Tapestry: Ladies Retreat | Chattanooga, Tennessee

I had the opportunity to be a part of my church’s ladies retreat this year. We hosted the event in Chattanooga, TN, and our theme for the weekend was Tapestry, with an emphasis on Ephesians 4:1-3: “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” The weekend was a great reminder of how we as women are like different chords being woven together to create a greater picture, or tapestry, to display the love and beauty of Christ. Through letting go of our insecurities and embracing our gifts and the gifts of others we can achieve more together. The beauty of the church is that each of us has certain strengths and things that make us different from each other, and together, we can accomplish so much by joining together. Even though it rained most of our time there, we still had a great time. Here are…

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Italy Part IV – Rome

And so it comes. Today is the last post as we wrap up our Italy adventures in Rome. Although we were exhausted, Rome was incredible. I loved all of the history and the beauty in the architecture. There was so much to soak in, in such a short time. Being able to see and stand on the ancient grounds and ruins was humbling. We enjoyed some of the best food of our trip here as well as some of the best memories.  

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Italy Part III – Florence

Florence was our favorite city that we visited in Italy. The city has tons of markets, leather shops, and tiny bistros with the most delicious desserts and gelato. I could have spent weeks exploring the city. Our first day, we went to the Duomo early in the morning and climbed to the very top. The view was unlike anything I had ever seen before. You could see all of Florence and Tuscany. We reached the top just as the sun was rising and it made for one of my favorite memories of our entire trip through Italy. Get there early, because it get’s super crowded. We bought combination tickets when visiting the Duomo, so we also got to visit St. John’s Baptistery, the Cathedral and Bell Tower, the Museum, and the Crypt. It was a great deal. You can purchase the pass at any of those places for just 23 euros/each. We also visited the Ponte Vecchio Bridge, which is known for its silver. It also holds Ian’s favorite gelato shop, Bar Ponte Vecchio. We also visited the statute of David…

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Italy Part II – Venice

When planning our trip, I knew that Venice was somewhere we had to visit. Many people had said there wasn’t a lot to do there, but I knew it was something I needed to see. And I was so right. After a long train ride from Milan, Ian and I struggled as we got off the train with our rolling luggage (if you read our Italy Travel Guide post, this is where the nightmare of rolling luggage started,) and walked through the dark train station. We followed the crowd of people down several steps and into the sun… and this is where I lost my breath. Venice was the most beautiful city I have every been to. It was very similar to being in a Disney movie. There was music every where you went, gorgeous buildings, and romance.

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Italy Part I – Germany, Switzerland, and Milan

This week we are following up our Italy Travel Guide with the first part of our trip to Germany, Switzerland, and Milan. We started our trip with an eight hour flight to Germany. Once we landed, we took a train from Germany through Switzerland and arrived in Milan that night. The train ride was actually really fun. We stared out the windows the entire time in awe of the Black Forrest (where Ian’s ancestry is from,) Swiss Alps, and all the small villages in between. From the photos below, you can tell we were a little tired by the time we got to the train station. After a full day of planes and trains, we finally made it to Milan. It was very glamorous and totally lived up to the hype of being a fashion-forward city. I would definitely suggest going to the hole-in-the-wall restaurants away from the main parts of the city to eat. The city is so touristy, it can be easy to miss the authentic places, so we asked the hotel and people around where they recommended. Even though…

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Italy Travel Guide

It has been a dream of mine since I was in middle school to take a trip to Italy. I could never put my finger on why I loved it so much, but between the food, the history and the views, I knew it had to be wonderful. My husband knew about this dream, so when I graduated college and started working full time, he told me that we would always find a reason not to go or put it off, so lets do it now. And we did! We started planning in December for a travel date in May.  Even though I was thrilled, the planning was a little stressful. Neither of us had been to Europe before and we had no idea what we were doing. We spent hours reading and putting together an itinerary (I have a type A personality), which were great memories and times I got to spend learning with Ian. So I decided to share the little bit of knowledge we gained on traveling to Italy for anyone who was clueless, like us, or just…

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Tybee Island and Savannah – The Beauty of Love as it Ages

This past year was an unbelievably beautiful reminder of what love looks like as it ages. My parents and in-laws celebrated 25 years of marriage and my grandparents celebrated 60 years! If that is not a expression that love can last longer than the statistics show, then I don’t know what is. To celebrate my grandparents and their love, my family decided to rent a house in Tybee Island to visit the beach and Savannah, GA for the weekend. Having three generations of love all under one roof for the weekend was such a great reminder of God’s love for us and his plan for marriage.   (photo credit to my beautiful sister, Brianna Westland, for capturing this shot) It was better than any fairytale to watch my grandparents hold hands and walk to the edge of the water. One of the days we were there, we visited downtown Savannah. It is such a quaint and historic town. Every street has some gorgeous building or elegant fountain. We ate lunch at Paula Deen’s restaurant Lady and Sons, per my grandmothers request.…

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Nashville, TN

For a quick weekend getaway, Ian and I and our friends Jimmy and Jen decided to go to Nashville, Tennessee. Even though all four of us had lived in the south our entire lives, we had never been before. In my opinion, Tennessee is one of the most beautiful states and Nashville is a city you cannot miss! Here are a few pictures from our trip as well as some recommendations if you decide to take a trip yourself. For lunch the first day we stopped at The Pharmacy which has some incredible burgers and handcrafted sodas. Of course we had to be touristy so we stopped by the Pantheon in Centennial Park to relive some memories from Italy. And as you may know from our previous trips, we always do jumping pictures somewhere in the city… For an afternoon pick-me-up we went to the Frothy Monkey on 12th ave for some incredible coffee and lattes. The Frothy Monkey is known to have several country celebrities stop in, but unfortunately none were there when we went. 12th ave. was fun…

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