Sometimes You Need a little Asheville.

Sometimes trips pop up out of the blue. Susan and I make pop up trips occur way more than they naturally would. (and I like it that way) Give us some 80’s and 90’s music, a couple hours to travel and a fun destination and we are two happy gals. So we had to have a trip the weekend after her birthday! It was only right.

Several years ago she, my sister (Sarah), and I headed down to Asheville for a girls weekend and we all fell in love. Sarah sat this trip out, but we ate some French broad Chocolate in her honor. b5

When I tell you that this chocolate is straight from heaven, I am not exaggerating one bit! You can learn more about the company and even order your own at www.frenchbroadchocolates.com

We arrived in Asheville early afternoon and grabbed a late lunch at Tupelo Honey before checking in at our hotel. We had purchased night tour tickets of The Biltmore since it was the Christmas Season. I had seen The Biltmore before (in the Summer) and it was so beautiful, but there is something about a huge castle at night with twinkling lights that just makes a girl feel like a princess.

I took several pictures, but the truth is there isn’t a photograph that I could take with any camera that would do it justice. It is an amazing home on an amazing property that was way ahead of its time. But can we pause here and just let me say that I could just live in the library of that house. It is, absolutely, my favorite room in that home.

We also toured the winery and had a tasting in the tasting room. Let me just say this out loud. (or type it out loud)….. I can’t drink like I did in my 20’s. So a few glasses of wine and I’m all set. Please and Thank you.

Susan and I enjoyed the tour and headed back to the hotel. We probably should have went to bed at a decent hour, but we found some terrible television show that we couldn’t look away from.

We finally crashed and when we dragged ourselves up and at em the following morning we headed into downtown Asheville to grab some breakfast and hit some of the quirky little boutiques they have.
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Y’all if I didn’t have 1948589586784028 mugs (I know I have a problem. Stop judging me). I would have snagged this one. Asheville really does have some really cute shops.

It was a great couple days there. It truly is one of my favorite places and it is reasonably close. Next trip there will be all about some art and music. Susan, pack your bag!

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Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a great word. It’s an even more beautiful concept. What it is not, however, is easy. You hear people say, “you forgive someone for you, not for them”, which should make it easier, but it doesn’t. When someone hurts you it really becomes part of you. How you deal with that is what we allow it to become in us.
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Forgiveness is work. Real work. Emotional work. It is choosing, every day, not to allow something that hurt you poor out onto someone else. I failed at this, miserably, after my divorce. I allowed all that hurt to poor onto people I loved, that had absolutely nothing to do with that pain. Sometimes forgiveness is me talking out loud to myself, reminding myself of why it’s ok to feel things, that’s it is ok to mourn, but at the end of the day there are more important things in the world than that one moment in time that caused pain. Sometimes forgiveness is me praying for help. Sometimes it is beyond me to forgive. Sometimes it takes someone way stronger than me to make that happen.

But for all the work and soul searching that forgiveness is, it is worth it. Of course, it is easier to be bitter, angry, and hurt. Those emotions come hard and fast. They can linger for years and never go away. But forgiveness (even the act of working towards forgiveness) brings so much peace. Relationships are worth it, whether it be a co-parenting relationship or the relationship with a family member, or forgiving someone whom your heart knows you were made for. Currently, I’m working on all three.

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Small Business Saturday.

I started to just write a facebook post about my favorite small businesses, then I realized I have so many small business owners in my circle of friends. So many amazing people doing wonderful things. I thought I would take a second and share them with you.

Travel– Suzanne Ray -My Mickey Vacation Travel. http://mymickeyvacation.com
Suzanne is a Disney queen and if y’all know me at all, you know I don’t give that title to just anyone.


Hair
– Shawna Connors at Indigo Salon and Wellness. indigosalonandwellness.com

Katie Noel at Bak 4 More Studio.bak4morestudio.com

These two ladies are both amazing. Shawna has been taking care of my hair for years and is so attentive to the needs of her clients. I have seen Katie’s handiwork on one of my best friends and she is amazing as well!

Skin care-

Alyssa Mossotti- Rodan and Fields. alyssamossotti.myrandf.com

Rachael Bullock- Mary kay. marykay.com/rbullock

These two women are gorgeous, inside and out! Fantastic customer service. They know their brands and their goal is to help their customers to the fullest.


Art.

Here is where it’s gonna go a few different ways. I love art. So many types of art. I am a creative soul but drawing and painting are not gifts I possess, so I seek it out from others. I’m so proud to know so many amazing artists, so I am going to share just a few of them with you.

Alyssa May. Her art is like bubble gum and cotton candy! You can find her on facebook at Butter n’ Honey.

Kayla Weber Nord. kaylaweberart.com Kentucky meets a pastel Heaven. This talented artist also has beautiful handcrafted globes and ornaments.

Patrick Smith. theartistpatricksmith.com
The First time I saw his work I was in complete awe. Some of his work is dark, some sensual, all of it amazing.

Bar owner– Robert Garrison at Tiki Java. 497 W. 3rd st. Lexington, KY.
If you can find a nicer, more educated rum enthusiast, then I’ll buy you a drink.

These don’t even scratch the surface! I’ll be making a point to do some small business posts in the near future. (and ,obviously, one dedicated to my favorite bloggers.)

My People

I’ve been meaning to write this for some time. I just know that I will not do it any justice. I get emotional just thinking about it. My people, my tribe, my friends. They are the epitome of what strength is. There have been many points in this journey, after divorce, that I was so low that I couldn’t see any light. These women gave me their strength, love, wisdom, and hands to help pull me to a place of happiness and joy.

1. The mom friends.
I have a great set of friends who have kids and know all my struggles. They know what it’s like to try to get out of the house on time, in the morning. They know what it’s like to try to feed two kids who hate everything. They know what it’s like to want to scream about the algebra homework coming home. It’s nice to have someone to vent to, especially when they truly understand parenthood. We laugh and cry about the struggles of parenthood together.

2. The single Mom friends.
See above and add in the struggles of single parenthood. I love my single mom friends. They really get me. They know what it is like to be the only hands. They know what it’s like to juggle parenthood and dating. (which is very similar to juggling knives). It’s an extra bonus if one of your single mom friends has a similar visitation schedule as you do and you can schedule Mom’s night out together.

3. The young friends.
These are the gals who are in a different generation, but still connect with me. They keep me young. They keep from being too serious, which is really important when you are a single mama! Too many times I get so focused on what has to be done or the needs of everyone else and these gals remind me to stop and take some time for myself.

4. The professional friends.
Most of the above just mixed together. I have always loved the fact that all my friends are so very different. I have so many places I can go to for advice. This was extremely handy during the divorce. Friends in finance gave me sound financial advice, friends in social work gave me advice on how to make things easier for the kids,(you get the picture).

5. and last but not least, The Unicorn.
Y’all, I have a Unicorn. She’s my friend, who has no kids of her own, yet still enjoys spending time with me and my kiddos. So many times, people fall out of our lives when we have kids. There is nothing wrong with that. Sometimes your lives are just too different. But if you have one that sticks around, keeps you grounded and lends her hands on vacation, then friends, you have a unicorn.

Who we surround ourselves with is important. Without realizing it, I have surrounded myself with the very best people on the planet. I am the luckiest girl on Earth.

Just When You Think….

I woke up this morning and before my feet even hit the floor I was trying to figure out how I was going to make today happen. Today was one of those perfect storm days, too many things to do and too little time. I was feeling anxious already. But something I have learned, as a single mom, is that just when you think your day is going to be one way it can completely surprise you.

Surprise #1.
I was completely prepared to be rushed the entire day. Going from work to a meeting, back to work, and then a fundraiser night at the restaurant. All while touching base with the 15 year old and grabbing the 7 year old in the evening. Today was not so. Everything was prepped at the restaurant this morning and catering went out in a breeze. This gave me a moment to freshen up before my marketing meeting. Y’all having a moment to pull your look together can seriously have such a huge impact on how you carry yourself.

Surprise #2.
This technically wasn’t a surprise because I was a part of it, but my women’s marketing group is also a philanthropic group of ladies and one of our members is involved in a toy drive for Mission of hope. We all brought a toy today and to hear her talk about the organization and to see all the women participating filled me with joy.

Surprise #3.
In my life I have been so lucky to cross paths with so many amazing people. Today I got to sit for a few hours with one of them. We had a great meal. We laughed, we cried, it was basically the best therapy ever.

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Surprise #4.
Transitions are usually terrible for Cazlin. Tonight was a breeze. I picked her up. She had to go back to the restaurant with me for a bit (which normally throws her off), and she had to get some homework done. I was prepared for meltdown city. What I got was a calm, focused little girl. We came home to her brother who had cleaned his room.

Maybe I have met my quota for the week. Maybe tomorrow will be crazy. I have no idea. What I do know is that today was more than I could have hoped for considering all the things I had to pack into it. I’m blessed beyond measure and so very Thankful.

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Goodnight Y’all.

Daytrippin

I have this one friend from back home (he shall remain nameless because he doesn’t need to be everyone’s therapist). He and I have been friends for 26 years. I can always tell when I need a break, from parenting, because I will be having one of my random conversations with him and it will turn into a therapy session complete with an Amanda Meltdown.

Sometimes single motherhood gets overwhelming. Most of the time(with the help of about 18745387278456159 friends) I manage just fine. Sometimes I just need someone to say, “You’re doing ok.” other times I need 24 whole hours to regroup. I am my kiddos primary care giver. They see their father less than 4 days a month and they are rarely with him a full 24 hours. Their time with him is a little scattered. So, rarely do I get a full day to recharge. I’m so thankful that I have friends and family that offer hands when I need a moment to breathe. I took one of those moments recently. I grabbed Susan (most of my trips will start with that phrase) and we headed to Nashville for the day just to get out of Lexington.

Nashville is about a three hour car trip. Totally doable for a day trip. I love Nashville. It has such a creative energy and while you can’t do or see everything in a day you can have a great time, eat some good food, do some shopping and hear some amazing music.

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When we first got into the city we found a really amazing farmers market. We looked through all the beautiful veggies and then headed over to the crafty side of the market.

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I ended up buying a great print of the Nashville skyline from this great little setup.

After this we headed to 12 south. 12 South is one of the trendier little neighborhoods in Nashville. It’s home to White’s Mercantile, Draper James, and many other little shops and restaurants. We had a delicious lunch at Josephines.

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After lunch we did some shopping. So many photo opportunities in this area and I purchased a cute dress at Draper James.

We then headed to The Gulch. I really need for Lexington to start naming neighborhoods. It would make me so very happy.

We stumbled into a little store called Two Old Hippies. This happened to be a live music Venue and they were setting up for a cool show. Susan and I stuck around and the music was amazing. There were four sets of performers and two of them spoke to my soul. T-N-T duo and Marcus Eaton. Look them up. Listen to them!!!

For Dinner we headed over to Pinewood Social. I later learned that Anthony Bourdain did an episode of his show there! It was a really cool concept for a restaurant complete with a bowling alley and dipping pools.

We headed home after dinner. I’m not gonna lie, I felt it the next day but it was well worth it!

August Goals.

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Can y’all believe it is August? July was a whirlwind of a month full of highs and lows and I am completely ready for the structure that August brings. I know I am not alone in that feeling. I start the summer in a dreamy state, thinking about warm evenings and days by the pool, but by the end of July I just want my kids to go to bed at 8pm and for them to eat someone else out of house and home.

August also gives me a sense of renewal. We are back to the schedule I prefer and some of my favorite things fall in this half of the year. All that being said, I made my goals for the month with ease.

1. Get back to school ready. We have a couple weeks to get back into the swing of things. Time to reprogram the teenager who has now become accustomed to staying up and sleeping in. I have kept the six year old fairly close to her regular schedule and we are already using a reward chart to encourage her to go to bed without argument.

2.Four books for review this month. I really want to read more. I read plenty of facebook and Instagram posts so I know I have the time. So I am challenging myself this month to read less online posts and more printed word.

3.Weekend away to Recharge. A Dear friend of mine invited me to come visit him and I am all in. Being a single mom is not for the weak. Getting that recharge when you can is so important. My kids are with me 26 days out of each month, so when I get the opportunity to recharge, get a break, and catch up with an old friend at the same time I take it.

4.Spend more time writing. When my last relationship ended and the break up cloud lifted, a wonderful idea for a novel came to me. I have been brain dumping those ideas for a while and have now started the process of putting it all in order. I’m hoping to get some ground covered this month!

5. Yoga 3 times a week. I love yoga. I feel amazing when I do yoga. I have never left a yoga session and said, ” Man, that was a complete waste of time”. However, I fail to make it a priority. I’m using this month to get back into the habit of spending at least three evenings a week in yoga practice.

They aren’t anything drastic or crazy but sometimes it’s helpful just to write a few goals out and see the words on paper. I’m looking forward to the end of summer, the beginning of school and the sense of renewal that comes this time of year, at least for me. Talk to y’all soon.

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