Windy Gap Travel Diary 2017

     I spent the weekend of September 22-24 at Windy Gap, a YoungLife camp in Weaverville, NC.  I love few things more than going to YoungLife camp and this year’s fall weekend definitely didn’t disappoint.  Today I’m sharing a little travel diary from one of my favorite weekends of the year!  I’m so excited to share this with you, I skipped writing a Windy Gap travel diary last year (I wrote a travel diary about Windy Gap in 2015 that you can read my here!) but I seriously love talking about time spent at YoungLife camp.  I’m recapping each day with lengthy descriptions and photos plus I actually made a video this year!  I recommend you watch the video in HD by clicking the HD button in the bottom right corner of the video.  Enjoy!

This video was created using iMovie.  All of the clips were taken with a Canon EOS Rebel T6 and either an EF-S 18-55mm lens or a Sigma 30mm F1.4 DC HSM lens.  The background song is “The World Is Ours” by Jai Wolf.

Friday

    The bus left around 9:45 p.m, just after halftime of our high school’s homecoming football game.  The bus ride was approximately an hour and a half of screaming the words to throwback songs and talking under blankets.  , so we got to camp around 11:45 p.m., just in time for the first club!  We sprinted to the club room as soon as we dropped our bags in the cabins.  Even in the rush, I love getting off the bus in the dark at Windy Gap and I couldn’t help but notice the gorgeous navy sky of stars behind the silhouettes of the tall trees.

     We came into club a little late but came just in time to watch a hilarious skit, sing a couple songs, and send some kids from our area up to the stage to participate in a few games.  The first night’s talk was about how we can’t fix the mess our sin has created and the speaker was amazing all weekend long.  After club, we went back to the cabin for cabin time.

     During cabin time, we talked about the talk and what we learned/found interesting.  I love cabin time, it’s always one of my favorite things about YoungLife camp.  Cabin time gives you a chance to verbally process what you’re learning about Jesus, yourself, and your relationship with Him while getting to know your friends better.  Once cabin time concluded we all got ready for bed and went to sleep.

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Saturday

     Knowing that breakfast was around 9:00 a.m., I woke up at 8:00 a.m. and quickly got ready for the day.  Once I was prepared for one of my favorite days of the fall, I took my friend Emma, who was experiencing Windy Gap for the first time, on a little walk around camp.  I showed her the gorgeous willow tree (literally my favorite tree on this planet), the Sippin’ Parlor where you can find the best birthday cake milkshakes ever, club room entrances, the dining hall, the camp store, and how to get to the zip-line and swing.  After we finished this little tour, we returned to the cabin to walk down to the dining hall with the rest of our friends and leaders to wait for breakfast.  While anticipating breakfast, we took a few pictures.

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     For breakfast we had delicious pancakes and some really good sausage (I don’t even really like sausage but I love YoungLife camp sausage, I swear it’s way better).  Towards the end of breakfast, a continuation of the skit that we saw Friday night introduced the cabin challenge.  The cabin challenge is a list of activities each cabin completes in an approximately ten minute time period for points in competition with the other cabins.  These activities included rolling down the hill, sliding into the lake fully clothed, making a basket from mid-court, and doing ten pushups.  We didn’t win, but the cabin challenge is always super fun, we’ve done it every year I’ve gone to YoungLife camp!

     After the cabin challenge we had about twenty minutes of free time before club.  Club was pretty much the same as the night before; more skits, more games, and more songs.  The talk was great again, talking about the separation from God that our sin has created. The end of club led into cabin time, where we returned to the cabin and again discussed what we heard.  Cabin time ended with the five minute bell, meaning we had five minutes until lunch.

Lunch included pepperoni and cheese pizza.  The skit continued at the end of the meal and led us into our free time.  Free time was spent packing everything Windy Gap has to offer into a six hour time period.  As soon as lunch was released, I sprinted to the back door of the dining hall with a few of my friends and from there we ran up to the swing.  I love the swing, it puts any other swing imaginable to complete shame.  Once my friend Came and I got off the swing, we changed into bathing suits and zip-lined into the lake.  After the zip-line we went back to the cabin to shower before going to the camp store where I bought a tee and YoungLife blanket (if you don’t have a YoungLife blanket you need to buy one next time you go to camp, they’re made out of the softest sweatshirt material and are very possibly the best thirty dollars you’ll ever spend).  Next we hit the Sippin’ Parlor, where I ordered my annual birthday cake milkshake and it was just as delicious as always.  We enjoyed our milkshakes under the gorgeous oak tree and then took a few pictures on the adorable little island.

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     A couple hours after our little photoshoot, the five minute bell rang and we all ran to the dining hall again.  While we waited a little longer than five minutes we took even more pictures with some of our leaders.  I switched camera lenses in our final minutes of free time before dinner and I just love how these pictures came out!

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     I honestly forgot what we even had for dinner because the memory was overshadowed by the fact that we had the big cookie for dessert.  If you’ve never been to a YoungLife camp this might sound foreign to you, but big cookie is a huge cookie served in a circular pan fresh out of the oven with a ton of vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup on top.  It’s so good that no one stops to divide it evenly, everyone just digs in with a spoon.  It’s so much fun and it’s so good.  Once we finished eating the big cookie we met up with our area by the basketball court to get our area tee shirts that we’d be wearing the next day (you’ll see we’re all wearing matching navy tee shirts in the pictures from Sunday and that’s why!) before having a little free time before club.

     The final evening club of YoungLife camp is always my favorite, whether it’s fall weekend or a week at summer camp.  This particular club is used to describe Christ’s death on the cross in immense depth, the kind of depth that makes you wince.  Once the crucifixion is explained, campers are gifted with a fifteen minute period of silence and darkness in camp.  You get to pick a spot, then you just sit and stare at the stars and talk to God.  I love this, I always have.  At this point I’m always reminded of my amazement that the same God that made those stars made me, and even though He blessed me with all of this I still sin and turn my back to Him, yet He still wants me.

Once the fifteen minutes were up, a bell rang and the camp turned the lights back on.  We all walked back to our cabin for the most personal and emotional of the cabin times.  This year’s wasn’t nearly as tear-jerking as some of my past years’ cabin times have been, but it was equally as eye-opening.  When cabin time concluded, we were led back to the club room where some of the leaders from various counties present that weekend were putting on skits.

These were some of the absolute funniest things I have ever seen, my stomach hurt from laughing so much.  At the end of the skits, we had a big camp dance party and were then told that Tim Halperin, our camp musician for the weekend, would be having a little concert in the club room about an hour later.  Tim Halperin was so good (he was actually on American Idol at one point, be sure to check him out on iTunes!), I especially love his song “Hey 17.”  His concert ended the night, so when it was over we walked back to our cabins and got ready for bed.

Sunday

     I woke up at 7:00 a.m. to go on a little walk with one of my YoungLife leaders, Adrian, before her morning leader meeting.  We ended up sitting in rocking chairs in front of the Sippin’ Parlor and reading the Bible.  It was so nice to have some one on one time with Adrian and to just open up the word!  Around 7:45 a.m., Adrian had to go to her meeting so I walked back to the cabin and began to change into my area tee shirt and actually get ready for the day.

     Around 8:30 a.m. our cabin walked down to the dining hall to get some coffee and wait for breakfast.  Our delicious breakfast included biscuits, eggs, grits, and bacon.  When breakfast was over, we went to the club room for “say so’s.”  Say so’s are a little period of time in the club room with some music playing in which campers who have accepted/recommitted to Christ can stand up and say so.  I love getting to clap for and congratulate my friends and all the other campers who are making such a big step!

Once say so’s finished, we went back to the cabin to clean up and pack.  When we finished cleaning and packing we took all of our bags to the bus then returned to the basketball court to hang out with the rest of the people from our area.  We then went to the leader lounge for an area meeting before taking a group picture of everyone from our area in front of the camp store.  Shortly after, the five minute bell rang for lunch.

For lunch we had sandwiches and some really good chocolate chip cookies.  The skit concluded on stage as we ate and once we finished eating we walked up to the buses to leave.  It was such an awesome weekend and I was so sad to see it end!

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If you ever get the chance to go to YoungLife camp you need to go!  You can read about a couple of my other YoungLife camp experiences here and here.  Thanks for reading!

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Texas Travel Diary 2017; Week 2

     Today I’m finally getting around to sharing the second of this year’s Texas travel diaries with you!  I decided to split them up since I spent two weeks there this year and I figured that one post would be overwhelmingly long, plus this way I got to make two videos!  If you still haven’t read my “Texas Travel Diary 2017; Week 1” post, be sure to check it out here (the video’s pretty good if I do say so myself).  Our second week in Texas was filled with long car rides to some fun cities and more time with extended family, making it super fun!  In this post I have recapped each day, inserted highlight pictures, and like I said, created a video that you can watch below.  I recommend you watch the video in HD by clicking the HD button in the bottom right corner of the video.  I also linked some of the locations mentioned so you can check them out for yourself if you’re planning trip to Texas.  Enjoy!

This video was created using iMovie.  All of the underwater/beach clips were taken with a FujiFilm FinePix XP120 and all the rest of the clips were taken with a Canon EOS Rebel T6 and a EF-S 18-55mm lens.  The background song is “Higher Ground” by ODESZA featuring Naomi Wild.

Monday

     Once we moved all of our bags from my paternal grandmother’s car to my maternal grandmother’s car around 2:00 p.m., we rode to a Baskin Robbins to surprise my cousin, Julia, at work!  She was totally shocked and it was super fun.  After we ate our ice cream, my grandmother drove my sister and I to her house.  I adore my grandmother’s house, it’s the one my mother and uncle lived in while they were in high school!  My grandfather passed away three years ago, so returning to that house is always fun but really bittersweet.  We chose our rooms, put a few of our things away, freshened up, and hopped in the car around 6:00 p.m. to head to my all time favorite restaurant in San Antonio; Alamo Cafe!  While Alamo Cafe certainly isn’t the most authentic Mexican food restaurant in San Antonio, it’s absolutely delicious and the freshly made, warm, flour tortillas brought to the table as if they were a basket of rolls will always keep me coming back.  I had my usual there, a basic chicken and cheese quesadilla.  After we finished eating, we drove to downtown where we made a quick stop in a gift shop before exploring the Riverwalk.  I always love going to the Riverwalk, even though I’ve walked it several times over the past ten years.  We rode a riverboat (which is also something I’ve definitely done my fair share of times) and took a few photos before it got pretty dark and we decided it was time to return to our grandmother’s house around 9:00 p.m.  When we got home around 9:30 p.m. we showered and got ready for bed.

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Tuesday

     Tuesday morning we slept in until around 10:00 a.m.  When we all woke up, we quickly slipped on some shoes and ran out the door to drive through Taco Cabana to pick up some breakfast tacos (they’re the best!).  We ended up ordering a dozen so we could save some for later in the day.  I chose a few simple egg, cheese, and bacon tacos on flour tortillas, they’ve always been my favorite!  When we got home with our box of tacos we ate a couple then got dressed for the day.  We decided to return to La Cantera (yes, for the third time total in this trip to Texas) and our grandmother gave my sister and I each some money to buy some back to school pieces with.  Once we were shopped out, we ate at the shopping center’s Grimaldi’s, which has some of the best pizza.  We ordered a half pepperoni and half meatball and pepperoni pizza and it was delicious.  After we finished eating, we rode back to our grandmother’s house to pack an overnight bag.  Around 6:45 p.m. we left the house to pick our mother up from the airport before heading to Dallas for my tour of Southern Methodist University the following morning.  The drive is about five hours long, so we finished our box of breakfast tacos, played Uno, caught up with our mother, and took some good naps before arriving at our hotel in Dallas around 1:00 a.m.  Once we checked into our room we quickly got ready for bed and went to sleep.

Wednesday

     My mother, grandmother, sister (Channing), and I woke up at 7:45 a.m. to begin getting ready for my tour of Southern Methodist University at 10 a.m.  After getting dressed and getting ready, I went to the hotel lobby with Channing to get a quick bite for breakfast.  After we’d eaten, we went back upstairs and waited until our mother was ready to depart for SMU around 9:45 a.m.  I won’t go to into depth on the tour, but the campus was absolutely beautiful.  The information sessions I attended answered almost all of my questions and made even more excited about SMU as a college option!  We had a little free time between sessions to grab lunch at la Madeleine French Bakery & Café on campus and run into the bookstore to purchase a tee shirt around noon.  After lunch, I had a tour of Meadows School of the Arts, where the Fashion Media baccalaureate program I’m specifically interested in is housed.  After the tour of Meadows, we got back in the car to start the five-hour drive home to San Antonio.  We stopped around 5:00 p.m. for dinner at Luby’s where I had fried chicken, a roll, and some broccoli and we ended up getting home around 9:00 p.m.  When we got home I showered and quickly went to bed because I was absolutely exhausted from all the walking around I did that day.

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Thursday

     I accidentally slept in until around 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, so when I finally got up I quickly had some cereal then got ready for the day.  My grandmother is a photographer and she knows we share that interest, so she took me with her to tour a local photo lab around 1:00 p.m.  After the tour, my mother and grandmother had to get a few things done at the bank so Channing and I tagged along.  By the time they finished up at the bank, we were all really hungry for a late lunch, so we stopped by Whataburger around 3:30 p.m. before going home.  I just had a plain cheeseburger and shared some fries with my sister.  I know it’s terrible for you but I honestly think Whataburger is much better than any other burger chain.  After “lunch,” we went back to my grandmother’s house to get ready to go to my younger cousin, Cate’s, birthday party (she’s Channing’s age).  I hadn’t seen Cate in a year and I hadn’t seen her on her birthday in several years so it was really neat to spend part of the special day with her.  All of her family that was in town went to a barbecue restaurant in San Antonio called Two Bros. BBQ Market around 7:30 p.m.  That was my second time eating there and I think it’s super good (coming from someone who doesn’t normally like barbecue).  I had a smoked turkey sandwich and the best banana pudding for dessert.  After dinner, Channing and I went back to Cate’s house and spent the night.  Around 10:00 p.m. Cate’s older sister, Julia (about my age) came home from work and I had the chance to hang out with her for a while until we went to bed.  I always love catching up with Julia, we’ve always been super close.

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Friday

     Our grandmother picked up Channing and I from our cousins’ house around 8:00 a.m. and we went straight to Taco Cabana.  There we picked up another dozen tacos to eat for breakfast and save for the long car ride to the beach.  We went back to our grandmother’s house to quickly pack for the beach then helped her load the car.  When my older brother, Ricky, arrived (he lives in San Antonio too!) around 12 p.m., we (Channing, Ricky, our mother, and our grandmother) all piled into our grandmother’s car and drove four hours to Rockport.  When we finally got to Rockport around 4 p.m., we settled into our rooms at the Lighthouse Inn.  This was our second year staying at the Lighthouse and we love it!  The location is awesome because it’s not far from the beach and within walking distance of quite a few good restaurants, including the one we went to Friday night, Charlotte Plummers.  My grandmother has been taking my mother and uncle to the Rockport beach since they were kids and Charlotte Plummers was always part of the trip, so it’s still a tradition to eat there every year.  While we waited for our food, Channing and I went outside and took a few pictures on the docks next to the restaurant (be on the lookout for an outfit post from that night soon!).  When we returned to the table, I had the shrimp brochette appetizer as a meal.  After we finished eating, we walked across the street to a Rockport gift shop called TG’s where we looked at tee shirts and souvenirs before hopping back in the car and driving to the beach to take some family pictures.  Once we were satisfied by the quantity and quality of the pictures we’d taken, we drove back to the hotel where we showered and went to bed.

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Saturday

     My sister and I woke up around 8:30 a.m. and quickly got dressed in bathing suits and coverups and walked downstairs to eat the hotel breakfast.  I wore my Jadelynn Brooke “Beach Bound” tee with some athletic shorts as a coverup and I loved it.  Get your “Beach Bound” tee here and receive a 15% discount with my code “FLHS”!  I love the Lighthouse Inn’s breakfast like no other, not only is it an awesome buffet but there are Texas shaped waffles.  Yes, you read that right, TEXAS SHAPED WAFFLES!  Two of my favorite things combined that make for one yummy breakfast.  After breakfast, we went back upstairs to our room to pack our beach bags and finish getting ready for the day.  Around 10:00 a.m. my family hopped in my grandma’s car and we went to my favorite boutique in Rockport, The Bay Window!  This boutique is the absolute cutest, girliest store I’ve ever seen and I’ve made sure to make a stop there for the past three years.  I picked out an adorable top that I’ve decided will make for the perfect first day of school outfit!  After we checked out at The Bay Window, we went to a couple shell shops where my sister, mother, and I picked out our traditional anklets.  Once we’d visited two of our long time favorite shell shops, we finally went to the beach!  We got there around 1:30 p.m., so we bought lunch and snow cones from some food trucks in the beach’s parking lot.  I ordered a grilled cheese from a cookout food truck and my usual grape snow cone.  After eating, we finally made our way to the sand and sea.  We stayed at the beach until 4:00 p.m. then drove back to the hotel to start getting ready for dinner.  My mom really wanted seafood, so we asked some people around the hotel lobby for a recommendation and after hearing “Capt. Benny’s” a few times we decided to give it a try.  While the location was conveniently close to the hotel, the food wasn’t really anything too special and we waited over an hour for it despite the fact that the restaurant wasn’t that busy at all.  I wasn’t really in the mood for any of the seafood they had on the menu so I just had a cheeseburger and fries.  After dinner we returned to the hotel and went to sleep.

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Sunday

     We woke up at 8:00 a.m. and got dressed to go eat the hotel breakfast.  I had another Texas shaped waffle (big surprise) then went back upstairs to the room to pack my belongings.  As my mother finished packing and getting ready, my sister and I helped our grandmother and brother load the car.  We left for San Antonio around 10:00 a.m. and when we arrived at the airport around 2:00 p.m. we walked her to security and hugged her goodbye.  After leaving my mother, we went to Alamo Cafe for a late lunch around 3:00 p.m.  I had a chicken and cheese quesadilla along with way too many plain tortillas and boy did it hit the spot.  When we finished eating we went back home with my grandmother and took our bags back to our rooms.  A few hours later my brother’s fiancé came over and we all went to the Pearl Brewery.  The Pearl Brewery is really neat because it used to be a brewery but now it’s home to hundreds of apartments, over a dozen restaurants and cafes, and lots of small businesses.  We walked around and just explored for a bit before having ice cream at Lick around 6:00 p.m.  I love Lick because it has the coolest flavors, like Peanut Butter and Jelly, Kale, etc.  I had the Texas Sheet Cake ice cream in a waffle cone and it was delicious!  After ice cream we went back to my grandmother’s house and my brother and girlfriend left.  When we got home I showered and went to bed.

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Monday

     I woke up around 9:00 a.m. and had some cereal for breakfast before I began getting ready for the day.  Around 12:00 p.m. my brother came over again and my grandmother took the three of us (my brother, sister, and I) to El Mercado, the authentic Mexican Market Square in San Antonio.  I believe this was my third time going to El Mercado and I always love it, there’s so many beautiful, handmade art and clothing pieces.  Plus, there are a few awesome Mexican restaurants and churro stands (my brother, sister and I each had one and they were awesome)!  My grandmother was so sweet to purchase a beautiful traditional red tunic with embroidered flowers on it, I’m so excited to share how I style it with y’all!  We left the markets around 3:00 p.m. and my grandmother dropped me off at the Baskin Robbins my cousin Julia works at.  Julia finished working at 3:30 p.m. and took me to one of her favorite coffee places, Local Coffee, for a little coffee date.  In all honesty I don’t even like coffee so I just got a hot chocolate but it was super good!  After we finished our drinks, Julia drove me back to my grandmother’s house.  From there, my grandmother took my brother, sister, and I out to dinner Paesanos, an Italian restaurant that my grandfather used to love.  Monday was actually the three year anniversary of my grandfather’s death, so this dinner was very special for us.  Many of the waiters at the restaurant remember my grandfather and were super sweet to us.  I had the ravioli de formaggio con polpette di vitello (cheese ravioli with veal meatballs) and it was amazing.  After dinner my grandmother drove us all home and we said goodbye to our brother one last time.  We finished packing and doing some last minute laundry before going to bed.

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Tuesday

     We woke up around 6:00 a.m. to eat my grandmother’s delicious eggs and bacon and quickly get ready to leave for the airport around 7:00 a.m.  We arrived at the airport around 7:30 a.m. and after we’d checked our bags and picked out some souvenirs for our little brother in an airport gift shop, Channing and I sat with our grandmother in a waiting area until 9:00 a.m.  We then hugged our grandmother goodbye and went through security.  Our flight boarded around 9:30 a.m. and we had a pleasant trip home.  I wore one of my favorite Jadelynn Brooke tees and a matching pair of Jadelynn Brooke athletic shorts for the plane ride and it was the perfect comfy ensemble!  Shop my tee here and my shorts here 15% off with my code “FLHS”!

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Thanks for reading!  Make sure you’re following me on Instagram @apocketfuloffaith and check my travel hashtag  #farawaywithfaith, to keep up with my future adventures in real time!

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The shirts and shorts from Jadelynn Brooke featured in this post were sent to me in exchange for a feature in my blog.  However, all opinions are honest and my own.  I don’t feature products I don’t truly love!

Texas Travel Diary 2017; Week 1

     Each summer, my immediate family travels back to Texas for a week or so to visit the extended family that my we left behind when we made the move to the Carolinas a little over ten years ago.  I absolutely adore the state of Texas and am always thrilled to fly back and explore!  This year my younger sister and I had the privilege of flying independently and spending two weeks in Texas; one mostly in Bandera with my father’s parents and one mostly in San Antonio with my mother’s mom.  Today I’m so excited to be sharing the happenings of our first week in Texas with our father’s side of the family!  I have recapped each day, inserted highlight pictures, and created a video which you can watch below.  I recommend you watch the video in HD by clicking the HD button in the bottom right corner of the video.  I also linked some of the locations mentioned so you can check them out for yourself if you’re planning trip to Texas.  This week was a blast and I hope you can feel that in today’s post!  Enjoy!

This video was created using iMovie.  All of the underwater/pool clips were taken with a FujiFilm FinePix XP120 and all the rest of the clips were taken with a Canon EOS Rebel T6 and a EF-S 18-55mm lens.  The background song is “Love on Me” by Galantis & Hook N Sling.

Tuesday

     My dad drove my sister (Channing) and I to the Charlotte airport 12:45 p.m. for our 2:54 p.m. flight into San Antonio.  After seeing that Channing and I made it safely through security, my dad waved goodbye and drove home.  Given that we fly at least once a year,  Channing and I are fairly accustomed to airports and flew independently without much stress.  This was actually really fun for us!  When we arrived in San Antonio, our grandparents surprised us at baggage claim by bringing our cousins, Frances and Reagan (both a year or two younger than me) to the airport to pick us up.  Channing and I were super happy to see everyone.  After getting our luggage, our grandparents surprised us again by taking us to the JW Marriot San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa instead of straight to Bandera as we’d expected.  After checking in, we went to our rooms.  The four of us, Reagan, Frances, Channing, and I, shared a room with two queen sized beds that connected to our grandparents’.  We had so much fun in this room (lots of girl talk and watching The Office) and found that it (along with the bathroom) was definitely spacious enough for four teenage girls to share.  Once we were settled into our room, we went out to eat at Cibolo Moon.  There we caught up while eating a delicious buffet of classic southern food.  On the way back to our rooms after dinner we had a brief exploration of the resort’s water park.  We found a s’more table and fire pit in an area behind one of the slides and gladly took advantage of the opportunity to make one.  We became super excited for the day ahead then went back to our rooms and showered before going to bed.

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Wednesday

     We woke up around 10:00 a.m. to our grandmother bringing in some muffins she bought at a nearby Target for breakfast.  After scarfing down the muffins, we quickly changed into bathing suits and coverups before heading to the resort’s water park around 11:00 a.m.  The water park is home to a few slides, which my cousins and I had a blast riding.  One slide enclosed you in a metal tube before the floor dropped out from under you and you were suddenly riding a plastic slide.  Another slide had a super steep drop.  Another slide allowed you to ride in two person tubes.  When we got hungry around noon, we ordered lunch in our pool chairs.  I then had an amazing grilled chicken sandwich with french fries and a virgin piña colada.  Around 3:00 p.m., after tanning, swimming in the pool, riding all the slides, and taking a trip around the lazy river, my cousins, sister, and I decided to head back to the room to watch some television and get ready for a fairly nice dinner.  The four of us had fun giving each other fashion advice, sharing jewelry, and doing each other’s hair and makeup before heading off to dinner at Cibolo Moon again.  After dinner, my cousins, sister, and I walked onto the golf course to take some pictures as the sun set.  I even shot an outfit post, be on the lookout for that in the near future!  Once we felt we all had adequate pictures together and individually, we headed back to our room to put on comfortable clothes and hang out before going to bed.

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Thursday

     Thursday morning we woke up around 8:00 a.m. and quickly packed our bags and got ready before walking over to the Starbucks in the resort with our grandmother.  After we finished enjoying our favorite sugary coffee drinks, we walked back to the room to double check that we hadn’t left anything before loading the car.  From the resort, we went to La Cantera.  La Cantera is a huge outdoor shopping center in San Antonio packed with tons of popular stores including Kendra Scott, Nordstrom, J.Crew, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, Zara, Forever 21, and more.  We window shopped for a while then satisfied our hunger around noon with pasta at the Cheesecake Factory.  After lunch, we left for our grandparents’ house in Bandera.  We made a couple stops along the way to visit Reagan’s horse at the stables and pick up our grandmother’s dogs from where they were being boarded during our little resort vacation.  When we got to our grandparents’ house, we spent a couple hours settling in, hanging out, and taking pictures (including some for a blog post!) before dinner.  After dinner, my cousins taught my sister and I how to play Uno (I know, it’s crazy I never knew how to play before!) and we played a three hour game (yes, you read that right, a three hour round).  When we finally finished the Uno game, we showered and went to bed.

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Friday

     Friday morning my sister and Reagan woke Frances and I up around 10:00 a.m.  We ate some amazing homemade banana bread made by my grandmother for breakfast then played a couple rounds of Uno (both games took small fractions of the time the previous night’s game consumed) before going swimming in our grandparents’ pool.  Around 1:00 p.m. our grandmother brought out some spaghetti and we took a pool break to eat.  We continued to swim until around 4:00 p.m. when we got out to shower and get ready for a casual dinner at our Aunt Megan’s house.  When we got to her house around 6:00 p.m. we reconnected with her sons (our younger boy cousins) Campbell, Keller, and McCrae.  An hour or so after we arrived our Uncle Chip brought our other cousin, Madelyn (about my age), home from cheer camp.  We were all super excited to see her!  We had delicious tacos for dinner then went outside and explored our aunt and uncle’s little ranch.  Around 8:00 p.m. we went back to our grandparents’ house.  When we got home we showered and got ready for bed.

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Saturday

     Saturday morning I was the last one awake at 11:00 a.m. (oops) and quickly had some banana bread before we all started tidying up our rooms and packing our suitcases.  Around 1:00 p.m. my cousins, sister, and I loaded into our grandmother’s car and we drove to Dairy Queen where we met Madelyn and Aunt Megan for lunch.  I ate a grilled chicken sandwich and a Reese’s Cup Blizzard.  After lunch, Madelyn joined us in our grandmother’s car and we stopped by the nearest Redbox on the way home to pick out a couple movies.  After deciding on Split and Nerve, we got back in the car and rode back to our grandparents’ house.  There my cousins, sister, and I all piled on the couch and watched Split together.  I’d already seen the movie, so it was funny to see my cousins’ initial reactions to it!  After the movie ended, we gathered our nightly essentials and favorite outfits into duffel bags and headed to Reagan’s family’s renovated old fashioned school house in Hondo.  The school house has been turned into the cutest little guest house and it was so much fun to sleep over in!  When we got to the house we had a pizza dinner with Reagan’s parents, Aunt Brooke and Uncle Miles, and our grandparents before changing into our cutest outfits and hopping on Reagan’s golf cart.  We rode Reagan’s golf cart to a beautiful field on their property where a couple of her older horses roamed.  There we took a few cute pictures as the sun set before getting back on the golf cart and going for a faster ride over the property.  Once we rode back to the old school house, a few of us took quick showers and changed into comfortable clothes before we all sat down to watch Nerve together (side note; I loved this movie).  Shortly after the movie ended we all went to sleep.

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Sunday

     Sunday morning my cousins and sister woke me up around 10:45 a.m. to join them in the school house kitchen and eat some cinnamon rolls that Aunt Brooke had come in and made.  After breakfast, we just hung out and watched television then packed up our stuff and rode back to our grandparents’ house.  We spent a couple hours having sandwich lunches, packing up our stuff, and cleaning up our rooms at our grandparents’ house before heading to Aunt Megan’s house for a sleepover.  We swam in the pool for a couple hours before coming in for a taco dinner.  After dinner we showered and watched Hot Pursuit together then went to bed.

Monday

     We woke up around 8:00 a.m. to quickly get ready and eat some cinnamon rolls for breakfast before heading to La Cantera.  We got to La Cantera around 10:00 a.m. and looked around until we met up with most of our aunts, uncles, and boy cousins at Whiskey Cake for lunch.  Whiskey Cake honestly has a really odd menu but the chicken sandwich I got was really good!  After lunch we shopped around a little more before we met up with my grandmother on my mother’s side in the parking lot and moved all of Channing and I’s luggage to her car.  This is what I consider the separation of my two weeks in Texas, so I’m going to stop this recap here!

Thanks for reading!  Make sure you’re following me on Instagram, @apocketfuloffaith, and checking my travel hashtag, #farawaywithfaith, to keep up with my travels in real time!  Be on the lookout for my Texas week two travel diary which should be on the blog in the next week or so!

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Frontier Ranch Travel Diary 2017

     This past Sunday afternoon I returned from what is constantly referred to as “the best week of your life”; YoungLife summer camp.  I was beyond excited to be going to Frontier Ranch in Buena Vista, CO, but I had no idea just how much the week would surpass my expectations.  I did crazy things I never thought I’d get the chance (or have the guts) to do while learning tons about myself, my friends, and God’s love.  Today I’m thrilled to finally share this week with you all.  I was originally going to go into detail on each day, but if you’ve ever been to YoungLife camp, even for just a weekend, you know it’s always full of surprises.  I obviously don’t want to ruin any surprises for my readers who might be going to Frontier Ranch this summer or in the future, so instead I’m sharing a video I made along with some of my favorite pictures!  The important things for you to know about my time at Frontier Ranch are that the food was delicious, the activities were fun, the skits were hilarious, the people were nice, the work crew was awesome, the speaker was incredible, and God’s creation surrounding the camp was absolutely breathtaking.  I recommend you watch the video in HD by clicking the HD button in the bottom right corner of the video.  Enjoy!

This video was created using iMovie.  All of the underwater/pool clips were taken with a FujiFilm FinePix XP120 and all the rest of the clips were taken with a Canon EOS Rebel T6 and a EF-S 18-55mm lens.  The background song is “Line of Sight” by ODESZA featuring WYNNE & Mansionair.

     I’m sure you noticed the change in audio in the last thirty seconds or so of the video.  You were listening to my favorite part of the message that our wonderful speaker, Andy, gave on top of the mountain that we hiked (the quality of the audio sounds weird because it was recorded on top of a windy mountain plus Andy was talking with a megaphone).  He told us about how God views us as His most beautiful creation, and that statement was so powerful for me as we were staring in awe at the gorgeous Rocky Mountains that God created.  Out of everything we heard last week, the overall message that stuck out to me is that my purpose is to be loved by God.  God loves us despite our mistakes and sins.  He gave us this incredible, beautiful world to enjoy and we turned our backs to Him.  To break the barrier that our sin created between Him and us, He sent Jesus to pay the ultimate cost for our sin, death.  Even after that huge sacrifice that He made, we continue to turn away from the best relationship we could ever be a part of.  Not only does God still want a relationship with us despite that, but He is willing to meet us in the middle.  Andy simplified this concept and told us that forming a relationship with God is as easy as the ABCs.  A is for admitting that we are imperfect sinners.  B is for believing that God loves us and through that sent Jesus to pay the price for our sins and break the barrier between us and Him.  C is for coming home to God, because a relationship with Him is where we belong.  We were made for this.

Here are some of my favorite photos of the week!

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     If you ever get the opportunity to go to YoungLife camp, whether it’s for Work Crew, a week in the summer, or fall weekend, you really should go.  YoungLife has been so incredibly beneficial for me in my faith and nothing opens my eyes to God’s love more than time at camp.  This week at Frontier Ranch was my fourth time on a YoungLife property and I’ve yet to have an experience that was anything less than wonderful.  This was seriously the best week of my life.

Thanks for reading!  If you’d be interested in more YoungLife camp themed posts, such as “Things I Wish I Knew Before YoungLife Camp” or “Ten Things You Should Bring to YoungLife Camp,” please comment below, shoot me a direct message on Instagram (@apocketfuloffaith), or email me at apocketfuloffaithblog@gmail.com.  I love nothing more than talking about YoungLife, especially YoungLife camp, so I’d be more than happy to do more posts about it!  Another quick reminder, all of my pictures posted during/of my travels on my Instagram are under my hashtag, #farawaywithfaith, so be sure to check that out throughout the summer to keep track of my adventures!

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Atlantis Travel Diary

This past Tuesday I returned from my family’s four day spring break trip to the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas.  This trip was a big Christmas gift this past year from my grandparents, so they came with us.  We had an absolute blast and I’m so excited to share our adventures with you today!  I have recapped each day, inserted highlight pictures, and created a video which you can watch below.  I recommend you watch the video in HD by clicking the HD button in the bottom right corner of the video.  I also linked many of the restaurants we ate at and activities we did, so you can read more about them on Atlantis’ website or consider them if you’re booking your own trip!  Enjoy!

This video was created using iMovie.  All of the underwater clips were taken with a FujiFilm FinePix XP120 and all the rest of the clips were taken with a Canon EOS Rebel T6 and a EF-S 18-55mm lens.  The background song is “Stay” by Chet Porter featuring Chelsea Cutler.

Saturday

We left the house for the airport around 10:30AM and stopped at Chick-fil-A on the way to the airport to get lunch for my family and my grandparents.  As you’ll see in a picture below, I wore one of my favorite of Jadelynn Brooke’s new tee shirt releases, their “Beach Bound” tee.  I love the beachy details and bright seafoam color, plus it’s so soft.  Purchase your own here 15% off with my code “FLSHS16”!  We arrived at the airport around 11:00AM and my grandparents’ flight came in from Texas around 11:45AM.  We all ate together, then our flight to the Bahamas left around 12:30PM.  I realized upon boarding that this was my first international flight and my first that would go over an ocean.  The flight was absolutely gorgeous because we flew over so many stunning islands and the color of the water was constantly changing.  We touched down in Nassau around 2:00PM, then took a taxi to Atlantis.  It was around 3:00PM by the time we checked into our room in the Coral Towers.  I shared a room with my little sister.  Our rooms were so nice, but my favorite part wasn’t the king size bed or the huge TV, it was the view.  You could see a little shark filled lagoon, a ton of palm trees, and the ocean from our balcony – talk about breathtaking.  We changed into swimsuits and coverups before meeting up with the rest of the family and going to explore the resort.  We located the closest beach entrance to our rooms, the Predator Lagoon tunnel, some gorgeous details of the resort’s interior, a ton of animal enclosures including stingrays, sharks, and sea turtles, and a few restaurants.  We ended up eating at this restaurant on the marina called Bimini Road which was really good and had a ton of options.  My little sister and I shared their loaded nachos (although we asked for half of the things that make them “loaded” to be left off) and a side of baked macaroni and cheese.  After dinner, we wandered around the marina area some more and I bought a tee shirt from one of the carts.  We walked back to the beach and walked around and took pictures for about half an hour.  After the beach we went back to our rooms, showered, and went to bed to prepare for the long days ahead of us.

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The pictures above and below this caption are of our room’s view, I’m still obsessed.

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Sunday

Sunday morning my little sister and I woke up around 8:00AM, quickly got ready, then met the rest of our family in the hall at 8:30AM to walk down to the marina for breakfast.  We ate breakfast at Murray’s Deli.  I ordered the french toast and it was such a large, delicious serving.  After finishing breakfast, we walked back to our rooms to make sure we had sunscreen, sunglasses, room keys, and other necessities before hitting the water park.  We spent the majority of our first full day at the Mayan Tower section of the waterpark.  This contains the famous Leap of Faith as well as the Serpent Slide, the Challenger Slide, and the Jungle Slide (read about all of Atlantis’ water slides here.)  My little sister and I rode all of them and they were a ton of fun.  My favorite of these slides was the Leap of Faith.  Let me tell you, the slide is basically a wall, the drop is that vertical.  The Serpent Slide was cool because you get to take a longer look at the sharks in the tank surrounding the Leap of Faith and Serpent Slide, but it wasn’t really fast enough for my taste.  While in the pool/waterpark area, we ate a lunch of chicken nuggets and fries that we bought from a little food stand in the area.  I also ordered a virgin piña colada which totally hit the spot, especially in the Bahamian heat.  In the afternoon we went to a smaller kiddie pool and lazy river since my younger brother wasn’t tall enough to ride any of the main slides in the waterpark.  After a couple hours we returned to our hotel rooms to clean up for dinner.  We ate dinner at Virgil’s Real BBQ where I ordered a kids grilled cheese.  While waiting for our food, my little sister and I took some pictures in front of a lagoon (you’ll see them in a blog post later!)  After dinner, we went to Ben & Jerry’s for some quick ice cream, then went back to our rooms and went to bed.

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I adore this bikini that I wore on Sunday (pictured above), especially because of the straps in the back.  Shop the bikini top here and the matching bottoms here.

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Monday

My little sister and I woke up at 7:00AM to get ready and head to the beach before meeting our family for breakfast at 8:30AM.  We had a little photoshoot on the beach (you’ll see some pictures in a blog post later!) then returned to the room to pack our backpacks for the day before leaving for breakfast.  We used our Jadelynn Brooke backpacks as carryons and beach bags for this trip and they were perfect; super cute, super convenient, and super durable!  I know you probably think I’m just saying that as a rep, but in all honesty Jadelynn Brooke backpacks have become my travel necessity, especially for the beach.  We ate breakfast at Murray’s Deli again and this time I ordered scrambled eggs and toast.  After breakfast we went to a little cove area that was connected to the ocean (basically a beach without the waves because my little brother was scared of the tall waves).  Here, my little sister and I went snorkeling.  Even though we weren’t in the real ocean, we saw a ton of fish and it was super fun (also it was only $12 an hour to rent the snorkel mask, life jacket, and flippers).  After we finished snorkeling, we met my grandparents by a pool near the Mayan Tower.  A couple animal trainers brought a parrot to the poolside, so my sister and I went to go see and take pictures with it.  After eating another poolside lunch (this time I ordered pizza, really nothing spectacular) my grandparents went back to their room to relax and my family went to the Power Tower.  The Power Tower is the second slide location and it contains The Abyss, The Surge, The Drop, and The Fall.  In my opinion, the must-rides out of these are The Abyss and The Surge.  Be warned that The Abyss gets a ton of water up your nose (I rode it twice and got a nose full of water both times, even though I held my nose the second time), but I really liked The Surge.  The Surge, The Drop, and The Fall all lead into The Current, which is a super fun lazy river with rapids.  After riding all the slides and The Current a couple times, we headed back to our rooms to prepare of dinner.  We ate dinner at Bimini Road again and this time I had the shell pasta with cheese sauce and peas.  After dinner, we walked to Virgil’s Real BBQ for dessert.  I had the apple pie and it was so good.  After dessert we walked back to our rooms and packed to leave the next morning before going to bed.

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Tuesday

Tuesday morning my little sister and I woke up around 7:00AM, got ready, finished packing, then went down to breakfast at Starbucks.  After we ate our croissants, we went back to our rooms to make sure we had everything and grab our bags.  We headed down to the lobby, checked out, and got in a taxi to go back to the airport.

Thanks for reading about my adventures at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas!  I had a great time and I loved making the video as well!  If you’re interested in seeing more pictures from the trip (yes I took even more than what you’ve already seen, believe it or not), feel free to view my Atlantis VSCO journal here.  Also, to see my travel pictures before they make it to the blog, be sure to follow my Instagram here and check out my travel hashtag, #farawaywithfaith.

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Universal Orlando Travel Diary

If you follow my Instagram, @apocketfuloffaith, you might have noticed that I spent a long weekend in Orlando last week.  I flew to Orlando for a school trip to Universal Studios last Thursday night with my choir!  The trip was only a few days long, scheduled over a weekend to maximize time in Orlando while missing the least possible amount of school.  One of my best friends, Maddie, is in choir with me so we went together and it was so much fun!  (In case you were wondering, we didn’t go to perform.  My school’s choir takes a “just for fun” trip every year, usually to a theme park in Orlando or a big city, last year I went with the choir to Chicago!)  I take my camera with me practically everywhere so it obviously followed me into the parks.  While I was there I took a ton of little clips to piece together into a video!  Today I’m sharing my Universal video as well as daily recaps and a few of my favorite pictures from the trip.  I recommend watching the video in HD (enable by clicking the HD button in the bottom right corner).  I hope you enjoy!

This video was created using iMovie and all of the clips were taken with a Canon EOS Rebel T6 and a EF-S 18-55mm lens.  The background song is “All Night” by The Vamps & Matoma.

Thursday

Thursday evening my choir group met up in the school parking lot at 6:00PM to load a bus and drive to the nearest airport.  We were required to get to the airport a couple hours early, since we were a group of approximately fifty, so once we got there we all talked, played cards, FaceTimed, etc.  Finally, we boarded our flight around 8:30PM and landed in Orlando around 11:00PM.  The flight was the first for many of our choir members, so it was fun to see their reactions and how the flight actually compared to their frightened expectations.  Once we claimed our baggage we loaded onto a charter bus.  Before getting to the hotel, we stopped by Walmart to buy forgotten toiletries, snacks for the long park days ahead, sunscreen, etc.  We stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort Orlando Suites – Waterpark, and in comparison to the ordinary, average rooms we stayed in when we visited Chicago last year, the suites were incredible.  Quickly upon getting into our hotel rooms around 12:00AM, we showered and went to sleep.

Friday

We woke up to get ready for the day ahead around 8:00AM, then we met our group for breakfast at the hotel’s buffet at 9:00AM.  The hotel’s buffet was so good.  At 9:45AM, we all loaded onto the charter bus and headed to Universal.  We arrived around 10:00AM, then we were told where to meet with our chaperones at 4:00PM before they set us loose.  When we split up, Maddie and I chose to go alone together, because we knew we wanted to do all the same things.  The first thing we did upon entrance was purchase Thing 1 and Thing 2 tee shirts in the first gift shop we saw because we had been talking about buying them together in Universal for months.  I wish I could tell you that we went to one section to ride all the rides, then the next, then the next, you know, in a logical manner, but we honestly just hopped from area to area depending on what sounded fun or what snack we wanted to try.  On Friday we tried the famous frozen butter beer in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which tasted like a Starbucks drink (I’m super picky and I was scared I wouldn’t like it, but I absolutely loved it!), met Scooby Doo and the gang (minus Daphne, she unfortunately wasn’t there), met Spongebob and Patrick, and rode about five rollercoasters including a couple in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the Rip Ride Rockit, and the Hulk to name a few.  Meeting these characters was so fun, Patrick gave the best hugs!  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter was so cool, all of the employees seemed so in character and the area was so incredibly detailed, it wouldn’t be hard to convince me I was in one of the books.  We ate dinner at Mel’s Drive-In, which offered chicken tenders (or a cheeseburger for a slightly higher price), fries, and a shake for $13.99 (if my memory is correct), which is not a terrible deal for theme park food.  We loaded the bus to return to the hotel around 9:00PM and we fell asleep quickly after showering upon our return to our suites.

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Saturday

Saturday morning we woke up a little late and joined our group for an earlier breakfast around 8:00AM.  We loaded the bus at 9:00AM and got to Universal around 9:30AM.  The same discussion of when and where to meet the chaperones took place before we separated again. As soon as we got into the park, Maddie and I got in line for the Despicable Me ride, Minion Mayhem.  The ride’s line is set up to go through a room that looks identical to Gru’s home in the movies, which we thought was so cool!  The ride is really just a 3D simulator, but we still found it to be really fun because we love Despicable Me so much.  After you exit the simulator room, we were presented with the opportunity to meet/take pictures with a couple minions.  Maddie and I got in the line as soon as we saw it and after meeting them we continued into the Despicable Me gift shop where we purchased our “it’s so fluffy” scene inspired unicorns.  Once we payed for the unicorns, we decided that since it was short we’d go through the minion meeting line again to meet them with unicorns in hand.  Yes, I know it seems silly, but it was totally worth it.  After we left the gift shop, we tracked down the Despicable Me parade and met and got pictures with the girls (Agnes, Edith, and Margot), Gru, and Vector when their dance routine was over.  I just want to mention that if you’re looking to meet characters in Universal Studios, the employees in the green polos are in charge of the character meet and greets and are definitely the best people to ask about when and where!  After the parade we pretty much just randomly walked from section to section like we did on Friday.  We also met the Cat in the Hat, Thing 1, and Thing 2 that afternoon.  Maddie and I agreed that Suess Landing, the Dr. Suess based section, was our favorite.  The rides were all pastel and the area had a few adorable little book and souvenir shops that looked like they were straight out of one of Suess’ picture books.  We went back to the “Spongebob Storepants” store when we saw through the window that Patrick was in the store again.  That night we ate at Mel’s Drive-In again just because it was such a good deal.  We loaded the bus and left around 9:45PM and again, we showered and fell asleep almost immediately upon our return to the hotel.

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Sunday

Sunday was our last day in Orlando.  We ate breakfast around 9:00AM again and then hung around the hotel for a few hours, enjoying the mini golf and packing.  We left the hotel around 12:00PM and went to I-Drive 360.  I-Drive 360 is a small shopping center that consist of a few tourist shops, restaurants, the Orlando Eye, a Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, and a Sea Life Aquarium.  Maddie and I went on the Orlando Eye, got Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, walked through the wax museum and took pictures with our favorite celebrities, and looked through the aquarium before we left around 4:00PM.  We arrived at the airport around 5:00PM then bought food and worked on our make up work while we waited to board the plane.  We got back home around 9:30PM.

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I had a great time in Orlando last weekend with my friends.  I hope you enjoyed this little recap of my trip, thank you for reading!  Be sure to check out my Instagram hashtag, #farawaywithfaith, for more pictures from my travels!

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