The Good, the Bad & All of the Struggles in Between: A Recap of the last three Months

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Donny Jenkins: Professional Bench Jeweler, Craftsman & Artisan

The last time you may have read our blog we had just came back from our first family trip to Gatlinburg TN! Since our return it has been nothing short of strictly business. When you decide to leave the corporate world of the 9-7 grind to pursue your own ambitions, dreams, goals and business ideas you are in a euphoric state of endless hopes and possibilities. Eventually — the very real hardness of what it is that you set out to do and accomplish becomes more like climbing a freezing mountain and less like an easy target. You enter a world of the good, the bad and all the struggles in between. You wake up every day and you trek that mountain. You brave the storms, the falling rocks and the exhaustion of fighting like hell to make all of your hard work come into fruition. Its a journey only a select few can understand. I really admire those who have climbed this Everest before us. Because with out you – my fellow entrepreneurs, dreamers and visionaries, this path would seem utterly impossible.

The Good: Over the past few months we have had the ability to connect with some really amazing customers and incredibly helpful & kind like minded people in the jewelry biz. Friends of ours have also helped to spread the “word” and send business our way (Thank you!)  And if it wasnt for the support of each other – pushing one another to give our all every single day and show up to pour our hearts into this business – I’m not really sure what.. Its no secret that we are beach people and have the dream and relentless drive to move our family to the sea. Two of the connections we have built over these past three months have been in the location we are going towards in the Gulf of Mexico along the beautiful Emerald Coast. We are people of faith and truly believe that those placed in our lives are not always just by a friendly coincidence – but rather for a very real purpose along our journey by the Man upstairs. OR… It really IS a coincidence and a hell of a good one! Either way, we feel so happy and blessed to have connected. With Donny as long time professional bench jeweler and artisan it is our goal to build lasting relationships to be able to serve other businesses through design and repair and people in our communities to the best of our ability. Jewelery after all – is not just a noun. It is a feeling, an emotion and a memory to cherish forever.

The Bad & All the Struggles In Between: Man. Oh man, the bad. “Sure! We are totally fine!” The lie we so easily catch ourselves saying to those around us more often then not. Or – perhaps its not a lie afterall and it’s our own way for us to cope through all of the financial strain, stress, pressures, fear and unexpected speed bumps along the way. No one said climbing this metaphorical entrepreneur mountain was going to be easy. We just have faith that when we reach a higher altitude, breathe that air and look down at how far we have fought to come it will be worth it. For Donny. For me. For our two children. For us all. It is hard to go from working a day job and still financially struggling ( you know.. making barely enough to survive yet too much to get help. The boat so many of us have been in or are currently living now) to still struggling but in more ways then before with even more on our plates. It takes a lot of grit, hustle, hope, faith and the DESIRE for more to survive this. And I know we will! You see – People like to mask the hard shit. The struggle. The ‘behind the scenes’ of a high light reel. You don’t often see the blood, the sweat and the tears. The sleepless nights full of worry or the bandaged hands behind the fight. It’s important to us to be raw and honest with you about our journey. From the beginning to the end. The good, the bad and all the struggles in between. And one day the view from the top of that mountain, our Everest.

 

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We have two of the best reasons in the world to never give up. And why you never will see us do so! Life is short. We have experienced many hardships together. And every day together is something that we are so grateful for. Then, now and always.

If you have made it this far reading our blog and have any questions please dont hesitate to ask!

With Love,

Ashley @PBD

The Great Smoky Mountains: All about our trip to Gatlinburg, places to eat and what to do!

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Great Smoky Mountain National Park

“Do you wanna just…. pack up and go? Tell no one and hit the road?”  – YES.

A few weeks ago we decided to take a 3 day trip! We booked our hotel, packed and hit the road the very next morning. We love to travel and crave a lifestyle of adventure so we were excited for a very spontaneous trip out of Ohio! I thought I would share with you a little about our trip, where we ate and things to do!

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Black Bear Inn & Suites

The hotel we stayed in was called the Black Bear Inn & Suites. This hotel was at the tail end of the Gatlinburg strip close to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Even though our trip was chilly it was a beautiful change in scenery. This was our first family trip together to the mountains and 9 years since Donny and I visited for our honeymoon! So within our tiny window of two and a half days we crammed in as much fun as we possibly could!

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Our view in the Ober Gatlingburg Aerial Tramway

Our first half day was mainly just our check in, taking in the views, unloading and finding food! We ate, walked, swam in the hotel pool and planned our next full day which included getting up early for ME to have a minor heart attack on the Ober Gatlinburg Aerial Tramway. The view to the top of the mountains were breathtakingly beautiful. Looking out you would see gorgeous snow-covered mountain tops that were back-lit by golden sun rays. Unfortunately, somewhere over the course of the past 10 years I have developed a fear of heights! So to the elderly gentleman who stood next to me as we rose to the top while Final Destination played on repeat in my mind – THANK YOU for laughing and telling me I was going to be okay. And I am also sorry for being that random woman fighting her urge to get down on all fours and hold the floor for comfort LOL. But seriously….. #Iprobablypoopedmypants

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View from the top of the Gatlinburg Sky Lift

Once we got off of the Tramway onto the mountain we were greeted by games, Ice Skating (which we also did!), over priced pizza and to us, the high light of our entire trip; this view from taking the Gatlinburg Sky Lift.  When we finally reached the top our 15 minute sky lift to the view above it made everything worth it. The drive, the traffic, the fear I felt inside of the tramway – everything. This was not just the highlight of our trip but was also a major highlight of our lives. When you’re standing at the top you are engulfed in a special silence only heard in the mountains. That alone silence is filled with only the distant sound of  birds and crisp air passing through the tree tops. You feel so small just standing there in all of Gods glorious masterpiece. I don’t think we spoke for the first 5 minutes because we were in awe just processing these feelings and this once in a lifetime view. But alas.. we have kids (haha) so after those precious 5 minutes of silence it was broken with all of the “I’m hungry’s, Can we have hot chocolate’s, and the Im cold’s” (hee hee)… So back down we went a few moments later to that over priced pizza I mentioned above and to some warm hot cocoa! I should also mention that one of the view finders here is one of the only ones in America made for those that are color blind to be able to see in color. And a special thank you to Ronnie who works at the top for his stories and his recommendation for the scenic bypass drive .

 

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We finished up our day by heading back down to the strip to explore. We went to the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies  and visited places like Sugarlands Distillery to get Peanut Butter and Jelly Moonshine, various tourist-y trap type museums and to eat at a really unexpectedly tasty good place called Blaine’s Grill and Bar. (I recommend the Fajitas!)

 

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White Oak Eggs Benedict

On our last day we went to across the street from our hotel and had one of the BEST breakfast at this restaurant called, Crockets Breakfast Camp. When you walk in you feel like you are transported back in time into a log cabin with a roaring fire. There are sticky buns and fresh baked bread in the window for you to drool over while you wait. (Which we did drool over, of course) I got the White Oak Eggs Benedict with cured ham and potatoes. IT WAS AMAZING. Our daughter got a Dutch Baby pancake about 2 inches thick, our son the french toast and Donny enough bacon and candied apples to make him happy for life! So, if you’re ever in the area you will not be disappointed! And the portions are mountain-man-grizzly sized. (Is that even a thing?) No complaints from us!

 

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Site seeing and picking our goodies from the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen

We made a final stop at our favorite candy factory to pick up some fudge, honey, jams and goodies at the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen. I am so attracted to this place because of where it is located in the Villiage Shops and the entire feel of the whole store! The chocolate-on-chocolate truffles are delicious! (Especially with that PB&J moonshine 😉

 

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The last and final thing we decided to do as a family before leaving was taking a scenic drive through the Gatlinburg Bypass to catch some last minute mountain views. There really is not a bad seat in the house. ❤

 

I hope you enjoyed this little blog post about our recent trip to the Great Smoky Mountains in Gatlingburg Tennessee! If you have been here and also have recommendations Id love to hear them!

 

xoxo –

Ashley