our destination city, then we fly back out of that exact same city!

What I came to learn is that a lot of times, that is not the best or the cheapest option.

For example, for this 2 week trip I planned, I want to see a lot. Venice, Florence, Pisa, Cinque Terre, Rome, Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. In 2 weeks, just a little bit over. Is it crazy? Maybe. Can it be done? Definitely!

I decided early on that it would probably be in our best interest to do a multi city flight, where we would fly into one city and out of a different one. This is a great plan if you have a lot you want to see, plus it saves you time and major cash trying to double back to your starting point. ๐Ÿ’ฐ

Hereโ€™s an actual screenshot of the flight we booked.

We booked a flight going into Venice and coming back from Naples, which was much, much cheaper! $769 per person, ROUNDTRIP.ย 

Thatโ€™s freaking incredible!!! Just for perspective, tickets were anywhere from $1,200-$1,700 a piece, which leads me to my next very important tip!!!

3. Use Skyscanner, Viyama & Kayak.

I had the most luck with Skyscanner. They compare tons of different sites to get you the best deals possible. If you use their app or go on a desktop to their site, they also have a feature that allows you to compare the lowest flight dates for an entire month! Google Flights can also do this.

I just love Skyscanner for itโ€™s easy navigation. Check them out first when looking for flights, international or within your own country!

4. Search In Private Browser.

ย Whatever you do though, always search in private mode on your phone or computer! I tested this out myself and it is crazy! Our devices track cookies on websites and those sneaky airlines jack up the prices when they see that people have interest in specific flights. Not cool. So, keep it under cover. ๐Ÿ˜‰

5. Check Flights on Wednesdays.

ย On Wednesdays, we get the best flight deals. ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿผ

Seriously, though. I tested this trick out too when looking for flights. Wednesdays are when a lot of airlines post sales. The worst dates to look are on Mondays or Fridays.

You have to be consistent too. I checked flights every Wednesday for almost the past year until I got the best deal Iโ€™d ever seen. I can honestly say this is the lowest price Iโ€™d ever seen for Italy.

6. Fly Out In the Middle of the Week

When it comes to the dates you should fly out, always be flexible. Monday and Friday are some of the worst dates to fly out. ๐Ÿ‘Ž๐Ÿป

I booked our trip leaving on a Tuesday. Tuesday and Wednesday seemed to be consitantly cheaper than most other days. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

7. Be prepared to BOOK IT.ย 

You should always be looking at flights, even when you donโ€™t have the full amount saved up; it gives you an idea of what good and bad prices are, but in the end, when you have your cash saved up, be ready to book at a momentโ€™s notice! When I saw the deal we got, I called everyone together because I had never seen the prices so good!

After getting my passport, booking those airline tickets was the second most rewarding thing Iโ€™ve done in my life in a looooong time.

So, there you have it! Itโ€™s not rocket science, but thereโ€™s definitely an art to it! The real trick is being consistent.ย โœŒ๐Ÿป

Donโ€™t ever stop dreaming, donโ€™t ever stop searching and keep it up until you can get to where you really want to go!