St. Augustine

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St. Augustine, Florida is a beautiful city! It’s full of so much history and charm- and delicious food! Trenton’s cousin got married here so we were able to spend a few nights being wined and dined surrounded by family- it was wonderful!

The first night we went to Harry’s seafood for the rehearsal dinner, and oh my word the food was so good! Especially the fried oreos I snapped a picture of. We walked around the town center after eating, where all the Christmas lights were hung in the trees!

The next day was the wedding. I got to spend the morning lounging around and went for a run with Trentons aunt. It was so nice to relax and not have to worry about work, school, etc. and my inlaws are just incredible.

The wedding was held in America’s oldest parish, and the reception was on a rooftop overlooking the bay. The couple getting married has the same “Livingston” last name as me and Trenton, so that was cool seeing all the favors and decorum with our name on it.

After a night of partying it up (or, rather, standing on the sidelines while everyone else danced ha) we spent the next day exporing the town. We went to the fort, walked around the shops, and got some amazing gillato.

I officially LOVE destination weddings! Have you ever been to a destination wedding? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments! Have a great week!

Caribbean Princess Cruise

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Trenton and I spent a week sailing the Caribbean! We went on our first Princess cruise and oh my goodness it was SO amazing! We went to Honduras, Belize, and Mexico.

The ship itself was beautiful, and the food was delicious. Dinner was super fancy, and we ate lunch at the buffet. They also had a pizza and burger bar by the pool. Even though the ship was at full capacity, it did not feel over crowded. They had three pools, and one of them was an adult pool (THANK THE LORD!)

I spent our two sea days lounging by the pool and reading. My favorite author, Deanna Raybourne, sent me a copy of her new book, A Perilous Undertaking, and I was so excited to read it! It comes out on January 10th, so make sure to pick up a copy. It’s a great mystery novel with such unique characters, set in Victorian era England.

In Roaton, Honduras, we took a taxi in to the town of Coxen Hole expecting it to be all paradise-esque and touristy but OH MY WORD it was not! It was poor and run down and smelled terrible. We just wanted to pick up authentic Honduran coffee but out driver didnt catch on to what we meant and took us to the super market… Anyways, the town made Trenton feel depressed, and I was like ummm this is such a random port to go to! I have been on many missions trips to towns just like that so it was weird to spend a day their on “vacation”. When we got back to where the ship was docked we went to the beach and swam around, which was nice. Trenton’s parents spent their retired years as missionaries to Honduras, so it was interesting to see what the kind of place they lived at.

Next, we went to Belize. This was one of my favorite excursions! We set off early in the morning and took a boat from our ship to the mainland. We then went cave tubing! It was an hour bus drive, and it was raining, but when we got there it was so worth the drive (which I slept through haha). We hiked through the rainforest to get to the caves and I seriously think it was the most beautiful place I’ve ever been too. I felt like I was in Jurassic park! According to the ancient Mayans, the caves took you through hell. Crazy, right?! After the tubing, the company (cavetubing.bz) took us to their restaurant and prepared authentic Belizean chicken, rice, and beans for our group. I, of course, covered it in hot sauce and took some sauce home as well. It was so delicious!

Trenton spent a summer in Belize while in college, and it was nice for him to come back to the country he had come to love.

Our third country was Mexico. We went to Costa Maya! I had been to Cozumel before and didn’t really care for the country, so I wasn’t very excited. However, I was pleasantly surprised by this beautiful area! We went snorkeling on the world’s second largest reef and saw so many beautiful fish. We also went kayaking and just chilled on the beach. Trenton fell asleep on a hammock and I couldn’t stop laughing at him- he is so good at “chilling”.

Our last day at sea was full of tanning, “hot tubbing”, and EATING. haha. Now that we’re back, I don’t know how I am going to go back to normal life. Once you get used to eating like four giant meals a day it’s hard to get back to eating small portions and healthy food! Has anyone else been on a cruise? What are your favorite ports to go to??

Third Grade Thanksgiving

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We had the CUTEST Halloween party in class last Friday!

Students had those adorable turkey cupcakes, along with tons of other sweets and snacks.

We played a game called Thanksgiving bingo and used little pellets to play it with.

The craft was a simple one. (Hallelujah!) They simply colored those little wooden “Thanks” crafts. While they colored it, we watched Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.

To end the party, each of the kids got a goody bag to take home and a special note from me telling them why I am thankful for them.

Out of all the holiday class parties I’ve thrown, this was one of the best! Thanks especially to my class mom- she takes decorating to a whole new level!!

Oh and of course I had to add in a photo of all the books I ordered for the classroom. I got the entire Wimpy Kid series (including the new one-Double Down), a government picture book packet, Moana, Trolls, the new American Girl book, and the Key Hunter series. Thanks to Scholastic for giving me lots of points so I got them all for free! My kids almost had a cow when they saw the book box arrive.

Anyway, now I’m in St. Augustine now for a wedding! Happy almost Thanksgiving! Hope these picture will add some inspo to your class parties. 😉

Super Delicious Atlantic Salmon

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Today for lunch I made this super easy Atlantic salmon! It was so delicious and took so little time that I simply had to share it with you all!! And its mega healthy- bonus points!!

Here is the recipe:

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon butter

Salmon filet

(I used one big filet that easily fed two people, and we had some leftover)

Simply combine the spices and rub it into the salmon. Melt the butter on medium heat over the stove, then add the salmon. Cook for 4 minutes on each side, or until the salmon is firm and flaky. Make sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn!

I placed the salmon on a bed of spinach leaves and added some fresh greens beans as well.

Enjoy!!!

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-if you try it or have any suggestions, let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Richmond Half Marathon

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This weekend I ran the Richmond Half Marathon! It was cold. It was tough. And it was different from any race I’ve ran before. It’s not like I haven’t run a marathon or half marathon before, but this time I was pushing myself to a whole new level.

In the past, I’ve completed a few OUC half marathon’s in Orlando, as well as the full Disney marathon, but those times I ran it just to finish it. I did well, but not great. In fact, I didn’t even really train for those.

But this time was different. I wanted to see how well I could do with actual training. My training basically consisted of 2-4 short tempo runs during the week (about 3-4 miles each) and a long run every Saturday. As each week progressed, we, my running partner and I, added another mile or two to our long runs. We ended with a 12 miler two weeks before the race. Ideally, I would have liked to train with hill runs and sprint training, and we did a bit of that, but time was simply not on our side for that intense of training since we are both very busy people.

We were placed into corral B, meaning we intended to finish somewhere between 1 hour and 45-50 minutes. It wasn’t until I was half way through mile 2 when I noticed a pacing leader holding a big sign saying 1:45, which meant that if you wanted to finish in 1 hour 45 minutes, follow him. That was absolutely perfect for me, and I stayed right next to him. It was soooo hard to keep up with him, but it prevented me from slowing down or randomly speeding up. I stayed with him for the whole race, though towards mile 10 I was falling behind, but I picked up my pace on the last mile and caught back up, crossing the finish line just under 1 hour 45 minutes.!

I had no idea I was capable of running at such a fast pace- but it’s amazing what the human body can do. Most of the time our physical struggles are just mental, and we really can push past them.

This week, I challenge you to push a little further in your work outs. If your a runner- run those miles a little faster. If you are a weight lifter- add on a few more pounds to those weights. You can do more, you just have to push past the mental barriers that tell you you can’t.

If you’ve ever ran a half- or full- marathon- comment below! I’m always looking for new races to try. 🙂

P.S. How gorgeous is Richmond?! I made these photos black and white to symbolize just how frigid and challenging of a race this was. It was 40 degrees!! But luckily I started warming up after a few miles- and the sky scrapers and cute cobble stone streets kept me distracted haha.

Baking for Days

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This weekend was full of baking…wrapping…and trying my best to be a sales girl!! I participated in a craft and bake sale at my husbands seminary. It’s a great way to make some extra money before the holidays come! Or so I thought… Everytime I commit myself to any sort of bake sale or food fundraiser I always have these grand dreams of baking for an hour or two, packaging everything up all pretty, and selling out before it’s over.

Ofcourse, it never goes that way… I was totally stressed out about this thing for the past two weeks wondering where I was going to get the packaging, what I was going to make, when I was going to have time to make it, etc.

But luckily, my friend Vicky came to the rescue and helped me make everything! We had a girls night at her house and baked the night away. It was so fun! I don’t know what I would have done without her… I’m totally helpless when it comes to big undertakings like making 3 types of cookies, cupcakes, and homemade icing and probably would have strangled myself by the end of the night had she not been there.

She made these adorable snowmen and grew succulents for the bake sale, and I sold them for her. They were so cute!

The bake sale ended up being quite fun. I met a lot of new people who also live at the seminary, and it wasn’t too terrible of a way to spend my Saturday. I’m always looking for new activities and events to be a part of; I like to keep my life speckled with all different types of challenges!

I made fresh pumpkin spiced lattes and served them in mason jars, and also sold pumpkin cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, pumpkin chocolate chip cookie sandwiches, mint chocolate chip cookies, and my secret nicker doodle recipe. I am definitely baked out and it’s only the beginning of November! Haha!

What are your favorite types of holiday cookies?? Comment below, I’m always looking for new recipes to try!

Blue Bear Mountain

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After a pull-your-hair-out kind of week trying to teach third graders how to tell time while also  cramming in article deadlines for The Weekly, Trenton and I decided it was time to pack up our camping gear and head out for the weekend. We’ve lived in North Carolina for about four months now, and we decided it was time to visit the mountains. We asked around for recommended camping spots, but everywhere people recommended was 4-5 hours away from us! So we took to google and decided to head to Boone, NC since it was just 3 hours away.

We headed out on Saturday morning, but just before we were going to leave, I was asked to write up a last minute story about a local festival. So I dashed to the next town over-snapped some pictures-then finally later that morning Trenton and I headed out.

I was a little worried going to some random camp sight that we found online, but it turned out to be really nice! (Even if Trenton literally almost drove us off the mountain on the way there.) There was a fully-furnished teepee in the center that looked amazing (totally going back to stay in it!) and each camping sight came complete with a grill, fire pit, and fire wood. There was even a huge stage in the middle of the camp sight perfect for star gazing.

Setting up our tent was super stressful because the wind was whipping at 40 mph! It was insane. The weather was 30 degrees, and as per the usual, Trenton and I were not the least bit prepared and froze our buts off all weekend. I wore my extra socks as gloves along with four layers of shirts/jackets-and two pairs of pants. Out giant tent was definitely not designed for this type of weather!

We went on a hike and the trees looked so colorful. Since we are from Florida, this was totally new to us! While hiking, we somehow wandered off the trail and ended up on a dirt road. It was getting dark and we were totally freaking out. The little blue markers we had been following were no where to be seen…. We found weird mannequins with missing body parts behind a broken down house, and it looked like those weird cave creatures from the Descent! It was super creepy. The wind and fog was making it hard to function and there was all these half eaten fruit on the trail. I for real felt like it was the start of a horror movie. But luckily we decided to retrace our steps and after a lot of hiking we eventually found a sign taking us back to Blue Bear Mountain.

For dinner, I made foil packets full of ground beef, potatoes, onion and bell pepper and cooked it over the fire. It was a success!

I brought supplies to make breakfast in the morning, but since it was SO COLD we decided to just go to Cracker Barrel where it was warm ha.

Now we have made it back to civilization and I know I am going to sleep so well tonight after sleeping on rocky ground all weekend!!!

~Courtney

A Night at the Fair

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It’s that time of year again! Who doesn’t love going to the fair? All week long I have been so looking forward to getting me some fried oreos from the North Carolina State Fair, and man, they were delicious.

I am so happy to have such awesome friends here in North Carolina. Girlfriends are hard to come by these days, so I am soaking up every minute I have with these ladies before we all graduate and move our separate ways.

We walked around, ate turkey legs, kettle corn, and fries, and that pretty much sums up our night! haha. Why does anyone go to the fair except for eating the food? We tried to  watch the pig races but the stands were full and we couldn’t see the pigs.

This was the hugest fair I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to quite a lot of fairs throughout Florida and Alabama. The booths were never ending! It was like a magical neon wonderland. The crowds were crazy, but since we weren’t riding any rides it wasn’t a huge deal.

Now that I’ve had my fried food fix, I think I’ll be satisfied until next year. What are some things you all like to do at your local fairs? Comment below!

~Courtney

Paris in the Fall

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As the weather chills and I begin to bundle up each day before leaving the house, I can’t help but be reminded of my trip to Paris last fall. I flipped through old photos, reminded of the grand adventure my husband and I had running around Paris for a week. It was so cold there during November- and we were not the slightest bit prepared! Thinking back to it literally sends a chill down my spine. But it was a perfect week, and I’m terrible sad I don’t have another European vacation planned for this fall. As someone who was born and raised in central Florida, the chance to visit another country during the fall is one that appeals to me much more than traveling during the summer.

I came SO close to booking a trip to Italy for the week before Christmas, but I waited two days after finding the trip to book and by then the price had literally doubled. Oh well, we have filled our travel schedule with a camping trip to the mountains, a St. Augustine trip, and some other ideas have been popping around in my head. The travel bug has bit me, having me wish I could board a plane and fly to somewhere new!