Master Bedroom Renovation with Mattress Firm and Beautyrest

          I look at my husband at least once a day and say "this is my favorite place to be.” That place looks a lot like being snuggled up in bed, with twinkle lights and salt lamps on, candles lit, furry puppies piled in all around us and our favorite TV show on repeat (bonus if we have ice cream!).

          When we moved into our new house at the beginning of June, I knew the first room we had to work on was our bedroom. As long as our room is decked out with lights, soothing colors and decorations, I'm a happy camper. I was so excited when Mattress Firm and Beautyrest reached out to me and wanted to collaborate with us. The process of decorating this room with my love in our first house has been so sweet and we're so excited to share it with all of you. And let me tell you, now that our room is finished, it is the only place I want to spend time (please apologize to all of the people in my life as it's been darn near impossible to leave our new house-- we're so smitten!). There are few things I love more than the sense of home this house has given us. We never expected homeownership to be so sweet. This has become our happy place and Mattress Firm and Beautyrest are completely to thank for that because YOU GUYS, this mattress. It is HANDS DOWN the most comfortable bed we have ever slept on and it has made our house complete!

During:

Before:

After:

Details:

The shining star of this room is our mattress from Mattress Firm and Beautyrest. It is a king size, Beautyrest Black Hybrid Plus Wellington Plush Pillow Top Mattress and I am not exaggerating when I tell you IT IS LIKE SLEEPING ON A CLOUD. It's so comfortable, I never want to get up! And Josh and I have both slept better than we ever have in our lives.

I Love Us sign: Homegoods (I was ecstatic when I found this-- it was exactly what I had hoped to find!! Bonus: it had some marks on it so we bought it discounted and cleaned the marks right off!)

Headboard: Art Van

Pillows: Homegoods and Pottery Barn

Duvet Cover: Urban Outfitters

Shelves: World Market

Shelf Brackets: Purchased at Menards and then spray painted gold

Shelf knick-knacks: Urban Outfitters, Homegoods, Hobby Lobby and Pottery Barn

Hanging Planters and Terrarium: Urban Outfitters

Paint Color: Sherwin Williams Blue Peacock and I am IN LOVE. It looks almost like a hunter green in the daylight and in the evening it becomes this calming and romantic teal.

Ceiling: We planked these ceilings using boards we purchased at Lowe's. My husband primed, sanded, and painted them all so they would be this stunning white color and put them all up! Best idea we've ever had to cover the awful textured ceilings this room had and such a budget-friendly solution!!

Clearly everyone is catching more zzz's since this mattress joined the family.

Koda is totally jealous he's not the one getting kisses.

Can't wait to share rest of the house with you as we finish each room! And if you need us, chances are, we'll be snuggled up in our room, plus or minuses a few fluffy puppies!

Love,
The Roberds

We were so excited to partner with Mattress Firm and Beautyrest for this collaboration. All opinions expressed were completely our own. Now run, don't walk, to get your hands on one of these mattresses! Believe us when we say that it will change your life!

Barefoot Wine

We just got back from a road trip through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and we can't stop reminiscing on all of the good memories we made. We saw waterfalls and mountains covered in trees and even a mamma bear with her two little cubs. Our days were jam-packed with adventures but some of our favorite memories were the ones spent around the campfire, sipping on Barefoot Refresh Spritzers and having long talks with dear friends. Wine is always my beverage of choice, but it can be a bit inconvenient packing wine bottles when headed to the woods for the weekend-- and these little cans of goodness are the perfect solution (and so delicious!!). We'd throw them in our cooler before leaving for the day and by the time we got back to the campsite, they were ice cold and so refreshing.

We'd even toss a couple in our hiking backpacks in the morning to enjoy once we found the perfect scenic spot.

My favorite part about them though, is that these lightweight, single-serve cans can go on any adventure you want to take them on-- where wine glasses and bottles aren't always welcome. And you don't have to worry about accidentally leaving behind pieces of glass for someone (or their fur baby) to unexpectedly find. Leave no trace when spending time in the woods-- that's the only way to do it!

We're so pleased to join forces with Barefoot Wine this summer to share the yummy-ness that is their new Barefoot Refresh Spritzers. White wine is always my wine of choice so I assumed I'd enjoy the Crisp White the most-- but I was pleasantly surprised how much I loved the Summer Red too (a testament to how yummy they both are!). Can't wait to see the adventures you take your #barefootrefresh #spritzercans on!

If you need us, we'll be around the campfire!
- Joshua, Ashleigh, Cooper & Koda

Michiganders Roadtrip

Summertime in Michigan means one thing-- time to head North! We packed up our friends, pups and pop-up camper and headed out on a road trip through the Upper Peninsula. Here are some of our favorite places to stop in the U.P.

"GO" shirt pictured above available to purchase here.

1. Lake Superior Outlook near Grand Marais

Pure Michigan-3.jpg
Pure Michigan-4.jpg

2. Logslide in Grand Marais

Pure Michigan-11.jpg

3. Grand Marais

4. Tannery Falls

5. Miners Falls

6. Pictured Rocks

7. Scott Falls

8. Iron Ore Docks in Marquette

9. Canyon Falls and the Gorge

10. White Pine Extension Outpost Campground

Water color painting by my super talented friend, Jess. Find her on Instagram @drawneartojesus and ask her to doodle something up for you!

11. Lake of the Clouds

"Great Lakes State" shirt available to purchase here. "GO" shirt available here.

"This is my Roadtrip Shirt" available to purchase here.

12. Piatt Lake

A few bits and pieces of our adventures this past week:

Such a big thanks to @michiganders for letting us share this adventure with so many people. And to everyone who followed along on our #michigandersroadtrip, we can't thank you enough! You guys made this trip even more fun! Stay tuned-- so many more adventures to come!

Sleeping all day for the next week,
Joshua, Ashleigh, Cooper & Koda

Choosing Joy in Social Media

I desperately crave to live a life that's beautiful. And I don't mean in a photographic sense, but in a "I'm-going-to-choose-joy-in-this-moment-even-when-it-isn't-perfect" sense.

I've had so many conversations with friends recently and have been mulling over my thoughts about this after reading several blogs mocking Instagram or stating how social media doesn't post the "real-life" situation going on behind the perfect photo. I've read posts talking about how we should share the good along with the bad and I've read posts mocking peoples' positivity when they choose not to. I've gone back and forth with what I think about this - I love vulnerability and I believe whole-heartedly in it, but vulnerability comes with the closeness of a friendship, and social media posts go out to far more people than your close friends. So I've come to this conclusion: I'm going to continue to choose the joy. Everyone knows there's negativity behind a beautiful picture with a perfectly worded caption. And maybe I should be more intentional about sharing the fight that was ensuing during that picture, or how bad Cooper had been that entire day, or how it was a million degrees outside with insane humidity and both of us were extremely cranky and weren't romantically in love at that moment like we look in that picture, but I want to live in a way that doesn't focus on those moments. And I know people enjoy hearing the truths behind these moments, (I know, because I do, too!), because they make people feel like they're not alone in their struggles, but with so much negativity all around, why is it necessary to post? This isn't a blog telling you how you should or shouldn't post on Facebook or Instagram, or to make you feel guilty about how you do. It's simply a blog standing up for the positivity that people choose to share. I don't choose to leave out the negative truths behind a situation when I post a picture because I'm trying to act like my life is perfect and happy 24/7. I leave out the negativity when I post a picture because I'm deciding to choose joy. Yes, it's good to be reminded (often!) that life isn't perfect, but we all know that, and so choosing to see the good snip-bits in a situation is what we need to be reminded to do. I'm still learning how it looks to balance this, how to balance truly capturing authentic moments that accurately depict my life, but I promise I'll always air on the side of positivity. Not because I'm trying to fake it, but because I'm trying to choose it.

Choose joy, friends. It's silly how joyful life becomes when it's our focus. The moments are sweeter, the laughs are fuller, and the happiness realer. And if you want to know about the negativity behind any moment, just ask! because you're not alone in your really crappy moments (but also because I would be happy to laugh about it with you since it most likely includes Cooper eating something gross he wasn't supposed to).

4th of July Picnic

Hi sweet friends!

We are home from our #roberdspilgrimage with all of our big dreams and we've been so busy trying to find time to make them all a reality! We have so much in the works and we can't wait to share it all with you. BUT FIRST, we are so excited to finally have our own website and domain name! There is so much more to come here, but we wanted to start with the launch of our blog. What better way to celebrate than with a July 4th puppy-friendly picnic complete with homemade dog biscuits?! We couldn't agree more! A few ideas to make your 4th of July weekend a little sweeter and a lot more dog loveable.

The dog biscuits were so simple and easy and pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself. All I did was mix together:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 ripe banana, mashed
A drizzle of honey
1/2 cup of Peanut Butter
Bind together with an egg until dough forms
Add some flour, roll out, cut into doggy bone shapes, and bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until brown.

For the dog-friendly frosting on top:
12 ounces nonfat cream cheese, room temperature
2 teaspoons of honey
1 teaspoon of vanilla
3 teaspoons of cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat with a mixer until fluffy. Frost cookies and add food coloring if you want! I just drizzled red and blue on top.

That's it! And Cooper can't get enough.

They're so good, he couldn't wait any longer!

The human food was just as good and cute. White chocolate covered pretzels and oreo pops are just as yummy as they sound. And so fun, quick, and easy to decorate in all things patriotic!

With the extra colored white chocolate left over, I just drizzled it over some white popcorn!

Happy 4th of July weekend, sweet friends! Ours will be spent up north in a cabin with a bunch of friends. Hope yours is filled with love, laughter, and lots of yummy treats!

With fingers permanently colored red, white, and blue,
Joshua, Ashleigh, and Cooper

The one where we talk about freedom

It was through talking to a friend the other day that I realized what has changed so much for us on this trip... and as an outcome, how this trip has bettered us so much. I've talked a lot about the freedom road life has brought us, and up until a few days ago, I thought that was what had changed so much: our freedom. And it terrified me because we aren't always going to be able to live like this, right? So when we go back to "real life" this happiness was just going to disappear with our freedom? (You can see why it was such a terrifying thought!) But it was through my conversation with a friend that I realized it isn't the freedom that's changed us. It has been the choosing of freedom... So to reiterate it a different way:

We've recognized we have the freedom to choose.

I want to dig into this a little deeper with you all.

Before this trip, my husband and I were working over 40 hours a week most weeks, we were working opposite schedules, we saw each other maybe three days a week if we were lucky. We were miserable, we were depressed, we were exhausted, we fought often, and we had no idea how we were going to make our marriage last. Let's rewind a little further... In the six years we dated, we talked often about how we weren't going to be that couple. Ya know, the couple that works too much, puts work in front of their marriage, spends each day working just to have enough money to make ends meet. Ya know what kind of couple I'm talking about? Yeah. We didn't want that. I had watched countless couples around me live that way and I was determined I was not going to live like them. I found myself a year out of college, a few months into my marriage, living that life. And I was like WAIT. How did this happen?! And then it became very apparent to me that life just happens. I never really understood how life could be anything other than this romantic adventure you choose to live... it was easy to see life that way while in college, while living off of my parent's income, while being surrounded by like-minded friends floating on clouds with me (which don't get me wrong, I am so thankful for those years)... but then all of a sudden I graduated, had to pay my own bills, and work a big kid's job. And all of a sudden I understood that life simply happens, and it's way too easy to get caught up in it. Sure, you can go away on adventure's during the weekends you're both not working, you can make the most of your hours spent together, and you CAN make life a romantic adventure everyday... and we did that! But we felt stuck. And I think that was the worst part about our lives before our #roberdspilgrimage. We felt stuck and we felt forced into this life we were supposed to be living (because after college you get a serious job that is respectable and thus, earns you a decent amount of money, right?), we felt forced to be people we didn't want to be and hear me when I say... it was making us miserable. He was miserable. I was miserable. Our marriage was miserable. Then we decided to run away. Quite literally. We decided to uproot our lives, quit the jobs we didn't like in the first place, and put our relationship and marriage and happiness first. And heck, what better way to do all of that then to travel around the US for six months! So that's what we did.

If you've followed our journey at all, you know it's changed us for the better. We are happy again... but you're probably thinking... it's easy to be when you aren't working, you're able to do whatever you want each day, and you're visiting places that look like they're straight from your old computer's desktop screensavers. To which we say, YES. All of that is true. We are so fortunate to have been able to do this trip, and most days feel like fairy tales... but hear me when I say, that is not why we've changed.

What has changed in us has been, quite simply, that we chased a dream people thought we were crazy for chasing. Are you still with me? I'm getting to my point... hang in there with me. It's getting good (in fact, my heart is literally racing from excitement as I try to write this all down and in a way that makes sense!!!!)!

What has changed in us is that we've realized we have a CHOICE. That's the reason doing this trip has been so amazing, right? It's the reason hundreds (yes, literally HUNDREDS) of people have reached out to us on Facebook and Instagram to tell us we're such an inspiration and they, too, dream of doing a trip like this sometime in their life.. Because the idea of this trip is appealing! Why is that? Because it breaks the norm. We both left jobs that we could have worked at for the rest of our lives if we had wanted. We said "hasta la vista" to what we were "supposed" to do. We said "no" to the life everyone around us told us to live, and we chose our happiness. And that was when it happened... we realized we have a CHOICE for how our life is going to look. It may sound rudimentary, but that simple truth has literally saved our lives. It's bettered us in every way we could've dreamed. This trip has given us the courage to chase after the life we want, and it's shown us that we won't just spontaneously combust when we choose happiness, when we choose each other and ourselves, when we choose freedom.

You guys, I wish I could see you all face to face so you can hear the excitement in my voice when I tell you I've never been so happy in my whole life. My dreams are bigger, my love is stronger, my self is truer, than I ever thought possible. And it's because I know now, that I can choose freedom. And I want to scream it from the mountaintops that you can too. I am so passionate about sharing with everyone what this trip has taught us... the freedom it has brought us. Your choosing of freedom doesn't have to come in the shape of a six month long road trip (though this shape comes highly recommended by the Roberds' clan!), the important thing is that you make that choice for freedom. You choose for your life to look however you want it to. You chase your dreams that you had given up on because you thought they were too big to chase. You choose whatever it is that, you feel, goes against the norm, the expected, the obligated, to make yourself happy. Choose yourself, choose happiness, choose freedom.

So even when this trip is over, and we no longer spend every waking second together, and we are no longer jobless, this new bettered versions of ourselves is going to stick around. Because we aren't afraid to break the mold any longer. We've already done that and we've seen and felt the reward firsthand. We're going to choose the life we want to live and it's going to be a heck of a lot better than the life we were living a year ago. Sure, we may not have as much money, we may never meet the expectations of what we feel our society holds, and we may fall flat on our faces at some points. But our happiness is so worth it. We know that now. Big dreams are ahead, so stick around! This is just our beginning.

"Wander much, love big, and fight for your dreams. You won't regret it." That's kind of become my mantra on this trip... and I mean it with all of my being. I'm so passionate about seeing people live this out... however that looks for them. Pinpoint your dream, share it with someone you love, and then give it your all. And if this post resonated with you at all, let us know! We'd love to be the people you share your dreams with, and would be overjoyed to walk this path of freedom with you.

Little money, lots of happiness and puppy snuggles and dream chasing ahead,
The Roberds

The one where we're living on the road

Happy one month of adventurin' to us!!!! What a dream it has been. I've been mulling over what to blog about since before we left. Even as we began our pilgrimage across the US, I've been wanting to share with you all what we we're learning, what our days look like, and how it's all been going. But it's taken awhile for this lifestyle to set in, and it's only since being on the road for a month now that we feel comfortable sharing some of our story. We're kind of starting to get good at this, you guys. So, (drumroll please) in honor of four weeks of living our dream, we are happy to present...

TRUTHS ABOUT ROAD LIFE (according to the Roberds and Cooper):

1. Spitting sunflower seeds is an art. Truly. And if your front teeth don't line up perfectly as mine do not, it is nearly impossible. Never spit a sunflower seed out your window when your dog's head is out the window right behind you... The sunflower seed will, without fail, fly right back into your car. 

2. Learning how to laugh (at yourself, at your muddy dog, at each other) is one of the most freeing gifts you can give yourself. It makes everyday so much more fun. 

3. Slowing down in order to live this lifestyle is an intentional choice. We had multiple conversations during the first weeks on this journey reminding one another (and ourselves!) to enjoy every moment. It is easy to become overwhelmed with budgeting, planning places to stay, and being cranky (because it's the fifth night in a row you're sleeping in the car and you haven't showered in five days... this is all a hypothetical situation, of course), but we are learning to slow down and to enjoy every moment. Everyday is so beautiful in it's own way, and we never know the beauty that each day is going to hold. Everyday is truly an adventure when you slow down enough to leave yourself open to the adventure each day brings.

4. Grandparents and parents do not like it when you set up a hammock in front of their kids' daycare. (It was confusing, you guys, and we weren't being nearly as creepy as we sound. It said it was a park... and the daycare was so small it was hardly a building... and it didn't say "daycare" anywhere on it.) 

5. Us, dogs, really get the raw end of the deal with this whole "not being able to choose your parents" business. We have to find a way to interview them or something... Make sure they're worthy of our love. When you do find a way to pick your perfect parents, make sure you find parents who want to live on the road. I'm having the best time, you guys. My days are filled with long walks, playing with other dogs, and lots and lots of strangers who want to pet and take pictures with me. (Cooper stole the keyboard, guys. Sorry...)

6. Doing everything with radical love changes everything. Even the most simple tasks, when done with love, can turn into that day's biggest blessing. Love strangers you encounter with radical love, it opens up the coolest opportunities to share stories with people all over the US.  Love each other with radical love, because at the end of the day, that's who you're crawling into bed beside and building a life with. Love your life with radical love, because it's your life and you should love the life you lead deeply.

7. Cleaning wipes are very necessary for all activities while living on the road. Buy them and buy lots of them and keep. them. everywhere. I'll let you figure out uses for them on your own. Enough said. 

8. Never apologize for being who you are and wanting to live the kind of life you do. We have always felt guilty for not being the "cookie-cutter" people we so often feel like people around us want us to be. That is so silly. We are learning so much about our passions and our strengths and our weaknesses and it's so empowering to stand confident in who you are and what you want. There is NO REASON to apologize to anyone about who you are. Love deeply. Be the best version of yourself. And have fun. Life is such a short, beautiful gift. Why spend it living any other way other than in a way that you're fully passionate about.

9. If you've been a really good doggy all day and have hardly bothered your parents... and you're pretty sure they've forgotten about you in the back seat, make sure to crawl up to the passenger seat and sit on them. Long enough until you're confident they remember you again. (Cooper again. He's getting sassy.)

10. Going to bed when the sun sets and waking up when the sun rises with the fresh air in your face is what it's all about, you guys. 

11. Cities, while filled with adventure and beauty, seem abnormal after spending time in nature. Our very beings crave the outdoors. It is so good to escape the busyness, the stress, and the chaos and just be. It refreshes and rejuvenates you in a way you can't even imagine. And it allows you time to DREAM. Something we had literally forgotten how to do.

12. Campsites that require dogs to be on a leash at all times are completely a waste of time. If you're going to force me to be a road dog, the least you could do is find me a campsite where I can run free. Tell your humans to completely bypass Florida, there aren't places like this anywhere. (Cooper speaks the truth.)

13. Anyone can become a camper. I never thought I had it in me, but it has been an absolute BLAST. Peeing in the woods, pooping in vaulted toilets, sitting for hours around a fire having fulfilling conversation, waking up with chai tea and sunshine, not having technology, never wearing make up, having date nights every night, snuggling in sleeping bags with nothing but the sounds of nature all around... it's the best. Do it with your lover right now, I double dog dare you. You find out what you're made of and learn so much about one another. It's hilarious and rewarding. 

14. Treats and toys are a limited luxury these days. The humans gave me the tiniest tote filled with my things, and it hardly fits any of my favorite treasures. Eat goose poop, chew on their fire wood, and bite your feet until they realize you need a bone and some toys. It works every time. (Cooper... what a stinker...)

15. Support of friends and family make our hearts pitter patter more than we ever thought possible! We've never understood the true importance of support from loved ones. We've never been in a situation where it was nearly as important to us. But we have been absolutely blown away by the support we've received, whether that's taking us out to dinner, seeking to meet up with us along the way, or encouraging text messages and comments on our posts. Make sure to hug each and every person you love today, you guys! Your people make your life the best possible life you could live. To our people, we are so thankful for each and every one of you.

So much love from snowy New Mexico,
The Roberds & Cooper

The one where we launch #scarvessowedontstarve

Something funny has happened in the last couple of months.

The main reason we decided to take this trip has become one of our biggest struggles. Keep reading. It's about to get good.

Our goal since we dreamed up this adventure was to defy the American culture. We didn't want to be tied down by money and I'll be darned, we were going to show the world you didn't have to be! That's still our plan... but I think we forgot about the part where we have to save up all of our money before we get to not be tied down by money.

The plan was to leave at the end of October. I'm not really sure why we decided on that date, I think mainly because my photography was done at that time, but that is the date we had in mind. It was our goal, our countdown, our source of excitement. Well, when October rolled around, we begrudgingly realized we were nowhere near our financial goal we had made for ourselves that would allow us to leave. What a sad realization it was.

We made some adjustments which included moving out of our adorable apartment, changing cities, and getting me a job for the holidays. It was exciting at the time. Every change felt like we were making strides to get us closer to making our dream possible. It was new and challenging and it felt good.

But then... the excitement all too quickly wore off. It slowly began to feel like a time of transition that we were very ready to have over. Like yesterday. All of a sudden we were living in a place that wasn't ours, working jobs that made us miserable, rarely seeing one another, and living in a city where we knew no one. And ya know what we found ourselves fighting about way too much? Money. Budgeting, saving, financing... they're the pits!

And all of a sudden we found ourselves facing some of the struggles we so badly wanted to defy by doing this trip. We were living a typical "9-5 life". Our days are filled with solely working to make money and we felt (and feel!) enslaved to it. Wait a second, how did that happen? We so badly don't want to be "those people". Isn't that why we're doing this trip in the first place? But money issues are real and hard and it's super unfortunate that we need it to live. It's such a tricky balance when you need money to reach your dreams. Being a slave to money is a mindset, we always knew that, but it's a mindset that's so easy to slip into. We didn't know that. We didn't realize we would have to put into practice our goals of stomping on the American Dream before we even left. But we've had to. And everyday, it's an intentional choice to save money with joy. And not feel the burden of it. We fail at it, most days. But we're learning a lot. And we so can't wait to leave.

So here we are, a little further East, living with bare minimum necessities, and doing our best to save every penny. Literally. And get along while doing it... We're still not where we wanted to be financially come end of November, but our dream is still real and we're working for it everyday. A lot harder than we thought we'd be.

And yesterday while thinking, "dang it! I can't wait to leave!" an idea was born.

#scarvessowedontstarve

Hand-crocheted scarves coming your way. And every penny will go towards buying us food on our trip. Won't you help us leave at the end of December? That's our new goal. And we're trying our damndest to make it happen.

Infinity scarves come in a variety of colors and patterns guaranteeing to be the only scarf like it in all the world! They'll keep you warm and cozy during this winter-which-came-too-early-and-promises-to-stay-too-long. They'd also make an excellent Christmas present. And you can feel extra good about your purchase since you're helping us achieve our dream, one scarf at a time. E-mail me at amroberds@gmail.com for prices ($40 or $60 depending on length), colors (you pick!), and styles (single or double looped and solid or multi-colored).

Whether or not you're a scarf fan, please help us spread the word by sharing our scarves for sale using the hashtag #scarvessowedontstarve. And of course, be sure to share your photos of you rockin' your hand-made scarf with that clever little hashtag! I can't wait to see them!

Cozy in our scarves,
The Roberds
(don't worry, Cooper's is being worked on as I type)

The one where we tell you why

We want this to be a place where we can be vulnerable with you. We want this to be a place where you can ask questions. We know we're not the first to embark on a crazy journey like this, but we also know we're in the minority of people who do. And since we want to take this journey with you, we thought it was about time to share a little bit of our hearts with you.

Here are our reasons for wanting to do this trip and a few things the past 11 months of marriage have taught us:

- We want to design a life we love. Life is short. Why waste it living in a way we don't enjoy? We aren't all about that 9-5 lifestyle. It isn't for us and we want to take a stand to show people (and ourselves) that kind of lifestyle isn't for everyone and that's okay. Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why we've created a society that demands us to have big houses and expensive cars? Then we spend most of our lives working a job that makes us miserable to sustain a lifestyle we can't even afford in the first place! Blows our minds. We want to break the cycle. We refuse to work our butts off for a lifestyle we don't even want.

- Adventure is so good for the soul, you guys. Traveling has always been a goal for us and a big part of our relationship. We live for our weekend adventures.  It fuels you and inspires you. It challenges you and shapes you. It educates you and invigorates you. The camping, the exploring, the hiking, the finding local restaurants and coffee shops, the shopping, the picture-taking, the people-meeting, all of it.

- The challenge. "It's supposed to be difficult. If it wasn't difficult, everyone would do it. The difficulty is what makes it great." We have faced judgment and negativity from friends and family in regards to doing this trip. But we've also bonded so deeply with souls who feel similarly to us. Encouragement and support have come from the most unlikely people and it's spoken to our hearts more than we could tell you. Going against the grain takes bravery and strength because we're doing something that is so against our American culture. But that's what makes us so passionate about it. There is nothing wrong with living the kind of life you want. We have no doubt overcoming the challenges this trip has brought and will continue to bring will give us some of our greatest joys of all. Finishing this trip will give us immense satisfaction that we were able to accomplish what we set out to do (and against all odds, too!). It will give us energy to face the next challenge.

- We want to intentionally invest time in our marriage.  As we speak, we are building a foundation in our marriage that is supposed to sustain us for the rest of our lives. We can't think of any other way we'd rather do that than by taking a break from life and relishing in one another. Marriage is hard, and we've only been doing it for 11 months. It is a commitment worthy of being worked on.

- We are in a time of transition. And you can bet your bottom there is no better way to transition than while traveling! We are saying goodbye to a chapter of our lives and welcoming a new one. We can't wait to learn more about ourselves and each other. Neither of us is quite sure where we're going to go from here. We don't feel a real draw to stay in Michigan forever, and we don't know what careers we want to pursue. We're still growing up and figuring things out. What better time to do some soul searching before we put our roots down and really start our life together? Grand Rapids has been great, but for some reason, it hasn't felt quite like home. We're excited at the idea of finding where our future home may be.

- Just for the heck of it. Let's not fail to mention the part of us that is thrilled about not having as many responsibilities and vacationing for 6 months. Now is the time!

Do you get it a little better now? We hope you see a little bit more of our hearts after reading that. It thrills us to have this conversation with you so please feel free to dialogue with us about these thoughts or share new ones!

Small paychecks and big memories here we come,
The Roberds

The one where we tell you about our trip

Friends and family,

Thanks so much for taking a second to read about our adventure! We are so happy to have you here. Grab something warm to drink and stay awhile. 

Joshua and I have been dreaming, scheming, planning, for a trip around the U.S. since last summer. A marriage and a puppy later and we are so excited to finally be making that dream a reality. We are planning on leaving at the end of October and traveling the United States for six months. We invested in a pop up camper that we have quickly fallen in love with, that Joshua and I, along with our Golden Retriever pup, Cooper, will be living out of. It's going to be an adventure and we couldn't be more excited.

We don't have too much of a plan and that's what thrills us the most. The logistics of this trip have been very well thought through, but how long we spend in each location? We're totally going with the flow on that one. This trip opens up so many opportunities for us it makes us giddy just thinking about them; growing Ashleigh's photography business, quality time spent together, and taking a step back from the daily grind to sort out where we want to go from here (occupationally, locationally, etc.) just to name a few. Since getting married, we have worked opposite schedules and the thought of spending six months simply just being together all day, everyday, absolutely THRILLS us. Here's to hoping we don't drive each other mad... :)

We want to go everywhere. We're most intrigued about heading out West as neither of us have been out there... California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Vancouver just to mention a few, but we plan on spending time in Washington D.C., Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, Utah, North and South Carolina, and anywhere else you think we should visit. To keep tabs on our whereabouts be sure to follow us both on Instagram: ashleighgrams & joshuascottr. 

Joshua and I are THRILLED to take my photography on the road with us. I am looking for every opportunity possible to do as many photoshoots on the road as I can. If you are in any location of the U.S. please feel free to contact me (find Ashleigh Roberds Photography on Facebook!!) so we can set up a shoot. We have looked into National and State parks who will pay photographers for photos of their parks. Josh and I are hoping to do photoshoots for families at every campsite and city we visit. The sky is the limit and we learn more about photography possibliites while on the road just about everyday. God truly blessed my photography business this past summer, and I can't wait to see what doors open up while we travel. I know this trip is going to present so many opportunities to get my name out there... all over the U.S. we hope!

We are so excited to have as many people involved in this adventure as possible. Have a place for us to stay? We would love to roadtrip to you. Have any photoshoots in mind? We would love to photograph you. Wanting to spend a week somewhere in the United States with us? Let us know where you want to meet up with us and we'll make it happen (we'll even kick Cooper off his bed in the pop up camper and let you have it... with clean sheets of course ;)). We're so excited to meet up with friends (new and old) and family all along the way and share every step of the journey with you.

So much love,
Joshua & Ashleigh Roberds (& Cooper too!!)


If you're interested in donating to our trip, head over to http://www.gofundme.com/eke7wo