Posts tagged travel
Small Town Virginia

Adventures are my thing; however, in recent months I’ve become jaded with work-related travel

I was in a travel-too-much slump. 

Granted, I don’t travel as much as some humans, but it’s difficult to navigate a new city and a new marriage while cultivating a community of friends and digging deep roots. Such a whiner, right? Girl you get to travel, suck it up!

A slump, for sure.

Thank the heavens for Mexico. Its delectable tacos and top shelf margaritas pulled me out of my slump like a one-sided tug-of-war. That’s a feat considering I was nothing more than dead weight.

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It’s when I drove into Smithfield, Virginia, the Ham Capitol of the World, my love for small town America washed over me like the first time I stumbled into a Chickasaw Country.

My heart found rhythm with the windshield wipers, the rain was falling like a Forrest Gump soliloquy – perfectly in tune with all of its surroundings, and the corners of my mouth turned up even though exhaustion was radiating through my body. 

After a quick stop at Smithfield’s headquarters (agency life, eff tee dub), my co-worker and I headed downtown to collect content assets. Read as: exploring with a camera. 

Businesses thriving on Main Street found success through antique stores,  ice-cream shops, confectioneries and boutiques. Oh, the boutiques.

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I nearly dropped $300 for a bag I didn't need. Then I remembered I didn't really have $300 to spend and I have way too many bags.

The lovely lady at Wharf Hill (photos above) was Lorelai Gilmore in the flesh - I'm sure of it.  She loved her job, her town and new little nook of Main Street and her secureness in self and contentment in life was evident. A bright spark on a rainy day. 

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And because I love food, we stopped by Taste of Smithfield to swoon over the tourist trap the locals surely frequent. The cuban sandwich paired with tomato basil soup was just what I needed to get me through meeting prep. Speaking of, could something please make me a cuban and bowl of tomato basil soup. Please?

The thing about work-related travel is that you have to, in fact, work. When all three team members made it to Smithfield, it was time to buckle down and review presentations, reports and update each other on projects. Face time is valuable when you work in two different states. 

As we poured over details we did so surrounded by locals in Smithfield's newest (and only?) brewery. At exactly 5:05 locals poured through the front door ready to celebrate hump day with a glass (or two) of local, craft brews.

This girl, however, squealed at the sight of an Oregon Pinot. 

From our corner table with elevated pews for seating, we got to work. 

Consider the travel-too-much travel slump over. Just in time for a trip to Wisconsin. 


What to do and see in Smithfield, Virginia

Stay: Smithfield Inn, Smithfield Station
Both equally adorable and delightful. 

Eat: Taste of Smithfield 
Try the pork wings!

Drink: Wharf Hill Brewing Co.

Visit: Main Street

 

ah-ha moment

This week I had one of those lightbulb, ah-ha moments while in the midst of a 10-day stint on the road.

I've spent my week chasing meetings with more meetings only to be late to the next meeting. I'm in meetings with team members of all levels discussing clients representing all commodities and disciplines. With so many meetings on the docket, I've found myself working in my hotel room late into the night and attempting to get to the office early just to stay on top of things. 

Bottom line: I'm mentally exhausted, y'all.

(insert ah-ha moment)

I love my job. 

I'm exhausted and love my job. 

Wait. Wha? That's not an ah-ha moment. Sure it is! 

 I've never felt more on the brink of something in my professional career. It's happening, you know. The I wishes are my right nows

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I think it happened when I stopped to take a photo of the Wisconsin snow. The ah-ha moment, I mean. 

I want everyone to have this moment. I think you can.

On Saturday while speaking at AgChat's Collegiate Conference someone asked me what I've done - as a girl - to get to where I am in a male-dominated industry (ag). 

That blew me away. 

I'm a girl? I've never really thought about it and I've never been treated as such. A girl, I mean.

My influencers have never told me I couldn't do something regardless of my gender. Looking back, I suppose this mindset started by fixing fence, mending water gaps, loading trailers and evolved as I loaded grills for promotional events

Girls, if you're reading this, you're not a girl! You're a human! A hard-working, goal-oriented human. Do you. Make it happen. Don't be your own obstacle. 

Let me be your cheerleader. I'm serious. Send me a 140 or comment below and I'll fill your inbox/DMs/texts with so many random pep talks and inspirational GIFS your head will spin. 

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frozen sunset

Confession: I've been dreading this week in Wisconsin since I booked my flight in December. With each temperature joke from a coworker I've moved the dial closer to canceling flight. Turns out, it's just not that bad up here. 

Maybe I was able to transition into the colder climate with a few days in Indiana? Who knows.

Yesterday, Kelley and I (the official Texas representatives) met up with Ann and her husband to watch the 'hawks take on the packers. With one mention of Carp's Landing in Lake Mills I was all "yes. please. when. of course."

If Lorelei and Rory were to claim a town in Wisconsin as their own, it would be Lake Mills. I can just picture the mother-daughter duo ice skating in the town square, walking to the library on Saturday morning and hanging out at Carp's to watch the game. With it's local crowd, craft brews and quality fare Lake Mill's Carp's Landing is my kind of place. 

And not even because they have Spotted Cow, which, by the way, would be my favorite of the beers.

This lake community is picturesque with its historic homesteads and ice fisherman. Even with a close game we ventured the three blocks to the lake to take in the sunset. It's not often I stumble across a place that has a fighting chance at beating Oklahoma or Texas with their sunset game; however, the setting sun reflecting on the frozen tundra made my heart skip a beat or two. 

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The takeaway is sometimes things are out of our comfort zone. Cold weather is literally out of my comfort zone. 

Do it anyway. 

Typical Friday: Books and Karaoke.

I can escape into a book. Really escape. My senses cease reacting, the world halts on its axis and my entire being is absorbed into the crisp paper neatly adorned with characters of freshly-printed ink. Honestly, it can be frightening for those around me.

Brooke? Absent.

From Charlotte to Atlanta the words of Emily Giffin’s The One and Only were transcribed onto my soul.

I sound like such a fan girl. In addition to the Harry Potter series, Giffin’s books are the only others to avoid adoption. (Does re-reading books count toward the coveted personal-pan pizza in the BookIt! Program?) She writes, I read.

Rolling into Atlanta, I had barely looked up from the final pages when we were greeted by an evening my college-self applauded.

Listen, folks. I can karaoke with the best. I’ll cover Conway Twitty or Sammy Kershaw and wow you with my inability to hit a key, any key — on or off.

Live-band karaoke? You win, 10 High.

I proudly recorded Nick’s performance like a true soccer mom. Maternal instincts, y’all. Maternal instincts.

 

Nick covers Rage: Killing in the name


Of note: Emily didn't pay me to endorse her book. Is that even a thing? No? Carry on.

Tailgating.

https://twitter.com/heath440/status/203849902357348352 I was warned. I was warned before I flew more than 1,000 miles to see Dreamboat that I should wear reasonable shoes.

I thought I was.

Cute, comfy (by my standards) and they happen to be my favorite. It does help that they - black BCBG sandals - were purchased during Stillwater Crazy Days.

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Anyway. I'm in Charlotte. Last night I was spoiled by having pit tickets to the Dave Matthews Concert. I know, me - at Dave Matthews? I was surprised, too.

In my twenty-something years I've never tailgated for a concert. Clearly, I've been doing it wrong. I channeled my inner self from the Okstate vs. Arizona game and drank Cupcake wine out of my solo cup while watching various game of corn hole.

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Although I didn't know many DMB songs, it was impossible not to enjoy the concert from our spot. Fifteen feet from the stage, I sang all of the four songs I knew while making friends. To the adorable couple from Columbia, I wouldn't mind being as adorable as you are when I grow up. (and there's no way you've had 3 tiny humans - I'm not buying it.)

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This morning I admitted my feet were killing me. Literally, at one point I thought I was dying.

Pretty sure Dreamboat enjoyed being told he was right.

He will probably never happen again. Probably.

Anyway, hope you are all having a great week! I'll be busy trying to stay out of trouble in NC.

New adventures

In one week my life has completely changed. Not in a depressing-post-secret-app way, but in a my blessings are expanding by the second and my chipmunk cheeks are starting to hurt from smiling too much I'm a travel blogger.

Really. Hold on, I need to say it again, I'm a travel blogger.

I've been to Nicaragua, Argentina, Scotland, England, France - and now I get to explore my own home state as a job. Really, Oklahoma has some amazing adventures and it needs to start preparing itself for me.

Is it is a job if it's so much fun?

(also - I'm writing this from my new iPad - for someone who considers herself quite "techy" this wordpress isn't quite cutting it.)

I can't wait until the blog goes live so I cam share it with you!

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Look! It's my 'official' pic!

NashVegas | Social Media Conference | Sight Seeing

Tennessee's Capitol city is known for it's rich history in country music and an abundance of education institutions, and, for the past two days, host city of the Ag Chat Foundation Conference 2.0. By day attendees engaged in discussions regarding nerd topics like: search engine optimization, online strategies, community engagement. By night, those nerds used apps such as Nashville Live Music Guide to seek out [and conquer] local dives.

I flew into Nash[Vegas] a few days early because the lovely Kirby Smith (Twitter) [college friend turned Nashville local] graciously volunteered to give me a tour of the city.

A quick stop to the 12th street area had our hearts puttering through the rooms of Katy K's boutique

The rooms of this house-turned-store are lined with Betsy Johnson throw backs, pearl snap originals and tiny-human onsies that are only appropriate because the TH have yet to develop the ability to read.

My return flight leaves for Oklahoma City today, and instead of bombarding you with the details of my trip I've made a must see list for you!

Nashville must [Top 2] list:

1. Ryman Auditorium The stage lingers of performances by Bob Hope, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash while the architectural genius rings true to the tenor of the community. Although Nashville is home to a plethora of industries, one cannot deny the significance of the country music community.

2. Tootsies Everyone who has stumbled down Broadway will confirm this is a priority. Lady Haze refers to Toosies in the their parody Biscuits and Gravy. The similarities to Stillwater, Okla. bars are abundants, however, the plexi-glass protected sharpie clad walls give a slight edge of 'street cred.' I highly recommend taking a seat at the bar in this establishment. Ten years from now you might say, "I saw {insert big name star in 2021} at Tootsies in Nashville!"

Come back tomorrow for more!

Welcome to Oklahoma

My aunt is visiting in a few weeks and I’m determined to plan a weekend that will forever dismiss her preconceived thoughts of a landlocked abyss. Although I'm an Oklahoman with roots stretching miles into the red dirt, my childhood memories occasionally linger to thoughts of playing in the rich top soil of the Indiana earth. I can relate. Pre-transplant I didn't have a clue what Oklahoma was - or who was there (here.)

In fifth grade, mere days from a 700 mile road trip to a home settled at the end of a dirt road, my class devoted an entire week to Oklahoma. Each student was given a topic and I was immersed in to the Oklahoma culture in a fast-paced fifth grader’s cliffs notes.

State Bird: Scissor-tailed flycatcher State Rock: Rose Rock State folk Dance: Square Dance State Flower: Indian Blanket

With the essentials in hand, we moved to Oklahoma where I drove (road shotgun) on my first dirt road. {It should be shared my teacher told me to watch out for cacti and copperheads - thanks, teacher, for the nightmares of moving to the desert...}

Yes, you read that correctly. I didn’t have a clue dirt roads existed. I lived in the country, road for hours in a combine, and used corn husks as grenades during fierce games of cops and robbers – but, I’d never seen a dirt road.

It’s incredible how in a relatively short amount of time I can not only call Oklahoma home but have a need to show others that there is more than dirt roads and wranglers. So let the planning begin! [I need your input]

Day 1 to-do list:

Head out of town on Route 66 stopping at Pops. A relatively new establishment is encompasses the attitude of many Oklahomans. Good people, good food, good time.

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With hundreds of Soda Pop choices {is it coke, soda, or soda pop??} we might be here for hours...

Then we'll go north on 177 to a little town called Perkins - home of Pistol Pete and Brooke Clay!

Next stop, Stillwater. My aunt has been to Stillwater a few times; however, both revolved around a cap and gown, which didn't leave to much exploring. Although campus is beautiful, there is more to this one horse town than orange fountains. If I have it my way we'll eat cheese fries at Joes, buy a new pair of shoes at the Shoe Bank and take a gander at the new red dirt talent.

On our loop back to Oklahoma City, it's a necessity to make a stop in one of Oklahoma's most charming towns. Guthrie, Oklahoma's first capitol, intertwines small town romance with big city dreams. A pleathera of boutiques and tourist stops is sure to win over my aunt's Hoosier heart.

That's my rough-draft of day 1. What do you think? Anywhere else we should stop on the loop?