When The Boys Are Away, The Girls Will Play…

HI FRIENDS!

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Like my new glasses!? SC: autumn_benson13

I can’t believe I haven’t posted since Valentine’s! Life has been crazy in the Beson/Wollinger household the past month and a half! Jim has finally returned home after being away in Louisiana for some training with the Army. &Boy was that time a whirlwind between this insane semester, and all the traveling and girl time I had!

Let’s go back to the day before I left for home. I was KILLING myself to get through the week and get all my homework done, before I left for Massachusetts.

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I had class until 7:30 and then I was up until about midnight powering through essays and finishing my marketing module, eating all the Girl Scout cookies I acquired between my coworkers child, the Girl Scouts at the PX and my friend Anna’s purchase at the commissary.

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&I was also praying all the frickin snow would end!

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I woke up bright and early and had some breakfast, packed up some lunch for the road and headed off!

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Once I finally got into town, my girl Caroline, was also traveling to MA from Drum to visit with family, met up with me for a fun night out! We were headed out to celebrate my best friend Alex’s 21st birthday and St. Patty’s Day! Carrie and I spent the afternoon grabbing bathing suits at Marshall’s to hang out in my brother’s hot tub (got the whole house to myself for the weekend!) &Gathering some pregame goods, including some ingredients to make “pot of gold jello shots” and of course a cake for Miss. Alex!

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photo from delsih.com was having too much fun to take a photo 😉

Cadence was all ready for St. Patty’s too!

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Carrie, Alex, my best friend Nicole and I did the girly thing and got all ready for the night together. Kyle would’ve loved it. A bunch of girls messing up his house with clothes everywhere and makeup and hair products. Good thing he doesn’t read my blogs 😉 LOL

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We finally headed into Boston +1 with Alex’s step Momma joining the party! Once we made it to West End Johnnie’s for drinks and dancing, I will shamelessly admit, that I paid off the bouncer so we didn’t have to stand in the freezing cold for an hour. We had the time of our lives dancing the night away, and drinking Goose and cran and just being 20 somethings…until about a ½ hour prior to last call some nasty dude with crusty lips in a trench coat (no joke) came up to me and started to try to dance with me. When I had informed him, I was all set and married, he whispered into my ear, “I don’t care.” I proceeded to shove him, and push us through the crowd to the other side of the bar. NOT OK.

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We all stumbled our way to the cabs, and headed to Bova’s!

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My sister in law had introduced me to this place on my 22nd birthday, and I will never not go there after a night out. Alex had requested we go all out, with the real 20 something clubbing Boston experience, though she was a bit cranky once we got there, her step momma and I headed in to face some hot pockets and cannolis. We grabbed an Uber XL back to the island, and I stuffed my face in the backseat, and chatted up our driver.

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boobs.

I was dead by the time we made it back to my brother’s house, but somehow my girls talked me into hot tub time at 2am. Nicole was passed out on the couch, and we were dumb enough to think 10 minutes was enough time to warm up the tub after turning up the temp, and ended up freezing our butts off in 30 degree weather…typical us.

The next morning was all about coffee. Dunks with Carrie, Starbs, and George’s Coffee

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I spent the next day just lounging around with my girls, Alex and Marissa. We grabbed some nachos and drinks at Jalapeños, and I picked up this AMAZING shirt for Jimmy’s Easter basket:

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For the rest of the night, we hung around in the hot tub (which we sufficiently managed to heat up) and played Never Have I Ever..;) watched some episodes of the final season of Girls and ate cake! There was no shortage of crap eaten on this trip..

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Sunday was family day! My Momma and I drove into New Bedford to see my Dad’s side of the family. Words don’t even describe how great it feels to be surrounded by your loved ones. Living so far from everyone hurts my heart. I miss dinners with Jim’s parents and sisters, and little brothers every Sunday, and spending Saturday nights hanging around with my brother. We typically only see a lot of my Dad’s side of the family once a year at our Annual Cookout. My cousin Elizabeth made so much good food, and I got to chat with my Aunts and Uncles and see my sweet Papa, and all my baby cousins!

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Momma and I headed back up to Fort Drum early Monday morning, but not after a quick visit for breakfast at the firehouse with Kyle!

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My Mom was coming up to spend the week with me, and then visit Montreal the following weekend! But that trip will be in my next blog post.

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I didn’t get too many photos, where I still had work and class all week, but we spent the week, having dinners with some of my girlfriends! We totally hit up Cracker Barrell more than once, once with Carrie and this cool dude:

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&Once with my sweet best friend Anna. &My Momma met my new girlfriend, Carissa, and her sweet girl Aria and we got dinner one of my favorite spots, Stefano’s in Carthage, NY.

 

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Sorry..def licked the canoli before I took this pic…

The rest of Jim’s time away was spent between work, school, Sundays with Anna doing church and lunch dates and Gilmore Girls and wine. &I had one girls night with Carrie, and a couple of other spouses at Drum, eating chips and brownies and doing face masks!

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Yes…yes we do have matching pjs.

I am so very happy my hubs is home, and hopefully here to stay for a while. &Congrats to the handsome dude too, for graduating Air Assault School while he was there! 🙂

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I have so many adventures planned for this summer to explore NNY. I mean, a list, literally a mile long. &I’m excited for my next post, recapping my Montreal trip with Momma B! I hope you all are having a wonderful week. &If nobody told you yet today, you are beautiful.

//xo

Happy Hump Day!

LETS BE FRIENDS!

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Home for Christmas

Happy Thirsty Thursday friends!!

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It’s currently Sunday. We’re just lounging around the house. We went to breakfast at Longways Diner this morning, and have no other plans really for today. Just gonna clean up around the house, maybe grab some groceries and just prepare for the week ahead. It’s 13 degrees outside here at Drum, and we got quite a few feet of snow dumped on us this week. So I’m just gonna hang out in my fuzzy socks and enjoy my Christmas decorations just a LITTLE while longer…;)

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So, this post is gonna be a recap of our trip home for the holidays! This may get long, but these are some of my favorite posts to look back on. Unfortunately even though Jim had been on block leave for a bit, I had to work up until the night before Christmas Eve. We headed to MA on the 23rd, right after I got out of the office.

SOMEHOW we managed to stop only ONE time on the way. Grabbed gas, went pee and grabbed some food for the road. I swear, I must’ve played the bladder cards right that day, because I drink a TON of water everyday, but we did it!

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Christmas Eve was so much fun. I started off the morning, heading to my hometown, while Jim stayed at his parents house. I’ve never been so excited to go over that bridge onto the island. I was so blessed to grow up in such a beautiful hometown, and though there is a lot of beauty in Northern NY, there is nothing like be surrounded by the ocean, and gorgeous views daily. It’s truly motivating and inspiring. The ocean brings me so much peace.

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I went to lunch at the absolutely breathtaking new hotel, The Beauport with my Mom, her boyfriend Farrell and his sister. I was in so much awe of the architecture, and the stunning Christmas decor and the views from our table I didn’t take a ton of photos! 😦

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After lunch, I headed back to the Wollinger house for dinner, and family time. Jim’s Aunt and Uncle came by and we had a Yankee Swap. I was pretty pumped about my gift. Dunkin’ addict over here 😉

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I bought this educational game for Andrew, my little brother-in-law a few years back, and he plays it with me every chance he gets when I am over. It’s been so fun seeing how much he got out of that gift, and how much his knowledge has grown over the years. He is a math wiz.

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Christmas used to be all about tradition for me. Since my Dad passed away Christmas has been veering further and further from the traditions I grew up with. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to love the change. I now have two incredible families to celebrate the holidays with. My two brother-in-laws are still at the Santa stage of their lives, so Christmas morning is always a blast with them.

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This picture is in my in-law’s living room. I used an app. Andrew totally believed me. Mikey, not so much. He sai he wasn’t falling for it 😉

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Cadence loves her Papa

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After Christmas we headed to my Momma’s house for round two. We are always so spoiled by the amount of gifts we receive between the Wollinger’s and the Benson’s. We are so blessed to have so many loved ones that care so much to go out of their way for us. Jim’s parents and Andrew soon followed and we all hung out at Momma B’s house, ate some good food and hung out. Christmas felt a little empty sans Grandpy and Uncle Jimmy, but I felt them there in spirit. ❤

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Don’t mind the jar of queso…I got hungry…

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My Mom is the cutest. Home decor GOALS.

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Wouldn’t be a holiday at the Benson household without an appearance from Alex!

We ended Christmas over at my big brothers house–but not before making a quick pit stop at the Lobstah Trap Tree. Like the most Gloucester Christmas thing evah.

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Kyle, Stephanie, Jim and I hung out in Kyle’s new hot tub for the rest of the night.  I am NOT a fan of winter, and didn’t think I’d be real into going into a hot tub in the freezing cold, but it’s actually amazing!!


December 26th is my little bother-in-law Mikey’s birthday!

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Mikey is one of the sweetest, silliest, kids in the world. He is so curious about the world, and some of the best conversations I’ve ever had with any human being have been with this kid. I can’t believe he is 10 years old.

We started off the morning curing out Christmas hang over at Cape Ann Coffee’s. YUM

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Seriously tho…Massachusetts just does breakfast better then NNY….

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&Went for a ride around the Backshore before visiting my brother at the firehouse.

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All my life I looked up to my brother as my hero. He entered Marine boot camp just before the attacks of 9/11/2001. I was too young to fully understand the impact of that tragic event on this country, but I knew Kyle was going to protect us. &Now I see him thriving in his role as a fire fighter. His passion to protect and serve is something I so respect. I am so proud of him. &Visiting him at work, brings me so much happiness.

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Cadence loves her Uncle Kyle

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That afternoon we headed up to celebrate Mikey turning 10. I loved listening to Mike and Andrew and their cousin Maggie chatting amongst themselves. A child’s perspective of the world is so pure and innocent. I don’t ever want them to grow up.

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After the birthday celebrations we didn’t have anything planned, and ended up meeting up with one of my best friends, Marissa at the mall. I was helping her pick out some interview clothes and then we went to dinner. I try to stay away from chains when I’m home because there are so many great food places on the North Shore, but we REALLY missed the 99s.

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Sorry not sorry for the silly Snap filters

The 27th was a REALLY warm day at home. We had some sibling time with Jim’s sisters. Went into downtown Newburyport, and had some delicious lunch at Agave, played Cards Against Humanity and waxed some body hair. #casual

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Since the girls had plans for the night, we headed back to Gloucester and took Cadence for her first real walk on the beach. Good Harbor never fails me. We went just around sunset, and it was stunning. When I’m by the ocean I can feel in every inch of my bones, the work of God. He has created such beauty. Photos can’t do it justice.

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“The Heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the hands of his work.” Pslam 19:1


The 28th was a LONG day. So much adventure. We started out the day at our ABSOLUTE FAVORITE BREAKFAST SPOT EVER. (&If my brother Snapchats me from there one more time, Im gonna punch him.) Red’s in Salem.

Breakfast was spent with Nana Janice and Momma B. It was so nice to spend time with them. We went to the House of the Seven Gables, surprisingly its one of the places I’ve never been to in Salem. Neither had Nana Jan! She was born and raised in Salem, and her mother was a tour guide at the house, but she still had never taken a tour! When people find out I am from the North Shore area of MA, Salem is always a topic of conversation. It truly is an awesome area. If you’ve never been, go. &The House of Seven Gables is a quality “tourist attraction.” Not kitschy by any means.

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Once we got back to Gloucester, we wanted to soak up some more time in the nice weather. With all the snow and low temperatures here at Drum, Cadence hasn’t gotten many walks in, in the past few months. &We were heading to Boston that night, so we wanted to get her energy out. We took her for a walk at Ravenswood. I love walking trails. So peaceful. &Cadence was happy too!

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Jimbo and I went skating at Frog Pond for date night–back where he proposed over a year later!

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The rest of our time home, was spent hanging around with friends and family, and soaking up as much New England as we could.

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We even spent almost 2 1/2 hours chatting it up with one of the owners of Sully’s. &He was pretty frickin Boston. Definitely will never forgot that conversation, and I hope that won’t be the last time we speak with him! Sly is one of the coolest guys around!


There is nothing better than being home for the holidays. But I am so happy to be back in our home, at Fort Drum. I miss everyone and everything back home–but Im so happy to be back in my routine, and spending time with the hubs. I can’t wait to see with 2017 has to offer, and though I can’t believe Im saying this–Im PUMPED for the Spring semester to begin!

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Happy New Year everyone!

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What are some of your goals going into 2017?

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23 Things

HI GUYS!

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I wrote this post some time ago..it’s been a cray busy holiday season between work, and traveling home for the holidays..so let’s step back in time for a moment, and talk about birthday things.

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So, I’m writing this on Sunday morning.  I’m almost one month into 23. Jimbo is watching some movie about Watergate (he’s a huge history buff) with Cadence snoring on the couch both in food comas from Sunday brunch &Im here sitting at our dining room table, looking out at the Winter Wonderland that is Fort Drum right now. I thought it would be a good time to get a post together. I haven’t posted in a bit, and I’m in need of some blog therapy.

So..you know that saying about “birthday blues?” Well, Im no stranger to those. Maybe it’s because my amazing childhood celebrations set the bar to high for adulthood, maybe it’s because just before entering adulthood I spent a birthday watching my Dad go through chemotherapy. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent the last two birthdays away from Jimmy? But I have to say…22 was good to me. I had some extreme lows..but I don’t think anyone goes through a full year of life 100% on high. Ya know? I want to reflect on the memories of the roller coaster that was 22. This may be a long one. So..lets go over 22..with 23 things.

  1. 22 Celebrations.

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I started off my 22nd year sad because Jimbo was away for basic training. But one of my best friend’s Marissa, came to the rescue. We went to the nail salon, and blasted “22” by TSwift. &On the night of my birthday, I got a call from Jimmy, and then went out with my sister-in-law, Amber and Riss to West End Johnnie’s. Now…I am in no way a “clubber” or “party girl.” Not to say I don’t have fun when Im out..because I do. But, I’d rather be at home, in a onsie baking something good, and watching a movie. But I truly have never had more fun than I did that night with those two girls. Running around Boston, taking ridiculously 22 year old selfies in nasty bathrooms after last call, and eating giant cookies at 2am from Bovas. So, thank you ladies, for making my 22nd celebrations so special. &Of course I spent the next day in bed with Riss, napping, watching New Girl and chugging Gatorade, until my little brother-in-laws told me to come downstairs, because in true Wollinger fashion, we had a birthday cake with the whole fam. Cant say it was my cutest Wollinger family party look..walking down the stairs in an oversized tshirt, last nights make up, and sweating Grey Goose…but, at least I had fun!

2. Enchanted Village with Momma B

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Momma B and I went to the Enchanted Village at Jordan’s Furniture. If you don’t know what that is…lets just say, its a very Massachusetts Christmas thing to do. This huge furniture store has a whole village with these dolls, showing different scenes of Christmas scenes from the 60s and 70s. A display that they had taken from Jordan Marsh. They have an ice rink, Jordan Marsh blueberry muffins galore, and a 4D showing of the Polar Express. I felt like a little kid again, and had such an awesome day with my Mom.

3. The Wollinger Ugly Sweater Party

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Maybe it was all the Mike’s Hard Karla and I drank that made this holiday party so amazing!? Maybe it was cousin Shayna’s ugly sweater….but what played such an amazing role in this evening…was NANA. LOOK AT NANA WOLLINGER GO ^

4. Jimmy coming home for Holiday Block Leave

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Watch this super sappy video from when I picked Jim up at South Station. That day was such a fun day. Even though he stunk, like an Italian sub, from his 48 hour bus ride from Benning. After he showered, and we hid him in Gloucester for a few hours, we got Jim in a giant box that his parent’s amazing neighbors wrapped, and surprised his mom and dad. That was just the beginning of the surprises that weekend. I took Jimmy to his surprise Christmas present. A stay at an extremely historical hotel, the Omni Parker House in downtown Boston. It was so beautiful..breathtaking architecture. Which leads me to #5.

5. Getting engaged the day before eloping.

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Yep. You read that right! Jim &I were “running away to get married” that weekend at Cambridge City Hall. Well, our families knew. haha We just plan on having an actual wedding in 2019, so we didn’t really tell everyone that we were eloping first. The night before, Jimmy and I took a walk through the theater district of Boston (one of my FAVORITE areas, right near my future school, Emerson.) and he took me down to the gazebo in Boston Commons, a place where he had “fake proposed” many a time, embarrassing me in front of hundreds of passers by..and he said to me..”Wouldn’t it be cool if I literally proposed to you, before we were married?” &I said to him, “Well, you’re kind of running out of time buddy..” So this fool, gets down on one knee..and me, thinking he’s faking again (with TONS of people around because it was Christmas time) tells him to get the heck up. But he pulled that gorgeous ring out of his pocket..and it was legit. Here’s our beautiful engagement photos taken by the incredibly talented Gerri Mazzeo.

6. Celebrating Amber’s Birthday

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I had another awesome night with Amber, for her “Quarter Century Celebrations” between our interesting, edible, Uber ride to Storyville, and 3am pit stops to an iHop, with Amber in pajamas…it was a night to remember. With the following day looking similar to my birthday, with cake and boozy sweat at the Wollinger home.

7. Trip to Savannah and Jim’s Basic Training Graduation.

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It was an interesting….journey down with Momma B. But Savannah is my favorite “city” next to Boston. Southern charm, adorable shops and restaurants downtown…and SUNSHINE AND PALM TREES. Nothing makes me happier than sunshine. I had so much fun with my Momma, and even got to meet up with Mariah, and baby (legit baby, HES SO LITTLE IN THESE PHOTOS!!) Levi.. &After our little vaca we got back in the Rogue for the 4 1/2 hour journey to Benning to see Jim graduate from OSUT! I’ve never been more proud of him, mostly because I could see the pride in his eyes for his accomplishments and his dedication to this country. It’s truly an amazing experience being a military spouse. ❤

8. Bruin’s game with Jill and the Masquerade Ball with Kira

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It was rare that I got to spend time with my IFS girls outside of work, and these two nights made 22 an amazing year for me. ❤

9. Moving to Fort Drum

This may not be my choice place to relocate to…though I will always love the North..it’s a tad rural for me. But moving out of state, and especially just out of my hometown, has been eye opening. &Living on a military instillation, has been humbling. Seeing, and now living the military family life is an honor. There are a lot of sacrifices we make losing time with our family member, and worrying about their safety..but I am so proud of Jim.&I love this country.

10. Easter away from home.

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I burnt the bacon, and got nothing but sh*t about my cooking for Easter dinner from Jim and Sheps. But–I loved it! ❤

11. Grandpy passing.

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This was so hard for me, between living away from my family and watching the death of my Grumpy Grandpy just bring out the worst in some family members…this was a harder death to grieve than my own fathers. But I have comfort in knowing my Gramps is now in a better place, and that I will again see him someday, free from the stress of human life.

12. My blog post about Emily 

This blog post about ANSTO Emily, is the piece of work I am the most proud of from my 22nd year. She inspires me on a daily basis, and to have the chance to tell her story, was such an honor.

13. Uncle Jimmy passing

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Another pit fall of my 22nd year was yet another family member, and male figure in my life passing away. He lost his battle with addiction. Addiction is something  I will never stop preaching about. People turn to drugs, typically when they’re in a very vulnerable place, and they just take a hold of your soul, and suck the person you are right out of you. But in his death, I do feel relief, that he is in a better place now. The best place, with our Lord..in his eternal rest. No more hurt, no more pain. My Uncle Jimmy spent a large chunk of the end of his life in Beverly, MA at the River House. The River House is a shelter that helps to guide individuals to a self sufficient life. They provide the resources for those who may have fallen off course to find stable income, find a permanent home, and they provide a lot of love and support. If you have the means–please donate to the River House. You can do this in a monetary donation–and every dollar counts, no amount is too little–or through providing a meal. Click that hyperlink to learn more. 🙂

14. Meeting the Gariss’!

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We’ve made a lot of new friends here on Fort Drum. But the Gariss’ are by far our closest and best friends. Trever and Caroline are two of my favorite people in this world. I never want to play Cards Against Humanity again without the raunchy humor of Caroline. She has quickly become one of my best friends in the world. &Little Wesley has become like another honorary nephew for us. I love that sweet, happy little boy with all my heart and soul. No matter what distance the Army puts between us, my friendship with the Gariss’ will not break. I love you guys. 🙂

15. New job, new work friends!

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Moving from MA was hard for a million and one reasons. One of the biggest was leaving my employer, the Institution for Savings. IFS is an incredible employer, and a place I still intend on continuing my career with if we move back home. But a new home, means a new job, and I knew it was going to be hard to find a place that competed with IFS, with the way we treat our customers like family, to the wonderful people I worked with, to the opportunities to both grow in my career, and help my community. But my new employer has done that for me. Northern is incredible to their members, they care so much for their community, and they have amazing people that work for them. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity in my 22nd year to have worked for two amazing companies.

16. VISITS AT DRUM

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Not really sure what was happening in this photo…

I had the opportunity to visit home a lot this summer, unfortunately two of the times I was home were for funerals, but it has been so nice having so many friends and family come to visit us at Drum. Momma B came up for Mother’s Day, Jim’s parents and little brother visited for a weekend in the summer before Jim’s deployment, his sister’s and brother-in-law came to visit–and we had SO MUCH FUN–my Mom and brother came up, my best friend Alex, and her boyfriend AJ came to visit us, and next weekend, we’re expecting my best friend Mariah, baby Levi, and her husband Spencer to come visit! I am SO excited to finally meet her hubs!

17. Old Forge

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As much as NNY would never be my residence of choice-there is a lot of beauty up here. Especially in the summer time. We spent a day at Old Forge. It was so adorable and charming. Adorable little shops, yummy restaurants. It was so much fun!

18. Father’s Day Weekend

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We went home for the weekend of Father’s Day, and normally–that’s a pretty crappy day for me. This year especially. No Dad, no Grandfather, no Uncle Jim. But I luckily have the best Father-in-Law in the world, and it was so nice to be able to celebrate with him. We went with my sister and brother in-laws to our favorite breakfast place, Red’s and took a walk around Salem, MA. It was such a beautiful day, and a huge highlight of my year. My heart was so full on the drive back to Drum that day.

19. Mariah’s Bridal Shower

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My best friend Mariah is a Navy wife–and as I’m sure a lot of my fellow military spouses know, sometimes you have to do things slightly out of order. We both eloped, and are having our weddings in the future. But, this past summer, my fellow bridesmaids and I threw her a bridal shower! It was a blast, and all the hard work we all put into this, was so worth it. It came out beautifully, and it was so nice to be able to all be together in MA, to celebrate Mariah and Spencer’s love. ❤

20. Jim’s First Deployment/Homecoming

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Photo by Marissa Frederick Photography

My 22nd year, definitely revolved around Jimmy joining the Army. But one of the biggest parts of this year, was Jim’s first deployment. We were “lucky” so to say, that he only went for the tail end of the deployment, but it was still tough. I was in a new environment on my own–and it was such a transition to be on my own, working and living in a totally unfamiliar place, and then a huge transition again to go back to life together. It’s easy, because you love one another, but it is hard to go from the routine you had living by yourself, and the routine he had with the Army overseas, back into marital life. But I was so blessed to have him come home safe, as well all know–that isn’t the case for all military personnel. I am so proud to be with a man, so devoted to his country.&I love this country I call home, so very much.

22. Home Decor

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They say home is where the heart is, and I left a HUGE piece of my heart back in Massachusetts. That will always be home to be. But currently, my heart, my life, and my man–are here on Fort Drum. I hear a lot of military wives that struggle with feeling home, in a place they know is temporary. But no matter the time spent in one location with this Army lifestyle, I want my house to be a home. I love interior decor–I get it from my Momma. I’ve had so much fun making this house a home, since we’ve been here. &I especially love the Christmas decor we have up currently. It’s so cozy to come home to at night, after a long day of work. I know someday we will leave this home we are in, and though I will always be excited for the next adventure, I will surely miss this place.

23. CADENCE

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This is quite possibly the best thing that happened to me at 22. I adopted the sweetest little Boxer mix in the world, Miss Cadence. She is my baby. She came to us, a bone wreck, with Kennel Cough, with such a sad back story–and to be able to nurse her to health, and give her a happy life, makes my life worth everything. She is so good with people, children and other dogs. She loves her stuffed monkey, chicken flavored treats, and carrots. She’s the biggest cuddle bug, and my number one fan club. I love my Cadence. ❤

 

Here’s to 23..the year Blink 182 says nobody likes you….here’s to hoping my handsome hubs continues likin’ me 😉

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Photo by Gerri Mazzeo

Welcome Home Jimmy!!!

HELLLLLOOOO GUYS!

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It’s been a bit! I know I promised a Game Day recipes post a ways back. But  I had a little bump in the road, where I had a great opportunity with an awesome sponsor..but we just couldn’t agree. I got really hard on myself for a while, and was thinking to myself–where is the blog going? Do I want to stop it all together? Do I want to go full throttle, and make it more of a center piece, and make it a full time income? &The answer is still…I don’t know. I love blogging. It’s my favorite hobby. It keeps me sane, it keeps me excited, and it gives me so much opportunity to connect with people I would have never had the ability to before. It’s such a wonderful creative outlet, and I don’t ever want to hate it. But yeah. So I think maybe later on next week, I might post some more rambles, but for todays post….JMMY IS HOMEEEEEE!

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do the whole photographer thing, but then I realized…“Who am I kidding? Im Autumn Benson…when do I not go overboard?” I was sooo happy when I had reached out to a lot of talented photographers in the Fort Drum area, and found that Marissa Frederick had an opening! I have been admiring her work since before we moved here, and when she had an opening, I HAD to jump on it.

Marissa did such an amazing job capturing one of the most special moments in our lives. Jimmy came home from his first deployment. Though we were lucky this wasn’t a long one, that didn’t change the worry in my heart, the restless nights, the pit in my stomach..and the absence of my other half weighing on me.

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This photo is actually from the photographer for 2-87 ^^^ The rest are all Marissa 🙂 

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Wesley realizing it’s BOBO!!!

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Since then we have just been enjoying each other and life is back to normal! We went home to MA to visit family. Had dinner at the Wollinger’s in honor of Jim’s coming home.

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Jim and his dad give me life:

PLEASE WATCH THIS 

&Spent some time with the Benson fam, as my Daddy was honored along with all the other Gold Star Families in Massachusetts with a beautiful statue in Taunton, MA. We didn’t end up going to the ceremony, because I just knew it would be too emotional for me right now. But I am so blessed and honored by my Father’s sacrifice for this country. I am so proud to be a part of both the Benson/Wollinger families.

Also, we celebrated this little cuties 2nd birthday!

Oh yeah! &We had our closest friends up here come over for the Pats game, made some yummy food and just hung out 🙂

 

Wesley booping Sheppy^ So adorable!!

So that is all for now. I hope everyone enjoys their long weekend. I know I will. I am very excited to be spending time with Jimbob and my Cadence. Until next time! ❤

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”

//xo

PS–Im a blonde again!!

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PS PS–LOOK AT THESE CUTE TARGET DOLLAR SPOT FINDS:

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One Month Down

Hey guysss

So, today marks 31 days since Jim left for basic training. &I got another letter today!!! A quick one, because he apparently had to go write the soldier’s creed down 50 times (sounds like loads of fun) but that’s my Jimmy. He makes sure to take the time even if he jots down a few words every single day.

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In these last 31 days, when I say I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, thats the understatement of the year. I work full time, I’m in school for elementary education/child psychology, and I volunteer within my community at least once a week, so to say I “keep busy” is an understatement. But my personal life has been a bit frazzled.

I write him every day, and he writes me, but so far, in the cross hairs of mail land, he hasn’t received my letters.

So, Im newly OBSESSED with another blog, by the lovely Keating. I actually reached out to her via email right after Jim left, and she was the sweetest. I LOVE the way she formats her little “check up” posts. It totally covers the bases, so that’s how I’m gonna go about this post!

How I’m feeling…..

I’m doing A LOT better. The first week and a half was INCREDIBLY rough. I seriously didn’t think Id take this so hard. Especially with how busy I am…but it was rough. After Jim and I left our apartment a month before he left, we stayed with his family, and it was decided that when he went to basic, I would move back home into the in law apartment down stairs and try to help out with my 85 year old grandfather. I won’t go super into detail, because some things are meant to stay private; but through all the stress with trying to help an older gentleman with dementia, get my homework done, stay on track with my health goals, and stay sane with out Jimmy, I felt the healthiest choice for me is to move out of the apartment with him. I will always care for and love my grandfather, but it’s the best decision for me, and sometimes, it’s ok to put yourself first. Like the flight attendants tell you, “put the oxygen mask on yourself first, because if you can’t breathe, you can’t help those beside you.” Other than that little personal disaster, I’m okay. I’m okay, because I know Jim is okay. &I’m staying strong and positive not only to keep him strong and positive through out this process, but because that is who I am. Its who my Father taught me to be from a very young age. Always make lemonade with the lemons.

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Friends&Family…

Aside from my little fiasco with grandpa, I’ve been having a lot of fun with my friends and family! I’ve been spending time with the Wollinger fam. I hung out with his sisters a couple times, some quality time with my big brother Kyle and I had a TON of fun on Halloween with two of my girls. The night had a little hiccup, but I did feel blessed to be in the presence of both of these lovely ladies on October 31st.

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Work&School…..

Juggling work and school has always been a struggle. I work full time at a very time consuming job, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I understand the value of money, and have gained life skills some of  my peers won’t experience for another couple years. This semester has been a tad trying. I was going back and fourth about taking a semester off while Jim was in basic, and taking some time for myself to figure out my next chapter, but I just can’t get enough of school. 🙂 But this semester….I’m learning all about the Common Core math system, and I. HATE. IT. I have to learn to embrace it, because although, ,I will do everything in my power to help change the education system for the better, and enrich the minds of the littles, Common Core is a part of the deal as of the moment, and I need to learn that even though 5 x 3 is the same as 3 x 5, were looking for the child to show us 5 GROUPS OF 3. Lord give me strength.

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Blog Life….

My blog has definitely been lacking exciting posts recently, but with everything that has been going on in my personal life, I just haven’t had it in me to be productive. I have to say, I have some seriously loyal readers, and a lot of new comers….so welcome to my extraordinarily, ordinary life! 🙂 &I’m impressed by my stats when I check in every few days. Feel free to chat with me through the social medias, and say hello!! Writing is such an awesome outlet for me, and I’m so excited to see that you all ACTUALLY care what I have to say!! Love yousssss.

I’ve always liked to hear bad news before good news, so I’ll start with that…

The bad….

-Obviously the situation with my grandfather…I pray that God will take good care of him, and I will do as much as I can to continue caring for him.

-Friends who don’t understand. Who think that me showing how proud I am, or respecting military means that I’m turning into some type of stereotype.

-I’ve been feeling a little under the weather the last few days…and not having Jim to comfort me hasn’t been easy.

The good….

-The love letters are beautiful. Any time I’m feeling down I just grab one of the many letters I’ve received from Jim, and reread, and my whole day turns around.

-The 21 Day Fix!! I’ve been doing really well with this program, my water intake is back to normal, and feel extremely good. I feel stronger, I have more energy, and feel like my nutrition is getting back to where it was before Jim and I got serious. (Yes, I’m talking about the countless midnight trips to drive thrus we took…)

-Work!! I have to say, I love my job. I love where I work, the people I work with and what I do. I feel really good about the position I am in now, and am the best at what I do, and I am SO prepared for the yearly reviews.

-Milestones. Through this whole thing, it feels like life has been a constant count down. Counting down since Jim left, (30 days ago!!!) Counting down the days till he comes home (learned about OPSEC and I will not blab!) and counting the milestones that await us! Like graduations, (from basic, and college pretty soon for me!) anniversaries, and lots and lots of exciting decisions to be made, and adventures to be had.

-LEVI JAMES My best friend Mariah gave birth to my honorary nephew, Levi James October 30, 2015 at 9:57am. At 6lbs 3oz and 20 inches he stole my heart. I am so blessed to be considered an Auntie to this sweet boy, and I am so happy for my girl Mariah. You are already such an incredible Mother to Levi. I am so proud of you, beautiful. I sent along a photo to Jim, and I can promise you, he’ll be in tears just like I was. ❤

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Welp guysss, thats all for now. I love every single one of you more than I love mint chocolate chip ice cream, and The Office. MWAH!

“Some people create their own storms, then get mad when it rains.”

//xo

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My 1989 World Tour Experience

Hellooo everyone! Welcome back! I was so excited when I saw the stats from my last post, that so many of you came back to read my ramblings, and I saw many new viewers came to visit from Instagram etc! SO, hopefully this post will be a good one for any of my fellow Swifties to read, and any other Taylor Swift fans who were unable to attend. I hope those of you who followed me on Snap Chat prior to the day, enjoyed my ridiculous Snaps. I’ve been having so much fun with that app–and I do apologize for the lack of Snaps after Tay came to the stage–but I was just so immersed in the show, that it was hard to focus on anything more.

I attended the 1989 World Tour in Foxborough Ma on Friday, July 24, 2015. It was a magical event. Weeks before the day I planned out our costumes, and poster, and I will post a DIY on them as my next blog post. My apartment was an explosion of glitter, and bursting with all eras of Taylor sounds while I worked. After hours on end, of burning my fingers off with hot glue, and ripping my thumb apart putting holes in my poster for the LED lights, the day finally arrived.

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I spent the morning FREAKING THE HECK OUT..getting myself ready, and singing into my curling rod, and the drive there was full of traffic, and listening to every era of Tay.

Jimmy and I arrived to Gillette nice and early, and parked a good distance away to save on parking. As soon as we got there, I forced Jim into his barista costume, and we taped the battery packs onto the back of the poster. It was in the high 80s and my giant felt covered laundry basket caused me to sweat profusely, but it was so worth it. So, the concept behind our “Starbucks Lovers” costumes, was from the song Blank Space. The line “got a long list of ex lovers, they’ll tell you I’m insane.” is often confused with, “all the lonely Starbucks lovers,” or “gotta love them Starbucks lovers, they’ll tell you I’m insane.” So, Jimmy was a barista, and I was a Frappuccino. Even my nails had a 13 and a mini Frappuccino painted on to them, thanks to Aly at Colorful Nails in Salem, MA.

Walking around Gillette, there were so many others in AMAZING costumes. Some cheerleaders from the Shake it Off video, and some awesome ones, I saw, there two ladies dressed up as Tay’s cats, Dr. Meredith Grey and Detective Olivia Benson, and some other cuties, who got into Loft 89 dressed up as the “Swan Squad.” CONGRATS BTW LADIES!…if you ever read this….haha We were stopped countless times to take photos with people, and we were featured on some random fans Snap Stories, and Country 102.5 took our photo!

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It began to rain, and I was a little nervous where my costume was covered in felt, and I didn’t cover our paper “Starbucks Lovers” logos in anything. BUT- I was extremely excited to experience a RAIN SHOW. The rain did end up stopping well before the concert began.

Now for the bad news and advice for anyone who has purchased floor seats for the 1989 World Tour (now this may only be Gillette Stadiums policies, but apparently a guard had told some other girls that it came directly from Taylor’s management team) As we were about to enter the stadium, we were told our poster could not be any larger than a small piece of paper as we were sitting on the floor (which makes sense) but was frustrating after all the hard work I put in. You’d think with all the Swiftie accounts I follow on Instagram, I would’ve heard about this, but at the Red Tour, there were no such rules. After we had walked back to our far away lot, and went to get into the stadium for the second time, I was told by a female guard, that my costume was not allowed. If you’re wondering if I cried, the answer is yes. It was also extremely frustrating, that when we were told no to the poster, nobody had said a thing about the costume. Although, it again, does make perfect sense, because of the size around. Thankfully, right across from Gillette, a very kind gentlemen who was selling t shirts allowed me to place my costume in his car, so we would not have to walk all the way back to our vehicle again, and held it for us until we came out of the stadium. &I stole Jimmy’s costume…I don’t think he minded..

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We saw a few posters on the floor and costumes that somehow got past security, and I’m assuming it’s because they entered from the balcony entrances.

Also!!! I had a lot of fun chatting with fellow Swifties that were going that night, and even met the adorable Miss Kat. AKA sinkshipsallthedamntime

Once Shawn Mendes came on the stage, I was fully recovered from my defeat, and ready to have an amazing night. His own music was beautifully played, and being at the Red Tour, and Club Red with my best friend Mariah, hearing his tribute to Ed Sheeran was like reliving the moment, and although I sadly wasn’t with Mariah, I was lucky to have this goofball by my side. Vance Joy was incredible and by far, Jimmy was his number one fan in the crowd. Although, he’s no die hard Swiftie, he does like Taylor. But I’m glad he really enjoyed the opening acts. &Then lets talk about HAIM. O M G. Those are some BAD A** ladies! Like WOW! I feel so incredibly lucky and blessed to have seen them live, and been exposed to their sound. I am now a fan for life. They are amazing! &Its also uncanny how much my mother looks like she belongs with them. I wish I could’ve found a photo from when she was a teenager. She even wore her hair the same, and looked like Este’s twin.

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I have to admit, for the second time seeing her, the moment Taylor emerged on the stage, singing “Welcome to New York” (the only girl who could ever sing about New York in Boston, and its acceptable) I CRIED. It’s hard to explain to a non Swiftie. When you’ve idolized someone from such a young age, and appreciated their art for so long, its hard not to lose it when you’re only yards away from that person. The show, although I feel a little less theatrical than Red, was insane. Totally, exactly what I pictured for 1989. We were given magical wrist bands as we entered, (“A gift from Taylor”) that lit up the entire stadium in sync with the music, and it was beautiful and magical and wonderus. (I know, not a word.) Those dancers and back up singers…words can not describe the talent. The costumes were absolutely unforgettable. &The speech everyone wanted to hear was delivered as Tay hovered above us like an angel sent from the Heavens, again, moved me to tears. She spoke of female empowerment, and how commendable she saw it that each and every one of us, fight a battle others don’t see–yet we still chose to live our lives. As soon as she mentioned losing someone, I lost it. When meeting Taylor at Club Red, we discussed my Dad, who passed in 2011, and how her music brought the two of us together. He tried to explain to me for so long, about the importance of music, and lyrics, and respecting the art. &When I fell for Taylor and her writing, and sound–my Father deemed her a legend for my generation. I used to sit in my computer room all growing up memorizing her songs, and inviting my parents up to watch me perform them…anyways side tracking…

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Every song and performance was beautiful, and enchanting, and absolutely unforgettable. Dancing and jumping around to special guest, Walk The Moon, “Shut Up and Dance”, which is my 2015 Summer Anthem, was insane. &After Shake it Off was preformed on the runway, and everyone took their bows, I had goose bumps, and could not believe that the event I had waited since last Fall for, was over.

It took us two ours to get out of the parking lot, and two days (one of them spent sleeping till 5pm..(Grandma and Grandpa over here) to recover…but it was so worth it.

Taylor, you are an insanely talented artist, incredibly intelligent business woman, and beautiful human being. I can not wait to see what comes next for you, and I feel so blessed to have followed your journey.

So, that’s it! It’s all over for me! Next tour I will most definitely purchase tickets for both nights, and a room, and I will plan my poster and costumes accordingly. I hope everyone attending the next stops have the time of their lives. &Look for a DIY poster and costume post coming up soon! I love you I love you I love you!

“Maybe you lost someone you never expected you would lose. Maybe you lost yourself. That’s even worse. When you have bad days that just wont let up, I just hope that you will look in the mirror and remind yourself of what you are and what you are not. You are not your mistakes. You are not damaged goods from money lost or from your failed explorations. You are not the opinion of someone who doesn’t know you. You are a product of the lessons that you’ve learned. You are wiser because you went through something terrible. And you are the person who survived a bunch of rainstorms and kept walking. I now believe that pain makes you stronger. And now I believe that walking through a lot of rainstorms gets you….CLEAN.”- Taylor Swift

Let’s be friends…I’m dying to see how this one ends;)

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//xo

The Planner With No Plan

CalanderHELLLLLLLLLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Blog world! It has been FAR too long since I posted last. I just feel like, there has been a whirl wind of things going on in my life. I’m going to do a quick little update, and I just really want to apologize to my small little group of readers that I’ve been off the grid with blogging. I just felt like….I wasn’t sure my sense of purpose…and I feel like…I can’t write, not knowing who I am. I’m still not entirely sure who I am, or what I want..but that’s what this post is all about! I feel like I’ve gotten a little more comfortable with “the new unsure me.” &I want to tell you about it!

UPDATE TIMEEEE…Last I wrote, I had just moved into my first ever apartment with my boyfriend James, and our roommate. &Now, I’m actually looking to move AGAIN! James and I decided that we are at the point in our relationship where we’re ready to live, just the two of us. Lets see…lets see…..Summer is in full swing. I’ve been taking a lot of opportunity to do some volunteer work for my community, and I have been working a lot, and saving lots of money, as we will be moving soon, and I’m also looking into getting a new car! *HORRAY!* Yaris is getting old. She still runs well, but it’s best to trade her in while she’s still worth something. So far this Summer, I haven’t been able to do a lot of fun activities, as most of my days off, we’ve had plans, obligations, or it rained. But I did get to the beach recently and it was a lot of fun! I plan on doing a lot more fun Summer-y stuff soon. This weekend was my friends and family annual reunion cookout, and the next weekend, IS THE 1989 WORLD TOUR and I’m SO excited. I’m definitely going to post some DIY stuff for my poster, and costumes I’m making, (yes costumes) So…yeah! Look out for a few Taylor related posts coming up!

So….lets get into the topic at hand..being a planner with out a plan. At the age of 21, I know not only myself, but a lot of my peers are going through a bit of an identity crisis. This is the time in our lives, where we’re supposed to set ourselves up, for the rest of our lives. &Although my mother would beg to differ, I still feel like I’m a kid, and I don’t know what the heck I want! This past June marked three years since I graduated high school, and since that time I changed my major three times, going on four. I’ve had six different jobs, and a TON of ups and downs in my personal life.

Ever since I can remember though…I’ve been a planner. When my Mother would drop me off for the day at my Grandparent’s, I would sit down, and ask what we would be doing, so I could write a schedule. Since school age, I’ve obsessed over pretty day planners, and binders, and all organizational tools. I’ve always been the planner of activities with friends and family–I even hosted my very first holiday this Easter! &All growing up, I had “a plan.”

Or so I thought.

I lived in a world of rainbows, and unicorns, and thought things just go to plan. I would go through high school, and nothing bad would ever happen. I would go right from there to a four year school, and know EXACTLY what I wanted. From there, I would have and incredibly well paying job, work on my Masters, get engaged, finish my Masters, get a promotion, have a beautiful wedding, buy a big home, and have three wonderful kids. Happily ever after.

WHAT? I mean, its a beautiful thing, to be so young, and not so jaded. I still try to look at life in a positive light…just in a little more realistic of a view.

But, I like my not so planned life. I like that I’m at the age where I can change my mind 100 times if I want to, and anything is possible. I’ve been getting a lot of flack from the “adults” in my life about having a plan. But I’m okay. &That’s all that matters.

I do however have some plans. I’m sure they could change, or go off course, or take longer, (or shorter) of an amount of time than expected. I do still want all of those things I wanted as a child. I’m changing my major, for the (hopefully) last and final time back to Elementary Education. Teaching, and working with children is a passion of mine. & I don’t think I could live my life fully, if I didn’t pursue that dream. I have plans to travel, to Europe, and all over the world, with my partner in crime, Jimmy. It will probably take longer than expected to save the money, but I will do it. I have an itch to be fully immersed in the Wanderlust life, and I will scratch it. I have plans to stay at my job, and fully enjoy it. I have plans to devote a lot of my time to volunteering to causes I believe in. &I have plans to build, and keep strong, healthy relationships with my family and friends.

I have lots of plans. &They might not fit into the mold society creates. But I know I am responsible, and I try to leave a good mark on the world I live in.

I’m not asking for much, I just want my ordinary life, to feel extraordinary to me.

Thank you for coming back to listen to my ramblings. I promise I wont run away again;)

PS, If you read my past blog, Girl Power, and 21 Things, you saw the list I want to conquer before 22. So far, I have come to the realization, that being in the professional world, #3 can’t happen. But I will buy some clip in extensions to fulfill that one. As I said in Dear 2014, I cut my hair! But now, I’m actually just anxiously waiting for my long locks to come back.#14 is happening on the 24th of this month, #17 has been happening a lot lately! I saw my sister at Relay for Life, I’m actually heading up to my Swicker cousins for a bonfire soon, and I’m hopefully visiting with my niece next month! Oh, and I’m killin #19 😉 What are or were your goals at 21?

Lets be friends!

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“Your 20s are your selfish years. Old enough to make the right decisions and young enough to make the wrong ones. Be selfish with your time–travel, explore, fall in and out of love. Be ridiculously silly, stupid and wild.”

//xo