New Smyrna Beach, Florida ~my second home~


Hi ya’ll! It’s been a little over a week since my mama and I have gotten back from our yearly trip to New Smyrna Beach Florida, which means back to early morning workouts, long days of work, and prepping for my first apartment come August! I can’t imagine how fast this summer has flown by. I have waited all year for our trip to New Smyrna, then it is over in the blink of an eye; followed by another 365 days before we can go back. It’s crazy to think how much life will have changed by then, I will be going into my senior year of college, I will be a legal drinker, and all the memories that are bound to come with this school year! But for now, this was an amazingly relaxing trip spent with my favorite person in whole world. As I’m sure you are all aware of, she’s my mama, my best friend, and my partner in crime. This time together makes all the time apart during the school year worth it. Going to New Smyrna allows us to relax, reconnect, and enjoy each other’s company without having to worry about jobs and school work. New Smyrna will always be home for us.

hippie van
Our first day in New Smyrna was spent shopping downtown on Canal Street. I’ve been coming to New Smyrna since I wasn’t even one and my mom has since she was 15, but we still manage to find new tasty places to eat like the Corkscrew! The food there is absolutely delicious, along with a great atmosphere & a expansive drink menu. It was the perfect lunch for an afternoon spent shopping! 



playing in the sand
Most afternoons are spent on the beach either lounging in a chair with a good book ( I read 2 in just one week!) or playing in the sand! New Smyrna Beach is a beautiful beach full of white sand. I’ve been to many beaches such as Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Key West- none of them can compare to New Smyrna Beach. It’s one of my favorite places to be on a sunny afternoon. 
One evening my mama and I ventured to Ponce de Leon lighthouse. 203 steps to the top doesn’t seem like a lot, but since I’m scared of heights, when I looked down after 2 flights of stairs I decided not to go any further. In fairness I climbed to the top when I was younger, and wasn’t terrified when I looked down! It was an interesting night full of lots of history of Daytona Beach and this historic lighthouse. (Can you imagine some kid used to have to climb to the top of the lighthouse each night to light it?!)
bike ride
One of my favorite afternoons spent at the beach is when I rent a bike (the exact same one I have at home) and venture down the beach seeing many sights that I’m not able to on a walk or run. Riding a bike is a great exercise that also allows you to see the sights, and get some great pictures! 
ice cream
One of our favorite sweet treats to indulge in while we are in New Smyrna is ice cream on the beach! There is a cute ice cream shop on Flagler Ave that is absolutely amazing, serving hand scooped ice cream with actual cake bites in it! Always a must have of mine. As you can see I didn’t eat mine fast enough.. 
On our last dinner out in New Smyrna we decided to try out the Norwoods TreeHouse Bar. The atmosphere is amazing, not like any I have had before as you are actually eating your dinner in a tree house. Norwoods has pretty good food, but it was the atmosphere that made the evening remarkable. 
The final morning in New Smyrna was spent at the local boardwalk/ Jetty. It was a beautiful morning for a walk spent taking in New Smyrna’s natural vegetation. We were also able to catch some glimpses of the local surfing competition going on at the Jetty, which is known for shark attacks, but also amazing waves for surfing. It was great morning spent appreciating the vegetation and habitat of New Smyrna. 

New Smyrna is definitely my second home. I absolutely love going there every year and would not trade it for the world. I would live there if I was able to afford it on a teacher’s salary, which I’m not so don’t worry Iowa! I’m as comfortable here as I am in Iowa. New Smyrna is the cute little beach town that can make anyone feel at home away from home.

xoxo- ariel

Focus on Being Happy

Hey Ya’ll! I hope you’re having the summer of your dreams, or are least working on that amazing tan. Summer is one of my favorite seasons since I feel it exudes so much happiness and a care free atmosphere. I can never get enough of it. From being outside all day to curling up with a good read, I feel there is so much positivity in summer. Lately, that positivity has diminished. So much negativity and hatred is becoming a part of everyday life. It’s frightening to see the world we live in now and days where we focus on the bad more than we celebrate the good. This summer it has been my goal to focus on the good more than the negative. This has been a daunting task as I have had a fixation on the negative this past year. Nothing ever seemed to be right and self hatred became a daily aspect of my life. I wanted to love the world I live in again, I wanted to love myself again (thanks JBiebs). This summer has allowed me to appreciate the goodness and happiness in my life once again.

One of my favorite shows to watch is HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”. It is great feeling to watch such a loving family create and do what they love each and every day. Joanna Gaines is a female that we don’t often see publicized enough. She is a hardworking, Christian woman that shows caring and devotion towards her family and the people in her life. I admire her for the handwork and dedication she puts into her job along with the time she spends with her family. During an episode of “Fixer Upper” Joanna used the quote “It’s a good day for a good day”. This quote has stuck with me; reminding me each and everyday that when you wake up it is your choice to have a good day or not. Choose to have a good day, it’s  a lot easier than a bad one.

Felix brings me happiness! 

This winter I developed an obsession with working out as a response to some of the aspects I didn’t like about myself. I would wake up and look in the mirror some mornings and not be able to say a single positive thing about myself. I love working out, especially outside! But, working out should be done because it makes you feel good, not because you want change what you hate about yourself. This summer I have focused on working out when I can to feel good about myself and to give my body the exercise it needs. Working out became a connection to the negative aspects of myself, but this summer it’s been a part of myself that I enjoy.

Surrounding yourself with positive people that love you will help you love yourself. It’s hard to appreciate how wonderful you are ( and yes, you’re an amazing wonderful person because God created you that way) if you have people wanting to tear you down. My dad once told me that when you walk into a room full of people that 75% of them will be jerks, the other 25% are good decent people and the hard part is picking them out. I’ve realized it takes trial and error to find those people. Sometimes you will pick a lemon, but it’s important to let it go and move on. No one is worth loathing over. It’s not you, and it’s not them. Some times your personalities just do not click and that’s okay, not everyone is meant to be your friend. Friends are hard to find, but good friends are even rarer.

Finally, focus on the good. There is so much good out there that is not publicized or focused on anymore and it’s disheartening. Searching through social media you may find a post buried within all the negativity of someone that did something courageous or a stray animal that was given a second chance. I hope that some day the world will be able to focus on the good again instead of the evil. Until then I want to remind myself of all the wonderful things there are in this world, trust me there are many of them! Cherish them and share them. We need more positivity now than ever.

-xoxo ariel