weekend trip: charlotte

earlier this month, g and i took a road trip down to charlotte, nc. it was our first road trip together – and we now know that i have serious driving anxiety and i should always pack a pillow to sit on for long drives. i’m a super fun wife.

the weather in charlotte happened to drop as soon as we arrived – from like 70 degree sunshine to 50 something gloom. but the sun did manage to peek out for the clouds on our last full day of exploring for which we were quite thankful.

friday was spent traveling to charlotte, checking into our hotel which happened to be hosting many nascar fans for the big race that weekend, and showering before lights out.

saturday morning we woke up refreshed and ready to find some good local acai bowls for breakfast to feel like we were truly living the dream. only to find out that every trendy cutesy place i had bookmarked was about 20 minutes in the wrong direction of where we needed to be at 9am. so bob evans it was! this was surprisingly g’s first time eating at bob evans, yet for me this was a chidlhood favorite. it was delicious and fast.

the whole purpose of being in charlotte for the weekend was for a conference I was attending. you can read all about it in this post. while i learned about all the things, g went exploring the town. he found mcdowell nature perserve and hiked around a bit until the wind just was too cold to bear. on his way back to the hotel he found the billy graham historical library and stopped in for a visit. he came out with a new book and a cute wooden sign for me. he’s so thoughtful and sweet, seriously.

after the conference, we tried to do the cool hip thing and visit the cool hip part of town – but we just weren’t feeling it after walking around and having an hour long wait for a table – or maybe it’s that we just weren’t cool and hip enough? so we ended up a few blocks down at ruru’s tacos & tequila. it was loud yet adorable – we really liked the atmosphere and the food! seemed like it’s definitely a local date night spot for many!

sunday morning was exciting! we had plans to meet up with brittany (longtime childhood friend) at elevation church. it was such a sweet expeiernce to get a behind the scenes look at prep for the service, while meeting some really awesome team members/staff. brittany was such a great host to us and we really enjoyed the experience. elevation is the kinda church you can learn so much from.

the rest of sunday afternoon was spent exploring 7th street market. we had pizza at a local spot and then took the train to southend. g and i discovered were not much of the exploring type – we need a plan, a destination, a purpose. so after walking around aimlessly for a few hours, the hotel was calling our names. lame, we know.

we chilled in the hotel, i probably took a nap, and then we awoke to grumbling stomachs, ready for the next meal. isn’t that just how it goes on vacation? hurrying up to the next time you’ll eat? haha

we stumbled out of the hotel to a beautiful pond with people paddle boating. so cute.

g and i are obsessed with mexican food and even though we had just had it the night before for dinner, we easily said yes to trying out zapata’s. and good glory we are so glad. this was hands down the best mexican food we have ever had. each of our dishes had amazing flavor. we now hold zapata’s at the top of the list, and like i said, we have frequented many a mexican restaurant since our trip, and nothing compares. so delicious.

monday morning, ironically, the weather in charlotte shot right back up to the usual sunny and 70 degrees – but alas we had to hit the road back home around 7AM.

it was fun to get away for the first time since being married. g had really been looking forward to our charlotte trip and would remind me often during the snowy maryland months that we were only xx days away. he’s always so encouraging and hopeful. i love him. would love to return to charlotte for a longer stay with a tad bit more of a purpose – maybe an itinerary created by some of the locals. that’s more my cup of tea. enjoy the pics, y’all!















purpose – like real purpose

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this weekend at church the message is about “the single family.” i’ve been married to grant for 5 short months, so honestly my life has been spent more single than not. y’all know i’m passionate about what a single person is capable of – what a single person can experience during this season, bc that was me. it was my story. i’ve never been shy about how i feel on the topic of being single (just search “single” on this blog & you will see!) there tends to be this invisible timer attached to a single person – as if your time just hasn’t come yet, as if he or she isn’t here yet. now, i’m a newlywed who knows literally nothing on the topic of marriage, but i must say (shout!), marriage won’t complete you. it’s a blessing, absolutely, but it’s no lifesaver. you have purpose no matter what. bottom line. i hope you do feel encouraged that you do matter in the kingdom and god will use you, no matter what your relationship status. remember, he’s bigger than any situation.


lately, i’ve been in the winter funk and ain’t nobody gonna change that. i’ve been trying though – really trying to be grateful through this season. it happens every year, so i really shouldn’t surprised. my husband? well, he’s learning. i keep telling him: “you married me. all of me. even this season of me.”

he’s so sweet and reminds me that “yes, he did marry me.”

this kinda stuff just doesn’t phase him.

god knew i need a man unfazed by my craziness. ha. that made me laugh. bc it’s so true.

here are some pictures from last weekend. not sure the reputation maryland has throughout the country (or even the world!) but we are basically a four-season kinda state with water & woods everywhere you turn. i love it here. it’s so dang beautiful. enjoy!

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blizzard jonas

grant & i have spent 54 consecutive hours together (friday @12:30pm to sunday @6pm) & we are still going strong! we have watched plenty of netflix, i’ve learned a few games (sequence & speed) & crushed grant at both. we’ve baked cookies, made homemade pizza, homemade pesto, homemade alfredo, boiled rice, boiled pasta, baked potato chips, done hours of homework (grant), danced in the living room, spent morning devotionals together, watched tons of youtube, prayed for the power to stay on, laughed with delirium, went tubing down our front yard into the woods, went for a walk to the beach, almost fell into the icy bay (alicia). it’s been a memorable blizzard. i’m thankful we didn’t lose power & went kept morale high at camp cardwell. please enjoy our blizzard tubing fun from today. xo


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a cardwell christmas: 2015

welp, today went nothing like we thought.


not that we had a ton of plans or anything. as it is our very first christmas together as a couple – we wanted to try to make traditions of our own. this time last year i was spending christmas bouncing from my mom’s house to my dad’s house, texting grant the whole time. he was visiting his family in texas. we hadn’t even been on our first date yet. it’s crazy how much can happen in one short year.


yesterday we celebrated the end of grant’s first semester in college (yes, he’s working full time & taking classes = my hero!) by going to the matinee of creed. it was an intense movie – he loved it. i’ve never been able to stomach fighting (especially boxing) but the storyline was great. then we headed over to outback for a yummy dinner. it was around this time that grant started to feel like major poo. we headed home, in the pouring rain, made our beds on the couch, tried to find it’s a wonderful life on youtube (unsuccessful) & settled on the morrocan christmas episode of the office. why did i just say settle? that was silly. i love every christmas episode of the office – but it’s not as cute & traditional to post all over ig & snapchat – so i’ll reveal it in my blog (shhh don’t tell anyone!)

we had plans to catch the sunrise christmas day. i had done this last year & it was so peaceful & refreshing to start the day at the beach with the sun.

well, as it has been all week, we woke up to a mild, humid, foggy morning. but my champion husband mustered the strength to get outta bed couch & head down to the beach. it was beautiful.

then we opened our gifts – i got him some beard balm, a beard comb & a shirt (the rest of his awesome gifts are still on a truck from new york #wifeoftheyear) & he got us matching qalo rings & A CANON CAMERA. yasssssss my hero got me what i’ve dreaming about for YEARS.


we took the camera out for her very first adventure. i also went hiking last christmas so i thought – hey it’s 70 degrees & i just saw the sun peeking out from the clouds – & grant had been sleeping the day away from the moment we finished opening presents – so i convinced him this was the best idea.

the hike ended up being about 4 miles (#wifeoftheyear) & by the end of it we had sweaty foreheads & wet shoes. i had a great time – the verdict is still out on grant.

we rushed home & i made a delicious curry lentil soup from oh she glows for bae & then we headed over to my mom’s. we had a good time catching up, opening gifts & playing with the crazy cats.

& now we are sitting on the couch while i figure out my new camera & it’s a wonderful life (borrowed from my mom!) plays on the tv as background noise.

my favorite part of the day was reading the christmas story & praying with my husband first thing this morning. it’s not very often we can slow down like we did today & truly enjoy each other & what we’ve been blessed with.


i hope you enjoy my very first canon pictures. i’m so excited about this camera. my blogs will be loaded with pics & my vlog will be fancy & creative.

merry christmas! what was a highlight of your day?













well – it was more like a mini-moon.

my job was to plan to wedding – – grant’s job was to plan the honeymoon.

& plan he did!

due to the timing of our wedding, we weren’t able to take a long honeymoon like most. so we decided a two-night stay somewhere local would do the trick.

grant totally surprised me. once we left the wedding, the secret location went into his gps & we were off. i wasn’t blindfolded or anything so once he didn’t turn towards annapolis or baltimore, there was only one other option – washington, d.c.

we got a little lost haha naturally, but the minute we pulled up to the hotel, i immediately felt like royalty.

grant picked the jefferson– a very classic, luxurious and historic spot right in the heart of the city. when we arrived, the valet congratulated us. this is like the first time strangers interact with you after you’re married & it is magical. they called me mrs. cardwell. i melted.

it was the perfect mini moon. grant picked a deluxe room stocked with complimentary champagne & strawberries. again, i melted.

we had 70 degree weather in november. we spent our days exploring the city. we had a couples massage (again, they called me mrs. cardwell like 12 times. this was the first place i signed my new name, too. magical!) we ordered tons of room service. it was the best two days ever.

the part i love the most? we will get to spend every anniversary at the jefferson. it’s local enough & you can never run out of things to do in the city.

we are, however, planning a longer honeymoon in the future. we’ve got big plans to save up & do it right – – so it might be more of a third anniversary kinda trip 🙂



































we’re engaged!

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i couldn’t write this story from scratch even if i wanted to.

it’s been quite the journey with mr. grant cardwell. i’ve never had a better year in my life than the one i’ve spent with grant.

he proposed on saturday, august 29, on the beach where we met just one year ago.

our day started out like any other day. grant went to the gym, i went for a long run in the park.

he came over my house and helped do ALL THE THINGS in my yard. like spent the entire day outside while i pretended to clean inside which is really code for nap/netlfix. he’s so good to me.

we went to church service & then headed over to the miller’s where we planned to have dinner. when we parked at their house, grant suggested we go for a walk on the beach.

“should we take the food in the house first?” i asked.

“no, we can do it after our walk.” grant says.

it was a very windy night – just beautiful weather.

we walked down the beach & back – just enjoying the significance of the day & what this beach meant to us.

& then as grant leaned down to put his flip flops back on – he stayed down on one knee, pulled the ring box out of his pocket & asked me to MARRY HIM.


i’m still in the clouds. i know one day the excitement will fade – – but thank the lord for all the feels. we are so thankful.

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