Goals for 2017

New Year means New Goals! How was your 2016 and what goals are you setting for 2017?

 

I completed almost all of my goals from this past year and have set the bar pretty high for this year! I’m ready to get things done and be productive! Here are my goals listed below:

 

  • Run a half marathon ( I ran a 15k last October and I know I can run 13 miles!!)
  • Lose 10lbs (I lost 15 last year and am determined to be at my goal weight! Let’s do this!!)
  • Have a budget and stick to it. (My dad suggested the app Every Dollar which you can also access online. You predict what your monthly income will be then you budget to your lifestyle! I am ready to save money this year and buy less!)
  • Make Macaroons. (I’ve had Macaroons before and they are DELICIOUS! This year I want to make some and fingers crossed that they turn out good)
  • Run a full marathon
  • Decide where I’m going to college (I’ve really been struggling with this and giving it up to God and praying that I’ll make the right decision)
  • See Star War #8 (The Force Awakens was AMAZING and Rogue One was AMAZING. So no doubt that this one will be AMAZING too)
  • Read 15 books (I read 12 this past year…I kinda of dropped the ball and got lazy. I really do love to read I just need to make time to do it! I’ll make a list later of the 15 books I will be reading!)
  • Stop biting my nails…(this is going to be SUPER hard but if I can do it my hands will finally look good)
  • Get rid of the things I don’t need. (I set focus words for this year: Less is More. I really struggle with this so this year will be the year where I try to buy less and get rid of the things I don’t need!)
  • Take a social media break (Oh wow….I don’t realize it much but I am SUPER connected to social media. I’m going to try to take some periodic breaks this year.)
  • Blog more. (Last year I really slacked off and I’ve really missed it even though not a lot of people read my blog. I’ve got many posts lined up, so get excited!!)
  • Get organized for college. (This is a MUST)
  • Go on a senior trip…(and have lots of fun!)

I hope your 2017 is off to a great start! Much love, Brianna

Year in Review: 2016


Hi, folks! I can’t believe this year is already over! So here is my past year in some photos to give you a little look into my life over this fast paced last year.

January- I LOVE January! Everything feels new, and winter clothes are my favorite. Sweater weather is the best.

I took photos for a friend, and this one was too precious not to share. 


February- The month of “love.” I like this month and the colors it brings.   

This movie made me cry like all Nicholas Sparks movies do. 

Flowers my brother got me for Valentine’s Day: he can be a sweetheart. 

Valentine’s Day date with Dad. We went biking in Fayetteville!

Brother’s state basketball game in Shawnee, OK


March- My birthday month and my Dad’s birthday month! This month is close to my heart because CAKE. 

Supporting our High School boys at State in Basketball.

Favorite place to eat on this earth. Lox is bae.

Winter Jam at the BOK Center: I took this while for King & Country was performing. This was a month of concerts and I had a blast! 

Garden Party Birthday Brunch with my gal pals: good food and good company. 

I always make my birthday cake: NO SHAME. I love every minute of it…this year I specifically picked out all the marshmallows out of the Lucky Charms box to do this. Worth it. 

Dad’s birthday hike at Lincoln Lake in Arkansas.

Some pretty bright and fun easter eggs.


April- I LOVED this month! Probably only because prom and my crazy dancing at prom.  

I had a photography assignment and choose balloons so I apologize for all the balloons. 


May- The month when school lets out summer starts! FREEDOM!!!

Roadtrip with my BFF!

If you missed out on these posts about my road trip here are the links: Part 1 & Part 2

This was a gorgeous day so we ventured out to Lake Hefner and biked 9 miles!


June- SUMMER COMMENCES in this month and that is literally the BEST feeling.


I went vegan for a week and had a blast! For all the deets on that check out THIS blog post.

We took a vacation to the Smoky Mountains this year. If you missed out on ALL 8 of my blog posts you can check them out HERE.

July- The last month of freedom but full of adventure and fun.

The pure joy of summer.

I joined a bible study group this summer and am SO glad for friendships made.

Steven Adams is my bro/homie.

A new place opened in Tulsa called Bowl-n-Spoon and all they serve is cereal! You pick from TONS of cereal, toppings, and milk. You can also mix and match everything. I think I went into a sugar coma after this. 

The joys of babysitting. 

Oh honey, you’re sweet. 


August- The last month of summer and some lasts.

Last first day of High School! Senior year here I come!


September- My brother’s birthday month, football, and FALL.  


October- Lots of fall fun and too many pictures!

Fall break is Eureka Springs, AR.

Pumpkins are funny: every year we go to Livesay Orchards to get pumpkins. I hope we never stop this tradition. 

I took my friends senior pictures: isn’t she gorgeous?!

Like I said earlier: Dilly Diner is the best place on earth. 

I completed a 15k!! (9 miles). I’m signed up for the OKC Half Marathon and telling myself I can do it!!

for King & Country was especially amazing because front row BABY!


November- Thanksgiving, food, food, and food.  

Senior pictures were a blast! If you live in the Keystone, CO area check out Jo Spivey photography for affordable and GREAT pictures.


December- CHRISTMAS MONTH!!!! AND my mom’s birthday month!!  

Took a trip to The Pioneer Woman Mercantile! A blog post will be posted sometime in January! 

 

So that is my year summed up! If you would like to follow along all year long you can check me out on Instagram. 

Personal Account

Food Account 

VSCOcam Account 

I hope you all had a great 2016! Much love, Brianna. 

Serendipity Saturdays: A letter to my Senior Self.


Dear Senior Self,

I can’t believe you’re a senior! When people tell you high school flies by in just a blink of an eye they are so true. I know you don’t know it yet but this year will fly by. I want you to cherish every moment. Every laugh, every tear, every stressful moment, and every bittersweet moment. Worry about college but don’t worry too much. Have a plan but be okay if it changes. Be prepared for some late nights. Even if you don’t like to watch sports watch a couple of games anyway. Be rowdy, crazy, even if it’s just for a minute. Spend as much time with your friends as you can. Most of you will go your separate ways after you graduate so cherish the time with them in your boring classes or at some of your last high school events. Don’t wish for tommorow because something bigger and better is happening. Live in today, make the moment count. It sounds SO cheesy but it is SO true. Don’t worry about what others think, stay true to who you are it’s what counts. Grow with your friends and grow with God. Pray about your future. Study hard. But don’t stress out too much. Love your last year as being a “kid”. Everything will be different after you graduate. Spend time with your family because they’ll definitely appreciate it. Just remember this: this will be one of the best years of your life if you make it out to be. This is not the end of your story but just a beginning for a new one. You got this! Have fun!

Sincerly, A girl who wants you to have the best year yet.

Smoky Mountains: Day Eight

This post was written about July 5th, 2016. To see the rest of my series check out below (as this is the last one!)

Locations: Bryson City, NC


More Blueberry Ego Waffles were apart of today’s breakfast. To fancy it up I put Strawberry Cream Cheese, Strawberries, Bananas, and Blueberries on top. We hung around the house for about 2 hours until it was time to go…..Zip-lining! When we ate breakfast outside the mountains were showing with just a bit of clouds. About an hour later it started to rain and you couldn’t anything but the mountain close to us! It was crazy how it could change so fast!


Off to Zip-lining we went around 11:30. We were supposed to start at 12:30 but since of the rain and lightning  we waited about an extra hour (so worth it though!) Once the lightning  and rain cleared we suited up or geared up (you choose) to head out! I got a helmet with a GoPro mount so I could capture all the action and I am so glad I did! I was hesitant at first, not wanting to lose my expensive camera but all was well. We chose Nantahala Gorge Canopy Tours to do our zip-lining at and they did a great job! They explained what you needed to do and let you practice, kept it fun on the course, and most of all kept everyone safe. Shout out to our 3 leaders: Barrett, Trae, and Kenneth!


When we first started on the course I was pretty nervous. When zip-lining you have the brake when you get about 3/4 of the way through. Getting the hang of it was not too bad though I did hit my legs on a platform my first time…(I have a bruise now). It was fun being high up and going fast down the lines. There were 13 lines and it took about 3 hours to complete. Also you MUST watch the video below because “GoPro is insane!!”

After zip-lining we came back into Bryson City for a sweet treat. Not having lunch I treated myself to a White Chocolate Caramel Apple (best ever!) at The Chocolate Shoppe and Ice Creamery. Before heading back to clean up we made reservation at The Cork & Bean in town for 6 so we would ensure ourselves a table.


The Cork & Bean for dinner was the best food EVER! The Cork & Bean is inside of an old hotel and the atmosphere is very inviting. To start our dinner off we ordered the Roasted Brussel Sprouts with bacon, sweet onions, shaved parmesan, and garlic aoili. The garlic aoili made the dish well-rounded with the right about of roasted with non-roasted ingredients. I got the Southwest Turkey Crepe which had Smoked Gouda, Avocado, Turkey, and Salsa. (have to try to remake it at home!). Both of my parents got The Duck & Andouille Etouffee which was something like a Cajun dish. For dessert my parents ordered the Lavender Crème Brûlée. For the longest time I’ve being seeing a coffee drink called a ‘Flat White’ around Instagram and Snapchat. I tried a Hazelnut Flat White out and it was so good! The only difference I can tell between that and a regular latte is that it’s not as strong. My brother got a Mocha Frappchunio (I think he swears by getting one of these any coffee place he goes).


Our last night at the house we watched the sunset and played some more cards.


This trip has let me experience lots of amazing views, try new things, eat lots of good food, and enjoy time with my family. Thank you to everyone who read my series Smoky Mountains! Stay tuned for more blog posts soon. Much love, Brianna.

Smoky Mountains: Day Seven

This post was written about July 4th, 2016. Check out my previous days below.

Locations: Bryson City, NC -> Great Smoky Mountains National Park -> Gatlinburg, TN -> Bryson City, NC


It’s Fourth of July and I am currently dressed in red, white, and blue because USA. Breakfast today was Blueberry Ego Frozen Waffles. Being a waffle and pancake snob they weren’t my favorite. But then again, I always make my waffles from scratch.


As we made our way to our first destination we stopped at got some boiled peanuts and pork rinds. YUM!


Traveling to get to where we want to go has been a big part of this trip. That being said, if the mountains weren’t here it would take half the time it does to get to certain places. Today we traveled to Clingmans Dome. Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoke Mountain National Park at 6,643 feet. Usually the Dome offers views up to 100 miles but of course it was super cloudy today. Being so high up we were literally in the clouds. It was still cool though when the sun peeked through and you could catch a glimpse of the mountains through the clouds. At Clingmans Dome it’s about 20 degrees cooler than it would be down below. Today I think the temperature reached around 62 F. It felt like we were in Alaska and not in Tennessee!

Being pretty hungry we made our way to Gatlinburg, TN. We were going to eat at the Wild Plum Cafe but they were closed since it was the 4th. Instead we ate at The Smoky Mountain Brewery. Funny story, I brought along the July/August issue of my Food Network magazine and they did a piece on the top 5 most visited National Parks to celebrate the National Parks system turning 100 in August. The Brewery was recommended so we had to try it out! I got a Chicken Reuben with a side of Broccoli in Beer Cheese. I love the chicken version of the reuben because it was a lot lighter than normal and very tasty! The rest of my family split a pizza that was HUGE! All in all we enjoyed the good food.



Let me inform you on what we did next. We hiked about 2 miles of the Appalachian Trail. For those of you who don’t know what the Appalachian Trail is…it’s a 2,200 mile trail that stretches from Georgia to Maine. We got on the trail at the North Carolina and Tennessee border and saw some pretty views.


Heading back to Bryson City we saw some elk on the side of the road and lots of people stopping to take pictures! We also stopped in Cherokee and got a little sweet treat at Two Crows Ice Cream and Treatery. I got a scoop of Cappuccino Toffee Crunch and it was the perfect about of sweet with a little hint of coffee! My brother got a double scoop of the ‘Superman’, and my parents the Mint Chocolate Chip. I also snapped another picture of a painted bear that was in town because why not?


Before heading in to town to eat and watch the fireworks we came back to the house and rested up. I rolled my dirty clothes and took some Ibuprofen for my terrible headache that I had been battling all day. In other news, Kevin Durant signed with The Golden State Warriors and Kevin and I request that you respect our decision since we’re officially over.

We headed back into town for dinner. Wanting something quick we grabbed a meal from Bojangles. We parked in the grocery store parking lots and laid out blankets on the concrete. I’m sure we looked pretty funny. We played cards until the fireworks started and enjoyed the beautiful sunset as well.


Fireworks started around 9:55 and we stayed for about 20 minutes. We hightailed it out of there and not a complaint from me because I was exhausted! My favorite fireworks were the ones that were golden and looked like they were falling from the sky.


One day more! Much love, Brianna.

Smoky Mountains: Day Six

This post was written about July 3rd, 2016. For those of you who are late to this party train (a.k.a. this series) check my previous posts out below.

Locations: Bryson City, NC -> Joyce Kilmer National Forest -> Tapoco, NC ->  Fontana, NC -> Bryson City, NC


Up and ready to go this morning I packed by camera backpack with all the essentials: my camera (obviously), 50mm lens, GoPro Hero Session, and my head strap mount for my GoPro. I’ll have to write a post soon about my soon to be YouTube channel with all my GoPro adventures (stay tuned for that!). I was feeling a bit patriotic this morning so I decided to make myself a parfait with: strawberries, bananas, and blueberries. The picture turned out great but I definitely do not recommend the Chobani Vanilla Greek Yogurt (it has a very bad aftertaste!).


We traveled today to Joyce Kilmer National Forest. It’s about an hour drive from Bryson City. Once we got there we struggled to find a parking space. Being pretty well advertised they had a small parking lot (just enough for about 25 cars). Usually hiking trailheads have outflow parking in case the parking lot is full. So we parked on the side of the road and hoped for the best. Before we made our trek we ate a snack (or first lunch). I had a Roasted Jalapeno Kind Bar with Goldfish…a weird combination for sure.

The Joyce Kilmer National Forest is known for is VERY tall trees. The hike was only 2 miles long but the forest was gorgeous. Most of the trees are over 400 years old and up to 100 feet tall and 20 feet in circumference. Talk about big! I couldn’t get over how small I felt against them and how many there were. The forest is named after the author Joyce Kilmer wrote a poem about trees. I think I’ll write a poem about skyscrapers and have one dedicated to me (no big deal).

Once we made it back to the car we set off to find lunch. I had felt perfectly alert and awake when hiking but once I sat down I could barely keep my eyes open! Thankfully we came upon the town of Tapoco where a lodge was located with a restaurant. The food was delicious and the lodge was peaceful and located next to running water. I got a 3 Cheese Grilled Cheese with Sweet Potato Fries (divine!), my Mom got the Fried BLT, my Dad the Trout Poboy, and as an appetizer Pork Rinds! I had never seen Pork Rinds sold at any restaurant before but they were good as they were topped with Tabasco Sauce.


As we were heading to our next location we drove on part of what is known as the “Dragons Tail”. The Dragon’s Tail is 11 miles with 318 curves! We saw many motorcycles while driving just the end part and it’s absolutely crazy how fast they go!

Before heading back to Bryson City we stopped to see the Fontana Dam. The Fontana Dam is the tallest dam east of the Rockies. The Fontana Dam construction began in 1942 when President Roosevelt implemented the ‘New Deal’. The Tennessee Valley Authority was one of the programs. The TVA brung jobs to the unemployed and helped create hydroelectricity. The Fontana Dam was finished in just 3 years with no days off. Today it would take at least 10 years to build compared to just 3. The Dam is 480 ft, 2,365 in length, 29 miles of reservoir, and supplies electricity to the surrounding areas. The Dam is also apart of the Appalachian Trail and is known as ‘Fontana Hilton’ because it provides hikers with hot showers.


Back home we dug into dinner which wasn’t too exciting. I had tortilla chips with humus and laughing cow cheese. For dessert we made Banana Pudding since my mom has been having a hankering for it ever since Day Three.


We relaxed and watched the sun go down below the mountains. Very tired we all peaced out and said goodbye to Day Six (sad face!!).


Stay tuned for 2 more days of my Smoky Mountain series! Much love, Brianna.

Smoky Mountains: Day Five

This post was written about July 2nd, 2016. If just now reading this series check out my other days below.

Locations: Bryson City, NC -> Chimney Rock, NC -> Lake Lure, NC -> Asheville, NC -> Bryson City, NC


Well….we are more than halfway through this series (also known as my vacation). Mornings come to quick and nights go to fast when you’re wiped from the day before. However, I love the adventuring, food, and exercise.

This morning my body said “No thanks!” again. I powered through and made some coffee with my english muffin and half a banana. Sitting on the front porch with the cool breeze and view was absolutely perfect and it made me really not want to leave on Wednesday.


Another day of longer travel was in store. We journeyed to Chimney Rock State Park about 2 hours from Bryson City. The road up to the park was WAY to curvy and made me sick but once there I felt much, much better. Parking down in the lower parking lot a bus shuttled us to the top where we climbed 499 steps to get to Chimney Rock.


Usually, Chimney Rock as a fully working elevator but it was currently out of service so tickets into the park were reduced by a dollar (yes only a dollar…*insert eye roll here*) The 499 steps up weren’t excatly what I call enjoyable but the view was SO worth it. From there we hiked up to Exclamation Point which was another 381 steps. It’s the highest point in the park and definitely  the most breathtaking. I love how good and creative our God is.

Once at the top we took a break and then made the 880 step trek down. By the time we reached the bottom my legs felt so shaking and I was pretty sure they were going to buckle. Thankfully that did not happen. At the souvenir store I got a sticker that said “I made it to the top of Chimney Rock”. I for sure had to get that.


Lunch absolutely had to be next, because my stomach was growling like a monster. We ate at Medina’s Village Bistro. I got the special which was the BLT wrap with fried green tomatoes instead ofthe regular kind. A side of cauliflower salad came with it which had sprouts, chickpeas, balsamic vingear, and cauliflower. It was different but I enjoyed it! For dessert all four of us spilt a cinnamon rolls which was A++ (However, nothing can beat Harmony House cinnamon rolls).


On the way to the Bistro my mom had saw a place that sold homeade soda pops called: Bayou Billy. You had to buy a mug and then you filled it yourself. They had lots to choose from but I choose the ‘Pretty N Pink’ one and filled it with Strawberry Cream Soda and shared it with my mom. My dad got a cream soda float and my brother a rootbeer float.


Heading just a few minutes away to the town of Lake Lure we visited the Lake Lure Inn where the cast of Dirty Dancing stayed during their filming. Dirty Dancing is my favorite movie of all time and this was a must. Also; currently looking for someone to share my love of Dirty Dancing with. The pickpocket scence was filmed in the dining room and the famous lift scene practice was shot at Lake Lure.The mirrored room that they practiced in is now renovated into a event hall. Half of the film was filmed there and the other half in Virgina. I tried to recreate some poses from the movie but didn’t have such luck (as you see below).

 

Before heading out of Chimney Rock we stopped on the ‘flowering bridge’. They had some beautiful plants and lots of doors with plants on them. Lots of garden goals, and door goals. There was also a pretty mailbox that I wish I could take to have as my mailbox in the future. 



Back to Asheville we went! Having looked up The Omni Grove Inn we checked it out just for fun. It’s been around for a while and some notable people have stayed there. Such as: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Micheal Jordan, and Jerry Seinfield. This Inn was HUMONGOUS. They had a spa, 4 on site restaurants, shops, views looking out at the mountains, and a HUGE fireplace. Rooms start out at $350 a night and range to about $1,000 a night (crazy!!!)

Buxton Hall BBQ was for dinner. Buxton Hall used to be an old skating rink and was transformed into a restaurant. When sitting you can see the huge open kitchen and all the delicious food being prepared. I got the Grilled Buxton Romaine Salad which had jowl bacon, bluberries, pickled fennel, grilled romaine, and blue cheese dressing. Best salad ever! My mom and dad got the Whole Hog BBQ Plate and the meat I tried was perfect. My brother got the mussels since he’s vowed to try mussels any new place he goes.



Exhausted we made the trek back to our home. I caught up on my social media, did my devotional and turned the lights out!


Stay tuned for more of my series! Much love, Brianna.