i was fortunate to have a long weekend a few days ago, and i figured it was the perfect time to visit my bff and her lovely family!  while i'm devastated that they live so far away, i'm somewhat comforted by the fact that at least they now live in the glorious city of milwaulkee!  it's basically a wonderland for all things i consider holy: beer, cheese, soft pretzels, and fun accents (oooh yah, doncha know)!  she showed me around to some of her favorite spots, and we had such a great time eating, laughing, and eating some more  :)  she even took me to a huge apple orchard, where we picked our own apples!  it was my first time apple pickin' (ya know, not too many apple orchards around, growing up in florida).  i was in awe of all the different varieties of apples, and the fact that you could just pick an apple from the tree and give it a taste test!

i've known emily for almost 20 years now (woah, i'm almost hoping my math isn't right... insert old lady emoji here...), and she's the kind of friend whom you pick right up where you left off, no matter how long it's been since you've been apart.  just the sight of her smile feels like home, and she's as close to a sister as i've ever had.  she's made me an aunt to one of the most beautiful, creative and hilarious child i've ever met (and expecting another in december... woo hoo)!!!  while i miss her being around to keep me "in the know" about all the coolest restaurants, makeup trends, and to go see cheesy chick flicks i know nobody else will see with me... i can't wait to go back to wisconsin to see her beautiful face again.

first stop... cheese curds!

 ^^^ my beautiful niece!  

a restaurant with pbr in it's name cannot be bad!

the raphael family!!

yes, these are fried cheese curds... and yes, they were heaven.

i'm officially a converted custard gal!


love you to the moon and back, em!  'till next time, wisconsin!


leaf lookin'

my parents just recently celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary!  isn't that amazing?  that's a whole lotta years :)  they celebrated by returning to the very same place they spent their honeymoon... the beautiful smokey mountains!  they rented a cabin for a week in the cozy little town of waynesville, north carolina.  our family used to vacation in waynesville almost every summer when i was growing up, and we have some really great memories from our time there.  it was especially nice to have cory with me this time, while we joined my parents in their cabin for the weekend!  we made it just in time to catch the trees in all of their fall glory!  it's really hard to believe that all of those colors really exist in nature.  we learned while we were there that the locals call tourists like us, "leaf lookers".  haha, i thought that was cute.  we had a great time driving along the blue ridge parkway, shopping in the legendary mast general store in downtown waynesville, and spent a good amount of time lounging around the cabin in our jammies.  

the older i get the more grateful i feel for every second i get to spend with my family.  i really wish time would just stand still and stop moving so fast!  it really seems like just yesterday that my brother and i were drawing imaginary "do-not-cross" lines across the back seat of the car on those family vacations to the mountains, while i had jewel's "pieces of you" blasting on my walkman CD player (ya know, when it wasn't busy skipping... 90's problems). anyways, i'm so fortunate to have this time with the people i love most, and i'm so happy to be celebrating an amazing milestone with my parents.  happy anniversary mom and dad!!

the first half of the photos are from our drive along the blue ridge parkway, and the second half were taken near our cabin.  of course, i also included a little video too!  enjoy!


the whole crew on the blue ridge parkway! (thank goodness for camera self-timers!)

 clouds and colorful trees make my heart skip a beat.

 aren't they the cutest?

double rainbow... all the way across the sky! :)

my beautiful mama.

the road to the cabin.

the view from the cabin wasn't half bad ;)

bentley for president 2016!!

i've been semi obsessed with these red suede booties so far this season... man are they comfy!

my people!  i sure do love them.