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Five on Friday | Vol. 2

I wrote volume one of Five on Friday back in July 2016, and I honestly loved it. It’s been on my mind ever since. Now more than ever feels like the perfect time to revisit this concept I fell in love with because it’s been a long time since I’ve written a post, let alone written about my life. So, in the spirit of overcoming my blogging rut, let’s talk about where I’ve been — and also where I’m going. I didn’t mean for this to happen, but when I picked out the five biggest things that have been happening in my life since last posting, I realized these five things are also things I really want to focus on and bring to my blog going forward, so if you love this Five on Friday, stick around, because you’ll love what’s coming next.

Oh, and P.S. I couldn’t be happier to be back.

I Moved & Exploring 12 South

I Believe in Nashville Mural in 12 South Nashville

Guess what?! I moved. A little over three weeks ago I received a job offer for an Editorial Assistant position from a company in Tennessee. I took it! With that, I had 12 days to get to Nashville before my first day on the job. Yep, 12 days. And I did it!

Seven days after I first received the news of my offer, I drove down to Tennessee with two cars packed full of everything (almost) I own. The next day I toured apartments. The day after that I signed a lease and moved my belongings into my new place. Needless to say, it was a whirlwind. But in a good way. Little time lead to big action and less thinking.

I got settled in quickly, started work and before I knew it, my first week full week in Tennessee was over.

This past weekend it finally felt like I was starting to settle in. I caught up on much needed sleep. An AT&T technician installed my internet (YAY!). I cleaned my apartment and put away the last of my scattered belongings.

This past weekend I also found the time to explore. I may have only been at work for a week, but I’ve already received so many suggestions on where to go in the Nashville area from excited co-workers. I’m 95% sure the 12 South Neighborhood of Nashville won for “most suggested.” I took the advice, I went and I loved it!

Between sitting in Frothy Monkey, enjoying an iced almond milk latte, and wandering the streets, I spent about an hour and 45 minutes in 12 South. I could have easily stayed there longer. So many restaurants and shops with a chic, industrial feel line the street. I did make it to three noteworthy spots!

Sprinkles Cupcake ATM

Sprinkles Cupcake ATM in 12 South Nashville

After Frothy Monkey, I went to the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM. I must admit, I’ve been in walking distance of a Sprinkles Cupcake ATM before. Those Chicagoans obsess over the ATM there. For some reason, though, I’ve never felt compelled to try it!

At the ATM I grabbed a dark chocolate cupcake and snapped a few pictures (of course). Funny story… I was filming a video of the ATM door opening up to my cupcake. When the door opened, I went to reach my hand in to grab my cupcake, watching through the camera on my phone, and I jammed my hand into the metal because you can’t accurately judge where your hand is going by the view on your screen. Oh my gosh, the crowd behind me was laughing so hard. I had to laugh at myself!

Amelia’s Flower Truck

Amelia's Flower Truck (Nashville's Mobile Flower Shop) in 12 South Nashville

Walking down the street, my eyes lit up when I spotted Amelia’s Flower Truck. Why is it that everything is so much cuter in little truck form?

Amelia’s Flower Truck isn’t always in 12 South. It travels. Sometimes it’s in The Gulch, Edgehill Village, East Nashville, etc. Make sure to check out the calendar before heading to 12 South if you’re really hoping to pick up some stems!

Amelia's Flower Truck (Nashville's Mobile Flower Shop) in 12 South Nashville

I personally didn’t pick up any flowers this time around because I’m saving up for longer lasting household items! If I start buying flowers now, I just know I’ll want fresh ones every week.

Right next to Amelia’s was another truck- a food truck called S’more Love Bakery. Of course, it was also adorable… because it’s in little truck (kind of camper-like) form! If I hadn’t already had half a cupcake, I definitely would have grabbed a s’more… Next time!

I also stopped by the “I believe in Nashville” mural to take a quick picture (as seen above), which is right across from the adorable Draper James store, which, for anyone who doesn’t know, is Reese Witherspoon’s clothing line. It’s very high-end, but some of the home goods are more affordable. I personally love the Lemon Melamine Tray! It may not be necessary anymore because “hello, fall!,” but it is on sale if that’s incentive enough.

And… that’s a wrap on my 12 South Nashville adventure! I will definitely be going back to explore more and to show around friends and family when they come to visit.

One thing I’ve noticed for sure in my short time being here is that there is so much to do, so much to see!

My goal for the month of October is to post a middle Tennessee bucket list like the Illinois summer bucket list I made. This one will be much longer though. I’ll also try to make a blog post for each spot I check off the list.

But in case you can’t tell, I love it here already- and I don’t just mean 12 South. Tennessee is amazing, and I can 100% see a future for myself down here. My quick decision was the best decision. Make sure to stick around for my next adventure…

Have you ever been to 12 South Nashville? What are your favorite things to do in the 12 South Nashville area?

Five on Friday | Vol. 1

I’ll be honest. I’ve seen these “Five on Friday” things around the blogosphere for a while now. I never really quite understood what they were though. Just five things? Anything? Three years later, that’s my understanding.

I am participating in my very first “Five on Friday” post because I made a goal for the month of July to be more personable over here on Ali in Bloom. I’ve noticed that while trying to be informative and help out all of my fellow college students/recent grads, I can be a bit dry. Oops! Guys, why didn’t you tell me?

If you like this post and think it is as fun as I thought it was to make, let me know in the comments below! If you participate in this so-called “Five on Friday,” leave a link to your latest post. I need to make sure I’m doing this right, you know?!

ONE | A Trip to the Zoo

Five on Friday | Vol. 1 | A Trip to the Zoo

Last Friday I went to the Brookfield Zoo after getting back from vacation. Did I tell you I went on vacation? I spent two weeks in the woods with my grandparents. It was such a great experience. I need to spend as much time with family as possible before life gets to crazy and I move (fingers crossed that will be any time now).

Anyway, the zoo was fun! It was an overcast day, but I managed to only get hit by a few sprinkles. I saw lions and tigers and bears (oh my!). Everyone needs a good zoo visit every once in a while. I hadn’t been in two years!

TWO | Sommersby

I watched Sommersby for the first time last weekend. When the movie first started, I was hesitant. Super hesitant. I was watching it with my mom at her suggestion. She had watched it before and loved it.

The movie did start off slow. But, boy, did it sure speed up quickly. Watch this movie. If you’re anything like me (or my mom), you’ll be hooked.

Here’s the brief synopsis from Google:

A man returns to his home town after a lengthy absence spent fighting in the US Civil War. Although his apparent character transformation arouses his wife’s and others’ suspicions, everyone is delighted when his tobacco-growing scheme is profitable for the whole town. Just as he is settling into an idyllic routine with his family, he is accused of the murder of a man killed many years before.

THREE | I Bought Some Clothes

Yay me! I actually uploaded my Youtube video for the week. Traveling threw me off schedule for a while. It was well worth it though because I spent so much quality time with my family. Who has Youtube to worry about when you have family to have fun with?!

Anyway, this week was my first clothing haul ever. I actually had a lot, a lot of fun filming it, so I hope you guys enjoy watching it. I’ve gained 20 new subscribers in the last month without being very active on my channel at all. I’ve been ecstatic about that. I’m almost to 100 subscribers, which I know isn’t much, but I think it’s still an important milestone. I haven’t been on Youtube very long, so I think celebrating 100 is in order. What video would you guys like to see to celebrate 100 subscribers? Let’s try to reach 100 by August  26!

FOUR | The Importance of Being Alice

I’ve been on a reading kick lately. I just can’t stop! Although, I have finished the last unread book on my bookshelf, so I suppose I am trapped into taking a reading break until I can get to a library/bookstore again. The Importance of Being Alice by Katie MacAlister was my latest read. This romance doesn’t make it onto my list of favorites. In fact, I was surprised to find such good reviews for it online. Maybe it’s just me?! Here’s the synopsis from Katie MacAlister’s site:

Nothing about Alice Wood’s life is normal right now. Her fiance called off their wedding and relationship days before their luxurious tour down Europe’s most romantic rivers. And due to a horrible misunderstanding, now Alice is cooped up in her honeymoon suite with a strange—yet mysteriously handsome—British aristocrat.

All Elliott Ainslie wants is some quiet time to write his latest book. But his stodgy, serious self is about to be sidetracked by a woman who seems to have jumped out of the pages of a fairy tale, one who is determined to shake up his life…and include him in her own happily ever after.

The synopsis sounded great! I just wasn’t fond of the execution of the plot or characters. I was intrigued and entertained enough to feel inclined to keep reading and finish the book. The book felt a little too jam-packed and over the top for my own personal taste, however. I love a simple love story, I suppose.

Any suggestions for my next read? I think I may try another Katie MacAlister novel just to see if a different series suites me better.

FIVE | Visiting My Alma Mater

Five on Friday | Vol. 1 | Visiting My Alma Mater

This weekend I am heading to Urbana-Champaign to visit the lovely University of Illinois (my alma mater). I’ve only been away for two months and I’m already going back! This won’t be a regular occurrence, though. I really just have to go back to drop off my cable box that had been left in my apartment for the subleaser.

While I’m there I’m hoping to also hit the farmer’s market, Ko Fusion for sushi and take a walk around campus (although the weather isn’t looking too good for that). It’s a long drive, so I won’t have time for too much. I’m dragging Ty along with me to make the drive more bearable; we may make a short, little weekend vlog, so make sure to subscribed to my Youtube channel if you don’t want to miss it!

How was your week? Any fun plans for this weekend? Did you enjoy this “Five on Friday” post? Let me know in the comments below!

FiveonFridayCup

Graduation & Post-Grad Plans

Graduation & Post-Grad Plans - Ali in Bloom

A week and a half ago I graduated from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign; it seems like just last year I was telling you guys about my high school graduation! Turns out that was actually three years ago. I think it’s true what they say; time goes by faster and faster as you get older.

Graduating college has meant a lot of change. I moved back home. I had to update my about me page because I can no longer call myself a college blogger?! I’m taking the first real break since who-knows-when.

Life has been good though, and I’m thoroughly enjoying my break. I’m taking the time to spend time with friends and family, enjoy the warm weather and post here three times a week (starting next week look out for posts Monday, Wednesday and Friday). I’m also taking this time to work on my Youtube channel. I’ll be posting once a week to Youtube, so make sure to watch for a new video every Friday! Despite editing my about me page because I can no longer call myself a college blogger, I’ll still be sharing college-related posts. After graduating, I think I can give an even better perspective on this whole crazy journey we call college. I’ll also be adding post-grad posts into the mix, giving my advice on the job hunt and living a fulfilling life in your 20s, etc. I’m really excited about this more specific direction I have decided to take!

Graduation & Post-Grad Plans - Ali in Bloom

So… The moment you have all been waiting for, I know. Outside of keeping up with Ali in Bloom, what are my post-grad plans? In an effort to be as transparent and open as possible with you all, I will be the first to admit: I have no definitive, concrete plan, and right now, I’m okay with that.

The past three years have been the busiest, most life-changing years of my life. I grew up. I found myself. I discovered new passions and made my way back to old ones. Now, I’m taking this opportunity to sit down and reflect on where life has lead me and on how I’ve grown as a person. Being able to self-reflect and better understand myself, I can only hope, will help me in the future to be the best person I can be.

Now, when I say I have no definitive, concrete plan, I don’t mean to say that I have no plan at all. If you have been around since January, you probably saw my goals for 2016. One of the goals I set for 2016 was to turn my blog into a business and make it my full-time job. I still want to turn Ali in Bloom into a business. I love this blog, you guys. I really do. It has been with me for so long- through so many different parts of my life. I’m not forgetting about this goal. I still have my business plan tucked away in my journal along with mini-goals to keep me on track, but for a number of reason, I won’t be pursuing Ali in Bloom full-time just yet. Here’s why:

  • I want direction. I do want to move out of Illinois at some point in my life (by that I mean some point very soon). As much as I love it here, I don’t want to miss a single opportunity to explore and see the world. Taking on the challenge of moving somewhere new is something I think needs to be experienced at least once in a lifetime. Working as a full-time blogger, I wouldn’t have a reason to move. I still could, but finding a job out of state is definitely a little nudge that I want for myself- plus it takes away the difficult decision of choosing where in the world to move.
  • I want experience. Sure, managing my own website looks great on a resume, but I’ve never worked in the corporate world full-time. I want to give it a try so that I can know both ends of the spectrum. I really strongly feel that working for a company will give me invaluable skills.
  • I want stability. Right out of college, I feel like I need stability to get up on my feet. I have student loan debt and an empty savings account. College will do that to you, am I right? I want a steady job that can help me in the next chapter of my life as I move out on my own and take on more expenses.
  • I want to be a part of a team. This may be the biggest reason I want to join the corporate world. I love being a part of something bigger than myself. At Ali in Bloom, it’s just me.

With that being said, I will start my job search in July after I finish up the last of my break plans. I’m hoping to find a position in the editorial field. One of the major things I learned quickly on this break is that I love writing and inspiring. At the end of the day, writing is the reason I started blogging in the first place. The wonderful connections I’ve made and photography, videography and marketing skills I’ve learned along the way are all bonuses.

All in all, I am so very excited for this next phase in my life. I may not have a concrete plan, but that only makes it more exhilarating. I could end up anywhere. I could do anything. Meet anyone. Experience everything. As I move forward in my job hunt, I will be sure to keep you in the loop and let you know where I end up. And thank you. Thank you to everyone who has read Ali in Bloom once or 100 times. It doesn’t matter. You all have supported my passion and helped me rediscover my purpose!

Did you have a concrete plan when you graduated college? Did they unfold how you expected they would?