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Kayla

Adventure is out There

This past Sunday, my pastor did a nontraditional Easter sermon. He spoke about how we are all created with this innate desire to seek adventure, to see what’s behind that door, to see what’s beyond that mountain. As kids we are so excited to try new things, to see what would happen if we went down that trail in the woods, if we went just a little further down the beach, if we climbed up that rock. We craved adventure and craved seeing things we’ve never seen before. But somewhere along the way, we lost this sense of adventure. We lost our desire to explore and try new things, because we are busy and set in our routines.

We sit on the couch every weekend binge watching Netflix, cleaning the house, or doing chores we pushed off during the week. But we don’t do anything new, we don’t step outside our comfort zone and explore. Nothing happens outside of the one to two vacations we take each year. We accept a life where we only explore and try new things two times a year. But what if we just tried one new thing a week? What if you just took two hours out of your weekend to do something that excites you, that challenges you, that makes you feel like a kid again?

So today, I want to go over 5 Adventures you can try this weekend!

  • Skydiving! This is a bucket list item. If you are like me and have always wanted to go, get out of your comfort zone and do it! There are always skydiving deals on Groupon and you can get videos/pictures of you doing this amazing bucket list item! If you are scared to try it, think about it this way; when you are in a plane flying to vacation, you are always looking out the window in awe of what’s below. It’s such a unique sight, and skydiving gives you a chance to see the world from a whole new view and with the trill of having nothing beneath your feet!
  • Go to a New Sporting Event! I am not a fan of basketball, I’ve been to a couple games with my dad as a kid, but it was never my favorite sporting event. But an opportunity arose for me to go to a Phoenix Suns game this week with people from my work. Did I hop on a chance to experience a new venue and a new team that I’d never seen before? Absolutely! You will only regret the things you didn’t do! See what sporting events are happening in your area and experience something you’ve never seen before!
  • Hot Air Balloon Ride – These rides offer amazing views of your city, or the city you are visiting. I have heard nothing but wonderful things from everyone who has been on one of these rides! You have to pay a little more than usual for these, but they are such a unique experience. Most people go on dates on the weekend anyways, why not make this date one you will never forget?! The best rides are first thing in the morning, so you can see the city wake up right before your eyes! (By the way the best place to get deals on Hot Air Balloon Rides is Groupon)
  • Hike a Trail/Mountain – There are trails or mountains to climb everywhere in the world. No area has a shortage of outdoor spaces to explore. Try a hike that is a little more challenging but offers amazing views, don’t sell yourself short on what you can do and see! In Arizona there are hikes surrounding each area of Phoenix, but if you travel two hours north, there are unbelievable views from the hikes in Flagstaff. Take a quick minute and go to trails.com to find hikes in your area! All it requires is your time and energy!
  • Concerts/Shows– I know for a fact there are concerts/shows every month in every area of the country! It may not be your favorite artist, or the circus in town, but there is something! Go see that new Broadway show, or see Pitbull live! (my husbands dream concert) Go see a local play or go to a bar with live music and see what talent is all around you! Enjoy seeing new things with friends or your significant other, there is so much creative talent if you just go out and find it. If you are really adventurous head out to Nashville for some of the best local live shows around! 😉

 

Adventure awaits you!

-xoxo

Kayla

Living with a Fisherman/Hunter

Growing up my dad wasn’t an avid fisherman or hunter. He would go hunt occasionally, and we would go fishing in the pond behind our house, but it was never a lifestyle for him. So when I started dating my husband, I was immersed in a lifestyle that was centered around fishing and hunting. Let me tell you, it was a major change for me!

First off, fishing and hunting takes a lot of time! The first time he tells you he is going fishing, you think, “okay, he will be gone a couple hours or so”. Nope! I’m going fishing is code for, “I am leaving at 4:30 am to drive to the lake by sunrise and I will be gone until dusk.” And that is the exact same line you get during hunting season. Good part is, you get a free day all to yourself! However, when it becomes an every weekend thing, sometimes you go with him just to spend some time together!

The next thing you learn is that fishing and hunting are very expensive hobbies! I had no idea the amount of lures, rods, scopes, guns, ammunition, clothing and many more things that are needed to accomplish these hobbies. My nights now consist of watching my husband look up new fishing and hunting techniques, videos on new gear coming out and showing me the boats and land we will be acquiring in the future.

Although there are things about my husbands hobbies that are a huge lifestyle adjustment, one thing he always does is he is so considerate of my feelings. He always asks to make sure I don’t have plans for us before he goes out and he always invites me along if I want to go. Never once has he said I couldn’t go or that I had to stay home, he always encourages me to come along or do something I enjoy while he is gone. While fishing and hunting are expensive and time consuming, I could think of worse things my husband could do. Fishing and hunting ground him, help him to relax after a stressful week and really connect him with the Lord.

So my advice for spouses of an avid fisherman/hunter, count your blessings! You love a wonderful person with so many amazing qualities and interests!

Ballerina Dress

Today, I wanted to show off this adorable dress from Ever-Pretty.  Super cute and flirty. This is an outfit that I plan on wearing on some fun date nights in the future! Absolutely beautiful in every way! When it comes to dresses I can be pretty picky, if it’s itchy or uncomfortable I will rarely wear it. However, this dress is comfortable and absolutely beautiful.

The dress is called, Alisa Pan Sleeveless Tea Length Ballerina Dress. You can find this dress and more at Ever Pretty. I absolutely love how well this dress fit! The top is a real soft feel and the bottom has a tulle feel to it on the outside, but the inside is lined with the same material as the top to make the dress comfortable for all day wear.

When you buy clothes online, there is always a chance that they won’t fit you perfectly, but let me tell you this dress fit like a glove! I would give Ever Pretty the highest recommendation after this review! Fast shipping, great return policy, and excellent material for your money!

 

Check out Ever Pretty for more gorgeous high-quality dresses!

 

Tips for Working Out on a Busy Schedule

My dad has always said that 80% of working out is just showing up. I cannot express how accurate this is! The biggest hurdle standing between me and working out is convincing myself to get to the gym. Once I make it to the gym, I am able to concentrate and start on my workout. This is obviously easier said than done, so I have a few tips that have helped me get off my butt and to the gym.

Tip #1: DON’T SIT DOWN!! As soon as you sit down from getting home from work or errands or dropping the kids off at school, do not sit down. The second you sit down your desire to get back up and head to the gym is almost gone! I have found that if I get home, say hello to my husband and kitties, change and head straight to the gym, I feel better about myself and my workouts are almost always harder and better.

Tip #2: Plan to workout. Personally, I head to the gym after I get home from work. This means that I have to have dinner already planned and set out before I leave for work so I don’t have to stress or take time out of my workout. This also means that I have already set aside the time to head to the gym, eliminating some of the excuses that come to mind at the end of the day!

Tip #3: Accountability Tell your spouse, parent or friend when you plan to workout. Yes, I agree, it gets annoying having someone keep you accountable to work out. But there is nothing better. Their love and care for your health is worth a little aggravation!

Tip #4: Find Your Why Why are you doing this? What is the deep, real honest truth behind why you want to work out? Do you want to get healthier, improve your stamina at work and home, run a marathon or get involved in local sports team? Whatever your reason, it needs to be a real constant reason that will motivate you. If it isn’t motivating you, its not your why. Your why should drive you to get off the couch and get to the gym. Once you’ve found your why, there’s nothing you can’t do!

Tip #5 Have Fun! If you are bored, you will quit right away. This is why I have quit so many times. I get bored and think that spending time at the gym is worthless. My little gym at my apartment used to bore me until I realized what a luxury it is to have a gym all to yourself. I blast music, movies and TV shows to keep myself excited and entertained as I work out. Making my workouts something I look forward to has made them productive and fun!

If you have any tips I should try please let me know!

The North Pole Experience

Welcome Christmas Season! So excited to share our first Christmas event of the year!

My sweet husband went with me to the North Pole Experience(NPX) in Flagstaff, Arizona. The NPX takes you to the North Pole where you are able to experience the magic of Santa’s Workshop. You start your experience at The Little America Hotel, where you check in, get souvenirs and can get a cup of hot coco. Once your trolley bus is ready, you board and set off for the North Pole!

Once you arrive at the North Pole, you start out in Santa’s Toy room! You are able to see a bunch of fun antique toys that Santa used to make and kids get to take part in the Toy Solider Dance! So cute and so much fun! After that you head into the workshop where you help the elves dress teddy bears. Something to note before you head in is that you are not able to keep the teddy bear you dress up at the workshop, your child gets a teddy bear when they meet Santa at the end of the NPX. After Santa’s toy making room, you head to the gift wrapping room. Here children get to help the elves put toy parts on the conveyor belt that goes to the workshop and they get to see all the fun different wrapping papers that the elves use!

Once you’ve dressed the teddy bears and gone to the wrapping room, you get to see Mrs. Claus’s Bakery! Here you get some hot coco, a sugar cookie and get to dance with the elves. Personally, this was my favorite room, it was very well decorated, everyone was served hot coco and cookies quickly and the elves in this room were the most animated of the bunch! After you finish your hot coco and cookies you head to Elf University. At Elf University you learn what it takes to be an elf in the North Pole. Kids and adults learn the elf song and sing it together. Once you have learned how to be Santa’s elf, you go to the mail room where you write a letter to Santa! I even got my husband to write a letter to Santa 🙂

Finally, once you’ve written your letter you get to see Santa’s sleigh and meet Santa. Each family gets their own time with Santa and you get a personal photo as well! At the end of your time you receive a link and a code that leads you to your pictures! These pictures are available as soon as you walk out of Santa’s room! And that’s the conclusion of the North Pole Experience. This is a must do event if you have children, and for those that don’t, if you love Santa this is still a fun and magical experience!

 

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17 Things I’m Thankful for In 2017

17 Things I’m Thankful for This Thanksgiving

  1. For my family’s health-No matter what else happens during the year, I am always so thankful that my family is healthy!
  2. My husband is doing so well in medical school. 2nd year for us seems to be the hardest so far! He is getting a great GPA and I’m so thankful for his hard work this year
  3. We can pay our bills. If there is one thing I have learned during our time in medical school, it’s that if you are able to pay your bills, you are very blessed. Med students and their wives are forced to keep their budgets tight during school, being able to pay your bills is such a blessing.
  4. Thankful for the amazing weather this fall in Arizona! November and December are beautiful in Arizona! It’s no secret why there is a wave of baby boomers who come out here this time of year.
  5. My adorable two cats—I know that cats aren’t for everyone, so hear me out! My cats, Batty and Fred are the cuddliest, friendly cats you will ever meet. They love to talk to us and always want to be held or lay on our laps!
  6. Social media! When I moved away from family two years ago, I really struggled being away from family. The biggest blessing is that social media allows me to see what’s going on and still be involved in their lives.
  7. I am thankful for my husband, for many many reasons! He isn’t perfect, but he is always there, always forgives me and always pushes me to move forward.
  8. This past year, my cooking skills have drastically improved. I am learning to experiment in my meals, adjust the ratios, and memorize what spices work best with what foods
  9. Thankful for the possibilities in life. Knowing that things will not always be as they are now. That we have a bright future ahead of us!
  10. Contentment. Thankful that while I have dreams and goals for the future, I am content where I am. I love our small apartment, I love binge watching tv shows in our downtime, I love working through life together.
  11. Air conditioning! Seriously, this summer was one of the hottest on record in Arizona! Couldn’t thank the Lord enough this summer for air conditioning!
  12. Christmastime. Christmas is always a time where I can push away the bad, and focus on the good. Every year, I am so thankful for Christmas. Everyone becomes more generous, loving and compassionate!
  13. Thankful for the small things in life. The big things don’t come fast or easily. But the little things; small kindnesses, generous giving, little encouragement, these things make each day so much better.
  14. Honestly, I’m thankful for Netflix. My husband has to study a lot, which means I spend a good amount of time binge watching Netflix!
  15. I’m thankful that I get to live in this country, yes there is a lot of anger and frustration separating us, we still live in a wonderful place with so many opportunities!
  16. One more time…my husband, for the sacrifices he makes, for dealing with my craziness, and for loving me through it all!
  17. For a God that forgives us for our mistakes. It has been a rough year! Bad mistakes, doubt, disappointment, worry, but through it all, God loves us and forgives us! What a blessing that is!

And I am thankful for all of you! Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Travel on a Budget

Traveling on a budget is a unique experience. Because my husband and I are still in school (well he is), we are stretched pretty thin on how much we can spend on trips. Let me tell you what my plan is when we look for our vacations!

First and foremost, we look up the travel cost. As that is the most expensive portion of the trip, how much we have to pay to get there is half the battle. I scour for deals on all sites looking for times, dates, coupons; anything that will help us get there without spending so much. The big thing will travel costs when you are on a budget is be patient. It can get overwhelming when you want to go somewhere and you just can’t make the costs work. Stay the course, stay calm, and keep searching!

Next, we try and find a cheap place to stay. Don’t get me wrong, I love beautiful, stately hotels and it’s hard to not stay there. But if you can make it through a mediocre, slightly crappy hotel, you can save your money and use it to explore the sites! Let me paint you a picture of the most extreme example of this that I have done so far. My husband and I went to San Diego and he let me choose the hotel. I chose a hotel about 5 miles from the Mexican border at a Motel 6. Yes, I am fully aware these aren’t the best places to stay, but it was a holiday weekend and it was my cheapest option! The hotel was surprisingly very clean, with a giant flat screen and Direct TV. There weren’t any fancy accessories or anything special about the room, but it served the purpose of giving us a roof over our heads. By taking this room we were able to save our money to try new restaurants, activities and view the sites!

It may seem like you are missing out by not having the best hotels and amenities every time you travel, but its okay! Making small sacrifices gives you the ability to spend money on the things you really want to do, like taking a surfing lesson, going to a famous zoo, or exploring new parks.

Another good example of saving money when going on trips, is exploring the possibility of camping. I will be the first to say that camping has it’s downsides. But if you look in the right places, you can find a campsite with clean showers, sinks and general stores to help with your unexpected needs! We found a perfect campsite in Malibu, called Malibu RV Park. The campsite has a gorgeous view, clean shower rooms, and everything was well maintained. Camping ended up being so much better than staying in a hotel, and we were able to save a couple hundred dollars!!

Lastly, we only eat out one meal a day. Don’t get me wrong, when we do go out each day, we try a fun local place! But, when deciding between exciting activities or eating out, I will choose the activities every time! My suggestion is bring pop tarts and granola bars for breakfast and materials for sandwiches and chips for lunch. That and a 24 pack of water will get you through your trip on a skin tight budget. You may need to spend a little bit of money on a cooler, but the cooler will pay for itself after a few trips of following this regimen!

At the end of the day, you need to be patient and not worry about how you look. Don’t worry about what people think if you aren’t in the fanciest place or eating the fanciest food. As long  as you are enjoying your time and making memories you will have the best vacation!

And as always, remember travel is good for the soul!

 

Arizona Bucket List: Jerome 

Jerome, Arizona is a unique city on the side of a mountain just two hours outside of Phoenix. Jerome is considered the “Largest Ghost Town in America” and it fits the name! To get to the city you drive up the side of Cleopatra Hill, a steep mountain with a gorgeous view overlooking Sedona. When you get to the city, it is full of one of a kind shops, from the cutest hole in the wall coffee shop, to a year round Christmas store there are tons of fun shops to visit! Jerome also plays up it’s Ghost Town reputation with restaurants that host a wide variety of ghost related decorations. There are a variety of cute restaurants to eat at on your visit, the Vaqueros Grill and Cantina for example, hosts Mexican cuisine with a flare for the dead. Vaqueros also showcases handmade jewelry and local artwork from Arizona, making it a must see location!

My husband and I chose to eat at the Asylum Restaurant, a restaurant named because it was once an Asylum for the town. The Asylum Restaurant is at the top of the mountain giving you a stunning look at the Arizona landscape! The food was fantastic, and everything inside was beautifully decorated to fit the town theme and style! Another plus to this restaurant is that it couples as a hotel, if you are willing to stay in  rooms with the ghosts of the Asylum, this is the hotel for you!

My favorite attraction in Jerome is the Gold King Ghost and Mine Town. There is an array of old train cars, trucks, Volkswagen buses, and other antique equipment. We spent almost 2 hours wandering through all the antique equipment, tools and automobiles enjoying the memories of old. There is also working mining equipment that you can witness in action as you round out your trip to the Ghost and Mine Town.

If you are looking for the small town charm that America was built upon, Jerome is the place for you. I have no regrets spending the day in Jerome touring its unique charm! The next time you are in Arizona make sure you stop by Jerome!

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Inside the Cutest Coffee Shop in Jerome!

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View from Jerome

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View from our table at the Asylum Resturant

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Because all small towns need cute cups!

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My favorite antique truck in Tiffany Blue!!

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Fall Jackets Options this Season

The weather in Arizona is finally starting to cool down, so I am looking to find the perfect jacket for the cooler weather! I wanted to share with you some of the adorable jackets I am dying to get my hands on!

I am really going for styles that will transition well into the winter season. The winters in Phoenix range from the high 50’s to mid 60’s making jackets an easy look to carry over. The focus today is on two of my favorite boutique shops.

The first shop is Closet Candy Boutique. Absolutely one of my favorite stores! I’ve been dying to get my hands on this jacket. It’s the Ready for Take Off Jacket in the color chocolate. Its the perfect fall/winter jacket and is the perfect accessory to a plain white tee or a cute dress. Pair it with these adorable boots from Closet Candy and you have an amazing outfit!

One of my other favorite shops is Modern Vintage Boutique. This chic boutique sports a unique jacket I can’t wait to try out! I also adore this Faux Leather Cognac jacket! I love the lighter look for pumpkin patches, hayrides, walks in the desert, and everyday attire. It’s a beautiful jacket for fall!

The final option is the Sequins Sleeve Cargo Jacket. It ties two of my favorite things together, jackets and sequins! This is a unique and bold choice to pull off and I highly recommend you try it. This look will transition your style into the holidays seamlessly. Because, as we all know, sequins are the perfect addition to any holiday look!

I can’t wait to show you what I decide on! Let me know which item you think I should get below!

 

–Kayla

5 Things to Look for in a Photographer

One of my favorite hobbies, if you can call it a hobby, is getting professional pictures taken. I love the excitement of putting together a cute outfit, finding an adorable location, and getting pictures that will last a lifetime.

I thought I’d revisit our engagement pictures, and I just fell in love with them all over again! My expectations have grown over the years to expect better quality pictures and more candid poses. I am currently on the hunt for a good photographer to do Horse Shoe Bend in Northern Arizona. Today I am going to share with you 5 things I look for in a good photographer.

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My favorite “posed” photo. 🙂  Photo Credit: Jennifer Conrad Photography

 

Experience: If they have been to that specific location before, they will know how the lighting works, best angles to hit, and where the best scenic areas are. I look for photographers who are experienced in the area I want the photos taken. It takes a lot of the pressure off you to know where to line things up.

Quality: When you are looking for a photographer, make sure you for consistent quality. Zoom in on the photos, do they look fuzzy or are they clear as day? Make sure they have produced consistently superior quality photos or you could be at risk for getting fuzzy and ‘not quite right’ photos.

Price: There is absolutely no reason to overpay. I support paying a fair price for good pictures. But there is a fine line between a photographer who charges an appropriate price and one that is going to overcharge you. Make sure you read the fine print of the contract. Are you getting rights to the pictures? An online gallery? Do you have the ability to print the pictures on your own or do you have to order through the photographer? Make sure you know all the details of how the photographer works before you book the session.

Style: There are very different styles photographers choose. Some have a darker edge to their photos, some are natural light photographers, and some are studio photographers. Does their style fit what you are looking for? If you are looking through their photos and are saying, wow these are too dark, or too overexposed, or I don’t like how these photos are too posed, this is probably not the photographer for you. You want to go through their gallery saying, “Wow! I would love to have photos like this!” That moment is when I know I’ve found my style.

Reviews: Some photographers have reviews on their pages, others have comments under photos, and some have tagged pictures on Instagram. Take the time to research your photographer. Do clients seem happy with their pictures once they receive them? Is the photographer delivering their end of the bargain in a timely manner. Make sure you look into what others have said. It can save you a lot of headache in the future!

After you go through these five steps, you should have a gut instinct about which photographer will fit your style and needs. If you are unsure, it’s best to keep looking until you are confident with your decision! I am so excited for my next session and can’t wait to see yours as well!

View More: http://missmaephotography.pass.us/aldridge

Photo Credit: Miss Mae Photography 

View More: http://missmaephotography.pass.us/aldridgechristmasmini

Photo Credit: Miss Mae Photography