Five New Products that I’ve tried and LOVED during Quarantine

This quarantine has been a hard time for so many, including me. I am the type of person that always tries to find the good in a situation. Even though the last few weeks and months have been so difficult for so many, it has provided a ton of down time to rest and tackle projects. We have organized and cleaned and done all sorts of house projects. Another thing that I’ve chosen to use this time for is to try some new products. I have five products that I tried for the first time during this quarantine – let me tell you all about them!

The first product would be Tinkle razors. Do y’all use these? Am I just super late to the game? I have watched a couple of bloggers that I follow use these and rave about them for years. I never really thought I needed them. I didn’t consider myself to have a peach fuzz problem. Then during quarantine when I didn’t wear any makeup for almost forty days straight….I was looking in my mirror. I did that weird thing where I moved my face at different angles and all of a sudden with the light and angle- I could see peach fuzz on my cheek. So I went to that bloggers page and read her post on these razors. She talked about how she used them once a week and they were fantastic for exfoliation purposes. Think about all the men who seem to age so gracefully…. they are shaving weekly… lots of exfoliation going on in that process. (JS) They are super cheap- like six on amazon for less than five bucks. I ordered some and tried it. The amount of dead skin cells that came off of my face 🤢 Seriously! I have found that using them once every two or three weeks is best for me. And just as a warning, right after you use them, your skin care routine is going to feel extra tingly!

The second product is wool balls. I have always been a stickler for tossing multiple dryer sheets in a load of laundry. The smell of my clothes is also very important to me. I grabbed these at Walmart. They work great with controlling the static. I put a drop of lavender essential oil on each one and toss them both in with a load of clothes. I apply a fresh drop of oil every few loads. I have been using these for a few weeks and have zero complaints. They were only a few dollars for the pair and they have already saved me so much money on dryer sheets!

The third product is L’Oréal Blow dry it quick dry primer spray. This product is meant to cut down on dry time and to also provide heat protection. Full disclosure, I recently got a haircut so my dry time was dramatically cut down anyway. However, it did seem faster when using this while offering heat protection. It also smells really nice!

The fourth product is hard as hoof nail cream. I noticed when the season started to change that my nails were splitting. I went to pinterest to find a remedy and came across this. The instructions say to apply three times a day or more. In the beginning of all this when we were still doing school work each day, I would just sit the tub next to me and apply it 4 to 5 times per day. I will say this, the health of my cuticles improved right away. My nails were so strong as well. When school finished and I was only putting it on in the morning and at night, it still helped but it wasn’t as drastic as before. I had also developed some dry skin on the top of my hand from all of the excessive hand washing. I rubbed this on it and it helped tremendously.

I saved the best for last!! Y’all! Here it is- my first Fab Fit Fun box and I’m totally hooked! I tried another “subscription” box about six months ago and was so disappointed. It was an immediate cancellation. I was willing to give this one a try because I had seen so many celebrities and influencers rave about them. They also seemed to have higher quality products. It almost seemed too good to be true! FFF allows you to choose some of your preferences. I was so excited for this- I was literally tracking my shipment! I paid $45 and received all of this!!

I looked up each product and it was a $324 Value!! I LOVE A GOOD DEAL! Plus I knew with a teenage daughter, no products would go to waste. If I wasn’t interested, then she would be!
I was most excited about the adorable Draper James bag (retailing at $75). I love Reese Witherspoon and was excited to own something from her line!

I also received a Michael Kors passport wallet ($78), a giving key necklace ($45), an ice roller, beach mist, brow pencil, beauty blender, and hand cream. If you have ever thought about this, I would say go for it!! They are seasonal, so it’s only four times per year. It is definitely something that I know I will look forward to in the future!!

What new products have you tried? Let me know so I can try them, too!!!

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Search for the good

This is day 34 of the quarantine for us. It has been quite an up and down ride of emotions. Some days are fine. Almost normal. We homeschool anyway, so that’s not a huge change for us. Otis and Allie are still working at Chick-fil-A, so that gets them out of the house for a few hours a week. It was hard at first, adjusting our schooling schedule to no field trips, library days, or extra curricular activities, but we’ve gotten used to that. We haven’t run out of food or toilet paper. There hasn’t been any real reason to panic. We have been wearing masks if we go to the grocery store, hand sanitizing like crazy, and spraying our mail with Lysol. The hardest part of all of this for me are the weekends. It just feels so long and open. We have done house projects, played games and watched movies. I just really struggle on the weekends and I guess a lot of that is because we aren’t doing schoolwork. I miss my church. I miss my friends. I miss hugging necks and going out for lunch. I miss wandering around Target and Ross. I know in the grand scheme of things, my misses aren’t important at all. I’m just letting you know that we may be on different levels, but it’s a struggle for all of us. I really struggled last weekend on Easter Sunday. I just missed my people and celebrating with them.

On the flip side of all my struggles, I have seen SO MUCH GOOD. I’m a fairly positive person anyway, so I’m always going to search for good no matter what situation we are facing. I have seen churches become so creative and people that wouldn’t come to a regular church service before have been engaged online. I have seen food banks offer drive thru grocery bags for those in need. I have seen people in the church taking time to reach out and connect. If y’all know me, you know that I’m a “card sender”. During this past month, I have received several cards in the mail. It has just blessed me so much. I’m not used to being the one receiving cards and so to get unexpected cards in the mail was so heart warming for me.

Our neighborhood has also gotten so creative to keep people active and connected. We had one lady sewing masks and giving them out for free. We had a walk through zoo where many of us put out stuffed animals in our windows or yard for the small children in neighborhood to walk around and see. We have also had dance contests and scavenger hunts. Gary won a guitar in one of the first scavenger hunts. He loves it and has been walking around the house strumming it and singing ‘Remember Me’ from Cocoa! 😂😂

My point in sharing all of that is just to say that people have been coming together. There is a good side to all of this.

The most common answer that was given when you would ask someone how they were doing before this pandemic was “busy”. I’m so guilty of saying the same thing. None of us can really say that anymore. Our calendar was always full. We have missed multiple conferences, trips, and planned events. Everyone has. We have never had this much free time. Ever. I’m choosing to look at it as a blessing- a gift. My family is safe. I’m praying for those that are sick and all of the essential workers that are keeping things as normal as they can despite the circumstances. I’ve been using this time to tackle projects that have just been lingering around. Thank goodness for amazon!! I have ordered flash drives in bulk and organized ALL of my pictures. I have read books. I have tried new recipes. I’ve done online Bible studies and am taking a class. I know we all cope with things differently, but try to see the goodness in all of it.

Please know that no matter how you feel in any certain moment, you are not alone. People are praying for you. People are willing to help in anyway they can. You are loved- it just has to be from a distance for now.

I’m believing that when all of this is over, we will be changed. We won’t take things for granted. We will be truly excited for church. We will be happy to see one another. We will hug a little tighter.
Stay safe my friends. Search for the good and you will find it. ❤️
Hope to hug your neck soon!!

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One crazy week

This has been one crazy week- that’s for sure!! This time last week, business was usual for my family. A few things were canceled, but for the most part it was all routine. We were set to be out of town this weekend at a homeschool convention, but it was canceled. We’ve had birthday parties, church services, and everything else that usually fills our schedule cleared out. We are used to having a pretty full and busy life. It’s normal for us. This week has been anything but normal. Like people all over the world, our new reality is that everything is canceled. We have been forced to “slow down”. Although it can definitely be somewhat scary and unsettling, because we don’t know when things will go back to ‘normal’. I am choosing to focus on the blessings that have come with this unexpected situation. Of course we should all stay safe and be smart, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything.

This is a great time to tackle a project that you have been putting off. Purge, clean, and organize one room at a time. Tackle projects around your house. We put up a fence two days ago that we had been talking about doing for years!! Plant some flowers or paint a room. Go through your closet or your kids toys!! It will help you feel productive and accomplished. Try a new recipe! I made strawberry cinnamon rolls from scratch yesterday morning. (If I’m being honest, they didn’t exactly turn out 🤷🏻‍♀️ But at least I tried it and had the time to make them)
We might not be able to go to our church building this morning or to lunch with our family like we always do, but we are still all checking in on each other. Text your people. Check on them. Mail cards to older people that may not be texters. Being separated does not equal not having community.

It is completely possible to focus on the positive parts of this situation when your peace is greater than whatever the world can throw at you. Turn off the news and read a book instead. Put down your phone and play a game with your family. Rest in the fact that none of this caught God by surprise. He has us. This was in my devotion a couple of days ago-
Danger may crash all around me, to my right and left, but I will be unharmed. I will not be intimidated. I won’t even flinch, for you are by my side!

Keep me safe, O mighty God. I run for dear life to you, my Safe Place. Psalm 16:1

Happy Sunday! I’m praying that you have peace in your heart and are able to find the good in any circumstance!!

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Tomorrow will be better, because today I…..

Tomorrow will be better, because today I spent time alone with God. I chose to spend time in His word instead of catching up on Hulu this morning before school.
Tomorrow will be better, because today I spent time getting myself organized. This includes my menu, grocery list and lesson plan for school.
Tomorrow will be better, because today I went ahead and tackled the laundry. Even though the hamper only stays empty for about 45 minutes…. at least it won’t be overflowing.
Tomorrow will be better, because today I stopped our schoolwork to spend some time with a family member that is home from college. Time with her is good for all of our hearts. ❤️
I never get upset, stressed, and frazzled over ONE THING. It is always a compilation of several things that are building. If I can be very purposeful with my choices today, then I can save myself some frustration tomorrow.
What are some things that you can do today to make tomorrow better?

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Meal Planning

Meal planning is something that is a true game changer for me! If you can devote twenty minutes or less to getting organized on the weekend, then it can change your dinner time and budget. Even on the busiest of days, if I know what I’m making and that I have everything I need, then it takes stress and pressure off of me. My week is so much smoother if I’m organized and know what to expect. I love being organized and knowing that my week is set. To me, there is nothing worse than standing in front of the fridge, staring in, and wondering what you’re making for dinner that night. Having it all planned and shopping off of a list has cut my grocery budget in half. Some people might think that meal planning is super hard and they could never do it, but I promise that you can!! I’m going to share the four things I do when I’m meal planning and hopefully these tips might help you as well!!

The first thing I do is to get my calendar out and my notebook. I list all of the days that I am planning- we get paid biweekly, so I plan out our meals two weeks at a time. I check my calendar to see what days we might have plans that would include not eating at home. For instance, we always eat out with friends after church on Sunday and then I don’t cook another meal that evening. That’s a great opportunity for the kids to eat leftovers! Make sure to plug in any birthday celebrations or dinner meetings. Once you have done that, then you will see exactly how many days you need to plan meal for!

The next things I do is to shop my kitchen. I check my freezers and pantry to see what I have on hand that I need to incorporate into my meal plan. I start a list of possible side dishes or main courses that can be prepared with these items. This step usually fills in one or two of my needed meals, plus provides some side dishes for the other days!

Next, I ask my family if they have any requests. Sometimes I go with their requests- sometimes I don’t. My son will ask for cheeze it meatballs Every. Single. Week. If I let him. 😂😂 I will plug in some of their requests into my meal plan. I also like to check out my pinterest board for a new recipe or dish to try. If you’re like me then you have hundreds and hundreds saved, but trying to make too many of those in a week can really blow a budget. I’ve found that aiming to try one a week is a good fit for me.

The final step is to make your grocery list and go shopping. I write down everything that I will need for each meal that I have planned and mark out the things that I already have. Then I check the kitchen for staples that we may need— we seem to ALWAYS be running out of ketchup 🤦🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️Personally, I choose to drive about 25 minutes to shop at Aldi. There is another grocery store five minutes from my house that I will run to if I need something last minute or unexpected, but my major grocery haul is from Aldi. I can usually feed my family of four for two weeks for about $160. That’s huge savings from other grocery stores! And I am talking about breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We homeschool and are home during the day, so I always make sure to have sandwich supplies and pretzels on hand. We also keep cereal, pop tarts, oatmeal, and waffles for a quick breakfast!!

This whole process might seem like too much for you, but seriously it takes me about 10-15 minutes on a Sunday afternoon. (Not counting the grocery shopping). If you want to give it a try, go to hobby lobby and get a cute chalkboard menu sign for your kitchen. It will motivate you to plan it out! This makes such a huge impact on the flow of my week and I’m sure it will benefit you, too!

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Real life.

Mom life is tough y’all. I absolutely believe that people will gain more from you and respect you more if you are authentic with them. If you show real life…. the good and the bad.

Yesterday was a tough day. It included many tears and even some attitude. There was punishment and yelling. This wasn’t an isolated issue either. A few weeks ago, I was the recipient of an Oscar worthy performance from our son. He was yelling about how I always make him work. He stomped into his room huffing and puffing and complaining. Now given this extravagant display, you might be wondering what I was making him do. Things that might cause such an outburst could include…. maybe cleaning out the gutters…. or painting the house….. or even maybe raking the yard.

Or none of the above.

Y’all. I asked him to brush his teeth and get his shoes on. 🤦🏻‍♀️


I walk that line and struggle a lot with my kids. I always feel like I’m the one fussing at them for cleaning their room or doing their chores. And mind you… this all usually takes place after a day when I’ve had my Teacher hat on all day and have delivered multiple lessons, tests, labs, etc.

My own expectations can often be my worst enemy. Each day isn’t supposed to be a beautiful event wrapped in a picture perfect bow. Some days are just plain hard. Sometimes our emotions get the best of us and we feel like we are doing everything wrong.

I have to choose to remember that I am enough.

God gave me these kids as a part of His plan. He called us to homeschool as a part of His plan. He called our family into ministry as a part of His plan.

There are days when the stress can seem to be crushing. Even so, I completely trust His plan.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.””

‭‭Joshua‬ ‭1:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Wherever you go!!! That includes algebra lessons and dentist appointments and meltdowns and tears. Every single thing we face, He is there with us. Always.

“But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.””

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭31:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

So in the midst of the hard moments, I hope that you also choose to trust! ❤️

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Life in ministry….

Life in ministry is hard y’all….

This is no secret. Most people know it. If you have lived it then you totally get it and understand exactly what I mean. I’m not even being exclusive to full time pastors right now. We have done both- ministry while working full time jobs as well as being a full time pastor. Over the past 18 years that we have spent in ministry, we have learned many, many (many, many, many….) lessons. We have transitioned from youth leaders to full time youth pastor to associate pastor leading both youth and kids. Through all of this, there are many rewards and victories and moments of celebration. There are also moments filled with doubt, fear, uncertainty and loneliness. Life in ministry is hard.

Our family is in an extremely busy season of life and ministry. We are keeping up and making it all work, but there are certainly days when we have multiple things going on. We have to communicate a lot and stay organized to keep up with our calendar. We also make a point to try and schedule downtime for us all to unwind/rest/relax a little. I think back to October 2014, when Otis and I were on a flight to NYC to attend the Hillsong Conference. Otis was sleeping in the seat next to me. I was settling in to read a book, when the Lord clearly spoke to me. Something that He specifically told me was that I could not do the ministry that He had for us with my current work schedule. (You can read all about that here)

If you know me on a personal level, you know that unfortunately I tend to take things very personally. When people make random comments that they may feel as harmless…. it’s like opening a window to my heart and allowing doubt flood in. I know that isn’t a great habit to let happen, but if I’m being honest… that’s the truth. I’m working on it and have grown, but it does still happen.

Anytime that you are in ministry, there are a million opinions on EVERYTHING. We can find dozens of things to disagree on or choose to not like. These things can be used to divide and destroy us. As ministries grow, more and more families become involved and that equals more and more opinions.

As people who work in youth and kids ministry, there is a certain level of pressure to cater to each families needs. Parents are not shy about telling you what they think you are doing wrong and what their kids want. Some want constant fun and games… others want more teaching… others want events and activities. It can be difficult to manage everything and you can truly wear yourself out trying to do just that. It’s so easy, and almost natural, to become overwhelmed and stressed out about keeping everyone happy.

Y’all- it’s impossible.

We have learned that we just have to step back and take a breath. It’s important to remember the point of it all. Our goal and job is to point others to Jesus. It is that simple. We can plan all of the events and stay busy for the rest of our lives and not fulfill our calling at the same time. We are not full time child care. It is not our job to entertain. It is our job to teach about Jesus and help students grow in their faith.

Stay focused on that truth and the Lord will handle the rest. Don’t get me wrong, activities and fun events and outreaches can all be used to nurture growth…. but it can also be empty calendar fillers.

To all of the exhausted workers out there, don’t lose faith. The work you are doing is important and is making a difference. Don’t cave to the pressure to people- please. Be faithful to Jesus and trust that He has it all under control.

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Too close to home

Yesterday there was a shooting at a shopping mall here in Charleston. This is sadly not the first shooting at this mall, one happened right before Christmas. This particular mall is one that my family and I go to frequently for Target. There was one HUGE difference between the shooting before and the shooting yesterday. The difference was that I was there with my children yesterday. It was scary and emotional and made for an exhausting day.

We stopped by the mall yesterday afternoon after Allie’s weekly Bible Study that she attends with a group of homeschooled girls. Allie had some gift cards left from her birthday and wanted to spend them. We parked where we usually do, which is right outside the target & food court entrance. We walked through the mall to go to Belk and then walked to the opposite end to go into Journeys. We had spent longer in Belk than I had anticipated, and by the time we got to Journeys I was ready to leave. I was thinking ahead about how I needed to get home and make dinner, finish laundry, and all of that usual randomness. At this point, it was almost 6. As we finished up and walked back toward the food court, we were passed by a running security guard. No one else seemed alarmed. He wasn’t shouting warnings or anything. I definitely thought it was odd that he was running past us, but I figured he was being called to handle a shoplifter or something. It got my attention and I knew something was going on, but I didn’t imagine anything close to the truth.

As we approached the food court area, we noticed that stores were closed. They had the bars down and everything was suddenly very quiet. When we got to the corner of the food court, my kids were hesitant to go any farther. We could see the reflection of lights flashing, but still didn’t know what was going on. I asked a man working at a cell phone kiosk and he told me that everything was on lockdown and that two cars had been shooting at one another.

My kids were ready to leave. They wanted me to exit from the other end of the building. We started walking the opposite way toward another entrance. I could tell their thoughts were becoming more and more panicked. We just stopped walking and paused for a moment to hug, cry, breathe, and calm our thoughts. They were panicked because of the unknown. Was the shooter in the mall? Was it safe to be in the building? They wanted to be anywhere but there and safe. I explained to them that the safest place that we could be was right where all the action was because that was where the police presence was so heavy. I told them that we were going to go back to the food court and I was going to talk with a security guard to find out exactly what was going on.

I sat them down at a table and walked up to the door. A security guard was posted there and was not allowed to let anyone in or out. This was all a safety precaution and he was given the instructions by the local police. As I approached him to verify the situation instead of basing it off of what everyone else was saying, he was being yelled at by a woman that was complaining about the lock down and saying that she had to get to work. This poor man! What is he supposed to do! What a thing for her to be yelling about- they were trying to keep everyone safe!! After she left, I asked the officer to just verify that we were in fact on lockdown. He did. He informed me that all entrances were on lockdown and that no one could go in or out at this time. I questioned that there was basically no way of knowing how long and that the best thing to do is just to sit and wait. He then quietly told me that there was actually a victim outside and so the area was a active crime scene.

I went back to the table and sat with my kids. We sat right in the middle of the food court and prayed together. We thanked God for His timing and talked about how He kept us safe. Remember how I mentioned that I was tired and ready to go? Well, if we had been done twenty or thirty minutes sooner… we could have been out there when this happened. We talked about all of the little things that happened that we saw in hindsight as a part of God’s protection.

– we were stuck behind a little old lady that was literally taking forever to check out at Belk

-we had to make a bathroom stop

– we noticed a janitor mopping the floor and decided to walk all the way around his area so we would not disrupt his work

We are choosing to recognize those simple circumstances as examples of how God had His hand on us. It was about 30 minutes later when they let everyone leave. Then there was a new problem to face. Those that were parked inside the yellow tape weren’t able to get to their cars. It was a crime scene- they couldn’t move them. People were calling for rides and everything. We looked and our truck was the row next to the tape. We were able to get in our vehicle and leave.

It made for a stressful evening. Lots of open conversations about why some people would carry weapons and just shoot someone else. No one was hungry or interested in dinner. They wanted to stay together and watch a movie when we got home.

No arguments here. We had a little movie night and as we prayed before bed, we thanked God once again for keeping us safe.

This world can be a very scary place. I can’t reassure my kids that we will never be in a situation like that again. Unfortunately, they are happening more and more frequently. I can teach them to pay attention to everything and everyone around them. I can teach them to keep their mind clear when they are in the middle of something like that so that they can make wise choices. I can teach them that God is with them always and there is no shame in calling out to Him anytime and anywhere. I am teaching them that no matter what they face in life, God will never leave them. They are never hopeless if they choose to put their hope in Him.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.””

‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

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What a year!!!

I am sitting here in the middle of clean house thinking back about what a year it has been! We have been cleaning this morning to prepare for a NYE cookout tonight with our youth group, so now I have a few moments to spare that I wanted to use to write a post. If you don’t pause and take time to look back over your wins and your losses, how can you successfully move forward and grow in the future. I need to take the time to reflect. I want to learn from my hard times and mistakes so that I don’t have to repeat them. I also want to acknowledge the amazing moments so that I can appreciate them and give thanks!

This year, our family celebrated many milestones. We have been in our house for ten years- holy cow!! We also started our seventh year of homeschool… including Allie’s ninth grade year. (Highschool!!!😳)

We have traveled a lot this year. We went on a week long missions trip in NY city. We also took some of our youth group (including our daughter for her artwork- so proud!!) to Houston, TX for national competitions. These trips took our family of four to thirteen different states this summer! That’s amazing to think about!

We spent a week on vacation with some of our best friends at a beach house. It was a great time of relaxation. We even started the year off with a crazy-for-Charleston-weather snow storm! Our family went stir crazy after a few days of playing in the snow and we desperately needed to make a grocery store run! 😂

We absolutely had a year full of many blessings! Like all of you, our year also had many hard times.

We weren’t immune to drama and heartache. We lost our sweet husky, Jasper, this year and it was devastating for our family. We faced some really tough financial moments. We have had stresses and health scares. We faced all of these hard times as a family and have made it through.

We are facing the next year full of hope and dreams. I feel like I say this every year, but I do believe that this will be our best year ever. I can see where God birthed new dreams within us and even aligned partnerships along the way. I believe that our steps are ordered and that dreams that have been placed within us will be coming to pass. I’m excited for this year. Walking in faith is scary and exhilarating all at the same time. I cannot wait to see how God works all of this out for His will! I’m so thankful that we serve a faithful God that is with us through the hard times and the celebrations!

What are your dreams for this year? Have you taken time to reflect? Do you write your goals out? I do!! This is the first year that I am choosing a word for the year. I have seen where people have done this before, but I never have. I may reveal my word for 2019 in a future post, but for now it is just going to be mine to pray over.

I hope that all of our family, friends, and readers have a safe and happy New Years celebration!!

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Stranger Things Filming Locations

A few weeks ago, we took Allie on a tour of filming locations from the show Stranger Things. We love the show and we did this for her as an early Christmas present. We had so much fun and only had a couple of disappointments. I received a ton of questions and feedback asking how we found the spots and things like that. Everyone apparently LOVES the show… so I figured that I would share my research. Now you can go on your own adventure!!

My Planning-

We did not purchase tickets with a tour group or anything like that. Stranger Things tours do exist though!! We had other plans during our weekend trip and so we wanted to be able to make things work with our schedule. All of this research was simply done online by google searches or on pinterest. I did find at least three different sources verifying each address (who wants to drive all over Georgia just because someone posted the incorrect address). I went into the weekend with a notebook full of my plans with triple verified addresses. I was feeling quite confident. The filming locations were scattered all over the Atlanta area of Georgia. I thought that we would get to see everything on my list in one day. Needless to say, I did not take into account the crazy traffic!! For example, two stops were supposedly twenty five minutes apart and it took us over an hour and a half to get from one to the other. So my advice would be to allow yourself plenty of time and to not get frustrated. We ended up seeing a few things per day off of my list over the course of three days. It was great and we had so much fun!

The locations-

The first stop we visited was Starcourt Mall from season 3. This is an actual mall (Gwinnett Place Mall). The day that we went they were filming that night , so there were lots of tents and equipment outside. We got as close as we could without being approached by the security guard who was carefully watching us 😂😂. We could see Hawkins police cars and the station wagon that belongs to Mike and Nancy in the parking lot. We drove around to the next entrance and they had the actual Starcourt sign up. We walked right in the mall and wandered over to where the barricades were set up for filming. We could peak through and see how the store logos were changed to the eighties logos. The mall is located at 2100 Pleasant Hill Road in Duluth, Georgia.

We also had addresses for all of the homes used during filming. Most of the homes are right in the same neighborhood, so you can see them all in a matter of minutes.

The Wheeler’s House is locates at 2530 Piney Wood Lane in East Point, Georgia. This home did have signs in the yard that said no trespassing- pictures from the street only!

Lucas’s House is just one house over and is located at 2550 Piney Wood Lane.

Dustin’s House is actually the first House we saw when pulling into the neighborhood. It is located on 2886 Piney Wood Drive in East Point.

Barb’s House is also on the same street. It is at 2980 Piney Wood Drive.

We visited the scene of El flipping the Hawkins Lab van. It is located between the houses at 3782 and 3788 Sarah’s Lane in Tucker, Georgia.

The last house that we visited was Max and Billy’s home. As I followed the navigation directions to this address, my husband thought that my research was wrong. You literally pull into a cemetery. There is a dirt road that takes you around to the left and then you can see that there are homes back there. The house is located at 5280 Moore Street in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

We had to find Hawkins Lab and get a picture there! This spot was also being filmed at on the day we went. We saw tents, catering trucks, and equipment. You can actually drive all the way around this building to get the view or picture that you want. Hawkins Lab is a building on Emory University’s Briarcliffe Campus. The address is 1256 Briarcliffe Road NE in Atlanta.

The arcade was a fun spot to see in person. There was a security guard sitting in his car on site, but we got out, took pictures, and looked inside the windows with no problems. Although the sign isn’t up, we could see the arcade sign inside. It was all pretty empty on the inside except for the infamous Dragon’s Lair video game! The arcade is located at 6501 Church Street in Douglasville, Georgia.

Benny’s Burgers from season one was also on our list. This place is an actual cafe (Tiffany’s Kitchen) and the parking lot was pretty full on the day we went. The location is 7413 Lee Road in Lithia Springs, Georgia.

We wanted to visit the grocery store that El goes into and steals waffles. It is a tiny little place in a pretty small town. I could see the employees watching us walk up through the windows and as soon as we walked in they said, “Stranger Things?” We all laughed and they welcomed us to come right in. We were told to grab some waffles and take as many pictures as we wanted. Everyone was super friendly. We even bought a box so that we could take a pic walking out. The address for the store is 504 Center Street in Palmetto, Georgia.

Hawkins Middle School and Hawkins High School are the same actual school. It is just two different entrances. We made sure to visit this location on Saturday when there was no school in session. There were actually other fans wandering the property that day and taking pictures as well. The actual school is called Patrick Henry and is located at 109 South Lee Street in Stockbridge, Georgia. We looked through windows and could see familiar hallways. We may or may not have climbed up on a bar to get a glimpse inside the gym!

Our last stop was at Melvad’s General Store where Joyce works. From standing in front of the store, you can see the courthouse and also the radio shack is right next door (RIP Bob). The location of this spot is 42 S. Mulberry Street in Jackson, Georgia.

The misses of our trip-

I can only think of three things to mention that we’re misses on this adventure. Number one- Bellwood Quarry. Although I had read conflicting reports on this location, I figured to give it a try. After all, those would have been beautiful pictures!! The address led us to basically a ditch. Not only a ditch, but it was in a dead end sketchy area. This was the only time of the trip that I felt slightly unsafe and that was only because someone turned around when they saw us turn and started driving toward us which could’ve blocked us in. Of course, we made it out safely!! From my research, it sounds like the state owns this land and they are turning it into a park. The side that is used for filming ( it’s been in several other movies/shows besides Stranger Things) is not accessible from public roads. That being said, if you find an address…. just be safe!

Number Two- Hawkins Police Station. We didn’t get to visit this location. The day we went there, the town was having some sort of festival and all of the roads were blocked off. We tried to drive around to the other side, but of course it was blocked off completely. There were tons of people and not a lot of parking, so we didn’t think it was worth it to try and park to find it on foot. This festival was not show related. So if you go on a trip of your own… the address for the police station is 8485 Courthouse Square West in Douglasville, Georgia.

Number Three- Lucy Lu’s Coffee. This little shop is not in the show. It is just right by the location of Melvad’s General Store. From everything that I’ve read, their menu is Stranger Things inspired and they have a drink called The Upside Down. We arrived 15 minutes after closing and so we were just bummed that we didn’t get to try it out. If you are going on this trip, plan around their hours- it sounds like it is worth it!

We had so much fun! This is the kind of stuff that I love to do!! If you live close enough to make a trip, I would highly recommend that you do!! We all enjoyed it and are now even more pumped for season three so that we can see all of the places we have been!!

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