What’s Up Lately Episode 003

What’s Up Lately.

Episode 003.

I’m sitting here on a Sunday morning waiting for the storms to roll in.

I hope that you’re having a lovely Sunday.

This past week has found me returning to some moments of self care.

Pilates.

If you’ll recall from my last update, I was on the final push for decluttering and some deep cleaning. Since it includes scrubbing baseboards and mopping wood floors amongst other things, I ended up not going to my Pilates classes.

This week, not only did I attend Pilates, but after each class, I spent some time in the steam room. Over the summer, on the days that I was able to make it to Pilates, I was always in such a rush that I needed to leave directly after class. Taking the time to go to the steam room made me feel like I was finally making some time for myself.

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Hair.

It was also time for my six week refresher on my cut and color.

I used to go sooo long between hair appointments because I felt guilty about taking time for myself and the cost involved in having my hair highlighted.

Around the first quarter of this year, I started booking my next appointment while I was there getting my hair done. This made all the difference. Now I show up every 6 weeks. I catch up with my hairdresser and leave there feeling beautiful.

Falafel.

We are still trying to eat closer to vegetarian. I was telling my husband about this wrap that I had in London where the main ingredient was falafel. Also, over the summer, I met a friend at a fast casual mediterranean restaurant in Naples and had falafel. Then Joey was talking about falafel, so we looked it up and found that the same mediterranean restaurant was in Roanoke.

It’s called Zoe’s Kitchen. We went to dinner there and had the Mediterranean Trio bowl with falafel. I knew that it would become my husband’s new favorite style of food to eat.

I was right.

I may try to recreate these “bowls” at home.

Have you tried falafel? Do you have any good Mediterranean recipes to share?

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Sunrise and Birthdays.

Wednesday was my birthday.

I wrote a post about turning 41. If you missed it, you can find it here.

It’s amazing how much different a year can be. Last year, my family had just ridden out Hurricane Irma. I detailed the experience from my end in this post. At the time, I wasn’t sure if my mother would have any cell service to be able to get through for her traditional singing of “happy birthday” to me. She did end up finding a sliver of a signal and was able to sing to me.

This year, no storm was looming across Florida and she called to sing to me. She followed up with a gorgeous shot of the sunrise that was seen on her way to work.

 

 

German and Birthdays.

Big Mr. has decided that he would eventually like to visit Germany. In preparation for that he has started study German every day. He is using the DuoLingo app that I used during my month of working on Spanish.

He did call me to wish me a happy birthday. Then he followed up with a text in German. While I suspected what it might say given that it was my birthday, I do not know German. I ran it through Google translate.

Isn’t Google translate amazing?!

Birthday Dinner.

Originally, I thought I’d be sitting near the fields and reading a book while Miss Sunshine had soccer practice. However, the rain had left the fields saturated and practice was cancelled. We decided to set reservations at this fancy Brazilian restaurant that overlooks part of town.

I’ve only had a martini once…a chocolate one at that…and I don’t think I liked it much. My husband had one (years ago…before I knew him) and didn’t think he liked it that much.

However, this restaurant felt like stepping back in time and we decided that it called for trying a martini. I opted for one that was called “sunburned” and he went for a classic. Mine was okay, but definitely strong. I tasted his…and omg…it tasted like straight gin. We decided it was a fun to drink out of the fancy glass, but we probably won’t be ordering another one anytime soon.

Ancestry DNA.

Recently Ancestry.com had a sale on their DNA kits. We asked our teens if they’d like to take the test just for curiosity’s sake. They all did. Miss Sunshine’s came back last weekend and the boys came back on Thursday. Ancestry has an update where they refined the ethnicity due to more reference samples. Miss Sunshine just got in under the update and so we are able to see both estimates. Even though they arrived the same day, the boys were processed after hers and I can’t see what the estimate would have been under the old testing.

The results were not that surprising, but I have a variety of thoughts regarding the outcomes. Be on the look out for a future post on that.

Photography.

I also found my way back to one of my loves this week.

Photography.

I began working on editing my photos once again. You may have seen some of them on Instagram.

This one is of Carolina Beach, North Carolina.

Hurricane Florence.

Our family normally vacations at Carolina Beach, which is just outside of Wilmington. North Carolina has obviously taken the brunt of the hurricane.

I spent part of this week gathering supplies for the arrival of Hurricane Florence. At one point, it was estimated that Roanoke could receive 10-20″ of rain. Our grounds are already completely saturated from prior rains.

The estimate has gone down as the storm has pushed westward. However, they are still expecting some flooding due to the rise of rivers and possible mudslides on the mountains.

I hope that you are not in the path of the storm and that the sun is shining brightly wherever you are.

 

Let your light shine!

Amy

What’s Up Lately

 

What’s Up Lately?

It’s taken all the little snippets of time that I could steal away just to pop in here and share a photo for the past few weeks.

Missed those? You can find a Naples, Florida sunset here, Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland in this post, and a Stuart, Florida sunset in this one.

While life isn’t necessarily settling down any during the present time, I wanted to catch up a little.  The last time I sat down for a chat was at the end of July in this post.

Change.

I talked about how life had brought about some changes and that I was heading down to Florida for a week.

Good Vibes.

For a while I let the chaos of change get to my emotional state. My personality prefers control and order and life was just not handing me that.

However, during my time down in Florida, I began to again refocus on the good vibes. Usually, if you look for them, some can be found in every situation.

My commentary may make it sound as if I thought the changes were a bad thing. I did and do not. It just required the reworking of plans and creating of solutions. Things that I’m good at, but that are also mentally (and sometimes physically) intensive.

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I moved to Virginia 5 years ago. Before that, I spent 3 years living in this town, after a lifetime (from birth) in a city on the other coast of Florida. Naples, to be precise. All three of my children were born in Naples and yet this is the town they consider home. So much so that the oldest is moving back. It’s moments like this that I can see why. 🏠🌴🌊☀️ • • • •#sheisnotlost #beautyinthechaos #stayandwander #dreamchaser #sunset #sunsetchaser #discovermartin #itsamazingoutthere #neverstopexploring #tlpicks #natgeotravel #theskyisonfire #beautifuldestinations #roamtheplanet #darlingescapes #travelstoke #traveldiaries #doyoutravel #optoutside #wearetravelgirls #wanderfolk #thehappynow #fromwhereistand #saltlife #naturehippys #visitflorida

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Moving Time.

If you caught this post on Instagram, you may have already guessed one of the changes in my life.

Big Mr. is moving to Florida.

If you’ve been reading my blog for some time, you might be like “wait…what”.

Yes, my oldest child is moving back to Florida.

Sometimes I’m asked how I feel about that.

It may be something I address in more detail in the future, but at the same time this is also one of those stories where you can read various chapters, but the story is not mine.

As for how I feel…

I will miss my son. 800 miles is a long way away.

I’m excited for him to begin this adventure into adulthood.

I’m jealous that he gets to live by the beach.

I’m proud of the fact that he found the courage to get off of the “supposed” to train and then climbed aboard the “want” to train.

(p.s.- I love this picture of him with his best friend down at the Stuart docks because that cloud looks like a Stallion rising…ready for the wild unknown).

He’s been home for a week and I have him for one more week before he moves.

Back to School.

I had to beeline it back home after a week down in Florida (that’s 12 hours just in drive time y’all…and I did it in one day).

Big Mr. stayed another week, but I wanted to make it home to see the other two teens off on their first day of school.

Mr. D is now a Senior in high school and Miss Sunshine started her Freshman year.

Eeek! Where does the time go?

Bathroom Remodel.

The upstairs bathroom remodel is ongoing.

This is a sneak peek of it in process. It’s a little further along now.

I design. The hubby executes my vision.

This means that projects take longer to get done because…ya know….he has a full time job as well.

I’ll do an update when it’s complete.

Birthdays.

Last Friday, Mr. D turned 17.

I still cannot believe it.

I was reminiscing over his old photos since recent ones are rare. This is from around the time when he was in Kindergarten.

And yet, I’ve just had his Senior photos taken!

The time truly does pass in an instant (even though it doesn’t feel like it when you are going through it).

Soccer.

Soccer mom in full effect .

Miss Sunshine started back to practice with her U16 travel team.

Last weekend they had a season opener tournament and played four games, each ending in a shutout.

They were the U16 Champions!

My weekends (and some weekdays) will be filled with soccer all the way until Thanksgiving.

Selfie.

And in case you’ve forgotten what I look like since I’ve been in hiding (just kidding…sort of), here’s a silly selfie from my time in Florida.

I hope that you all have an amazing weekend and that brightness shines into your soul during the coming week.

Let me know what you have been up to lately.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about

M.I.A.

M.I.A.

I’ve been missing around the blogosphere.

There’s been a lot that I want to share from my earlier travels and I’ve thought…maybe I can get to that tomorrow…and then I don’t.

So today is a check-in of sorts. I’ll probably add some photos from my archives because I can’t imagine one of my posts without photos. However, I still haven’t imported the photos from my three weeks in Florida. That should be a pretty good indication of how chaotic my life feels at the present moment.

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There have been moments when I’ve thought that I should take an extended hiatus from the blog or perhaps walk away altogether, but this space is where I have grown as a person and where I have met so many fascinating people, and I don’t want to walk away from all of that.

I’ve been very open about the fact that I deal with anxiety. I probably even have tendencies toward depression. But mostly when I experience days after days filled with stressors or I am anticipating the next shoe to drop (because of the past cycle of stressors), my anxiety becomes oppressive. I’m not talking about stressors that are likely to be life threatening nor are they just the “where are my keys” kind of stressors.

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My three week trip to Florida was very much about seeing my family and friends, but it was also a reprieve from daily life. I needed some moments to just breathe. My support network in Virginia is not very strong. I suspect much of that is my own doing. I am pretty introverted. I am also the type of person who will call someone up and say “Hey, you wanna go out for coffee or lunch?” not “Hey, I’m really going through some sh*% and could use an ear.”

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about

It was a much needed break.

So where have I been since returning?

Well, I’ve had a sick teen that I’ve been tending. And when I haven’t been physically tending to them, I’ve been mentally tending to them.

Because…

Anxiety.

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Add in that we have a gutted bathroom.

Then add in that Big Mister is replacing our rotted fence and sometimes it requires a second set of hands…mine…

Then add in that school start in two weeks and clothes must be bought. Supplies as well. Food planning must happen. Days must be organized.

And.

More.

Anxiety.

Amy check-in with Yoga Crescent Pose for Yoga Challenge on the beach at sunset in Naples, Florida

I should mention that I do use meditation, breathing, exercise, time in nature, and the diffusing of essential oils to help manage my anxiety. Many times they keep my anxiety at bay. I haven’t been as consistent with any of them because I’ve been consumed with other things.

I will be back on the blog to make the announcement for the final 30 day challenge in my year of “this is 40” challenges. Can you believe that it’s already been almost a year?

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At the end of this week, I am traveling down to Florida with Big Mr. and his friend. Big Mr. plans to meet up with all of his local friends so I will be on my own quite often. I don’t mind. I plan to soak up some sunshine alongside the ocean. Even though I’ve also been less frequent on my Instagram stories, they are a quick way for me to pop in and say hello or share a view so make sure to check those out over this weekend and next week.

Amy Lyon Smith's daughter on a palm tree at River Palm Cottages in Jensen Beach, Florida

As school starts, I will be able to get back to my routines. Hopefully life will settle down somewhat and I will be able to share stories from my travels and what I’ve been up to lately.

There’s been some changes. That’s not always a bad thing.

Some I’ll be able to share and some I won’t.

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In some stories I play the leading role. They are mine to share.

In others, the stories do not belong to me and so while you may get to read some chapters, some of the parts that went into writing those chapters will be private.

Thank you so much for coming along on my journey.

This life is filled with many ups and downs.

My hope is to grow through them all.

Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it. -Kahlil Gibran photoquote

Let your light shine!

Amy

Doors of London II

London.

I know.

I know.

It’s been a while since I’ve been back to share some scenery from my time in London.

If you’re a regular to my blog, then you know that shortly after I returned from the United Kingdom, my oldest teen graduated from high school.  Then the youngest and I traveled to Florida for three weeks. Of course, upon return, much mothering and household responsibilities consumed (and are still consuming) my time.

Here and there I’ve had a chance to catch up on a few blogs. So when I saw that Norm will be taking a two week break from hosting Thursday Doors, I quickly rounded up one of my sets of doors from London to share.

Doors of London II.

My first set of doors was from Belgravia.

If you missed that series, you can find those here.

After grabbing a bite to eat at the Duke of York Square Food Market in Chelsea (no, I haven’t forgotten that I have a funny story to share from there), we got on the Underground at the Sloane Square station.

Notting Hill.

One of my goals during my brief time in London was to see color.

Colored buildings….colored doors.

Color, color, color!

And I had read that Notting Hill was the place to find it.

Directions.

We took the Underground to Notting Hill Gate station.

Google maps was one of my best friends while touring London. Or touring the U.K. for that matter. I put Portobello Road Market in as our ultimate destination. There are also signs around that say “you are here” and the way to Portobello Road Market, but I still like the comfort of having it on my phone.

It started lightly raining while we were still in Chelsea. We had rain coats, but didn’t want to go all the back to the hotel for umbrellas. As such, I didn’t pull out the camera as often as I would have liked. Trust me when I say that Portobello Road has some amazing finds. So many, that even the few that I managed to capture can’t be shared in one post.

Where to begin?

Well, I suppose at the beginning.

 

Portobello Road.

It was a Saturday, so we knew that we wanted to check out the famous Portobello Road Market.

But first, I had to stop and admire some of the doors along the way.

 

#12 Portobello Road.

As we rounded the first corner of Portobello Road, the doors and entries were quite fabulous.

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#14 Portobello Road.

Located beside #12, #14 was quite fabulous as well.

So many people were stopping to snap a photo of #14 that I thought perhaps somebody famous lived here or that it was showcased in a movie. I didn’t find anything of the sort when I tried to search. While it is quite spectacular and I love the addition of the topiaries, of the two, I was partial to #12.

Which of these two doors do you prefer?

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#24 Portobello Road.

Moving along, we come to #24 in its vibrant shade of pink.

I tried to look up shades of pink to be able to offer a name to the color.

Fuchsia? Magenta?

What would YOU call this color?

 

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#28 Portobello Road.

To me, #28 is an interesting combination of color.

I’m partial to the building color. I love a pastel pink. It reminds me of the color that I painted Miss Sunshine’s room when I found out that I was going to have a girl. And would you believe that she has never cared for pink! As a toddler, her favorite color was red. It quickly evolved and has remained in the blue family, in shades of aqua and teal.

What do you think of the blue/pink combo of #28?

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#44 Portobello Road.

#44 is a pop of bold!

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#46 Portobello Road.

Compared to its neighbor, #46 looks almost demure. However, while the door chooses to be understated, you can see that building color does all the speaking.

 

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#58 Portobello Road.

We close out this segment of the Portobello Road series with #58.

I didn’t take the shot of door from directly in front because I wanted to be able to share the plethora of greenery found surrounding it.

Since my maiden name is Lyon, I am also drawn to the the door knocker and statue.

#58 opted to have the door in the same shade of eggplant as the building and tone down the darkness by having a cream colored trim. I think it works nicely.

What do you think?

To be continued.

I do have more photos as we near Portobello Road Market that I’ll share in the future.

Which door was your favorite in this series?

So much of who we are is where we have been. -William Langewiesche

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

Seaside Chat II

The Journey.

My three week journey is coming close to an end.

It is a bittersweet moment as I prepare to leave my parents. I will miss them, but at the same time, I miss my hubby and my two sons.

I wanted to pop in for a quick chat. This post won’t do justice to all that I’ve done since my last seaside chat so I will likely revisit some of the topics in the future.

Seaside Chat. Round 2.

We did do all the things that I mentioned in my last seaside chat. The was an escape room, a celebration of the Fourth of July with food and family. Later in the day there were fireworks. The next day was a giant excursion to Tampa to Busch Gardens. That day was quite eventful!! I promise that I’ll be back to tell all about it. After catching up on some sleep, we had a lounging day on Friday.

I have missed my conversations will all of you. I did try to catch up on my emails and comments on Tuesday, but I still have quite a ways to go.

Mostly, I didn’t want you to think that I fell off of the face of the earth. I am here, but have been soaking up the last of my time with family.

I’ve just finished breakfast and most of my packing. After a quick shower, I will be jumping in the car to head to Gainesville to see family before the long drive back home on Monday.

If you’ve followed my Instagram stories, I shared a tour of the cottage on the day of our departure. I will be adding it to my Instagram highlights. There is also a small car tour of the streets where I grew up, which is much more inland than the beach.

Where the water pools along the ditches and in the low areas of the yard during rainy season.

Where the frogs sing their lullabies in the darkness.

Where the alligators roam the canals and the box turtles make their way into your yard.

Where the cypress trees indicate swampland that waist high in water during rainy season and completely dry ground in the dry months.Where the palmetto bushes, slash pines and oak trees are added by nature and the palm trees are added by man.

I leave you with last night’s sunset as seen from my childhood home.

Let your light shine!

Amy