Summer 19′ – Home, Waco, and MLB

Hey there!

Long time no see! I took a bit of a blog hiatus this spring and summer, because Taylor and I were busy and I was soaking up every second in America with our friends and family. The two of us were hopping all over the place this summer, so it’s a bit confusing to keep up with. Here’s a breakdown of what went down during our crazy summer vacation!

I started my time in South Carolina for a bachelorette party in Charleston. IMG_0049Untitled design-5

…and I spent a lot of quality time time with Maybelle! She’s living her best life with her grandma on the farm. ❤ Untitled design-4img_1238.jpg

Afterwards, I flew to Lancaster for 6 weeks. Thankfully, my parents let me invade their space for a majority of the summer. 🙂 IMG_0394.jpgUntitled design-3IMG_0308IMG_0946img_0177.jpg

I went to my best friend Katie’s beautiful wedding and watched her marry her soulmate, Jon. I was also reunited with my best college gals! This night was filled with loads of dancing and reminiscing, which is exactly what I didn’t know I needed. I left the wedding feeling so much joy for Katie and Jon, and thankful for sweet friendships that the Lord blessed me with years ago.  IMG_0269Untitled designIMG_0234

For a long weekend in July, I flew to Waco with Lindsey and Lacie for a girls trip to Magnolia! We chose the perfect time to visit, because it was the annual warehouse sale weekend. The sales were so good that Lacie and I had to buy an additional checked bag to get all our things home. Ha! If you want a separate post on Waco, let me know. DSC_6096.jpgUntitled design-2.jpgimg_0614.jpgIMG_0464

After the Waco trip, I flew back to Lancaster for the last half of my time there. During the time, I celebrated my dad’s birthday, my 27th birthday, welcomed my best friend Grace’s new baby boy into the world, and enjoyed my final days in my adolescent home. My parent are selling their beautiful home in a few weeks and building something much more manageable within a few minutes away. I’m excited for the change, but it’s always bitter sweet saying goodbye to a place you’ve known as home for so long. DSC_6118.jpgimg_0988.jpgimg_0406.jpgUntitled design-7IMG_0439

At the end of those 6 weeks in Lancaster, I flew back to South Carolina to meet Taylor and the China MLB team! They were playing in a few tournaments here in the States, and stopped at Taylor’s house for a team cookout! This was one of the coolest days of my life. It was surreal to have both of our worlds come together.DSC_6191_1DSC_6178.jpgIMG_1098DSC_6169DSC_6180

Taylor and I spent the next two weeks in South Carolina jumping between family and watching the China MLB team play in America!IMG_1185Untitled design-6

At the end of August, we parted ways again and I headed to Seattle for a cruise to Alaska and Taylor headed to LA for a mini vacation with the MLB staff. I will write a separate post about my Alaska trip! 🙂

At the very end of August, we flew back to China! 🙂

Christmas in America Recap

We’ve returned to China, so that means I’m back to updating y’all on the blog! Welcome back!

Before I jump into more posts about our life in China and the upcoming adventures we have planned (yay!), here’s a brief recap about our time in America during the holidays! (You can read about the specific timing of our vacation HERE.) Sorry if this post is a little jumbled. We did so much in such a short amount of time, so there’s a lot to cover.

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During the months of November and December, I visited all my friends and family in Pennsylvania while Taylor was still working in Florida/China! Here are some of the things I did:

img_5091Kicked off the holiday season with a delicious Thanksgiving dinner with my family.

IMG_53081Explored the city of Philadelphia with one of my best friends. You can read that post HERE.

6img_4692Snuggled with Bubba and Riley. a lot.

a.r. workshop spartanburg, scDrank copious amounts of coffee with friends.

img_5575Helped plan our annual Mast-Family Christmas party.

24135a05-5bd1-44af-b36b-1bc800d2a79c.jpgWhen Taylor met me in Pennsylvania at the end of December, he brought Maybelle along with him so she could meet all the other pups! I was in puppy heaven with three adorable yorkies under one roof.

Processed with VSCO with av8 presetimg_5764We celebrated Christmas with my side of the family, then drove down to South Carolina together on the 23rd. (We alternate Christmas each year.) While we were visiting the south for a month, here’s what we did together:

dsc_5855a.r. workshop spartanburg, sc-2Celebrated Christmas with Taylor’s side of the family.

img_6378img_6388Traveled to Dallas to watch the Clemson Tigers play in the Cotton Bowl against Notre Dame.

img_6981dsc_5964Visited Charleston. Twice.

5img_6643IMG_6619.jpg4Processed with VSCO with g6 presetimg_6694Flew to Portland and drove down to Santa Clara, California to watch Clemson win the National Championship against Alabama! We saw the Redwood National Forest and Napa Valley along the way!

3Snuggled with Maybelle.

img_6808Watched a few Clemson basketball games.

2img_6896Participated in an A.R. Workshop for the first time. We made a lazy suzan for the house we don’t have. 🙂 This was a lot of fun though!

In total, I was in America for 3 months and Taylor was there for 1. We’re so thankful for all the friends and family we have who support us on this crazy journey and welcome us into their homes for extended periods of time. We were able to return to China feeling refreshed and ready to conquer the new year!

Folly Beach, Charleston SC

Hey ya’ll!

This is another exciting post for me!! Early Friday morning I hopped on a flight from Philadelphia to Charleston, South Carolina. I’ve been coming to Charleston since Taylor and I first started dating back in 2013, because this is where his university was. While I adore the city of Charleston, I love Folly Beach even more. I mean, I LOVE Folly. Of all the places I’ve traveled (and that’s a lot of destinations) Folly Beach is my favorite place in the whole wide world. I truly don’t think another place will ever compare.

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Since Folly Beach is my favorite place in the world, it only makes sense that my favorite restaurant in the world is there too! The Lost Dog Cafe!

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I’m so glad I squeezed in a weekend at Folly Beach. Given it was the cheapest flight I could find, but TOTALLY worth it. I just love the small beach town feel and the ease of life down there. I would love to live in Charleston or own a vacation home of my own in Folly one day.

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We stayed in Folly for two nights and spent most of the time redecorating Grandmas remodeled condo! We shopped, shopped, and shopped some more! I don’t think I’ve ever carried so much furniture up the stairs before in my life. It was a much needed girls weekend and we got a lot accomplished!

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I also got to see my fur baby!! MAYBELLE! I’ve been missing her so badly for the past two months! I soaked up every moment with her while I was in South Carolina. She loves Charleston too, so she’s obviously an extension of me. 🙂

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I mean, how cute is she?! After our two days in Charleston, we packed up and headed to Spartanburg to see the rest of the family. They took me to my favorite restaurants, threw me a sweet birthday party, and took me on a boat ride. These are a few of my favoriteeee thingsssss! 🙂

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I’m off to Switzerland and Italy now! Make sure your subscribed for more updates!

Grand Teton National Park

We just got back from our family trip out west, and I’m sitting here cuddling with Maybelle while writing/editing this post. I missed her terribly while we were away, and it was her first time being boarded (it didn’t go well)! It’s currently pouring outside, so I’m listening to the rain with coffee in hand, while May is snuggled up beside me in her favorite heated blanket.

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This year, Taylor’s side of the family decided to travel through Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana for the annual family vacay! In the previous years, we’ve visited Maine, Destin, and California! You can click on the links to read about those trips as well.

We flew out of Charlotte super early on Saturday morning, and arrived in Salt Lake City by 11am. It was a 4 hour flight through Delta, and everything went smoothly. Although none of us sat together on the plane, we had endless movies to watch on the TV screens in our seats. On the way there, I watched The Maze Runner-The Death Cure and a few episodes of the Big Bang Theory-Season 11. 

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Like most of our family vacations, we rented a 15 passenger van at the airport. Once all our luggage was packed tightly into the back, we buckled up and drove 5 hours to Jackson Hole for our first adventure!

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We would only be in Jackson Hole for one night, so we made the most of our time there. We started by riding the Aerial Tram above the mountains. This was a great way to see the area, because there are windows circling the tram. This is not for those afraid of heights! Once you get to the top, you can see Jackson Hole for miles. The view is stunning and makes for a great photo opportunity!

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By the time we got off the mountain, it was time for dinner. We all ate at MacPhails Burgers. This was a great spot to relax and enjoy a good burger. Afterwards, we walked around downtown Jackson Hole and visited the famous Million Dollar Cowboy Bar. We didn’t stay long before checking into our hotel and turning in for the night. I think it’s safe to say that everyone was exhausted from a full day of traveling. We stayed up as late as we could in attempt to help with the time change.

We started the next morning by loading up the van again and heading to breakfast downtown at Persephone Bakery. It was a small cafe, and since we were such a large group, we ate outside around the fire. The food was unique and delicious. This wasn’t your typical scrambled eggs and bacon, but we loved it! We had a great morning sharing plates of food and sipping on our coffee before another long day.

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I ordered the Herbed Omelette, which had fresh herbs, red chile lemon ricotta, asparagus, radish, fingerling potatoes, dijon cream sauce, and toast. This was the best toast I’ve ever eaten before!

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Taylor and I have been dreaming about visiting the Grand Tetons, but it’s difficult to get to. You can fly into the Jackson Hole Airport, but quite frankly it’s expensive and a long journey. With a group of 12 people, it was easier to fly into Salt Lake City and drive.

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To be honest, I’m struggling to write about the beauty of the Tetons. I feel like no words or pictures can do it justice. They are truly a masterpiece, and you must see them in person. I could spend days driving through the enormous mountains, taking photos and letting it all sink in.

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We drove a short distance and found a small 1 mile trail to hike up to Phelps Lake. This was a moderate hike with amazing views at the top.

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Once we were done, we drove around some more and stopped at several lookouts before checking in at the Jackson Lake Lodge.

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Once we got our room keys, we loaded into a different van and headed to a rafting tour on the Snake River!

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We had an amazing time floating down the river and seeing all the wildlife. I didn’t want to take my camera with me, and it rained about halfway so I didn’t capture a lot of pictures. Looking back, I’m ok with this because I was able to be in the moment and enjoy the tour. This was probably one of the coolest excursions during the trip.

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Unfortunately, we didn’t have the best experience at the Jackson Lake Lodge. In fact, I don’t even have any pictures of the inside. The lobby area was gorgeous, with floor to ceiling windows that overlooked the Grand Tetons. However, when we brought all our bags upstairs after the rafting tour, 3 of the rooms weren’t cleaned. It was about 10pm, so we were ready for bed.

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They only had one available room left in the lodge, so a few of us had to move to the cottages surrounding the lodge. This was the first week they were open, so they were probably still working out the kinks, but it was disappointing. They mentioned that the rooms said “dirty” in their system so why would they even give us a key?? Weird.

Besides the room cleanliness though, we enjoyed our stay. We ate breakfast there the next morning and headed out towards YellowStone National Park.

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Stay tuned for more posts about our trip! 🙂

Happy Birthday, Maybelle!

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I cannot believe a year has flown by and our little Maybelle is a whole year old! It seems like just yesterday we were meeting her and her brother for the very first time.

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Taylor and I had originally planned on getting a dog a year earlier, but our lives were too crazy and unpredictable to take on the responsibility of a puppy. I’m so thankful that we were patient, because Maybelle is the perfect dog for us. She’s done nothing but bring us joy and laughter over the past year.

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Maybelle was born on March 1st, but we couldn’t take her home until the beginning of May. Taylor and I were about to get married in a few weeks, and we were thrilled to finally bring her home with us!

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View More: http://marianashleyphoto.pass.us/taylor-and-ashleymay-28-2017

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Maybelle is 3 pounds of spunk and sass! While she may be little, she is fierce! Taylor and I have adored raising May, and have enjoyed seeing her personality evolve over the past year.

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This photo was taken right after she got spaded. Bless her little heart!

Maybelle HATES being in the car. We’ve tried everything from sitting her on our laps, buying her a doggy carseat, and medication, but she HATES the car. As soon as you open the car door she begins shaking. The ONLY WAY to get her to calm down slightly, is if you place her on Taylor’s shoulders. Thankfully, she doesn’t throw up. She just whines and starts panicking. It’s the oddest thing.

 

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She loves to chase squirrels. She could chase them around for hours if we’d let her. She’s come pretty close to catching some, but I don’t know what I’d do if she actually did!

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Maybelle loves to be pampered. She enjoys getting a bubble bath and having her hair blow dried and brushed out, while you tell her she’s beautiful.

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Maybelle enjoys sitting in the window and sleeping in the sun. She has her own little pillow and a heated blanket that she lays on to look outside.

Thankfully, she isn’t a picky eater! We’ve gotten her several different flavors of food, and she doesn’t hesitate eating anything. We are very selective in what we feed her from our plates (if anything), but she loves to beg and look at you with those big, brown eyes.

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When Maybelle was still a puppy, we took her to the vet because she fell over and started crying during her walk. She sounded like she was in tremendous pain, so we rushed her in. $80 later and the vet told us that she just didn’t know how to pas gas.

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She LOVES snuggling. She likes to curl up in the blankets or right up against you. We used to keep her in her crate during the night, but somehow she’s found her way into our bed. 😉 She likes to sleep between Taylor and I on the pillows, where she’s nice and snug.

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Her favorite toy is a ball! When she’s ready to play, she’ll bring you the ball and do this little growl to let you know she’s ready to go. She also loves running around with the ball in her mouth, while you try to catch her. It’s the most adorable thing!

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She loves helping us fold the laundry too. If she’s not digging through all the warm clothes, she’s running around the house with a sock.

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I know it sounds silly to some, but our lives are forever changed because of Maybelle. Not only has she given us a new perspective on responsibility, but she’s added a new sense of adventure and selflessness to our hearts.

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Happy 1st Birthday, Maybelle! I hope you’re as happy as you make us. ❤