Guy Day Friday [Shrimp Tacos]

I discovered this delicious shrimp taco recipe a few weeks ago (thanks, Pinterest) and thought it would be PERFECT for a guy who wants to make something a little more involved than a single protein + a veggie + a starch. It’s delicious AND healthy, so a real winner in my book.

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I altered the recipe slightly to make it a little spicier. I like to serve it with 1/2 cup black beans or refried black beans (organic!). This is pretty close to ‘clean eating’, except for the tortillas. I usually get wheat tortillas, but you could skip them all together and just do taco salad. It would be yummy either way!

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Ingredients:

  • Raw (or frozen) large shrimp (remove tail) *you’ll want about 5-7 per taco
  • Tortillas (flour, corn, you pick!)
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro (finely chopped)
  • 1 lime or lime juice
  • Small head of lettuce or red cabbage
  • Fresh salsa (not salsa from a jar, should be found in the produce section)
  • Optional: jalapenos, cheese, salsa
  • 1 6 oz. container of 0% greek yogurt

Spices needed:

  • Cumin (1/2 tsp) + 1/4 tsp for sour cream
  • Paprika (1/4 tsp)
  • Crushed red pepper (1/4 tsp)
  • Cayenne pepper (1/4 tsp)
  • Garlic (1 clove – minced)
  • Salt (dash – OPTIONAL)

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Directions:

  1. In a large skillet with a TBS olive oil, put thawed shrimp flat on one side over medium heat
  2. Cook shrimp on each side for 3 minutes
  3. Mix garlic, cumin, cayenne, red pepper and salt in a small bowl (if you have time to marinate the shrimp, mix these items before, add 1 TSP olive oil and put shrimp in bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes before cooking)
  4. While shrimp are cooking, chop your avocado, tomato, onion, lettuce, and lime (and jalapeno if you have one)
  5. Once shrimp are pink on both sides, cover with spice mixture and 1/4-1/2 cup of water (depending on how many shrimp you have) and turn heat down to low-medium to let simmer (for 2-5 minutes)
  6. Mix yogurt, juice from 1 lime (or 1 TBS lime juice), 1/4 tsp cumin, 1/4 tsp paprika and 2 TBS chopped cilantro together to make Cilantro-Lime Sour Cream
  7. Heat tortillas just before serving
  8. Serve and top with items of choice + a side of black beans or refried black beans

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This is an EASY dinner and delicious to top it off! I like to use the leftovers for taco salad the next day. Enjoy!

Good things and good reads!

On New Year’s Day, as we laid in bed, closing out the first day of the new year, we went through our “Good Things” jar from 2014. It was a nice way for us to remember and reminisce on all the amazing things we had done throughout the year.

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Throughout the year, we had slips of paper and a Sharpie laying by the jar so that any time, either of us could write down something we felt was good and slide it into the jar. The jar was QUITE full when we went to empty it out – and surprisingly, we only had a few duplicates!

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We went through them all, alternating who opened and read the paper and got to relive our excitement over moments such as promotions, certifications, being published, and finishing grad school. We smiled about our travels to St. Martin, Annapolis, Ponte Vedra Beach, Chicago and Boston. We high-fived for things like renting our townhouse out and buying a new house, fostering 7 dogs/puppies and seeing the very few wins that the Hokies had live this year. We talked about the best concerts we saw this year, the best weddings we attended, the friends we made. We added a new niece to our family this year and we BOTH added that into our jar.

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While we obviously enjoyed the moments as they happened throughout the year, it was so nice to go through each one together and take a moment to reflect on them. Once we finished, we talked about some of our goals for 2015 and moments we were excited to add to our next jar, like: the Cliff of Moher, exploring castles, seeing the Eiffel tower, spending a week at Cape Cod, running a half marathon in Key West, remodeling our master closet, celebrating our birthdays and our 2nd wedding anniversary and 6th dating anniversary. We guessed which friends are planning to or might tie the knot this year and discussed how excited we were to celebrate with them. I’m so grateful to have someone who makes life so enjoyable, even on the bad days. I am looking forward to everything that we will do together in 2015 (and the 60 years that follow that!).

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I read this book by Lara Casey to start the new year. Lara has a very inspiring story and lives to inspire others to chase their dreams and make it happen. I wanted to share a few things I took away from the book:

  • Don’t waste time laying in bed and playing on your phone browsing through Instagram or Facebook (or checking emails), get up and get your day started!
  • A reminder not to choose social media/phone over spending time with your significant other. It’s hard to put our phones down since they give us so much information but it’s really inconsiderate
  • Take time to lay out your outfit, pack your gym bag and lunch the night before, it makes the morning so much less stressful (does anyone else change outfits like 10 times??)
  • Prune your tomatoes. I had no idea that we needed to do this but am thankful for the information as we start to plan our 2015 garden.
  • Say “I love you” always. Even when it is hard. Even when you’re mad. Always.

If you need a push to take that leap you’ve been dreaming of or some tips for living your life on purpose and cutting out waste, it’s a great book and an easy read. I highly recommend it.

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To round out the New Year’s Day weekend, my mom adopted this sweet pup who was tied up at a rural shelter on a freezing cold night. She was literally being walked back to be put to sleep when a volunteer scooped her up and saved her. She’s a little shy but very sweet. I’m so excited that we got a chance to meet her!

 

We Believe Santa 5k recap + giveaway

Before I tell you about my 5k today, I wanted to share a few more items that are part of the giveaway. When I contacted Wendy with LoveW Boutique to see if she would be willing to donate something for the giveaway, she responded with “Can I send you 10?” I mean, seriously, the generosity of this woman is overwhelming! I received the bags and they are even more adorable in person! She sent two different sizes, some change purse sized ones and some larger make up bag sizes, and all different designs.

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And I may or may not have squealed over the charms that are attached to the zippers:

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The smaller bags will be paired with the jewelry that was donated by The Painted Pearl, Lori’s Wire Jewelry and Island Cowgirl.

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So, by donating just $10, you could win some fabulous earrings, a necklace, or pink ribbon rings PLUS one of these darling bags. If you need a reminder on the jewelry, here you go!

Earrings from The Painted Pearl in gold or silver:

Painted Pearl
                         Painted Pearl

Necklace from Island Cowgirl:

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Island Cowgirl

Pink Ribbon Rings by Lori’s Wire Jewelry:

Lori's Wire Jewelry
Lori’s Wire Jewelry

Aren’t these items incredible? And aren’t the shop owners who are so generous also incredible? Their kindness has blown me away. And I’d love for you to have a chance to win any or all of these items in the giveaway. So go enter TODAY and don’t miss out!

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This morning I ran what will be my last organized race of 2014. I ran the We Believe Santa 5k at the US National Whitewater Center. I’m not a huge fan of trail races (although trail running can be quite enjoyable).

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I really should have been doing a 7 mile run today, but my legs were actually still a little sore from my 6 miler and workouts earlier this week, so I figured strenuous hills and trails would be enough of a workout today. And it was. I finished 206 of 480 participants. Somehow, I did not do so hot in my age group but I reminded myself that I wasn’t there to compete, just run and that I did.

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And I had my biggest supporter waiting for me when I crossed the finish line, so it was a good run.

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How was your Saturday? Hope it was AMAZING and I hope you’ve had a chance to check out all the amazing items in the giveaway and entered. Remember, it all goes to a great cause of making some special wishes come true for ladies who have breast cancer. Your support is appreciated and you’re basically guaranteed to win something with all of these amazing prizes!

Stationary Saturday

I want to spend today highlighting some more of the awesome items in the BIG BUCKET LIST GIVEAWAY. I LOVE stationary of all sorts (and love is probably an understatement – ask my husband!). I have drawers full of monogrammed stationary, cards just in case, notepads depending on my mood, meal planning notepads, gold foil notebooks, striped notebooks… you get the point. I obsessively purchase stationary items. And I’m excited to offer a few in this giveaway from from really awesome designers.

Image from EvelynHenson.com
Image from EvelynHenson.com

I started following Evelyn Henson on Instagram after stumbling across her gorgeous paintings. Those flowers could brighten up ANY day! I thought her “Take the bull by the horns” journal was PERFECT for this giveaway. I believe you should give 110% to everything you do and more than that, take charge of your own life, career, path. I’m incredibly frustrated by people who sit back and wait for things to happen, or who ask for help but don’t want to put in any work. So… don’t be those people. Take the bull by the horns and do big things. And check out Evelyn Henson while you’re at it, or enter the giveaway for a shot to win this journal (valued at $29.50).

Image from LHCalligraphy.com
Image from LHCalligraphy.com

I found Laura of LHCalligraphy when I was planning my wedding and was completely smitten with her calligraphy. Isn’t it gorgeous? She not only makes cool things like this journal but also stationary, cards, and adorable mugs. I highly recommend entering to win this journal in the giveaway, but also checking out her other fun goodies (especially if you’re planning a wedding!). Oh and did I mention that addition to this journal, you will also win the stationary from Sugar and Type?

Sugar and Type Stationary
Sugar and Type Stationary

These cards literally made me squeal when I opened the package. They are so cute and creative! Each card retails for $3-4 dollars in Ilana’s shop. So with the journal and stationary combined, you can not only make your own day ridiculously awesome, but someone else’s, too! I totally believe in the power of handwritten notes. People LOVE getting mail. You will be spreading cheer all throughout the year!

Image from MiGoals
Image from MiGoals

This gem of a planner is all the way from Australia! MiGoals generously donated this and it could be yours for donating just $10 to the great cause of helping breast cancer survivors cross items off of their bucket lists. Have you ever thought about how expensive healthcare can be for someone battling cancer? There are lots of things that get pushed aside in those times and that’s why we’re helping out! So grateful for this gorgeous planner (valued at $29.89) being donated and slightly jealous of the person who will get to plan 2015 in it. (GO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY for your shot at it!).

Image from Nude and Loitering Tees
Image from Nude and Loitering Tees

This planner (valued at $18) from Nude and Loitering Tees reminds us to just say “yes.” Did you ever watch the movie Yes Man? While it was a corny movie (sorry, Jim), it was also pretty darn clever. Teaching us to let down our guard and say yes to new adventures. You never know where life will take you if you’re just along for the ride. (I am in no way encouraging you to say yes to everything or yes to quitting your job and hiking around the world, but hey, do whatever floats your boat). This message makes me happy and I think seeing it every day in 2015 can be inspiring to someone. Let that someone be YOU. Give just $10 to put a smile on someone else’s face (a complete stranger!) and be entered to win!

Customized Wedding Guest Book
Customized Wedding Guest Book

Last but not least, this GORGEOUS customized guest book was generously donated by ForLovePolkaDots and will be designed for the winner. How appropriate since my blog started out as a wedding blog?! This will surely be classic for years to come and will preserve the memories from your special day forever. Have I told you how much I love monogrammed items? Because I LOVE monogrammed items. We did a fingerprint tree at our wedding, but if we had done something else, I’m guessing it would have been along the lines of this book (valued at $40). Know someone getting married in 2015? Tell them to go enter or go check out the shop to order their own!

So many AMAZING items to give away and so many more smiles to bring to the faces of the ladies who modeled at the Pretty in Pink Foundation‘s Fashion Walk and Gala. Thank you for being a part of this amazing cause and thank you again to the amazing people who donated their incredible items (you are all so talented!).

BWA [Book Worms Anonymous]

I’ve mentioned on more than one occasion that I am more than just a self-proclaimed book worm. I actually had a teacher tell my mom once that I read too much. I still disagree that reading TOO MUCH is even possible. I do try to balance my reading between easy, girly reads from Elin Hilderbrand and Jodi Picoult with books that are actually good for personal development.

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I selected these books to finish by the end of the year. I’m currently smack-dab in the middle of The Confidence Code and I’m loving it. I know what I’m doing with my job and yet, sometimes I feel like people don’t hear me. I am one of the youngest people in my group but I have a ton of experience and two degrees to back up my knowledge. Being more confident can only help me be assertive and sure in my role. I plan to finish the other five books: The In-Between, Loving What Is, #GIRLBOSS, DARE and Yes Please, by year-end as well, and save one special one for the whole month of December.

IntentionalThis little book is going to be my friend in December. It’s 30 days of an Intentional Marriage, with steps to do every day for 30 days. I don’t LOVE the title of “serving your husband” but I do agree with doing things to build up your husband and am grateful for the opportunity to spend 30 days with my husband. His work assignment now has him home for December and January (which is kind of like learning to live together all over again!), and that means we have lots of time together that we’ve been missing since he started this role back in February. I’m excited to see how this little experiment goes since he doesn’t know I’m reading the book. It has a task for each day such as “tell your husband 5 great things he does” or “Do something for your husband without him asking first.” I’m up for the challenge.

Any books you’re planning on finishing before the end of the year? I am ALWAYS looking for recommendations of good books!

Weekend Wrap Up

On Friday, we said goodbye to our latest foster dog, Daisy. She was adopted and went to a home with a whole acre for her to play on. Even after she ate 50 pieces of Halloween candy, destroyed my bathroom trash and trash can, and tinkled on the carpet, I still managed to fall a little bit in love with her and tears flowed as she went with her furever family. I’m so glad we were able to help her and keep her until the right family came along!

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We traveled to the triangle area to spend time with my in-laws over the weekend and to watch the Hokies play Duke. I was prepared for a brutally cold game, but instead was met with a sunny day with crisp air. I’ll take it!

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We cheered loudly for our Hokies, not actually expecting the “W”, but somehow, by some miracle, we pulled it off by 1 point. These are the faces of four happy Virginia Tech fans!

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Also, Wallace Wade stadium has it going on with its food choices: barbecue sandwiches, Greek Gyros, burritos, fajitas and nachos, turkey barbecue, pizza, hot dogs, Italian sausage, steak & cheese sandwiches…. I mean,  have you ever? There were so many options! The downfall was that they only took cash at most and who carries cash these days?

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While Monday wasn’t part of the weekend, I thought I’d do a little plug for protecting your skin. I had an appointment with my dermatologist on Monday and came out breathing a sigh of relief as I do each year. I am terrified that I am going to end up with melanoma after my teenage years that were spent in tanning beds and many more years spent worshipping the sun on beaches. I now cover up with at least SPF 30 but more often than not, I use SPF 50. Your skin is your biggest organ and Chelsea will tell you, it’s not worth it. I am so glad to hear her latest results that there is no evidence of disease – but take it from her, not me…. the cutting, chemo and constant doctors visits? Not worth having bronze skin.

PS – New super awesome giveaways coming soon for all those who donate to the Bucket List project! The more you donate, the more chances you have to win! Stay tuned!

Wednesday Wish List

Can you believe Christmas is right around the corner? 43 days away, to be exact! While I’m not sharing a “Christmas” list, I am going to share some things that I’m loving right now. Since we’re still in our first year in our new house, we’re still figuring out some things we want/need and where they’ll go once we have them. One thing we can definitely agree on is a firepit.
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I am smitten with this dormat from Lulu and Georgia that says “You & Me,” and is the song we danced to at our wedding. I would love to put it out on our screened in porch. Isn’t it darling?

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While we’re on the topic of Lulu and Georgia, I LOVE this book shelf. It’s so different from traditional book shelves and would look great separating our dining room and living room.

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I have also been swooning over bar carts but haven’t made a purchase yet. Society Social has a great one, but is definitely high-end.

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This vintage-chic one that I found on Etsy is also quite charming:

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Target also has a couple, one which is very simple but I do love that price!

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The other is gold bamboo which is unique, plus it has places for your wine glasses:

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We still want bikes so we can ride around our adorable neighborhood, but with winter quickly approaching (Friday’s “low” is 25 degrees! Brrr!), I doubt we’ll be riding bikes ANYWHERE in the near future. I’m not much of a jewelry person but occasionally I will find items that I love (mostly staples). I sent my husband this Kate Spade watch recently. I have a watch that I wear almost every day to work, but I think this one could be more of an every day and night kind of watch!

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I also love this simple gold bar necklace. I saw a similar one in Monkee’s when shopping with my BFF Amy. This one is less than half the price (I know, I know, you get what you pay for!), but it’s just as cute!

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I rarely splurge on high-ticket items for myself, so this baby will have to wait but I am definitely in need of a David Yurman Pearl ring. I have looked at this for years and just can’t ever seem to suck it up and buy it. Maybe for a push present when we have a baby (don’t get excited moms, Baby E and Baby L are still a long ways off!).

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These vegan Tieks are amazing. I have said over and over again that my Tieks were the best shoe purchase I’ve ever made. I love my gold ones, and after two years, they are finally starting to show wear. I would definitely by the same ones again, but if I were going to switch it up, these would be a close second.

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I’ve been eyeing GiGi clutches for a while now and this eggplant color is all the rage this season. Plus? I love anything monogrammed!

1gigiclutchMost of these things are just nice-to haves. I always have such a hard time coming up with lists of things I actually want for birthdays and Christmas. What are some things you’re loving lately? Would love to hear what’s on your wish-list this year!

Weekend Wrap Up

It’s Tuesday but it feels like Wednesday. Boy is this week flying by! My husband’s best friend, Charles, visited over the weekend. We ate A LOT of food, starting with Queen City Q for barbecue on Friday. Since we had just been there the week before, I opted for wings this time. Wings are my weakness. Actually, anything with buffalo sauce is my weakness. I could live off of bland foods dipped in buffalo sauce.

IMG_6659Our friends Enrique and Urmie who recently moved to Charlotte, joined us for dinner and the Hornets game. We were in row A and I can’t say enough how much I love not having people sitting in front of me (now only if I could also not have them behind me!). We spied Michael Jordan from our seats.

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Even after having him here in Charlotte for several years now, it’s still pretty awesome to see him live at the games. The game was a thriller, with the Hornets winning in double overtime, with a last minute 3-point shot by Lance Stephenson.

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On Saturday, I had to get in my run to stay on track with my training for Key West. I decided to take it outdoors since the weather was next to perfect.  I have no idea what happened on mile 3, but other than that, I had a pretty good pace.

IMG_6352I had some pretty awesome scenery on my run, too. Fall is amazing for running. I am dreading winter long runs with bare trees and grey skies. But hey, at least it’s not snowing yet!

IMG_6707Saturday evening, we introduced Charles to NoDa Brewing and Birdsong. Being the wonderful groomsman and friend that he is, he remembered that he had Birdsong’s Jalapeño Pale Ale before our wedding and that we served Olde Mecklenburg Copper at our wedding.

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We love Charlotte’s craft beer scene, although I will say that we were disappointed this weekend to hear of NoDa’s new location that will be on North Tryon, and no longer in walking distance for us. We had dinner at Basil, which is one of our favorite Thai restaurants. The guys decided to watch the Alabama/LSU game on Saturday evening and I was apparently exhausted from the day, so I went to bed at 8:45. We constantly have the debate over whether or not I get TOO much sleep. I still say that’s not possible.

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Charles headed out after a very filling breakfast at Zada Janes. It was delicious but holy cow, those portions are GIGANTIC! I picked up our foster dog Daisy on Monday and brought her back to our house for the week. She’s a small lab/beagle mix at 45 lbs. She is the cuddliest, sweetest pup who just wants to be loved. I don’t think she was given a lot of positive attention in her last home. She has already met her forever family and will be going to live with them on Friday. I can’t say enough good things about Lucky Labs Rescue here in Charlotte. They are amazing to work with and we’ve loved both of our fosters from there. I highly recommend checking out the labs they have available if you’re in the market for a furever friend, or filling out an application if you don’t see one that works. They are great about working to find out what kind of dog you want and finding matches. Yay for Daisy and her forever home. Fostering is also a great way to check out dogs and see how they fit in your home. So happy for you, sweet girl!

Bucket list wishes + a Tieks giveaway!

Happy Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Straight from the American Cancer Society: “In 2013, an estimated 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed among US women, as well as an estimated 64,640 additional cases of in situ breast cancer. That year, approximately 39,620 US women were expected to die from breast cancer. Only lung cancer accounts for more cancer deaths in women.”

For the month of October, I’m focusing on the Pretty in Pink Foundation, which is based in North Carolina and helps breast cancer patients directly with their medical bills, co-pays, gas money to appointments, etc.

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I was introduced to the Pretty in Pink Foundation by my sister-in-law, Logan. For the past 5 years, she has participated in their annual Fashion Walk Gala in Wilmington. She participates because she is a cancer SURVIVOR. The Pretty in Pink Foundation helped her with some medical bills as she went through her treatment, and within them she also found friends and a support group.

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We attended the Fashion Walk Gala earlier this month and as always, I was touched by the stories shared. The strength of these women who are fighting battles that no one should have to is inspirational. One mother had our whole table on the verge of tears as she talked about never giving up because she has an 18 month old and she wants to be there for his whole life. An older lady laughed with her husband as she talked about all the medical woes they had faced – and vowed to keep moving forward, together.

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This year’s fashion walk participants wrote down their top 3 things they want to do in the future and that’s where you come in. These women show us on their bucket lists that they have so much life left to live and so many things they want to do to have fun, see the world, spend precious moments with their families.

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I’ve compiled a list and an estimated cost of each. Through a Go Fund Me site that was set up, we can raise the money for these things and purchase them for these women. For the things that can’t necessarily be purchased, I am reaching out to others to help with connections and making some of these other wishes come true. (Hey, Ellen Degeneres!).

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I’ve set a goal of $20,000 to raise to grant these wishes, so together we can help bring some happiness to these women as they fight their unimaginable battles.

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I am so excited to raffle off a $100 giftcard from Tieks (makers of the best ballet flats EVER). Anyone who donates $10 or more will be entered into a raffle (winner selected on random.org) for the Tieks gift card, a pink ribbon hat and a $10 Amazon gift card.

Source: @Tieks Instagram
Source: @Tieks Instagram

So here’s how you can help the cause and get a chance to win some awesome prizes: 

  • Visit the Go Fund Me page and make a donation of $10 or more by 11:59 PM on 10/31
  • Then come back here and comment letting me know that you’ve made your donation (be sure to use the same name you used when making your donation!)
  • For extra entries, you can use the Rafflecopter below and share the post on Twitter and Facebook

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winners will be randomly selected by Random.org the week of 11/1. Let’s see how many items we can cross of these bucket lists by November 1st!

PS – if you haven’t tried Tieks, you NEED to ASAP. I wear mine 24/7 and they still look brand new and are comfy even after walking all over cities like Boston, Chicago, Indianapolis and Charlotte, and of course my everyday wear.

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Weekend Wrap Up

This past weekend, we took a little trip up to Chapel Hill to watch the Hokies kick some Tarheel booty on the football field. My in-laws live in the area and were sweet enough to let us bring our pups and crash at their house for the weekend.

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Friday night, we went to the Fearrington Granary for dinner. For some reason, we were both craving red meat and ordered burgers and beer upon our arrival. Both were delicious. I think if we lived in Fearrington, we’d eat there at least 3 nights a week.

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On Saturday, we spent the day at Kenan Stadium, cheering on our beloved Hokies. The weather could not have been more perfect. We lathered ourselves in sunscreen beforehand but stupidly didn’t take any extra with us so we both got a little unplanned color.

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I ran into THREE people that have been some of my best friends over the years. Jacqueline and I were inseparable for years 18-20. She graduated college before me but did come back to hang out for special events like my 21st and Quadfest. We only live 1.5 hours apart now but we don’t see each other very often. Looking forward to another hang out session this week when she’s in Charlotte.

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Matt and I kind of grew up together (he was my cousin’s best friend) and we went to college together. We ended up hanging out in the same group, doing silly things like chugging Mad Dog 20/20 and running the beer pong table at parties. And of course, my bestie, Seth, who moved to Charlotte just after I did in 2008. I got him in the break-up with my college boyfriend. Seth is one of my most favorite people in the world – and my husband loves him, too. Actually, my whole family loves him. We laugh constantly when we’re together, like laughing til your tummy hurts, laughing. It’s wonderful.

IMG_5612We were so exhausted after the game (I took a two hour nap) and we wanted to watch the Ole Miss/Alabama game, which left us starving at 7 PM. After half an hour on Yelp providing options for places to go, we decided to head out to either the Singaporian place or the Italian place. Half way there I announced that we should just grab a frozen pizza and a red box movie and curl up on the couch. Winner!

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I am not a fan of pizza (never delivery!) and rarely recommend it for a meal, so my husband was happy to hear this idea out of my mouth. He ended up falling asleep in the movie (Blue Jasmine) and I’m pretty sure I only stayed awake because I had a nap earlier.

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Before we left to come home, we took our boys for a long walk which totally wore them out. It was an amazing weekend (especially with that Hokie “W”). I ended the weekend with an hour and a half of hot yoga with a friend, and started my week feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.