A Southern Yankee in the Land of Sweet Tea

Making Friends at Wrightsville Beach

Making Friends at Wrightsville Beach

Here’s a little bit about the Southern Yankee girl living in the land of sweet tea. Why? I was nominated for a Leibster Award by Emily Vermillion of Bold Pearls. Thank you Emily for nominating me for this blogger to blogger award! I am really excited and honored by this nomination. Bold Pearls is a wonderful blog focused on community, encouragement, and her faith.

Emily and I are both members of the NC Blogger Network (NCBN), which connects many NC bloggers together. The NCBN is a great way for me to get to know other bloggers in a supportive environment. I hope you take the time to check out her blog by clicking on Bold Pearls above!

My challenge? Answer questions and present random facts about me and nominate other blogs (check them out below). Without further ado, let me re-introduce myself! If you like what you’re reading, I would love for you to subscribe to my blog and follow my Facebook page to hear more!

liebster-award

1. Why did you begin your blog?
I began my blog as a creative outlet. My imagination and creativity suffered badly at the hands of my stressful job. As a result, my creativity took a long hiatus. I needed something to shake it out of its long slumber. Blogging was a good outlet for me to work on writing and my photography. If someone happens to like what they see and can get something out of it, then that makes me happy!

2. What is your favorite book/magazine/newsletter you read?
I love Our State Magazine! They highlight so many wonderful places and people in North Carolina. It gives me ideas of where to visit and things for my bucket list. I also like to compare my experiences in places I’ve visited to their writers to see if we have the same takeaway. A person could spend a lifetime sampling the foods and visiting the beautiful towns of NC and never see it all!

3. If you had one day left on Earth, where would you go? Why?
If today was my last day on Earth I wouldn’t necessarily go to any place in particular. What I would want to do is spend it with my son, Juston, my Mom, my brother and sister-in-law Kristy and their kids (the cutest nephews on the planet!), my friends, and finally my girls Daphne and Sadie. I joined the military at 23 and left home, never to move back. I guess because most of my family still lives in PA, I still miss “home” all the time. Although places on Earth are beautiful sights to see, there is nothing better than being surrounded with the people you love most, and that can be done in any location.

4. What is the weirdest food you actually like?
That’s tough because I’m not sure if the food is weird or if it’s because I’m a transplant and it’s weird here. I like ketchup. Ketchup on scrambled eggs, pork roll (which is weird to some down here), on meatloaf & mac-n-cheese…it makes so many things better!

5. If you could have any job you wanted, what would you do?
When I grow up one day I would like to be a National Geographic Photographer/Journalist. I’ve wanted to do this since I was a young teen and that has never left me. So far, I’m not even close! But that’s ok….

6. What topics do you love writing about most?
I would say writing about Southern food and culture through the eyes of a girl from the north is what I love most. At this point in my life I’ve spent almost as much time in NC as I did living in PA and use that to draw comparisons between the two regions. The South is my home and it has a lot to offer those that live here and visitors. It bothers me when we’re vilified by other parts of the country, rather than celebrated for all we have to offer.

7. What is one item on your “bucket list” you feel you have to accomplish?
I keep adding a lot of stuff to my bucket list, much more than I’m checking off! I would say visiting Paris in the spring with my son is one thing on my list that I would like to do. We had so much fun in Italy that I would love to explore in France! I am also planning a trip with my Mama. We’re going to the Kentucky Derby and British Columbia next year. Admittedly, I have no idea about horses, but we’re getting big, crazy hats and going to the races and following it with several days in Victoria, BC and a tea at the Empress Hotel.

8. What do you do to relieve stress?
I work in a pretty stressful place, so when I’m not at work I try not to think about it by keeping myself busy with traveling around (NC mostly), eating, and taking photos. I also enjoy cycling, although riding on roads in the Fayetteville/Raeford area is scary sometimes so it’s not always relaxing.

9. Who is your favorite singer/band?
That’s a tough question. There are so many great singers and bands out there it’s hard to narrow it down! If I have to pinpoint one I’m going to go with Lyle Lovett. His music and lyrics are imaginative and his live concert with his Big Band and Francine is off the charts! He is funny and kind and does a lot to promote his extremely talented band members. I’ve seen him twice at the DPAC and I’m going for a third time this August.

10. What is a perfect evening to you?
While I love going out to eat or take photos, the perfect evening for me is cooking a scrumptious meal, changing into my jammies, and snuggling up on the sofa with my puppy to watch a movie or a favorite show. Right now I’m working on Once Upon a Time, which isn’t always the best acting, but the story idea is great! I can binge watch several episodes on a Friday night after a long week at work.

11. Who has made the biggest impact in your life?
I’ve had so many good role models over the years! I was blessed with a wonderful family. My grandmothers, dad, mom, and brother were very close and spent a lot of time together. They have always had a positive influence on me and we were very close. My dad died when I was 15 and my brother was seven. My mom was left with picking up the pieces of her heart while trying to keep everything together for our family. She is the strongest person I know and is an inspiration to many. Not only is she the greatest mom a person could ask for, she has made me into the person I am today.

Juston, Sadie & Me

Juston, Sadie & Me

11 Random Facts About Me

1) I’m an Air Force Veteran, which was the most fun I’ve ever had at a job and I’m honored to have served with the most amazing people in this country. They were my family away from family in Colorado and will always have a place in my heart.

2) My son Juston was born at a Fire Department in Colorado Springs on my 25th birthday. He made quite an entrance that day and was truly the best birthday present a Mom could ask for. Thank God for the firemen and EMT’s!

3) Juston’s first birthday was celebrated at the same fire department where he was delivered with those firemen and it was on the news and in the local papers.

4) That kiddo was born 21 years ago (what!!!). How that can be since I’m only 29 (with 17 years of experience)?! I cannot fathom where the time went

5) I finally got my passport and took my first trip to Europe with my kiddo in May of this year. We spent two weeks roaming the Italian countryside and eating. I wouldn’t trade that trip for the world!

6) I’m also the mom of a very adorable puppy, Daphne, who lives with me, and Sadie, my other puppy that lives with my ex-husband. She comes for visitation some weekends and lives with me when her dad is TDY for winter training.

7) I am very patriotic. Even though the United States has some things it could improve on, it is still the best country in the entire world!

8) I still get homesick for PA, Bucks County in particular, and my family. I haven’t lived there in years, but Kintnersville will always be home. I know you can never go back, or so they say, but my heart will always have roots in PA.

9) My weight has yo-yo’d for decades. I struggle with it constantly. It’s a combination of loving food, with lack of exercise at times, that has led to me coming in three sizes over the years: little Mindy, medium Mindy, and big Mindy. I hope one day I will get to the point where I can control it better. My FitBit helps. I got one in April 2016 and I try to get 12,500 steps a day which is between 5-6 miles per day. It’s a start.

10) I drive fast. Not on purpose, it just happens. I’m sure I’ve missed my calling as a race car driver. Brake companies are in business because of me!

11) I have never met a snowmen, handcrafted glass, or piece of pottery I didn’t love and I cannot get enough of them!

Blogs I would like to nominate for the Leibster Award:
1) The Restless Wild: Liz writes her adventure blog because “every adventure has a story.” Liz’s blog is filled with great stories of her travels with stunning photos of her adventures.
2) Chicago Foodie Girl: I began following Starr on Instagram. She’s a Chicago girl that shares my love of  food and Prince. Plus her food photos are phenomenal!
3) Turin Mamma: Rosemarie hails from Sidney but lives in Turin, Italy. She cooks, travels, and writes for Italy Magazine. Her photos are colorful, and she writes about some scrumptious Italian foods, which is really my favorite!
4) Coffee and Cosmos: Lara, like most of us, has lost and gained weight. She writes about her weight loss journey, healthy living, running and she loves animals. Her pineapple blog made me laugh out loud when I read it the other day.
5) Domestiphobia: Katie and I worked together for several years before she took the big leap and left to pursue her wanderlust. Domestiphobia shares her experiences renovating two houses (one when she lived here and one in Virginia Beach), her love of food & cooking, and her travels.

Please check out each of the blogs I’ve selected by clicking on their names! Each has a lot to offer, whether it’s places to eat, recipes to try, great adventures, or overcoming challenges. Who knows? You may find something which speaks to you.

11 Questions for my Nominees:
1) When and why did you decide to start a blog?
2) If you could meet one person on Earth, who would that be and why?
3) What is your favorite quote and why?
4) Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
5) Most bloggers have a theme to their blog. What is your theme and how did you decide to make that your signature?
6) If you could tell your teenage self one thing, what would that be?
7) Who is your strongest female influence?
8) Who is your strongest male influence?
9) What is your favorite way to celebrate significant events in your life?
10) We all can use a little kindness. What is an act of kindness someone did for you and what did it mean to you?
11) What is/was your favorite vacation ever and why?

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:

1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”.
3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
4. Tell us 11 random facts about yourself.
5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note: ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
6. Create a new list of 11 questions for your nominations to answer.
7. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here). Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster Award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)
7. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here). Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)