What’s Up Lately Episode 006


What’s Up Lately.

Episode 006.

Hey Everybody!!

I hope that you all have been well.

My life has been busy, but that’s nothing new given the fact that my three teens keep me on my toes.

Getting Outdoors.

Now that the rain has finally moved out (for the most part), I’ve been making a conscious decision to get outdoors more often. We thought that we might take a walk on the short trail at Roanoke Mountain, but it was closed. I suspect there must be damage from the flooding because as of yesterday, it still has not reopened.

We walked along a trail near Mill Mountain Zoo and I stumbled across a GIANT leaf. I couldn’t find the plant that it had fallen from, but I was enamored by it. I left it on a tree stump so that some other passerby might find it and be as amazed by it as me.

Roanoke River.

I was curious how things looked at the Roanoke River after the flooding had subsided. We decided to take a walk along the Greenway. We chose the portion by Wasena Park. There was evidence of the flooding in areas covered by a layer of dirt.

Blog Theme.

Behind the scenes, I’ve been working through a list of goals that I’ve been pondering, assessing, and working through for some time.

One of those was my blog theme. I’ve been considering implementing the changes that I’ve wanted to make for over a year.

And I’ve finally done it!

You may have noticed that the layout on the main page has changed along with easier access to the categories.

I am still tweaking many things, but feel free to dig around and offer feedback on what you think of the new design.

Amazon Affiliate.

After much consideration, I finally decided to take the plunge and become an Amazon Affiliate.

If you aren’t aware of the program, the concept is that if you click on the links to products that I’ve recommended and then purchase something on Amazon through that link, I earn a commission.

It doesn’t change your cost and since I share about certain products already I’m hoping that over time this may offset portions of my cost in running the blog.

Bathroom Remodel.

The upstairs bathroom remodel is actually complete!! Since it’s in use by two teens, taking photos of the entire bathroom haven’t happened yet.

I chose to paint the walls in Sherwin Williams Sea Salt. We opted for a gray stone tile in the shower. If you recall the sneak peek that I gave you in this post, we did a tongue and groove board placed horizontally over a portion of the wall. Those boards were painted white.

Miss Sunshine turns 15.

Miss Sunshine turned 15 on the 21st. I wrote a love letter to her as she turned 13 and each year I read it and realize that those are still all my hopes and wishes for her.

I so often think of her as so young because she is my baby…my final child…my only girl. And yet, she is on the edges of womanhood.

Last year we took her and her friends to The Gallows, which is a haunted house. They had a claustrophobia tunnel (that just happened to get back up with people while I was in the middle of it). I’m claustrophobic in confined spaces when I don’t have access to fresh air. I refused to go through another.

This year they opted to go to Meek’s Manor here in Roanoke and the hubby and I stood outside while they traveled through the hauntings. I don’t think it had a claustrophobia tunnel so it’s likely I would have been fine, but I’m just as happy to not have gone through it!


Quite a few times, the trail that we’ve opted to walk along is called Chestnut Ridge Trail. It located on the drive up to the Roanoke Star of off the Blue Ridge Parkway. We’ve walked varying distances along it. The hike is through the woods, so it’s more about that immersing in nature than the views or the sun shining upon your face.

The colors are sprouting left and right. I have quite a few appointments and commitments coming up in the next few weeks, but I’m definitely marking out time to get out and take some photographs.

Reading Challenge.

I am committed to making it through the reading challenge before the end of the year.

I finished Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. It was just as good as I had anticipated.

Somehow I mistakenly thought The Power by Naomi Alderman was nominated for an award in 2018. It was 2017. So I chose another book. One that was actually nominated in 2018.

The Details.

  • A classic you’ve been meaning to read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • A book recommended by someone with great taste The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood 
  • A book in translation –The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  • A book nominated for an award in 2018 – The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock: A Novel by Imogen Hermes Gower (currently reading.)
  • A book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection
  • A book you can read in a dayThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • A book that’s more than 500 pages – Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estés Ph.D.
  • A book by a favorite author
  • A book recommended by a librarian or indie bookseller
  • A banned bookThe Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • A memoir, biography, or work of creative nonfiction The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  • A book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion other than your own.  – The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho 


Another thing that we implemented during our move toward a different level of simplicity was to cancel our cable.

Now we still have Netflix and Amazon Prime so we haven’t completely removed the TV from our lives, just perhaps lessened its mindless nature.


The weather was very up and down, although mostly cold. However, one day I was able to wear shorts on our hike. I suspect that will be the last time for the season.

That day we went to Explore Park and hiked along the Roanoke River.

Recent Blog Posts.

I also spent quite a bit of time editing photos and writing up the three posts that I released about my travels in Scotland.

If you missed those, here’s easy access:

What to see with one day on the Isle of Lewis

Day Tour of the Isle of Skye part 1 of 2

Day Tour of the Isle of Skye part 2 of 2

Chesnut Trail.

We rounded out the week with another hike along the Chestnut Trail. This time walking farther than before, I stumbled upon Virginia Creeper making its way along the old worn stump of a long-removed tree.

Tell me…what have you been up to lately?

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, the man who never reads lives only one. -George R. R. Martin

Let your light shine!


10 thoughts on “What’s Up Lately Episode 006

  1. Love your photos, Amy …. especially the one of the fall colours. Although we have the same camera, my photos don’t come close to the level of clarity you get from yours. Gorgeous!

    I love this time of year and it’s easy to be energized by being outdoors. Hope it lasts for many more weeks!

    1. Thank you Joanne! I’m very hit or miss and capturing things the way that I see them, but I’m learning. Ever so slowly, but learning! 🙂

      I thought summer had fallen right into winter, but it seems to have snapped out of that and remembered that autumn should be squeezed in there. I’m taking full advantage of it while it lasts!!

  2. Like the new design of your main page, Amy. I’m thinking about “renovating” for a long time, but can’t get myself to do it. Thanks for the inspiration to reconsider! And best wishes for Miss Sunshine! They grow up too fast!

    1. Thanks Marcus!! It took me about a year and half before I finally took the plunge to change to the new design. Thanks also for the wishes for Miss Sunshine. They do grow up way too fast!!

  3. Dang, that is one big leaf! Have you seen the Land Before Time? The movie? That’s what it reminds me of!

    From what I can see of the bathroom it looks awesome!! Awesome colors!

    Aw happy birthday to Miss Sunshine <3

    I get claustrophobic too. I was in a haunted house that had these big blow up “hallways” that compressed you in between two of the big large "balloons", I guess for lack of a better word, and I freaked out!

    Your book list is phenomenal… How was Pride and Prejudice? I know it’s a classic… but every time I start it I can’t seem to stick it out. I want to though!

    I love your blog layout by the way! It looks so pretty. Such pretty hiking pictures too!

    Have a great week, Amy

    1. The size of the leaf was surprising. It covered my entire face when I held it up!

      I’m super happy with how the bathroom turned out. I love the creating part of remodels…executing not so much. lol.

      Thanks for the birthday wishes for Miss Sunshine!!!

      Those blow up “hallways” are what I called a claustrophobic tunnel (that was the name listed when I hunted down what they were because there is no good way to describe them). Last year, the one I went through was sooo long and there were no lights and then the line got backed up and I was just stuck there, not moving, and not knowing if I was almost at the end or had forever to go. It was not good.

      I actually enjoyed Pride and Prejudice. I went into it not thinking that I would. A Tale of Two Cities is the classic that I can’t make it beyond a few pages of for some reason.

      I’m glad you like the blog layout. Some parts tested my technical prowess (which is low), but I was pleased with the outcome.

      The hikes have been a lot of fun.

      I hope you have an amazing weekend Mackenzie!! xx

      1. Ooohhh so the claustrophic tunnels were the same thing!!! Okay yeah hate those hahhah. And that’s a perfect term for them. I would have had a panic attack if I was stuck in one of those. I always have to be either the first or last so there is a straight line out. I was more scared of those than the monsters by far!

  4. Life is better without cable. We have Netflix and Amazon Prime, and that is more than enough for me. It’s been good motivation for getting up and doing something instead of sitting in front of the TV for hours on end. 😛

    1. It definitely seems like you have to be more thoughtful about finding something rather than aimlessly scrolling or vegging. Although both Prime and Netflix offer ample opportunity to that as well. Our TV is off a lot more which makes me happy! 🙂

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