Skydiving & El Alma’s!

Jumping into this recap- quite literally….

I saw this person putting on a show on the slack line along Lady Bird Lake. There was a little crowd watching him. How fun does this look?!

On October 11th, Deej and I went for a nice walk in the evening. The view of this city never gets old.

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On October 12th I enjoyed one of my favorite dishes for the fall. It is packed with flavor- sautéed tofu with coconut oil, brown jasmine rice, various Indian inspired spices, wilted veggies and roasted chickpeas. Such a comforting and filling dish.

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Now for the big event of this post!! On October 14th I surprised DJ for his birthday with Skydiving (or sorta surprised because he figured it out almost immediately when I said I had a surprise). He has wanted to go for a while, and we had one single afternoon/evening we could actually do something— so go big or go home right?!

Neither of us had been before, and it was the definition of epic. I think I embarrassingly overuse that word, but if there is any instance to use it, this is it! The scariest part, in my opinion, was just the tiny little rickety plane we were in. I have never been in a plane that small, and it felt like it could fall out of the sky any second. The views were STUNNING- I wish I could share those.

Some things that surprised me: Firstly, it was freezing as we were about to jump out. You can see me shivering right before we jump. I think it was just shocking since minutes prior we were in very warm and balmy temperatures on the ground. Secondly, it’s a much more mental experience than physical. I expected to have the ultimate “stomach drop” feeling like you experience on rollercoasters- but since there is no G-force your stomach doesn’t drop (I don’t entirely know what that means; I’m simply regurgitating what I heard, haha). Lastly, the free fall lasts longer than I’d expect. I didn’t mind though- it’s a great experience. My ears did hurt a bit, but I have always had ear sensitivity with changing pressures, so that wasn’t much of a surprise. We were pretty excited to check it off our bucket list! That’s been at the top for a while.

In order to celebrate both DJ’s birthday and surviving falling from 15,000 feet out of the air (give or take), we headed to El Alma for some great tex-mex.

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Inside is super cute and upstairs has an outdoor stone patio area. It’s relaxed, but still adorable with twinkling lights everywhere.

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We started with their house queso (of course!). It is called queso blanco y rojo with spicy queso, árbol salsa, rajas, onions, mushrooms, and tostadas. This is my favorite queso we’ve had so far in Austin yet. It had mushrooms in it which is a pretty original twist, but oh boyyyy did it work!! It was the creamiest most flavorful queso with a kick and the tostadas they served it with were not your typical tortilla chips- they had more flavor and were more hearty.

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For my main dish I ordered the veggie verde enchiladas with spinach, mushrooms, rajas, smoky tomatillo salsa, raw hemp seeds, white rice, and black beans. It was fine- I probably wouldn’t order it again. I also filled up on a whole lot of queso before so maybe I’m not giving a fair assessment, haha.

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DJ tried a couple of their tacos which he enjoyed, but probably not the favorite in town. We’ll definitely be returning for that queso though!

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October 15th I took an afternoon walk and listened to a podcast per usual.

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In the evening I made DJ some rice and pesto genovese chicken.

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I had my leftovers from my enchilada and threw on a fried egg for good measure. If you’re ever not sure what to do with certain leftovers, I recommend throwin’ on an egg! Makes a meal out of just about anything.

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I had this fun find below at Trader Joe’s. Okay this officially shows how behind I am on these posts, hahah.

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We also tried the burrata, prosciutto and arugula pizza from TJ’s on October 19th (I just took the prosciutto off mine). It was so yummy. I have yet to have a bad pizza from TJ’s- they are some of our favorites.

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On October 21st I chatted a while with one of my friends from my previous nursing job. I put this lasagna in the oven and then decided while it cooked I would walk and chat on the trail. (It bakes for about 45 mins). I totally forgot about the lasagna, and when I realized the time I interrupted my own sentence with “THE LASAGNA”. My friend was like “come again?” I explained I think I was burning our lasagna, potentially down our apartment, and our phone call wrapped up quickly after that. Thankfully DJ took care of it, so we’re all good, and it did not burn down our apartment complex, thank gooooodness.

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On October 24th I enjoyed oats with raspberries, Fage and PB2 with some coffee to start the day.

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Later that day I took a chance taking a walk out on the trail. I did end up getting rained on a bit, but it was fun seeing these dark clouds over the lake.

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The morning of the 26th I had a couple errands to run downtown. I stumbled upon this Day of the Dead Parade and took a moment to line up with the rest of the crowd to watch as the various characters passed. It was a fun surprise to start the Saturday!

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That evening we witnessed one of the first of many gorgeous sunsets.

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Feels like a good place to stop for now. Thanks for reading 🙂

Questions for you!

  • Any experiences of your own with skydiving?
  • Do you have a preferred meal or restaurant for your birthday?

xo <3

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Corner Restaurant & Flying Bread?!

**Testing one…two…three, Testing…**

Let’s hope I remember how to do this!

Hey all!! Ohhh how it feels good to be back on WordPress. I just took my last final exam (early!) and it went well. The semester is a wrap, and I feel like I can breathe again! Even though quite a bit of time has passed since I’ve actually physically written a recap post (August), I don’t think it’ll take terribly long to catch up since we really have not done a whole bunch. It’s been a tough few months. Some of the toughest. We are depleted- physically and emotionally- so we are definitely looking forward to a tiny bit of a break. I know this is just life and this was a season, but oh man, was it a doozy. However, there were some fun memories along the way that are begging to be written down. Something I have learned through blogging is there is always something good even in the most stressful or difficult of times, we just have to find it. It’s okay, and important, to acknowledge and allow yourself to feel the hard times too, but intentionally being thankful for the good that does exist helps keep things in perspective. Since I haven’t been writing at all I have lost track of that a bit, and it became very easy to fixate on the stressors without any kind of outlet. But here we are, a bit retrospectively, to dig the good out of what has been a trying time.

I currently have on the Great British Baking Show on in the background (ya know I always get a hankerin’ for baking shows at Christmas time) and my cup of coffee… so let’s get on with it, shall we?!

On August 24th, we walked downtown to Corner restaurant for a little date night. We first noticed this restaurant when our family stayed at the hotel attached a couple weeks prior. I loved the whole relaxed, yet modern, feel of it all.

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It actually reminded me a little bit of Santana Row in San Jose with the outdoor seating. Also, the indoor seating is beautiful! It’s dim lit and very chic- so if you’re going for that ambiance that’s an option too.

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There were a few items on the menu we could not pass up on! The first was the zucchini cornbread. It was actually better than I expected… and I had high expectations based on the reviews! I think this may have been my favorite of everything we tried!

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We also had the blistered shishito peppers two ways with kaffir lime crema. Now, the peppers were great, but that kaffir lime crema was tremendous!! The mix of flavors that these dishes had were unique, but in a melodious way. It makes me want to try just everything on their menu because even the more “basic” items probably have a delicious spin on them.

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We also had their roasted kale and farro salad with pickled grapes and miso sesame vinaigrette. I did not know what to expect flavor wise with this…. but once again.. it blew me away! The flavor was certainly different, but it worked so well. Anytime I return this will be a must!

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And for DJ’s main dish- the braised short ribs with mashed potatoes, horseradish cream and seasonal veggies. He loved it.

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On August 25th after church I went for an afternoon jog along Lady Bird Lake trail.

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And August 26th let the semester commence! Boyy, I had no clue what I was in for.

On August 27th I decided to try out a new cafe while I went into syllabus shock and delved into the first assignments.

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It was some strong coffee, but also very delicious!

August 28th through the 29th I studied from home. On August 30th I decided to walk over to Bennu and enjoy one of their oat milk lattes.

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For dinner I made a sweet potato with black bean burger, quinoa, roasted mixed veggies and asparagus.

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September 1st we went to church and after we stopped by Thundercloud Subs, a local sub stop.

I was stoked to see they had “vegan chicken”. I loaded up on that and added some hummus and all the veggies to create a massive salad with some balsamic vinaigrette. It was filling and delicious. 😋

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I’m not sure which sub DJ opted for- I think something with Roast Beef- but he liked it. I think he still prefers Jimmy John’s.

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In the evening I did a massive trip to Trader Joe’s since I knew my time to go the store would probably be slim in the coming weeks. I guessed right- I have definitely had to stretch my trips out! Going to the store is such a treat for me–Any excuse to get out of my study den. Whenever I check out the cashier asks how long these groceries will last… It’s always less time than I guestimate. Anyone else?

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September 2nd I started the day with toast topped with figs, cashews and strawberries.

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I also enjoyed some sushi from TJ’s…. I wouuuld recommend this, but there has been a recent recall… so yeah, probably stay away for now, hah.

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In the evening I spotted this gorgeous view outside the workout room so I snuck outside to snag a picture of the picturesque sky.

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September 3rd more studying with occasional screen shots of memes I resonate with given my camera roll. September 4th I tried a new area of running near Zilker park! 🏃‍♀️

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On September 4th Christmas came early! These are all instruments I used to practice for my head-to-toe that I just completed a couple weeks ago (more on that later). DJ was the most gracious letting me test his reflexes, hearing, and look at his eyes/eardrums 938130958309 times. Haha. He’s the best.

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That evening I made some salmon with sun-dried tomato, an artichoke heart, quinoa and asparagus.

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September 7th I started the day with a delicious paratha topped with smoked salmon, capers, and a poached egg. I think I finally have that poached egg down! It only took 25 years. Thank you for the tips, Kori!

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On September 9th I started the day with some buttered naan with a fried egg and yellow lentil daal from TJ’s.

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In the afternoon I took a walk out on LadyBird lake. Gosh, I love love love this trail. You can find me on it pretty much every day (unless the weather prohibits it). I love turning on a podcast and walking or running a lap. I took DJ on the trail recently, and he was pretty amazed at how lovely the trail was. We try to get out and have a walk together on the weekends if we can because it’s so relaxing.

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Also, while crossing a bridge I saw this painting. I couldn’t help and take a pic because…. truth. Bread= An angel? Carbs give you wings? Bread is the wind beneath my wings? Whatever.. they all work.

In the evening I whipped up my go-to sweet potato with beets, avocado, roasted veggies, sun-dried tomatoes, and hummus.

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And then September 12th it was off to my first on campus!! I grabbed some Einstein Bros. coffee to help me wake up a bit.

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I studied on the whole plane ride and was pleasantly surprised to get Popcorners as a snack and a whole can of sparkling water (not just a cup of ice with a questionable dash of liquid). Go, JetBlue! I rarely ever fly with them, but it worked out it was the airline with the best deal for that trip, so I’m not complainin’.

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I arrived to the hotel I’d be staying- it was just fine, no frills, but it had everything you could need. It also had a full empty fridge and microwave which came in handy for my leftovers (and free coffee 24-7 in the lobby!).

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I was pretty famished when I arrived, so I popped in a podcast and walked to the nearest food. There was this strip area below that had a mediterranean restaurant that had my name on it. No, I didn’t even consider Chipotle for all you Chipotle fanatics. Chipotle is well…. it’s.. okay… it’s sustenance. I just think it’s overrated. There, I said it. Talk about an unpopular opinion- coming back into blogging with a splash, lol.

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I got enough to feed an army– a side of lentils, tabouleh, marinated cucumbers and tomatoes and tzatziki to go with hummus, baba, pita, and falafel.

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In the morning I got up at 5:30 am to get ready for my first OCI day! They offer a complimentary breakfast, nothing too crazy- but I love the Chobani mixed with different cereals and a little danish.

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I’ll recap more of the on-campus in the next post. Thanks for reading! Thankful for you all & the WP community. Blogging is more important to me than I even realized; a few months without it certainly brought that to light! I’m going to try to do a better job prioritizing it next semester. I hope you all are having a great holiday season thus far!

Questions for you:

  • What do you think that bread with wings symbolized? Curious if someone has some insight…
  • Chipotle- yay or nay?

xo <3

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A (F)untraditional Christmas!

Hello beautiful people!!! I am typing up this post from the air heading to Dallas, TX! Woohoo!!! So much has happened since my last recap, and I’m excited to fill ya in! To be honest… this holiday season I have been a bit of a Grinch. Not outwardly, in my conversations or by my actions…but certainly when reflecting on my own thoughts. I’ve known for a couple months now that I was going to have to work on the 23rd, 24th, 25th, and 27th. This only left one day for celebrations (the 26th)… and any time I work three in a row I have a difficult time opening my eyes the next day, nonetheless try to throw together a Christmas celebration on my “Sammy day” as we say (sandwich day in between work days).

I begged DJ to fly back to Ohio to be with family. After all, I would be at work majority of the time and when I was not I would be, well, .. A. exhausted and B. an actual B. Catch my drift? It’s just reality. I turn into a MONSTER by day three. Like Wicked Witch of the West meets Ursula. But, alas, the sweet hubby refused to leave me.

If ya know me, I have more “basic” tendencies than not…a la CHRISTMAS OBSESSED. Yet this whole season I didn’t feel inclined to blast Christmas music, baking cookies, or watching Christmas movies when I felt there would be no real culmination celebration with family and friends to celebrate our Savior’s birth. Ya knowww?

BUT there were till some fun happenings that didn’t allow me to avoid the season entirely.

On December 16th, One of DJ’s coworkers held a beautiful Christmas party in her home. It was incredibly elegant with charcuterie galore, hors devours, caviar, an omelette station, a plethora of salads, biscuits and gravy, mini parfaits, etc. etc. Not to mention the most satiating dessert bar. It was delicious and fabulous! I had a ball getting to know Dj’s coworkers better too.

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For the 17th and 18th we both worked hard and then the next few days I tried to round up most of my research project. It’s due the 8th of January so we are ticking down to the last few days!!! Y’all I am PUMPED about it. I cannot CANNOT wait to share it!

On the 19th, Sara, Tammy, and I all headed out for some bday celebrations for Sara’s bday!

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We had drinks and cheered to another year of our Sara over salted caramel popcorn complete with peanuts, bacon, and rosemary (it sounds like an interesting combo, but it is an interesting combo that WORKS!).

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I savored their irresistible pan seared salmon with sauvignon blanc sautéed salmon, asparagus, zucchini, red onion, red pepper, fennel, roasted beets, avocado, arugula, and lemon vinaigrette.

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Tammy tried their butcher’s flat iron dip with carmalized onions, fresno chiles, mustard aioli, Havarti, and au jus.

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Sara opted for their cowboy burger with shoestring onion rings, bacon, cheddar, and beer barbecue sauce.

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We finished off with a complementary birthday Sundae for Sara. It was way too fun and nothing beats some good girl time. These two have kept my spirits afloat this year. I don’t know what I’d do without the two of them.

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When I went home, I was greeted by some decadent truffles from another client of DJ’s. I am a sucker for truffles. I cannot get enough. You all know I love a good cliché, and does it get more cliché than Christmas truffles? I think not, and if loving this cliché is wrong I do not want to be right.

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The 23rd-25th were work days. Guys, so much happens during my day on our crazy neuro floor and I have so many stories that I’d like to share (protecting all anonymity of course)…. But sometimes there is just too much to say and explain that I avoid sharing anything all together. These days were filled with my first patient fall, rushing a patient to surgery to prevent paralysis, and a few tears. The thing is…..each day I have worked has a story, a situation that would make you gasp, cringe, squirm, or cry tears of joy and sadness. I am afraid to share these stories because I don’t want to do an injustice to the experience, to the fact that these are real lives, real person’s & family’s reality. However, for 2018, I am considering sharing a story, maybe once a week or every couple of weeks before I forget them. I have learned more about humanity, vulnerability, compassion, patience, and love in this past year through neurosurgery. I’d love to share these lessons and stories that have left a footprint on my soul. So stay tuned for how that all plays out.

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Our coworkers are so encouraging, and I’m thankful that we all have each other’s backs in the chaos.

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Also, one of the nurses brought in this HOMEMADE cake. HOW?!?

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The 26thDJ and I had our day to celebrate our Christmas. I kept telling him the 25th was our Christmas Eve. He played along like a trooper (even though I’d snap at him every time he mentioned Christmas being on the 25th… “NO HUN, IT’S CHRISTMAS EEEEVVVVVEEEEE”.

On our faux Christmas Day we slept until the cows came home and then had “Christmosas”, cinnamon rolls, an omelette, and I even made some turkey bacon for Deej. I love whipping up big meals, but now-a-days I feel like I have such little time to cook like I prefer to. This morning was a treat for me.

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Deej figured out how to get a fireplace to play through our TV. I just love love love ! Thank gosh he knows how to work technology. I swear I am from the stone ages when it comes to working a remote control.

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Christmosas: Dry champagne/ Martinelli’s grape juice/ granny smith apply slices/ pomegranate seeds.

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We then blasted our Christmas music, put on our now traditional Christmas onesies and opened presents on the ground like a couple of children. It was obnoxiously fun, and I want to say a massive thank you to all who sent the most beautiful gifts and stockings to our house to give us a real Christmas. It really did feel like Christmas, and I am so thankful DJ played along with me. Jesus wasn’t actually born on the 25th, right?!

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In the afternoon I laced up the new pair of Adidas Boosts DJ gifted me and headed out for  Christmas run… a Jingle Jog if you will! The weather was perfect, I had the sugar from the cinnamon rolls rushing through my veins- I was zooooming. Talk about a runner’s high! I felt like I could have ran forever. It was one of the most glorious runs I have ever had.

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For dinner, I whipped up scallop and crab stuffed sole (from Omaha Steaks- thank you Aunt Terry and Uncle Pat), asparagus, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, cauliflower mashed potatoes, roasted veggies with tofu, and grand’s flaky biscuits. We savored every bite over some nice white Pinot Grigio and a Charlie Brown Christmas.

img_4979-1img_4978-1img_5007-1img_5011-1We finished the night with some GLORIOUS Moser Roth truffles (THE best truffles on planet earth- their strawberry rhubarb is a must-try) and our classic Chocolate Chip cookies.

For being an untraditional Christmas, we both agreed it was one of the best. This was certainly a year I will treasure forever. I loved celebrating with my patients and my husband. Sometimes different is not so bad.

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I had to head back to work the 27th, it was a difficult shift..

I’m tired, y’all. So very tired. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Our project will soon be submitted and I will have a minute to breathe…. Maybe… we’ll see! I’m learning to just enjoy the small moments, take deep breaths, and count my blessings because there are so very many- this blog and all of you being one of them. This has been the hardest year of my life (besides the year I lost my Dad). But I would not trade it for the world.

This morning (28th) was filled with early morning wake up call, stuffing myself with some toast, a full on pat down going through security (I was basically stripped to my breeches in the airport), and now a minute to sit back and relax on the plane. We are heading to Dallas and are munching on nuts, a salad for me, and a burger for DJ. I am working on my thank you cards from Christmas (I am one of those odd birds that genuinely loves writing thank you cards). I cannot wait to see my momma and step dad, Pete, and of course, my little pooch, Jade.

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I don’t usually make New Years Resolutions. But this year I have one…

I have learned an enormous amount this past year and one of those lessons is that there is freedom in vulnerability. I have things I want to share but have not yet had the courage to. I have slowly showed you all my heart in certain situations, but I hope in 2018 I can dive deeper, share more of my heart, and be honest about parts of my story that I have never shared before.

Thank you for sharing in our life, for supporting and encouraging us on our journey. I am thankful, I am so thankful for each of you.

xo <3

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