Lewis Ginter Gardens Lego Exhibit

Since all you hear about is Covid and it’s a little hard to travel I’ve decided to post about an adventure I had a year 1/2 ago (I was just starting my blog and wasn’t an “adventure” sharer then). This place was amazing and beautiful!

There was a lego exhibit that I couldn’t wait to get too. I know, I’m a big kid at heart. Who doesn’t love legos!? ..unless you step on one..

I decided to take my mom so she could tag along. We love going on adventures together, not only do we see neat stuff but we also get to spend time together.

The garden that hosted the LEGO exhibit had a map like a scavenger hunt for the LEGO masterpieces. There were so many and scattered around the garden, which was beautiful in itself. 

The exhibit we scheduled was in August and it was HOT, we in fact had 2 snow cones in one day! Hot weather and I are not friends, HATE the hot weather. During the winter at least I can bundle up and take off layers when I get hot but that’s frowned upon when you get too hot. 

I’d been working on my freelance business a lot and I felt I needed a weekend away to recharge, so I even left my laptop at home! Yes, left it at home. Miracles do happen. 

As I remember we walked around 6-7 miles in a couple hours in this hot weather. I hurt my knee a few years ago running a marathon (my first so far) so it really gave me problems when we got back to the hotel room and were relaxing watching the I.D Network (if you’re not familiar with the I.D Network it’s a network that only shows crime scene, FBi, and other forensic shows.), what can we say – we love catching killers.

The 3 days we were there checking things out we were exhausted to say the least so when we got back to the hotel room we ordered DoorDash (which I love by the way). We weren’t being lazy but it was dark and we didn’t know the area so we didn’t really want to get out and get lost even though ya know GPS. Don’t judge, ya know.

The exhibit findings and other gorgeous photos, I actually took these with my iPhone. I was impressed with myself. ☺️

You can tell Lego photos because they look pixelated, another thing I think It looked pretty cool. The geek side of me is showing!

I hope you enjoyed this little venture as much as you could. We had a lot of fun and learned a lot about the gardens too.

Luray Caverns, Luray Virginia

We had such a good time checking out Luray Caverns. I’d never seen one myself and it was just breathtaking really.

It started on a whim that the boyfriend and I decided to take a weekend trip (which turned into 4 days of adventure in Virginia & West Virginia but more on that later). I wanted to explore, discover, and get out of my comfort zone.. then I found the Luray Caverns!

Luray Caverns, Luray Virginia

I enjoy learning so it was neat that it was a self guided tour around the cavern. There was even a wishing well all the way under there!

I’d like to share a few things that made the trip more manageable, these are my favorites to take along on any outing. They’re comfy, convenient, and practical.

(*The following links are affiliate links, here you can read the full disclosure.*)


You can see more pictures below this post but I wanted to share a little information about the caverns, so consider this your history lesson for the day ☺️

4 Million Centuries in the Making…

Luray Caverns is the largest caverns in the eastern United States, yet walking through feels more akin to an unearthly experience.

Paved walkways lead visitors through cathedral-sized rooms with ceilings 10-stories high, towering stone formations, and natural wonders at every turn.

Wishing you were here?

Enormous chambers are filled with towering stone columns, shimmering draperies and crystal-clear pools. The National Park Service and the Department of Interior designated it a Registered Natural Landmark.

This is the largest body of water in the caverns. However, its deepest point is not more than 18 to 20 inches. This sparkling lake reflects a myriad of fantastic forms and creates a mirror image of the abundant stalactites hanging from the ceiling.

You Won’t Believe Your Ears

Can stalactites sound as unearthly as they look? They do at Luray Caverns. The Great Stalacpipe Organ is the world’s largest musical instrument. It literally makes stalactites sing by gently tapping them throughout three acres of the caverns. It’s a musical masterpiece that can’t be found anywhere else in the world … or under it. Hear the organ playing here.

More photos from our adventure!

Behind The Scene Of 2020

I’m not one to make New Years resolutions because I have a hard time sticking to anything longer than a few months. If I don’t see progress in 2-3 months then I usually move along to the next thing.. like crocheting, how on earth is it done?!

2020 was full of surprises and threw us all some curve balls in some of those we’ve not recovered. Just as long as we do the best with what we can that’s all we can do.

Adventures

After the crucial lockdowns, curfews, and loss of work I didn’t manage to have a little fun it i did have some fun. I tagged along on my first ever trail ride & rock crawl, we hiked the gorgeous Catawba Falls Waterfall, with a few other adventures that were had (you’ll see more of those in later posts).

Self Care

I’ve had a lot of time to think with being out of work and my freelance writing business pretty much non-existent now I was drowning in stress and anxiety.

I had plenty of time to search, read, and figure out ways to help with my anxiety and stress (I’ve decided to write an ebook for stress. You can preorder now and the ebook will go out the first week of January.)

I thought I’d share how I deal with stress, and had a wonderful guest blogger to share the 6 ways you can find confidence.

I’ve shared my bipolar story with the world as a way to relate to other mental health bloggers. I got a lot of blow back from that saying I shouldn’t be sharing my personal life online. Isn’t that what a blog is all about in a way though? 

Food

I’ve actually done a ton of cooking and baking over the last few months last year. I’ve been making a meal plan and cooking for my boyfriend for the passed 2 months. Although cooking 3 meals in one day is a little chaotic so I didn’t take photos of all recipes and if I did they came out looking like crap so I didn’t use them or publish the recipe.

I made some peanut butter protein bars which were good but what I absolutely loved making {and eating} were the chocolate strawberry boxes

I made for a dessert. Everyone that tried them loved them. I do think I’ll make the top layer of chocolate a little thinner as it was a little hard to crack open. I want to leave out the strawberry and try it with chocolate and orange which is one of my favorites too.

As for 2021 I think I might try something different and pick a word, I’ve put a lot of thought into the word I’d pick as I want to thrive along with that word this year.

The word I picked was abundant because that’s what I want. In everything I do I want there to be an abundance.

You might think it’s silly but I think I’m excited to try and fulfill my word. That would mean new opportunities all around the board. I thought it was a great idea since I don’t make resolutions. I could set goals but as I said I don’t really do well with those.

I think having a word will help because if at least one thing goes according to plan and turns out abundant I will be motivated to try the next and it’ll be one thing I can be proud of.

What’s your take on 2020?

10 Ways To Cope With A Loss Over The Holidays

I lost my dad almost 3 years ago to liver cancer and it’s still hard everyday. I’ve had to learn a few tricks over the years to not spend Christmas in the bathroom crying.

My dad loved Christmas, we both liked looking at the Christmas tree lights. It was calming in a way. I never imaged he’d be taken away so soon and so fast. Within 3 months of the discovery of his cancer he passed away. It’s so hard to talk about.

I’ve got a few things I do to help me cope with the loss of him and other loved ones during the holidays though. It doesn’t make the pain go away but it does help to remember a time when they were here.

10 ways to cope with a loss over the holidays

What is grief?

“Grief is the response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something that has died, to which a bond or affection was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, cultural, spiritual and philosophical”. 

Why is it important to deal with the loss of a loved one?

There is no wrong or right way to deal with grief, some grieve differently than others. Grief is a natural emotion so it’s important to let yourself feel it, often times the pain of a loss can be overwhelming. Remember the grieving process will take some time. 

How to cope with loss over the holiday season:

  1. Acknowledge the holidays will be different without the person around.
  2. Create a new tradition in memory of your loved one.
  3. Decide if you’re going to have the holiday in the same place. The place you’ve been celebrating may be too much for you to handle while still coping with the loss.
  4. Keep in mind not everyone grieves in the same way, so just because someone isn’t in the same boat as you doesn’t mean they’re not hurting too.
  5. Include a favorite dish your loved one liked, this will keep the memory light.
  6. Buy a gift you would’ve bought a loved one and donate it to a charity of your choice or of one in which your loved one passed away. I do this with the liver cancer foundation.
  7. Be honest with family and tell then exactly what you do and don’t want to do for the holiday, if it’s just too much I’m sure they will not fault you for your absents.
  8. Send a holiday card to the loved one who passed away if not one of your parents. I do this with my best friend who lost her dad too.
  9. Pull out some old photos with family and friends and listen to the stories that pour out of their memories.
  10. Find a grief group if you need a little extra help and you feel you can’t talk to family or friends. There is no shame in seeking outside help.

I hope these tips will help you get through the holidays while grieving the loss of a loved one. Remember to just take it one day at a time no matter how long it has been.

How do you spend time with your family during the holidays?

Refreshing Night Time Routine

I loooove night time! Day time is a time to get things done but night time is my absolute favorite because it’s my “me” time.

It’s a time I can retreat into my bedroom, turn on my diffuser, and light up my Himalayan salt lamp.

Before I hop into my cozy sheets for some Facebook scrolling, Pinterest pursuing, and Netflix binge I take a shower and wash my face.

Refreshing Night Time Routine

It’s strange to say but washing my face at night makes my day feel complete. I can only use Lush products because they don’t break out my super sensitive skin.

I couldn’t take bubble baths until I discovered their bubble bars (Bewitched & French Kiss are my two favorites).

Why A Night Time Routine?

For me it’s a time to help me wind down from the day. To let go of all the stress I’ve been carrying around for the day. A time to be myself, listen to my thoughts and sort them out, have a cup of lemon tea and rewatch an episode of Gilmore Girls for the 1000th time.

These three products are my go to’s for my nightly skin care routine. They make my face feel so fresh, soft, and clean.

Angels on bare skin – is a gently-exfoliating cleanser with a light herbal-lavender scent that balances both oil and dryness to leave your skin feeling soft, supple and comfortably clean.

Breathe of fresh air – gives dry skin a little pick me up with soothing aloe vera and rose spritzer with hints of cleansing rosemary and mineral-rich sea water.

Cosmetic lad – not only for the lads, but it works well to combat the irritation and redness that can follow regular shaving. Soothing ingredients make it ideal for all sensitive skin types.

Refreshing Night Time Routine

 

By the way, none of these links are affiliated. I’m not an affiliate of Lush, I just love their products and wanted you to check them out for yourself if you’re interested.

Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Every week for the last few months I’ve been making the guy I’m seeing a high protein meal plan, as he’d like to gain a little weight.

I like finding easy recipes but ones that’ll help him add protein and try to get as many calories as I can find.

I came across this recipe and decided to try my hand at it.

Why use protein powder?

By replacing the all the flour In this recipe with protein powder and the recipe still works nicely.

However, when replacing flour for protein powder, start with replacing 1/3 cup of protein powder for every 1 cup of flour in the recipe.

What did he think?

Peanut butter protein bars for the win! He loved them and let a few people at his work sample the extra one I sent with him everyday just for them.

I used a vanilla birthday cake protein powder as something a little different.

It may sound weird but these almost didn’t make it through the week with the rest of his lunch.
Peanut Butter Protein Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 cups large flake oats use gluten-free if necessary
  • 2 scoops vanilla protein powder (I used vanilla birthday cake)
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • ½ cup unsweetened almond milk or a little more if the mixture still seems dry. You want it to be slightly sticky so that it all binds together
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the oats and vanilla protein powder. Next, add the peanut butter, almond milk, and maple syrup, if desired. Stir until well combined and slightly sticky. The mixture should bind together but not be gooey.
  2. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and press the mixture into the pan with a spatula until equally distributed. Place the pan in the freezer for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove from freezer and cut the mixture into 8 equal-sized bars using a sharp knife. You may need to allow mixture to thaw out for a few minutes before you can cut through the bars.
    Peanut butter protein bars
  4. Place each bar in a little Ziploc bag or saran wrap and store in fridge or freezer.

These freeze great and they aren’t gooey or dry at all. They’re the perfect consistency to stay in a bag or lunch box all day.

I hope you guys enjoy this recipe and decide to make them yourselves.

 

They might be good with a few other add ins like chocolate chips, cranberries, or raisins if you’re not one for protein powders.

He says they are a great snack in the way to work, as he works an hour away. He wakes up at 5:30 and who wants to cook breakfast then? Ugh, not me! Hah.

you just feel better with a little something in your stomach in the morning, these are a great alternative to something heavy.

Chocolate Strawberry Boxes

Over the weekend on Sunday it was raining but I was craving something sweet. Strawberry and chocolate sweet!

I’d saved a recipe (I can’t remember what website it was on because I’d saved the ingredients and “how-to” in my phone notes) and wanted to give it a try for a few months now.

I love the combination of strawberries and chocolate.

I dipped the left over strawberries in chocolate to save as an extra treat.

The boxes held up well, we’re tasty, and worked out perfect in the fridge.

Chocolate

I like that this recipe is so verities because you can add any kind of add in you’d like, some suggestions are peanuts, almonds, strawberry jam, caramel, you name it! Whatever you like in your chocolate will be tasty.

The recipe was a hit as the guy I’m seeing has taken one to work with him to work this week and has asked to take the others for the rest of the week.

I did learn a few tricks. I used a huge ice tray for this one. It was tricky because i had to make sure the sides were coated enough which left a lot of chocolate at the top.

The thick chocolate on top makes these yummies a little hard to crack open but not impossible. My tip is to make sure the bottom is lightly coated.

Another thing is with the ice tray and with the chocolate hardened I couldn’t really “twist” the chocolates loose.

I used a butter knife to loose the edges that were back to back and popped them out of the silicon tray.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups Melted chocolate Your choice of dark, milk or white
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries

Chocolate strawberry boxes

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Melt chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments and use a paintbrush to paint chocolate in each cavity of an ice cube tray. Freeze this tray for 20 minutes.
    Chocolate strawberry boxes
  2. Remove the tray from the freezer and fill it with your choice of add-ins.

Chocolate strawberry boxes

  1. Pour spoonfuls of chocolate on top of your add-ins and freeze this tray again for another 20 minutes.
  2. Turn the tray onto a sheet of wax paper and tap it a bit until the chocolate cubes come out. And you are done.

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So easy! I was surprised as of how fast everything went. In almost an hour these beauties were ready to eat.

Chocolate Strawberry Boxes

I will be making these again with a few tweaks to see if I can get a good too layer.

what’s your favorite chocolate recipe?? I’d love to give it a try, leave the link in the comments or send me an email with the recipe I’d love to hear from y’all.

The Best Thing I Ever Ate

There is a show on The Cooking channel which I love watching but anyway, the show is called “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”. I can’t pick just one though. I’ve been eating for 30 years and I have so many favorite!

The best thing I ever ate
If these photos don’t make you drool even just a little then you’re not living your life right, I’m just kidding – I know you love your life. I hope you love your life because you only get one of them. Anyway, enough motivation because that is for another post. However you can visit “My Guide To Confidence In 6 steps” if you need a little self love at this very moment, or you can pin this post and come back when you have time to read it through.

The mocha pudding from a place at Carolina Beach that I can’t for the life of me remember the name of the restaurant. Look at it though, how can you not want to grab a spoon and devour it?! The mocha and the caramel are made for each other when it comes to this dessert.

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Chocolate Lasagna & Zeppoli from Olive Garden, don’t knock it until you try it! It’s so rich and the cream choose brings together the chocolate mousse and the thin chocolate layers of cake. There are shavings a top the lasagna to top it off and it makes it so pretty but you can’t wait to dig in. You can definitely share it with someone else became it is a little on the rich side.

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Roscoto wine is my favourite! It’s a sweet wine that pairs well with desserts so a glass or two with the chocolate lasagna. You can get Rosocto ate Total Wine, trust me if you like a sweet red wine then you’ll want to be all over this!
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Not Your Mama’s Banana a Pudding is absolutely amazing! When I first tasted it my mother and were in Savanah, the first time checking out the scenery and doing the tourist thing we decided we wanted to see what the hype was about Paula Dean’s restaurant. I found the recipe from The Food Network and I fell in love as well as every event I’ve taken it to.

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I hope this post has satisfied your sweet teeth in a very cyber way, if that’s a thing. I hope you stick around because I may keep up and add on top this post as I find new favorites.

 

What is one of your favorite foods that you can’t wait to shovel into your mouth?