There & back Again: how I wandered into my own second chapter

April 10, 2022

 


There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something.
You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always
quite the something you were after.” - J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit


Some travel to find themselves while others wander simply because they must; and some of us happen upon both at once.


Back in January as I was perusing Airbnb and allowing myself to get carried off in dreamy clouds of travel grandeur, a charming little listing in Murfreesboro, TN caught my eye: a hobbit hole. There is a certain kind of magic that comes from being immersed in nature, even more from being immersed in a story.


This small hut made of mud sat quietly in the woods as part of large property shared with a wedding venue. The photos looked charming, cozy, and inviting. I had been mulling over the idea of a solo trip for a few weeks and wanted to plan something for the near future. April seemed like the perfect time to go: the divorce would be well past final, I’d be hopefully coming into my own a little more, and it would be spring. The promise of warm weather is always strong bait for me. However, Tennessee springs are anything but predictable. (Spoiler alert: it was most definitely not warm. I pretended it was anyway.) 

Hunting & Becoming: Reflections on the past year

January 26, 2022


The Huntress
-

There’s been a lot of talk lately
about arrows and targets and making your mark

with the kind of badassery born from a bow & arrow

but I’m no Robin Hood, just a modern day Artemis 
in a pair of stiletto boots, with a quiver full of truth

a wildfire ripping through wildflowers

the storm surge in a hurricane

whiplash in a crown

mismanaged mischief always afoot

unconcerned with the sound a bullseye makes or my arrow’s precision 

but ever-insatiable for the thrill of the hunt

and what may emerge

from the edge of the woods
-M


Right now, sitting at my desk in the early morning hours before the work day, I am reading over notes on my phone from January 2021. About a year ago, I was only just beginning my journey. Reading through what I had written, I have so much gratitude for that girl  - the girl who kept going. The girl who could taste possibility at the back of her throat like pomegranate seeds, knowing she has always been, in a sense, a modern day Persephone waiting for her eternal spring. A girl who just wanted the best this world had to offer because she felt its potential in her bones, to give that to herself first so she could return that light back to others. She wrote about the kind of days that tasted of bitterness, sobbing in the parked car in the garage, of her daughter asking her, "Mommy, why are you crying?" She wrote about how she did not feel she was enough - she was not enough for her daughter, she was not enough for her marriage, she was not enough for herself.

A Workout Routine that WORKS

December 2, 2021

 


Since posting this picture on my Instagram account, I have had several people ask me what my workout routine is - and it's probably not what you think. The photo above is only 13 weeks apart, and I don't have a true "before shot" but it's along similar lines of the first, but with a lot more bloat, lethargy, and no real sense of direction or balance.

Let me preface this by saying, I am blessed with good genes. I've always been small and thin, but I'm gonna own up to it: life has not been a cakewalk with my physical and mental health (& we need to remove the stigma attached to talking about it. EVERYONE HAS TRAUMA). I've battled anorexia, debilitating anxiety, and a venomous self-image in my past (& I still have bad days! I'm human!), but that's not what this post is about. I just wanted to throw out a little disclaimer that no matter what size someone is or where they fall on the body spectrum, you never know what someone is going through or where they've been. "Healthy" looking people can actually be anything but sometimes, and I was an example of that.

It's a new dawn, it's a new (Tues)day, it's a new life

November 23, 2021


In my recent article on the Knoxville Voyager, I defined myself and my brand as "fun, sweet, and always outside the box." While these may be true, reflecting back on this, I no longer want to be defined in the first place.

I don't like to define people. The minute you do, you're confining them to a handful of attributes, failures or successes but people encompass so much more than that.

Over the past year, I've been going through some pretty massive changes. In that time, I've distanced myself more than usual from social media (most notably this is reflected in my lack of posts and absence on my blog and infrequent scattered presence on Instagram). Social media is a huge time and energy suck, and it was important to me, while undergoing this change (still there, quite honestly), to take a hiatus.

Magic in the Mountains - A Trip to North Carolina

September 9, 2021




North Carolina found its way into my heart by happenstance. It unfolded softly over time, in trips to the Biltmore, in the breweries and salt cave of Asheville, in a girls trip to Charlotte. So when a little Airbnb with a yurt on a farm nestled in the mountains of Leicester, NC found it’s way to my iPhone screen, something in me said, “This place. There’s something here for you.
 

Ugh, As If! - Musings on a Bygone Era

July 14, 2021

 

 

Last night I attended a 90s paint & sip party at the Chattery; an event where millennials like me, now well into our 30s, could indulge in the nostalgia of our youth as we painted scenes from Clueless and jammed to the sweet sounds of Backstreet Boys, all while knocking back glasses of Pinot Grigio that may or may not have been laced with the tears of our childhood.

Disney Beyond the Parks: What to do on Non-Park Days

April 18, 2021



When you're planning a Disney trip, it's tempting to jam-pack every waking moment of your trip with park time. There's simply so much to see & do within the parks, but it's just impossible to check off every item from your Disney trip to-do list. There's also an entire world (literally) beyond just the Disney parks. From Disney Springs to resorts and everything in between, there are some absolute must-do's that don't even require a park ticket!


I was recently in Orlando (no one is surprised) visiting some friends (shoutout to the Citrus Twins!) and I got to spend majority of my trip exploring Orlando & Winter Garden (more on that coming soon). But of course, being the Disney-obsessed person I am, I couldn't be that close to Disney and not do something Disney-related. But with my friends' annual passes blocked out, the parks were just not an option, so we ended up doing Disney Springs & some resort hopping to scratch that Disney itch. I got a lot of questions on my Instagram about things to do beyond the parks, so it gave me an idea for today's post. So I'm compiling some of my top suggestions for must-do's outside of the 4 WDW parks!

Chasing Rainbows: Celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Chattanooga

March 14, 2021



If you’re looking for a fun way to get in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit this year, Chattanooga has a surprising amount of options: from festive food & colorful murals to epic events, my little southern city has got you covered!


I’ve done the scouting for you & rounded up some of my favorite St. Paddy’s treats, as well as a shortlist of the most colorful & grammable spots! So are you feeling lucky yet? Let’s jump in!

Chattalocal: High Rail at the Chattanoogan

February 26, 2021

 


I am usually the go-to girl in our friend group who seems to be "in the know" of when new places open up (probably because I'm constantly sifting through Instagram geotags!) so when new bars, restaurants or shops pop up, I'm typically the one to fire off a group text. Just think of me as a less cool version of Bill Hader's SNL character Stefon ("Chattanooga's hottest new club is....."). Except in this case, it's not a club (are those even a thing anymore?), it's a rooftop restaurant & lounge, and goodness knows Chattanooga needs more of those! For a city legit known as the "Scenic City," the restaurant & bar scene around here sure isn't capitalizing on that fact, but we're making some strides.

Guide to Doing Disney in the Pandemic: V. 2021, Part II

February 20, 2021

Looking for Part I? Check out the first part of the post, here!

Picking up right where I last left off: our first park day! The whole reason I had planned our trip for February was to finally check out the Epcot International Festival of the Arts (or - more affectionately known in certain Disney community circles - as iFARTS). Pro tip: If you can plan your trip for January/February when this festival is running, do it. The weather this time of year is pretty great (though ours was a mixed bag: one day it was pretty chilly & the next it was upper 70s and kind of humid), the crowds are low (though that might be more due to covid...), and the Festival of the Arts is in full swing.


I'm a seasoned Epcot festival veteran. I've done Food&Wine more times than I can count, Flower & Garden twice, and the Festival of the Holidays just once. But iFARTS has eluded me since its inaugural year. The timing of this festival just never worked out for me, until now. And I am oh so glad I finally got the chance to go!


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