So much has happened since January 1, I barely know where to start. I’ve had a photo shoot on one of the world’s top beaches in The Bahamas, checked out a former strategic WWII naval station in St. Simons Island, waved my wand at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, frolicked with giraffes at an African outpost… in Orlando, spoke to teens about social media behavior at a golf conference in Dallas, interviewed Evander Holyfield on the red carpet and had a beach barbecue with some of the most inspiring women in the business world.
All of that was wonderful & memorable & so exciting, but nothing quite topped my trip to Amelia Island…
Does this ring make me look engaged? Miracles happen! Rick and I were probably the least likely people to ever get married, and yet here we are, plotting our October march down the aisle. He proposed on the beach on Amelia Island on Friday, February 13. He picked out the most perfect ring and dropped to one knee and popped the question. Bless him, he was so nervous! It was very short and sweet & I said yes… eventually, after I determined he was serious. (There was some confusion.) Thank you so much for all your sweet messages – we are blissed out! (And if you’re wondering how we met, here’s the tale.)
Treasure Cay, Bahamas. A few weeks after I said YES, Rick & I traveled around in search of a destination wedding venue. We found the perfect place on a white sand beach in The Bahamas. Just wait until you see this place! There are swimming pools with swim-up bars, the prettiest turquoise water you’ve ever seen and all the conch you can eat. It’s pretty much heaven.
Southern Living: Aw shucks, y’all! Southern Living named me to their Top 30 Bloggers to Follow in 2015 list. How sweet is that? Sweet as sweet tea! I was also chosen as one of 35 Kick-Ass Female Travel Bloggers by Susan Shain. Yahoo! After working my tush off for so many years, it feels good to get a virtual high five.
Alex in Wanderland Comes to Visit. Fabulous Alex (friend) has been an honorary Orth since she came to Kauai with Alex (brother) and me back in 2012. She stopped by Angie Away Base Camp for a few cold days in January, and we popped down to Orlando to stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge and spend a day visiting Universal Orlando and my little sister who’s interning with the PR team. Alex truly is a part of the family at this point and we love having her around! Here’s her recap of our Florida adventure.
The First Tee. I had the honor of speaking to 29 outstanding students from The First Tee program at their annual meeting in Dallas. I shared my travel story with them along with tips on how to use social media for good. File this for later use, but I have such a passion for helping teenagers navigate the tricky online world. I’m on the lookout for the right way to do this on a larger scale in the future…
Red Carpet Reporting for the Tim Tebow Foundation. I had just landed in Dallas for my First Tee speech when I got the call that the TTF needed a red carpet reporter for the annual Celebrity Golf Classic Gala the very next day. I rushed to the hotel, booked a flight home for 5 a.m., and shellacked my travel-worn face with a whole lot of concealer prior to the event.
On top of interviewing my old pal Tim, I spoke with legendary fighter Evander Holyfield, new head coach for the Florida Gators Jim McElwain, former NFL player Eddie George, Heisman winner Cam Newton, fabulously tall former NBA star Artis Gilmore & UFC athlete Brendan Schaub and quite a few other athletes and performers.
I can barely convey what a joy it was to work at this event. Most celebrity red carpets are puffed up and self-promotional, but every single participant I interviewed was there to humbly support Tim’s mission to show God’s love to kids around the world. The annual Golf Classic raises millions of dollars for charities like W15H, Timmy’s Playroom, the Tebow CURE Hospital and Orphan Care. It was a treat to be there, it really was.
St. Simons Island. I spent a relaxing couple of days on assignment at the beachside King & Prince Resort on St. Simons Island. Check out the story in Jacksonville Magazine.
Plentiful work. Between my PR projects with Generation W, red carpet reporting, freelance writing assignments, social media campaigns with brands, speaking engagements and of course keeping up with AngieAway.com, my work schedule has been chock full. Glory hallelujah!
Hair disaster. I went to my usual salon to get my hair highlighted the night before Rick proposed, and I left with gray, black, green, purple, brown hair — NOT blonde, which was my intention. I definitely had a bit of a meltdown. Thank the Lord my maid of honor (RaeRae, of course!) was there to hold my hand and dry my tears. The salon fixed me up the next day before my date with Rick, but gosh. I was a mess.
Money. I know better than to worry about money. God always provides for me, because I am faithful with what he gives me. But I’ll tell you what… planning a wedding, for a frugal woman like me, is just a new level of financial insanity. I know it will all work out, but it’s a daily exercise in faith to put the whole budget in God’s hands.
Now that I’ve been in my apartment for a year, rent & Internet went up. I love having a base camp, but there are days when I am wistful for the bill-free life I had as a nomad. No car insurance, no oil changes for the car, no electricity. Nomads, cherish the bill-free life while you can!
Pain in the butt. For the past two months I’ve had wretched pain radiating from my sciatic nerve. I’m attempting to sort it out with massage therapy, but it doesn’t appear to be working. It’s definitely causing me to lose sleep and sitting on a plane for longer than about 4 minutes is agonizing. I’m open to suggestions for how to solve this problem quickly & cheaply since I don’t have insurance.
Patience. You’d think after waiting 33 years for the right guy to come along that I’d have this whole waiting thing down to a science, but I don’t. As excited as I am to revel in our engagement and all the parties and showers and fun that come along with it, I’m also just so ready to be married and live together and … be married. You know what I mean?
Cut the Complaining. It’s very easy for me to slide into whiny mode about this wedding planning issue or that. (see above) In reality, I’m so happy that I feel like I have to water down my excitement by shining a light on the not-so-fun parts of the process. That’s just dumb. If you hear me complaining, feel free to throw confetti at my face and tell me to hush up!
We can make our plans but God determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9
The voyage continues! Up next, I’m off to Canada, Turkey, Puerto Rico – and that’s just in the next 6 weeks. It’s going to be a very, very busy 90 days until the next Reflections from the Road update.
Wedding Groove. In the midst of all the travel, I’m also trying to enjoy every second of being engaged. We only have about 6.5 months to go until the big day and I think I’ve settled into this whole wedding planning groove now. The date, location, wedding party and photographer are set, which I think are the toughest parts. Next up, I have to pick a dress… to be honest, I’ve tried on a dozen and they all look pretty good.
I don’t know if it’s just me or if maybe I just haven’t found THE ONE, but they’re all fine. I have seen Say Yes to the Dress, and that show tells me I am supposed to cry and freak out when I try on the perfect gown. But… I just don’t know if that’s ever going to happen. Any suggestions, ladies?
Now more than ever, I want to thank you all and extend a big cyber-hug to everyone who’s been on this journey with me for the past 4.25 years. I wouldn’t be much of a blogger without all your support and views and shares, so thank you from the bottom of my heart for every single Tweet and Like.