Our move: Nashville, TN –> Rochester, NY

No matter your situation, moving is ALWAYS stressful. I, myself since graduating high school have moved 11 times… 11 TIMES! You would think I would be a pro by now.
Since our decision to move to Rochester, NY in November wasn’t at all expected, we put my things into storage and left it in Nashville. We bounced from house to house staying with family and wound up getting jobs in Rochester as we’d hoped. We bought a house and have since settled down with only the essentials.

Here we are 8 months later and we finally took the trek to retrieve my things that I’ve been missing. We booked our plane tickets, reserved a moving truck, and a hotel during 4th of July weekend as to not take too much time off for work. What was expected to be a stressful trip ended up being the “vacation” I’ve been needing – despite us throwing our existing 4th of July party plans out the window.

We flew into Nashville early Sunday morning and instantly asked ourselves, what food have we been missing? As soon as we picked up our Budget moving truck, we headed for Edley’s BBQ. Oh how I missed their brisket plates and banana bread pudding! If you want to eat BBQ in Nashville – we highly suggest this place. I’ve been to multiple Edley’s BBQ joints and each one has a great atmosphere, so no matter what area of Nashville you may be in, have no doubts.

Photo credit: https://hugginsgroupblog.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/edleys-bbq.jpg

We packed up my stuff from the storage unit with no problem and then we made it to our sleazy, but cheap hotel before getting ready for a night out in the city. Since I picked Edley’s for lunch, Shane picked Clyde’s on Church for dinner. We’ve always loved the easy going vibe of this bar restaurant with it’s ping pong tables, shuffleboard, and laidback seating. We met up with some of my friends and had some candy shots (a popular Clyde’s favorite) and played ping pong of course!

Photo credit: http://nashvilleguru.com/officialwebsite/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Clydes-on-Church-Nashville-42.jpg

Before heading back to the hotel, we had to go to our favorite park for a stroll before crashing – we had been up since 3am! We walked from Clyde’s to Centennial Park which boasts the ah-inspiring Parthenon. I love this building in Nashville – it was my first park I ever visited when I moved to the city and after this night, it was the last. (Read more about the Parthenon in one of my previous posts here: http://datesinthestates.com/2016/12/11/nashville-tn-parthenon/)

To tour and eat our way through a little bit of Nashville in one day was a fun experience. The next day, we rolled out of bed and took off to Knoxville – a pit stop on our way back to Rochester to see friends. Knoxville has been a popular stop for us passing through – it really is a neat city to visit with it’s “Old City” and it’s “New.”

For our friends birthday – a little bar hopping was on the agenda. We ate dinner for the first time at Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe – their veggie gyro was delicious. We made our way to downtown for a drink at The Library – my favorite speakeasy bar in Knoxville. (Read more about The Library in one of my previous posts here: http://datesinthestates.com/2017/02/12/super-fun-day-trips-knoxville/).

The menu – an old encyclopedia
A fake fireplace surrounded by books and creepy old-time photos





The entrance

There are no signs for this bar so you must walk down an alley way near The Oliver Hotel and enter through the door with a red light above it. May seem sketchy at first, but inside you will find a hidden gem.

After having a few drinks at The Library, we then hopped to the next bar in the same building, The Oliver Royale (part of The Oliver Hotel). Both bars feature one of a kind, fancy drinks so be ready to pay a pretty penny. Try a Grendel at The Library or a Friend of a Friend at the Oliver Royale.

Photo credit: https://i0.wp.com/www.kandradventures.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Oliver-Royale-Knoxville-Restaurant-Review.jpg

Tuesday, on the 4th of July, we made our way back to Rochester. After our 12 hour + drive we quickly greeted the animals and went out for a walk in our neighborhood to see fireworks. Every year for the 4th of July I would be somewhere watching fireworks whether it was in Conesus, NY or Millville, PA – I never missed them! So I was damned if I was going to miss them this year. We went to the lookout near our house and watched fireworks in the surrounding towns circling the bay. We walked through smoke and watched our surrounding neighbors light off fireworks one at a time. Even though it wasn’t spectacular, it was good enough for me.

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A Dog Named Blu

We are so excited to announce a new addition to our family – Blu.

Blu is a rescued senior Coonhound mix who lived in a neglected home. He’s been through a lot, but he has adjusted to us very quickly.
His previous home consisted of living outdoors his whole life in a wooden dog house with holes in the floor boards and the roof, a 10 foot long chain wrapped around his neck so tight he had sores, and stagnant water. His owner was an elderly lady who just couldn’t take care of him, so we approached her and pitched the idea of taking him. Happily she accepted.

Shane trying to fix his coop to make him comfortable

He was located in Pennsylvania, so as soon as we closed on our new home in New York, we drove down and picked him up. Before making the four hour drive to our new home, we of course took him to the groomer! He was one smelly dog and as you can see – very overweight! The groomer did an amazing job and he did very well for his first time. He also did very well in the car – no accidents!

When we first picked him up to take him to the groomer.

When we arrived at our new house, he was so ecstatic. It was as if a new dog had already emerged. For people who don’t believe dogs smile, he will change your mind! Seeing his face when he was tied to the chain and then looking at him now – it’s incredible.

His first day at his new home.

He now has a fenced in yard to run around (chain free), a new doggie friend – Nova, a safe and clean dog house, and always clean water and fresh food.  He also has love, something he had never experienced before. We take him for daily walks and play with him. He is pretty clueless when we try to play, but he is catching on. He’s learning a lot from Nova as well as us teaching him how to sit and stay. Who said an old dog can’t learn new tricks?! We’ve had him for about 4 weeks now and has been losing weight – getting down to a healthy size.
Recently, we took him for his first trip to the vet. The vet was very understanding and courteous. As we are unsure if he had ever been to a vet, she treated him as a puppy. He received his vaccines, a puppy health check, heartworm tests, and a few others I lost track of! He also had a cyst under his belly that we had to take a sample of to make sure it wasn’t cancerous. Thankfully, it seems to be benign. He tested Lyme positive, had a few different kinds of worms such as whipworm, and his physical exam showed stiffness in his legs – which may be from the Lyme. He doesn’t have a lot of strength in his legs either; both of which may be caused from being on a chain his whole life and not getting proper exercise. When he breathes he snorts, this may be caused by the chain being wrapped around his neck causing a collapsed trachea. His teeth showed that he may be younger than we think (10 years). Unable to determine what type of Coonhound he may be, she called him a mutant beagle (because he’s 102 lbs!).

After his vet visit, we took him to Petsaver (his first pet shop trip!). We self groomed him in their wash room which he didn’t seem to mind. It was our first time using one of these rooms, too and we actually had fun! They supply everything and clean up the mess after. So much better than using your own bathtub. Another plus – he got to go shopping after!

He loves getting any kind of attention! Look at that smile!

Currently, we are treating him for the worms and Lyme disease. Hoping he will make a successful recovery to live on to be a happy old man. Stay tuned for more updates as we will be going back to the vet for a follow up in the next few weeks!

I set up a GoFundMe account in his name to help us with his vet bills and care – please visit: https://www.gofundme.com/dog-named-blu

Thank you everyone for your support.

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First off – we want to apologize that we have not been posting as much as we’d like.

Life has gotten away from us this month in the best kind of way. We’ve begun a new adventure and I am so excited to see where it takes us. Since graduating high school, I’ve never stayed in one place for too long. I was living in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Pennsylvania again, and Tennessee while he was living in Texas and Montana. Finally, we are beginning to plant our roots in New York – certainly a new experience for us both.

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Plant & Sip Event

Surely, a lot of you have probably attended a paint and wine event – but have you ever attended a Plant & Sip event? As many paint and wine events popularity are slowly declining, businesses are looking for more and more ways to bring customers in and build relationships. For a local floral and wine gift shop, Stoney Acres, I pitched an idea of a Plant & Sip event and we all ran with it. With about a month of planning, we were able to come up with a unique idea that only few across the nation have done before and it was a hit!

Stoney Acres’ Plant & Sip Event – Feat. Elk Mountain Winery

The Plant & Sip event consisted of a creative afternoon making a tabletop terrarium garden while tasting Elk Mountain wines. It was such a blast to see how popular the event became with mostly word of mouth, tickets sold out in a snap. Events such as this is a great date idea to do in your local hometown. It is also a great idea to do while traveling so you may act as a local and meet people. The people you meet may also help you discover what else in their town you should see and do.

A lot of events like these I tend to find on Facebook Events. I love looking up in the city I’m in to see what may interest me. You can find anything from free to cheap events such as local festivals, yoga classes, and small release parties. Instead of looking for a tourist activity to do, why not look for a local event to do? They tend to be cheaper and more fun anyways!

Side note: – “Facebook Events also helped me find a face painting event for

dia de los muertos at The Flwr Shop in Nashville!” See photo below, post to come soon.

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Places We’d Like to Travel in 2017

As winter storm Stella hits Upstate New York, we are left with wanderlust. Wishing we were somewhere warmer with a drink in our hand laying out on the beach – or camping in the woods listening to the tree frogs chirp. To be anywhere, but here. We wanted to compile a list of places we’d like to see this year, no matter how far out of reach they might be. We’re in the process of buying a house, and we couldn’t be happier! But, with buying a house comes costs which will limit us this year as to how far and how often we can travel. Hopefully, this list we’ll be able to complete and maybe you can too! Even if we make only half of the list happen, I will be content.




  • Sanibel Island/Cape Coral –
Four Mile Island

For the past few years, we’ve been traveling every September to my parents house in Cape Coral. It is something we look forward to doing every year. Since I was a little girl, I’ve been going to Sanibel Island, my family’s favorite beach. So each year when we go to Cape Coral, we always have to take a short drive to Sanibel Island to reminisce. I love showing Shane all the different things that island has to offer. In Cape Coral, our favorite place to go and explore is Four Mile Island, see our post here to read more.


  • Chimney Bluffs State Park, Wolcott, NY –
Photo taken by: https://emilyberkson.com/

This place is on the list because it is only about an hour from our house now. This state park is on the South side of Lake Ontario featuring beautiful large clay formations. These clay formations have existed for thousands of years shaped by glaciers from the last Ice Age. Sadly, the clay formations are eroding a little each year. I thought it would be a nice little overnight camping trip or day trip to explore more of the area to which we’ve moved to.

Photo taken by yours truly: Crystal Rock Photography

Update: We hiked almost 3 miles of this beautiful state park this past weekend. It was our first travel destination to be crossed off this years’ list. The bluffs were breathtaking and the weather was perfect. I didn’t want to leave! Blog article to be posted soon!


  • Eternal Flame Falls, Erie County, NY –
Photo taken by: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/AF8cKTxvNZU/maxresdefault.jpg

Another bucket list worthy place in New York is Eternal Flame Falls. Located in a small section of Chestnut Ridge Park resides this small waterfall. At this waterfalls’ base, an eternal flame is visible nearly year round. The flame is fueled by natural gas and may be extinguished and lit occasionally. This means, sometimes the flame can go out, but you may bring a lighter with you and relight the flame while you’re there. This sounded like such a neat thing to see that we wouldn’t be able to see anywhere else. It may be the perfect overnight camping trip this Summer!


  • Yellowstone/Jackson Hole, WY –


This one may be a little further out of reach for us this year. It’s on the list because we may be going for a family trip for my Grandparent’s anniversary. Our budget may not allow for it this year, but I would love to go back to Yellowstone. This would be my third time, Shane’s second seeing Yellowstone and it’s an amazing experience every time. No matter how many times you may go and see the geysers, Yellowstone is always changing. New geysers appear, and old ones disappear. All the wildlife and colors can take your breath away.


  • Kawartha Lakes, ON, Canada –
Photo taken by: https://bohobeautiful.life

I am a huge fan of Boho Beautiful’s workout videos on Youtube. They are always going to amazing and beautiful places all around the world. About a year ago, they posted a video of them in Kawartha Lakes and it looked like a really pretty place to visit. I mainly put this on the list because it’ s one of the places they’ve visited that is relatively close to us. I would love to camp out by the lake and hike the many trails there.


  • Cleveland, OH –
Photo taken by: http://cityhub.movoto.com/1459257016293_where-to-live-in-cleveland-without-a-car-featured.jpg

Ok, I had to put at least one city on the list! I would love to see every major city in the U.S., and with as many places as we’ve been to, we aren’t even close to completing that goal! Cleveland isn’t far from us either and it would be a fun weekend trip. Maybe stay in a little apartment with Airbnb or a bed and breakfast. Visit the many museums and breweries and see the nightlife… Cleveland has a lot of potential for a fun couples weekend.


  • The Jell-O Museum, Le Roy, NY –
Photo taken by: https://www.theclio.com/web/ul/20069.40835.jpg

Before we moved here, we had never heard of such a thing, a Jell-O Museum. Little did we know, Le Roy, NY is where Jell-O was born. In honor of us becoming New Yorkers, we feel the need to go to this museum!


  • New York City via Amtrak –
Photo taken by: https://smartgrowthamerica.org/app/uploads/rochester.jpg

We are really close to the Amtrak and I think we should take advantage of it. So, we’ve decided we would love to take a train ride to New York City and have an overnight. Find a small apartment to stay in on Airbnb and take in the sights of Manhattan and Times Square. I’ve never seen the Statue of Liberty, so that is definitely on my bucket list, too!


  • Balloons Over Letchworth –
Photo taken by: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/7tb7-fEjLhU/maxresdefault.jpg

Another one for the bucket list, a hot air balloon ride. I’ve always wanted to do it, but have never gotten the opportunity. We found out at Letchworth State Park, they do hot air balloon rides over the falls. It is also rated one of the top 10 hot air balloon sightseeing tours on www.fodors.com, see the article here. It’s a little pricey, about $250 per person, but we can dream!


Stay tuned as I’m going to keep updating this list. When we actually start to plan a little road trip, I will put our itinerary for you to view. Later, of course we will write a separate post about our experiences! As always, thank you for reading. Comment below if you have any budget friendly North East, US places you’d like to see us visit. 

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A Romantic Night in a Hotel – But Not in the Room

When you picture a romantic night in a hotel, it’s easy to immediately picture it to be in your hotel room. But what if the romance could still be in the hotel, but outside of your hotel room? Hotels such as Aloft in Minneapolis or Four Points Sheraton in Brentwood-Nashville has a bar, live music, or even a bon fire outside for you to enjoy and more. All of this without leaving your hotel room. Why don’t you make a date out of it?

LOVE THIS PLACE! -So much to do here

When your traveling, you may get to your destination and just want to crash on the bed in your hotel room and watch TV. It is so easy to get into that slum and not even notice it’s happening. Why be that boring couple when many hotels offer activities right in their own lobby?

Abandoned Hotel Lobby on Route 66

At Aloft Minneapolis, you don’t even need to leave your hotel to have a romantic night in. Not only were their rooms unique and slightly luxurious, their common areas were intimate and romantic. Grab a drink at the bar and sit in a quiet corner of the room on a comfy sofa, or sit by the fire pit outside. You can act like a couple again instead of feeling like strangers after a long car ride.

Photo credit: http://i.rentalo.com/images/Minneapolis-Hotels-p2_375052_8964064l.jpg


Drinking by the fire pit

Four Points Sheraton in Brentwood-Nashville has a great lounge area that offers live music at night. Upon our arrival, we were eligible for a free drink. So after freshening up we went to the lounge area, grabbed a drink at their lovely bar, and listened to a great cover band for the remainder of our night.

Photo credit: http://www.fourpointsbrentwood.com/restaurant-in-brentwood-tn

My favorite romantic hotel to stay for an overnight is Evins Mill outside of Nashville. Arriving there, you aren’t expected to do much. No one will judge you if you just go relax in your room or sit on your balcony listening to the tree frogs. YES, I said balcony! The place is so beautiful and serene, you can’t not relax. See my previous blog post here.

With these examples, what I’m trying to say is…

It is possible to have a date night without leaving your hotel when your on the road. Grab a drink from the bar, order in Chinese, and play a game in the lounge area. Star gaze on that balcony or go watch a band play at the bar. Wear your pajamas for all we care!

Opryland – Tour the botanical gardens inside!

Enjoy your date night 😊

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The 5 Best Tips for Traveling as a Couple ❤

Travel can be an amazing adventure together. Most people say it may, “make or break the relationship.” In most cases such as ours, I can honestly say it made our relationship better. And I hope it can do the same for you. We’ve always had our issues and at the time I thought our relationship was going down the drain before our big road trip in 2015. But in the end, we came out better and stronger and developed a bond I’ve never had with anyone – And I am so thankful for that. Traveling as a unit has it’s own struggles. Hopefully our top 5 tips can help you and your lover have an amazing vacation.

1.) Don’t count on your expectations:

The first mistake you can make before going on a trip is by having high expectations. It’s easy to do, trust me. The problem with this, especially when traveling as a couple, is that both of you may have different expectations and it will be disappointing if none or only a few actually do come true. Nothing is perfect. A good way to prevent it is by discussing how each of you picture your trip before it actually begins. Sit down and have an open line of communication and make sure to tell each other everything that you think will happen on the trip no matter how silly or out of reach it may be. Discuss the smells, tastes, sounds, and sight. Honestly, it will work because each of you will know what the other is thinking. Then when you get there, you may be able to tell each other, “I told you so!” If that doesn’t happen, at least you can laugh about it and make the best of the reality of your trip!

2.) Discuss budgets:

One of the most common issues while traveling as a couple is budget. One of you may have a budget constraint or preference more than the other. All you have to do is make the other person aware of what you are willing and not willing to spend. Money should not get in the way of enjoying your trip. There are so many activities we found on our road trips that were little to no money and we enjoyed every second of it. If you think it will be a major issue – plan what to do, where to stay, and where to eat ahead of time so both of you are prepared and have somewhat of an itinerary to follow. This itinerary will be something you have both agreed with, so you can eliminate any guilt or questions you may have when you want to go to that semi-expensive restaurant or splurge on paddle boarding tours. Planning like this will relieve a lot of stress that being on the road can cause. It will also take the guess work out of what each of you are expecting on the trip.

3.) Don’t get hangry (Hungry + Angry): 

Don’t lie, we’ve all been there. It is one of the biggest causes of fights for couples while they are on the road. At least, I know it is for us. When we’re hungry or deprived of food, we may get tired and grouchy. That tired and grouchiness makes us take it out on each other, the person closest to you at that moment. With not being able to have much alone time, being stuck in a car or plane for hours, that tiredness and grouchiness can be amplified. So, take it from us and EAT! Set a time throughout the day for each meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) that both of you can agree upon and follow. I know it’s hard to stick to a designated time while on vacation, but you will be thankful you did.

4.) Compromise:

You probably already know compromise is a big part of any relationship. It’s no different from home when you are on the road. Both of you may want to do a tour and the times overlap, you may want to eat at different restaurants, maybe you want to relax and he is anxious to go exploring – the most important thing in this whole article is COMPROMISE. Although open communication is key – if you are able to communicate, then you will certainly be able to compromise. Talk about your perspective on the situation while seeing your partner’s point of view and listen. Don’t hide your feelings, but be honest. Come up with a plan, if he wants to eat somewhere that night, tell him you both can and that he must be willing to eat at the restaurant you want the next night and vice versa. It won’t be simple, but if they care to make you happy, it will work!

5.) Learn to Share:

Growing up as an only child, I have to admit – I don’t share easily. I know that may be a terrible thing to say, but it’s true! I like to think I can share, but in reality it drives me nuts. I like having my own space, packing in my own suitcase, and doing whatever I want. Not only being a couple, but traveling as a couple breaks each and every one of those wants I just mentioned. -And that’s ok! If you love them enough, you will learn how to share- quickly! I think traveling together has made me a more sensible packer. It’s a wonderful way to learn how to collaborate with one another as well as a great bonding activity. Packing together means you have nothing to hide, your open and honest with one another.

You not only share packing space, you also need to learn how to share your time. Share time with your partner and yourself. Even though you are traveling together, that DOES NOT mean you need to spend every waking moment with them – you are aloud to have alone time. Go for a stroll and explore, take a yoga class on the beach, do whatever your heart pleases and don’t feel guilty. Alone time is very beneficial for any relationship, at home or on the road.

I hope you liked our top 5 tips for traveling as a couple. It won’t be easy, but it will totally be worth it. Enjoy making beautiful memories together ♡

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A Peek Inside Our Car While Traveling

We’ve done a lot of road trips, and I mean A LOT! In my opinion, it is the best way to see anything while your traveling, to get the full experience of your trip. While jumping into a car may seem like a good idea, it does bring some challenges – (storage space, comfort…). Here is a little peek into our car while traveling! If you have already read our article, Packed in a Mustang for 5 Weeks, some of this may be repetitive, but I wanted to elaborate on the subject.

As you already know, our long road trips are typically in my Mustang. We choose to take my car because it already has high mileage, not as new as his Jeep, and it is also better on gas surprisingly! With this comes many space restraints. You have to pack very conscientiously no matter what vehicle you may take, we just have to do it a little more than others.

Shopping for groceries and non-perishables ahead of time will save you loads of money!

We fill the backseat with a cooler and a banana box full of food and water so we don’t have to spend money on expensive snacks at the gas station. The cooler is used just in case we want a cold bottle of water and we also like to have materials to make sandwiches or fruit and the cooler prevents it from going bad. At our hotel stops, we make sure to unload everything from the cooler as well as the ice packs into the mini fridge and freezer to get it cold overnight. We then repack it in the morning and we are good to go!  In the banana box, we kept snacks, bread, fruits, toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning supplies. Cleaning supplies come in very handy, especially disinfectants and sanitizers. In the backseat we also like to have a blanket and pillow for the passenger to take a nap if needed. I have a whole binder of CD’s from when I was a teenager for those long, boring stretches on the road. Something other than groceries and supplies I like to carry along with me is my travel journal. I keep all my ticket stubs and random things in that journal as well as write down where we go each day. I bought it at Target, but you can easily make your own from a simple notebook.

I’m not going to lie, we have gotten a little desperate for food every now and then 🙂

In case of emergencies:

In the trunk, we have a small suitcase of clothes, sleeping bags and small tent if needed, as well as an emergency road side kit. Be sure to have a spare tire and jack handy, we certainly have had to use it a lot! Having a small tool box and jumper cables is handy as well when your car gives you issues. I like to straighten my hair everyday, so having an adapter that I can use in a cigarette lighter was definitely worth the money! If you don’t think one is needed, at least have a USB car charger handy for your phones and/or cameras. For the sketchy places we would stop at late at night, I like to have a taser in my purse and/or glove compartment. It’s better to be safe! And for the tolls, make sure to carry spare change and small bills.

Don’t get stranded – Be prepared!

What I wish we had…

Even though I am telling you how prepared we are sometimes, there are still a few things I would like to make sure we have for our next road trip. Maybe you will want these things, too.

A binder clip for the phone or GPS to go on the dashboard. This way you don’t have to hold your phone or be distracted trying to see where to go. A plastic cereal container would be the perfect trash can! We just use my side door compartments for the time being, which work well for now. For his Jeep, or if you have an SUV, you may be able to see inside your trunk area. Having a trunk cover up would be really nice so you don’t have to worry about your stuff being on display for the world to see!

Enjoy the open road.

If you have these essentials, you should be prepared for your trip on the open road. Don’t get stressed, just have fun and enjoy the sights and wonders the world has to offer to you. Have a wonderful and safe journey.  ✌

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Why I’ve Given Up On a Dream & Am Living My Life 💕

Overlooking The Badlands

I’ve always been a dreamer. My dreams are what brought me to all the places I’ve been and all the things I’ve done – and I don’t regret any of them. For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamed my life would be filled with the people I love and I would actually live my life – not just have a career. I also dreamed I would live somewhere new and exciting, to get away from Pennsylvania and experience somewhere, something better.

Growing up you’re always asked, what do you want to be when you grow up? From the time you are born, you’re automatically programmed to find a career. That if you don’t find a career, you’re life isn’t worth much. When people would ask me this question, I always had a different answer – photographer, business owner, veterinarian, park ranger – I could never pick just one thing. Deep down, I guess I knew I would never be happy picking only one career for the rest of my life.

So let’s take a look at my story.

I went to a technical high school where I was able to get my Cosmetology license end of senior year, but I always knew that wasn’t the only thing I wanted to do with my life. When it was close to high school graduation, I decided the thing I wanted to do was own a recording studio or become a booking agent, so I decided to go to school for music business. I worked in a salon leading up to the following spring when that music dream took me all the way out to Minneapolis where I spent 2 years completing my degree. I moved back home because the whole time I was so home sick, it was all I could think about. Moving back home I realized, I wasn’t ready for the real world. I went back to the salon and dreamed another dream. 6 months later, I went to college closer to home for marketing. I completed my bachelor’s in three years and loved it. It opened my mind to so many other possibilities and that is when I realized, event planning was what I wanted to do. I interned for a car show company I loved, I joined AMA and put on events for my club, I did everything I could to get more experience and closer to my new dream. Approaching graduation, I planned a road trip – something I always dreamed of doing. So the summer after college, my boyfriend and I escaped from life and went on our crazy 5 week road trip. The best and most amazing experience of my life. Opening my mind to travel made me never want to return to reality. I wanted to stay on the road, but I felt guilted to jump into a career and settle down.

I came back to finding myself accepting a job in Nashville for event planning. I thought my dream had come true, that this was it. In the back of my mind though, I knew that wasn’t true. I was blinded by my dream. My dream of living somewhere new and exciting, my dream of having a successful career.

As the year went by, I realized I was foolish. That dream became a reality and I realized I was miserable. I was angry and stressed all the time and it was all because of my career. The career I dreamt of for so long, was becoming the death of me. The job was so stressful, it made my life miserable. I couldn’t enjoy my evenings with friends and family, I couldn’t enjoy going out on the weekends because I was always working. I realized my dream kept me from the life I really always wanted to live.

Months of self analyzing and having to make some tough major life choices, I realized a place of my past had an opportunity that had been waiting for me. I was just always too self-involved to realize.

Growing up, my second home was Rochester, which also happens to be where I was born. Most of my family lives there and I know the area like the back of my hand. Connections have existed there and I never utilized them because I thought I could figure out something more, something better. What I needed had been in front of me this whole time. By moving to Rochester, we are both closer to family and don’t feel as lost as we had in the big city of Nashville. Now I’m at a job that gives me freedom, where stress does not seem to exist. Somewhere I can go and not feel like my heart is resisting. I may not be living the dream I dreamt long ago, but I am living the dream I’ve dreamt my whole life. The dream where I’m able to spend time with my loved ones, I’m able to travel, I’m able to have hobbies –  I’m not just focusing on a career. All the things I’ve always wanted, I’m finally able to do. This isn’t me settling down (that will never truly happen), but this is me feeling comfortable with how my life is – finally.

Note to self: I urge you to be less passionate about the dream that is your career, and be more passionate about the dream to live your life the way YOU want it. Travel, explore, go on adventures – fall in love. You don’t have to be passionate about a career, but you CAN be passionate about life. That is my new dream, to not be so distracted by work, that I forget to live.

-Crystal 💕

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Packed in a Mustang for 5 weeks

“The couple that kept their sanity in a car for 5 weeks.”

During the summer of 2015, we drove across the country for 5 long weeks, in my Mustang! The trip not only made memories we will remember for the rest of our lives, it also brought our relationship closer together then ever before. It made us learn new things about each other. Our history and our true colors were brought out in both good and bad ways; And I would do it all over again and again if I could.

Privacy, what is that? Travel, no matter what your situation, will always bring you closer to the person your traveling with. Per our case, we were locked up in a car for sometimes 12 hours at a time, day in and day out, for 5 weeks. When we would stop, we’d either sleep in a tent or a tiny, sometimes sketchy hotel room. No matter what we did or how many times we fought, we couldn’t get away from each other! Some hotel rooms had paper thin walls, or in our case, one hotel in Minneapolis had a bathroom door that wouldn’t close so you would hear and see everything! No privacy at all, but we were able to find the humor in all of that. That is what being a couple is, finding the good stuff in life together no matter what.

Brainstorming & Teamwork began to play an important role in our relationship. For places we wanted to go eat or see, and for the times we got stuck in traffic or roads were closed due to flooding, we had to brainstorm together and build teamwork to pull ourselves through it and find a solution. We would get angry at each other, but traveling together in a small space, didn’t allow us to have space from one another. It did however, allow us to talk about it and work it out instead of running away.

This trip not only allowed us to grow as a couple, but as individuals. Learning how the other handles stress can take you a long way both at home and on the road.
When we began this trip, we had only been a couple for a year, so it really allowed us to learn things about one another and see each other’s true colors which we may not have been able to do otherwise. When travelling, you see your partners best and worst moments.

Driving across the country & how to survive:
So as you probably figured out, traveling in a Mustang has it’s own space restraints. We had to pack very conscientiously in order to make it work. Both of us sat up front with pillows and blankets within reach in case we got cold or tired. The backseat consisted of mostly food. We had a cooler on one half of the car, and a banana box full of food on the other. In the trunk is where we kept our clothes, sleeping bags, and a small tent. We made sure to only pack about a week’s worth of clothing since we knew we would be stopping in places that would allow us to do our laundry for free at family and friends’ houses. In the cooler, we kept cold lunch meat, bottled water, and other perishable items with ice packs. Every time we would stop for the night, we would put our stuff in a refrigerator and freezer if able to and then repack it in the morning. In the banana box, we kept snacks, bread, fruits, toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning supplies. Those cleaning supplies and paper towels came in handy for Dairy Queen messes in the car! On that note, it was very difficult to not resort to fast food stops. On the days where our drives were about 10 hours long, we would grab dinner or lunch in a drive-thru. I tried to order smaller portions and healthy alternatives such as wraps or salads and we both tried to order from the dollar menus to save our money as much as we could. When time and money would allow it, we would try to NOT go to chain restaurants. It was so much better to eat outside of the car and taste the local foods. We also tried to stop at grocery stores here and there to stock up on snacks and water. Keep in mind when your traveling, especially out west, you can drive for hours and not come across any food, gas stations, or hotels so always be prepared. One night, we left Four Corners Monument traveling towards Phoenix, and we were far from being prepared. We didn’t have a hotel lined up, and we were driving for what felt like hours. There was no service to Google a hotel. When we finally came upon a small town, we pulled over into a gas station to look at hotel prices. The town looked like something out of a movie. A dog was roaming the streets, starving and alone. A homeless man came up to our window yelling at us because we wouldn’t give him any money. All three of the hotels nearby were outrageously priced. Still with not enough service, I was able to text my Father (in Pennsylvania) to book a hotel for us about another hour outside of the town since I couldn’t do it on my phone. We were stranded and panicking, not to mention exhausted. All we wanted to do was sleep. DO NOT allow yourselves to be in that kind of position when your traveling. Be smart and plan ahead.

Map out the places you want to see ahead of time: 

I dreamed about our cross-country road trip for most of my life. It wasn’t until about a year before getting the chance to go did I actually start planning it. The Roadtripper app was my lifeline! I was able to map out our trip showing each destination as well as mark the places I wanted to see. With this app, we were able to discover new places we wouldn’t have known about otherwise. I only booked the first few hotels ahead of time, just because we didn’t have any real destination and we didn’t want to have time constraints. At the end of each day, if and when we got to a city we wanted to spend an extra day in such as Minneapolis or Yellowstone, we would book a hotel over the phone or online and show up about an hour later. If you do have time constraints, and know precisely what day your going to be at each destination, then definitely book ahead of time because it will save you money in the long run. It also helps if you have friends or family members you can stay with along the way, like we did.

RoadTripper App-Not showing all locations

Take it from us, a couple that travels together, stays together.

Thank you all for reading,

Crystal & Shane

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