mucinex

Sickness has struck the Shugart household.

Well, mostly it has struck me.  Will had a cute little cough and then was over and done with it.  I, on the other hand, self-diagnosed from the first spike of fever that a sinus infection had taken me down, post-migraine.  

I write to you now from the comfort of my bonus room couch, with my steaming mug of chamomile tea and my chick flicks and Grey’s Anatomy on repeat, having missed publishing my first Monday blog post since launching Wamie’s World last July.  And while I have no photos to share today, from a typically photography focused blog, I feel that sharing using the written word can just as powerfully convey the clouded vision of a sickly blogger.

I was conveniently taken down by a virus passed on by my loving family on the busiest work week I have seen since the Christmas holiday family photo session explosion of 2018.  I curled up in an armchair for two days straight, editing my days away while clutching my box of tissues.  I spent the nights clutching my eyeballs for fear they might pop out of my head due to the pressure building up behind them.  And I coughed my way through work, popping cough drops like they were candy and huddling in my corner so as not to breathe on anyone.

Conveniently, all of the websites say that you might have a sinus infection if your symptoms persist for more than two weeks.  

As a woman who has had far more than her fair share of sinus infections in her life, I would have to disagree with whomever invented them.  More than two weeks is far too long to put up with this nonsense.  Can I please just return to my normal programming?  

Should you be happy and healthy today, enjoying the full use of your vocal cords, please appreciate your pressure free sinuses, your vertigo free days, and how little you require tissues on a minute by minute basis.  I will be here, attempting to live a normal life while contemplating removing my sinuses from my body.

Until next time,
Jamie out.

Christmas With the Shugarts

2018 was the year of the tabletop Christmas tree due to our tiny puppy.
The breakfast master.
We opened stockings at home, had a giant breakfast, and then went to my parents’ house for family time.
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It is hard to be a little pup when there is no time to nap and so many people to take care of.
Dinner.
Nephew.
Finally able to rest with Auntie Kasey.

Until next time,
Jamie out.

Mini House Tour (Before)

We bought a house!  Our very first home purchase.  It is a big deal and we are excited and nervous.  But mostly excited.  

So excited that we are bringing you along on the adventure of home ownership.  From the $300 microwave that needs replacing within the first month, to the fun paint colors and new furniture, we are bringing you along for the ride!

First up are our “before” photos.  I took these literally the day we moved in, and as moving days go we were running behind so my photos have some of our stuff in them, despite my best efforts.  Oh well!

mini house tour-before mini house tour-before

Our living room!  It has an electric fireplace and is the central hub of the whole house.  Right now our intention is to not have a television in our living room and make it a place of conversation, reading, and quality time.

mini house tour-before mini house tour-before

Here is our little kitchen, with not quite enough cabinet space and no pantry whatsoever.  That door leads to our tiny laundry room, which we will be creating additional storage space in to use as a pantry.

mini house tour-before mini house tour-before

It is a three bedroom, two bathroom house. As a couple with no kids but a good amount of friends who will likely come over, the second bathroom is ideal for guests. Eventually it will be great for kids too, but for now it is just a luxury to have two bathrooms and we LOVE it.

mini house tour-before mini house tour-before

The master bedroom is just the right size for us and gets great natural light throughout the day. There is a perfect amount of space for me, Will and Blue and once we got our furniture it became a lot easier to keep it pretty clean. Also, I never knew that a jetted tub is what my life was missing, but that thing is a dream.

mini house tour-before

The bonus room is our favorite room. We are going to create a great relaxing hang out space. We are going to have movie marathons and game nights and plenty of room for my at home work outs. We literally get so excited to go upstairs and watch a show or just relax together as a family.

mini house tour-before

Last but not least is our beautiful, roomy two car garage. I never knew that I as a grownup could get so excited about a garage. I love that our cars get to live inside. That I don’t have to go out in the cold or the rain to get in my vehicle at home. That we have a place to store our lawnmower (that we will eventually purchase). I feel like such an adult, but honestly. Pulling into our garage every day is so cool.

Stay tuned for updates and decor throughout our time in this home.  We are so excited to share!

Until next time,
Jamie out

we lost it all in Hurricane Florence

we lost it all in Hurricane Florence

If you watched the news in September, you know that Hurricane Florence hit the east coast and caused a lot of damage.  Most of the severe losses were in coastal towns, but places inland were affected as well.  The Cape Fear River that runs through Fayetteville and the surrounding towns crested around 60 feet, majorly surpassing the 35 foot flood stage and causing families along the river and other water ways that run off it to be evacuated.

While we were in Arizona, most of our worldly possessions were in a storage unit in Fayetteville.  We, luckily, decided to opt into the insurance the facility offered well before the storm.  While I do not believe the storage unit was within a mandatory flood evacuation zone, we were informed by management that our unit had flooded.

We returned home at the end of October and took a peek at the damage.  Initially we thought it wasn’t so bad—only a few boxes had been on the ground and it was mostly furniture that took the brunt of the water.  We assumed we would be able to clean them off and be on our merry way.

After closing on our home, the next day we got a U-Haul and invited friends and family to help us empty our unit.  We went out and bought gloves and masks for everyone, as long as a lot of white vinegar and cleaning supplies.

we lost it all in Hurricane Florence

It was not just a little bit of damage.  A whole box of picture albums was on the ground.  Most of our furniture is wood or fabric, so the material held onto the moisture and mold grew rampant.  Even boxes that weren’t soaked with water allowed moisture and eventually mold inside and we had to go through everything carefully.

we lost it all in Hurricane Florence we lost it all in Hurricane Florence we lost it all in Hurricane Florence

Luckily, we were able to save money while we were in Arizona and we deliberately put some away for purchasing things we would need—like a washer and dryer.  Luckily, like I said above, we put insurance on our unit and its contents.  Luckily, we had the support of our loved ones as we unpacked, cleaned, and photographed the damage.  Luckily, we serve a great God who has been gracious in providing, even through the troubled times.

we lost it all in Hurricane Florence we lost it all in Hurricane Florence

I know people who lost everything in Hurricane Matthew.  People who lost their homes and all of their possessions.  In the hurricanes that have hit the Carolinas recently, many people have lost their lives.

We lost some furniture.  Financially and emotionally that is certainly not the easiest thing to go through.  But we have our lives, and we have each other.

On the plus side, we get new stuff.  We get to pick the things that are to our taste.  We get to design our house from the ground up, so to speak.  And while it may be tough and draining and arduous, especially during the waiting (we are still working through the insurance claims process and have not been reimbursed for our losses yet), we know that now is not forever and that now will always change.

we lost it all in Hurricane Florence

After over three weeks, we have been able to almost fully furnish our home with what we NEED, with either the money we saved or the generosity of others.  We are grateful and happy for what we have, and we know that having each other is much more important than having a mattress, although it is much easier to sleep at night with one.  For real.

Until next time,
Jamie out.

a saturday spent banding hummingbirds

Did you know that southern Arizona boasts the most diverse types of hummingbirds in the United States?  A couple weeks ago, Will and I went with our friends to the San Pedro House, just outside of Sierra Vista, to visit this historic ranch house where they tag hummingbirds.  In fact, we went on one of the last weeks that they do it because of migration season.  A lot of hummingbirds pass through southern Arizona on their way to Mexico.

hummingbird banding in southern Arizona

The area is significant for world bird conservation, and according to Bureau of Land Management, it has been “officially designated a globally important bird area.”  

While I’m not super into bird watching, and the San Pedro House boasts a good amount of walking trails and scenery, this time we went specifically to see the hummingbirds.  It was actually pretty incredible and interesting.

hummingbird banding in southern Arizona hummingbird banding in southern Arizona

The scientists and volunteers said that the best times to study the hummingbirds are around sunrise and sunset, because that’s when they are out and looking for food.  It was super interesting to watch!  

They used a simple drop cage to essentially catch the birds and then, ingeniously, got the public in on the studying by allowing them to gently and carefully carry the birds over to the people banding them.

hummingbird banding in southern Arizona hummingbird banding in southern Arizona

You could tell the poor things were scared, but everyone was very gentle while handling them and they made sure to feed them before setting them free.  Carrying the little hummingbird was wild!  Its wings were beating so fast that I could feel the air movement.  

hummingbird banding in southern Arizona

There was a seating area under the tent where they were tagging the hummingbirds so that you could listen and learn.  One of the volunteers was super great—she spent a lot of time with us to answer our questions and tell us all about what they eat, when they eat, what their mating is like, and how their lives change as they mature.  

hummingbird banding in southern Arizona hummingbird banding in southern Arizona

Will got to carry over the last bird of the day!

hummingbird banding in southern Arizona

She was pretty young.  The females usually lose their color and turn brown once they get older.  You can see in the photo how green she is.  This one had been caught three times that day already.  

hummingbird banding in southern Arizona hummingbird banding in southern Arizona hummingbird banding in southern Arizona

After we learned all about her feathers and how to tell she’s female, we set her free!  Not before a quick photo-op, though.

hummingbird banding in southern Arizona hummingbird banding in southern Arizona

I wish we had time to do more exploring around San Pedro house!  It’s right on a riverbed and is home to about 300 species of birds, not to mention the other animal life that are drawn to the water in this desert.

Do you guys like learning about animals?  I think of all birds, hummingbirds are probably one of my favorites.

If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like and don’t forget to join the family by subscribing if you haven’t already.

Until next time,
Jamie out

summer in the desert | Arizona Part III

As month three in Arizona pulled to a close, Will and I quickly realized that there were only a few weeks left in the desert before we will be moving back to North Carolina.  What a whirlwind we have had out here!  

summer in the desert | Arizona part III

The #SuiteLifeofWillandJamie

In month three we settled into a little bit of a routine.  We went on a few adventures here and there, but also found ourselves staying at home a little more often.  I spent my time watching the last month of Big Brother season twenty (yes, it’s still on the air, and this was a FANTASTIC season), working my butt off in the workout program 80 Day Obsession, and working remotely for a company back in North Carolina.

summer in the desert | Arizona part III

I discovered the folly of bringing hot coffee on errands when it’s still summer in the desert.  AKA, don’t.  I didn’t drink any of it and was lucky to make it home alive after leaving the house in the afternoon.  

We also found this fantastic Jurassic Park Jeep and decided that whoever owns it needs to be our BFF ASAP.

summer in the desert | Arizona part III

There is a fantastic mountain right behind our hotel.  One Saturday we hadn’t planned to do anything, so after lunch we took our books up to the top and sat together to read and enjoy the view.  I’ll be honest, the attacking bees, wasps nests, and plethora of ants were a little off putting but otherwise we had a fantastic afternoon.

summer in the desert | Arizona part III

Shopping

I have mentioned before that Will and I love shopping on holidays.  We always need things, and the things we need are often expensive.  So we try to wait for holiday sales to really get our money’s worth.  We drove up to Tucson on Labor Day this year to hit the outlets.

summer in the desert | Arizona part III

I picked up a couple pairs of jeans from Old Navy for fifty percent off.  We also stopped by Nike, which had great sales compared to last year.  Will got a lot of new workout gear he’s been needing and I picked up a couple things as well.  I also stopped in J. Crew for some shorts and, in a surprise twist, walked out of Kate Spade with my first piece that was seventy-five percent off!

Also, shameless plug—my sister is a Mary Kay consultant if you’re in the market for one!  I’m sure she would love to help you!

summer in the desert | Arizona part III

Food

Our food experiences in Arizona have absolutely never disappointed.  From some classic Taco Bell hot sauces (secretly probably Will’s favorite fast food restaurant) to some breakfast bowls in which you can see all the ingredients from a local cafe, we are basically eating our way through our time in the desert.

summer in the desert | Arizona part III

I was SUPER excited to finally find the holiday section tucked away in my grocery store and brought home our supply of pumpkin spice.  It was a blessed day!  We also went on a date night to our favorite Mexican food joint—La Casitas.  It is deliciously dangerous and we almost missed our movie (A Simple Favor) because we were enjoying ourselves so much.

summer in the desert | Arizona part III

The Grand Canyon

Among our many adventures recently, the Grand Canyon was a huge one.  I’ve already blogged about it, so if you would like to you can read about the sunrise here, or our hike along the rim trail here.  

summer in the desert | Arizona part III summer in the desert | Arizona part III

We woke up at 3am, got ready, ate breakfast, and then drove about an hour to get to the park before sunrise.  It was incredible.  We stood there for an hour, easily, to witness the canyon see the first light of day.  I never regret early mornings while on vacation if the purpose is to experience a sunrise like this.  It’s probably one of my favorite things to do, and something I very rarely do in my everyday life.

summer in the desert | Arizona part III

We spent the rest of our day at the canyon hiking the rim trail—12.2 miles.  It was an amazing seven hours in the presence of one of the most incredible natural wonders in the world.  

Once we had completed the hike, part of which was in the pouring rain, we hopped on a shuttle back to the visitor center to stamp our National Parks Passports and then learn a little more about the park before heading back to our hotel in Williams.

summer in the desert | Arizona part III

This diagram of the Grand Canyon at the visitor center was really cool.  It was awesome to see where we had been all day.  

Once back at our hotel room, we crashed for several hours and then ordered pizza to eat in bed while we watched Harry Potter.  Now if that isn’t a perfect day, then I don’t know what is.

summer in the desert | Arizona part III

Camping

Our first time camping together (ever) was a bit of a disaster, and you can read that blog post here.  To be fair, mostly we were just ill-prepared and already a little grumpy before we even left the house.  But sleeping in a tent in the fresh air and under the stars is always worth it.

summer in the desert | Arizona part III

I have been dying to test out my tent since I bought it, and these views were certainly impressive.  My absolute favorite thing about being in Arizona has been the outdoor exploring we have been able to do.  Exploring like this was not something we were able to do back on the east coast, but we’re resolving to change that.  

summer in the desert | Arizona part III

As our time here in Arizona is pulling to a close, we’re busy building lasting memories, cherishing the time we have left, and watching all of the Harry Potter movies in existence.  #NoShame

If you have any suggestions for things to explore in southern Arizona or adventures we should go on back in North Carolina, leave them in the comments below!  We would love to hear them!

If you enjoyed this post, please give it a like, don’t forget to join the family and subscribe if you haven’t already, and we’ll see you guys next time!


Jamie out

More posts:
Moving to Arizona | Arizona Part I | Arizona Part II

a very old castle

Montezuma Castle National Monument

Labor Day Weekend Part IV

Let’s be honest, Will and I had a very successful weekend trip.  We visited the site of a volcano, witnessed the sun rising over the Grand Canyon, and hiked almost thirteen miles along its rim.  Come Sunday morning, we were beat and ready to go home.  

We ate breakfast at the hotel, packed up, and then took some quick shots in the wild flowers beside the parking lot because we forgot to take our traditional selfies with our National Parks Passports that weekend.  

Montezuma Castle National Monument

We got on the road pretty early but encountered a detour as we searched for Starbucks and my Pumpkin Spiced Latte fix.  We enjoyed the first part of our drive through Flagstaff as we discussed the future and what life is going to be like once we are back in North Carolina.

What we did not anticipate or plan for was almost being out of gas, but then deciding to push it and drive thirty more miles to get cheaper gas, and then seeing a sign right beside that gas station for a National Monument just six miles down the road.

“Let’s do it!”  We were so excited.  

We decided early on in our trip planning that we didn’t want to go to a National Park because “we might as well since it’s right there.”  If we aren’t feeling it, we aren’t going to go—the passports aren’t an obligation.  But this castle opportunity was just too good to pass up.

Montezuma Castle National Monument
(proud moment as my husband is getting really good at this posing for the camera thing)

Montezuma Castle National Monument

Structures like this capture my heart.  I absolutely love learning about and exploring places where people actually lived.  Old houses, forts, castles—you name it, I would probably love to explore it.  Case and point—Will and I met at an outing where we explored an abandoned school house (read about it here).

Montezuma Castle National Monument Montezuma Castle National Monument

In order to see the castle, you have to go through the Visitor Center, which was ridiculously busy on Labor Day.  We patiently waded through the crowds to stamp our passports and then to read about the history of the 800 year old cliff dwelling and its inhabitants.  The diagram above is a map of the castle floor plans, which the public is not allowed to explore any more.  Back in the day a lot of vandalism occurred and visitors would take pieces of the castle as souvenirs, so in an effort to preserve the history, we can only look at it from afar these days.

Montezuma Castle National Monument

Montezuma Castle was named one of the first four National Monuments in 1906 by President Roosevelt.  He called it a place “of the greatest ethnological value and scientific interest.”  The well preserved site has been protected ever since.  Early visitors could actually climb up to the castle using ladders (I’m so jealous), but as of 1951 we can now only gaze at it from paved paths.  

What is super interesting about the site is 1) why the inhabitants built so high up into the cliff, and 2) why they randomly disappeared and moved on after living there for several hundred years.  Learning about the people who once made this place home is the benefit of spending some time in the Visitor Center before jumping outside to see the structure.

Montezuma Castle National Monument Montezuma Castle National Monument

It was super interesting to see up close.  It made us wonder about older generations who had to climb ladders to get home and what inspired them to build in the cliff face in the first place.

Montezuma Castle National Monument

As you can see, it’s pretty high up from the ground.  At least this would offer protection from elements and predators.  

Montezuma Castle National Monument Montezuma Castle National Monument

To the left of Montezuma Castle is another structure, “Castle A” that was excavated.  Because a lot of artifacts were lost when Montezuma was looted, the second dwelling offered a lot of information and understanding for anthropologists.  

Montezuma Castle National Monument

This diorama was another cool picture into what life would have been like living in a cliff 800 years ago.  Check out their website here for more information and photos.  

Montezuma Castle National Monument

We headed straight home after the castle to get some much needed rest and relaxation before heading back to work that week.

Next up in our adventures—our first camping trip together!  Join the family and hit that subscribe button so you don’t miss the next post.  If you liked those castle photos, give this post a like and let us know in the comments the favorite historical site you’ve ever visited!

Until next time,
Jamie out

Read More:
Labor Day Part I 
Labor Day Part II Labor Day Part III