I’ve never been more depressed while scrolling through my Facebook feed than I have been in the last few months.
I thought 2016 was bad. Hello, 2017.
I’m pretty tired of reading hateful posts, comments, memes, etc., all over my feed. And guess what? It’s from every political party, every religion, every sexual orientation, every gender… Pretty much everyone is guilty. Heck, I’ve probably been divisive in the last few months in some capacity!
It’s inescapable. And I hate what it’s doing to me.
People think they know everything these days, and that they should share those opinions, no matter how nasty, negative, or degrading they are.
Well I’m tired of it. And if my Spotify account wasn’t connected to my Facebook, and all of my playlists wouldn’t be deleted if I got rid of it, I’d be gone by now.
I also stay because not all of you are like this, in fact, most everyone I actually know does not fall into these camps.
But you share things with hateful comments that I see—and you can’t help it! There are hateful comments on Delish videos! They are everywhere! Literally every article/post/video, even if it’s a silly cat video, has some sort of divisive comment on it.
Will it ever end?
I am getting to the point where I can’t take it anymore, and I am looking at my options. I’m probably going to keep my Facebook account, but have Wes make a new password and not tell it to me. I’m deleting the app from my phone for sure. It’s a time waster anyway.
So if you’re interested in me and what’s going on in my life, I highly encourage you to follow my blog, find me on Instagram, or add me on Snapchat. If you aren’t sure how to do so, PM me or comment here and I’ll reach out to you.
I’ll keep Facebook for a little while longer, but hopefully, I’ll be going away soon. At least for a little while. Maybe the world will learn how to behave, but right now, I doubt it.
Sorry for such a downer post, but I just feel like it needs to be said.
Writer’s Note: I’ve decided to begin a series where I share different stories about my mom, Diane Rassman Wiles. I think these will be enjoyable for both those who did and didn’t know her. And maybe it’ll help you (and even me) understand who I am better.
I had a really bad day. A girl was mean to me, a boy made fun of me, I didn’t get a good grade on my homework… Who really knows what actually happened that day. But I remember being really sad.
That changed quickly when, later that night, I walked into my room and saw a new Barbie, still in the box, on my bed. It wasn’t just any old Barbie—it was the new line of Barbies, whose hair changed colors that I had been really wanting. My mom had attached a note to the “Blue” Barbie that essentially said she was sorry I had a “blue” day, and she hoped this Barbie would cheer me up.
It really did.
That was Mom. She was always thinking about others and how to make them happy. It was the littlest of things, but they made a difference.
I’ve been thinking a lot about her lately. I’ve been thinking about how I can be the best mom to Jack, and I’m drawing on the memories of how my own mom was so good to me. Those memories have been flooding my mind, and that’s great! I need to remember her!
But it’s also super hard and sad.
So sometimes, when I’m having those days or even weeks where I can’t get her off my mind, I may write a short anecdote of a time that she made my life better, because honestly, I’ve been holding them in for too long, and it’s time to share her memory with the world.
Writer’s Note: Just so you know, I’m not getting paid to write about any of these things! I just wanted to share my favorite things about fall 🙂
Despite the fact that the high in Charlotte today is 92 degrees, it actually is fall. The Lord decided to bless us, and the high for Sunday, October 1st, is only 74! Woo!
I have a lot of information to share with you, so if you love fall like me, get ready…
Celebrating Fall in Your Home
If you’re looking for ways to get that fall-feel in your home, here are some ideas:
Candles set the right tone.
It’s essential that you have at least one autumn-scented candle in your home. If you want to make good first impressions when people come over, try placing it towards your entryway. Another great place? In your entertaining space, wherever that may be.
For me, I have a plethora of fall candles that I keep near my front door, in my living room, and in my kitchen. My go-to are any pumpkin-scented candles from Bath and Body Works (this is my favorite!), but if you can afford Yankee Candles, go for it.
Festive decorations give your home a little something-something.
I have a place right at my front door (see picture in candle section) that is my seasonal/holiday space. I change it up with different decorations and candles depending on what season we are in or what holiday is near. It’s nice to have a dedicated space for fun so that I don’t need to have decorations all over the place.
Sure, for certain holidays (Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and others), I might have some decorations in other places around my house, but having a seasonal spot takes the pressure off of having to get stuff that you want to put up (and saves you money!). Once you find your favorite items for each season, hold onto them and reuse them next year! Over time, if you see something you really want to add to your collection, maybe your spot will grow, or maybe you’ll retire a piece.
Fall foods are about more than just Pumpkin-Spiced Lattes (but we’ll still take those!).
Seriously, if you go on Pinterest, you will find all of the fall food recipes. And you don’t have to be hosting a dinner party to make an awesome autumn dish. Sometimes it’s just nice to celebrate for yourself!
You can also find recipes in these things called cookbooks—shocking, I know! I have one from the 80s that features recipes for every season.
But perhaps the easiest way to get some fall foods going in your kitchen is Trader Joe’s. Seriously, this store is full of fall-everything—check out their current shopping list for a good idea of what they have. Here’s a (very) small sample of fall favorites that I currently have in my kitchen:
For those who don’t know, Trader Joe’s has an area where you can sample things. The day I went, they were giving out samples of that Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese. It. Is. Incredible!! In fact, I had that very box for lunch today.
The Autumnal Harvest pasta sauce is super yummy too. Such an easy way to add some fall fun to your dinner—just serve warm over pasta!
They also had a sample of their pumpkin bread, but they added pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips to theirs! So good.
And you can’t go wrong with Spiced Cider! Delicious chilled or warmed.
Saturday mornings are for big breakfasts, and in the fall, that means pumpkin pancakes or waffles. Add a cup of coffee with Pumpkin-Spice creamer (I got mine at Target), and you’re just a happy person.
Things To Do: Anywhere
Don’t just keep your love for fall inside your home—get outdoors and do some fall activities! For those who aren’t in the Charlotte area, here are some generic things you can do in the fall:
Buy a pumpkin and carve it.
This is a tradition for my every year! I always change the carving up, usually doing something pop culture related.
Bonus points if you go to a pumpkin patch to get your pumpkin!
Find a fall festival or farm to attend.
If you Google your city and the words “fall festival” or “fall farm,” most likely at least one of each will pop up. Fall fests vary, but they are always fun. Farms tend to have fresh produce to shop, hayrides, petting zoos, and lots of other fun activities.
This is another I haven’t been to, but it seems really kid-friendly! It’s in Fort Mill, and they have a pumpkin patch, wagon rides, petting zoo, pedal carts, face painting, horseback riding, and kayaking.
Guys, I love this place, and not just because it’s like 5 minutes from my house. They have a corn maze, pumpkin picking, hayrides, apple cider doughnuts, funnel cakes, a big slide, and lots of other fun things. Check out the FAQs for a lot of helpful info!
This is another that I’ve never been to, but I’m so looking forward to going! They have a seven-acre (!) corn maze that you can try to make your way through as well as hayrides, corn-hole, pumpkin picking, trails, and more!
I blogged about my first trip to Bush-N-Vine this spring—I’m definitely going back for their Fall Farm Fun! Each Saturday they have different activities going on including pumpkin picking, hayrides, bouncy houses, live music, and tasty treats!
I haven’t been here, but I’m dying to try their Hard Cider! I think their apple season is pretty much over, but there are still some left if you hurry! They have hayrides, live music, cider tastings, and more.
Carowinds becomes Scarowinds on the weekends leading up to Halloween. As you walk the park, ghouls, goblins, zombies, and other monsters may find you… Visit the different scary attractions and be sure to ride your favorite rollercoasters.
Carrigan Farms transforms into Scarrigan Farms on select nights in October. I haven’t been, but it sounds truly terrifying. No one under the age of 12 allowed. To quote: “If someone hasn’t peed in their pants by the end of the night we know we haven’t done our job.” Yikes.
I hope this guide to fall fun and festivities has inspired you to start celebrating the season! If I left out your favorite fall activity or place to go, please let me know in the comments of the blog or on social media!
For those who somehow missed it—we went to Boston! (See previous post about why we went!)
Thursday night we did about the most Boston thing we could do—watch the Patriots play Thursday Night Football. Sadly, we were not at Gillette. Also sadly: The Patriots lost. But I’ve heard something about how the last three season openers that they’ve lost, the Patriots have gone on to win the Super Bowl that year. Gosh, it must be tough to be a Pats fan.
Friday we were tourists. We had brunch off of Newbury Street, walked through the Boston Commons and Public Garden and saw American Idol auditions going on, and then went on a Duck Boat Tour.
Guys, I had been on a Duck Boat Tour back in the 8th or 9th grade, but I couldn’t remember much about them. I had no idea if it would be completely lame or pretty interesting.
It was the latter! I really enjoyed our tour through the city. We learned so much and our guide was great! First of all, he was wearing “Minions” shorts, okay? Like, he’s awesome. Secondly, he had a great voice for something like this. Not annoying at all. And finally, he really knew his stuff, but made it fun too.
Boston is a really cool city. It is incredibly easy to get around, but doesn’t feel cramped or dirty like New York. At least, not in the areas that we were in.
Saturday we had some fun at the aquarium, but honestly, I could probably skip that in the future (and the $40 parking for 2 hours). What I’m more interested in are the Whale Tours. Yeah, you can actually see whales just a little ways off the coast. So cool.
But the highlight of our trip was certainly meeting Julian Edelman, Patriots Wide Receiver and Hunk. We may have waited 3 hours before we actually got to see him, but he was worth the wait.
Julian had a lot of people to see (and was an hour late—I blame the driver), so he didn’t have much time to chit-chat. But when he looked up and saw Jack, he lit up and wanted to know all about him. He told us about his daughter, who is only a month older than Jack (Julian, seriously, let me know if you want to arrange a play date. We can make that happen!). I will always thank Jack for making that moment super special.
Afterwards, we got to meet up with the majority of Wes’ friends at the Prudential Center. Even though I’ve met most of them once or twice, they are all just the sweetest and most welcoming people. I’m so glad he has such a good friend group.
Sunday morning we had a final brunch with our hosts, Keegan and Courtney. It was so good, and even better when the manager brought Jack a stuffed animal from the hotel’s gift shop for free.
We then trekked outside of the city. Our first stop was Somerville, a small neighborhood outside of Boston. It’s incredibly charming, and if we were ever to live up there, I could absolutely see us there. Wes’ friend, Derek, hosted us for some NFL viewing, but then we had to be on our way.
The next stop was in the town of Waltham for Wes to get his favorite sandwich ever—the Beef Teriyaki sandwich at Carl’s. This place is literally a shack, there’s no seating or anything, and we were there at like a really weird hour, like 3:30. But I’m telling you what, there were like 5 people getting sandwiches at that time, which if you saw where this place is, you’d be surprised. I got a burrito, and dang, was that good.
We watched the Panthers game with the super sweet and hospitable DeFrancescos. They were the best. Once again, I am so grateful for Wes’ wonderful friends and their families. Charlie’s nephews were over, and Jack got to play with Ryan, the younger brother. He was so nice to share his jumper!
Dinner was amazing ravioli (seriously, I’ve never had pasta so good) and delicious apple crisp for dessert. I’m so glad we got to spend time with them.
That night (our final night in Boston) was spent at the Ashley’s, the childhood home of our Best Man, Keegan. I have met Daryl and Mary Ashley three times—our wedding, our trip to Boston in 2016, and then this past trip. I have never felt like I’ve known a family for such a long time when I’ve only known them a short amount of time like this one (I really hope that just made sense!). I love them. So warm, so funny, such good cooks… Just good people. I wish they lived closer!
Monday we started south. I was nervous about having to drive by NYC, but we didn’t have too much traffic to deal with. It was a long day. Jack was not as good this time around. He’d had a long week. We had to stop a lot.
I have never been so happy to pull into a hotel parking lot. We stayed in Laurel, MD, that night as we were planning to go to the Zoo in DC the next day. We had dinner at a great Mexican restaurant that was within walking distance of our hotel. Someone had two giant margaritas. That was not me. And of course, we watched Monday Night Football.
Tuesday we got up and went to the Zoo. It’s free! And it’s awesome! So many great animals to see. It was mainly moms with strollers and little kids and then runners. Yes, people run through the Zoo. Um, how awesome would it be if we had a Zoo we could just run through whenever we wanted?
We also got to see another of Wes’ friends, who is currently working in DC. Bekah was kind enough to meet us for like 10 minutes in a park before we had to race away because of traffic. We barely made it. At 2pm. No seriously, we still sat in some traffic. I couldn’t believe it.
We made it in time for our 5pm dinner in Newport News, VA, to see my mom’s aunts and uncles. It was so good to catch up with everyone. It had been way too long, and I won’t let it be that long again. I love being with others who knew her so well. And I am so happy they got to meet Jack 🙂
The plan had originally been to get home that night, but we were almost 6 hours away, and I just couldn’t do it. We got a hotel in Durham, right off of 85. It was a great call.
We left the next morning around 9, and were home before noon. It was a long trip. But it was a good one.
What are my takeaways from this experience?
Visiting Boston in September is far superior to visiting in January
DC is worth a trip all on its own
Traveling takes a bigger toll on me than I remember
Wes has the best friends ever, and I wish they would all move down here
Julian Edelman is even more attractive in person (how is that possible?!)
Pasta is way better when cooked by someone with Italian heritage
I’m definitely looking forward to visiting Boston again and again!
For those who don’t know, we decided a few weeks back to trek to Boston for super stud Super Bowl hero Julian Edelman’s autograph signing.
It all started one day when I saw a post on Julian’s Facebook that he was doing a signing in Boston. It started with a simple joke that escalated pretty quickly into a real-life road trip.
We decided we’d take some time getting up there since we’d be driving with Jack. But where to stop along the way? Staying with friends or family for free is always nice, so the decision was made to stay with Wes’ friend Adam, who lives just outside of NYC in NJ.
Charlotte to NJ is quite a hike. To be able to have a decent amount of time with Adam, it was looking like we’d be leaving at 3 am, which we quickly decided was not an option.
Thank goodness for our friend, Jill! She lives in Raleigh, which is practically on the way to NJ, so we, again, made a last minute decision late Monday night to go to Raleigh the very next afternoon.
But what a decision! Jack napped the entire way to Raleigh! And the next morning, he slept the majority of the way from Raleigh to just north of Baltimore, where we met up with another of Wes’ friends for a long lunch. Jack was able to have his solids and get out of the car for a good amount of time.
Then it was just 4 more hours to NJ, and we were done for the day. We got to bed early, woke up suuuuuuper early to avoid NYC traffic, and Jack went *back* to sleep in the car! 4 hours later, we’re in Boston.
So what are my takeaways from the last 3 days?
8 month olds really can do a long road trip without crying non-stop (I actually don’t think he had a crying fit once)
Making lists is essential—a baby is only happy if he has all of his necessities (and there are a lot of them)
Getting on the road early is better for everyone—you miss the traffic and your baby continues to sleep
Don’t be in a rush so you can take long breaks—if you let your baby get a good stretch in, you’ll both be really happy you took an hour or more for lunch
Traveling is awesome when you have friends everywhere that let you crash for a night (or more)
I have the best husband in the world—even though Wes can’t drive a single mile on our road tips, he takes care of both me and Jack however we need him—I’m a lucky gal, if I do say so myself!
Here’s a list of all the concerts I have been to* and about what date they were. If I can remember opening acts, I’m adding them too.
American Idol Season 2 Tour 2003
Maroon 5 “Honda Civic Tour” March 2005
Opener: The Donnas
Green Day “American Idiot Tour” April 20, 2005
Opener: My Chemical Romance
Kelly Clarkson “Breakaway Tour” Spring/Summer 2005
Opener: Graham Colton Band
Coldplay “Twisted Logic Tour” September 9, 2005 (X&Y)
Opener: Rilo Kiley
Rascal Flatts “Me and My Gang Tour” February 24, 2006
Opener: Blake Shelton (?!)
I actually didn’t remember this, but what I’m reading is that he was the opener! Too funny.
Counting Crows 2006
Opener: Goo Goo Dolls
The Fray 2006
Fall Out Boy “Honda Civic Tour” 2007
Openers: +44, Cobra Starship, The Academy Is…, and Paul Wall
Maroon 5 “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long Tour” 2007
Opener: The Hives
My Chemical Romance “Welcome to the Black Parade Tour” 2007
Opener: Muse, which who are we kidding, I was really there for, although I loved WTTBP
American Idols Live 2008
David Cook!! Jason Castro!!
Warped Tour 2009
Highlights include 3OH!3, Saosin, and A Day to Remember
Brand New 2009
Brad Paisley 2010
Opener: Miranda Lambert
John Mayer “Battle Studies Tour” 2010
Tim McGraw “Southern Voice Tour” 2010
Opener: Love and Theft
Goo Goo Dolls “Something for the Rest of Us Tour” August 10, 2010
Arcade Fire 2010
Kings of Leon 2010
Opener: The Black Keys
Lady Gaga 2010
Semi Precious Weapons
Mumford and Sons 2011
Opener: Can’t remember their name, but I loved them! Hate that.
Maroon 5 and Kelly Clarkson Honda Civic Tour 2013
John Mayer “Born and Raised Tour” 2013
Foster the People May 5, 2014
Opener: St. Lucia
Say Anything Summer 2014
Wes and I’s first concert ❤
Goo Goo Dolls July 9, 2014
Opener: Phillip Phillips
Arcade Fire “Reflektor Tour” August 22, 2014
Kings of Leon September 16, 2014
Opener: Young the Giant
Outkast “Homecoming Tour” September 27, 2014
Openers: Childish Gambino and Kid Cudi
Shania Twain July 19, 2015
Sufjan Stevens November 2015
Carly Rae Jepsen February 13, 2016
Mumford and Sons “Wilder Mind Tour”
M83 (aka Best Concert of ALL TIME) June 14, 2016
Death Cab for Cutie June 16, 2016
Gwen Stefani “This Is What the Truth Feels Like Tour” July 24, 2016
Red Hot Chili Peppers April 20, 2017
The Weeknd “Starboy Tour” May 2017
Opener: Rae Stremmurd
Paul Simon June 7, 2017
Muse June 15, 2017
Opener: Thirty Seconds to Mars
Bruno Mars September 14th
Kesha September 30th
Foster the People October 2nd
The Shins November 16th
And those are just the ones I have tickets for… 😉
I’m sure I’ve forgotten some and will have to go back and add later, but I thought you might like seeing how eclectic my music tastes are. Hope to keep adding to this list every year and one day bring Jack along as my concert buddy!
EDIT: I want to clarify that I do not ever condone taking the Lord’s name in vain! That, to me, doesn’t even fall into this category as it’s a completely different level of word. Thanks!
Writer’s note: While this article is about cursing, I had written that I would never curse on my blog. I will be using censored versions of words, but completely understand if those are even too much for you and you don’t want to read this. I know that this is a controversial topic, but I appreciate you taking the time to hear where I am coming from, even if you disagree. I hope you can still appreciate me for who I am after reading this. Thank you!
In high school, one of my Bible teachers told my class that he thought cussing was not a sin in and of itself. It’s when you used it in a way that made someone else stumble that it was a problem.
I liked this idea. For example, I knew I loved Jesus. I knew he died on the cross and rose again three days later. Saying the word f*** wasn’t about to change that fact for me. I’m not talking in the sexual sense – I’m talking about when you back into someone’s car after the high school basketball game, and you know your dad is going to be really mad at you, so you can’t help but let “F***!” slip out.
Now, if I were to walk up to, say, a guy who broke up with me or something, and say “F*** you!” then that would not be very nice. That’s out of anger and wrong. It’s a different context.
To give you a better perspective, here are some examples in which I would feel comfortable swearing:
When I dominate Wes in a game of Madden and exclaim, “H*** Yeah!” (PS this doesn’t happen, but basically any type of jovial setting with close family & friends—a celebratory swear-word, if you will)
When I stub my toe on the corner of a bed frame or side of a doorway—”F***!!!!!”
When I’m singing along to a jam and they use a curse word, example: “This S*** is BANANAS—B-A-N-A-N-A-S!“
When someone is driving under the speed limit in the passing lane and won’t get over, there may be an aside to myself: “I wish they would get the f*** over!” I’m a bit impatient in the car…
Here are some areas where I would not feel comfortable swearing:
In front of Jack
Look – when Jack is 16, I honestly wouldn’t care if he was using certain language in *certain* settings. When he’s around his guy friends, whatever. When he’s speaking to his mother, grandmother, or any other lady, he needs to be respectful and not use that kind of language or any language that isn’t appropriate. Not because women can’t handle cursing (uh, I’m living proof that this is not the case), but because I think if we allow men to “slide” in certain areas, it can be a slippery slope to them being disrespectful in other ways. I could be wrong on this, but this is how I feel currently.
Around my in-laws
Never cool to do that!
Around grandparents, or anyone over the age of 60 that’s not my dad
In front of children
It’s not my place to expose your kids to language you may have chosen from them not to hear!
In the workplace
Look, if my co-worker, boss, etc. wants to use the f-word or any other swear-word in the office, that’s totally their right. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable doing so.
That’s just disrespectful
You just never know who is around you, and I really do think that the best way to be a witness for Christ is to not curse in front of people I don’t know very well. Most non-Christians assume that cursing is a no-no, so to do so in front of them would be doing them a disservice.
The point is—if you’ve never heard me curse, there’s a reason. I want to be respectful of everyone. Lots of people are offended by that kind of language, and I completely understand that. I, however, do think that in certain situations, they have a place. Sometimes, stories are much more powerful, either dramatically or comically, with certain language, which includes curse words. Example: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a d***.”
I can have the mouth of a sailor. The key is that I control it when I need to. And honestly, if you lose your faith in Jesus because you hear me say “s***,” there is probably a bigger problem there anyway.
Let me be clear: I don’t want to ever hear/use disrespectful language, meaning language that tears others down or is perverted. But if you stub your toe while walking down the street and a “bad word” flies out—don’t expect any judgement from me!
PS Some of you are probably reading this and thinking, “You totally use it in the “bad” way you are talking about!” You’re right, I do sometimes, and I actually pray often for the Lord to help me with that, and I think I’ve gotten a little better? Wes says I have at least in the car! I don’t like using strong language in a negative way, so I am genuinely working on it! I hate admitting it, but I’m being honest on here, right?!