Where to go from here?

A quick glance at this space and it’s evident that I’m at a bit of a crossroads when it comes to this space. I let my ‘business’ plan lapse because I’m attempting to get back to the bones of writing, which explains the temporarily janky layout. I’ve been growing increasingly disillusioned with social media, the lack of authenticity, and the alarming number of booty pops on Instagram. Coupled with my new job, baseball season, and volunteer commitments – I’ve not only struggling to find the time to write but what exactly to write about.

According to blogging experts on podcasts, I am doing everything wrong. I am not monetizing, I am not seeking out collaborations, and my blog currently does not have a defined purpose. I do not have a writing schedule, I don’t attend blogging conferences, and I refuse to refer to myself as a blogger.

Hello. I am Karen. And I happen to blog. Occasionally.

At one point, I envisioned this space as a lifestyle blog, which is quite humorous because gallivanting around town or constantly curating scenes in attempt to capture the perfect shot isn’t exactly how I want to spend my time. While I consider myself a pretty good cook – I am not great at sharing recipes. Apparently people want more than “Eh – just throw a handful of that in the pot and if you have this on hand, add that too. If not – no big deal.” My outfits are not enviable nor am I particularly photogenic so for the sake of humanity, I shy away from most fashion-related posts. I don’t like to write about my kids in great detail so I am not onboard the mommy blogger train. I am not an influencer nor do I desire to be one. I love to travel but our budget only allows for one or two big trips each year so it seems silly to jump in the travel blogger pond during this season of my life. And yes – my husband is in the Army but I don’t want my role as a military spouse to define this space because it is only one of the many pieces that makes me whole.

I’m not going to stop writing. But I am going to stop worrying about whether I am doing it right or not. So if you’re interested in following a woman in her mid-thirties attempting to chase her purpose, please do so. And if not – no hard feelings. It’s all cool.


Spring Break 2019 Recap – Savannah, Georgia

After five states, four cities, and over 1600 miles, we are home and back to our regular routine. We had a great spring break. While our Easter was unconventional – the kids hunted for eggs in our Raleigh hotel room – it was spent with the people I love most in the world so I can’t complain. Tomorrow will be filled with work, school, baseball, and preparing ourselves up for the last quarter mile of the school year. The kids are currently asleep and Clay and I are watching Brooklyn 99 with computers on our laps – I’m writing this blog post and Clay is researching hotels in Munich (we booked our hotel for our time in Salzburg, Austria and I am unapologetically excited to nerd-out to Sound of Music locales – eek).

Okay – let’s talk about our spring break road trip. We briefly considered leaving Friday evening after Violet’s t-ball game but we quickly vetoed that idea when we realized that traditional Friday evening traffic on I-95 coupled with Spring Break traffic would be about as much fun as being forced to watch Speed 2: Cruise Control on a continuous loop for 24 hours. We made the right call because traffic horror stories dominated the local news cycle that night.

Yes – we have coordinating monogrammed LL Bean luggage. I’ll admit that it’s a bit dorky but also very efficient and practical. We woke up early on Saturday morning and pulled out of our driveway shortly after the sun rose. Our goal was to reach Savannah, Georgia by mid-afternoon but because we weren’t the only ones traveling south on I-95 that day, Waze pushed back our estimated time of arrival throughout the day. But soon enough (it felt like days) we pulled into the Savannah Riverfront Marriott and breathed a sigh of relief – it finally felt like vacation.

The hotel choice was perfect for our family. It is located along the river – within walking distance of Savannah’s historic River Street but just far enough removed from the rowdiness. The hotel upgraded us to a riverfront room so after catching our breath on the balcony, we changed out of our road trip clothes and walked to Boar’s Head Grill & Tavern, where we had made reservations via Open Table somewhere in North Carolina. 

The kids had their first sampling of fried green tomatoes topped with goat cheese. We all agreed that the she crab soup was delicious and enjoyed the view. After dinner, we walked around historic riverfront and the kids convinced us to pop into River Street Sweets. We walked up some spooky stairwells and found ourselves caught in the middle of what felt like the World’s Biggest Bachelorette Party. We watched a steamboat leisurely make her way up the river and admired the Waving Girl underneath the moonlight.

The next morning, we walked into Savannah and admired a few of the 15(?) public squares. We went to Café M for breakfast – a little Parisian café in the heart of historic downtown Savannah. The kids had orange juice and crougnuts while Clay and I enjoyed coffee and egg sandwiches. 

Guys – this seemingly simple egg and cheddar on a baguette was probably the best egg sandwich I’ve ever had. The eggs were so creamy and smooth – well worth the wait (did you know that Alton Brown’s recipe for scrambled eggs requires 20 minutes of constant stirring over low heat?). After brunch we walked around historic downtown some more before checking out of our hotel so we could continue on our trip. We weren’t in Savannah for very long but we will be back, for sure. Next up – Amelia Island, Florida!

Career Chronicles – I Said Yes

The first week at my new job was quite the humbling experience. While I’ve spent the last few years accepting part-time content development contracts and substituting at various schools, this past week marked my first time working in a full-time capacity since having children. As much as I loved the flexibility my remote work has provided, I was itching to go back to a collaborative in-person working environment. Admittedly, I was picky with my job search. But when I was offered a position at my children’s school, I knew I had to jump at the opportunity, despite the majority of my instruction experience being geared toward adolescents and adults. I am looking forward to learning more about elementary curriculum and I am hopeful that the experience of working in an elementary school will make me more well-rounded in my future content development endeavors.

I meant to write this post earlier but as mentioned, my first week working outside of the home was a learning experience. Toss in a TDY husband, two baseball schedules, piano lessons, volunteer commitments, and a flat tire – there were moments when I wondered if I made the right choice. I had so much that I wanted to write about this week but my fingers never managed to find their way to the keyboard. So instead I am logging my thoughts into this virtual space while sitting in traffic on I-95 in South Carolina (no worries – my better half is driving) and playing the license plate game with the kids. We’ve spotted our first Quebec plate of the trip and I’m sure we will spot the ever-elusive Hawaii plate as we near the Fort Stewart exit and make our way to Amelia Island, Florida.

This part of the country is known for the Southern Live Oak, which are famous for their sweeping limbs that descend to the ground before shooting upward. They’re also known for their strength and ability to grow well into old age. I like to fancy my career as one of the topsy turvy branches of the Southern Live Oak. There are a lot of hard turns and ups and downs but when you step back and look at the tree as a whole, it is quite beautiful and purposeful.

Dreaming of Spring Break

Is anyone else running on fumes? It has been a week. Because we currently live in an area that schedules Spring Break around Easter, our week-long vacation from school and regular life is extra late this year. A handful of years ago, Clay and I vowed to make every attempt to pack a suitcase and physically leave during Spring Break if our schedule allows. While neither one of us were into the traditional Spring Break scene during our college years, we appreciate the mental reset that escaping home can provide this time of year. Especially when we call the fast-paced and unrelenting Washington DC suburbs home (we do enjoy living here, I promise!).

Deremer Studios Commercial Photograph – Amelia Island

We decided quite early that we’d go to Amelia Island, Florida for Spring Break this year. My parents bought a place there last year so after coordinating with my siblings last fall, Clay and I penciled our family to use it for the week. It helps with scheduling that my siblings and I don’t live in the same area – different school calendars!

We’re driving to Florida because it is not in our budget to fly – especially since we’re going to Germany and Austria this summer. We are able to travel as much as we do because we are willing to drive to a lot of our destinations. Would it be easier and faster to fly to Florida? Yes. Would we still like to be able to contribute to our kids’ 529s? Also yes. We are incorporating a brief stay in Savannah, Georgia into our road trip to Florida. We’re staying right on the river and we’re looking forward to exploring the Hostess City of the South.

We don’t have much of anything planned during our time in Amelia Island beyond relaxing on the beach. We will be bringing our stand-up paddle board with us to Floria so we’re excited to take her on her maiden voyage. I have a stack of books to read without guilt and we’ll be sure to eat at some of our favorite local places – like Timoti’s (pictured)!

My parents will be meeting us there towards the end of our stay and watching the kids for a night while Clay and I escape to the Casa Monica Resort and Spa in St. Augustine, Florida. We’re looking forward to staying in one of the oldest hotels in the country and enjoying the Moorish and Spanish Revival architecture on the property.

Yesterday was dreary, rainy, and cold – it made it easy to daydream about our upcoming trip. Thankfully the sun is shining today – perfect weather for the first Little League games of the season. And soon enough we will be breathing in the salty air and eating fresh seafood. What about you? Has your Spring Break already come and gone? Did you go anywhere? What are your Spring Break plans?