Tuesday, May 31, 2011

BBQ, Bathing Suits, Baseball, and Bikes: Memorial Day in Greenville

Happy Monday Tuesday everyone! It's always tough getting back in the swing of things after a long weekend, so I wouldn't exactly say I'm firing on all cylinders this morning. However, I did have a relaxing weekend with friends, and I've got more exciting things to come this month, so I'm not complaining. I am absolutely loving my new Android phone because it makes it so easy to take photos on the go and upload to my blog, so I actually took all the photos from this weekend with my phone. On Friday night, one of my best friends from high school, Katie, and her boyfriend, Josh, came to visit Cam and I in Greenville. They just moved from Michigan to Chattanooga, TN, which is only about four hours from us. On Saturday morning, we took them to walk around downtown Greenville to check out the Farmer's Market, and of course the falls.

Katie & I :)
I love Greenville's Farmer's Market
Katie & Josh
Beautiful falls
Pretty sure I have a million pictures of the falls/bridge, but I can't resist taking pictures when we bring people down there
The guys (and Lola)

This weekend, a new cupcake shop called The Chocolate Moose opened up in downtown Greenville, this place was super adorable and the cupcakes were delish!
Later on Saturday, we went over to my friend Amy's house for a BBQ; this girl loves to plan a party, and you can check out all her ideas on her blog. There was a hot air balloon festival this weekend, so she carried that theme over into the party and everything looked super cute! She definitely has the gift of Southern hospitality!

Yummy yummy ribs (note the precious hot air ballon baskets)
Dessert table
I made cookies (chocolate chip and M&M) for the party, and she had a cute little ballon basket all set up and ready to go
She even made me a sign, so darling :)
She made this super cute rainbow cake, and had the stripes coordinate with the colors scheme of the party
Amy, Wendi, and I...I'm going to miss these friends when I leave SC :(
Saturday night, we went to a Greenville Drive baseball game with Katie and Josh which was a lot of fun. The Drive are the farm team for the Boston Red Sox and the stadium is like a mini Fenway Park.

Clearly I was interested in paying close attention to the game...ha.
 Sunday, we drove up to Caeser's Head to show Katie and Josh some of the mountain views in South Carolina, and we went for a little swim near Table Rock.

My neon pink bathing suit cover-up is totally appropriate day wear...not.
Swimming underneath that waterfall was freezing, but fun!
Monday, Cam and I went downtown to check out the US Cycling Pro Championships that were being hosted in Greenville. I'm not a huge cycling enthusiast, but it was neat to see such a big event, and we got to see the riders do a few laps around downtown at the start of the race. It's super hot in SC right now, so I don't know how all those riders made it115 miles; I was dripping in sweat just walking around downtown!

Cam and Lola waiting for the riders to come by

There they go!
Other than that, this weekend was spent sleeping in, lounging by the pool, and catching up on some reading. I hope that everyone had a fantastic weekend, and here's to a fabulous week!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Big news...

Keep reading to find out what this means...(source)
Happy Friday Everyone! I can't believe this is going to be my 18th post for this month already, look at me just blogging up a storm! Actually, the more into blogging I get, the more I enjoy it. It gives me a creative outlet and it also allows me to take part in an amazing community of people with so many great things to share. I love discovering new blogs and I am constantly being inspired by other bloggers. When I started this blog last year, my plan was for it to mainly be a way to keep family and friends up to date on what was going on with Cam and I, as I knew that we'd be moving out of Michigan later in the year. However, the more fun I'm having with blogging, I'd really like to broaden my horizons and reach a wider audience. So, if any of my fellow bloggers out there have any suggestions on what help them build a larger following, I'd love any advice that you have to share!

However, no matter how my blog may grow, it's original intent is still there, and that's to keep our family and friends up to date on what's happening in our life. We're approaching our two year wedding anniversary next month and I can't believe how time flies! I love that this blog gives me a way to chronicle all that God is continuing to do in our lives. I feel like my husband and I have had a pretty crazy but amazing last three and half years together. We started dating in college, got engaged in college, planned our wedding, graduated from college, got married, I got a new job, we moved into an apartment in Ann Arbor, Cam started grad school, we traveled, Cam finished grad school, we took an amazing 6 week trip to Europe, we moved down to Greenville, SC, Cam started his job, I found a new job, we got a dog, and we've continued to travel and explore all that the South has to offer. Sometimes I feel like I don't sit back on reflect on everything often enough because when I really stop to think about all the amazing things that have happened in such a short period of time, it's like wow! It's been an incredible journey so far, and I love that this blog gives me an outlet to share all that we're going through.

So, without much further ado, on to the real point of this post. While I was thinking that 2011 was going to be much less chaotic than 2010...it looks like I was wrong...because the Graybeals are moving again! And while I didn't expect to be making the same announcement I made last May again so soon, I am excited to share the news that at the end of next month we will be packing up and moving across the country to Boulder, Colorado! (Just like Michael Scott!)

I was going to put up a scenic picture of the Rocky Mountains, but when this stamp of Buster Baxter from Arthur came up on my Google Image search, I just had to use it...did anyone read these books/watch this show when they were little? Good times...and totally random I know. (Source)
Well, excited may be too strong a word, because while I am really looking forward to going to Colorado, this move is definitely bittersweet. I have absolutely loved living in Greenville, South Carolina. First of all, I just love the South in general, I love the food, I love the preppy colorful fashions, and I just love the lifestyle. Second, I really do love Greenville. It's a great city with a lot to offer, it's really well-positioned within the Southeast, and it's been a joy living here. Last but not least, what's really going to make this move so difficult is leaving all the wonderful people that we've met here. I feel so fortunate to have serendipitously stumbled upon a career in recruiting, and I absolutely love the people I work with now. I'm really going to miss being with them every day, and then in addition to the great group of people that I work with, we've just met so many nice people down here in Greenville that it really makes it tough to leave. But I know that some of these friendships I've formed will be lasting and I look forward to keeping in touch with everyone even after I leave the Upstate, so this blog will definitely be an important tool to help me do that. (Also, look forward to lots of posts about the South in the next month because I want to try to recap some of our favorite things we've discovered in the past year!)

Even though it's only been a year, I will always feel as though I'm an honorary South Carolinian (Source)
So as sad as I am to leave Greenville, I'm also extremely excited about what's to come. Cam and I have never been to Colorado before, but I've heard so many great things about how absolutely gorgeous it is. And it's nice because it's located exactly halfway in between Oregon and Michigan. That means it will be much easier to fly home and see Cam's family, as opposed to the 5+ hour time it takes now, because it's only a 2 hr flight to both Oregon and Michigan. I know that going from the South to the West is going to be somewhat of a culture shock, but I'm looking forward to the experience. As I may have mentioned (about 23012321 times) I love the South. However, I'm looking forward to the more active, healthy, and eco-friendly lifestyle we're about to encounter in Boulder, and I'm hoping my future blog posts will reflect some positive changes!

So I just realized I didn't clarify why we are moving. Right now, Cam is in a rotational program at work and was given the opportunity to do a six-month rotation in Colorado, and we both jumped at the chance, as it's a part of the country that we've both always wanted to go to. He is actually going to be working in Longmont, CO which is just north of Boulder, and we're actually going to be living in southwest Longmont, which is about 15-20 minutes from Boulder. (But I'm telling people we're moving to Boulder because no one knows where Longmont is!) We'll be just under an hour from Denver, and I'm so excited to explore this part of the country! Our movers are set to come pack up our apartment in less than a month and then we'll be making the trek from Greenville at the end of June.

However, because Cam is still in a rotational program, that means that we may very well only be living in Colorado for six months, and then moving somewhere else at the beginning of 2012. Thinking about moving again so soon is a really stressful thought, so I'm really just trying to focus on the present and not get bogged down thinking about what may or may not happen down the road. I really look at Cam and my life together as one big adventure and I feel so fortunate that we are getting these opportunities in our twenties to live in such wonderful locations. I can't worry about the future, and I know that everything will work out like it's supposed to, just like it has for the past 24 years :) I plan to continue using this blog to document our crazy, blessed life, and I know that it is going to become an even more important tool to keeping in touch with family and friends all over the country as we take this next step. As I mentioned earlier, I look forward to my blogging being influenced by this transition, because I think that life changes like this really help us to grow as people. I will always be a Midwestern Michigan girl at heart, a lover of all things Southern, and I'm excited to see how my time in Colorado will continue to shape me, and most of all I hope that you will continue to join me on this journey! :)

Colorado here we come! (Source)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Greening up breakfast

I swear, it takes me forever to get a blog post done. I had the intention of writing this post right after I got done eating my desk-fast at 8:30 morning...and now it's bed time. Oy vey! Well I will try to make this post short and sweet....so far I'm staying on track with my workout plan for the most part; I made it to Body Pump class last night, but this morning I was just way too tired to drag my butt to the gym. However, my sweet hubby was able to come home to walk Lola Beans at lunch, so I was able to fit in my cardio for today after all. Since it was still in the 90's here today, I did an interval workout on the treadmill. Tonight is my in-laws last night in SC so we had some good ole Southern BBQ for dinner, and now we're almost to another weekend, woo! So even though today's post is delayed, I just wanted to take the change to tell y'all about a product I picked up at Whole Foods earlier this week, and I feel like I've been slacking on my "green" posts, so I was especially happy to come across this cereal. Three Sisters Cinnamon Sweets are like a healthier, sustainable version of one of my current childhood favorites, Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I'll admit, I'm a marketer's dream and I initially picked up the Cinnamon Sweets because a) they were on the end of the aisle and b) because they had wind turbines on the front and I thought Cam would think that was cute...(it's reasons like this that we spend an unhealthy amount on food every month...) But after reading the package, there are a lot of things about Three Sisters cereal that I thought were really great. Although it's not an organic cereal, it doesn't contain any dyes or high fructose corn syrup, and it's produced using 100% wind power. Also, the cereal just comes in a bag so there is no cardboard box waste, because as I found out on their website, “Each year, there are about 2.5 billion cereal boxes sold in the United States. If even half of those boxes were bags, we’d save 90,000 tons of paperboard. The energy saved could power over 11,000 homes for a year. It would eliminate 170 million gallons of waste water and avoid 1,800 garbage trucks of solid waste.” And they really taste delicious!! Check out this more in depth review from Growing a Green Family for more information...I'm looking forward to trying their Marshmallow Oaties next :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday: Lola Beans!

Happy Hump Day everyone! Once again I've decided to link up with What I'm Loving Wednesday because I think it's so great to focus on the positive and to talk about the things that make us happy, whether they're big or small. And what's making me happy today is my sweet 7 month old puppy Lola! (Or as we like to call her Lola Beans) My post today was inspired by an article I found on LinkedIn about the benefits of getting to bring your dog to work. While I'm not able to do that, I am fortunate that I work very close to my apartment and am able to come home everyday at lunch and take Lola for a walk and see her cute little face (and giant ears!). Here are some pictures I took at lunch today, enjoy! :)
Sweet puppy :)
Her ears are comically large...yet she doesn't always listen...hmmm
Sometimes they stick straight up...
Other times she flattens them down
Sticking her tongue out, just a lil bit
Ready to walk!
Why is it 93 degrees out?!
Changed my mind, I'm ready to go back in the air conditioning :)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Shopping & Staying in Shape

Happy Tuesday Y'all! I feel like time is just flying by this month, I really can't believe that it's almost Memorial Day! As I mentioned in my post yesterday, we had the chance to go to Savannah over the weekend and we had a fabulous time. During our trip I was able to break away and do a little shopping, and I snagged these beautiful suede open-toe wedge booties from Banana Republic. The picture really doesn't do them justice, they are gorgeous! I think they're very versatile and will look good with all sorts of outfits well into the fall. I'm especially excited about this purchase because they were marked down from $140 to $50, and then when I bought them on Saturday, Banana was having a sale to take an additional 25% off all sale items, so I snagged them for only $38! Score!

Hello pretty :)
Another recent purchase of mine was a new pair of shades. I am notorious for losing/scratching/breaking sunglasses, so I never really like to spend a lot on them because I know that something will happen to them. I was in the market for a new pair when I came across these cute cat-eye frames at Target for only $12.99. I've been noticing a lot of celebs rocking this retro-glam look, and even though Cam says that I remind him of his grandma when I'm wearing them, I still think they are awesome :) And I'm not alone, a lot of celebrities having been getting in on this trend as well, and I've seen lots of buzz in the blogosphere about this hot accessory. 

My cat-eye sunglasses that I wore all weekend :)
Speaking of sunglasses, how adorable is this sunglass case that I got at Swoozie's yesterday?! (Also, if you don't know what Swoozie's is, it's basically my dream store. It's the epitome of the Southern to me; you can get anything monogramed their and they've got lots of stationary and cute little gifts.) As I said, my sunglasses are constantly getting scratched because I just throw them in my purse, so hopefully this case will help me be a little more careful. It's got bright pink lining and I just love the graphic aviator print. The case is made by Toss Designs, and after checking out their website, they have 2908317 cute preppy things that I want now. (Also, it's only $16.00 from the Toss Designs website, but it was $20 when I bought it at the store, just fyi!) 

Seriously, how cute is this?!
Cam's parents and brother and sister-in-law are still in South Carolina, and while it's great having them down here, I am feeling (to quote my dear friend Wendi) fat as a tick right now. When you have out of town company, inevitably it makes it harder to get to the gym and you tend to go out to eat more. So while I'm super appreciative that Cam's parents have taken us out to so many nice dinners, I'm trying not to let myself go off the rails too much. They're here until Friday, and I know we're going out to dinner tonight and Thursday, so I'm really just going to try to enjoy it the fact that they're here and not worry too much about going out to eat, as I know next week we'll get back on track with healthy meals. At the same time, I'm really trying to make a point to stick to my workout schedule this week. I only got to the gym twice last week, and I feel like my energy really lags when I don't work out. So here's my workout schedule for this week, I'm putting it up here hoping that it will hold me accountable to sticking to it! (I've already done Monday and Tuesday's workouts, only 3 more til the weekend!)

Monday-Body Attack class (1 hr cardio/strength)
Tuesday-Spin class (1 hr cardio)
Wednesday-Body Pump class (1 hr strength)
Thursday-Elliptical or Running/Walking (45 mins cardio)
Friday-Boot Camp class (1 hr cardio/strength)

***Also, stay tuned for some big news later this week...***

Sweet Southern Savannah

Happy Monday Y'all! As indicated by my last post, this weekend my hubby and I were out of town in...Savannah! His parents and brother and sister-in-law are in town from Oregon, so we all headed down to Savannah for the weekend so they could experience the lowcountry. We actually went there with his parents back in October, but it was nice to get the chance to go again. Savannah has such a unique feeling to me, it's definitely different than Charleston, but it's a really cool city in it's own right. Charleston is all palm trees, big beautiful homes, and manicured gardens, where as in Savannah there are all these beautiful giant live oak trees overgrown with Spanish moss and the city itself has more of a spooky feeling, and I enjoyed getting another chance to explore it's charm. Cam's parents were nice enough to get us a sweet room at the Hilton with an AWESOME view of the cathedral of St. John the Baptist, as referenced in my previous "Where in the World Am I" post. Here are some pictures of the rest of the weekend; Cam's family isn't so much about the crazy let's take pictures of each other every five minutes like my family is...so most of these are scenery shots :)

Hubby and I on our balcony over looking the city!
View of the cathedral (in my last post, this picture had this weird reflection? Idk why...)
Hotel :)
Love all the old trees and Spanish moss!
Presbyterian Church from the beginning of 'Forest Gump'
Lots of cute antique stores

Pretty architecture
One of the many beautiful squares around the city
I love how people rent out the squares for weddings, so cool! 
The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
Beautiful interior
We ate lunch at The Olde Pink House, I'd highly recommend it if you're in Savannah!
They're famous for their flounder, so I had to try it...it was delicious!
Leopold's Ice Cream Shop is a great place to get a delicious milkshake when it's 95 degrees, like it was this weekend :)
I think the Savannah College of Art and Design brings a lot of youth and creativity to the city, and I was so glad we were able to check out some of the awesome student fashions on display in the library
Had to stop at the Maritime Museum...not my choice, but it was actually pretty interesting...
I had to get in a little shopping of course! Broughton Street has some really cute shops, it's not Charleston, but it will do for an afternoon...I ended up going w/ the brown, more on that later...

How adorable is the home stuff at DC2 Design?! I wanted everything in this store!!
One of the pictures taking from the hearse we rode in for our ghost tour...yeah.
My sister-in-law Ashley and I at Fort Pulaski
After swimming on Tybee Island on Sunday (which I wasn't super impressed with, I thought the beaches up near Charleston were much nicer), we had lunch at this adorable place right on the water
They had a whole pond full of alligators!
As well as some interesting exotic birds...
Family :)
 I actually took all my pictures this weekend with my new phone that I got last week! I finally decided to stop being Amish, take the plunge and get a smart phone! I have Sprint, so I got a HTC Evo and I LOVE it! It's still taking me a little time to get used to the touch screen and figure out all the features of the phone, but so far it's awesome to be able to blog and take photos on the go!
I ordered this pink and white case from Amazon, and it's supposed to be coming in later this week...can't wait!
Two things I love about my phone: it makes it much easier to look up information when traveling and it makes it that much easier to get food pictures without having to be the awkward person in the restaurant pulling out their camera. Case in point, the burger photo below. On the way home from Savannah yesterday, I looked up places that had been featured on  Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, because I thought I remembered there being a place in Columbia. I saw this place on the list called Pawley's Front Porch that was featured in their episode about great burgers, so Cam and I decided to stop...and it was an excellent choice! So so delicious. All their burgers are named after islands of the coast of SC, and the burger I got had delicious homemade salsa, boursin cheese, and friend green tomatoes...yum! If you're ever in Columbia, SC, check this place out! :)

Nothing beats a burger, a beer, and sweet potato fries!


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