Shutterbug

The camera bags I won from the contest have arrived, and I am amazed at how beautiful and different each one is. The three camera bags I now own are Jo Totes, Kelly Moore Bags and Epiphanie. I’ll be testing them out over the next few weeks, and then review them. It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a handbag addict so I’m so excited to try them out.

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Florida Memories

I’m settling back into life in Charlottesville just in time to dash off to New Jersey again. I’m also missing my Florida family, and the adventures we had there.

One of the best discoveries of that trip was a new beach that I was introduced to by a longtime blogger friend. Pass-a-Grille beach was everything I love in a beach-perfect sand, crystal blue waters and great access to food and drinks. It was fun exploring it with my blog friends and a delightful to introduce my family to it.

Puerto Rico Dreaming

We booked a trip to Puerto Rico ages ago thanks to a Groupon deal. My family, my boyfriend and I are renting a villa in a small town in Puerto Rico. Admittedly, we’re a little nervous since it’s a Groupon deal *and* we weren’t thrilled with the last place we rented in Miami (not via Groupon, but a rental agency). While everything online makes our villa seem pretty fantastic–personal chef, daily baskets of fresh local fruits delivered to us, welcoming baskets of rum and local beer, we wanted to add in a another layer of safety just in case we weren’t thrilled.

So for our last few days in Puerto Rico, we’ll be staying at a nice hotel. Not just a nice hotel, but the Ritz Carlton. The hotel has its own private beach, a gorgeous pool and is right in Old San Juan–a place that I loved on my first visit there. It will be a perfect little spot of luxury before we hop back on the plane back home.

I booked the hotel rooms for us today, and I can taste the poolside pina coladas already.

All pictures via the Ritz Carlton’s website.

A Beautiful Monday

I have been so busy the past few weeks preparing for the new class I’m teaching (called “Why We Travel: Travel and Motion in Contemporary Young Adult Literature), that I’ve been neglecting my little blog. So imagine my surprise when I checked in on Friday and saw that my hit counter was through the roof especially with traffic from the inspiring blog A Beautiful Mess. I’d won their May Giveaway, and I didn’t even know it. Talk about the perfect way to start the weekend.

Picture via JoTotes

I’m having so much fun picking out things from the various websites, it’s the perfect break from lesson planning. This morning I got to order the Georgia Nautical Camera Bag from JoTotes. I love trying out different camera bags, I’m so excited for this one to arrive.

A big huge thanks to Elsie and Emma at A Beautiful Mess for being so thoughtful with this giveaway and to their sponsors for having such beautiful products to share!

Happy Father’s Day

Father’s Day is usually a day that goes unnoticed by me. However, this year I do have a stepfather. This got me thinking about the day, and how lucky I am to have some really amazing father figures in my life.

I’m lucky to have an amazing and funny grandfather who is always full of tricks and is endlessly kind. Plus, he can play the harmonica and I recently learned that he’s a stellar singer. When he was a school boy he was always called on to sing at events. Can you believe in 31 years I never knew that?

And then I’m lucky enough to have my Fred, a family friend that I’ve known forever. When I refer to him, I usually just tell people that he’s my adopted father because he truly is the father I never had. Having him in Atlanta while I was at Emory was a wonderful treat when I felt homesick. When I was little, he’d take me to Friendly’s for milkshakes and dorky conversations about sci-fi books. On the way home, we’d blast Billy Joel tapes. I can’t hear River of Dreams without thinking of Fred.

And of course, there’s my stepfather, who puts up with all of my family’s insanity and remains endlessly calm through all of it. I’m so excited he and my mom found each other, and that he never really seems to mind the fact that I will install myself into their Florida house for weeks at a time.

I’m a very lucky girl to have all three of these guys in my life.

Back & New

After three weeks in New Jersey and two and a half weeks in Florida, I am finally back in Virginia. I had an amazing time in both states & loved how much time I got to spend with my family and my boyfriend.

I am also excited to experience Cville this summer–my first time ever being here in the summer despite living here for nearly six years. I celebrated this fact by chopping off six inches of my hair. It’s short, and I love it. I’m excited to teach two new classes this summer, and I’m excited to see a whole new side of my town.

Here’s to new adventures!

Heading Home

My two and a half weeks in Florida have flown by so quickly. I’ve had a ridiculously fun time with my family. I’m sad to leave them–as always, but I know I get to see them next month for my nephew’s birthday party in New Jersey.