Atlanta, 2015

I’ve added a new city to my list of favorites, and its name is Atlanta. I may or may not say this about most new places I visit, but work with me here. I’m just a girl who’s a bit smitten with the world, y’all.

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Atlanta Top 10:

1. Monday Night Brewing

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So unique. So fun. So many ties. For just $10 dollars a piece my husband and I received an adorable glass and six very generous pours of their tasty brews. Inside and outside were both full of lively crowds, sweet décor and string lights. And let’s not forget ALL OF THE TIES. So many good vibes. So many happy feelings. So got my husband drunk.

2. Brunch on the rooftop at Republic Social House

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Bottle of champagne. Cheesy grits. Biscuit with fried chicken and maple syrup. Rooftop views. Need I say more? NO I DON’T. (I’m sorry guys I sometimes scream at you when I’m excited.)

3. Ferris wheel ride at Skyview Atlanta.

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 I bought a Groupon for this one which also included a box of chocolates, making the evening all the more lovely and romantic. Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know how awesome it is until you’re eating it whilst on a ginormous Ferris Wheel showcasing incredible sights of Atlanta from high above. Pretty sure Forrest Gump said something along those lines once.

4. Coffee at Octane

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I choose the pour over, which was earthy and herbal and so tasty. Also loved the warehouse-like feel of this place. It was cozy and chill and made my heart smile.

5. Dinner at Canoe

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Located on the Chattahoochee, Canoe boasts exquisite views, an outstanding ambience and orgasmic delights. And by delights I mean food, just to clarify.

6. Exploring Senoia

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(Leaving my purple mark on Senoia)

The Atlanta area is where Walking Dead is filmed, and being geek fans, this was a definite added bonus for the husband and I. Robby especially turned into an excited man-child when entering the town of Senoia, Georgia – aka Walking Dead’s Woodbury. It’s a picturesque town, which made it all the more perfect for the creepy crap that went down in Woodbury. While buying fudge and cupcakes at the quaintest of ice cream shops, we talked to friendly locals and learned that filming was about to start in the next town over, a literal stone throw away from Senoia. Our next thirty minutes were spent getting as close to this town as possible without getting in trouble from the security standing guard all around. Rebels, the two of us.

7. Brunch at H. Harper Station

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Clearly, I really love a good brunch. Atlanta definitely did not disappoint. H. Harper Station is the most adorable of spots, located in an old train station and perfect for breakfast-lunch time. Strong coffee delivered to me in a French press, beautifully presented and completely delicious bagel with smoked trout, and the best, most buttery and crispy tater tots of my life. Yum, yum and YUM.

8. Watching the sunset and sharing kisses on Jackson Street Bridge.

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9. Joystick Gamebar

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On our last evening in Atlanta, Robby and I were brainstorming on what to do. Old man wanted something chill like bowling, and I was craving the nightlife. When he suggested an arcade, I did some googling and found the perfect in between. Joystick Gamebar provided a bar with old school games such as Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. I quickly gave up on the games, but fell in love with this place instantaneously just the same. As Robby played Ninja Turtles, I found drinks like chai soda with pecan vodka and ginger beer slushies. I chit-chatted with fun peeps and explored the lounge area, which was full of board games, tacky wallpaper and cat photos. It was pure kitschy, goofy cheese. Never have I felt so at home in a bar. I wandered back to the Pac-Man area in time to see my husband find a gamer buddy, and I inwardly chuckled with love for that nerd of mine. We then ended the night in very serious Connect Four and Jenga competitions.

10. Biking the BeltLine

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Um, only one of the best bike rides EVER. The views of downtown Atlanta were spectacular and the day perfect for a bike ride. From tiny doors to gorgeous graffiti and sculpture tree faces, the entire BeltLine is an insanely beautiful, zany, culture-filled work of art. I had barely passed one piece before I was captivated by another. Having a husband who repeatedly rang his bike bell, threw his hands up in the air and tried to play bumper-bikes only added to previously mentioned beautiful zaniness.

11.

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So I lied about the top ten because I have to add one more. As always, the moments in between are one of my favorite things about traveling with my dude. It’s fairly easy for me to get caught up in itineraries and doing ALL the things, but with his easygoing nature and calm spirit, Robby always reminds me about what makes our adventures the best. We do.

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 On the way back from our small road-trip to Senoia, I was itching to get back for dinner and plans for seeing more of Atlanta. But when we briefly stopped at a gas station and Robby sweetly asked, “Will you buy me a Toostie Pop?”, I just had to smile and slow down. Small a moment as it was, it caught me. Here are the things that are the greatest. Sitting in our rental with my favorite person in a random Georgian town. Making new memories, laughing about things that only make sense to us and enjoying our respective (mine was the bubble gum variety) Pops. We chose to forgo many of the big touristy attractions for things like bike rides, an arcade bar, a brewery covered in ties, little road-trips and strawberry-flavored suckers. And this was the very best of decisions.

Another one of my best decisions? Choosing the above guy as my lifelong partner in crime and travel buddy. My heart fills with joy when thinking about the memories made throughout our many explorations in the past seven years. Thanks for adding some pretty spectacular adventures to that list, Atlanta.

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Visiting the Virginias, January 2015

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Already 2015 is proving to be wild and wonderful.

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I have a New Year’s resolution of visiting four new-to-me states this year. Within two days of 2015, I had accomplished half of this goal by exploring both of the gorgeous Virginias. This also meant getting lost with the best friend on a road trip, which is an unintentional ritual for us. We can’t recall a time we’ve visited the other without getting at least slightly lost. This time our plan was to leave Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia and head back to Meg’s home in Arlington, Virginia. Despite living in the days of GPS, we managed to end up an hour and a half off route in another Virginian town. I’ve also had the pleasure of being lost in Austin, Baltimore, D.C., New York and Pittsburgh with this girl. It is an endless adventure with the two of us.

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In between West Virginia and getting lost, we found the most spectacular winery I’ve ever been to. (Coming from a wine-o, this says a lot.) Maggie Malick Wine Caves is a winery, cave and hill all rolled into one. I sipped on wine and then climbed to the top of the winery. And then rolled down the winery and got mud all over my new clothes. Because what else are you supposed  to do when you find a winery-cave-hill?! I mean, YORDAWHO. (You only roll down a winery hill once.)

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We made it back to Meg’s apartment in time to get spruced up for a night out on the town with a Redcoat for a haunted pub tour of Alexandria, Virginia. Usually these tours have upwards of 30 people, but on this particular night it was just me and my best friend. This just made our night exploring this eccentric and historic town all the more enchanting. I can almost still feel the chill in the air as I peeked through the window of a restaurant George Washington himself once dined, and where ghosts may or may not presently haunt. It was pure spooky magic creeping in on that dinner party, y’all. Afterward, we made our way back to our favorite bar of the night to talk to strangers and drink delicious chocolate porter. Our bartender charmed us with conversation and free drinks–including one scrumptiously bold cup of coffee for me upon request– and we left that night in a cab, feeling tipsy and giddy and giggly and incredibly alive.

The next day we had an absolutely divine brunch at Chadwick’s–a place so magical that we ventured there by first walking down a cobblestone street— and then made our way to D.C. to gaze at monuments and memorials.

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Here we are just casually chillin’ with Abe.

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Meg and her beau were smooching and being adorable so I decided to much less adorably kiss the air.

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My last morning in Virginia was spent on Meg’s apartment roof, a charming experience made complete with coffee and a lovely view of Arlington and D.C. If it was possible to fall even more in love with Virginia, I did in those moments.

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One of my favorite pictures of my trip was taken by Meg’s boyfriend, shortly after I had flown in from Austin. Meggie and I were just laughing and talking as we walked down the streets of Arlington together. Of our fourteen years of best friendship, nine of these have been spent traveling to see the other. I don’t know if a photo can completely capture the childish and weightless joy we always feel upon reuniting, but I do think that this one did a pretty decent job.

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I’m hoping that she and I will be lucky enough to get lost exploring the world together for as long as we both shall live.

New Year’s On A Plane

I like to start off every January with a bang. I feel like it sets the tone for the rest of the year.

I especially like to start off new years on a plane. I began purposely doing this at the start of 2013, when I visited my best friend in Pittsburgh. By the end of that year, I had filmed a commercial, was payed to travel first class to Detroit and play dress up with my own wardrobe artist (to this day on my top 5 list of favorite states), fell in love with my first and current post-college career, traveled to a slew of places including Puerto Rico and Mexico, graduated college and began doing things like fly-boarding, ziplining and indoor skydiving for free as an event blogger. Robby and I also learned we were expecting our very own little person, Miss Brynlee Mae Boudreaux.

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In January of 2014, my husband and I spent a week of storybook romance in Italy. We got lost in the rain in Venice, ate the best pasta of my life in Milan and walked 463 steps to the top of the Duomo in Florence. I look back on that magical week with my favorite guy and, nearly a year later, still get starry-eyed with the dreamy memories.

The rest of 2014 definitely followed suit. I soared through the clouds hang-gliding for the first time. I took two road-trips with girlfriends, one to the new-to-me Mississippi and another to party in New Orleans. I smile thinking about how much happiness and laughter overfilled my car on those weekends. Robby and I celebrated five wonderful years of marriage by renewing our vows at a little chapel in Las Vegas. Right after this we headed to a happy hour and the grocery store, still decked out in wedding dress and tuxedo. The whole thing felt like something straight out of a romantic comedy, which is appropriate, as such a storyline more or less sums up our life together. Playful and full of silly, fun, overwhelming love. I took a mini-shower under a waterfall and helped give away a car and modeled for one of my favorite photo-shoots to date. In my usual awkward fashion, I learned how to be a flying acrobat while flailing around on a trapeze. I finished my second half marathon and ran 5ks which also involved drinking wine, eating food and meeting a celebrity. Event blogging gave me the opportunity to eat and drink and attend fun things, and I even experienced getting paid to do this while freelance social media repping for a popular Austin restaurant. Best of all, my husband and I said our first hellos to our gorgeous, red-headed baby girl. Now she is this chubby, happy, vivacious almost 9-month-old and she is simply the best adventure I’ve ever had.

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2013 and 2014 have been the two favorite years of my life. I’ve lived so big and beautifully and can’t believe all that I’ve that the chance to experience in such a short amount of time. More than anything, I am overtaken and humbled by all of the love and joy that surrounds me. I truly feel like I have everything. The best of every world. There must be something to this starting off the new year with travels.

I’m one-upping myself for 2015. I love starting off January–the start of a new year–on a plane, but this is the first time I’ll be starting New Year’s on a plane. This being, um, in a little over a day. I’ll be visiting my best friend in Virginia, a first for me. Her living up north in small states is great for my see-all-of-the-states goal. But mostly, I am just excited to see her face and go on new adventures with my favorite lady of nearly fourteen years.

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It’s hard to explain in words how happy I feel right now, in this very moment. I am sitting next to my husband, sharing lovely small-talk and laughing about our little nothings. My little girl is sleeping in the next room and the fire Robby made is keeping me toasty on this chilly night. Tomorrow, we’ll spend a cozy evening with new neighbor friends for New Year’s and early the next morning, I’ll be on a plane heading to new things and my best gal pal.

2015 is already off to a flying start.

2013 Recap and Hi, 2014.

It’s hard for me to believe that everything that’s happened in 2013 has, in fact, only happened to me in one year. It blows my mind that I’ve had the chance to experience all of these things in a lifetime, much less 365 days. Where to start?

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I ran a race in my underwear for a good cause, was published in my university magazine (twice!) and modeled for multiple photo-shoots. I’ve had beautiful and memory-filled travels to Pittsburgh, Louisiana (twice!), Mexico, New Mexico, Arizona, Detroit, Puerto Rico and Colorado. I took part in a giant scavenger hunt in downtown Austin where I would climb atop a Willie Nelson statue, not knowing that later that year I would actually meet Willie Nelson himself.

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I celebrated my 24th birthday surrounded by amazing friends, had an absolute blast with my hubby on our first ever cruise and fell in love with my social media internship for the American Red Cross.

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Becoming an event blogger gave me the chance to take part in some pretty incredible adventures: I ziplined across one of the world’s longest ziplines, ate and drank at multiple media events, attempted to stand-up paddleboard, nervously tried my hands at beekeeping, was given a breathtaking helicopter tour of downtown Austin and went indoor skydiving, just to name some of the events I was able to cover. I am forever grateful to all of the businesses who allowed me to try out these endeavors not only free of charge, but who almost always allowed me to invite a friend to join in on the fun as well. This year has definitely reiterated something I’ve known for quite some time: Austin and its people are awesome.

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Perhaps my favorite event to cover was flyboarding– A water sport that propelled me out of the water and into the air in a jet-pack like fashion. This was scary and exhilarating and doubly awesome because I had a giant camera crew filming it all. In May, I was cast in an online commercial for U By Kotex. A film crew filmed a week in my life, and a couple of months later would fly me first class to Detroit to film for a piece shown in concerts all over the United States. Soon after, they would send me to one of these concerts to watch myself talk to the audience on a humungous teleprompter. It’s impossible for me to properly put into words how completely amazing all of this was, but I can say it definitely made for some of the best moments of my entire life. I’ll never forget the feeling of having a film crew take over my entire house, or filming on a stage that famous singers perform on, or playing dress up with my very own makeup and wardrobe artist, or falling in love with Detroit as I was given the inside tour by some pretty terrific people, or being handed a check, glancing at the number and trying extremely hard to act cool and not squeal out loud. You know those really great dreams you sometimes have, and it always kind of sucks to wake up and realize, “Damn, that wasn’t real.” ? This whole experience was a lot like that for me. Except it was real.

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In August, I became a first-generation college graduate and celebrated this with my fabulous support system, and by September I was hired on as the Social Media Representative for all five locations of Leif Johnson Ford. I’m now getting paychecks to blog, take pictures and talk to people– and I’m still a little amazed that I’m getting paid to do the things that I already like to do for fun.

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What else? I make this recap already knowing that I won’t be able to recall every detail that made up such a monumental year for me. My husband and I bought a boat, which he completely renovated and that has already provided us with plenty of good times and pretty Austin sunsets. I made my first down payment on a shiny new car, met the White Power Ranger of my childhood, ran six races, sought out new volunteering opportunities and covered my first ever red carpet event.

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In October, the dude and I celebrated four wonderful years of marriage in the gorgeous Denver, Colorado. Oh, yes. And we found out that we’re expecting our baby girl to arrive in April 2014.

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My head is still spinning from this year, which has been both the craziest and best of my life so far. But seeing as we’ll be meeting Miss Brynlee Mae in just a few months, I already go into this one knowing that 2013 has some pretty intense competition. Just….Jeeze. Wow. Gosh. Pretty words start failing me when my feelings for all of these experiences can’t be summed up eloquently enough. I am so very thankful for this magical, insane, breathtaking, beautiful whirlwind of a year…. and I cannot wait to see what the next 365 days has in store for me (us!)

So hi, 2014. You have a lot to live up to, but I have some belly kicking movements and a couple of plane tickets that are telling me you’re off to a really good start.