Weekend Recap (Aug. 4-6)

It’s been a little while since I’ve done a simple weekend recap on the blog. Last weekend (August 4-6) was so refreshing so I thought I’d share a bit about it.

One of Brendan and my intentions for the month of August is to have a date night at least once a week. We already spend a lot of time together, but we wanted to focus on spending some quality time together outside of our apartment. Friday was the night we planned to have date night.

During the summer Brendan gets off work a little earlier on Fridays, so we were able to head out for dinner around 5:30 p.m. We chose Olive Garden for our dinner destination.

For dinner I ordered whole wheat linguine with traditional marinara sauce, salad (with no dressing or croutons) and, of course, breadsticks. Since going vegan in November last year, I’ve learned different things you can order from chain restaurants that are vegan friendly. I was surprised and happy to find out that the breadsticks at Olive Garden are vegan!

After dinner we decided to walk around downtown for a bit to get some exercise before going for dessert.

A storm ended up rolling in just as we were walking back to our apartment. So we watched and waited it out from our apartment before walking to get dessert.

We had dessert in downtown Roanoke at Altus Chocolate’s newest location. Altus Chocolate is a charming local artisan chocolate shop/cafe that originated in downtown Lynchburg. Their story is so inspiring and I love that the idea for the shop was conceived after the owners watched the movie “Chocolat”.

Altus Chocolate has been around for about five years now, but since I’m not a big chocolate person I never went when I was living in Lynchburg. When I heard that they were opening up a new location in downtown Roanoke, I was delighted and knew that we would have to go check it out.

Brendan and I had a wonderful experience at Altus Chocolate – the employees were very helpful and friendly, the desserts were rich, flavorful, and pure, and the atmosphere was charming (I especially loved the French inspired music).

I ordered the Rich Hot Chocolate and had it made with coconut milk and no whipped cream, and I also got one of their vegan Coconut Cranberry Macaroons. Brendan got a chocolate chip cookie. The chocolates are a bit on the expensive side, but they are handmade by the staff with the highest quality ingredients. I love the fact that they have dairy-free and vegan options for people like me!

Photo by Brendan
Photo by Brendan

I would definitely recommend a trip to Altus Chocolate if you are in the Lynchburg or Roanoke area and are looking for an authentic chocolate treat. I can’t wait to go back and try some of their coffee.

I am currently reading Chocolat by Joanne Harris, so I thought it was very fitting for me to sit a read a chapter while I was at Altus Chocolate.

Nothing too exciting happened on Saturday (August 5). I spent the whole day working, so didn’t feel like doing a whole lot that evening. Brendan and I ended up getting dinner to go and enjoyed a nice cozy evening in our apartment.

Sunday (August 6) was a gorgeous day filled with spontaneous adventures. After church Brendan and I came back to the apartment and went over all of the chores and different things we wanted to get done that day. But the weather was so nice, we both decided that it would be fun to grab some food and then go on a little drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Well, our little drive ended up taking us all the way past the Peaks of Otter and into Lynchburg. And I didn’t mind one bit. I decided to let go and just enjoy wherever the day would take us.

By the time we go to Lynchburg it was about 2:45-3 p.m. and we were in need of a pick-me-up, so we decided to go to Starbucks. And since we had both brought a book along with us we sat outside in the sunshine and read for a little bit before moving on with our adventures.

Next we ended up driving over to Riverside Park near Rivermont. Brendan and I had never been to Riverside Park before. I can’t believe I lived in Lynchburg for 5 years and there are still so many places that I never explored. The trails were nice in this park and we even came along some pieces of Lynchburg history as well.

Brendan was especially excited about this steam engine we found in Riverside Park.

As we were walking down one of the trails, we stumbled upon the big train trestle over the James River. This is the same train trestle that has seen so many lives taken over the years, including the life of Liberty University student Jon Gregoire. I had never seen the trestle in person, only pictures of it. There was such an eerie hush that hung in the air. We paused for a moment there in silence, remembering those who have lost their lives at that spot.

After the park, we headed to Rivermont Pizza for some dinner. Rivermont pizza is one of our favorite places to eat in Lynchburg. The food has been excellent every time we’ve gone.

Before we headed back home to Roanoke, we made a quick stop to see my brother Jon and his new apartment in Lynchburg. He’s in a nice spot in town and I can tell he’s loving it already. Lynchburg really is a great city and I love going back for a visit every chance I get.

We got back home around 9:30 p.m. It was such a fun, rejuvenating day. Sometimes it’s important to leave the dirty dishes in the sink and the laundry unfolded to get out and explore!



Weekend Wanderings

This past weekend was just the right mixture of adventure and relaxation. Between football games, adopting a kitten, and having both of my brothers stay over, the past few weekends have come and gone without much one-on-one time with my husband. So on Saturday we slept in and enjoyed the fact that we didn’t have any set plans or company coming over.

Since it was such a gorgeous autumn day, we decided to get out of Roanoke for awhile and head to Lynchburg for the day. We spent the afternoon wandering around the streets of Downtown Lynchburg and visiting some of my favorite local shops like the Farm Basket.




This city holds a special place in my heart and continues to grow on me with each passing day. There was a time when I hated living in Lynchburg – I was starting the second semester of my freshman year of college and was tired of being in Lynchburg and just wanted to go back home. But, as time went on I came to know more about the city and I got to know the people that lived there and my heart changed. I also met Brendan in Lynchburg and that’s where our relationship blossomed. So as much as I tried to fight getting “stuck” in the Lynchburg bubble, the truth is I really do miss this beautiful little city.

Sunday was our day of rest. After getting about 5 hours of sleep and then getting up and going to church, we were both pretty tired. When we got home from church, Brendan decided to take a nap while I curled up on the couch so I could finish reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. We originally had nothing planned for the evening, but as I was finishing up the book and telling Brendan how I really wanted to see the movie now, he said “Want to to go see it tonight?”. So we did! We ordered pizza for dinner (we had to do some research to make sure I could order something that was vegan friendly at Dominos) and then got dressed and ready to go to the movies.

I thought that The Girl on the Train was brilliant and the movie adaptation did not disappoint! Emily Blunt did an amazing job playing Rachel Watson and I was pleased that the plot, dialogue, and characters stayed true to the book (very rare to see these days). The only problem I had with the movie is that it was placed in New York instead of London, but I was able to look past that detail and enjoy the movie anyway.

After a refreshing weekend, I’m feeling motivated and ready to be productive. First on the to-do list this week is tidy the apartment! Having a 3-month old kitten living with you can be quite messy sometimes.

Have a great Monday!




Week in Review

This week has been good for the mind, body and spirit. I have really needed some motivation and rejuvenation, and I think I found both.

On Monday (July 11) Brendan and I went to the gym! We signed up for a gym membership last Saturday so that we could start working out together. I’ve gained a little weight since we moved and I’ve lost the muscles I had been working on before my wedding, so I really felt like I needed a fresh start for my workouts. While I actually prefer doing my own at-home workouts a lot of the times, I just wasn’t getting the results that I was looking for. For me, I’m more likely to workout if it means getting out of my apartment for a change of scenery and also because I know we are paying for our membership! I’ve been to the gym everyday this week besides Friday, and I feel great.

Friday morning (July 15) I woke up feeling super happy and I had the best nights sleep I’ve had since moving to Roanoke! Brendan took off work Friday so that we could spend the day with our friends Brady and Lora who were visiting from Georgia. Brendan and Brady have been best friends for years now and they were roommates for two years. Brady and Lora got married right after Brendan and me and then they moved to Georgia, so it’s been hard being so far away from them. But it’s so exciting to see how God is working in their lives down in Georgia.

We met Brady and Lora for lunch at La Carreta in Lynchburg. La Carreta was one of our favorite places to eat together when we were all in school, so it was kind of like old times eating there together again. 🙂


After lunch, Brendan and I decided to head to Liberty University to walk around campus to get some vitamin D and to burn off some of the calories we consumed during lunch! It was our first time being back at Liberty (the place we met) since we got married. As we walked through the Jerry Falwell Library, where we spent countless hours studying and writing papers, I couldn’t help but think back to last fall and my very last semester of college. Under the pressure of work and school, I kept thinking how wonderful and easy things would be if I could just finish school and then get married – sometimes it felt like that time would never come. But here we were, college alumni and husband and wife walking around our college campus. It felt surreal. I never thought I’d say it, but I kind of miss Liberty and college classes! A lot of good memories were made on that campus and I wouldn’t trade those 4 1/2 years of college for anything.

We ended up getting a good walk in and sweating in the heat of the day. We kept having to take detours around all of the construction that was going on on campus (when is there NOT construction going on Liberty’s campus?). At 2:30 p.m., we met up with Brady and Lora and their friend Shannon at a local bookshop called Bookshop on the Avenue. This bookshop is one of my very favorites! The shop is basically an old house with used books from top to bottom. Definitely a haven for bibliophiles.

After we shopped for books, we went downtown to peruse the streets and cool off with some sweet treats. I got an iced coffee from The White Hart Cafe and Lora and Shannon got gelato from CAO Artisans Chocolates. We enjoyed our treats while shopping around at an antique shop and a pawn shop. The thing that I love about downtown Lynchburg is that it seems to be a thriving hub for creatives. There are so many new crafty shops and every time I turn around I feel like there is a trendy cafe or restaurant. I love the creative energy and everyone’s desire to shop local. I’m still getting to know the Roanoke area, but I feel like Roanoke is more for business people. I definitely miss Lynchburg’s talent and writing for the local magazines there.

At 4 p.m., Brendan and I met my brother Jon after he got off work. The three of us hung out for a while before grabbing a bite to eat and then heading over to the mall to meet back up with Brady and Lora. After we shopped around at the mall we all went to see Ghostbusters. The movie was actually really good – I haven’t laughed that much in a movie in a long time. 🙂 We had to say our goodbyes with Brady and Lora after the movie. 😦 They headed back to Georgia today because Brady has to be back at work on Sunday. It was bittersweet to watch them go, but Brendan and I are excited to start planning a trip to Georgia to visit them before too long.


Jon came back to Roanoke with us to spend the night! We picked up some Talenti gelato and rented a movie from Red Box on our way back home. But before we settled in to watch a movie, we hit the streets of downtown Roanoke to take a walk (I think Brendan and Jon just wanted an excuse to keep playing Pokemon Go haha). The nightlife in downtown Roanoke is always in full swing on the weekends, and the amount of people playing Pokemon Go keeps growing with each passing day. After we all changed into our comfy clothes and pulled the sofa bed out, we fixed some gelato and watched 10 Cloverfield Lane.

This morning (July 16) we all slept in until around 10 a.m., had some breakfast and coffee and then headed out to go on a hike. Brendan and I have been wanting to hike up to the Roanoke Star since we moved here, so we figured that today would be the perfect day for it. It was also a great way to get some exercise in. Did you know that the Roanoke Star is the largest man-made star in the world?! I had no idea. I guess you learn something new everyday.


The trail took us about an hour or so to hike – not bad at all. I really enjoyed being outdoors surrounded by the lush greenery. And I think Jon and Brendan had a blast playing Pokemon Go as we hiked. Ha!

Since I was sweaty from hiking and already in my gym clothes, I figured I might as well go to the gym to work out for an hour or so. Since I got my cardio in from our hike earlier in the day, I decided to focus on working my abs, legs and arms. I think tomorrow will be my day of rest.

I spent the rest of the evening doing some chores and just chilling. I’m currently watching Maid in Manhattan while I finish this post up. I might fix myself a bit of gelato here in a bit and do some reading for the rest of the night. I really hope this coming week will be as awesome as this past one! 🙂

Washington D.C. Day Trip

On Saturday April 5, Brendan and I decided to take a day trip to Washington D.C.. Our friends Brady and Lora came along with us. We left Liberty University bright and early and were on our way to the city by 7 a.m..

We arrived a little after 10 a.m. and spent the whole day in the capital city. We visited several of the famous memorials including the Lincoln, Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr. and Franklin D. Roosevelt memorials. It was my first time visiting these memorials.

After lunch, we walked around and did some exploring. While I do like seeing the memorials and monuments, I prefer wandering around observing the life in the city. I love taking pictures of people and anything that I find interesting. I tried to look at the city in a different light and bring a fresh new perspective to it. Hopefully that fresh perspective shines through in these pictures.


Spring Break 2014 (Part 2) – Downtown Excursions

On to the next part of my adventures over Spring Break!

On Tuesday March 11th, I spent the day exploring and taking pictures in downtown Pittsburgh with Brendan and his family. We got to the city around 10 a.m. and spent a couple of hours walking downtown taking pictures.

Brendan and I both love to walk around without really having a plan, just exploring until we come across something or somewhere that catches our attention. So that’s what we did. I think we got some really good pictures. A little later in the afternoon, we went to lunch at Jerome Bettis’ Grille 36. Since it was such a nice sunny day, we ate outside on the patio. There was a nice view of the city and the river from the restaurant. I was a little hesitant about the the food at the restaurant at first because the menu didn’t exactly seem like it had a lot of vegetarian friendly options. But I ended up ordering the veggie burger and it was so delicious! Definitely the best veggie burger I have had to date.

After lunch, we walked along the river walk and then headed over to the Monongahela Incline. This was my first time going up this incline. The view was stunning, just like the view from the Duquesne Incline, and it was nice to see the city from a different perspective.

To end our day of exploring, we all went to see Son of God at the movie theater and then headed back home to get some much needed sleep.

Spring Break 2014 (Part 1) – Hello Pittsburgh

It has been far too long since I have posted on here. School has been keeping me busy ever since I came back from Spring break. But as promised, I am going to share a little bit about the adventures I had over Spring Break!

Saturday March 8th marked the start of Spring Break 2014 for me. Brendan and I woke up early Saturday morning to catch a train at the Lynchburg train station. Our train left at 10 a.m. and from there we were on our way to Washington D.C.. This was my second time riding the train and I loved it! I enjoy the whole experience of travel in general. There is just something thrilling about going on new adventures! Once in D.C., we met up with Brendan’s brother Kevin and from there we all drove to Pittsburgh together. It was a beautiful day for traveling. We arrived in Pittsburgh a little after 7:30 p.m. that night.

Sunday March 9th was a very leisurely day spent with Brendan and his family. After church, we all went to lunch at The Grandview Saloon restaurant in Mount Washington. The view that we had from the restaurant over looking Pittsburgh was stunning! I couldn’t take my eyes away from the splendor that was laid out before me. We didn’t actually go into the city on Sunday though. We all ended up doing some shopping and then just spending the rest of the afternoon at home.

Monday March 10th proved to be a slightly warmer day. And since the sun was shining we decided to take advantage of the nice weather and spend some time outdoors. Brendan and I, along with Brendan’s mom and brother, spent the afternoon at Mingo Creek County Park walking around taking pictures of the lovely covered bridges and enjoying the little bit of warmth that decided to appear. I can only imagine that the park will be ten times lovelier when summer has come!

(More to come in my next post about Spring Break 2014)