I've been talking about visiting Europe for years, and in 2011, it will become a reality. While there are many countries I will visit in the coming years (Hello...Norway/Finland/Sweden!), Ireland will most likely be the destination for next year.

I've been thinking about taking my mom with me, seeing as it will be her 50th birthday next year. I'm planning on keeping it on the down-low, and I know she never reads my blog; so I'm good to share it here.

If you have visited Ireland, please let me know of any tips, places, B&B's, etc! I can't wait to make this trip happen!

I went a little concert crazy this year....I'm blaming it on living in a place where big name artists come more than once a year! Living in Nashville was fantastic for indie artists; but big name concerts happened maybe once a year. I've gathered quite the list, and I am so excited!

I kicked off my Summer Concert Series in June with Tim McGraw, Lady Antelbellum andLove & Theft. It was an outdoor venue in Rancho Cucamonga, and I went with my dear friend Dani. My dad and sister gave me the tickets for my birthday. I loved Love & Theft, love love loved Lady A, and absolutely melted during Tim McGraw. What a fantastic concert to start the summer, and what a better friend than Dani to go with!

Next up is Dave Matthews Band with Brett Dennen in August. Katie is flying out for this show, and I am so excited to make this our third summer seeing DMB together! It'll be at the Irvine Ampitheater, and we have really great seats. Should be a fantastic show, as usual! Dave never lets me down!

Just a few days later is the ever popular (and sometimes not) John Mayer with Owl City. I was so surprised by my employers with tickets to this concert for my birthday. I've never seen either artists in concert; so I am so very excited to see them! Owl City had a show a few months back at a smaller venue, and I so badly wanted to go, but was unable to find a wingman (or woman) to join me. Luckily I'll get to see their show on an even grander stage and a great venue! BONUS?! Katie will still be in town! Woohoo! Two great concerts, in California, with my bestest friend ever........happy girl right here.

Wrapping up the summer is Jack Johnson. You have no idea how long I've waited to see him in concert! I am so excited, I just can't hide it! For the past few years I've wanted to see him, but he has never played inland close enough to where I've lived (Nashville, TN). Lucky for me I moved to a coastal town! Ironically, he chose this year to play inland, and my friends back home will be able to see him in Indiana and Georgia.

There may or may not be another concert in there somewhere.....I'd love to see a little Maroon 5/OneRepublic action....

One Year Later

Drew, Jenni, myself and Katie
My Nashville peoples :)

One year ago today, I moved from Nashville, TN to Anaheim Hills, CA.

Culture shock.

A year later, there are things that I am still getting used to: freeway drivers, u-turns, constant traffic, etc etc. Although the people aren't seemingly as hospitable as they are in the South, they are every bit as nice. Granted, don't ask to be let over in a lane, and don't apologize for being in someones way in the grocery store...things I took for granted in Tennessee. :)

A year ago I was unraveled. I was knee deep in drastic changes in my life, and added to that was leaving everything I'd known to move to a place I'd never been. I was leaving friends who are so dear to me, friends who had stood by me when no one else would. I was leaving my family, who although they were just a few hours away, gone was the convenience of visiting whenever I wanted.

So I took a deep breath, and boarded a plane.

And I've not once looked back.

Oh, I miss Kentucky. I miss Tennessee. Maybe one day I'll live there again. But I was, and am, determined to live my life to the fullest. And in this moment, it's here, in California. I've gotten to know some incredible people who were so obviously put in my life for redeeming what was stolen to me. Dear, sweet "California best friends" who have been a continual lifesaver. Courtney is from Oklahoma, and I believe God brought us together just so we would have someone to relate to! He's awesome like that.

Dani, myself and Courtney
Cali friends :)

So one year later, I'm a better person. And I would relive the past year again and again if its to learn the lessons that I have.

So take a deep breath, and choose the path less'll be a better person for it.

I celebrated the 4th of July by piling in a car full of friends and headed north on the 101. We were were on our way to the beautiful town of Paso Robles, located somewhere on the central coast. As we passed through the smog-laden City of Angels, we crossed slowly into not just clean air, but a part of California I have yet to have seen. We drove up the 101, passed through Santa Barbara (I cannot wait to go back!) and many ocean side towns.

As soon as we got to Paso, we went to Micah's parents house for a "siesta"; and oh, how fabulous it was! It was surprisingly hot in Paso, so we sat outside in a divine backyard full of almond trees. Dani and I fell asleep sitting under the patio, it was so fabulously relaxing!

Saturday evening we walked around downtown Paso, and I highly recommend visiting if you haven't already. It's a small, quaint town, but large enough to accommodate most major retailers. We visited every nook and cranny of the downtown shops, loving Powell's Sweet Shoppe the most! We enjoyed it so much, we went back the next day. Dani scooped up Hello Kitty tattoos, and Dots; Tyler got hilarious men and woman's moustaches! Micah grabbed the always hilarious classic Mad Libs for our trip back. Powell's even has the original Willy Wonka playing during store hours, with vintage theater chairs to kick back and watch the show.

Saturday night we met up with Drew and Courtney, who were in town for a friends wedding. We had such a fabulous time laughing, dancing, and just being together. Sunday morning was the beginning of the madness! We made their engagement cake (the party was that day) in ONE HOUR! I had pre-made the cakes, so all we did was fill and fondant. Luckily, we had about 4 people helping out, so the process went pretty quick. It was my first time making a fruit filling, and I learned a few things that I will do differently next time. It was a vanilla cake with strawberry and blueberry filling, for the 4th of July.

We had a great afternoon chilling at Drew's parents house, listened to his old band play music, and celebrating their engagement! Sunday night we went to Meridian Vineyards for music, down home cookin' and amazing fireworks. Being in the city for the past year, I had forgotten what it looked like to see a million stars in the sky; but laying back and watching the fireworks go off, I remembered why I love where I'm from.

Monday morning we hopped on the road, headed for lunch at Firestone Grill in San Luis Obispo. We walked around downtown SLO, shopped a bit, then took our grub to Avila Beach. We waited as long as we could before making the sad trip home-no one wanted to leave! We had such a great time celebrating Drew and Courtney, and loved meeting all of their friends and family!

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