October 24, 2014


Have you ever been asked this question: Are you a beach person or a mountains person? Well, I’m a both person. I don’t think I would survive if I didn't get to feel the sand in between my toes at least once a year. I also think that there is no better vacation than a mountain hide-away when the air is brisk and the leaves are changing.

Which brings me to my topic of the day…My ENTIRE family took a trip to Gatlinburg a few weeks ago. I’m pretty sure this is the first vacation that we have all been on since 2011. My parents rented an awesome, secluded cabin through Parkside Cabin Rentals and I highly recommend you check them out if you’re planning a trip to the Smokies. Getting to Gatlinburg was an adventure in itself. My brother and his family, my mom & dad, and I caravanned down south on Friday afternoon. My grandparents weren't too far behind us and they got to the cabin around dinnertime and Justin arrived not too long after they did.
We spent most of our time in Levi's favorite spot -- the swing 
My sister had to work a full day on Friday so she was going to be driving down late. After we ate dinner, we explored the cabin and hopped in the hot tub to kick off the weekend, relaxation style. Around 8:00, the phones all started ringing. My sister’s car had broken down 3 hours north of the cabin and she was stranded in the middle of Kentucky. It was the worst thing that could have possibly happened…and it was hysterical. My poor sister had to unpack her entire car and catch a ride to the nearest truck stop with the tow-truck driver. I know it's pure evil of us to laugh at her, but she gives you permission. Mostly because we gave her permission to hold this over our heads for the next 25 years. If you know my sister, you know she is a softball player and her bat is one of her prized possessions. She had to make the tough decision to leave it in the trunk…although we thought it would have been fantastic if she was sitting in a truck stop with a Vera bag, a coach purse, and a baseball bat in the middle of the night.

My dad and grandpa were the heroes who rescued her and got her to the cabin around 3am. My grandma was the lady who woke her up at 4:30 am by making coffee in the kitchen (did I mention we made her sleep on the couch?). She was a champ though and it was a good thing because we had big plans for Saturday.

We drove down to the Great Smokey Mountain National Park for a day of hiking. We started by hiking out to Laural Falls which was gorgeous. Justin and I hiked down the falls and Peyton and Kevin hiked up the falls. Mom, Dad, Brittney, and Levi stayed on the trail and splashed in the water.

We took a second hike out to an old schoolhouse which was a little more offroad. Poor Levi started in the stroller but ended up on Grandpa’s shoulders because it was so bumpy! I’m pretty sure he had the most fun hiking.

Levi went home with Grandma and Grandpa for an afternoon nap while the rest of us ventured into Downtown Gatlinburg for a Moonshine tasting at OldSmokey Tennessee Moonshine. We tasted 12 flavors and were more than convinced to buy a few jars on our way out the door: Two jars of Apple Pie moonshine, one jar of Pumpkin Pie moonshine, and one jar of moonshine soaked cherries!

We are so pretty after a long day of hiking


Justin & Brittney had to leave on Sunday to go pick up her car and get back to the real world. The rest of us were in for another day of hiking and relaxing. We found this cool covered bridge less than a half mile from our cabin and spent some time playing in the creek. We also spent more time in the hot tub. I really need a hot tub.

Best Buds

Monday was the last day of our vacation and we all parted ways to head back to the real world. Here are a few more of my favorite pictures from the trip!

Are you a beach person or a mountains person?
What are your favorite trails to hike?
Do you have a hot tub that I can come sit in?

October 21, 2014

All The Cool Kids Are Doing It

*If you don’t want to see weird pictures of my teeth, skip this post and go read about my wedding plans or Justin's new(ish) job :)

As I mentioned, I started going through the Invisalign process in January of this year. I wasn’t happy with how much my teeth, especially my bottom teeth, had moved since I started neglecting to wear my retainers from my first set of braces.

I spent A LOT of time online researching Invisalign and decided that if it was good enough for Oprah and Gisele, it was good enough for me. 

 My online search led me to King Orthodontics in Pittsburgh. They are an Elite (Top 1%) Provider of Invisalign. After my first consultation, I knew I could trust the team at King to get the job done (job being straighten and whiten and teeth before the wedding!). 

Invisalign is pretty cool. Basically, you have removable, clear trays that you wear at least 20 hours a day. I have 23 sets of trays and I wear each set for 2 weeks. My total treatment plan is 46 weeks (not counting refinements). My orthodontist gave me 4 sets of trays at a time meaning that I only have to stop in for an appointment every 8 weeks. Invisalign is a “work at your own pace” project. This means that if I need to take my trays out for a meeting, an event, or when I’m sick, I just tack that time onto the end of the treatment. This has worked out really well for me. I’m over 3/4 finished with my treatment as I write this and I have only added about 10 days to my treatment time. I don’t mind the extra days because it is so convenient to not wear my trays when I don’t want to.

SO…for full disclosure…this is what my teeth looked like in January 2014 when I had my x-rays taken.

Invisilign Treatment
Top Teeth (I know...gross)

Invisilign Treatment
Bottom Teeth (Let's ignore all of those cavities...)


I didn’t plan ahead so I don’t have any close-up pictures of myself wearing the trays at the beginning of my treatment. My orthodontist did recommend that I keep all of my trays so I did pull out the trays from Week 1 and Week 7 to show you a comparison. My top teeth didn’t move much during the first 7 weeks, but I saw a ton of movement in my bottom teeth. Check it out:
King Orthodontics
Top Image: Week 1 Bottom Image: Week 7

I was pretty pumped to see my bottom teeth moving so quickly because that is what bothered my most. I’ll be back soon with some details on my daily Invisalign routine, answers to some FAQs, and some more awesome pictures of my teeth :)

Who out there has had braces/Invisalign trays?

What do you want to know about Invisalign?

October 10, 2014

Dress, Church, Music, Cake

What do those four things have in common? WEDDING!

I know what you’re thinking – TWO POSTS IN ONE WEEK! Who is this girl??

I feel like the last couple weeks have been all wedding all the time. We got so many things checked off our wedding to-do list in September. I have to be honest; I’ve been a tad stressed lately. We had lots of plans to get some wedding stuff accomplished in August, but all plans when out the window when we had to get Justin moved to Danville. I started feeling like I had nothing accomplished and was WAY behind schedule. As usual…I was over-reacting  :) BUT there really was a lot to be done so we put our wedding hats on in September and GOT. STUFF. DONE:

WEDDING DRESS!: This is my favorite item checked off the list so far. I started searching for dresses back in July, but didn’t seriously go dress shopping until Labor Day weekend. I’m pretty sure I tried on one million dresses, but I finally found the absolute most perfect dress. It is exactly what I had envisioned and only slightly (ok – a lot) over budget. Justin will probably have to attend in his underwear since I spent our entire apparel budget on my dress, but I think it is totally worth it! I can not wait to share pictures next June :)


Church: We had a major disaster (ok – a slight inconvenience) when we found out that we had to make a venue change for our wedding ceremony. We originally wanted both our ceremony and reception at the Muhammad Ali Center, but we are now having our ceremony at a church nearby. It’s old, historic, and gorgeous and I love it!


Music: Justin has been pushing for strings at our ceremony ever since we went to my friend’s wedding last summer and he heard a string quartet play. It just so happens that my aunt and uncle are friends with a lady who is part of a string trio. We listened to their CD – they are great – and we cannot wait to have them play at our ceremony.  Funny story about the DJ we wanted for our reception…. We wanted the same DJ who was at my sister’s wedding since he did such a fantastic job. We called and talked to him, but hadn’t made a deposit yet when we found out that my mom had recommended him for another event not knowing it was the same day as our wedding and they wanted him too! We got our check in right away. Moral of the story – if you need a DJ, let me know…he comes highly recommended from the Huber family!

Cake: I’m fairly certain this has been Justin’s favorite wedding activity so far! We went to three different bakeries to taste potential cakes for the wedding. Stay tuned for a full recap in the next wedding update :)

What is your favorite flavor of cake?

Married/Engaged people: What was your favorite part of wedding planning?

October 7, 2014

Hello Centre College!

If y’all can remember waaaay back to July, I posted this picture on Instagram.

Centre College

The Boy FINALLY let me announce in late July that he had accepted a teaching job at Centre College for the 2014-2015 school year. We were beyond excited when he got the job offer. It is an incredible opportunity for him leading up to going on the Job Market this winter and brought him a couple hours closer to Pittsburgh (a 7 hour drive is way better than a 10 hour drive!). We had a crazy few weeks in July/August. From the time Justin signed his contract to the time he had to attend his first meeting on campus was exactly 21 days. That’s 21 days to explain to his Professors at UT what was going on, get approval to finish his dissertation away from campus, pack up his apartment, FIND A PLACE TO LIVE in Danville, and get moved and settled.

I was a hot mess. Justin was calm, cool, and collected. Or maybe he has just gotten really good at being the Type B to my Type A personality :) The faculty and staff at Centre were wonderful in helping us find a list of houses for rent in the area. Justin went to Danville one weekend and toured about 7,000 houses. We finally found the perfect ‘little’ place to live for the year. Neither of us have ever lived in a house before this…we’ve been apartment dwellers since we moved out of our parents' houses…so we were pretty excited.

Professor Roush

With the help of Justin’s parents, we packed up his Knoxville apartment and got everything moved into the Danville House. The very next weekend, my parents helped us load up a U-Haul full of furniture on loan from various members of the Huber family and BOOM, we had an (almost) fully furnished house.

Professor Roush

 We made our first furniture purchase together that weekend – a wonderful pillowtop mattress bed set (that I’m pretty sure Justin loves more than he loves me!) to replace Justin’s twin bed in the Master Bedroom. I’m not going to lie – it is pretty comfy. Every time I visit, I attempt to make the house a bit more ‘homey.’ My next goal is to get pictures hung up in every room!

Danville, KY

Danville, KY

Danville, KY

Other perks: the house is a less than a 10 minute walk from campus, it has a huge backyard, and there is a ton of room for visitors...SO COME VISIT US!

Do you live in an apartment or a house?
What’s your favorite thing about your house/apartment?

October 3, 2014

I Want A Baby Alligator

If you missed part 1 and part 2 of my NOLA recap, you should go read them and catch yourself up!

Day 4 of our NOLA trip included a Swamp Tour and a Plantation Tour. There are lots of different companies and tour options and we chose to work with Cajun Pride Swamp Tours. They were great. The shuttle picked us up at our hotel and our driver told us a lot about the history of the city while we drove out to the swamp. 

Our swamp tour guide was amazing. He knew so much about the land, the swamp, and the animals. I am a sucker for educational tours and we learned so much! The alligators in the swamp totally knew what was up. They were following the boat around because they knew they would get fed.

Cajun Pride Swamp Tour

 Our guide stood out on the ledge of the boat and called the alligators over. It turns out that alligators really like marshmallows. Our guide attracted them over to the boat with the marshmallows and then fed them raw chicken bits. The alligators were jumping out of the water to get the food!

New Orleans Swamp Tour

 We even got to hold a baby alligator while on the tour. Jess also held the snake...I did not! I can’t think of the best way to describe how the alligator felt…almost leathery. He definitely wasn't slimy like I was expecting.

New Orleans Swamp Tour

New Orleans Swamp Tour

After the swamp tour, we went to Oak Alley Plantation for a tour. Oak Alley is so gorgeous – it’s exactly what you envision when you think of a plantation. There is a HUGE white house with all the bells and whistles, ladies dressed in period clothing, and the most AMAZNG tree lined driveway that you’ll ever see in your entire life. You’re probably thinking that there is no way anyone could be excited about trees, but seriously, check out these trees…

New Orleans Plantation Touu

New Orleans Plantation Tour

Other than another night out on Bourbon Street with a couple of Hand Grenades, that pretty much wrapped up our trip to NOLA. Much like Vegas...4 days was plenty! I do want to go back and do a few things we missed though - especially the cemetery tours and Mardi Gras museum. 

So…2 months later…I’ll wrap up this 3 part recap :) Thanks for reading my sporadic posts!

Have you been to New Orleans?
What is one city you really want to visit?