Your smartphone may be tracking your every move

There are many advantages of not leaving the house until 8:30am (now if only I could convince my boss of this), one of which is catching the latest Rossen Report on The Today Show.

This week Jeff reported that Apple and Android phones have a setting that could be tracking your every move, location by location, and the exact times you were there. This setting is buried deep down in the phone and I didn’t even know it existed. Probably one of the terms I agreed to without reading a single word. Upon locating this setting, my top 4 locations were:

  • Work
  • Home
  • Hilliard
  • Bad Daddy’s

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Pretty darn accurate……Also scary, why I have had more visits to work than I have home??

To disable this setting on the phone follow the following steps: Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Frequent Locations > Slide Frequent Locations to “off” position

Q2 2015 Goals

It’s that time again! Although we are already halfway through April, here are my Q2 goals. Lots of wedding planning to be done!

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  • Book wedding photographer
  • Take engagement pictures
  • Book honeymoon
  • Order wedding invitations
  • Finish wedding website
  • Find a place for us to live
  • Read “Think & Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill
  • Clean out my closets
  • Plant herb garden
  • Sand and Repaint Kitchen Table
  • Go to a  Hilliard class 4x a week
  • Hike Crowder’s Mountain

THE Question.

It seems like more than ever lately I’ve been getting THE Question…”When are you and Matt getting engaged???”

Just this week alone I’ve  been asked by three separate people; including my hair stylist who went as far as to offer to call different wedding venues in Charlotte to see if they still have Spring 2015 dates available should we get engaged in the next few months. Um, WHAT! Without fail, every Monday morning my admin asks to see my hand just to check if a ring magically appeared over the weekend. Lately I’ve been hearing that some of Matt’s friends have bets with each other on when it will happen.

Hears the thing, I’m flattered that people care enough about our relationship to ask or to even care.  But it puts SO much pressure on something that is supposed to happen organically. Also, this is Matt’s decision to decide when and where, and I can assure you this is not information I will be privy to before it happens.

Don’t get me wrong, I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with this amazing man and would marry him tomorrow…BUT I also don’t want to rush through enjoying just dating and enjoying this season of our lives. We have plenty of time to spend together in wedded bliss, but the dating period only lasts a few years.

In full transparency, I get wrapped up in it too. I have to realize that it will happen EXACTLY when it’s supposed to and that me speculating when it’s going to happen is not going to speed anything up. It finally hit me the other day that all the time I’ve spent talking about it or thinking about it, I’ve rarely spent the time to pray about it, or pray for us. I haven’t been praying nearly enough for my future marriage or for the man that I hope will be my husband one day. I think about things. I discuss things. I plan things. I “pin” things. I work on things. And then I discuss things some more. But talking about things and thinking about things and working on things… these are not at all the same as praying for them. So when I’m feeling anxious about making plans or fielding inquiries I am going to instead focus on Proverbs 31:10-31 – the Hymn to a Good Wife.

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Hymn to a Good Wife

10-31 A good woman is hard to find,
    and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
    and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
    all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
    and enjoys knitting and sewing.
She’s like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
    and brings back exotic surprises.
She’s up before dawn, preparing breakfast
    for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
    then, with money she’s put aside, plants a garden.
First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
    rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
    is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She’s skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,
    diligent in homemaking.
She’s quick to assist anyone in need,
    reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn’t worry about her family when it snows;
    their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,
    and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
    when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
    brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.
Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
    and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
    and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
    and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
    her husband joins in with words of praise:
“Many women have done wonderful things,
    but you’ve outclassed them all!”
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
    The woman to be admired and praised
    is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-God.
Give her everything she deserves!
    Festoon her life with praises!

 

Happy Anniversary, MRH

I can’t believe its already been two years since the dashing young gentleman in the watch and glasses swept me off my feet and stole my heart.

Matt – I love you with all of my heart and am so thankful that I get to do life with you by my side. I cherish the memories we’ve already made in the last 730 days and dream about the days 73 years from now, knowing we’ll still be making each other laugh. There is no doubt that YOU are the better half!

 

 

National Girl Scout Cookie Day

Who knew that February 8th is National Girl Scout Cookie Day…..? I was pretty sure EVERY day was Girl Scout Cookie Day! Anyways, moving on from inner fat girl to my other favorite thing…WINE!

What’s better than a thin mint? Thin mints PLUS wine! Eric Nagel of Wine Club Reviews & Ratings put together a great pairing of your favorite girl scout cookies and the wine that pairs best with it. For example….

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Thin Mints: There are two types of Thin Mints made today, but both combine a wafer, chocolate, and peppermint flavoring. To truly experience the mint & chocolate combination, however, don’t reach for the milk – try a Syrah instead.

For a comprehensive list, check out the full article here.

You Look Mah-velous!

January 24th is national compliment day! Take today to give out 5 (or more compliments). It’s such a good feeling when someone compliments your outfit, or your smile, or something they admire about you. You never know how much your kind words can change someones entire day!

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Which State Matches Your Personality?

I recently stumbled upon an article about a team of researchers who literally mapped the America moon, with state-by-state ratings of personality and temperament.  I got Georgia, which is funny because I’ve always thought I’d live in Georgia next. I was born in Virginia, moved to North Carolina, then moved to South Carolina for college and now I’m back in North Carolina. Georgia just seems like the next natural progression. What state matches your personality?

Read more: America’s Mood Map: Find Which State Matches Your Personality | TIME.com http://science.time.com/2013/10/22/the-united-states-of-attitude-an-interactive-guide-to-americas-moods/#ixzz2lflEx6rb

A Trip of a Lifetime

Going to Spain was one of the greatest life experiences I will probably ever have. There were so many moments when I literally had to pinch myself to believe it was really happening.  I believe that traveling the world and seeing new places is one of the most important things a person can do to grow. I learned that I am able to immerse myself in a culture completely foreign and uncharted, and be OK! I learned that respect and consideration are universal. I learned that the human race is genuinely good and helpful. I learned that I have a tendency to want to control situations (OK, I already knew this…) and sometimes its good to relinquish that control and let your hair down. I learned that the only way to grow is to branch out and do and try things that make you uncomfortable. I learned that Matt is the perfect partner for me. This trip wouldn’t have been possible without him, and it wouldn’t have been so amazing without him. I love that we have these memories together to share and enjoy for the rest of our lives. Thank you Matt for being my best friend and for bringing me along on a trip of a lifetime!

 

 

Eye of El Tigre

Day 8: Madrid

 Room darkening blinds are a wonderful thing! Except for when you accidentally sleep until 1pm. Oops! Once we got moving we headed to the train station which was about an 8 minute walk from our hotel. The train was only 2 Euro’s to get into the city vs. a 25 Euro cab ride. Round-trip it took about 45 minutes and included switching trains. We were very proud of ourselves for being able to navigate the public transportation system of Madrid (although it was really easy!).

Once in the city, we noticed a brisk feeling in the air. It was around 80-85 degrees most of the week. This day the temperature had dropped to the 60’s. I was glad I brought my rain jacket when an unexpected rain shower popped up. From the stop we walked to El Tigre – another recommendation from a friend. El Tigre was very unique and one of our favorite places. We were instructed to order a “mini” which is really just a huge beer. With the “mini” also comes three very large plates of food – for free!  Whenever you order another drink…poof…more plates of food appear. There was only one man working this entire operation and he was basically my hero. I’ve never seen someone make food, pour drinks, and serve his customers at such a warp speed.  The floor of the restaurant is covered in napkins and food that people just throw on the floor. You have to get passed that part, but it was totally worth it. For 12 Euro and 4 cervezas, we were completely stuffed by the time we left. It was a very humble hole-in-the-wall that I think MRH would have preferred to eat at every single night. El Tigre has three locations, which all happen to be on the same street, some that are 1 or 2 doors down from each other. I guess it’s just that popular! The man at the bar told us we were allowed to take our beers with us, so we took our remaining beers and hit the streets. It felt so wrong walking down the road with a brew, but hey, when in Spain!

We walked down Gran Via – one of the most popular streets in Madrid which has many shops and restaurants. We popped in H&M where I  bought a sweater. I know…completely ridiculous to buy something in Spain when you can buy it in Charlotte, but it was cute…and cheap!

From Gran Via we walked to El Temple Debod. This temple was a gift from Egypt that was brought over piece by piece and assembled in Madrid. It sat in the middle of a large park and had a big founding in the back with a beautiful view overlooking the city. We toured the inside of the temple and it was so crazy to see the carvings on the inside of the temple walls. All of the history in Spain is completely amazing.

Dark clouds started to roll in so we headed back to el tren. Unfortunately along the walk, it started to walk. Lucky for me, I brought my rain jacket. Unlucky for Matt, he did not. We were close to the station and made it in perfect timing to catch a train back to our hotel. We arrived back around 9pm and FaceTimed our families. I was even able to watch some of the USC/UCF  (Go Gamecocks!) football thanks to Dad’s iPad.

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We got showers and caught a cab back into the city around 11pm. This was our latest time out but we felt that we’d be ok to eat since it seemed like Madrid never sleeps. To our dismay, most places were closed or not serving dinner by the time we got into the city. We wandered down La Cava Baja (long street with bars and restaurants) for about thirty minutes when I finally told Matt to just pick a place because I was starving and starting to get ornery. We sat down at a place and then decided nothing looked good on the menu. We made a quick exit without telling anyone were leaving. We both felt guilty and like we had done something wrong, but I’m not really sure why. We picked another place and had a rude waiter who didn’t say a word to us. We named him Lard. When he finally was kind enough to take our order (after sitting at the table for 20 minutes) he informed us that they would be closing in 20 minutes. He never brought us our wine and we were just over him so we paid the bartender for our bottle of water and peaced out.

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At this point we were starving and tired and frustrated, so we went back to old trusty, El Mercado de San Miguel. Most places were closed/closing but we found some leftover paella and some vino.  After all of our previous strike=outs we figured this was a sign and we should head back to the hotel. We went to bed at 2am and were back up at 6am to catch a flight back to reality home!

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Hemingway, Helgeson & Hewitt…old pals

Day 7: Madrid

Matt was finally done with work and our his vacation was about to start. We treated ourselves by sleeping in past noon. We packed up and checked out of the NH Nacional where we had been staying. We were able to leave our bags there for the day while we explored Madrid. It was nice to have a buddy with me after checking out Madrid by myself the previous days.

Our first stop was El Parque Retiro. I loved it so much the day before that I knew MRH would too. I showed him all the cool things I had found and we also discovered an amazing crystal palace that I had not seen the day before. It was an amazing structure made solely of class. The structure was designed in a way that would allow it to be re-erected on another site. However, the building has remained on the original site, next to a lake. It is no longer used as a greenhouse, and is currently used for art exhibits. I sure do  pity the park window-washer!! We also stopped by the lake and contemplated a paddle boat ride. The “lake” is really more of a pond and we decided it wouldn’t be too thrilling to paddle from one side to other.

We left the park and walked to El Prado Museo. It’s on the list of things people say you have to see while in Madrid. While waiting to enter the museum we noticed a camera-crew and news reporter. Everyone was asking to take their picture with the reporter so we assume she was famous?  The museum is huge and you could spend multiple days in it and probably still not see it all. We opted out of the audio guide tour and walked around trying to make sense of it all. We were there for around two hours and don’t feel like we even scratched the surface. We aren’t “art” people, but it was very interesting to see art from that 1400’s that has been preserved all these years. It really is incredible.

At this point, it was almost 4pm and we were starving. We had walked a lot and hadn’t eaten anything. There was another Mercado on our list to try; Mercado San Anton. After making the haul across town, we found the market. It was awesome! It was a four story structure. The bottom floor was an actual grocery store, like Harris Teeter. The second floor was more of a traditional Mercado where you could purchase fish, meat, veggies, etc. to go. The third floor was tapas and wine to enjoy there, and the top floor was a rooftop bar and restaurant. We were able to get a seat at the restaurant and ordered “un poco de todo” of jamon. It was a giant plate of meat. My dream come true, and my mother’s nightmare. Sadly, we ate every last piece. Afterwards we sat on an adjacent roof to enjoy a drink. It was Friday at 5pm and very busy. We had an embarrassing mix-up with something on the drink menu. We thought it was one drink with many different liquors in it. It was really just different liquor options to choose from for one drink. The bartender laughed at us over the confusion. MRH ordered a gin and tonic, because there isn’t really a way you can mess that one up.

We quickly picked up our bags at our old hotel, caught a cab, and headed to our new hotel.  Since the work part of the trip was over, the hotel accommodations were now on us to pay for.  We were able to use some hotel points we acquired after I complained to management about a disappointing stay in Chicago earlier this summer.  With the points, the hotel only cost us 125 Euros for both nights. I guess it pays to complain every now and then! Our new hotel was about 20 minutes outside of center city and in a less congested area of Madrid. We had a nice mountain view and it was quiet. It was definitely a nice change of pace. We were even more excited to find our new room was a giant suite! 3 rooms, kitchen, enormous three-room bathroom, living rum and huge king bed. It was so different from what we had experienced in the traditional European hotels we had stayed at earlier in the week.

We guised up and headed out for our big night out on the town. We had heard a lot about a restaurant called  El Botin and I was able to make reservations a few weeks earlier. It is in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the first and oldest restaurant in the world! It is rumored that it was a common hangout of Hemingway’s! The restaurant itself is very discreet and hard to find. We requested to be seated in “la cueva” or the cave. The restaurant is in an old four story building, but we heard la cueva was where we would get the best experience. We headed down a very narrow staircase and were shown to our table. La cuvea is very small, dark cavern with rock walls. There aren’t many tables so it’s a very intimate experience. We ordered an amazing appetizer or melon and thinly-shaved jamon. For our main dishes, MRH ordered suckling pig and I ordered the filet mignon. We enjoyed a delicious bottle of Riojo Crizana vino. We also splurged by both ordering dessert. As we were finishing up our meal a 6-person band came down the stairs and started playing instruments and singing classic Spanish tunes.  A lively old grandmother at the table behind us got up and started to dance. We truly felt like we got the real deal El Botin experience.  It was such a treat to have dinner there and are thankful we were able to get in!

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After dinner we headed to El Cava Baja – a street full of bars and restaurants. Our first stop was Cava Baja Number 5. We ordered a mojito and headed to the basement. To our surprise, the floor was covered in sand. They were playing American music and it was a really cool, young, atmosphere. From there we bar hopped to a couple of other places on the strip. We met a nice man from Sweden. I remember being so glad to hear the English language and it was great to meet an interesting person. At this point it was pretty late we caught a cab back to our hotel. We ended up staying awake until 4:30am laughing and enjoying the fact that we were actually on a vacation in Spain.