Be Spontaneous

GIVEAWAY IS STILL HAPPENING – ENTER HERE!

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My husband and I saw that one of our favorite bands was going to be within 4 hours of us (they haven’t been to Charlotte yet!), so we scooped up tickets and booked a hotel in Knoxville, Tennessee for the following weekend. We realized that we would be going right through Asheville, NC on the way and made plans to stop in for lunch and a stroll.

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First stop was at Lexington Avenue Brewery (LAB) for some beer and lunch. We walked around a little beforehand but quickly decided on a place when our hunger set in. This place had a creative menu, craft beer and no wait. Triple winner.

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We each got soup (roasted pepper bisque with cilantro oil for me, stew for him) and then split a couple small plates (or ridiculously large portion of bison nachos).

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After loading up on some dried lavender from the Herbiary shop, we started the second leg of our trip to Knoxville. I searched for bears on the mountainside while my husband drove.

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We had a great view of Knoxville from our hotel. My only experiences with Knoxville previously were one short stay for work two years ago (oddly enough, same hotel), and many stops through on my way as a kid from VA to Nashville to visit my cousin. I had no idea what Knoxville was really like!

IMG_1051We had about a half mile walk into the ‘Old City’ area, where we had planned to have dinner. I took this opportunity to play with the art in the city.

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Dogs? YES. Also, can I get a replica of this for our yard?

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The old city area was ADORABLE. It was bustling with people who were watching March Madness games, heading to our same concert and just out and about. The place we really wanted to go (Stock and Barrel) had a two hour wait. They served s’mores and nutella milkshakes which sounded amazing, so I debated on this wait for all of three seconds before realizing it was absurd to wait that long. Next time, Stock and Barrel, next time.

IMG_1064We ended up at Not Watsons, which was delicious. My husband had chicken and waffles, which I found to be amazing. His only complaint was that it was chicken tenders versus a whole breast. That syrup though!

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I got a black bean, kale and avocado wrap which was also amazing and healthy. I felt pretty good about that choice after seeing how heavy the chicken and waffles were (but again, they were delicious). After dinner, we headed towards the Tennessee Theatre for our show.

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The inside of the theatre was intricate and beautiful. And the sound…. wow. It sounded incredible. The openers were surprisingly good, although new to the scene.

IMG_1089Alabama Shakes were everything we expected and more. Brittany’s voice is even more incredible than it sounds on their records. I loved watching her on stage. She’s so passionate and full of energy and just totally rocked that place. It was definitely worth the four hour drive.

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We figured we might as well explore UT’s campus while we were there and check out the football stadium. It was pretty impressive in size (compared to Virginia Tech’s Lane Stadium) but the design looked industrial and uninviting.IMG_1124
I’m sure it gets pretty rowdy in there and clearly people love going to games but aesthetically it’s not the best looking stadium.

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But it’s always fun to check out other stadiums when we’re in town. Looking forward to the UT/VT game in Bristol! GO HOKIES.

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We made our mid-morning commute back to Asheville with plans to stop in for lunch again. We walked around a little, enjoyed some street music and then grabbed some burgers at Jack of the Wood.

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No pictures of the food because we devoured it but we did decide to make a stop in French Broad Chocolate Lounge for some dessert.

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And I snapped pictures before we scarfed it down. We couldn’t decide on one thing (or even one thing EACH) so we picked three small items to share and the hubs got some coffee for the ride home.

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I loved our weekend getaway and roadtrip. We saw so many things in so little time. We had amazing food, heard great music, and had lots of time together. spontaneity worked out for us on this one – now maybe I can convince my husband to take that spontaneous trip to Belize, Honduras or Costa Rica? *Wishful Thinking* But I can say that we both thoroughly enjoyed this trip!

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Don’t forget to enter the giveaway to support breast cancer champions!

THE BIGGEST GIVEAWAY OF THE YEAR!

It’s been a little over six months since I started trying to raise money for breast cancer champions to help them mark items off of their bucket lists. We’ve done some great things through donations, including:

  • Beth: Horseback riding
  • Elaine: Trip to Bald Head Island
  • Adrienne: Race car driving experience
  • Michelle: Hang gliding experience in OBX
  • Julie G: Learn to speak French

But I think we can do more. And I have all of these items that were donated to help raise money and I’m going to give them ALL away from March 10 – April 10, 2015.

The instructions are simple, and you can earn extra entries simply by sharing on social media. My goal is to double what we’ve already raised and help at least 5 more champions mark something off of their bucket list by the time summer rolls around. Want to enter? Follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Mandatory steps include DONATING $10 TO FUNDRAISER and COMMENT ON THIS BLOG POST.

Best of luck to everyone. Please share (even if you don’t donate to enter) so that we can help as many of these champions as possible. I’m looking forward to the Pretty in Pink Fashion Walk in Wilmington this year and being able to see so many of these smiling faces. Learn more about the Pretty in Pink Foundation and the work they do to help women with breast cancer.

Warm Weather Dreaming!

I woke up to a blanket of snow on the ground and big, fluffy flakes falling from the sky. Not quite what I expected after a pretty warm weekend. Also, not what I expected as I’ve been daydreaming of spring for a while now. We made the best of it and had a little fetch party before I had to start working.

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Since we’re all going to need warmer clothes for the foreseeable future, I decided it’s time for another giveaway!

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This gorgeous original Bostonian scarf (My2Shay) is up for grabs (and trust me, it will KEEP you warm!).

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Also, two fun sets of earrings are looking for a new owner (Painted Pearl), keep one for yourself and give one to a friend!

Simple rules: 

1. Donate $5 (or more! Feel free to be generous) to the Pretty in Pink Bucket List project (read more here)

2. Share the blog post on Twitter or Facebook with buttons

3. Comment on the blog that you donated (make sure your comment has your same name that shows when you donated)

This cause is near and dear to my heart and I would love to continue making dreams come true for some breast cancer champions. Last year, there were so many items crossed off of bucket lists because of generous people like YOU. Let’s do it again in 2015! 

Giveaway runs through midnight on Thursday (3/5/15). Only open to U.S. participants. Must do all three steps (will be verified) in order to win. *Entries from past giveaway will be honored for those who donated $25 or $50*

Be Our Guest (book) GIVEAWAY!

Welcome to 2015’s first giveaway! This item has to go to a special group of people, those who are engaged and I know that’s A LOT of you since most engagement happen between Thanksgiving and Valentines day! (Congratulations – SUCH an exciting time!!). I want to help you knock one thing off of that planning list with this giveaway:

Customized Wedding Guest Book

This hand crafted, personalized guest book by For Love Polka Dots will be created JUST FOR YOU. It will include both of your names, your married last initial and your wedding date, along with 86 (43 front and back) pages to be signed by all of your friends and family on your special day. Gorgeous, right?

So here’s how you enter:

DONATE: Donate $5 or more to the Pretty in Pink Wishes campaign to make bucket list wishes for breast cancer survivors through the Pretty in Pink Foundation come true. For every $5 donated, you get an entry!

COMMENT: Come back here and leave a comment letting me know you donated, what your new last initial will be and your wedding date (it’s okay if you don’t know the date yet, they’ll work with you!).

Giveaway starts now and ends on Tuesday, January 13th at midnight. May the odds be ever in your favor – and high five for doing a good thing for these breast cancer champions!

*Comments are moderated. It may not appear immediately after leaving comment but will once approved. Winner will be chosen at random after giveaway ends. I will do the drawing on video and post an update here. Share with your friends. All of the money raised is for an excellent cause!

Happy Hump Day!

Giveaway Winners!

Going to make this post short and sweet! I recorded a video last night of me drawing the winners of the giveaway. I did change up the giveaway a little bit, so be sure to view it to get the deets and find out who won what!

Also, second part of the giveaway is happening in the new year so stay tuned and keep sharing! You can click the link on the right hand side to “Follow Blog” and get email updates each time I post, OR you can visit Blog Lovin’ and sign up there!

Hoping to announce another item to be crossed off of a bucket list today (will be posted on the Go Fund Me site) and all of the winners will have their items mailed to them this week!

My heart is so grateful for all of you who have read the blog, donated to the giveaway, shared the giveaway and for all the site owners who were generous enough to donate items, too! Also, please excuse my outfit, I got home from the gym and wanted to do the drawing last night as I had promised!

Last day of giveaway!

Again, I’m so grateful for everyone who has donated to the Go Fund Me and all the shop owners who donated their products for the giveaway. Today is the LAST day to enter and win these amazing items:

There’s some seriously good stuff in here, y’all! Don’t miss out on getting yourself something cute this holiday season while also donating to a good cause.

  • Enter by visting the Go Fund Me and donating $10 or more (the more you donate, the more entries you get!)
  • Then leave a comment on this post letting me know you donated
  • And SHARE the post on Facebook or Twitter (or both!)

Happy holidays! xo

Pink Friday! [GIVEAWAY]

Thank you to those of you who participated in the last giveaway. We were able to help a few more items be crossed off the bucket lists of some amazing cancer survivors. If you didn’t participate, you can read about it here and how this whole thing got started.

I’m excited to announce the next giveaway which includes a TON of amazing items from some really wonderful people who donated them for THIS good cause.

1. Noonday Collection Scarf (purple scarf, different than what’s pictured) // 2. This is Your Year journal by MiGoals // Make-up Bags by Love W Boutique // 4. Monogrammed Wooden Wedding Guest Book (made to order!) by For Love Polka Dots  // 5. Say Yes to New Adventures 2015 Planner by Nude and Loitering Tees // 6. Love Never Fails print (black & gold) by Lovely Little Paper Company // 7. Winnie the Pooh quote print in gray by WisePrints // Holiday Cocktail Tea Towel by Emily McDowell // 9. Harbor Style Scarf (Burnt Orange) by My 2 Shay from Our Corner // 10. Take the Bull by the Horns journal by Evelyn Henson // 11. Proverbs quote print with blue background by Wise Prints // 12. Roosevelt quote print in purple by Wise Prints // 13. Greeting Cards set by Sugar and Type // 14. Dish towel set by Carolyn Leona // 15. Hope necklace by Island Cowgirl // 16. Make Today Ridiculously Awesome journal by LH Calligraphy // 17. Pig Apron by Carolyn Leona // 18. Two sets of earrings by The Painted Pearl // 19. Two Pink Ribbon Rings by Lori’s Wire // 20. Work Hard Be Kind mug by Sara Moore // 21. Trio of Owls by 518 French Girl // 22. Love Never Fails print by Southern Weddings // 23. Love Never Fails Print by Stationary Boutique  24. Love Compass pillow by Fiber and Water // 25. Today I Choose Joy pillow by Simply Said Stitches

Chances for winning in this giveaway are exponentially better than last time when there were only 3 items. I am so grateful to be able to continue raising money for such an amazing and fun cause. It’s been so wonderful to speak to each of these ladies as their item is presented to them. So, here are the deets:

Starting on 11/28 (which I’m declaring Pink Friday because I don’t shop on Black Friday – or Thanksgiving!) you can enter by donating $10 or more dollars to the Go Fund Me that has been set up and you will be entered to win one of these items. If you donate $10, you will be entered once. If you donate $25 you will be entered 3 times. If you donate $50, you’ll be entered 7 times. Remember, all of the money goes to putting smiles on the faces of people who are fighting unimaginable battles. Once you enter, come back and leave a comment letting me know that you donated and SHARE the blog post on either Twitter or Facebook (the icons are at the bottom!). I’ll keep track of the entries along the way.

The drawing will be held on 12/16 – in time to get your items to you before the Christmas holiday. I will video it and upload it for all to see and also include a recap of the winners in a separate post. Got it?

Good. Let’s raise some serious money for these ladies and make their holidays even more special. Oh, and say thank you to these AMAZING people who donated all of these items!!

Giveaway details: 

1. Donate $10/1 entry, $25/3 entries, $50/7 entries

2. Comment on blog letting me know you donated (follow the blog for updates on new posts!)

3. Share blog post with icons at bottom on either (or both) Facebook/Twitter

4. Drawing will happen on 12/16

So, what are you waiting for? Get entered today! I’d love to hear in the comments which items you’re most excited about – I am pretty much in love with all of these items and know I’d be excited to win any of them!

*number of entries depends on amount of $ donated. chances of winning depends on number of entries. all items will be shipped by 12/20. must be in U.S. to participate. right reserved to cancel giveaway or change end date at any time. winners will be selected randomly and all decisions are final. 

Oh Happy day + giveaway winners!

A few weeks ago, I ran a  5-mile race with some of my girlfriends. Afterwards, I tweeted about the race and Mizuno reached out offering me a free pair of their newest running shoe, the Wave Rider 18. These beauties arrived and I can’t help but notice the irony that the color scheme is called “Key West” and we just announced our trip to Key West + my running the half marathon there in January. I think these shoes and I were meant to be!

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I’ve already started training for the race but since I’m 10 weeks out, I have the opportunity to slowly work my way up. I’m currently at 5 miles and did a run last night, keeping my pace under 9 miles (though my first two miles were by far my fastest!). So far, so good with hitting my 2 hour goal. I’m excited to try out my new shoes, set a new PR in this race, and get back into running.

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Now… the real reason you’re here…. the winners of the giveaway. I am so grateful for everyone who donated and read the blog this past month. You helped make some serious wishes come true for perfect strangers. The Porters visited Bald Head Island last week. Adrienne had two stock-car driving experience passes sent to her (big thanks to the Joey Logano Charitable Foundation). Julie G is getting her discs to help her learn to speak French. Michelle received two passes to go hang gliding in the OBX. As donations continue to come in, we’ll work to cross more items off these bucket lists. But let me say one more time, THANK YOU. I’m so grateful for your big hearts (and your excitement for Tieks). The winners were selected by Random.org. There were 14 of you who entered (names were matched with donations and comments). Congratulations to Kelly W, winner of the $100 gift card to Tieks; Amy T. winner of the pink ribbon hat; and Arely P., winner of the $10 Amazon gift card.

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I will be in touch with each of the winners. I hope to be able to offer more giveaways and to continue raising money to bring happiness to the lives of these amazing fighters. Check out the Pretty in Pink Foundation if you get a chance. They do some pretty awesome things with some pretty awesome people. Oh, and you just did something awesome, too, so high five to you. And big hugs all around. My heart is so full of gratitude for you all!

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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Pretty in Pink Bucket List

I’m going to ask you upfront to share this post far and wide so that we can reach a goal and help make some wishes come true. 

I was introduced to the Pretty in Pink Foundation by my husband’s sister. 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. We are proud to support this organization that helps women here in North Carolina with their medical bills, co-pays, and also holds their hand as they go through testing, diagnoses, and treatment.

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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.

14220_10101000932779793_2122672083804079527_nThis 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 of at least one thing that these women wanted to do 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.

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I’ve set a goal of $20,000 to raise to grant these wishes. So please, share this post with your Facebook friends, share it on Twitter, email it to family and friends near and far and let’s help bring some happiness to these women as they travel down their unimaginable journeys.

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Here is the Go Fund Me page which outlines some of the bucket list items such as learning to speak French, horseback riding on a trail, riding in a hot air balloon, go kayaking, visit Bald Head Island, go see a broadway show, go to Santa Fe, see the Steelers in Pittsburgh, see Paul McCartney live, take the family to disney world. I’m positive that together we can make these wishes come true.