Thursday, December 28, 2017

2017 year in review {VIDEO}

When I look back at this year I've had, I can't help but smile. Trust me, there have been plenty of upsets this facing failure, scary health issues with our pup (we almost lost him), having to continue a long distance marriage with my husband, and don't even get me started on grad school. It's definitely been a challenging year. But that's life in all its blessings and its grief. Overall, this year has been overwhelmingly filled with good compared to bad and I'm thankful for this beautiful life I've created.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

December Life Lately

Per usual, this month has been the craziest one of the year. With returning from our Christmas trip to Iceland, mailing off all the Christmas cards, and finishing out the trimester of dental school strong all before heading off to visit family for the holidays, it's been a whirlwind.
december life lately
I feel like I've been mentally preparing for December for months, but it still caught me off guard with being busier than I expected. Lots of stressful days and sleepless nights. But there were lots of good highlights this month too that I'm excited to share. Also, had to include a few moments from the end of November because it felt wrong not to include our Christmas trip through Iceland here too. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

what we gave for Christmas 2017

This is the third year in the row that I've decided to share what we gave for Christmas. I much prefer this version to sharing what I got because quite frankly I don't really care what people give me or don't give me for Christmas. 
I get the most joy from what I give to others. And I usually put a lot of time and effort into our Christmas gifts so it's always nice to show off all that hard work.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas by the Numbers

Happy Christmas Eve! Headed off to my parents home today to spend the holidays. But first, I wanted to share some of the high points of Christmas so the numbers! 

home for the holidays

Not going to lie, I've definitely been overwhelmed with the holidays this year. It's not easy to be earning a doctorate degree while trying to make time for the rest of those real life moments. I love all the special parts about Christmas...the decorating, the ornaments, the Christmas cards. But all those things require time and that's one thing that I never have very much of. 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Friday Favorites 12.22.17

Hello All! 
Can you believe it that there are just 3 more days until Christmas and then onto ringing in the New Year? Before I get to ahead of myself, here are some favorites that I've shared this week. 
December friday favorites2

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

dental school lately: vol. 3

It's the last official day (finally!) before break and with it being the last term of 2017, it seemed fitting to share a an update of dental school life lately. 
I've been getting my butt kicked since the school moved our oral pathology final up by a week, added in an extra exam, and then cancelled said exam at the last minute after getting us all stressed out about it. So, it's been a rough few last weeks. But over except for one last assignment, so I'm here to share. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

a day in the life of a dental student: sleigh decay

So close to finishing up yet another semester of dental school (just a few more days!), but before I do, thought I'd share another day in the life of a dental student to reflect my current schedule before things get even busier next semester.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

it's christmas card time!

With only 7 days until Christmas, we finally got our holiday cards out! Had the quickest turnover to get these ordered, delivered, signed, and mailed back out all in less than a week. Ha! Time management at its finest. 

Saturday, December 16, 2017

trimming the travel tree

From encountering black bears in Alaska all the way to snorkeling in Florida
we've definitely ventured wide and far across the states this year. Not to mention, traveling all through Europepicking up my favorite souvenir along the ornaments.
trimming the travel tree
I do this all year long and by the time December rolls around, I've collected quite a few holiday baubles to adorn the tree. This has been the best idea and holiday tradition to start because it ties the best parts of the year into our Christmas tree. Just when you thought Christmas couldn't get any better. Now, we can reminisce about travels past while decorating the tree. I wanted to show off some of my favorites from this year, so I grouped them into fun little categories below.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Friday Favorites 12.15.17

It's been a few weeks since I updated with a Friday Favorite, but its been that crazy around here. From our winter trip through Iceland to finishing up this semester of dental school to doing all the holiday prep, its been hard to have a moment to catch my breath. 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

the greatest gift is...a smile

I had to share this cutest early christmas gift that I received from one of my patients. It’s the last time I will see her before the holidays so at the end of our appointment, she presented me with these chattering teeth and said that she wanted to give me a smile since I had restored hers. Too sweet, I almost cried. Ok, I did cry. And it got me thinking that I'm entering the best profession in the world because I get to spend my day giving people their best smiles. 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Confessions of a Christmas-aholic

I'm obsessed with this holiday. And while I definitely recognize that the true meaning of Christmas is to celebrate and acknowledge our savior, I can't help but love the side of Christmas that involves the jolly man in a red suit.  
But really...keeping live trees in our homes, watching for flying reindeer, adding a dash of tinsel to everything. It's all a little bit absurd, but is also a unique mix of so many traditions from different cultures all culminating to form our modern version of Christmas. Yes, I love it. And I'm explaining just how much with a few Christmas confessions. 

Saturday, December 9, 2017


 As far as I'm concerned, Christmas is the best day and worst day of the year rolled into one. Best because we finally have the opportunity to celebrate this blessed holiday. Worst because at the end of the day, it means the holiday season is over. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

dental school lately: vol. 2

From oral cancer biopsies to fungal swabs to extracting teeth to seeing my first pediatric patient, dental school lately has a been a bit of a whirlwind. And when I think back to how busy I felt during years past, I kind of laugh a bit at the thought of it all. Each year, each month, each day is tougher than the last. But I'm learning so much on a daily basis and moving that much closer to becoming a dentist. 
dental school lately volume 2On that note, I think a little dental school update is long overdue. 

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

christmas in iceland…by the numbers

I have lots to share from our trip to Iceland that we took over Thanksgiving. But per usual, December is proving to be the busiest month of year for me. Realistically, I won't have a chance to sit down and edit photos plus write blogs posts until this hectic semester of dental school is over once and for all. 
But I'm bursting with excitement over this experience and have to share even if it's just a little for now. So here's a glimpse of our Christmas trip to Iceland…by the numbers. 

Saturday, December 2, 2017

the christmas countdown!?

Now that it's officially December, we're all counting down to Christmas. Though I think most of us have probably been thinking about and prepping for the holiday season for months now. Or is that just me?

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Autumn Clothing Budget

Time for another clothing budget update since my last one was back in August...summer clothing budget. I've definitely picked up quite a few staples over the past few months. Also added a few more pieces of outdoor gear to my wardrobe with purchases for recent trips to Alaska and Iceland.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

november lately: thanksgiving in iceland

November was definitely my catch-up month with having spent most of it trying to finish up projects for dental school and get my life together before the end of the year. It's been a stressful one but with lots to be thankful for this month. 
november life lately5

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

thankful to travel to...

I read that only 35% of Americans have their passport. And the statistics of how often those are used are even lower. So on the eve of Thanksgiving, I'm incredibly thankful that I have learned the value of travel. 

Monday, November 20, 2017

the logistics of planning an Alaskan Cruise

Dear Alaska, 
I dreamt of you again last night. Only, I could never be creative enough to dream up anything so gorgeous on my own. You live on in my dreams because you live on in my heart. You keep your beauty hidden and are so hard to gain access to. But I want to share you with the world because "to the lover of wilderness, Alaska is one of the most wonderful countries in the world" -John Muir 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

101 in 1001: Update #3

It's that time again! Time to check-in along with a few others on our 101 in 1001 lists. Since my last update in August, I gave myself the goal of crossing six more items off my list. And I'm happy to say that I did that. 

101 in 1001 update
Let's delve right in shall we? 

Saturday, November 18, 2017

a day in the life of a dental student: yesterday

Yesterday was the craziest busiest day for me. This whole week has been actually because it's right before Thanksgiving break with finishing up lots of projects. But Friday especially was hectic in the best way. I treated pediatric patients all morning and took my clinical practical on exodontia (pulling teeth) in the afternoon. Did I mention it was on a live patient? eek! 
a day in the life of a dental student
I realize that it's been a long while since I've shared a day in the life of a dental student. That's because I'm such a perfectionist about capturing all the best photos and writing good descriptions etc. And that rarely happens. But yesterday felt like the best day (I actually felt like a dentist) that I need to document. So here impromptu day in the life of a dental student.

Friday, November 17, 2017

friday favorites 11.17.17

happy friday all! 
We are so close to Thanksgiving that I can almost taste the turkey. Though if I'm honest, I more excited about the fact that it will give me a few days off from dental school than I am about Thanksgiving itself. I definitely need a break. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Mexico Road Trip: The Yucatan Peninsula

We're putting the finishing touches on this year's Christmas trip, which got me thinking about last year's trip to Mexico. And while I did share tons from that experience, I never quite got around to linking it all together, so here it is..."the great big everything you need to know to take a road trip around mexico" post. 
Mexico Road Trip: The Yucatan Peninsula
Well...maybe not everything you need to know. But at the very least, it includes our itinerary, tips, and budget. 

Friday, November 10, 2017

fall friday favorites: 11.10.17

It's Friday and I couldn't be more grateful because it's been a rough few days in dental school lately. Thankfully, there has also been lots of good moments to hold onto in between and I'm thankful to share them now. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

a few rough days in dental school

These last few days have been a bit overwhelming, an emotional rollercoaster really. The harder you try, the more you care and work towards something, the more difficult it is to deal with the setbacks. And dental school is nothing if not a constant of highs and lows.  
There has been so much craziness these last few days that this has turned into a mini update of dental school lately.

Monday, November 6, 2017


every month, i end up with one these massive collages because it's just too difficult to pick only one photo to sum up an entire month. wouldn't you agree? 
october life lately
i love doing these recaps and looking back because it really puts everything into perspective. the end of a month always seems so stressful for me with feeling like i haven't accomplished enough, but all these random snaps from the month are proof of just how much i did get done and experience. 

Sunday, November 5, 2017

a G-R-E-A-T day in great smoky mountain national park

Despite the torrential downpour of rain, 
the fog obscuring our mountain views, 
and even the snow flurries that were 
proof of how cold it was, we had a great day at 
great smoky mountain national park! 
alum cave trail fall
Believe it or not, the great smoky mountains is the most visited US national park. More than the grand canyon or yosemite or yellowstone. And it also happens to be one of the closest parks to me, so it's crazy that we hadn't visited it yet when it's right in my backyard. We definitely needed to remedy that, but were waiting for the timing to be right. great smoky national park autumn

Friday, November 3, 2017

autumn road trip: the blue ridge parkway

Tom and I have both been on the parkway dozens of times passing though to here or there. But this time was different. We took the long route and really enjoyed our time hiking, camping, and cruising along the blue ridge parkway. After all, it is America's best drive. 
autumn blue ridge parkway
I think driving the parkway during autumn foliage was the best timing. The leaves hadn't changed too much yet so there was still the perfect contrast of green and changing falling leaves. We overdosed on fall thanks to this road trip with the best stops along the parkway in between. 
autumn blue ridge parkway

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

trick or teeth!

I wish I had an epic halloween share for the day, but that would require having my life organized. Plus, we traded in the traditional halloween celebrations this year for a few days in the mountains instead. More on that later this week. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

autumn camping

I'm just back from a weekend of hiking and camping in the mountains. And while it was nice to wash the campfire smell out of my hair and sleep in an actual bed last night, I already miss it. 

Thursday, October 26, 2017

how much does an Alaskan Cruise really cost?

I never would have imagined that we could swing the cost of an Alaskan Cruise at this stage in our lives. Because with the husband and I both in graduate school, we feel fortunate enough to afford a day trip to the beach, yet alone a week long luxury cruise. I've always assumed that an Alaskan Cruise would cost at least $5k. And I was right. It was $5,305.24 to be exact. Thankfully, we found a way to do things on a much smaller budget. 
cost Alaska cruise blog
 Everyone's budget for an Alaskan Cruise will obviously look a bit different depending on the type of room you chose, the time of year (peak vs. shoulder season) you travel, and the types of excursions you chose to do. We held off on taking this cruise for a long time because we thought that we couldn't afford it. And boy were we wrong. I wanted to show how we made things a bit more reasonable by sharing our exact budget here.
cost Alaska cruise blog

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Alaskan Anniversary Adventure

I always tell Tom that anniversaries are extra special when you're practicing a long distance marriage the way we do. Simple things that other couples don't have to think about take work for us with being over 700 miles apart on a daily basis. So we were happy to celebrate four years of marriage together in this extra special way with an Alaskan Adventure. 
Alaska anniversary cruise
Since, I've been sharing a lot from our Alaskan Cruise this past week, I thought I would put things into context by detailing our exact itinerary here. Though if I'm honest, I'm mostly cataloguing this for myself so I can always look back and reminisce. Either way, here's our itinerary for a 7 day cruise through Alaska...with a few travel days tossed in. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

facing failure

As is common amongst us millennials, we share everything. Well not everything. We share what others will envy, we create picture perfect facades on instagram, present pretty packages on twitter, and we do it all without telling the whole story. Basically, we share everything, but we don't really share anything at all. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

a week of dental surgery

If you follow my insta-stories, then you know I had the opportunity to do dental surgeries last week. It's one thing to drill on someone's tooth and place a restoration. But it's a completely different story to cut away someone's gum tissue, remove parts of their jaw bone, teeth, and then stitch them back up again!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

day trip diaries: juneau

Of all our port stops, we had the longest day in Juneau, but it flew right by with everything we packed in. I must have been exhausted in the moment, but when you're in a new place for such a short period of time, you really learn to appreciate every second of it and really soak in all in. 
juneau alaska cruise
  We kicked off our day at Mendenhall Glacier; standing on a the base of a waterfall...with ice glaciers in view, I'm a fan!
juneau alaska cruise
hello ice glacier!
juneau alaska cruise

Thursday, October 19, 2017

misty fjord

fjord: a long, narrow inlet of the Sea between high cliffs 
misty fjord alaska
As a girl who loves her nature, is always looking for a mountain to climb, a new place of harmony to traverse...I have always wanted to venture to a fjord. Mountains that are literally popping up right out of the sea, no one could dream up a place as glorious as this, yet it exists.   
misty fjord alaska

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Yea, I had never heard of it either
But it's most known for being Alaska's first city
ketchikan alaska
This place may have boomed with the establishment of the salmon industry, but I still see it as a sleepy little fishing town constantly surrounded by mist and fog and rain. 
Basically, I'm in love. 
ketchikan alaska
ketchikan alaska

Monday, October 16, 2017

a train ride to nowhere

My absolute favorite adventure during our Alaskan Anniversary Adventure was our train ride to nowhere. We followed the White Pass & Yukon Route along the original track that was built back in 1898 during Alaska's Klondike Gold Rush. 
white pass yukon route alaska excursion

Sunday, October 15, 2017

pumpkin cornbread & sweet potato crockpot chili

This is how we celebrate fall in the South...taking classic Southern recipes and adding a taste of Autumn into the mix. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

4th anniversary weekend

With being apart right now in a long distance marriage, it makes marking the milestones extra important. And since we always love to celebrate with experiences, we ended up on an epic Alaskan Anniversary Adventure this year for our big gift to each other a month before our anniversary. But we wanted to acknowledge the actual day too.