Weekend Wrap Up [Date ideas]

It’s officially my last day of being 28 – and it’s been a damn good year (and weekend). Friday, I spent the morning with my adorable niece and nephew. Damon and I went to Discovery Place Kids.

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And then I got to see my sweet niece who was super smiley and happy. She loves giggling at her big brother and she kept pushing up like she was getting ready to crawl. Won’t be long now!

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They are seriously cute together. He loves her so much!

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We had the most delicious shrimp tacos for dinner and stayed in instead of battling the cold outside. No time for pictures because they were so delicious I practically swallowed them whole and proceeded to talk about them for the rest of the weekend  (in my true OCD form). On Saturday, we had the most exciting morning ever: WE BOOKED OUR EUROTRIP! Here we come London, Paris and Ireland!

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Since it was my birthday weekend, the hubs agreed to go to Sephora with me so I could replenish my make-up collection. I was set on only purchasing natural items that were paraben free and not tested on animals. There were only THREE brands that lived up to that. Isn’t that crazy?

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First of all, I ordered this lavender Stress Less oil from Organic Bath Co. last week and I’m loving it. As far as the make up goes, I went with the Tarte Amazonian Clay Tinted Moisturizer. I don’t need a whole lot of coverage (or like it) but I do love that this has SPF in it. A little of this goes a long way too, so it will last for a while. They were actually out of the color I needed, so I got a sample and they ordered one for me. I got a shipping notification today! So fast! I also went with the Tarte Pressed Powder. It’s not for coverage as much as it is to set the foundation. I also got the Tarte Amazonian Clay concealer and I already love it! Sadly, I couldn’t find a mascara that I liked so I floated over to the Benefit Cosmetics section and picked up “They’re Real.” It indicates they do not test on animals (and below is an excerpt from their website) but PETA says they do. And because of that “…except where required by law” part, they do. And I won’t be buying their items any longer.

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As I was checking out, I saw the Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo. Since I’m getting ready to travel again, I grabbed a sample for $12. It’s AMAZING. I used it today and felt great. I didn’t purchase the NARS lipsticks, those were a gift for my birthday. I was curious when I got home to see if they tested on animals. Their site says they do not, but other things I read indicated that their parent company does and therefore, any money spent on NARS supports the parent company and animal testing, so there’s another one to mark off the list. Josie Maran is a natural brand that doesn’t test on animals, but I didn’t find anything that I wanted in that section. Slowly but surely I’m making progress on changing over to paraben free and items that aren’t tested on animals. I have a battle with myself over being wasteful and throwing out things I already have and wanting to use items that aren’t tested on animals/paraben free. My conclusion is that I will replace when I’m done using what I already have. Here are some other products I like if you’re interested in switching over too!

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This morning after trying out a new church, we separated restaurants we want to go to into two jars: Weeknight and Weekend. We put the more expensive/farther away restaurants into the weekend jar. This will not only help us eliminate the dreadful “where do you want to go for dinner?” question, but also give us the chance to try some places that we put off in lieu of going to our usual spots. I’m excited to try this out and see how many new spots we can taste together! [Jars are from Beach Blues and the color scheme is “Aruba”]. There’s a 3rd jar that I’ve labeled “Be Spontaneous” and will put ideas in for things we can do together such as hiking, biking, golfing, tennis, running, kayaking, rafting, go to the movies, a day trip to Charleston, a day trip to the beach, a day trip to the mountains, a brewery tour, etc. Again, I’m excited to see how it plays out!

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My boys have been extra cuddly since they got home from their week at Grandma and Grandpa’s. I think they missed us (or they’re using me as an excuse to be on the couch). Either way, I don’t mind. They’re my favorite cuddle buddies!

Happy Other Half

As I previously mentioned, my husband took a new job. This new job is such a great opportunity for him (proud wife right here!), but it will require him to travel 4 days a week. This means, I will only see him Thursday through Sunday. Only three weeks left to cram in as much “us” time as we can before he heads off on this exciting journey.

I love spending time with my husband. We actually joke quite often that we need more friends because we do a lot of things together that would probably be fun shared with friends. After 5 years together, most of which we’ve spent 95% of our waking time together (literally – working/living/working out/eating together), I feel pretty awesome about the fact that we still WANT to spend SO much time together. I think my husband is one of the funniest people I’ve met, he’s considerate, he’s a good listener, and he knows something about everything (helps keep the conversation going!). I consider us lucky to have that strong of a relationship – but it doesn’t come without work.

My husband is OCD about the house being clean – and I’m a little more relaxed about it (for lack of a better term). For instance, I’m okay making dinner, eating dinner and then watching some TV or a movie before we clean up. This does not work for my husband – the kitchen needs to be cleaned or he feels anxious. I know this – so I make a conscious effort to clean up post dinner. The same goes with our clutter catching ledge when you walk in the door – it’s so easy to lay mail, keys, or “stuff” down when you walk in the door, but equally as easy to hang up the keys, sort/trash the mail and put your empty lunch box in the cabinet. Knowing your other half’s pet peeves – and being attentive to them will help with keeping the relationship happy.

Another great way to make your other half happy is to sacrifice compromise on the things you do. We have very different taste in movies (and music). But instead of avoiding going to those things together, we tend to alternate. We have our musical groups that we both love and we always make a point to see those live: DMB, Black Keys, Alabama Shakes, Amos Lee, Ben Harper; but we’ve both gone to concerts that we probably wouldn’t have if the other one wasn’t involved – Carrie Underwood and Jay Z are great examples. As far as movies go, I’m your typical sap. Who knows why girls love to cry in movies, but obviously my favorite movie induced emotions are laughing and crying. Romantic comedy? Perfect! Scary movie? No way, Jose! Luckily my husband isn’t a horror fan either, but he does enjoy sci-fi, Hobbit-type movies and some more gory movies than I do. At home, we alternate, and in theatres, we try to pick something that we’ll both like. Most recently, we rented Captain Phillips. Definitely not a romantic comedy, but I was sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time. Compromise is definitely a key to happiness in our relationship.

Getting out of the house is important for us, too. I tell people quite often that running is not just for my physical health, but mental. I can be quite the grump if I don’t get to run for a couple days in a row. Does anyone else get cabin fever after a few days in the house? We sure do! This year, we joined the Young Affiliates of the Mint (YAM) and have unlimited access to the museums in Charlotte, as well as are part of a group of young professionals (more friends!). We share a love of art and history, so this was the perfect group for us to join. We also love going to Charlotte’s beer festivals and checking out the craft beers offered in our city (food trucks are an added bonus!). Hanging out with friends is always nice, whether it’s dinner, live music, a get together at someone’s house or a kid’s birthday party (most of our Charlotte friends have at least one bundle of joy by now). And sometimes, doing things by ourselves is good for us. I enjoy shopping, doing crafts, and long runs. My husband enjoys live music (thank goodness for his friends who share his love for Metallica/Gaslight Anthem/JJ Grey & Mofro) and NFL games. We’re okay doing things solo on occasion.

Our favorite thing to do together is travel. Ever since we first started dating, we’ve been traveling. Our first ever trip was to the beach and Swansboro, NC. We’ve visited the opposite coast. We’ve visited the NFL Hall of Fame in Ohio. We’ve walked the Freedom Trail in Boston. We’ve explored the Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh. We’ve biked around Jekyll Island in Georgia and saw wild horses on Cumberland Island. We’ve spent time enjoying the history of St. Augustine, FL. We’ve played on the beaches in Wilmington and the Outer Banks. We’ve marveled over the old trees in Savannah while carrying our drinks in our hands. We’ve run the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston. We’ve had wine in Temecula, CA and enjoyed the waterfront in San Diego. We’ve jumped to Enter Sandman in Lane Stadium. We’ve swam in the natural pool in Aruba. We often remember dinners, events or experiences that happened on these trips and smile. Having experienced these things together only brings us closer, and leaves us looking forward to our next adventure.

I am so thankful that I met this man and get to share my life with him. I am dedicated to making sure we always work on our happiness and our love and our marriage. There’s a saying that “you are only as happy as your unhappiest child.” Obviously we don’t have children, but if one half of the couple is unhappy, the other one can’t be all smiles and full of joy. I’m not trying to imply that life can always be all cotton candy and candy apples, but you can certainly aim for the highest level of happiness and then even on your “bad” days, you’ll be able to pull out something positive, right? This requires working together, working for each other’s best interest and giving 110% everyday. It’s a lot to ask, but isn’t it worth it?