Friday, July 31, 2015

Five on Friday: Sweet Briar Style

Happy Aloha Friday!  (Every Friday is Aloha Friday here in Hawaii.  Jon and I are just starting to figure that out.)  I'm so excited to share with you guys today!

I'll be linking up with April, Amanda, Karli, and Andrea for Friday 5 and Friday Favorites. Go visit their blogs and show these ladies some love today!

Sweet Briar College is my dear sweet Alma Mater that almost closed earlier this year due to poor administration, but the Lord seriously performed a miracle and saved our school.  It truly is a Cinderella story and I couldn't be more proud of my SBC diploma than I am now.  Today I am delighted to share Sweet Briar with you!
sweet briar college life, mapped blog

1. The campus
If you have heard of Sweet Briar, one of the things you probably already know is how magnificent the campus is.  Situated in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Parkway of Virginia, Sweet Briar is comprised of 3,250 acres for its 500-800 students.  Full of hiking and horseback riding trails, and home to the most peaceful lakes, it feels more like a resort than a college campus.
sweet briar college life, mapped blog
2. The faculty
The largest reason I chose Sweet Briar over the other schools I was considering is the faculty.  In all of my visiting I was so completely convinced of the love and commitment  SBC's faculty has for their students and their academic standards.  The type of relationship I was able to build with my professors at SBC is one that we still celebrate as friends years after graduation.
sweet briar college life, mapped blog
3. Every night is a girl's night
That's right.  Sweet Briar is a women's college.  Never did I ever think that I would attend a women's college.  In  fact, almost every classmate I met in my first year said the same thing.  I always envisioned myself at a large co-ed university.  Honestly, I initially applied to SBC as a backup plan, but once setting foot on campus, and even attending some classes as part of one of their Accepted Applicants Weekends, I knew that Sweet Briar was where I was supposed to be.  You are able to engage topics and cover material in a completely different way in a single sex academic environment.  It felt completely comfortable and natural in a way that I believe really contributed to my ability to thrive there.  Plus, every night is a girl's night with the very best of friends.
sweet briar college life, mapped blog
4. The colors
Seriously, the colors are pink and greenYou will soon find yourself noticing everything pink and green while out shopping, and you will want all of it. Trust me.
sweet briar college life, mapped blog
5. The mascot
This is one of my favorites! The mascot is a Vixen, y'all.  I don't think it gets much sweeter than that.  You will suddenly find yourself noticing all things that pertain to foxes.
sweet briar college life, mapped blog
 So I know this is technically "5 on Friday" and all, but I have to include a 6 today simply because Sweet Briar is that wonderful.

6.The alumna
I know, every college brags about how great their alum network is, but Sweet Briar's alums seriously saved our college from shutting down, and that gives me goosebumps and brings tears to my eyes everytime I think about it. I truly am convinced that the family of alumna at Sweet Briar are one of a kind.
sweet briar college life, mapped blog

I could go on and on about my beloved Alma Mater, and I may just do that next Friday.  If you are considering where to attend college, I strongly encourage you to consider Sweet Briar.  That goes for all of you Mamas out there with sweet baby girls!  Check us out. You won't be disappointed.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 30, 2015


My emotions were completely wrecked over a woman I don't even know.  I'm still pretty laid back in my involvement with this here blogging community, but I do follow a lady named Jessica.  I've enjoyed reading her light-hearted posts and seeing pictures of her adorable kiddos, but yesterday, her post was much different.  While the title included the name of a woman I had never even heard of, my heart instantly began to break.

I encourage you to read the memoriam Jessica wrote on her dear friend Leslie, a 30 year old mother of two baby girls. This post is just one of many that reflect the sweet soul of Leslie.

When Jon got home from work I couldn't help but share the story that  had weighed so heavily on me all day.  As I choked back tears, I kept repeating to him, "she's a stranger, I don't even know her, why am I so upset?". I felt so silly crying over the loss of a person I don't even know.

Today the Lord brought a verse of scripture to my heart about the Body of Christ.

"If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together."
[1 Corinthians 12:26]

You see, Leslie is not a stranger at all, and as weird as this may sound, she's my sister, not through our own blood, but through the blood of Jesus, and that alone is enough to cause us to grieve along with those who knew her.

In honor of Leslie, a memorial fund has been set up for her two sweet babies, Caroline and Ainsley.  If you feel led to support their family, you can find the link here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

What's Up Wednesday

Hey, Happy Wednesday!

Today I'm really excited to link up with Shay, Mel and Sheaffer for my first What's Up Wednesday!

1. What we're eating this week...
Embarrassingly enough, Jon & I are still living in a hotel. haha So we're eating out quite a bit, friends.  Lately we have discovered this little take-out place in Waikiki called the Steak  And cheap! You get a salad, rice and steak for $8 which is not heard of in Hawaii. Amazing. We went 2 nights in a row. #noshame

Oh, and this beer.  This beer is so good.

2.What I'm reminiscing about...

Although we're in Hawaii which takes away my right to complain about anything...I really miss my family.  I think of them often and am able to speak to them quite a bit, but there's still nothing like being home on the farm.

3.What I'm Loving...

This was my first Nordstrom sale (I caved), but I am loving the few little things I bought.:)

4. What we've been up to...

Well, naturally we spend a lot of time with new friends on the beach of course!

5.  What I'm dreading...

Seriously beginning to pursue God on what He has for me here, specifically what He has to speak to me regarding us starting our own family (having/adopting).  If you know me, you know Jon and I want kids but  This is finally the first season we are out on our own away from the regular influence of family regarding kids (miss ya, family!) which is sincerely allowing us to pursue the Lord and each other regarding such a HUGE topic. Yikes. Scary, but necessary and beautiful.

6.What I'm working on...

Job applications.  In my recent post about what I do I kind of explained the situation we're currently in with my work. I've had some great potential offers, but just getting that timeline to work takes a little patience.

7. What I'm excited about...

One of the couples in  Jon's unit is having a BBQ over at their house on Saturday.  Everyone we've met is super cool and we're having a great time, so I'm excited to relax and make more memories with them.

8.  What I'm watching/reading...

Well, my 2 guilty pleasures... the Bachelorette and Modern Family.  I just can't help it. oh, and HGTV, anything HGTV even just for the background noise.

I read Proverbs 1:33 this morning and it was THE bomb. Just what I needed.

awesome, right?

9. What I'm listening to...

Our church sings this song and we have been loving it lately.  "Great Are You Lord" by All Sons & Daughters
10.  What I'm wearing...

Honestly, just athletic clothes and swimsuits.  Nothing fancy around here.  I do love wearing this tunic (pictured above) I got from the Lilly for Target collaboration.  It's perfect for heading to the beach.

11. What I'm doing this weekend...

The BBQ with our new friends.:) And of course church, followed by our weekly commissary shopping trip and cafe date. We love our cafe dates.

12. What I'm looking forward to next month...
 Jon's in his cousin's wedding next month so we're flying back to Wisconsin to be there for the big day!  We are so excited for this sweet couple, and to see a lot of our family.

13. What else is new...

Hmmm.. well, my best friend bought a house and I'm excited to have a facetime date with her so I can see it! Call me, Tracy! :)  Oh, and there's no Chipotle here.  What is up Wednesday-ers to that foolishness? I mean, sometimes a girl needs a fat burrito. #burritowithdrawal

14. What I will miss most about summer...

I love this question because summer won't actually leave us this year in Hawaii.:) I am sad to not see the changes of fall. Fall is my favorite, with changing leaves and pumpkin spice everything, but warmth and the beach are my favorites too.  I am seriously concerned about the potential lack of pumpkin spice here. What's a girl to do?

Happy Wednesday, y'all! Thanks for linking-up!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Home Decor Inspiration

So all of you ladies know that one sweet thing that comes with the chaos of moving is being excited to have a vision for your new place!  We left a lot of our stuff behind on the mainland, knowing that we would literally be moving to a place with 1/4 the square footage we had back in Virginia.  While we will have zero space and no intention to purchase new things, I still very much enjoy looking at the amazing Pinterest to dream. So let's, shall we? :)


Happy Tuesday! What are you ladies pinning this week?

Monday, July 27, 2015

GIS: What I Do & Why I Love It

Happy Monday, everyone!  As we kick off the work week I thought I would share a little bit about what I do for a career and why I love it.

First things first, I recently quit my career a second time to follow Jon in this crazy Army life, but we're hoping to have me back on the job soon.

According to Wikipedia, Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, is "a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of spatial or geographical data".  GIS is a fascinating field that provides amazing ways for us to manage and display data as it relates to locations on the earth.  I know this may sound completely nerdly, especially following a Nordstrom post, but GIS is so awesome.

I first began exploring the field of GIS during my junior year at Sweet Briar College as it was a required course for an Environmental Science major like myself.  At the time, it seemed to be such a contrast to what I wanted to do with my life. I mean, who wants to spend 6 hours on a weekend in the computer lab working on creative ways to display demographic data? Not me.

However, just like every other college senior, I found myself applying to any job I felt my degree had qualified me towards. To my surprise, I landed a job in GIS. I was so thankful to even have a job, ecstatic for it to be in my field.

This particular job happened to be serving the military in a training environment.  As I've shared before, this is also the position that provided me the opportunity to meet my sweet husband as he came in to get a map for training himself.  I never thought I would see the day that I loved managing data, but when it allows me to contribute to something so great as the American military, I am truly eager for the opportunity.

I left my first position due to my first move with Jon about a year into our marriage.  Thankfully, The Lord provided me with a very similar position at our second duty station, making it equally as difficult to say goodbye.  I am so grateful for those opportunities and am praying that God will provide the perfect position for me out here in Hawaii in His time.

For all of you heading to work this morning, enjoy it!  I'd love to hear what you do & why you love it!

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale!

Happy Friday!  Today I'm linking up with Andrea and sharing some of my favorite things from the week.

Y'all, this is my first ever experience with the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  I know many of you blogging ladies have been all over it, and for sharing this sweet not-so-secret event.

I've really been trying to be good with not buying anything and had been successful until a few small purchases to enjoy these sales on NEW line merchandise.  I think that's still something I'm trying to break down in my mind.  I was explaining it to Jon last night as if it was the greatest discovery since the Kitchen Aid mixer.  I think I've been living under a rock.

Nordstrom brings out their Fall line, puts it on sale, and then returns it to regular price for the season. what?  If you're like me and you've never even looked at Nordstrom because it's intimidating, you may want to reconsider.

These are some of my favorite items on sale now:

This robe = incredible.  I'm not even a robe person, but I brushed up against this smooth thing, and bam, I'm a robe person.  The blue floral is cute, but the black and white is my favorite.

While in the pj section, I fell in love with the print of these shorts, and the lace detail = adorable.  Super soft, and great for a gift, too!

Speaking of gifts, I'm sure most of you have seen the Kate Spade glitter earrings!  These are a little wild for me normally, but I actually think they are quite fun and girly!

Can someone please buy these wine glasses so we can use them when I visit you?  I love the "home" idea and would adore some VA glasses while out here in HI, but I simply can't justify trying to jam another wine glass into our limited cabinet space.  So buy, and enjoy for me. :) Thank you.

My first Kendra Scott purchase happened at this sale when I bought these little beauties.  I had been wanting some for a while, but again, trying to exercise some discipline what with the move to Hawaii and the Lord being enough.  However, I could justify $30 much easier than $60 so I got them.:)
Have you browsed the sale?  What are some of your favorites?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Our First 4th of July Together

It's hard to believe, but this was Jon and I's first 4th of July together.  I'd say we made the most of it.  We felt like we were totally winning since Jon got a 4 day weekend right after starting work out here.  It was great.  We slept in and had breakfast, then headed out to the beach. I feel like if you drink a beer, eat a hotdog and get a sunburn, you've celebrated the 4th with the rest of America, so we did just that.  Jon and I are definitely more wine than beer drinkers, but ever since getting out here we have fallen in love with Kona Brewing Company beers.  After lathering on some aloe, we headed back out to sit on the beach for fireworks right in front of our hotel. They were every bit of awesome, and call me cheesy, but there is just something so romantic about sitting on the beach, watching fireworks with the love of your life, isn't it? :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The In-Betweens of House Hunting

As I mentioned before, Jon was able to secure some leave for house hunting which was awesome.  While we are still living in a hotel, we are hoping to have a home secured soon. It has been interesting because although there are houses on Oahu available for rent and for sale, there aren't a lot available in the town that we have totally fallen in love with.  It has been exhausting at times to look at so many places, but the Lord has shown Himself so faithful in the most tremendous ways since we got here, so much so that it disgustingly confronts our lack of faith.  We know that He will provide the perfect place for us.

Meanwhile, I've had a chance to link up several times with my dear new friend, Megan.  Megan is a sister Vixen who graduated from Sweet Briar a couple of years ahead of me.  We didn't really know each other in school, but turns out we have tons of mutual friends so it didn't take long for us to become acquainted on this little island we call home.  Also a fellow milspouse, it has been awesome to share the joys of PCS season with her.

Jon and I have discovered the perfect little cafe to grab lunch or have a good cup of coffee.  Morning Brew is wonderful and has the most delicious chicken curry wraps. Yum! Jon and I have seriously eaten them twice a week as we've skimmed over home listings.  Speaking of home listings, we have the  She is the sweetest, and brings us the most amazing mangoes from her yard.  Jon and I have had other mangoes since being here and they are no comparison.  I have made it a goal of mine to eat my weight in this delicious tropical fruit before we have to leave this magical place.

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Dole Plantation

One of the places I have been most pumped to see since we found out we were moving to Hawaii is the Dole Plantation. I LOVE pineapple, and let me tell you, the pineapple is amazing here. I had heard tales of this 'dole whip' (pineapple ice cream), and since ice cream is my favorite.thing.ever. I had been just looking for the chance to sneak by the farm and check it out.  They offer rides on the Pineapple Express to hear a history of pineapple growing in Hawaii and see the farm in action, along with a garden maze and plenty of chances for a good photo op.  While I'm sure the tour is fascinating, we didn't take it. I was there for one thing. The dole whip.  So so good.  Much more pineapple-y than we were expecting. There is also a restaurant and plenty of shopping opportunity to purchase anything with a pineapple on it.  It really is a great place to see and I look forward to going back when we have visitors, or maybe even before!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Diamond Head Hike

Happy Friday, Y'all! 

While Jon had some time in between looking at houses we took advantage of checking out our first Hawaii hike.  Diamond Head is the extinct volcanic crater that is always seen in the backdrop of  famous photos taken at Waikiki beach, and since we were close, we thought we'd give it a try. Of course we went in the middle of the day with high temperatures and lots of people, but even  then it honestly wasn't bad.  I always pictured everything in Hawaii to be super lush and green, but Diamond Head is actually quite dry and brown.  It's really cool, just different from what I expected. The view at the top of the hike is an incredible overlook of Waikiki (another famous photo).  The hike itself was about an hour long and had some stairs, with an alternative less-steep route towards the top. If you ever visit Hawaii, you have to do this hike. It's a tourist staple.  I've been trying to soak in every second of free time that Jon has before the Army consumes him.  We totally need to come up with a Hawaii bucket list.:)

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The first of our days in Hawaii


The first of our days in Hawaii have been full of work and play.  We landed on a Sunday, and Jon had to report to work the very next day.  Fortunately he was able to secure some leave for several days to look for a home.  This task has proven to be interesting as we have lingered between the big decision of buying vs. renting.  We should be here 2-3 years, and have never purchased a home so it would be nice to finally have a place that is ours.  For now, we're still in our hotel and making it work.

We are staying in Waikiki which seems to be the busiest area on the island.  It's full of the hustle and bustle of tourists shopping and checking out the amazing restaurants.  Since we're here we've decided to play along a bit.  We eaten some awesome food, explored around the island, and been in awe of our surroundings.  I don't think it will actually sink in that this is where we live until we get a place of our own.