How to Make Your Road Trip a Success

You’re out of your parents’ place and hungry to see the world for the first time on your own, but limited to the budget of a college student. No problem! Follow a few of these tips to help make the most of your exploring.

My sister and I recently hopped in our 2011 “mom car”, headed west to see the ocean for our Thanksgiving break. San Diego was our destination, but that’s about all we knew. With a “we’ll wing it” mindset, our only agenda was to lay in the sand and have some acai. Here are a few things we would suggest to ace your next road trip…

  1. Make a playlist

The radio gets old after about two hours when you’ve heard “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran about 5 times already. Make a playlist with a variety of genres, throwbacks, and those songs you can’t help but belt out beforehand. Download it; this way you won’t have to waste that precious data. Having a solid playlist that will last you a few hours is essential and will make those long stretches of highway fly by. Also, add a motivational podcast or sermon in the queue.

  1. Have good company

In life in general, it is so important to surround yourself with people that bring out the best in you and that you are sure to have a fun time with. Luckily, my sister is one of my best friends. While there were times I wish I had an eject button under her car seat (too far?), we had extended time to just talk about each other’s lives and we shared memories together that will last a lifetime.

  1. Google free things to do

Google and Yelp are your two best friends on a vacation. Spending hours at the beach and going hiking were two of the highlights of our trip and both didn’t cost a dime. Check for free museums or visit landmarks. Or go window shopping in a popular area (if you have better self-control than me).

  1. Split meals

So, what happens when you see a super cute waterfront restaurant on Instagram, but your minimum wage income will not be happy about those entrée prices? You don’t have to say no to those spots. Share a dish and stop for ice cream on the way back to your hotel if you’re not fully satisfied. It’s a win-win situation.

  1. Ask for suggestions

Most people will love to show off the place they live. Fortunately, we had a few friends from the area who were kind enough to keep us company and willing to show us around. If you aren’t able to meet up with friends, ask people while you’re out what their favorite restaurants are or message someone you know on Instagram for their “must do” list.

  1. Avoid paying for parking

This may mean parking a little further away from your location and walking or check if it’s cheaper to take an Uber from your hotel out to dinner.

  1. Take lots of pictures

I’m a firm believer that you only regret the pictures that you didn’t take. Photos are a way to make your trip seem to last a little longer.

What are the essentials for your road trip adventures? Don’t let money (or too much homework) keep you from seeing more of this great world.

Go & Make Disciples

Whether we are aware of it or not, God is constantly at work. But, sometimes He call us to unplug and be temporarily liberated from everyday distractions. To be blunt, the world does not revolve around us, privileged Americans, although we often act like it does.

Short term mission trips in high school were powerful experiences that radically shaped my faith and opened my eyes to a world far bigger than my midwest suburb. The summer before my junior year I went to the south side of Chicago and the year after, I was a part of a mime ministry in Guatemala. God pushed me outside of my comfort zone to show me that he is moving in all places. Traveling outside of my bubble gave me perspective and a great love for His people, people of all skin colors and economic backgrounds.

Now, going on a mission trip is also probably one of the least glamorous experiences. I remember in Guatemala, my homestay was infested with these giant cockroaches. No, seriously… like the bugs the size of a baseball crawling uncontrollably next to the makeshift toilet I was using. Attire consists of your I-showered-four-days-ago hair and sweaty t-shirts. On top of that beauty, I was proven wrong that you can experience diarrhea and vomiting simultaneously (ok TMI, Aly).

So, come on. Why would anyone voluntarily do something like this?

You will experience God on a mission trip. Stripped of everything comfortable and free from daily pressures, you are fully dependent on God. You start to see the world in a new light. You feel the presence of God in the most honest and raw way. You get to love on people, but your soul is fed too. After all, the Bible says to go and make disciples of all nations.

This summer, I felt called to go on another short term mission trip. I am nervous, but stoked to be going to the Dominican Republic on a vocational mission trip through the Honors College at Grand Canyon University from May 14 to May 26 of this year. The trip cost is $2000 and I know God is going to provide.

I want to ask you to join me in what God is going to do in the Dominican Republic on this trip. The most important thing is to cover this trip in prayer, but if you feel led to donate financially, a link is attached & your giving is tax deductible. Thank you so much in advance for supporting me. I am beyond thankful for the people God has placed in my life. I love you all.

Team Member ID – GCUHonorsDRJ18-03
Personal Donation Link –

Graphic by the lovely @beeberries_


Sunday Brunch: MPLS Edition

Writing this is frankly just going to make me want to book a flight home so I can order pumpkin pancakes in a place that actually feels like autumn. If you have the privilege to enjoy brunch in this crisp, beautiful time or any of our other seasons, check out some of these spots.

The Copper Hen: I obsess over this rustic, farmhouse-chic restaurant. If you’ve visited me in Minnesota, odds are that I have taken you here. It’s a place to show off because of the attention to detail in the decor, friendly staff, & if you come back later in the day (or not) indulge in the skillet chocolate chip cookie.

Eggy’s Diner: Shameless plug for how close this is to Wooddale Church Loring Park, but the updated American comfort food is worthy of a top three position. Order their Nutella crepes with bananas and strawberries and try to argue with me that there isn’t a God after that!

Glam Doll Donuts: Technically not a brunch place, I still had to include this donut shop. While I hesitantly admit to trying their mac & cheese donut, their other artistic, gourmet sugar creations are almost too pretty to eat.

Minneapolis is full of casual yet delicious brunch places and the city is not short of beautiful pastry shops and coffee hangouts. I hope you enjoy brunch in my favorite city as much as I do.



Now taking my phone tubing down the Salt River was for sure not my wisest decision. It’s one of those choices you make knowing your hindsight may hate you for it, but the snap story was apparently worth the risk.

After 5 hours going down the river, we thought ourselves and phones made it out alive. One friend losing her tube and left to hold onto a tree in the middle of a rapid was something we could all laugh off; another friend’s phone at the bottom of the river right as we were exiting for the day, not so funny. Thankful that I even had my phone, checking for water damage didn’t even cross my mind and to my luck that night my precious iPhone glitched a slow death. RIP those hard earned snap streaks.

Aside from the petty social media stuff, what was I going to use as an alarm to get up for work the next day? How could I possibly get a good workout in without music? And you can bet I’m going to get lost in this city without directions.

I’m currently on day 6 without a phone and honestly, I don’t want my new one to arrive in the mail. First because those new monthly payments are going to be a reminder of my stupidity of bringing a phone with me down a river and second because life is just so much simpler without it. Not only have I been so much more productive this week, but I have noticed people so much more than when I am consumed with looking at a screen throughout my day. Now, going phone-less is not what I am advocating here; I love the creativity of social networks and, heck, I hope for it to be my profession someday, but this forced cleanse was what I needed.

It’s funny because earlier that week I had mentioned to my roommate that I was thinking about taking some time away from social media. I love God’s humor. He probably knew I wasn’t about to do it on my own.

Maybe you need to unplug too. It could just be a day leaving your device back in your dorm or deleting one specific app for a time that seems to pull at all your attention. Let God open your eyes to things you otherwise wouldn’t notice. What is He waiting to show you?

Sunday Brunch: PHX Edition

I may be biased, but I think I get to live in two of the greatest cities during the calendar year. Fortunately, Minneapolis and Phoenix both have a brunch scene worth bragging about. I may discredit myself here by saying I don’t like egg dishes and I would be in complete understanding if you think I should be the last person to discuss brunch, but anything that started as a delicious batter, count me in.


While Snooze and Matt’s Big Breakfast seem to be the monopoly of the brunch picture in Phoenix, I want to advocate for some of the underdogs here.

Chestnut: One of those casual, yet instragram-able-spots-in-every-corner kind of place. I found myself with a beautiful plate of chicken and waffles (in which I consumed even before I could get that picture). With their focus on farm-to-table dining, support of other local businesses and a view of Camelback mountain this should be on your list of places for an after church brunch.

Fàme Caffe: Fresh squeezed orange juice in a mason jar. Do I need to say anything more? This spot not only perfects food presentation, but the New American food doesn’t disappoint in freshness either. This trendy atmosphere is catered with crayons. Yes, crayons. Let your creative flags fly as you get to draw on the tables and wait for that french toast with local berries from this family-owned joint.

Morning Glory Caffe: Prepare to wait to get a spot on the patio at this open-air spot on South Mountain. But fear not; there is a beautiful farm to walk around with local vendors making for a gorgeous morning outdoors. Trust me that this seasonal, market menu is worth the wait and the unique dining experience is a must-try.

Stay tuned for some of my go-to brunch places in Minneapolis.