Planning a Trip to the Florida Keys

July 2017 Highlights: The Highs + Lows

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I was home for the majority of this month—I was only away four nights out of the past 31, which has got to be some sort of record for me—and yet, how do I feel as behind as ever? Probably because I took full days at a time off from work (even, gasp, a Saturday a time or two!), which felt glorious and was much-needed. Regardless, this week will be a hustle to both catch up and get ahead of the curve as I prepare for another busy travel month in August to New Orleans, New York and Oklahoma City.

July’s breakdown looked a little something like this:


An epic blog party with so many of my closest friends. My blog turns 10 tomorrow, you guys—squeeee! be sure you check back in as I have one HUGE giveaway planned—and as such, I had 50 of my favorite people over this past weekend to celebrate. I’m still on Cloud Nine thinking of all the love that surrounded me on Saturday (and, well, every day truth be told).

Planning a Luau-Themed Birthday Party

We went to the Florida Keys for a project. And it was a blast! Diving, key lime pie sampling, paddleboarding—it was all so much fun. If you want to win a similar trip to ours, there’s still time. Somehow we managed to, once again, not get a single shot of us other than this sunset silhouette.

Planning a Trip to the Florida Keys

I got to write another piece about Nashville. Make that three Music City features this month, actually, but my “What’s So Great About Nashville?” article for Hertz was really fun to write—and is a good piece to reference if you’re traveling to Nashville anytime in the near future. Likewise, my story about the Tennessee Whiskey Trail is up on the state site if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

I had a visitor! My long-time friend from this blog, Briel, came to Nashville for her birthday weekend (which happens also to be SVV’s birthday weekend), and as he was away in California for 10 days, she took his spot adventuring with me. We had a lovely time exploring some of Tennessee’s waterfalls then catching some epic fireworks.

Best Hikes in Middle Tennessee

We got a drone! Well, rather, SVV got a drone (from me, for his birthday). In typical SVV fashion, he’s been reading up on the mechanics of flying the DJI Phantom 4 Pro before we take it on a trip at the end of next month. I can’t wait to add aerial photography to our arsenal of skills!

The littlest cousins stayed with us for a weekend. They were in my neck of the woods for two weeks but only stayed at my house the final weekend. And we continued the summer adventuring, of course!

Best Waterfalls in Middle Tennessee

I photographed two community events. The great thing about actually being home is getting to be more of a part of the community in which I live. I loved taking snaps at a boutique’s birthday party as well as the downtown square’s Girls Night Out.

Setting Up a Photo Booth

We accomplished a lot around the house in preparation for my blog party. More house updates around the corner, I promise! Or follow them in real time via my Instagram Stories.


A busted water heater AND a broken MacBook in the same month. When I took my MacBook in for Apple to fix a known issue (meaning, warranty covers it, no cost on my part … or so I thought), I wasn’t expecting for the Genius Bar to keep it 15 days and figure out a way to charge me $400 for the trouble. At the same time, our water heater also went out and cost, literally, thousands of dollars to replace. Luckily, SVV traded painting services with our friend who used to be a plumber, so we didn’t also have to pay for labor. All that wouldn’t be such a big blow if it didn’t come simultaneously with us owing additional $$$ for our 2016 taxes, having to pay our quarterly taxes for this year and preparing to invest quite a lot in additional house improvements. Oof. That actual vacation we had planned for this fall is likely not happening until next summer (at the earliest) as a result.

A systemic anaphylactic reaction to my allergy shots. You read that right: I had a full-blown reaction to my shots, the stuff I routinely inject into my body every week in hopes that one day I’ll actually feel better. When I left the allergist’s office, I was devoid of all welts, which seemed odd as I usually develop a lump the size of a grapefruit on each tricep shortly after leaving. Well, that night I didn’t get said lump because my entire body was one big hive from my scalp to the backs of my knees, and my body was on fire; I didn’t take my temperature, but it must have been well over 100. I avoided a trip to the ER, but I now have four EpiPens for future emergencies. This was a terrifying night for both SVV and me, and I never want to go through it again.

What kept you going this muggy July?

  • July 31, 2017

    Congrats on your blog turning 10! Your blog is always one of my favorites to read. Love all your travel tips.

    • August 1, 2017

      Thank you so much, Pam! That means the world.

  • July 31, 2017

    Congrats on the blog-aversary! Really love reading your tales. Curious to know, what’s bringing you to Oklahoma?!

    • August 1, 2017

      Working on a long-term marketing project that I’ll be revealing in September! It’s the first of hopefully many visits we’ll be making there in the next 2-3 years. Any must-dos? It will be our first time in OKC (other than staying at hotels right off the interstate)!

      • August 1, 2017

        Awesome! So many great things to do in OKC. Midtown and downtown have really exploded in the past several years.

        Things to do/see in OKC: Adventure District, Automobile Alley (for pictures and Plenti Mercantile), Oklahoma City National Memorial (memorial for the Murrah Building bombing- so beautiful and peaceful), the Chihuly glass sculpture (and semi-permanent exhibit) at the OKC Art Museum (lit up at night, amazing)…

        Places to eat/drink: Waffle Champion (sweet/savory waffles, surprisingly delicious), Fassler Hall (decent German food but more about the German beers), Hideaway Pizza, Ted’s (for Mexican)…

        Places to eat/drink that are still on MY to-do list because I’ve heard they are amazing: Nic’s Grill, Bleu Garten (food trucks/drinks), Plant Shoppe (literally a plant shop with a little café inside!!), Elemental Coffee, and Empire Slice.

        Hope that you and SVV enjoy your time here!

        • August 3, 2017

          Ahhh, thanks so much, Lindsay! I just popped this into the note pad on my phone. I’m even more excited about this trip than I already was!

          And the article about our project just went live yesterday, so I can finally reveal it:

          • August 3, 2017

            Yay! This is so exciting for OKC and for you guys! Looking forward to having y’all highlight what OKC has to offer (and also pick up some new haunts from you guys along the way)!

  • July 31, 2017

    Congrats on your Blog Anniversary, that’s a fabulous accomplishment! Lots of hard work and your party was well deserved.
    Sorry about your allergies too.

    Only think that kept me going in July…we bought a fixer-upper. Here we go again!

    • August 1, 2017

      Oh, that’s exciting, Debby! And simultaneously, I feel for you 😉

  • July 31, 2017

    Happy birthday to Camels and Chocolate! How exciting to have a blog party! Glad you enjoyed!

  • July 31, 2017

    What a scare! It’s weird how your body would suddenly reject something that you have taken previously, I guess our body chemistry changes often. Congrats on the 10 years, I am still a super fan girl who hopes to connect one day!

    • August 1, 2017

      I feel the same about you! And I will tell you, I’m trying hard to make a winter Arizona trip work to meet up with SAS friends. You being there is even more incentive to make that happen!

      And as for allergy shots, do you know how they work? (I didn’t until I started getting them.) You have four vials of increasingly stronger allergens; for each vial, you start at .1 injection, then .3, then .5, etc. So I had this violent reaction on my first injection of my final vial. I went yesterday for the first time since and got it dramatically reduced. I didn’t have a systemic reaction, but I do have a goose egg the size of a softball on one of my triceps today! Yuck.

  • July 31, 2017

    What’s taking you to Oklahoma City? I’m from there, but rarely see bloggers stop through. Can’t wait to read what you think about it. Let me know if you need any recommendations!

    Happy birthday to your blog!! So sorry about the allergic reaction – must have been terrifying.

    • August 1, 2017

      Ah! That’s so cool. I’ve never been, other than to stop over on I-40 trips across country. I’m actually working on what might be a long-term marketing project there (more details in September, I promise), but this will be our initial visit. Any must-eats or drinks?

  • July 31, 2017
    Briel K.

    Loved the decorations for the party! Super cute!

    Aww yay, I’m so happy that I was part of your July highs! I had a great time hanging out with you and Ella and your family. Thanks again for making me feel so welcome! <3

    Super bummer about the lows of the month! I hope you don't have to go through that bad reaction again. Yikes. 🙁

    • August 1, 2017

      ME, TOO! Wish you could have been here for the big party!

  • August 1, 2017

    Love reading your blog! Have been doing it for a few months. Hope August is a lot of fun for you!

    • August 3, 2017

      Thank you, Nadya! That means a lot to me!

  • August 2, 2017

    Just found your blog and love it! It’s so colorful !
    Well, at least you got more good things happened than the bad one, that’s not too bad. And it’s august now, looking forward how it goes! 🙂

    • August 3, 2017

      Thanks, Velysia! And welcome to this space.

      Generally, the good far outweighs the bad but I like to present a little bit of everything because no one’s life if perfect and Instagram (and social media in general) often depict it that way 😉

  • August 3, 2017

    Quite the crazy month … here’s to amazing highs and benign lows in August!

  • August 4, 2017

    Excellent read, Kristin! I would love to visit Nashville soon, do you have any tips I should know before going there?

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