Monthly Archives: November 2013

Thankful Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving all! Hoping that you all had a great day with the ones you love and had too much to eat. I have SO many things to be thankful for so here are just a few…


My family that supports me in every aspect of my life

My friends that may laugh at me a lot along the way but have helped me grow

My education and for my professors that encourage and mentor me

My dog that never fails to come and snuggle with me

The outdoors and fresh air

My bed that keeps me warm even when its snowing outside

Movie nights with my roomies

City, State and National Parks

The tires on my car that helped me drive home in the pouring rain on Tuesday

My closet that is probably way too filled

Long snowboarding days ending with mexican food

The big beautiful giant oak trees on my road

Bodies of water

Sunsets that leave me speechless

This blogging community that has already helped me grow in these past few weeks

Here is a sneak peak at the Upton’s Christmas card




How One Mission Trip Changed My Future


When I was going into my freshman year of highschool, a mature 13 years of age,  I was finally old enough to go on my youth group’s mission trip to Colorado. We road tripped out there in our legendary First Baptist Church charter bus. All of my mission trips were life changing but this one was my first and it introduced me to something I had never been exposed to before….the mountains.

I grew up on the coast of North Carolina and Wilmington is as flat as a pancake so seeing the mountains of Colorado was a brand new experience for me. Our bus even overheated as we navigated up the mountain. We stayed in a very beautiful cabin where you could walk outside and see the mountain peaks. Throughout the week we spent there i fell in love with Mountain life; the simplicity, the natural beauty, the fresh air and mostly the fact that it wasn’t 100 degrees outside.

Our mission work for the week included leading a vacation bible school for children, leading a sports camp in a nearby neighborhood and doing repairs on a local church. I have memories of the children I met and have articles of clothing that are covered in paint from painting the church but unfortunately much of the 9 day trip has turned foggy over time.

However, what has continuously stuck with me over the years was the hike we went on during our last day. This was probably one of the first real hikes i have ever been on in my life and as we reached the top i could hear a waterfall and when i turned the corner and when saw it my heart stopped beating. Instantly the word “yes” popped into my head. Just the word “yes”. Like this is where i’m supposed to be. All at once i was looking at a waterfall and snow at the top of the mountain, two things i had had almost no exposure to. I was in awe of the view and in awe of the Lord’s vast creation. After this trip to Colorado, i wanted more, so much more. I wanted to see it all. Many things in my life may have changed since i was 13 (i no longer have braces) but my desire to see the world has not.

It was because of this mission trip that i decided to come the college in the Mountains of North Carolina and pursue a degree that would allow me to hike and see many more waterfalls well into my future.

Where are some places that you have had that “yes” moment?

peace out

Things I’m Looking Forward To

As the end of the semester approaches and i feel myself getting trapped in a never ending cycle of school work and sleep and then more school work (and some blogging). The thing that is motivating me through these dull times are the EXCITING things that I have coming up in the next few weeks and months. In no particular order here are some things that you can look forward to reading about in the near future.



I go to school in the Mountains of North Carolina so snowboarding is pretty popular, not as popular as up North or out West but popular none the less. My freshman year in college I even got to take snowboarding as a PE credit. Unreal I know. Last year I got a snowboard for my Birthday and spent the majority of my winter hitting the slopes every chance I got. The mountain opens any day now and I cannot wait to be back in action and snowboarding with my bestfriends. Another added excitement to this is to finally get to wear my early Christmas present, a new snowboarding Jacket. Having my old pink one since the 7th grade I finally decided to ask for a new one this Christmas. I found this beautiful blue Dakine jacket for 50% off at a local sale.


Getting to see my Family

Ever since I have left for college I spend very little time back at home in Wilmington. I go to school across the state and have spent my past 2 summers in Maine so my time at home is limited to holidays and extended school breaks. I haven’t even seen my brother-in-law since May so I am looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas with the ENTIRE family.

Getting to see my Friends

Like I said, I spend very little time at home and when I do it usually doesn’t correspond to when my friends that attend other colleges are home. Christmas break is the one-time throughout the school year that almost all my friends I grew up with are home at the same time! This year I will be hosting my 3rd annual Christmas cookie party and will get to see all of my closest friends from highschool. Which brings me to my next exciting thing…


When I was younger, okay to this day, I love to bake. I always love a good excuse to bring out the apron and my kitchenaid mixer (that was my christmas gift when i was 14) and whip up a batch of cookies. Because I am in college, have a very tiny kitchen and frankly can’t afford to buy ingredients I only get a chance to bake again around the Holidays. I can’t wait (and neither can my friends) to get back in the kitchen to whip up some of my favorite recipes. Definitely recipes and pictures to come.


Yes, I said it, COSTA RICA!! I just made my last payment so it couldn’t be more official! I am leaving on January 2nd for a 9 day trip through Costa Rica where I will be touring and learning about eco and sustainable tourism efforts in Costa Rica while having TONS of fun along the way. I am so excited not only to travel somewhere new but also to learn about an industry that I would love to work in one day!

Leave a comment and let me know what you are excited this upcoming holiday season and Winter!

Peace Out–HAYUP

The 2nd Tasty Tuesday

Let me just say that i am hungry just thinking about this right now.

I discovered Gelato Fiasco this summer in Maine when my camp friend (and real life friend), Ali took me on our first day off. Having not made it to Italy yet, this was my first time having Gelato. I fell in love instantly and Ali and our day off gang went to get Gelato on almost all of our days off.

In their words, Gelato Fiasco’s gelato is “Inspired by Italy. Perfected in Maine.” All of their gelato is made from scratch in their kitchen and you can count on having at least 30 flavors to choose from. Can’t choose just one? Yah, I couldn’t either. You can mix and match as many flavors as you wish!

They have 2 locations throughout Maine and also have many partnerships throughout New England so you can pick up a pint!

check em out

Hope everybody has a great Tuesday and finds a tasty treat at some point today!

Peace Out–HAYUP



The Stingray Excursion


In the January, 1989 issue of National Geographic David Doubilet wrote the article, “Ballet with Stingrays” documenting his photographs and experiences with these creatures. He reported, “I had always thought of stingrays, with their broad wings and graceful movements, as almost mythological beasts: part bird, part fish…I find them to be gentle, wondrous birds of the sea.”

This past summer,I had my first opportunity to swim and feed stingrays at Stingray City in the Cayman Islands. David Doubilet was correct, the stingrays were beautiful and alluring. I, along with the people I was with, were nervous getting into the water and having stingrays with weapons at the end of their tails swim freely around our ankles. Luckily our guides were calming and reassuring and I was successful in holding, kissing and feeding a stingray.

When i go on tours like this I am always the girl asking tons of questions ( my 4th grade teacher used the word inquisitive). In most cases the people leading these types of tours love what they do and have incredible amounts of first hand experience so I tend to take advantage of it, but i have never had any complaints.

With hundreds of visitors coming to this particular site each day (and millions annually) this makes an obvious impact on the stingrays themselves and I, along with the people I was with, were very curious to learn how the stingrays remain protected and safe. After all, we did kiss them so we felt an emotional connection to them. The tour guides were able to give us their own personal company’s efforts but were not exactly wildlife conservationist so when I returned back home I did some research on the impact we are having on these slimy creatures by “trespassing” on their habitats.

NOVA Southeastern University’s Guy Harvey Research Institute did a study on this exact area, Stingray city in the Cayman Islands. They found that the actions and behaviors of this population of stingrays had drifted far away from that of their wild counterparts. Because of the large amount of traffic in this underwater city the stingrays have almost unlimited access to food and no longer have the need to hunt or scavenge. As a result the stingrays of Stingray city no longer travel large areas, usually at night, to find food nor do they abide by their usual solitary habits. These stingrays now remain more active during the day, when the visitors arrive, feed in groups and even mate year round instead of seasonally. These stingrays, that individually can bring up to $500,000 annually from tourist, have been subject to a dramatic behavioral change due to the presence of human provided food.

Even though it has been 24 years since David Doubilet wrote this article his final words in his article still stand, “ If Cayman Islands officials protect the rays, divers continue to feed them, and human visitors treat them with gentleness and respect, they will provide one of the most rewarding, experiences in the undersea world.”

I tell you this to raise awareness so that you choose to book with a respectable agency, to leave no trace and understand the needs for conservation and research to ensure that these beautiful birds of the sea remain a part of our underwater ecosystem for generations to come.

Thanks for reading,


Happy Sunday

Happy Sunday Friends!

I hope that your weekend was filled with laughter and fresh air! I had a great weekend working as a leader for a high school girls retreat! We helped serve dinner at our local hospitality house then spent ALL day Saturday at a local cave. It was my first time caving and i felt like a total newb in the cave. Luckily i had great co-leaders that took the reins as we climbed, crawled and swam our way through the cave. Caves are one of only two places on earth where you can experience total darkness, the other is the deep sea. All of us girls got so muddy but it just made the experience that much better. We even played a round of sardines in the cave which ended with 13 girls in a small hole. After a long day in the cave we came back to the cabin we were staying at had some of the girls give facials, had some reflection time AND us leaders jumped in the lake…in November. I think my heart stopped beating when i jumped in the water but it was worth it. It was was one of those crazy memories that i will always remember. I hope there will never come a time in my life where spontaneous jumps in a lake, ocean or pool aren’t acceptable. This weekend has left me exhausted but, the good exhausted, the exhaustion that comes from having an incredibly fulfilled weekend. 

Stay tuned for more exciting blog posts this week! 

Peace Out—HAYUP


Maine: The Way Life Should Be

Hey Frands!! As I have previously mentioned I spent 2 summers working as a camp counselor at a summer camp in Maine. My first summer I was 18 and a freshman out of college. I had never been to the northeast before, especially Maine and I knew nobody at the camp I was working at. It was my first time flying alone, first time leaving home for that long, first time in Maine and my first time as a camp counselor. As scary of an experience as it was it turned out to be one of the best things in my life and helped me to become the person I am today. Spending 2 summers in Maine I got to Travel around Maine both with campers on out of camp trips and with my friends on days off.  So!!! Here are some of my favorite things in Maine…in no particular order.

1. Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor


This is a given and a “must see” for any avid bucket list maker and anyone interested in going on a family trip in your own country.  An outdoor enthusiast paradise, Acadia National Park offers countless adventures for people of all ages.  With 50+ miles of biking trails, numerous hiking trails, sea kayaking, and even rock climbing Acadia National Park has something for everyone.  Some must see sights on Mount Desert Island include the sunrise on Cadillac Mountain(one of the earliest in North America), the Bass Harbor lighthouse, and Sand Beach.  After spending a long day in the park make your way into Bar Harbor, which is home to many fabulous restaurants and Bed & Breakfasts’.  Side Street Cafe is a must try for anyone in Bar Harbor looking for the ‘real deal’ as far as Maine cuisine and atmosphere are concerned.

2. Portland/ Old Port


Portland is the Largest city in Maine and home to the historic Old Port District along the Portland Harbor. This is a great place for shopping, going out on the town, grabbing some gelato and checking out museums and art galleries. Portland is a gives a “big city” feel but the simplicity and natural offerings of Maine are right next door.

3. SO. FREE. ME. (South Freeport Maine)


Freeport, Maine is ideal for shopping. With over 100 stores, including Patagonia, The North Face,  J. Crew, Nike and so many more that are all mostly outlets this is a great place to splurge, if you have any money left over from lobster. Even if you don’t want to spend money it is still fun to check out the L.L. BEAN store and take an iconic picture with the giant bean boot out front.


Right down the road is my favorite local lobster restaurant, Harraseeket! It’s nothing super fancy but it is a such a fun experience. My first time there was also my first time eating a lobster. I was shocked when i ordered my lobster only to see the owner reach into the tank behind her, pull out a lobster that was still moving, and place it a pot. 15 minutes later it was on a plate next to a cup of melted butter and it appeared to be looking directly at me. I kept my lobster bib on the entire ride back to camp as a token of my accomplishment for eating my entire lobster. I will always remember that day, the taste of the lobster, the cool breeze of the wind and the smell of the salty sea as I ate by the water.

4. Booth Bay Harbor


Such a beautiful place! It is a very quaint area with unique shops and it is right on the water. I recommend getting some fudge, ice cream, chocolate covered blueberries or LOBSTER!

This was a fun post that took me down memory lane! You can count on more post about camp and Maine in posts to come! Have an awesome day and a great weekend!

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