Escaping Hurricane Matthew

It has been a crazy past week with Hurricane Matthew rearing its ugly head along the coast. Last Tuesday when we originally heard that evacuations were going to start and school was cancelled for the week, we decided to get out of town before the big rush. Thankfully we have some friends who live in Augusta and were willing to open their home to us until the storm passed.

It was great to see our friends again and it was a lot relaxation time. My friend Alexa and I did a lot of crafting and coloring!


She turned me onto a new book, Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen. Alexa read it in a day so it must have been good.


We also watched movies and drank frappuccinos.


Despite the rain, Augusta’s weather was perfect and Cooper loved being outside, playing with the leaves. It definitely tired him out!


Alexa and her husband Mitch took us downtown to check out the river walk and to eat at this great burger place called Whiskey Bar Kitchen.


I decided to branch out and get their breakfast burger and it was amazing! It even came with a side of hashbrowns to complete the meal.


We finished our night with dessert from Boll Weevil – a red velvet cake with a layer of cheesecake in the middle. So yummy!


Friday night we decided to do a fun pizza and game night at the house, so we ordered Mellow Mushroom and played Catan. We love that game!


We also couldn’t pass up the chance to eat at Steak n Shake with our gift card we got last Christmas. Love me their chicken fingers and fries with cheese sauce.


Mitch is a huge Cubs fan so we went to Carolina Ale House to watch them play one night. And Sunday Cody and I went to Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the Pats play before we headed back home.


It may have been an unfortunate reason for us to go visit them but we had a great time catching up and loved the low-key week we had. It definitely rejuiced my batteries to head back to school tomorrow.

Were you evacuated because of Hurricane Matthew?
How did you spend your time during the last week if you were relocated?

Coffee Chat

So long time no blog, huh? We had a very busy September and every time I would think about blogging, I would either not have the motivation or something else would take priority over it.

Whenever it’s been a while since I’ve chatted with a friend, I love to meet up for coffee! So grab a cup of coffee or your drink choice and let’s chat!

If we were meeting for coffee, I would tell you…

  • This was the first weekend that we didn’t have something planned. Labor Day Weekend we went to Asheville with a group of friends. We stayed in an AirBnB, visited the Biltmore, and explored downtown with all of their breweries and culture.

The following weekend we had Cody’s parents in town visiting. We celebrated their anniversary with a nice dinner, hit up the beach, and enjoyed some quality time in Savannah.

Then we had six of our friends come into town and stay with us in our little apartment. We all had a great day at the beach and grilled out by the pool. And two of them got engaged while we were here, so that was super amazing to be a part of!

Finally, last Sunday we went to Charlotte for the Panthers vs. Vikings game. Although we lost and it was pretty hot in the sun, we still had a good time!

  • Married life is going great and Cooper is doing well. We had a sick puppy for a new days there mid-September but he is much better. This is a picture of both my boys I took today while we were watching football. Love them both so much!
  • In small group this fall we are doing the study, Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey and it is going great! I will definitely do a review once it is finished. We even got to see him speak at church today.
  • I’ve really been missing real fall weather lately. Now that it is October I’m really wanting some cooler weather where I can wear sweaters and boots and truly enjoy my pumpkin spice latte. But here in Charleston, it doesn’t feel like that until late November-early December. Hoping I can make the most of it until then with adding lighter layers and doing some baking. What is your favorite part of fall?
  • The fall TV line up is on point this year. I am completely in love with NBC’s This Is Us and The Good Place! I’ve also been watching the new season of Law & Order: SVU and am excited to check out Designated Survivor and Timeless. Are there any shows that you are loving this fall?
  • Cody has been amazing and getting up with me early before work to go to the gym. He’s been leading our workouts and I’m very thankful for his help because my motivation was super lacking.
  • I’ve been pinning more lately, fulfilling my void of fall and finding some great recipes to try! Check out these new pins here.

What have you been up to lately? Do you ever have months where you almost don’t even have a chance to relax?

September Goals

It is crazy to think that today is the first day of September. Where has 2016 gone?! Because it’s a new month, it’s time to reflect on my goals from last month and share my goals for September.


For August…

  • Post on the blog 4 times a week and have them scheduled in advance > Fail – I started out the month strong but as school started it became more like 2 posts a week. BUT, I did try to schedule them out and promoted old content on days I didn’t write on social media.
  • Workout at least 4 times a week > Success – I kept this up in August and hope to continue to do so now that we are Planet Fitness members.
  • Complete my name change > Success – I’ve officially changed my name on everything that matters at this time. I still need to change my passport and update my name on some Iowa retirement stuff but that can be done in time.
  • Create a cleaning and organizing routine > Success – I’ve started a new nightly routine but I haven’t officially created the complete routine.
  • Organize under the sinks and both closets > Fail – I ran out of time for this. It will be transferred to this month.
  • Read 3 books > Mega Fail – I’m still on the same book I was at the beginning of the month.
  • Complete our budget for the month > Success – this is something we’ve become really good at doing every month!
  • Create a gallery wall of our wedding photos/decor > Fail – We officially have the pictures and the frames but we have not put them on the wall. We’re waiting for the centerpiece to arrive.
  • Create a honeymoon photo book > Fail – This will probably take the back burner for a while with other things taking priority.
  • Be ready and confident for the school year > Success – I was definitely ready to do Day 1 and have a great first 2 weeks (much better than last year!)
  • Continue promoting the blog through social media > Success – I’m sure I could be doing better but I haven’t put money into promoting yet and it is new for me so I’m trying 🙂
  • Adjust Cooper to our new schedule > Success – He now has a play pen he stays in the during the day to give him more space and we take him on walks every night to burn off some energy from the day.
  • Go on at least 2 dates with Cody > Success – We went on an official date last weekend and we’ve gone out on a couple double dates this month.
  • Enjoy summer activities while it’s “nice” outside > Success – We went jet skiing a couple of weeks ago and also went mini golfing last weekend.
  • Post items on Teachers Pay Teachers for sale > Fail – Haven’t done it yet. Other school things took priority. I’m hoping to get some things posted this month.
  • Try a new workout (hoping to get some new motivation!) > Success – Planet Fitness has some great machines and even this Total 30 minute workout area that we tried last weekend that was nice.
  • Try 3 new recipes and a new restaurant > Success – We had 2 new recipes in the Crockpot for some convenient Tuesday meals. I also made Egg Sausage Casserole for the first time in August. This is Cody’s favorite breakfast dish and his mom makes it all the time. I’ve never eaten or cooked it before, so I’m counting it as new to me. Also, last weekend we went to Lewis Barbecue for the first time and it was delicious!

This month’s goals are a lot shorter!

  • Create a workout plan for each week
  • Read 3 books
  • Take something away from Financial Peace University
  • Complete our living room gallery wall
  • Have materials for lessons ready in advance
  • Promote blog more
  • Participate in a blogging webinar
  • Organize bathroom cabinets and bedroom closet
  • Try a new recipe and restaurant
  • Post items on Teachers Pay Teachers to sell

What goals do you have for this month?

Don’t forget to fill out my reader survey!


Reader Survey

Now that it has been over a year since Passionately Southern was created, I’m looking to make sure this blog is the best it can be. I can only do that with your help! Please take a few minutes to complete the survey below to help make this blog even better!

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Weekend Recap + Food & Fitness #44

It’s crazy to think it is already 8 pm on Sunday. Where did the weekend go?!

The fun this weekend sort of started Thursday night when I had a girls painting night with a few girls from small group. We all met up at Fear No Easel and did one of those painting classes. I was a little nervous my painting wasn’t going to turn out because I’ve never felt very artistic. BUT, I love how they all turned out!

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Friday I started coming down with a cold. Nothing like getting sick week 2 of the school year. But that didn’t stop our plans for the night. I first went out and celebrating surviving the first 2 weeks of school with some of my coworkers. Then Cody and I took Cooper on his first social outing! We all went to Waterfront Park for another movie night, this time it was Star Wars (the new one).

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And Uncle James came out to hang with Cooper!

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Saturday I woke up really stuffed up and just kind of lousy. So I spent a lot of the day lounging around and I think Cooper knew I didn’t feel good because he was so good and cuddled more than he usually does these days. It was really nice! But we had to get up eventually and clean the apartment before our evening plans.

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Our friends Alexa and Mitch just moved to Augusta and came into town for the night. We went out to dinner with them at Home Team then took them on a tour of King Street, ending up on East Bay by the harbor. On our way back to the car we stopped for some dessert! It was nice to spend some time with them since our wedding was the last time we saw them.

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Today we got up and went to church. Today’s message was about parenting, shaping the arrow. And honestly, it applied so much to my life. No, we don’t have any kids yet (well, aside from Cooper); however, I have over 80 kids in my life right now that I teach this year or are still around from last year. As their teacher, it is my job to shape those arrows, especially when some of those kiddos don’t have that model at home. Check out the message from today (it’s Part 3) because it can apply to anyone’s life! (The whole series has been great!)

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Before we left church we also got signed up as the leaders of Financial Peace University for our small group, which starts in a couple of weeks. I’m really excited to learn a lot from this study and to grow even more as a small group!

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After church we stopped at Target to pick up some pieces for our gallery wall we are doing in our living room. When we got home we did some lunch and I worked on planning and school work. Tonight we took Cooper on a walk, getting rained on the last part of it.

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Speaking of Cooper, this is my weekly funny from him. He was just sitting on Cody’s leg like that for a good 5 minutes. We love him so much!

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Questions for You:
What do you like to do when you have friends come to visit?
How do you get rid of a cold quickly?

P.S. Be on the lookout Tuesday for a reader survey! I would love some feedback from my readers now that I’ve been talking to y’all for over a year!

So this week’s meal plan is going to be a little sparse. Cody is gone 2 nights this week and we are going out of town Friday for Labor Day weekend. For a full meal plan, check out some of my past ones on my Food & Fitness page!

Sunday – Chicken Parm Pasta

Monday – Crunchy Taco Hamburger Helper

Tuesday – Leftovers (on my own)

Wednesday – Quesadillas or Sloppy Joes (on my own)

Thursday – Spaghetti Squash Skillet or a Soup

Friday – Asheville!

Saturday – Asheville!

Last weekend we joined Planet Fitness and it’s been nice to have a lot more machines available for our use! 5:00 am comes really early but it’s great to already have my workout done before my day begins.

This week I still want to do some lifting but I’ll be listening to my body during my workouts. I’ll for sure be doing some cardio to at least be moving every day.

Monday – Cardio + Abs

Tuesday – Cardio + Legs

Wednesday – Off Day

Thursday – Cardio + Arms

Friday – Cardio + Full Body

What kinds of workouts do you do when you are sick with a cold??

Pins I Love

Pinterest is such an amazing resource! I use it for a lot of different reasons: to find recipes during meal planning, outfit inspiration, blogging tips, workouts, and many other ways. I use it to keep all of the great tips and resources from blogs I follow organized.

Here are 10 recent items I pinned that I love (click on the image to take you to the actual site of each pin).

I did this workout this morning and it was great! It works your entire body, using only your bodyweight. Plus, it’s quick and efficient, which I need so early in the morning.

Pins I Love

I’ve been using this site a bunch to find good Crockpot recipes. We started making Tuesday Crockpot Night to make it more convenient with small group.

Pins I Love 4

Sometimes I wish we had a full house so I could put the farmhouse stamp on it. I love the look of a farmhouse, especially inspired by Chip and Joanna Gaines!

Pins I Love 5

With fall around the corner, I am in love with all things sweaters, boots, and scarves (even though it won’t feel like fall here in Charleston until probably November). This pin gives you 20 fall outfit ideas.

Pins I Love 6

I am wanting to organize our bathroom better after watching videos courtesy of Alejandra Costello. Hoping this pin gives me some inspiration.

Pins I Love 7

Finally, I’ve had the travel bug ever since we went on our honeymoon. This pin makes me all smiles with it’s bright colors and picture perfect destinations.

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For more pins, check out my Pinterest boards here! I also have a teacher Pinterest for those fellow teachers out there!

Weekend Recap + Food & Fitness #43

My first weekend of the school year is officially coming to an end. I hope y’all had a great weekend! We had a nice mix of plans and down time.

Friday after work I met Cody at his work before we headed to the Riverdogs game with his company. We had some good picnic food and enjoyed hanging out!

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After we left the game, we headed over to our friends Chris and Katie’s place for a night swim and to hang out. The guys did a bourbon tasting while us ladies chilled on the couch.

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Saturday after feeding Cooper at his usual time, I was able to sleep in since we had a really late night Friday. We made omelettes for breakfast and laid around the house until we went to check out Planet Fitness. After the tour, we decided to officially become members.

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Saturday night was date night! We had supper at Lewis BBQ downtown, a new addition to the BBQ scene in Charleston. Their brisket is amazing! The sausage was good but a little spicy for my taste. Overall it was a good experience!

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After we filled our bellies, we went and played some mini golf at Charleston Fun Park. And as always, Cody beat me, but only by 2 strokes.

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We wrapped up our date night with frozen yogurt for dessert. I got a mix of white chocolate mousse and mountain blackberry with some Kit Kats and Oreos. YUM!

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Later Saturday night we invited our friends Chris, Katie, and James for a night swim at our pool. It was fun to finally be able to do that in our pool!

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Today started out with an amazing message about marriage at Seacoast! Everyone should go to their site and listen to it!

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The rest of the day was pretty typical. We played with Cooper, did a workout (at PF), meal planned, did some school work to get ready for this week, and relaxed.

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It was a really nice weekend and I’m now rejuvenated for another great week at school.

Here is another adorable pic of Cooper from this weekend to end our recap!

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Questions for You:
What did you do this weekend?
What is your go-to date night?

Here is our meal plan for this week. We decided not to go get groceries for the week, so I had to work with what we already had in our kitchen.

Sunday – Homemade Pizza

Monday – Turkey Walking Tacos

Tuesday – Crockpot Cheesy Chicken & Rice with Peas

Wednesday – Egg Burritos

Thursday – Burgers & Sweet Potato Fries

Friday – Chicken Parm Pasta

Saturday – Wine Bar Date

As for fitness this week, I am starting in full force at Planet Fitness. I’m planning on going with our friends Gracie and Trevor in the early mornings. Not sure what I’ll do for workouts, but I’m sure I’ll take ideas from my Being Fit Pinterest board. Check it out for ideas for yourself!