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[ad] Today I am dreaming of Christmas parties. Anyone else? We’re only halfway through the month and we’ve already had more family gatherings than I can count with so many more to go. And Christmas parties in the Bartlett household means photos…lots of photos. But I just didn't feel very photo-ready thanks to my grays (and yes, I had A LOT of grays). So I picked up @zotosprofessional hair color at @sallybeauty and these days I'm feeling gorgeous, confident, and ready to take on the holiday photos. Today on the blog, I'm sharing how I get myself photo-ready as well as what I plan to wear to this year's Christmas party! #MyAgeBeautiful #sponsored #linkinbio
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[ad] Today I am dreaming...

I've been a bit MIA lately. Why you may ask? Well, because I've been half on the struggle bus and half working on a rather large project that I've had in draft mode for far too long. And I am SO excited about it. I literally woke up the other day and decided THAT was the day I'd get started on it and I've been hooked on it ever since. If you're a mom in Southern Maine, you won't want to miss this! So be sure to sign up for our email list via the link in my bio so you can be one of the first to know what's going on.
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I've been a bit MIA...

Well, it's officially the day Zack and I have been looking forward to for a couple of years now. While we've already unofficially been "moved on" from military life for a couple of months now, today it's official that Zack is no longer an Active Duty Marine and I am no longer a military spouse. The first big chapter of his adult life and our life together has officially ended. It's scary almost when you've been living with all the stability of a lifestyle for so long. A stable job, stable income, health benefits, a home. It's been a challenging couple of months as we get more settled here in Maine and figure out the next step for our little family. But I know we have so much to look forward to in the next year and it's refreshing to know we have the opportunity to start over. I am so proud of this guy and I can't wait to see what the next chapter of our life has in store for us. •
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Well, it's officially the day...

This mama is on the struggle bus today. This morning I spent over an hour searching for Allie's sippy cup of milk only to find it in the shower...where I looked 5+ times considering that's where she was playing while I got ready for the day. I then got the incorrect order from Dunkin and to make that even worse, it was pumpkin flavored...and if you know me, you know I cannot stand anything pumpkin flavored so I couldn't even suck it up and drink it (shoutout to @mwhited8195 for bringing me the correct drink order!). Nap time wasn't any better. A solid 40 minutes of crying before Allie finally went down...then she woke up 30 minutes later 🙄 And now I'm scrambling to get everything on my to-do list done so we can officially launch Blogmas tomorrow 😬 It's been a morning and I'm about ready for my own nap at this point. But at least it's Friday? 🤷🏻‍♀️😂
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This mama is on the...

It's yet another snow day here in Maine. The last winter I spent here was in 2015 and we maybe had three snow storms all winter. This year, we've had 3-5 just in the last couple of weeks 🙄 I'm already homesick for beautiful and warm North Carolina summers 😔 anyone else here who hates winter? If you need us, Allie and I will be curled up inside with some movies and a never-ending to-do list. #bloggerlife •
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It's yet another snow day...

Blogmas starts in T-5 days! I've been working so hard on producing awesome Blogmas content these past couple of months so I'm super excited to finally start sharing it with you all this weekend. Today on the blog I'm sharing a quick breakdown of Blogmas 2018, what you can look forward to on Mainely Keating, and 25 blog post ideas for those of you who want to participate in Blogmas as well! You can find the link to the full blog post in my bio! •
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#christmastime #christmassy #christmasinspiration #holidayinspiration #christmascountdown #letitsnow #happyholidays #giftgiving #holidaycheer #alliwantforchristmas #deckthehalls #blogmas2018 #newenglandblogger #maineblogger #mainelife #maine #bloggersofmaine #thewaylifeshouldbe #newenglandlife #newengland #southernmaine #maineinvitesyou #mainetourism #maineliving #newenglandliving #howyouglow #darlingdaily #bloggervibes #behindtheprettypicture #mommybloggers

Blogmas starts in T-5 days!...

Our Cross-Country Road Trip | Days 1 & 2

Our Cross-Country Road Trip Days 1-2 | Why Hello Lovely

Start: Portland, ME | End: Havelock, NC
Distance traveled: 886 miles | Time: 17 hours
States driven through: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina.
Cities seen: New York City; Richmond, VA. (thankfully we bypassed Boston and DC).

Happy Thursday! As of two days ago, we are officially California bound. As you read this, we are actually on day 3 of our journey so I’m a little behind in keeping you all updated, but I wanted to share the first two days of our travels with you. Thank God for mobile hotspots and in-car outlets. I’m able to type this up while we drive! So I’ll do better with my updates throughout the rest of the trip.

We decided we wanted to make a stop in North Carolina to visit some friends for a couple of days so we woke up bright and early on Tuesday and drove the 17 hours south. We began in Portland, ME and ended in Havelock, NC. Typically it takes between 15 and 16 hours to drive down, but we ran into a ton of traffic in and around New York City. I have no idea why our GPS took us directly through, but it did and it was horrible. Thankfully, it took us around Boston and DC so we were able to avoid that traffic altogether and by the time we got to Richmond, VA, it was 9 o’clock at night and no one was out driving. So we really don’t have too much to complain about in that aspect.

Our Cross Country Road Trip: Days 1 & 2 | Why Hello Lovely

As many of you know, I’ve also been super nervous about traveling with our dog, Jack. He’s scared of people and gets a ton of anxiety in the car so road trips are usually very miserable with him. I have no idea what was up with him these past couple days, but it’s like he was a whole different dog. Again, ZERO complaints when it comes to traveling with him. We put the seats down in the back of the Jeep so that he’d have more space to move around. We found ways to keep him distracted at tolls booths and rolled down the windows for him whenever we were in traffic. Everything we did worked and I couldn’t be more pleased with him. We are now 3 hours into our travels today and he’s been great once again!

We arrived in North Carolina at around 1 o’clock in the morning Tuesday night (well, technically Wednesday?) and got checked into our hotel. Rather than being like normal human beings, we got back into the car and drove another 30 minutes to a friend’s house to see everyone. Thankfully they’re all on night shift right now at work so they were naturally wide awake at that time of day which worked out perfectly. We spent a few hours catching up with everyone and having a couple of drinks around the fire.

Our Cross Country Road Trip: Days 1 & 2 | Why Hello Lovely

It felt so amazing to be there. North Carolina is home for us. It’s where we fell in love, had our first kiss, became a couple, got married, and started our life together. It’s our home. So it was a little hard to drive into town knowing we wouldn’t be making the turn onto base to go back to our house. It was bittersweet.

The following morning, we decided to sleep in a bit. We’ve had a super busy week between my dad’s wedding (more on that later) and all the traveling. So we had zero intention of getting up early. We started the day around noon and met back up with everyone for lunch and bowling. There’s a place not too far from us called MacDaddy’s which has bowling, arcades, mini golf, a driving range, and so much more. It’s everything all rolled into one so it provides hours of entertainment. And since kids are all back in school, we had the whole place to ourselves.

We spent a couple of hours there before heading to Morehead City for our friend’s son’s soccer game. Unfortunately, the game got rained out. Within minutes of arriving, it started thundering and lightening and then it began down pouring. 30 minutes later, they called the game. Gotta love North Carolina thunder storms. So instead of watching the game, we headed back to the hotel to check on our puppy dog and then headed to Swansboro with everyone to walk around a bit before dinner.

Our Cross Country Road Trip: Days 1 & 2 | Why Hello Lovely

I’ve driven through Swansboro many times but had no idea that there was an actual “downtown” to it. We took this side road off the main road and all of a sudden we were in this cute little village full of shops and restaurants right on the water. This is why it’s important to make friends with the locals whenever you move someplace new. Pattie and Eric always know the best places to go for food and entertainment.

Before dinner, we went into this cute little gift shop to explore a bit. They happened to have a bar inside as well so we grabbed a drink and sat down on the back porch for a bit. The views were gorgeous. If you’ve never been to this part of North Carolina, I highly recommend you go at some point. There’s nothing more relaxing than sitting in a rocking chair on a big porch overlooking the water with a cold drink in your hand. The breeze was wonderful and the temperatures were perfect. I could have sat there all night and been perfectly happy. This is what I envision for our future home. I’d kill to live on the water.

Our Cross Country Road Trip: Days 1 & 2 | Why Hello Lovely

Once we finished our drinks, we headed over to the restaurant which was right down the road. The one thing I asked for in a restaurant was that it was on the water. I also wanted it to be a non-chain restaurant as well so I guess that’s two things. I just wanted something southern where I could enjoy the views and eat some seafood and Pattie didn’t disappoint in choosing this restaurant. Again, it was right on the water so we had gorgeous views as we sipped wine and listened to some live music. The food was absolutely amazing. I ordered a seafood marinara which had every type of seafood you can imagine: scallops, calamari, shrimp, clams, and muscles. I would have loved for it to have had some lobster mixed in there, but it was delicious nonetheless.

I am so happy we had the chance to stop by even if it was just for a day. We have amazing friends. They requested the days off so that they could spend this time with us while we were in town and it was so very much appreciated. This stop was definitely worth the 17 hour car ride. Now we are officially on our way westward! I’ll post today’s travels tomorrow so stay tuned.

XOXO
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