Summer Staycation Ideas

Besides my trip to Atlanta, I don't have any plans to travel outside of Illinois this summer. But instead of being bummed by the thought, I am using these free weekends to explore more of my town and places that are within an hour or two of where I live. By staying closer to home, you can save a lot of money (especially if you only go on day trips!) and you can discover lots of hidden gems that are located right in your backyard.

To make the most of staying in town, I recommend getting a few friends together and coming up with ideas. Is there a coffee shop in your town that you have always wanted to try? This summer is the perfect time! Maybe a zoo that is only an hour away from you? Plan a fun day trip and see what it has to offer! You would be surprised how much there is to do, even if you don't live in a big town.

Another idea to find good places to visit is to hop on Instagram. For example, if you live in Holland, Michigan, try putting that in on Instagram and search for pictures that have been tagged there. Often people will go to cool places and post their pictures with a location, so you can get fun ideas even from strangers! That is how I found out about the lavender farm I visited. I never would've known it existed except for Instagram!

Another thing to think about is if you have any big cities that you could visit for a fun day trip or even a weekend of fun! I live close enough to St. Louis, Indianapolis, and Chicago, so I have gone on short trips to those places for a day of fun!

Other fun examples:
-visiting an amusement park
-visiting a new trail near you to walk/hike
-find a drive in movie location near you
-try a new ice cream place (my friend and I just discovered a froyo place that is close to our house and is only $2. GAME CHANGER!)
-find a new farmers market and buy some fresh fruits or veggies

I promise, you can make a fun adventure out of almost any small trip as long as you are with the right people! Find some friends who will also be in town and set out and find new places!

What is your favorite thing to do in your town? Share in the comments!
xo, Scarlett

*image originally from Design Love Fest


Lavender Farm

Last week I had to opportunity to visit a you-pick lavender farm that I had heard about. A friend and I went there after work one evening, even though we thought they might be closed. We figured we could probably take pictures in the lavender even if we couldn't pick it! But to our delight, the lady who runs it was there doing work, so she let us pick some and snap quite a few pictures! I honestly had no idea this even existed anywhere in Illinois, but I am so glad that I found out about it and took the time to visit! If you live in Illinois, I definitely recommend visiting Sharp's Crossing Lavender Farm even though it will probably be an hour or two long drive. It was just such a fun and unique experience, and the lavender smells SO GOOD. 

The sunset was also so pretty while we were there, but you can also see the storm that we were trying to beat!

Overall, it was such a fun way to spend an evening and I definitely recommend looking into any lavender farms that could be near where you live!

xo, Scarlett


Atlanta Trip- June 2017

At the beginning of June my family went down to Atlanta because my brother was moving down there. I wanted to do a quick recap of the few days and share some of my pictures from the aquarium with you guys!

Thursday night we ate at a barbecue restaurant called Cue, and it was really good! My only complaint was that the bun of my barbecue sandwich tasted weird. Like not bad necessarily, but it just didn't go with the taste of the meat. So if I went again I would not get it on a bun!
Then we went to Brusters for ice cream. I had never heard of it before, but I guess it's a decently well known chain. I got salted caramel and chocolate together, and I would definitely go again if I was near one!

Friday we got up and ate at The Original Pancake House. We have one near where I live, and it is my absolute favorite breakfast place. The pancakes and bacon are just so great. But unfortunately this one didn't have quite as good of pancakes as what I am used to and like.

After breakfast we went to the aquarium, and immediately went into the dolphin show. Dolphins are such cool animals, and I recommend taking the time to watch the show if you do go to this aquarium!

The lion fish was one of the coolest fish there in my opinion!  

It was difficult to get a good shot of the albino alligators, but they were so neat!  

Of course I loved the sparkles on the piranhas.  

I also loved the sea dragons! So similar to a sea horse, yet so different.  

The whale shark was HUGE.  This picture does not do it justice. 

Pretty sure I could've watched the jelly fish swim around all day 

After finishing at the aquarium we walked over to the park and rode the ferris wheel. The air conditioned cars felt great, and the view wasn't bad lol. 

Andddd after this I basically failed as a blogger because I didn't take anymore pictures. But that night we got pizza at Mellow Mushroom, which is a funky pizza place with pretty good pizza. 

After dinner we went to a nearby mall, where I caved and bought Birkenstocks. I know they have been more popular in the past few years, but I have never really thought they were cute, especially the ones with just the two thick straps. But I needed a shoe that has good arch support, so I decided this pair was the best. Not the most stylish shoe option, but when it comes to good support it is one of the few that is decently cute and has good support. 

The next day we did some more shopping and then ate at a random Mexican restaurant called Agavero. It ended up having great food, especially the queso! Then we drove around a bit and stopped at another mall before heading to dinner. For dinner we went to Sage, which was more fancy. Afterwards we tried another ice cream place called Four Fat Cows. There I got chocolate chunk and mint cookies and cream together, and it was very good! The mint cookies and cream was especially good, though I couldn't place why. I would definitely recommend though! 

Again, I am sorry I don't have more pictures, but my phone is always out of storage and I only had my DSLR with me on Friday! But I still wanted to recap my trip so you could see the pictures I did get, and so I can come back and see what I did a year or two from now! I love looking back at old posts, especially travel posts! 

Where are you traveling to next? Tell me in the comments!

xo, Scarlett


Summer Bucket List 2017

Another summer, another summer bucket list. This is my second to last summer ever (I am in denial about this though) so I am determined to make it a good one! I am back home for the summer and I am ready to make some good memories with old friends, even if we are all working now more than ever! Also, some of these things are more of a "to-do list" type and not super exciting and bucket list worthy. Basically, it is just a list of things I want to accomplish before school starts back up in September. I am also trying to finish most of my 101 in 1001 list this summer since it ends in September, so that is another reason why this list is fairly tame.

For more ideas for summer bucket lists, checkout my lists from 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016! (You can also see how my blog has evolved throughout the years by looking at these posts haha!)

What do you want to accomplish this summer? Share in the comments below!

xo, Scarlett


Recently Reading (April & May 2017)

Time for another Recently Reading post to catch up to where I am now! If you missed the one I posted last week, click here!

My Antonia by Willa Cather
Fun fact, I had to read this book sophomore year of high school for English, and now I had to read it again sophomore year of college for my American Literature class. This was one of my favorite books I had to read in English class, so I was not mad that I had to read it again! Honestly I still have other books by Willa Cather on my to-read list, because I really did enjoy her writing! 

"My Antonia" is a beautiful novel celebrating the gift of everlasting friendship. The main character, Jim Burden, shares his childhood upbringing with his grandparents in Nebraska, at the beginning of the 20th Century. There he meets, the Shimerdas, a Bohemian immigrant family. Jim became best friends with their daughter, Antonia.
Jim’s account is special because we witness his genuine and compassionate approach to the European immigrants and his attachment to the land. Through the description of his surroundings, we witness how Jim identifies wholeheartedly to the country lifestyle."

 The Hyponotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty 
I have loved almost all the books I have read by Liane Moriarty, and this one was no exception. I love her writing style, and how everything pieces together in the end, even things that you didn't know would fit together! 

"Ellen O’Farrell is a professional hypnotherapist who works out of the eccentric beachfront home she inherited from her grandparents. It’s a nice life, except for her tumultuous relationship history. She’s stoic about it, but at this point, Ellen wouldn’t mind a lasting one. When she meets Patrick, she’s optimistic. He’s attractive, single, employed, and best of all, he seems to like her back. Then comes that dreaded moment: He thinks they should have a talk.
Braced for the worst, Ellen is pleasantly surprised. It turns out that Patrick’s ex-girlfriend is stalking him. Ellen thinks, Actually, that’s kind of interesting. She’s dating someone worth stalking. She’s intrigued by the woman’s motives. In fact, she’d even love to meet her. Ellen doesn’t know it, but she already has."

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Another day, another Sarah Dessen book down. This one I also really liked and read fairly quickly. It would be a great beach read! 

"She’s got it all figured out.
Or does she? When it comes to relationships, Remy’s got a whole set of rules.
Never get too serious. Never let him break your heart. And never, ever date a musician.
But then Remy meets Dexter, and the rules don’t seem to apply anymore.

Could it be that she’s starting to understand what all those love songs are about?"

As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Again, I had to read this one for my literature class. I honestly was so confused in the beginning and hated the first half or so. And honestly I hated the ending too. But I can see why our professor had us read it, and if you are into reading classics I do recommend it. 
"As I Lay Dying is Faulkner’s harrowing account of the Bundren family’s odyssey across the Mississippi countryside to bury Addie, their wife and mother. Narrated in turn  by each of the family members—including Addie herself—as well as others the novel ranges in mood, from dark comedy to the deepest pathos. Considered one of the most influential novels in American fiction in structure, style, and drama, As I Lay Dying is a true 20th-century classic. "

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
I had to wait so long before I could get my hands on this book, but once I did I am happy to say it lived up to the hype. If you love a good mystery, I recommend picking this up! I read it all in one night while I was at work at the desk, and I am so glad I had 4 uninterrupted hours to finish it! 

"In this tightly wound, enthralling story reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s works, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…
With surprising twists, spine-tingling turns, and a setting that proves as uncomfortably claustrophobic as it is eerily beautiful, Ruth Ware offers up another taut and intense read in The Woman in Cabin 10—one that will leave even the most sure-footed reader restlessly uneasy long after the last page is turned."
The Last Anniversary by Liane Moriarty
As you can see, I am loving Liane Moriarty's books! This one took me a while to read because I was busy, but I kept coming back to it because it was good! 

"Sophie Honeywell always wondered if Thomas Gordon was the one who got away. He was the perfect boyfriend, but on the day he was going to propose, she broke his heart. A year later he married his travel agent, while Sophie has been mortifyingly single ever since. Now Thomas is back in her life because Sophie has unexpectedly inherited his aunt Connie's house on Scribbly Gum Island—home of the famously unsolved Munro Baby mystery.
Sophie moves onto the island and begins a new life as part of an unconventional family, where it seems everyone has a secret. Grace, a beautiful young mother, is feverishly planning a shocking escape from her perfect life. Margie, a frumpy housewife, has made a pact with a stranger, while dreamy Aunt Rose wonders if maybe it's about time she started making her own decisions.
As Sophie's life becomes increasingly complicated, she discovers that sometimes you have to stop waiting around—and come up with your own fairy-tale ending."

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

This was the final book I had to read for the literature class, and it was probably my favorite out of the four! I hadn't even heard of this before, but it was very interesting and not too difficult to read. I also like that you got multiple characters perspectives, but it wasn't too confusing. 

"Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor, amateur entomologist, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweller, detective, vegan, and collector of butterflies. When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre, Oskar sets out to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father's closet. It is a search which leads him into the lives of strangers, through the five boroughs of New York, into history, to the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima, and on an inward journey which brings him ever closer to some kind of peace."
The Perfect Neighbors by Sarah Pekkanen
Another mystery that was hard for me to put down! I love Sarah Pekkanen's writing style, and have yet to find a book that she has written that I do not like. I definitely recommend her books if you do like a good mystery! 

"Perfect Neighbors takes us into the homes of an idyllic suburban neighborhood where we discover the burning secrets hiding just below the surface.
Bucolic Newport Cove, where spontaneous block parties occur on balmy nights and all of the streets are named for flowers, is proud of its distinction of being named one the top twenty safest neighborhoods in the US.
It’s also one of the most secret-filled.
Kellie Scott has just returned to work after a decade of being a stay-at-home mom. She’s adjusting to high heels, scrambling to cook dinner for her family after a day at the office—and soaking in the dangerous attention of a very handsome, very married male colleague. Kellie’s neighbor Susan Barrett begins every day with fresh resolutions: she won’t eat any carbs. She’ll go to bed at a reasonable hour. And she’ll stop stalking her ex-husband and his new girlfriend. Gigi Kennedy seems to have it all together—except her teenage daughter has turned into a hostile stranger and her husband is running for Congress, which means her old skeletons are in danger of being brought into the light.
Then a new family moves to this quiet, tree-lined cul-de-sac. Tessa Campbell seems friendly enough to the other mothers, if a bit reserved. Then the neighbors notice that no one is ever invited to Tessa’s house. And soon, it becomes clear Tessa is hiding the biggest secret of all."

Did you make it to the end? I am actually very happy with how many books I read this past semester, as I usually don't have time to read during the semester. I decided this semester I was going to make more time to read, and I am so glad I did! 

What books have you been loving recently? Leave your recommendations in the comments below!
xo, Scarlett


Recently Reading (February & March 2017)

As I am sure you've noticed, I am a little behind in blogging in general, but especially with Recently Reading posts. I was going to do a really long post for spring, but instead I split it up into two posts.

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
By now, most of you probably know if you like Sarah Dessen's writing or not. Personally, I enjoy her books and find them to be nice light reads, so I enjoyed reading this book! 
"Love can be a very dangerous thing. After her sister left, Caitlin felt lost. Then she met Rogerson.When she’s with him, nothing seems real. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?"

Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist
I had heard a lot about this book, so I quickly devoured it once it was in my hands. Overall, I enjoyed it and left feeling that I won't ever be perfect, and that's okay. Sometimes, especially in college, it can be so easy to take on more than you can handle and act like you have it all together on the outside. But it is important to make sure you aren't taking on too much, and be able to be present. 

"A few years ago, I found myself exhausted and isolated, my soul and body sick. I was tired of being tired, burned out on busy. And, it seemed almost everyone I talked with was in the same boat: longing for connection, meaning, depth, but settling for busy.
I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, neighbor, writer, and I know all too well that settling feeling. But over the course of the last few years, I’ve learned a way to live, marked by grace, love, rest, and play. And it’s changing everything.
Present Over Perfect is an invitation to this journey that changed my life. I’ll walk this path with you, a path away from frantic pushing and proving, and toward your essential self, the one you were created to be before you began proving and earning for your worth."

Along For The Ride by Sarah Dessen
Again, another Sarah Dessen... you probably see a trend. I am trying to finish all of her books that I haven't read by the end of this summer, so we will see how far I get! This was one of my favorites by her. I really liked the characters in this one especially. 

"It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started.Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.
A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend."

Utopia by Thomas More and Candide by Voltaire
I had to read these two for history class...  I don't recommend unless you are into that kind of book. I'll stick to books written within the last century or two personally. But I wanted to include them because just for the record I did read them! 

The Choice Nicholas Sparks
Low key I never realized how many books Nicholas Sparks has written. Slowly but surely making my way through, and I would recommend this one if you are a Nicholas Sparks fan. 

"Travis Parker has everything a man could want: a good job, loyal friends, even a waterfront home in small-town North Carolina. In full pursuit of the good life-- boating, swimming, and regular barbecues with his good-natured buddies--he holds the vague conviction that a serious relationship with a woman would only cramp his style. That is, until Gabby Holland moves in next door. Despite his attempts to be neighborly, the appealing redhead seems to have a chip on her shoulder about him . . . and the presence of her longtime boyfriend doesn't help. Despite himself, Travis can't stop trying to ingratiate himself with his new neighbor, and his persistent efforts lead them both to the doorstep of a journey that neither could have foreseen. Spanning the eventful years of young love, marriage and family, THE CHOICE ultimately confronts us with the most heartwrenching question of all: how far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?"

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

And I am sure most of you have heard of this book, and maybe even had to read it long ago in some English class in high school. I know years ago my English teacher made us read just a chapter out of this book, and that chapter made me think I would never like this book. Now I don't think I would have read it for fun, but since I had to read it for my literature class this semester, I did. And it ended up being a pretty good book!

Have you read any of these? Share in the comments below! And stay tuned to see what I read in April and May!

xo, Scarlett


Choosing To Major in Speech-Language Pathology

Somehow I realized I am two years into undergrad but I don't think I have ever done a post specifically saying what major I am! I am in the Speech Pathology and Audiology program at my school and I am planning on becoming a Speech Pathologist! And now I bet that most of you are quietly wondering what in the world that means. Don't worry, I had no idea a few years ago either! Many people in my program have wanted to do this since they were born, but I only decided on it after I pretty much said no to every other major out there.

This image pretty much covers the basics and gives you a better idea of what an SLP is!

Like I mentioned above, I only decided on it because I didn't want to do anything else. I really enjoy nannying and working with kids, but I just knew I was not cut out to be a teacher and deal with the same kids all day every day. When my parents brought up being an SLP, I literally had no idea what it was. But then senior year I ended up shadowing a few in settings around me, and it was something that I could see myself doing. I also love that there are so many options for SLPs, such as working in a school, hospital, or clinic setting. Someone who graduated from my school years ago came back to speak to our program this past spring, and one thing she said really resonated with me. She said that she never has been bored in her career, and I don't think that is something that many people can say! To me, that was a major thing when picking a major. I didn't want to end up doing an office job that I hated and felt stuck in. Also I have already gotten so many cool opportunities from being in this program! One example was that I was able to spend the month of January in Jamaica learning about programs that have been set up for deaf people there.

I get this questions so often from people, and the short answer is yes. Basically, you have to get a master's degree before you can practice as an SLP. At first this almost turned me away from this major, because 6 years of school sounded long and expensive. But, I was able to find a school that has a 5 year program, so long story short I only have a little over a year beyond normal undergrad. Which means I am already almost halfway through! Plus, the last year or two is almost all clinical anyways, and the classes you are taking are interesting ones that pertain to your major.

Many people assume that all bloggers are going into marketing or communications, and it is weird that they could have a major that doesn't really relate at all. But my blog is a great creative outlet for me when I am tired of studying anatomy and need a break from all things school related. It also does sort of fit in, since I have learned how to communicate better with others through this blog, and I will be communicating with clients and families in the future!

Overall, I have realized that very few bloggers are majoring in speech pathology, so I wanted to use my blog to share with others about my amazing major! If you are still trying to pick a major, I highly recommend looking into it. Feel free to contact me by email if you have any questions! I also would love to hear if any of my readers are also majoring in speech pathology. Comment below if you are, or if you are in college let me know what major you are! I love hearing about other peoples majors and passions.

xo, Scarlett