St. Petersburg, Florida

My first adult vacation. So desperately needed and so wonderfully enjoyed.

DSCF1053_2

Last year my best friend of nearly 20 years moved from our hometown in southern Missouri to a place so wonderfully different: Florida. The sweet beachside town of St. Petersburg to be exact. Located on a peninsula connected to Tampa Bay, the 244,769 population city is home to the Tampa Bay Rays, many beautiful beaches, fabulous culture, excellent museums, and much more. With 361 sunny days every year, I can see why my winter-hating friend made the 1,108 mile move. It also helps that a vast majority of the population is largely 25 to age 40 meaning a great shopping district, fantastic restaurants and bars, and a plethora of activities for young folks.

While we were in town for a short two and a half days, we watched the Tampa Bay Rays beat the New York Yankees 16-1, spent two cloudy but nonetheless enjoyable days at the beach, walked the pier countless times, gorged on amazing food and beers, but most importantly, we had a beyond amazing time visiting my best friend. It was a blast! I’m already planning my next trip down!

As per usual, I took way too many pictures. Enjoy! I hope they force you to begin planning your next vacation to the Sunshine City in the Sunshine State.

DSCF0896_2

Continue reading

The Glorious Days of Summer

As a kid I was determined to suck as much fun out of my summer days as possible. As an adult, the parameters of summer aren’t as clearly defined but the sentiments are still the same – have fun! For me, summer fun means spending as much time as possible soaking up the beautiful summer sun outdoors! Here are some of my favorites from this summer.

IMG_9356 IMG_9327 IMG_9323 Continue reading

The True Meaning of Valentine’s Day

No, it’s not a holiday created simply for consumerism. Although it does rake in lots of money for the Post Office as the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas because approximately 150 million cards are exchanged around Valentine’s Day. Actually Valentine’s Day is a holiday with quite a bit of history. However, its history is mostly told in the form of legends.

So, as legend tells it, St. Valentine was a Roman priest around 270 AD. At the time, Christians were being denied the sacrament of marriage because the Roman Empire outlawed marriage for soldiers. Roman pagans thought that unmarried men made better soldiers. So, St. Valentine, believing in the importance of the sacrament of marriage, performed weddings for soldiers and his special touch was a heart cut from parchment that he gave the newlyweds to remind them of God’s love and to encourage them to remain faithful Christians. Eventually, he was martyred for these crimes but before his execution he performed a miracle by healing a young girl of her blindness. On the day he was executed, February 14, he left the young girl a note that said, “Your Valentine.” St. Valentine’s heart-shaped parchments and the “Your Valentine” note are thought to be the origin of our modern celebration of the day. Legend also has it that the young girl who had been healed of blindness immediately converted to Christianity and planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near St. Valentine’s grave and the almond tree remains at the site as a symbol of abiding love and friendship.

Now, more than one thousand years later, the holiday of Valentine’s Day is celebrated through Valentines exchanged at school, red roses sent to loved ones, heart-shaped chocolates, and basically anything that can be colored red or pink. My favorite Valentine’s memories are from childhood, my grandpa always helped me design beautifully unique Valentine’s boxes for my school’s holiday parties including robots, airplanes, kitties, and more.

David and I don’t celebrate the holiday anymore but he made our very first Valentine’s Day very memorable. Our freshman year, we were living down the hall from each other in the dorms. On V-Day he picked me up with the “plan” to head to one of the few nice restaurants in our small college town. Then he told me that we had to go to his room because he had forgotten to put on his coat. Little did I know that he had made a romantic dinner for us in his room. The catch? He’d locked himself out of his room! So he had to find our student advisor to let him in while worrying that his yummy dinner was getting very cold. Luckily, it didn’t take long to unlock the door to present his surprise. It was my first Valentine’s with a boyfriend and he made me feel very special and loved with a romantic gesture. No candy, flowers, or hearts necessary.

Whether you celebrate the day of love with a significant other, friends, family, (a pint of ice cream on the couch), or simply ignoring the holiday, just be sure to spend it with someone (or something) that you love. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Our First Valentine's Day

Our First Valentine’s Day

My Thanksgiving

To me, Thanksgiving is about gathering with others to appreciate what we’ve been given. We come together to enjoy something that everyone can agree on, food.

Continue reading

Carefree Day

Sometimes, I force myself to drop all responsibilities in order to take the time to enjoy a carefree day. When I was a kid, carefree days happened almost everyday. I grew up on a non-working farm, 50 acres of never-ending exploration. My brother and I frequently spent our days searching for frogs in the ponds, climbing and jumping between hay bales in the fields, pretending to drive all the equipment in the barn, and playing with our pet sheep, donkeys, and cats. Yeah, we had odd pets. Now that I’ve grown to adulthood, I relish those carefree days. I rarely get the chance to wake up with nothing planned for the day. A day purely filled with exploration, relaxation, playtime, education, and much more. Last weekend, I had that day. I laid around in the morning, played in the backyard with my puppy, and then headed to the park with my best friends for an adventure!

Continue reading

Best Friends, Wine, and Beautiful Scenery

I’m off on holiday! I am so happy to be on my first paid vacation from my job. My stress level had hit the roof so this was definitely in order. I started it off right with a trip to St. Louis to visit my girls from college. We are all excitedly preparing for my friend’s wedding to her boyfriend of 11 years. And what better way to spend a Saturday than “researching” for the upcoming bachelorette party? And by research… I mean hitting the local wineries!

Continue reading

The Importance of Communication

Getting mail is basically the best thing ever unless it’s junk that is. But when it’s from your best friend it’s awesome! (Well I guess my puppy got mail, not me.)

Continue reading