Happy official first day of summer guys! I have had the day off today so I got a chance to chill and catch up from a busy weekend. This weekend was not only Father’s Day, but also my brother’s 17th birthday. Needless to say it was a super great weekend spent just enjoying life with my family. When my family gets together we always have a great time. We spend most of the time just being our crazy self and laughing constantly; I love that. It’s hard to believe my baby brother turned 17…..and that he is about twice my size (he was much cuter when he was little). ๐Ÿ™‚ Enjoy this adorable picture of him flexing his muscle (which he still does, often).

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Father’s Day shouldn’t be the only day we appreciate our dads but it definitely makes you think about how much they have done for you. My Dad has been such an incredible role model for me. He constantly puts God and his family first and has always striven to make my life as great as it can be. He swears I got my dance ability from him (even though that couldn’t be farther from the truth) and he is always doing something hilarious that makes me laugh until I cry. He’s kind of the coolest person ever (but don’t tell him that). So I was lucky enough to spend the whole day with him yesterday which was great because we hardly ever get to do that.

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We took a trip to Roan Mountain which is on the North Carolina and Tennessee state lines. The Rhododendron Gardens were in full bloom this week…and when I say full bloom I mean the place was bursting with lush bushes that held these beautiful pink flowers as far as you could see. The gardens loop around and there is an overlook that views the Blue Ridge Mountains with a bed of Rhododendron bushes in front; it was an amazing experience. These bushes are only in peak for 1 week in June, 2 weeks if it’s a good year, so I’m super glad we made it to see them.

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After exploring the gardens, we hiked to the top of the Round Bald. This hike was fairly easy, and gives you an amazing panoramic view of the NC and TN mountains on each sides. My Dad and I were both in awe at the beauty of it; I loved just sitting at the top and enjoying each moment with him. Rhododendron bushes side this trail as well, so it’s a beautiful hike up. The day was an overall success and definitely one that I will remember.

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Last year I went with my family and my boyfriend to Roan Mountain when the Rhododendrons were not at peak, and it was still a great experience. We hiked to the Roan High Bluffย this trip and the view was incredible! It wasn’t a hard hike but had a great lookout over the mountains. The trail itself was also beautiful with the leaves casting these enchanting shadows that looked almost magical. Going to the Roan almost any time of the year is beautiful.

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It has been a great weekend but now it’s time to get into overdrive mode because I have my first big dance competition in exactly one month! I am so excited but still feel like I have a lot to accomplish before then so I have to buckle down and work as hard as I can.

Work hard, hike hard, dance hard, love hard,

Ashlyn Tori <3