France: Lyon and Paris

Bonjour!

I’m so excited to take you through my travels through France. Have you read my Italy blog post? Go and check it out as I finish up this journey.

I’ll start by saying, I loved France and want to go back because I learned that you need a lot of time to see all that this historical and beautiful place has to offer.

Our first stop in France was Lyon! Lyon is one of the largest and most popular cities in France, besides Paris which comes later! Going from an Italian to French culture was a fun change. You don’t realize how much you adapt even after being in another country just one week!

I loved our train ride into downtown Lyon. The country side was so breathtaking and tranquil. There were gigantic mountains with snow top peaks then vast green acres that lasted for miles.

Side story- Nick and I actually met a refugee hiding on our train. He was a little younger than we are and we did everything we could to listen to his story and give him some comfort, especially Nick. Nick ran back to buy him food, but before he could make it back, the boy was asked to leave. Traveling comes with hard moments and truly does make you stop and think what’s going on outside of our bubble.

Once we arrived, we got a taxi and went straight to our apartment Airbnb. We loved it! It was in a gated area and perfect for two people! It felt like it was ours, so we spent most of the rainy days in Lyon cooking, watching movies, and resting.

However, when the sun came out, we jumped on the opportunity to head to the city after making a list of all the places we wanted to go! We only had a little over 24 hours, so I highly recommend planning beforehand.

What did I do to find places in a city I’ve never been to? Pinterest! I look to see where other bloggers went. Below was our top five list-

Les Berges du Rhone

Shopping on the Presqu’ile

Theatre Antique Romain

Parc de la Tete D’or

Basilique de Fourviere

Our first French adventure was taking a bike ride using their bike system called Velo’v. That’s when it hit me we were in France! Our quick bike trip with our little baskets in front was so enjoyable! My ride didn’t last long because I clearly wasn’t dressed appropriately for a comfortable bike ride, so we hopped off and stopped for drinks at a cafe with the best view of the Basilique de Fourviere.

This fresh mojito was the best one I had ever tasted! The fresh mint leaves poured over my drink.

As we continued to walk towards their main shopping area, known as the Presqu’ile District of Lyon, we stopped for lunch outside. Nick ordered pizza and I had a very large salad!

One bread basket later, we continued to walk along the streets.  Our longest day in Lyon fell on a Sunday. We found out very quickly that most places were closed on Sunday, but we didn’t mind walking the empty streets. A break from large crowds was very relaxing and well needed.

Once it started to rain, we got an uber back to our airbnb where we made homemade omelets for dinner! We also finally got to wash all of our clothes; however, they didn’t have a dryer so we hung our clothes everywhere, and I mean everywhere.

We loved going into the local grocery stores and of course buying wine and dark chocolate. We walked through a fun festival as we indulged in our dessert, which got me really excited for our final destination- Paris!


Our last train ride and first evening in Paris fell on one of our anniversaries so we were very happy.  We were also tired and once again in a new city where our first taxi driver hated us so much, he would not speak to us, only snapped occasionally. With that being said, we had moments that were difficult together, but that’s what relationships are about! We ended our day at dinner in the pouring rain and walking along the boardwalk with a lovely view of the Louvre!

Paris. This city was one of my favorites! It was so beautiful, full of romance and art. Above is our hotel called Hotel Left Bank Saint Germain.

This antique styled hotel was old fashioned and in the middle of all the excitement! From there we could walk to Le Louvre and to many surrounding cafes for a pit stop.

Le Louvre– the most spectacular and largest museum I have ever seen. Sadly, the one day we were there it was closed, so Nick and I decided to walk the grounds and sit in their open garden area by a fountain. There, we read and I got to watch a photoshoot take place!

Le Tour Effeil-  The Eiffel tower was at the top of my bucket list. It didn’t seem real looking up and seeing it. We walked miles to get there and we finally succeeded! Of course we celebrated checking this off our bucket list with pizza and shared some more sweet conversations with travelers. One was an older couple from Germany who just started at the iconic tower as were we. Sharing moments like that with people around the world is an amazing memory.

Whether it was walking the streets with Nick, seeing the outstanding monumental land marks that make these places so serene, or just the quality of people and culture around me, I will forever remember this trip.

I’m sure I left out many details, but I encourage you to travel if it’s a dream of yours. It was mine and now I can say I’ve seen more of God’s artwork!

Check out more of my photography gallery below:

Aurevoir!

Hannah

Nashville Photography Giveaway

Hi gorgeous!

Photography is one of my favorite things to be a part of because seeing how talented photographers take something people see every day and turn it into a unique and stunning masterpiece blows my mind! With that being said, I have partnered with Lindsay Cottrill of LtL Photography here in Nashville to give one lucky person a FREE photoshoot so they can feel FABULOUS!

Meet Lindsay! 

Lindsay is a beautiful branding boss babe, photographer, blogger, and owner of a cute print shop called Lemons to Love. She literally does everything while being an amazing, cute mom who inspires me every time we talk.

She reached out to me one day (like I always say, REACH OUT) and was so genuine and excited to plan a meeting in Nashville.

We met one morning at Crema Coffee Roasters and talked for two hours! We related in so many aspects of life and it’s crazy how God throws amazing people down your path when you need them. I wanted to meet some new friends in Nashville after graduation and now I have an awesome friend that will talk about coffee, wine, travel, photos, blogging, and more with me!

Our experience shooting downtown was inspired by our love for Carry Bradshaw. We shot at sunset on the Pedestrian Bridge overlooking all of Broadway and Nissan Stadium.

I put on this super comfy jumpsuit by Gianni Bini. You can get this navy blue party jumpsuit with velvet on Poshmark right now for only $40!  

We walked around, tried new things, and had a blast! I even brought my favorite bottle of Rose from Paris, France to share and we sipped on the bridge saying cheers to doing what we love!

Do you want a chance to win a fun photoshoot like this one? Go and check out my Instagram  page to enter to win our giveaway!

See below for rules and details…

1. Follow these account @linds @ltl_photo @hannahkerr

2. Tag three friends in comments

3. Repost to stories and tag all three accounts for bonus entry!

*Giveaway is valid for one individual portrait OR a friends’ photo shoot!

*Nashville (& surrounding) locals only for this giveaway but stay tuned for more giveaways coming soon for ANYone to win!✨✨

Good luck!🙌🏼📸

Red Lipstick by Beauty Counter 

 

Smile Brilliant

Hello gorgeous!

I am so excited to finally share with you my collaboration with Smile Brilliant, a well-known teeth whitening company that I got the pleasure of trying out.

Why did I decide to whiten my teeth? 

I am a coffee lover and after doing research on Smile Brilliant and talking with my dentist, I decided that finding a healthy way to whiten my teeth would be so beneficial. I’ve never been self-conscious about my teeth; however, I know that some people are and I wanted to try something out in hopes to help people find a great resource.

I have to give a huge shout out and thank to the woman behind the scenes at Smile Brilliant. I had someone walk me through every step of the way. She answered all my questions and was encouraging. I loved my experience.

My whitening routine: 

I received a box in the mail with clear instructions on how to make my teeth impressions. Yes, you get a retainer that perfectly fits your teeth due to the mold you send in to their labs! It was quick and easy! Amazing right?

Once I received my trays back, they fit perfectly and I started whitening! I chose to whiten at night time before bed, which is what they encourage one to do. I started using it in shorter intervals, then increasing over time.

At first I started to get sensitivity in my upper gums, which made me concerned, so I stopped using them for a little. However, after speaking with my contact at Smile Brilliant, I was reassured and used desensitizing gel that comes with the whitening gel. The more of that I used, the better I felt. You can read more about this gel here.

My roommates and mom always asked what I was doing and were so impressed, so I highly recommend. Just two steps and you are done!

I still plan to continue to use mine! Now we can enjoy coffee and white teeth!

Shine bright.

xo

Hannah

Before & After:

Italy: Verona, Florence and Positano

Caio from Verona!

Traveling has always been on my heart. I tried to go to Florence, Italy and study there in school; however, a multitude of things happened in life, aka God telling me that it wasn’t the time for me to go over seas yet. I dreamed of the photos I saw on Pinterest and even set the background image on my phone to a different city in Europe every other week. My dream finally came true with a lot of prayer, consistency, and budgeting. Today I get to share with you the start of my journey to Europe with Nick. I will take you through our travels from city to city, starting with Verona!


Our flight day was long so thank goodness for movies and airplane snacks. Our trip was delayed, so we actually arrived in Italy a day late due to a storm out of Boston. I learned very quickly that no travel day happens exactly as planned. Everything happens for a reason because we got to spend an unplanned afternoon walking around Lisbon, Portugal.

I will never forget my first steps into another country. The languages, cafes with croissants and cappuccinos filled the airports, and the architecture already blew me away!

Lisbon is a gigantic city. We had a friend staying there and she said you need a lot of time to cite see; however, our less than 24 hour trip was enough for us!

We arrived in Verona late at night and got a taxi to our Airbnb. I highly recommend using Airbnb when traveling because we got the chance to meet all the locals and they gave us tips on amazing places to go. I felt very safe the entire time.

Our first stay was super cozy and small. The toilets, showers, outlets, and everything is different so come prepared with outlet converters and travel size toiletries. Target was my go-to place for items before I embarked on this adventure!

We had large windows in our bedroom that we opened every morning and then we would just walk to the heart of the city that was only around ten minutes away.

Before I jump ahead, I have to reminisce on our first night. We walked around at 1:00am to a local pizzeria a few doors down from us and ended up having wine, pizza, and talking to a local who happened to be a photographer. We ended up going back there multiple times because the food was amazing, no Dominos pizza, and the people were super friendly.

We tried to wake up as early as we could every morning so that we had a full day. I did get pretty chilly in the mornings and night time, but during the day it was warm! Wear comfy shoes because we walked miles on miles every day. I didn’t mind it with the views! I had to stop at every bridge overlooking the hilly scenes of Italian homes and gardens.

I learned quick that breakfast over there only consisted of croissants and cappuccinos and warning, if you order a coffee, they will hand you a shot of expresso. No grande from Starbucks so I sipped and enjoyed my few sips of needed caffeine.

My favorite spots in Verona were Juliet’s home from Romeo and Juliet, the Ponte Pietra bridge, and the Arena di Verona.

We were only in Verona for two nights so on our last night when it wasn’t raining, we got a taxi to this restaurant hidden on a hill. This restaurant seemed like an Italian antique shop filled with gorgeous pieces of art that also served food. A glass of Prosecco was waiting on our table along with a basket of bread and oil. Nick and I both ordered their well known black and white spaghetti with calamari in it…oh my word was it amazing. I ate the entire thing and could have eaten seconds!

We ended up climbing to the tip of the city overlooking their skyline. We chose to leave a little something behind one of the rocks up there in hopes to one day come back and get it. It was a dream.


Next stop was Florence!

Florence was a huge city compared to Verona. We took a train into this city and when we arrived I was blown away with the historic beauty in every building.

When traveling by train, we bought Eurail Passes. Without these, travel prices would have been through the roof and it allowed easy access to tickets. This was my first experience on a train and I enjoyed it. We learned through trial and error, but that is what traveling is all about.

We stayed right in the heart of Florence in an Airbnb with Italian grad students. What an experience! We learned very quickly how much people smoke over there. This cultural difference made us move to a hotel one night due to allergies and Nick’s asthma, but our stay there was a lot of fun.

During our time in Florence, we went to as many museums as we could. Definitely schedule your tickets in advance! We went to the Museum of Galileo, The Accademia Gallery, and the Bargello Museum.

We loved just walking and seeing where we would end up. One afternoon we sat and read our books while sipping on a drink. One morning we ate at a cafe by the river and just relaxed. Unless we had tickets somewhere, no plans were the best plans.

My favorite drinks were their freshly squeezed orange juice that they sometimes added mango to, red wine and cappuccinos! I ordered mine with soy milk because they don’t serve almond and it was the perfect dose of sweet.

Florence was so lively at night time! Live music was always playing somewhere in the background. I tried my first Italian gelato and ate an entire bag of chocolate that melted in my mouth. Traveling post college on a budget also meant indulging in bread and peanut butter for a few meals, but Nick and I will look back on those memories and enjoy more runs to the market!

I tried limoncello, an Italian lemon liquor that you sip on after meals. In Italy they had pasta with salmon in it and caesar salads with hard boiled eggs. I enjoyed getting those and loved it!  As appetizers, our go-to was a smoked salmon charcuterie board.

Our time in Florence came to an end quickly, but I would love to go back and travel to Tuscany! Now onto my favorite place we went to in Italy…


Positano is officially my heaven on Earth. I cried when I saw my first view…this is not a joke. I mean how could I not?

We got a driver from Naples to Positano. He would stop and let us look at views and get snacks on the road. Having a vehicle to ourselves made the experience better and easier on the nausea going up the Amalfi Coast.

This coast is so secluded from the world. Everything is SO BEAUTIFUL! Vibrant flowers and vines crawled up every building. The colors along the coast reflected in the water and made sunsets breathtaking. The locals are so inviting and want you to enjoy your stay. Every meal has a view of nothing but water and sky. My favorite place in Positano was the bed and breakfast Nick surprised me with, called the Villa Yiara

The rooftop was a garden and a floral scent filled every room. The woman who greeted us became our friend very quickly and was always there to assist us if needed. Our room was solid white with gold trimmed furniture. The linens were fresh and made every day in addition to breakfast waiting on us when we woke up. I thanked God every day for such a tranquil experience where truly nothing else mattered in the world except the moment I was in.

We sipped on bellinis and saved money by going to a market down the road for food. We had a favorite place to eat where there was live music and we met a sweet couple from South Africa who we talked to for over an hour. One night after dinner we decided to run all the way to the bottom of the coast just to get gelato and it was well worth it.

A memory I will keep forever was when we kayaked in the ocean overlooking the city and coast. We swam in little coves and just laid down on the kayak hearing nothing but ocean. I would do that again in a heart beat!

Before we knew it, it was our last night and we couldn’t leave. There were also some unsafe occuring activities in our next city so we stayed an extra night in a new hotel where they served us nutella crepes in the morning and were gracious enough to let Nick and I stay on their rooftop terrace as we awaited our next travel day.

I would go back tomorrow! Now, don’t get me wrong, traveling can be magical; however, like I said earlier, nothing happens as planned and Nick and I ran into many bumps. We had healthy arguments, disagreements and more, but it made us closer. We are especially closer after the hardest travel day of them all…

Let’s just say our trip leaving Positano was something I would never want to repeat. We already prepaid for everything so remember that… Our bus taking us to Sorrento then to France was an hour late. In fear of missing our train, we got onto a bus that started taking us in the opposite direction. I then started to get car sick on what was suppose to be one of the most beautiful car rides in the world. While I held my bag to get sick in, Nick was attempting to talk to a woman who speaks little English so we could get off. We finally got off and as I sat on the road rubbing tons of peppermint oil on my head, Nick is running around the city of Amalfi trying to find us a ride.

$200 later, we get in a car where we both continue to get car sick and our driver decides to drop us off on the outskirts of a very large city. He said the train station was only a 10 minute walk. Three miles later, we are running with our luggage trying to find this station. I’m about to faint at this point and had to get dragged along until we finally found it. We missed our train by five minutes. There we found ourselves homeless and eating peanut butter m&ms for dinner. It’s almost 10:00pm and I’m almost to tears.

Finally we found a ticket back to Naples where we got the last room in a hotel. We found a few stale sandwiches around midnight and indulged in that and peanut butter while reminiscing on all the events that had happened. There were more but some should just go unsaid…let’s just say I hit a low.

At the end of the day, we were safe with a head full of memories from Italy. I got to look at him very proudly and was excited for our next country.

Rest and eating was what fueled us every day so before I go, I wanted to touch on eating.

There is a large time difference so my body had to adjust which it really struggled with. After every croissant and bowl of pasta I had to tell myself that it is OKAY! Actually, better than okay because when would I be able to eat Italian chocolate and a croissant with nutella by the Amalfi coast? We only get once chance at this life. I have to thank Nick for walking me through my moments of low when I would let my body image take over what was in front of me.

It is NOT easy, but it IS worth it, I promise. Find someone who will hold your hand through any situation. Remember that food is a part of life and culture. Eat and discover what is out there.

My body started to adjust and after being so sore from walking up and down the hills, I wanted to eat more croissants. I want you to know that if you have shared these challenging thoughts, you aren’t alone and if I can do it, you can too.

My France blog post is coming soon so in the mean time, please enjoy the rest of my photography gallery:

Live beautifully!


The Missing Puzzle Piece

I am a firm believer that every stage of life teaches you a lesson. My sister is so empowering and we have been having numerous discussions on fulfillment and life lessons God mysteriously places in every single one of our foot steps. I advocate conversation through prayer on my blog a lot because that is our way of having a conversation with the one who already knows the next piece to the puzzle…

What has been on my prayer list and the main topic in my life recently? Confusion. Confusion that could lead to self doubt and fear. Rachel recently shared with me that we can’t live a life out of fear, but we must live a live out of faith.  I am confused in a few areas of life. I mean, who isn’t? I believe that my life needs a few more puzzle pieces to complete my grand picture of life post college. This might not be God’s plan for me so how do we find fulfillment within the missing pieces?

Here goes my metaphor…Life is a gigantic puzzle. Every phase of life is essential to our marvelous being, just like every puzzle piece is a necessity for a complete picture. This is hard because puzzle pieces get lost and can be so frustrating after hours of tedious trial and error, but there is a piece that exists and one WILL fit.

I am not a puzzle person. I would rather watch a movie where the entire story is told to me start to finish in an allotted amount of time. Puzzles are long, somewhat boring, hard, and often take multiple tries. Puzzles are the most rewarding though because hard work, time, and commitment make it worth it.

This metaphor is important and let me tell you why. I prayed and am still praying for some guidance when it comes to a job, a place, an outline after I put up my cap and gown. It might seem like I know my next steps through my blog, but I am just highlighting on the pieces I do have because if that is what God has equipped me with currently, I will shine it as much as I can. None of us are perfect, so do not assume someone is.

People tell me every day to patiently wait. I hate to say it, but it’s true. There is already a plan waiting for you. Go for your dreams and I’ll keep going for mine. One day someone will look up to you and ask how you did it. Lend them a missing puzzle piece and smile watching someone radiate from their triumph.

XO

Hannah

Rooftop Views | #CIVIONVIBE

Fashion has been something that has been moving more and more into my mind. I mean, I am a girly girl who loves to shop and has a style of my own, but as I am about to enter a new stage of life, my style has been growing in so many ways!

When I go shopping, I love to shop for workout clothes, dresses, and evening wear. This outfit has been in my closet for a while and by adding on some Jessica Simpson wedges, I’m already looking forward to a weekend treat to wear it out. (Check out some of the Jessica Simpson shoe styles at one of my favorite shoe stores, DSW)

My go-to staple item for evening events is this leather jacket that I got from Dillards. It was an amazing Black Friday find this year! My sister and I even bought the same exact one. I pair this timely piece with shorts, pants, dresses, you name it.

I love my accessories to be minimal and dainty. I was so excited to partner up with Civion. Their collection was so gorgeous that when I saw their “Mera” gold and black choker, I had to get it!

Chokers are an uprising style that I might be late in the game to, but that’s what is amazing about style…it is simply yours.

Added on to this comfortable and fun necklace is this arrowhead bracelet from Civion that I have been wearing by itself or paired with my Kate Spade watch.

For all my tiny wrist women out there, this bracelet adjusts a little, but I have to admit, it is a bit large on me.

You can get 25% off these pieces of jewelry from Civion by using my promo code HANNAH25


Want some behind the scenes?

Photographing with one of my best friends, Leah Lou Photography, is one of the biggest blessings and adventure. We aren’t afraid to step out of our comfort zones and try new things. We don’t judge, we change clothes in the car pulling outfits out of a large bag, and we don’t know what we are doing half the time. Needless to say, our passion for reaching others through our platforms drives us to be our crazy selves.

For this shoot, we drove on top of a parking garage and might have walked to areas we were not permitted to…oops.

We were fighting the wind and even looked at one another and said, “We are so off today!”

Do you ever feel off?

This happens to me very regularly, so  I decided to go buy us a coffee and a large granola bar. We ate, blasted music, and kept going. Wind and all, we made it to the end.

I loved sharing this shoot with you! Grab a friend, get a new piece of jewelry, and own you.

XO

Hannah

Top 5 Tips for Becoming an Influencer

Influence is everywhere. Whether you are behind a screen, traveling, sitting at home, or going on a walk with a friend, we are always influencing.

I can’t believe that my countdown to graduation has begun. Where will my influence take me and how will I get it there? Through my college years I have found ways to reach people in my unique way. By blogging I have chosen to connect and to share as a social influencer.

Radiating joy, light, and life in this world, can allow us to do absolutely anything. Today, I get the chance to share with you my top five tips for being an online influencer. Apply these to your life and see what you can do!

XO Hannah


Just Click Yes

The biggest question I get asked is how do you start? I’m sorry to say, but there is no perfect answer to this question. The only answer is to just begin and don’t look back. You find yourself where you least expect it and that means taking risks and putting yourself out there. I guarantee that someone will benefit from what you posted so don’t get frustrated when you see someone else flying past you. You can’t compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter 25. As long as you reach one person a day, you are influencing. That number will grow with time. Just click yes to being a social influencer and start sharing.

Story Tell

There is only one of you. You are the main character so whether you are a lifestyle blogger, influencer just on social media, or any kind of content creator, you are telling a story. Every photo paints a picture for your viewer so stay cohesive and make your feed smooth. Posting regularly is a must when story telling because life isn’t stopping. There is always something new popping up, good or bad. You are attempting to share in hopes for someone to follow you. It can be done!

Know Your Brand

As I mentioned before, coherence is key because you are your own brand. Like a customer, your following should consist of people who turn to you for a reason. Are you sharing food, fashion, travel incites, motivational quotes or all of the above? Carrying your brand everywhere you go is a key component in the process of influencing. Showing your style, vibes, and brand can be shown through the way you write, walk, talk, post, and more! I love creating my brand because it is authentically me and yours is too.

Consistency

Influencing can be powerful and successful when done regularly. Consistency is showing your audience that your content is fresh and ongoing. Being a social influencer is a job right when you wake up to when you go to sleep, but is so rewarding! How to do it? Create schedules, find key times during the day to post, use hash tags and connect with other social influencers or companies who can share your content! This leads me to my last and final step…

Reach Out

Do not be afraid to reach out to new people and to try new things. My story was built on meeting new people, content creators, business owners, and other bloggers who share a similar vision. I will create a short bio for myself, show my interest, and then direct message or email them to formally introduce myself. How do you expect people to reach out to you if you have not reached out to them?

These five tips are applied to my blogging journey every day. Find your top tips and share them because you are an influencer.

 


@LeahLouPhotography 

Freshman to Senior: Switching Points of View

FEATURING MADDIE HARSHMAN

WWW.MADDIEHARSHMAN.COM


Sitting at my desk on the first floor of PFT on Western Kentucky’s Campus I wrote in my journal everything I imagined my life in college to be. Sipping out of my favorite yellow Anthropology mug at the time, I kept hearing from my family and adults around me say, “Time flies by in college so enjoy it while you can…” I never imagined that I would ever say those words, but here I go. As I sit at my desk four years later, sipping out of my new favorite mug because little did freshman Hannah know, that mug will shatter moving into your first apartment, I’m writing down those words. College has been the fastest four years of my life.

College is where I found myself. Within these four years, I have lived in a small dorm room, an apartment with too thin of walls, a loud sorority house, and now a house with seven roommates. I went through break ups, awful dates, amazing dates, and decided I was in love with my best friend. I found Jesus where He took me on a roller coaster and taught me that my heart is meant for sharing with women.

That brings me here today with the lovely Maddie Harshman. This gorgeous friend of mine and great grandlittle in my sorority shares the same passion for blogging and is currently in her PFT dorm room. Welcome today to our exchanged points of view.

If you are looking back in college, lead by example. If you are looking forward to your next three years, be challenged and work towards the woman you dream of becoming.

XO Hannah


Hi!

I’m so excited to have collaborated with Hannah! A little about me: my current season of life is inspired by a passion to create a life that radiates joy, authenticity, optimism, and beauty. Some days I drink more coffee than water. Flowers make me way too happy. My heart belongs to Jesus and in the state of South Carolina. And early morning sunrises are my thing.

As I’m finishing up my first year of college, I’ve looked back at the girl I was back in August compared to who I am today, and a common theme I’ve noticed is the intentionality and positive influence that sweet friends, like Hannah, have shown to me. Honestly, even though I’ve only known these girlies for around seven months, I know that each one has been placed into my life for a specific reason, and I’m beyond thankful to have such inspiring women to look up to.

If you’re reading this and you don’t have a mentor or someone to meet up with for coffee, I encourage you to actively seek out someone who will challenge you to become a better version of yourself. College is the prime time to grow and evolve into the woman you’re wanting to become, and one of the first steps is finding someone who can walk alongside you on this journey!

Xx — Maddie

Nashville Scavenger Hunt

Surprises.

I am someone who cannot keep them, but I love being a part of them! I am so happy you are here reading with me today because I get to share the ultimate surprise, a scavenger hunt around Nashville!

Some background story for you. This past week was my senior spring break where I was going to go to Miami with Nick, my roommates, and some more amazing people! You never know what life will throw at you because the day before I was suppose to pack up and leave, I found out that I had a hemorrhaged 5×7 cm cyst on my right ovary causing extensive abdominal swelling, pain, and more issues.

I was bitter because Nick and I wouldn’t be going on a trip that people say every college student must experience. I was bitter because I couldn’t work out to feel my best. I had to realize that it doesn’t matter where you are, if you are surrounded by those who love you and care for you, you will be the happiest version of yourself. Just wait and see…

Nick Obremskey is the king of surprises and we always refer to Nashville as our playground. Growing up in a large city has it’s perks, especially when you are home for surgery.

We had an awesome visitor and good friend of Nick’s join us! It was his first time in Nashville so this scavenger hunt was a treat for him as well. Let’s get started!


Rise and shine!

8:30am on the dot Nicholas showed up with one card in hand that read “Clue #1”. I was told I would receive up to 10 clue cards throughout the entire day, each containing a poem that I had to decipher before our next location.

Stop One- The Row Nashville 

Tucked away in Midtown is this amazing, local restaurant that I had never been to! They have live music, southern comfort food, amazing murals of country artists everywhere, and outstanding coffee for breakfast!

I had homemade hash brown casserole and their Benedict with poached eggs, spinach, goat cheese, and multigrain bread. Go check out my post featured on Nashville Eats!

Before I knew it, the waiter arrived handing me my next card which lead me to WALL MURALS downtown! My Nashville wall crawl wasn’t quite complete so Nick knew I was eager to get there.

Stop Two- Cafe Lula at The Ryman Auditorium 

As we drove around attempting to find murals painted all around the city, we stopped along the pedestrian bridge to soak in views that I often take advantage of living here.

Before we knew it, we found a new place to get coffee and tea! Cafe Lula at the Ryman. The architecture of this beautiful building was full of light and windows stretching from the floors to the ceiling. I can’t wait to go back for mimosas!

After sitting, sipping, and taking in the skyline views, it was time for our next stop and one of my personal favorites, the park.

Stop Three- Percy Warner Park

Days spent driving down the Bellemede Boulevard with the windows down just puts the biggest smile on my face. All you need is a breeze and some music to just let go.

We arrived and climbed all the way to the top of these famous steps to just inhale, exhale, and pause. Nick and I go to this park for picnics, hikes, or to just sit and talk with hot chocolate.

Stop Four- Homemade lunch + 12 South

It was time to fuel up so we stopped by his home to make chicken salad sandwiches from Zoe’s Kitchen. We watched some TV, digested our amazing meal, and set off to 12 south!

This strip is one of my favorites in Nashville! We grabbed popsicles from Las Paletas, walked up and down the street stopping in local shops, and finally ended at the Frothy Monkey where we bought kombucha and a jumbo chocolate chip cookie!

Walking around with no agenda to buy anything was so serene!

Stop Five- Franklin Road Academy 

FRA was the high school I grew up in and the place where Nick and I met at nine years old. This stop made me tear up as we rolled up to this memorable place. I went to this school for 14 years, yes I am not joking. This stop was short, but very special. My next clue card hinted at working my brain a bit and I knew exactly what would come next…

Stop Six- The Escape Game 

I was so excited because I have never done this! Located in Berry Hill, The Escape Game is a building turned into mystery courses and you and your team have one hour to escape!

We did the “Prison Break” game and almost completed it all the way! I love the board game Clue and this was the real life version! I can’t wait to go back.

Stop Seven- Merchants 

Over two years ago, Nick and I went on our very first date at Merchants located on Broadway. This restaurant was created in 1892 from an old hotel. Check out the history behind this amazing space. The white and black checkered floors, vintage style booths, and specialty foods such as deviled eggs and pickles, make me feel like I’m going back in time.

Nick and I love dressing up no matter the occasion, so we ordered our meals, wine, and the staff even brought us post cards to take home with us! This place will never go out of style and I can’t wait to go back.

The final card- The Beach

So perplexed, I opened my final card of the evening that invited me to the beach. I was so confused! We hopped in our uber and went back to his house where my childhood best friend and his buddy stood waiting for us.

Every candle was lit in the house and outside the window, there was a beach. Yes, Nick bought 250 pounds of sand, started a fire, got smores, and created a beach by his pool. AKA the best beach I have ever been to.

We stayed up late that night playing cards, having drinks, and enjoying time with our sweet friends who took the time to make this spring break my favorite yet.

Photo Gallery: 



The surgery was successful and I am home recovering! If anyone has any questions about cysts, please feel free to message me!

Oil Q & A

Stress Away is a natural solution created to combat normal stresses that creep into everyday life. Stress Away is the first product to contain the unique stress-relieving combination of Lime and Vanilla. Stress Away also includes Copaiba and Lavender to reduce mental rigidity and restore equilibrium. Featuring powerful plant constituents, such as the cedrol found in Cedarwood and the eugenol that occurs naturally in Vanilla, Stress Away can help induce relaxation and reduce occasional nervous tension.

Ways to use Stress Away:

Put 1 drop in your hands and rub together for 5 seconds before cupping hands over nose to inhale deeply

Add the roll-on attachment and use as a natural perfume on wrists

Apply to the back of neck to help alleviate stress

Apply or diffuse to help with relaxation and to reduce tension and feeling stressed

Apply to wrists and neck before school on a test day

Summertime Diffuser Recipe, CREAMSICLE:
5 drops Orange oil
4 drops Lavender oil
4 drops Stress Away

DiGize Vitality is one of Young Living’s exclusive and proprietary dietary supplements. This unique blend contains Ginger, Anise, Fennel, Peppermint, Tarragon, Lemongrass, Patchouli, and Juniper essential oils. It also includes naturally occurring constituents like menthol, citrol and zingiberene.

Ways to use DiGize Vitality:

Add 1-2 drops to a gel capsule

Add 2 drops DiGize Vitality and 1 drop Peppermint Vitality to water for a stimulating beverage

Add 2-3 drops in honey to support a wellness regimen

Ways to use DiGize:

Apply over abdomen when you’ve eaten 1 too many tacos

Take this with you when traveling anywhere – you never know when you may need some digestion help.

Thieves Vitality was inspired by the legend of four 15th-century French thieves who formulated a special aromatic combination composed of clove, rosemary, and other botanicals they used while robbing the dead and dying. Young Living’s one-of-a-kind Thieves blend, crafted in the spirit of that legendary combination, can be found in all of our Thieves products.

Young Living has a whole line of Thieves products to help keep your family healthy. Everything from toothpaste, to bar soap, to household cleaner, to hand purifier. It’s so nice to be able to keep our family healthy, without the use of harsh chemicals that may be found in most store products.

Ways to use Thieves Vitality:

Add 1-2 drops to a teaspoon of honey to help support wellness

Add this to your dental routine by placing a drop on your toothbrush – we also LOVE the Thieves toothpaste Young Living offers

Apple Cider with Thieves Vitality
Favorite apple cider
Cinnamon Sticks
Thieves Vitality essential oil
Preparation:
Warm up cider and cinnamon sticks in a crockpot. Serve in individual glasses, and add 1 drop Thieves Vitality to each glass. Serve with a cinnamon stick and encourage guests to stir before drinking.

Ways to use Thieves:
Diffuse 5-8 drops in bedrooms at night

Add to a Wellness roller blend with Frankincense and fractionated coconut oil – apply over spine before school

FYI, Thieves is a HOT oil. Please apply topically only when using a carrier oil or applying to bottoms of feet.

Copaiba Vitality is made with the gum resin tapped from the Copaiba tree native to Brazil. It is known for its beta-caryophyllene content and sweet aroma. Copaiba Vitality has a pleasant, complex taste, and when taken internally, it can promote wellness.

Ways to use Copaiba Vitality:

Add 3-5 drops to a clear vegetable capsule and take daily as an important part of your health regimen

Add 1-2 drops to your morning herbal tea

Apply to the gums of teething babies

Ways to use Copaiba:
Add to a muscle rub with PanAway and coconut oil

Add to your lotion or shave cream

Use with babies and children – this is a very gentle oil – massage into skin before bedtime.

Lavender has a sweet, floral aroma that is soothing, relaxing and refreshing. Because it is the most versatile of all essential oils, the uses for this plant are almost endless.

Ways to use Lavender:
Diffuse 3-5 drops in bedrooms to help promote a restful night’s sleep

Roll onto feet for a calming effect

Unwind by adding a few drops to epsom salts in a relaxing bath

Add a few drops to a cotton ball and place in a drawer to scent linens/clothes

Roll onto chest during season changes

Bathroom Surface Cleaner
6 ounces White Vinegar
6 ounces Distilled Water
10 drops Lemon oil
12 drops Lavender oil
Combine into a 12-ounce spray bottle and use to help clean and disinfect bathrooms.

PanAway is a unique blend has a stimulating aroma, and is an original combination of Wintergreen, Helichrysum, Clove and Peppermint essential oils. The essential oils in PanAway include naturally occurring constituents methyl salicylate, gamma-curcumene, menthol, and eugenol. Use a carrier oil when applying topically.

Ways to use PanAway:
Massage into muscles after a strenuous workout

Supports the appearance of healthy skin coloration

Rub on your lower back after working all day

Add to whipped coconut oil for a soothing muscle & joint cream

Post Workout Rub
Coconut Oil
15 drops PanAway
10 drops Peppermint
Whip ingredients together using a mixer. Store in a glass jar and apply after a workout to help soothe muscles.

Frankincense has a woodsy aroma and includes the naturally occurring constituent boswellic acid.

Ways to use Frankincense:
Diffuse 3-5 drops & unwind after a stressful day

Great for the skin – it’s a primary ingredient in Young Living’s skin care line – add 1-2 drops with your Sandalwood Moisturizing Cream and apply over face & neck, morning & night

Great to diffuse for focus and concentration

Immunity System Support Roll-on
10 drops Frankincense
10 drops Lemon
10 drops Thieves
Fractionated Coconut Oil

Add all ingredients into an empty bottle, attach roll-on top. Apply down spine as often as needed.

Peppermint is one of the oldest and most highly regarded herbs for supporting normal digestion, including promoting healthy intestinal function and gastrointestinal system comfort. It is also a key ingredient found in DiGize.

Ways to use Peppermint Vitality:
Add to a morning tea, to help support your digestive system.

Add a drop to herbal tea or coffee for a delicious treat.

Add a drop to water to sip

Add Peppermint to baked goods or even hot cocoa

Peppermint Brownies
Brownie Mix
3-5 drops Peppermint

Preparation:
Make brownies according to box directions. Add 3 drops Peppermint Vitality and bake.

Ways to use Peppermint:
Diffuse for clarity & focus

Add 1-2 drops on a cotton ball and stick in car vents to freshen the air

Add 1-2 drops to tension areas on the neck and shoulders

Apply 2-3 drops over tummies when you’ve eaten a bit too much

A few things to keep in mind about this oil:

It is a hot oil, please keep it away from your eyes – it will burn!

Lemon Vitality includes the naturally occurring constituent limonene. It is a dietary supplement that enhances the flavor of foods and water. A key ingredient in many popular products, Lemon is found in Thieves, Ningxia Red and Inner Defense.

Ways to use Lemon Vitality:

Add 1-2 drops to your glass of water for a refreshing beverage – it’s gently cleansing and purifying

Place 1-2 drops under the tongue every morning

Add 1-2 drops to hummus or yogurt and serve with raw veggies or fruit for a healthy snack

Use in recipes for salad dressings and marinades and baked goods

Ways to use Lemon:
You can also diffuse for an uplifting aroma
Diffuse 3-5 drops in high traffic areas (kitchen, bathrooms, etc)


Safety Tips

Never put essential oils directly into your eyes or ears, as this could cause damage. Placing a few drops of oil on a cotton ball, then placing the cotton ball in your ear is recommended. You can also apply diluted oils around the outside of your ears.

Our citrus oils are photosensitive. If you apply them topically, you will want to avoid direct sunlight for 12 hours so that you don’t burn.

If you add any oils to your water, please make sure to drink out of a glass or stainless steel water bottle (not plastic).

We always recommend a carrier oil when applying oils topically to children, until you feel comfortable doing otherwise.

When using essential oils in your bath, add a few drops to Epsom salt first, then put salt into bath water. This will help the oils adhere to something, so that they disperse nicely throughout the water.

If you apply an oil topically and it feels uncomfortable, apply a carrier oil over it, then wipe away with a cloth. The carrier oil will carry the essential oil off of your skin.

Please keep your oils stored in a cool, dark place and avoid extreme temperatures, hot or cold. This will ensure your oils don’t go bad.