Places I Hope to See in 2021

It’s pretty safe to say I have no intention of hopping on an airplane in the year 2020, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t spent my fair share of time making a list (and checking it twice) for hopeful trips in 2021. Obviously, this is all contingent upon the status of the virus next year, but I already have some places mapped out:

One of my oldest friends, Blake, is getting married!! His wedding will be in Arizona which I have never visited before. I cannot wait to explore the natural beauty of the desert and finally do a canyon hike. It’s going to be even better to have local guides as my boyfriend’s friends (recently featured in my vlog!) live there. There’s no telling how long I would be there, but I’m hoping to at least see Papago Park or Desert Botanical Garden.
desert botanical
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Summer in the House

It’s crazy to think it has officially been three months since I moved into this house. I feel that when I moved in, I was ‘wide-eyed and bushy-tailed,’ as they call it. I believed that a house would surpass any and all issues I previously had with apartment living; however, I have learned that renting in general would always provide new or different obstacles. Moving from what was labeled a ‘luxury’ apartment four minutes away from downtown Dallas to a duplex in a suburb has surprisingly pnly posed minimal challenges, but I want to share with you the changes I have noticed between my living experiences.

There are so many pros to renting a house compared to an apartment:
1. No upstairs neighbors
2. No street or tenant noise
3. No garage door, gate, or key fob glitches
4. No delivery issues with packages or food
5. Having a front and backyard!
6. No stairs or elevators
7. Having a garage
8. Having a full-sized kitchen
9. Not having to pay an additional fee for valet trash (despite its value within complexes)

There are also some cons to renting a house:
1. Leaks, cracks, impractical design due to being older
2. Lack of storage
3. Low chance of walk-in closet
4. Restrictions on individual room designs due to outlet and window placements
5. Longer response time on maintenance requests
6. Usually have to configure your own alarm system
7. Lower chance of all appliances (refrigerator, washer/dryer, dishwasher) included
8. Outdated or lower quality ‘upgrades’ in certain areas of the home
9. Higher electricity bill

These are just a handful of pros and cons I can think of off the top of my head, but obviously not everything applies to every apartment complex or house. I think the common denominator around not finding the ‘perfect’ place is obviously that you are renting. Still, these varied living experiences (living alone, living with a roommate, living in a house with my boyfriend) have all taught me what I am and am not looking for in the future home I will own: flooring, storage options, closet design, living/family room size, how many bedrooms I will need, etc.

Since it has only been three months (a.k.a. one season), I figured I could do another update when I see how this house weathers through the colder months. To wrap this up though, I will answer some of the most common questions I’ve received since the move:

1. How is the house?
In general, I really like this house. It serves my current needs and I could not be more thankful to have a two-bedroom, two-bathroom home with a nice backyard and fridge, washer, and dryer included at the rent that we pay. There are some design flaws that have been super annoying to work around. We have also had a higher number of maintenance issues than I originally expected. We do, however, have a pretty responsive landlord that we don’t really have to chase down when we have an issue, and he is always polite and works well with us.

2. What has it been like living with your boyfriend?
This is my first time living with a boyfriend and it has been great. Much like anyone you live with, you learn people’s habits and when to give them space. Thankfully, we do have two bedrooms and a living room, so we are not on top of each other. With us being in the middle of a pandemic, it has obviously been a very different experience; there is not much to talk about day-to-day and you’re with each other all day, so the exciting parts of dating like going out to eat/drink, traveling, going to events, etc. are pretty much off the table. But I also think it is kind of a blessing because you are forced to be with another person all day and see all sides of them that won’t be a ‘surprise’ later down the road. We have been making it work and I have become more interested in videogames just as he has become more interested in reality TV. 🙂

3. How is it living outside of Dallas?
Dallas is a driving city anyway, so it’s not like my life has drastically changed. Downtown is only about 20 minutes away, but there are very few places that are a less-than-10-minute-drive to begin with unless you are living in the area I used to live in. Once again, we are in a pandemic, so I haven’t felt that annoyance of having to arrange Lyfts regularly for going out or getting to and from the airport which was previously a part of my budget. Additionally, I am working from home, so I am saving on gas altogether since I literally do not go anywhere, haha. It has been the best and worst thing to have moved out of the city during a time like this, but it does suck that I now have a space I could entertain in (especially the backyard!) and cannot have people over. Though I do miss being able to see the skyline and feeling like a city girl, I am happy to be in a house now.

4. Do you miss living in an apartment?
There are specific elements that I miss like my old closet, my old bathroom, and the additional freedoms I felt when I lived alone. A good and bad thing about this house is that it gets a lot of natural light, but the living area does not have a ceiling fan, so basically…it gets hot. This requires me to run A/C at the hottest times of the day. Further, even if quarantine were not a thing, my former roommate was rarely home whereas my boyfriend and I are home bodies, so between the A/C and the amount of electricity we use for our hobbies, the electricity bill is so much higher despite having a little less square footage (excluding the backyard and garage) than my previous apartment. But overall, no, I do not miss living in an apartment.

Did anybody else move during quarantine, or more specifically move in with a new person during quarantine? How has the adjustment been for you?
xx, AE

Road Trips are the New Black

Road Trips are the New Black

Road trips have taken the travel scene by storm this summer as COVID has altered the way we–especially Americans–travel. According to a survey conducted by U.S. Travel Association in partnership with MMGY Travel Intelligence, “Respondents’ likelihood to travel by personal car during the next six months was the highest it’s been since the pandemic started, with three-quarters (75%) indicating they plan to do so. Almost 2 in 5 (39%) are willing to drive 300 miles or more (each way) for a leisure trip.” Though airlines are doing everything they can to protect the health and safety of their passengers (including their crew), many are opting to to hop in their cars to adhere to social distancing and limit contact with others. Growing up, my only experience with road tripping was the scenic yet boring seven-hour drive to and from Memphis, TN to visit my mom’s side of the family. During my brother’s high school years, we would drive down to San Antonio for the Texas Music Educators Association (TMEA) All State Convention, but that was the extent of it. The final road trips would be for tours on college campuses. The idea of the family road trip, or family trips in general, didn’t become a staple in my house, but honestly, I’d always felt indifferent about viewing the nation on wheels.

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Much Needed Getaway (Review)

Much Needed Getaway (Review)

At the beginning of the year, my boyfriend and I planned a two-week trip to London–a city we both have so many memories in and see as another home. This year, we both would have finally been able to attend Notting Hill Carnival and we had further plans to see other parts of Europe within the two-week timeframe. Obviously, this did not come to fruition or I would be there right now, but we still wanted to make use of this time off we had on our calendars. If you read my last post, you will know that I took some time off this past month and to close out my final week off, we headed two hours south of Dallas to LaRue, Texas to experience an overnight Getaway.

All cabins come with queen-sized beds
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