Tuesday, June 25

a hair-brained afternoon

I’m pretty low maintenance when it comes to my hair. It's naturally straight and doesn't cause me many problems at all. I'm also admittedly cheap when it comes to my hair. I don't use a ton of products and the ones that I do use are drugstore products. (I'll do a haircare routine blog post soon with my favorite affordable products.) Anyways, I digress. Recently, the roomie and I needed a change of pace with our hair. I wanted to go blonder for the summer and she wanted to go ombre. I'm naturally a light brown/dirty blonde but have colored my hair red, blonde, brunette, and everything in between. Everything except black...that definitely wouldn't work with my skin tone. Kelly is a natural brunette but has colored her hair all kinds of fun ways, except going fully blonde. I had two days off in Birmingham in between trips so we squeezed in a trip to our new favorite hairstylist, Lindsey!! She is incredible and super affordable! Thanks to my sweet friend Kirstyn for referring us to her!

Here's the before photos:

We were short on time and my hair was all pinned up so I'm sorry for a not-so-great before picture!

My doll of a roommate—mid-beautifying! ;)

After a few hours of some serious salon hair-lovin', here's the final product:

Kelly's hair goes into a soft caramel in the above picture but she actually went back in a few days later and lightened the ends even more and it's incredible!! I love mine and am so happy I splurged a little to get it done!

Our salon night was a perfect, relaxing end to a couple of really stressful days for Kelly and I. Here's to summer hair and roommate fun :)

Wednesday, June 19

bienvenido a miami

A week before graduating flight attendant training, our June schedules were released. Schedules are released for flight attendants in individual bases on different days depending on how large of a base it is. The smaller bases are able to release their schedules a day or two earlier than others since they have less flight attendants to account for. Most of us were going to NYC, but one of our French speakers was assigned Cincinnati as her base and being that Cincinnati is smaller than NYC, she got her schedule first. We were all eager to see what our schedules would look like and expected ours to be similar to hers since we're all on the same seniority level. Her schedule? Three Paris trips and a long layover in Vegas. We.were.pumped. To our naive minds, that schedule was a glimpse into the luxurious trips we would hold in June. Unfortunately, the day we were awarded our schedules was a big huge reality check. First of all, we didn't have our passports back yet because they had been sent off for a Russian visa, meaning we could only hold domestic trips. Also, since we hadn't graduated yet, we weren't allowed to bid and preference our June schedule. Essentially, we got the leftover, garbage trips. *facepalm* 

Seeing that this was the case, I made sure to learn as much as I could about our online scheduling system and immediately swapped most of my trips for better ones. Thankfully, I was able to trade one of my crummy trips from a long layover in Canton/Akron, Ohio to a longer layover in Miami, Florida. Umm...I'll take it!

Welcome to Miami. Bienvenido a Miami.

I had never been to Miami before and was ready for sun, sand, and the sea! We stayed at a beautiful hotel in downtown Miami for 18.5 hours which gave me plenty of time to explore.

I looked up the weather the night before arriving and it didn't look good. When the forecast is like 99.999% chance of rain, you know that can't be good for my 'sun, sand, and sea' dream. I was determined to explore at least a little though, so after a short nap I decided to make my way to a well-known nearby market, Bayside.

Little did I know, the NBA Finals were that evening so traffic was crazy!

The closest public transportation to my hotel was the Metromover which was perfect because it passed over all of the NBA Finals traffic. I only had to walk 5 blocks (give or take) to get to the market after getting off the MM.

Public transportation has it's downfalls...cramped. But I'm all about the price!

I made my way to the entrance and found myself in the midst of an adorable market on the marina.

The weather you see rolling through the skies in the above picture was just the start. That should have been my indication to head back to the hotel, but noooo. I wanted to explore! Well, exploring bought this girl a walk back to the Metromover in a monsoon.

As I attempted to wait out the storm, I decided to get a virgin strawberry mango daiquiri. When I was planning my 'sun, sand, and sea' day, I pictured sipping a virgin pina colada on the beach, reading a book, and soaking up some much needed vitamin D. Since none of that was happening, I figured I should at least try and check off one of those goals! Being that the sun was no where to be found and I wasn't at the beach, I was left with the delicious tropical beverage plan.

After walking through the market and window shopping for a while, I realized that the rain wasn't going to subside and it was getting dark, so it was time to brave the storm.

I said goodbye to my cute little market and began my long trek back to the Metromover. There was literally not a dry spot on me when I got back to the hotel. Well, I was looking for an adventure, right?

Fortunately for you, I didn't capture a photo of me looking like a frightening blend of wet dog and raccoon. I'll let you visualize that for yourself. A hot bath and a bag of popcorn welcomed me in my hotel room and I called it a night.

Not the fun-in-the-sun type beach layover I was hoping for, but hey, I came...I explored...and I conquered or something like that.

Until next time!

Sunday, June 16

musings of a daddy’s girl on father's day

He called it ‘The Claw’. It was one of the most terrifying, exhilarating, and imaginative games of my childhood. The seemingly out-of-control clenched hand of my dads that suckkked ouuut brainsss and attacked little children was a favorite game of my brother and I as kids. Little did I understand that the man behind ‘The Claw’ had risen before sunrise and worked a long and laborious 12+ hours prior to wrestling with my brother and I. Surely he was beyond exhausted, but I would have never known. And after playing with us and spending time with my mom, he studied for his engineering degree he was working towards. I eagerly awaited his arrival from work each day and without fail, he came home, kissed my mom, changed clothes and invested time in us. We were always put first.

This is my dad. I hardly know how to write a blog about him in a way that accurately depicts how great he is. Those who are blessed to know him would agree without a doubt that he is a man that fears the Lord, loves and serves his wife, sacrifices for his family, and daily works towards making disciples of Christ. 

I have not been the best daughter (huge understatement). I have failed my parents in more ways than I wish to admit but praise be to God that my sins and failures have been forgiven because of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross. My father’s salvation led to my own and I will forever be grateful to God for choosing to save my dad, for through his example and leading, I was able to recognize my own need for a Savior. My dad may not have known the Lord when we were young and ‘The Claw’ was a consistent part of our days together, but once God removed the scales from his eyes and saved him, he immediately began to work towards discipling my family to know Christ. On too many occasions, I have not taken his advice and chosen to go my own way, like a rebellious child not understanding that of all the men in the world, this man only wants my good. This man’s advice was intended for me to make God honoring decisions so that I might glorify Him with my life. Dad, for all of those times that I didn’t listen and disobeyed, I’m truly sorry. But, despite my wrong decisions often leading to heartbreak and brokenness, you have been there to love, lead, and guide me through some of my most difficult moments.

I will never forget one specific night of a family camping trip when I was a preteen. Everyone was there...cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents. It was evening and we were making s’mores and singing by the fire but due to crippling cramps, I had to stay lying down in our camper. Teary eyed and alone, I expected to spend the night separated from the fun and in pain. Dad came in and comforted me for a while but the pain was still too bad to join the family outside. He left and when he returned he was holding a grocery bag. He had left the campground, driven to a nearby store/gas station, and purchased air-activated heat wraps hoping that the heat would relieve my cramping enough to make it outside. Sure enough, it was exactly what I needed. Many of you reading this might think, ‘what a silly story’, and maybe it is. But, I constantly reflect on that night and recognize the depth of my dad’s love for me. I remember thinking that those were probably so expensive and that we weren’t anywhere near a store so he must have gone a long way to get them. I felt completely cherished and cared for. I have told this story to so many of my friends because it truly is a testament to how he loves and cares and serves. Thank you daddy for going out of your way to purchase potentially embarrassing feminine products so that I could enjoy s’mores with my cousins. 

And then there was that time not that long ago...okay, like a few months ago that I locked myself out of my car at a gas station in the ghetto and had to call and wake you up. Without making me feel the least bit guilty, you brought my spare keys to me. And all the times I swear I smell or hear something not right in my car and you believe me and look at it. And all of our Atlanta trips talking about theology and evangelism, worshipping together, and listening to The Screwtape Letters. Or that time as a child in Ohio, when I was terribly sick and up all night vomiting. You stayed up the entire night reading the book of Job to me, teaching me about God and His word. Or times that I’ve been sick as an adult and you’ve literally carried me between my bedroom and the bathroom. Then there were the times that I can’t even wrap my mind around...where you’ve received phone calls that no parent wishes to get. And how you immediately turned to the Lord in prayer in those moments, knowing that He holds my life in his hands and that He is sovereign over each of those events. 

You have always been there. You have encouraged my independence and growth as a woman while simultaneously reminding me of my utter dependence on the Lord. You have affirmed me, guided me, taught me, and cared for me. I could never repay you for that. Of all of the memories I can draw from, the best thing you’ve done for me is love the Lord. Your role as a father has beautifully painted a picture of how the Lord loves his children...as a Father. So few people are able to say that they’ve experienced or even seen a glimpse of that kind of love. I’m blessed to say that I have experienced it every day of my life. Oh what unmerited grace I have received. 

On this Father’s Day, when men around the world are being recognized for being a dad, I honor you. Not just for being a father, because anyone can do that, but for all the ways you have exceeded expectations, living a life of godliness, an example of devotion and diligence to God, loving your wife, and always living a life above reproach. I love you daddy. With all my heart. 

Happy Father’s Day to the greatest man I know.

Wednesday, June 12

gluten free finds: thyme natural market & cafe {kew gardens, ny}

After sitting standby at the airport for 5 hours and not getting used (hooray!), the only logical thing to do is find a celebratory gluten free snack. I got back to my crashpad, changed, and headed out exploring. Must.find.something.tasty. I'm happy to report, I was successful.

If you ever find yourself in Kew Gardens, NY and need an organic grocery, look no further. Make your way over to Thyme Natural Market & Cafe. I found this cute organic market nestled between Dani's Pizza and Kew Gardens Fish Market right off of Lefferts Blvd.

I went in looking for anything that might peak my interest and for food that I could pack on an upcoming trip. I struck gluten free gold.

Most of this stuff you can find at Whole Foods or any other organic market, but I was excited to find one so close to me! Here is a list of the items above:

-Earth Balance P.B. Popps
-Leapin' Lemurs Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cereal
-Pirate's Booty Aged White Cheddar
-Snapea Crisps
-Peanut Butter & Jelly Granola Bars
-Annie's Rice Pasta & Cheddar
-Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie
-Udi's Gluten Free Uncured Pepperoni Pizza

-The Earth Balance P.B. Popps are amazing! They are a perfect blend of the lightness of popcorn with the sweetness of peanut butter.
-The Peanut Butter & Chocolate cereal is good, not great. One of my all time favorite cereals is Reese's Puffs and unfortunately Leapin' Lemurs didn't fare as well in comparison. It's still a good gluten free alternative though.
-I first tried the Pirate's Booty brand during flight attendant training. A friend brought me some gluten free snacks since I could never eat what the rest of the class was having and this was one of the things she brought me. I'm obsessed. I can literally eat an entire bag in a day. I need some serious practice in self control when it comes to this treat.
-The Snapea Crisps are fantastic! I found them on sale a week or so ago at Whole Foods and loved them! When I saw them again at Thyme, I had to snatch them up!

-The PB&J Granola Bars are pretty good. They weren't spectacular and I don't know that I would repurchase them, but they were ok for what I needed them for—travel snacking.
-I have tried a few different types of gluten free macaroni and cheese but none of them have compared to my favorite, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. I have enjoyed other Annie's products so I figured I'd give the Rice Pasta & Cheddar a try and I was pleasantly surprised! It was great! You have to follow the cooking instructions to a T but if you do that, you're golden.
-I enjoyed the chocolate chip cookie although I'll say I have had better. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it, especially for the price.
-Finally, there is Udi's Pepperoni Pizza. Those of you who are gluten free probably already know that Udi's brand kinda seriously rocks. I think I have loved every product of theirs that I've tried and this pizza isn't exempt from that. Try it out, it's worth it.

Overall, my trip to Thyme was a huge success. I will say that it is a bit pricey, probably more so than Whole Foods. But in all fairness, it's a small, organic market in New York. I expect it to be pricey.

Additionally, I am super excited to try some of their juices and smoothies! I have been really wanting to jump on the juicing trend to see what the hype is all about. I'll let you know when I check it out. My guess is that once I try it, I'll never turn back.

Let me know if you've been to Thyme or if you know of other gluten free places in Kew Gardens!

Monday, June 10

deserted in detroit

The flight attendant life is one filled with delays and reroutes, unexpected rough air and cancellations. Typically we run into these issues during work but there are the highly unfortunate times that they affect your personal travels. Hence the blog title.

A few weeks ago I had base orientation in NY. Don't worry, I won't bore you with the lifeless details of that afternoon. My story begins afterward. I decided since we finished orientation fairly early that I would catch a flight out of LaGuardia into Detroit with a connection into Birmingham. The seats looked good and I was confident that I would make it home by 9:30pm. I went to sign into my 5:30pm flight out of LaGuardia and was redirected to the 4:30pm flight. {Perfect! I might get home even sooner!} I boarded with the passengers, we taxied out, and sat. For an hour. {No big deal}, I'm thinking, {I was planning to take the 5:30pm flight anyways, so this won't make much of a difference.} We got in the air and I quickly noticed the weather was not the greatest terrible and we weren't really going anywhere. Shortly after, the captain came over the PA. "Uhh...ladies and gentlemen. If you've flown much, you uh, may have noticed that we've been circling over Cincinnati for a little while now. The uh, ATC has put us into a holding pattern for about uh, 40 minutes or so. Sorry for the delay and we'll get you on the ground as soon as possible." {Great. Now I really don't know if I'll make my connection.} We finally land in Detroit and I run down the jetway begging the gate agent to hold the Birmingham flight. She agreed to call them and I booked it towards terminal C. Mind you, I was at the end of terminal A. For those of you who have flown through Detroit you know that's a nightmare. After running for God only knows how long, I arrived at the gate and saw that the boarding door had been closed. {Guess I'm not making that flight}. I approached the nearest gate agent only to find out that there's nothing back to New York, nothing to Atlanta, and nothing into Birmingham or anywhere in Alabama for that matter. Basically, I was stranded. So, I found my way to the flight attendant lounge (which was a whole other adventure) and took a seat. {I surrender.} I was left with two options. I could A) get a hotel for 7 hours until my early morning flight into Birmingham or B) find a corner to sleep in the airport. I chose option B.

The above photos display a perplexed and helpless flight attendant along with her cozy corner of the crew lounge. 

The next morning I made it on the 8:00am flight into Birmingham and welcomed the south and it's beautiful, sunny weather with open arms.

It just goes to show that the flight attendant life isn't always as glamorous as it's made out to be.

Friday, June 7

navigating nyc

I have been to New York City once in my life. I was 14 years old, on a missions trip with my church, serving the homeless. I remember loving my time there and have wanted to visit again ever since. Little did I know I would end up with a job that had me living in New York part time. The day I found my crashpad, my friends and I decided that we needed to celebrate by exploring the city! It was definitely an adventure being that all of us had only been to NYC once. We headed towards the nearest subway and hopped on the E train hoping to get to our destination.

First, we made a stop in Times Square. None of us planned to spend a whole lot of money so it was mostly sightseeing. The girls ate at Bubba Gump and afterwards, we walked around for a while just enjoying being in the city. 

We decided that we would head to Canal St. next but on our way noticed a DC Cupcakes! Unfortunately, it wasn't a full store like the one in SoHo, it was just a cafe, but the girls said it was still fantastic!

Afterwards, we continued on our way to Canal St. and Chinatown. Upon arriving, I found myself desperately needing my own sweet treat...and alas...an espresso bar with macaroons!! It took me a while to decide which one to get but finally settled on peanut butter. It didn't disappoint. 

Canal St. was, well, dirty and crowded and draining. We were already tired from a long day of crashpad hunting and city exploring so I think we just didn't have enough energy to fully enjoy it. Despite the exhaustion, it was still fun being there and experiencing the culture differences.

As we were leaving, my friend Alex pointed out the Freedom Tower still under construction. I snapped a quick picture as we made our way back to the subway. 14 stops later we were at Jamaica Station and took the Airtran to JFK, then the shuttle back to our hotel.

Overall, it was a great day although long and exhausting. I love the city and can't wait to really explore it soon with my roomie-extraordinaire, Kelly! 

Until next time...

*Please excuse the terrible quality photos. My camera battery died at the beginning of the day and I had to use my phone to snap these pics.

Tuesday, June 4

crashpad hunting 101

My wings are pinned, my uniform is pressed, and my luggage is packed. What now? Find a place to live in New York, which in my case is a crashpad. A crashpad is a place for airline employees to stay in between trips. It is usually a house or apartment in which you eat, sleep, and get ready for work. Why do we need a crashpad? Well, many flight attendants commute to their base and need a place to stay the night before a trip starts. There are also times in which commuters only have one day off between two trips and don't have enough time to go home in between. Those are two among many reasons we need a crashpad. What makes a crashpad unique is that a lot of people share the same place. For instance, you would typically expect a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment to have 2-3 people living there...not in a crashpad. On average, there are 8+ people. Don't freak out yet. The good thing is that because we are all flying or home, we're never there at the same time. In fact, in smaller crashpads like the example I just used, you'll often find yourself at the crashpad alone. Also, since there are so many people staying there, the rent is affordable.

Now, how I found my crashpad.

After graduation, we had 4 days before we had to be back in NY for base orientation. We were provided a hotel for two nights so that we could find place to live one day and attend base orientation the next. The hard part is, there's no way to prepare for finding a crashpad. Thankfully, we had heard of one house that had openings so that was our first step. A few of us hopped on the subway, headed to the neighborhood that's infamous for crashpads, and walked around hoping to come across anything useful. After stopping a few flight attendants on the street and asking if they knew of any available crashpads (striking out every time), we came to the house. It was...not good. Really bad. Kinda scary. Very uncomfortable. Overall, not for me. Why didn't I love it? Well, it was coed, it has 8 beds per room (11 rooms total), there is a 0.5 mile uphill walk hike from where the crew shuttle picks us up...to name a few. As I sat in one of the bedrooms with my friends, my heart sank. "What in the world am I going to do?" I knew crashpad availability wasn't great with so many of us graduating and finding a place that met my preferences would be nearly impossible. It was at that point that one of my friends gave me the number to an all woman crashpad that she had heard good things about. It was a no-nonsense, mature group of women that all work for the same airline. I didn't have anything to lose and it sounded much better than my current situation, so I gave her a call. We chatted for a while as she asked questions about what I want from a crashpad, expectations, stipulations, etc. When she heard what house I was looking at, she insisted that I come and look at her place. I quickly accepted. As I made my way to the front of the building, I immediately felt more comfortable. The location was better and security was increased. I was given a tour of the apartment by another flight attendant and instantly fell in love. It was perfect. More than I could've asked for. Guys, my crashpad is not the norm. It's much, much nicer. And I was given an incredible price. Clearly, God wanted me here and I am praising Him for yet another measure of unmerited grace.

So, without further ado...here is my home away from home :)

Living room

Living room (window view)




Shelves for sheets/blankets

View from balcony


My crashpad is a 2 bed, 2 bath apartment located directly across the street from where our crew shuttle picks up at! As you saw in the bedroom photo, there are two bunk beds per room. One room has 'cold beds' and the other room has 'hot beds'. A cold bed is a reserved for you only. When you arrive at your crashpad, you know you will always have that specific bed and are able to keep it made while you're gone. A hot bed is one in which you aren't guaranteed the same bed every time you stay there. When you leave you just fold up your sheets and comforter and grab whichever bed is available the next time you arrive. That is why we have the shelves to leave our sheets, blankets, and personal items for when we're away from the crashpad. Cold beds are typically more expensive than hot beds.

Explaining a crashpad is a difficult task. Honestly, I didn't full understand what it was until I saw it in person. So, forgive me if my explanation has been confusing. Overall, finding a crashpad isn't easy. There isn't a simple Google search that tells you how to do it, but somehow we all figured it out. Praise God for his continual provision over my life.