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Looking Back as the Snow Falls

I can’t help but think of home every time it snows here in the south. It’s so much different than it was in New York. When the streets were covered in snow along Lake Ontario, life went on. We would just bundle up, scrape off our cars and go.

I barely had any snow days when I was in school. The plows would be out all night long so the roads were clear enough in the morning for the buses to get us there. 

It’s not like that in the south. When the snow falls, it’s as if life stops. You get to hit pause on the craziness of your every day responsibilities and for just a minute you get to breathe. 

I sat outside on my balcony as the snowflakes were falling. This was my first real snowfall in Nashville. Holding on to my sweet matcha latte in my new Starbucks mug as the snow covered the railing of my corner apartment balcony, I couldn’t help but smile as I thought about the first time I saw snow in the south.

It was in North Carolina. The entire city of Charlotte was pretty much shut down for about two days and I had nowhere to go. Lucky for me though, I had 3 of my favorite people living in my complex. We stayed up until well after the sun went down playing board games and laughing. We had no responsibilities and no place to be. We were just a group of people enjoying each other’s company.

I smile at how amazing those years were. I mean who gets to live in the same apartment complex as some of your favorite people? Friends had nothing on us. When I was bored I would just walk down 2 flights of stairs and knock on a door, knowing that at least one of them would open. There aren’t words to describe how much I miss those people or those memories.

I moved to Nashville to pursue a dream. I’m grateful that I was brave enough to do it because over the past year and a half I’ve found out so much more about myself that I didn’t know before, but I’m not yet ready to call Nashville home. My heart is still in North Carolina. 

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This year’s snow day I sat in my room with a cup of hot chocolate binge watching Young & Hungry. It’s a far cry from my all night board game adventures. I have tears rolling down my face as I write this, knowing they’re in the past. At the same time though, I love the fact that I have those memories to hold on to.

I’ve spent a lot of time while living in Nashville looking behind me. Wondering if I made the right choice. I think it’s really easy for people to look backwards. That when they start getting scared of the unknown they wish that they could relive the good times. When life isn’t going the way they’d hoped they wish they could go back and change something because maybe they’d end up somewhere different. I’m right there with all of them. I’m guilty of that too.

As I sat out on the balcony this weekend smiling about a life that used to be, the writer in me remembered something. We cannot live in a chapter forever. In order to continue our story we have to turn the page. Every now and then we can glance back at a chapter in order to remind ourselves of how we got here, but we cannot stay there. So much more of our story is yet to bet written.

I can never get Charlotte back, but what I can do is stop punishing Nashville for not being the city I left and start embracing it for what it has to offer and be thankful what it has given me so far. 

We can’t be sad for the things we no longer have. We can’t be angry for the things we cannot change. All we can do is focus on today and hope for tomorrow. We have to hold on to what we have right now and let go of what we cannot control.

Funny how all of this came to me while sipping a latte and watching the snow fall. 

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CGIARDINA

Through a Writer’s Eyes

2017, you came in like a lion and went out like one too. You were rough. You challenged my spirit and made me question my life’s path. At times you knocked me down, but at the same time, you reignited my passion. You brought out my strength and made me believe that I can be whoever it is I choose to be.

In 2017, I put writing on the back burner. For whatever reason, I just didn’t have it in me. Days and weeks would pass when I didn’t write a word. I kept using time as the problem by saying that I didn’t have enough of it. The truth though was that I did have time. I just had more excuses. I didn’t want it bad enough. I needed a break.

This week, as I sit down to reflect on my goals, I can feel it. I can feel the fire slowly burning inside of me. I want to write again. I want to finish the story I started two years ago and then… I want to write more. I want to create more stories for people to escape to. I want to write about life, adventure, love and truth.

Along with those words, I want to show the world through the eyes of a writer. How I interpret what I see around me. Where my inspiration comes from. The way words heal my soul and how I escape when it becomes too much.

So, if you’d like to tag along, you’re in the right place. I’ll be writing all about the journey here and you can subscribe below!

2018, I can see it now. You’re going to be the best year yet!

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Holiday Cocktail Recipes and More!

 

There is just one more week until Christmas Day! So, let’s talk cocktails. Who doesn’t love a holiday cocktail? Eggnog, cider, Christmas punch, there are so many fun recipes. Below is a list of a few I found while searching Pinterest that I would love to try and make this year!Head over to Twitter and let me know which is your favorite!
Very Merry Ornamentini – See Recipe
Eggnog Float – See Recipe
Gingerbread Latte Martini - See Recipe
Blackberry Ombre SparklerSee Recipe
Quotes and Coffee will return in the new year! SUBSCRIBE TO QUOTES & COFFEE NOW! so you don’t miss out on all that is to come!
TSB

A Special Message to All My Tear Stained Beaches Readers

I honestly just want to say thank you!

I think it’s incredibly important in my writing that I stick to the one thing I’ve always wanted it to portray, strong and independent women who fight for what they believe in.

Some readers have struggled with Tear Stained Beaches because of the emotional roller coaster that they feel during it. I know it pulls at the heartstrings. I know that the story keeps you ping-ponging from fury to immense sorrow all in a matter of 0.02 seconds.

For those of you who have made it through, I applaud you. This story was not meant to be an easy read, but it was meant to be an eye opening and truthful one.

Sometimes, the truth hurts, but it’s that pain that we need to experience in order grow into the person we always knew we could be.

If you haven’t yet, check out my other novels, Holding on to Georgia and Behind the Strings. I promise they’re a little less melancholy and you might even laugh a little!

Holding on to Georgia – Goodreads Review:

Holding on to Georgia by Courtney Giardina is a heart-felt tale of two people whose dark pasts have shaped their present lives and their fears of closeness. Ms. Giardina allows us to believe in second chances, true love and taking just one more risk with our hearts. She has taken a seedling of emotion and nurtured it into a beautiful tale of love. – Dianne

Behind the Strings – Goodreads Review:

“Wow, where should I even start? This book is beautifully written. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. I will say that there are many surprises in this book, and things do not go as planned at all. Holy that ending ruined my life and I can’t wait to see where book two takes us.” – Sarah

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Favorite Juice Bars in Nashville

On a hot day or after a good workout, I love being able to grab a healthy treat. I also know that I don’t eat as many vegetables or superfoods as I should so I always feel like juices, smoothies and acai bowls are a great way to get some extra nutrition in. Nashville has some pretty great juice bar options and I’m sharing them on today’s blog below!

Fix Juice Co.

FullSizeRender (10)Meet the Edwin from Fix Juice Co. This is by far my favorite tasting juice in Nashville. It’s the only flavor I’ve tried from there as I don’t get over to the west side of Nashville very often. If you want dibs though be sure to go early, especially on the weekends! I went a couple times in the early afternoon and they were out of pretty much everything. They also have great smoothies! I haven’t tried any of their grab and go food items.

Fountain of Juice

FullSizeRender (11)Fountain of Juice has a kiosk inside the Nashville Farmer’s market. I love the combinations they have and the fact that as you can see above, they have the benefits of each one written. The only downfall is their only at the market Thursday-Saturday, so stock up if you go!

Juice Nashville

IMG_0050I did the 3 day cleanse with Juice Nashville so I was able to try lots of different flavors and I’ll be honest, there wasn’t one I really couldn’t tolerate. Even on day 3 and 12 juices I was still enjoying them. Not pictured here is my favorite treat, the chocolate almond which you drink on the cleanse at the end of every day. It was a great reward! Juice Nashville also makes Acai bowls.

Daily Juice of Nashville

FullSizeRender (12)Daily Juice also has cold-pressed juices that they press at their other location and bring to downtown. I’ve had them a couple times and I enjoy them, but honestly, I’m OBSESSED with their Acai bowls. This is my ABSOLUTE favorite place to go. I’ve tried bowls from pretty much everywhere and absolutely nothing compares. All of them are ridiculously good, but the Pandora bowl is my favorite. Oh my gosh, just writing about it makes my mouth water. The only downfall is it’s located downtown so not an easy location to park and grab one, but if you happen to down there, you ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO stop by.

Juice Bar

FullSizeRender (13)The great thing about the Juice Bar is that they make the juices to order so you can make up your own concoction or just go with one of the many options on the menu. I LOVE the Coffee Janet and Blue Chocolatta smoothies. Their pineapple greens juice is a thumbs up too!

Turnip Truck

I love going to the Turnip Truck! They have made to order smoothies and juices as well and they’re a little but cheaper that most options. It’s also great if you need to grab anything from the store because you can kill two birds with one stone here!

Have you been to any of these? Which ones your favorite? Did I leave any out? Let me know!

 

 

 

 

Loving Long Distance- DIY ‘Open When’ Envelopes

Long distance relationship. That’s something I never thought I’d be in again. But, here we are with 300+ miles between us. It’s sounds really scary, but to be honest, I’m not scared. Sometimes someone walks into your life and you just kind of know they’re meant to play an important role in it.

Sam and I had 3 months in the same city. 3 months to get to know each other enough to want to hang on a bit longer. 3 months for both of us to think this was worth the effort. So, that’s what we’re doing.

His birthday was a week ago and along with his birthday present I mailed 20 of these “open when” envelopes. I found the idea on Pinterest.

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Like I said, I made 20 of them, but there’s no limit on how many if you get creative! Some of them have something special tucked inside the card and others give him a number. I sent a few wrapped presents and wrote that number on them. He can only open it when he picks the card that tells him to.

I sent one more card on top of the 20 that said “open first” and inside was a note with 5 simple rules. The rules were:

  1. Don’t open all at once
  2. Only open when one applies
  3. No unwrapping the presents unless a card tells you to
  4. Be sure to tell me when you open one
  5. Enjoy them!

I can’t give away anything else because he’s only opened one so far, but below you can see a few of the times he’s able to open an envelope.

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What other cute ideas do you have for long distance relationships? I’d love to hear how you got crafty and creative!

 

Being Selfish

In today’s Quotes and Coffee Newsletter I talked a bit about being selfish and why it’s so important.

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Lately I’ve been focusing a lot on myself and I honestly I feel amazing because of it. I think the “me” time I’ve been giving myself reflects in all areas of my life including how I react to things, how I interact with others and so much more.

I find that it’s been so helpful when I feel worn out to take a time out. It’s really hard to be selfish, but sometimes putting yourself first helps everyone in the long run. Here’s my “me” list that I’ve drawn up over the past few weeks. Just a few things I’ve found really help to rejuvenate my mind and body and refocus my crazy life so I can remember what’s important.

  • Getting up an hour earlier every day so I can sit outside with my coffee
  • Walking every morning with my podcast on and NO social media checking
  • Sitting at the table to eat instead of while on the computer
  • Reading a book instead of looking at my phone 30 minutes before bed

What would you put on your “me” list? Do you currently carve out time in your day or even week for yourself? What hinders you in doing so if you don’t?

You can read this week’s whole Quotes and Coffee Newsletter here!

Subscribe now so you don’t miss next week’s. I hope to see you Monday for another weekly dose of Quotes and Coffee!

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Only Time Will Tell

Saying goodbye is never easy and time is a fragile thing. Sometimes you just run out of it and you know as well as I do, there’s no way to get it back.

I needed a few more minutes to say goodbye to someone this past week, so I bought some with a last minute road trip to Columbus, OH. I’ve never been to Columbus, but I had Sam as an amazing tour guide and got to explore so many things. One of them was United Dairy Farmers where you can get ice cream 24 hours a day! I’m going to pause for a minute and let that sink in. Yes, that is real life. Ice cream 24/7.

And, after our adventure through Flower Child Vintage, I am really contemplating buying a typewriter. This shop had never ending rooms of nostalgia. This was one of the many typewriters they had. My desire to bring back letter writing is at an all time high.  

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I also tried my very first Buckeye candy in the historical German Village neighborhood. There were brick roads at every turn. It had such charm and I wanted to get lost in it for hours. I probably would’ve, but I was hungry and dinner was calling my name.

IMG_0742He was such a good sport to let me take a photo in front of the little gift shop on the corner where he bought me my first ever Buckeye.

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On top of eating, a lot, I also did a bit of shopping and got myself a new workout tank from Homage. I figured why not get a little keepsake to remember this trip. The only problem… I wore it the other day as I was crossing the pedestrian bridge in Nashville and someone shouted out O-H. It wasn’t until after a long pause followed by someone else’s echo of I-O that I realized they were talking to me. Oops… sorry Ohio. In that moment I failed you.

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On our last night in town we went to the Columbus Clippers game and Sam caught the most perfect sunset on camera.

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Then, before we said our goodbyes, I got to see his new neighborhood bar. I could tell he felt at home already.

I’m a huge advocate for going after your dreams. I truly believe you have to fulfill your own goals and be happy with who you are first before you can fully give yourself to anyone else. So, as hard as it was to hug him goodbye and get on the airplane back to Nashville, I find solace in knowing he’s happy in Ohio. He’s excited for what comes next and I’m excited for him.

It’s very possible that this is where our fairy tale ends. That Columbus is the final chapter in our story. And if that is the case, I’d like to think that in the time we had, we wrote a hell of chapter in this book I call my life.

What happens from here? Only time will tell. 

 

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