There Is No Place Like Home

There Is No Place Like Home

It's not so bad, way out in the sticks!
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Living in Charleston, I never really have the urge to go home. There is a beach in Charleston, there are more than enough good restaurants and there is top-of-the-line shopping. Not to mention the numerous friends that I have gained in just two short years.

Over the weekend, I ventured up Interstate 26 to the small town that I have called home for my entire life. Just like every small town, there are a couple of small original restaurants, and small boutiques that were once the best places to be, some time ago.

Not to be frank, but I don’t particularly enjoy coming home from Charleston, except to see my family. I am not in love with my hometown, and I know that I can’t be the only one. Although my trip was not as charming as Charleston, I must say that I have gained a new appreciation from my hometown – in just four days. Here are a couple of things that I noticed within my short trip home:

There is nothing like your favorite restaurants at home.

I’m not going to lie – I always look forward to my favorite baked spaghetti, the barbecue restaurant with the best potato salad in the entire world, and the most delicious buffalo chicken wrap on this side of the Mason-Dixon Line. Not to mention the most famous, Pizza Inn with the best Chocolate Chip Pizza.

Your family will not be around forever.

Although we may believe that our grandparents will be around forever, the truth is – they are not. While you are visiting your hometown, I have learned to appreciate the time with my grandparents that I once saw at least three to four times per week. Something as simple as going to lunch, can mean the world to them – and you can catch up on all the happenings of their lives as well!

Inevitably, you are going to see someone you know

I find myself sporting the typical t-shirts and shorts every single time I go home, with the mindset of “surely I won’t see anyone that I know.” WRONG – more times than not, I typically see two to three people that I know! It’s never a bad thing, however – after living away from your hometown for two years, you just don’t think about coming home to see the folks who once molded you into the person you are today!

The three-and-a-half-hour drive is definitely not the best part, but I find myself enjoying my time at home more so, when I have a positive mindset. Charleston isn’t going anywhere. My friends, the beach, and the restaurants will all still be standing when I return!

Cover Image Credit: Brian Zigelhefer

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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My Boyfriend's Family Helped Me Find My Home Away From Home

Taking "home is where the heart is" to a new level.

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I have always heard that one day I will find a place that will feel like my home away from home, specifically with my significant other. Honestly, I couldn't envision loving a place like the way I do my hometown, let alone love it even more. Nonetheless, here I am, sitting in the Little Rock, Arkansas airport tearing up as I say goodbye to my home away from home.

Let me tell you about my hometown. I live in a relatively small town in Wyoming and it has always been my home. My family, friends and work are here in Wyoming. But, there happens to be this man who has my whole entire heart. His hometown is a little town in Arkansas, that also happens to be 17 hours away from me. I came to visit him in his hometown for the first time ever. Not only to see Arkansas for the first time but to see him for the first time in a month and to have the opportunity to meet his family.

I won't lie, meeting parents for the first time is definitely nerve-wracking. It's not that I am hard to get along with, it's the fact that I want them to love me because I love their son and I couldn't conceptualize that ever changing. From the moment I stepped into their home, I was welcomed with big arms and beautiful smiles. His family welcomed me, a complete stranger, into their home with no questions asked. Right away I knew I felt like I was home.

Finding your home away from home is easy to recognize. Home is a place full of love and laughter and that is what I found in Arkansas. It was a second home that I felt comfortable in. Feeling comfortable somewhere is not always the easiest feeling to grasp. For me, I feel the need to be in a comfortable place to be myself and call it "home."

I believe that it is essential for everyone to have a "second home" or a "home away from home." Having a second family can and does provide so much more love in my life I never knew I needed. I of course do and always will love and adore my family with my whole heart and soul but having these other people in my life gives me so much assurance that I'll always be surrounded with love and happiness. You can never have too many friends, too much family and certainly never too much love. So thank you. Thank you for welcoming me, loving me as your own, and showing me that having a home away from home is such a positive part of my life.

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