Throwback: The Weekend my Peter Pan Heart Turned a Year Older

I’ve been slacking on the updates, I know so I thought I’d do a little throwback to my birthday weekend. For the first time in a long, long time my birthday didn’t fall on the same weekend as Thanksgiving so I decided to make the most of it and roadtrip to Athens! The Cherry Blow Dry bar in Tallahassee was having a grand opening special, so that Friday I decided to get my first blow out. OhMyGoodness all the people who rave about them on Twitter aren’t lying. It’s fabulous to feel like…put together for a snippet of time.

The drive to Georgia that afternoon was just what I needed. There’s something healing about those country roads, even if you’re not broken.

When I arrived, Kaylynn and went to get dinner at Taco Stand. It’s this little mexican restaurant that’s super random, but really delicious. And it worked well for our pre-going out meal the last time I’d been in town. (Under much better circumstances this time, not in a state of turmoil over pending transitions in my life – though there were still plenty of transitions to come.) Afterwards we went next door and hung out with her neighbor Brady and his younger brother Drew. We jammed out to some Billy Joel (I’m not even kidding – how reminiscent of sophomore year of college is that?!) and some country music while we played Cards Against Humanity (my first time!) Later on we went downtown, which just turned into an epic evening, even if it started raining on us. We bar hopped, we celebrated one of their friends finding out he was having a baby, and of course birthday celebrating ensued. We rode UGA’s version of Night Nole, and there was a group celebrating a guy’s birthday and the bus broke out in song and also football chants. I love spirit like that. We laughed, and drank, and ran around town talking and dancing. It was one of those nights where we stayed up til 5am. When we got home there was a random kid’s debit card with us? Who the heck knows. The next morning started off kind of rough when I poured Kaylynn’s chemical solution in my eye and freaked out I might go blind. But it’s nothing a little Bojangle’s breakfast couldn’t remedy. We took the dogs out to play in the parking lot, and the poor neighbor’s dog accidentally knocked it’s tooth out on the curb! See what I mean about the types of ridiculousness that automatically ensue?  Later on we tailgated, and made delicious mixed coffee drinks and mingled and played corn hole. Then we borrowed the neighbor’s student ID, and I went to my first UGA football game. That was a totally fun experience. Then we went downtown and stayed up late into the night again.

It was a weekend that was full of my favorite things. I love meeting new people, but feeling instantly connected – like you’ve known each other forever. I love walking in groups on city sidewalks, and I love laughing til my stomach hurts. I love great conversation, the kind where you can say “oh my gosh! You too?!” rambling on about vinyl, film, running, and all aspects of life. These are the kind of times that make me feel totally alive. It’s the most simple, purest way to inject love into life. It was one of the most fun birthdays I’ve ever had.

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This was my hair post blow-out. Thanks, Cherry Dry Bar!

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Love those Georgia roads.

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Classic: The Taco Stand.

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The Blue Moon sampler pack my dad gave me!

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Story of our lives. (Big/Little pic.)

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This is Drew! Pretty sure I took this when we went back to Sand Bar after we temporarily lost the group. (Brady went to get pizza by himself!)

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It was a Snapchat filled weekend.

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Bojangles!

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Beautiful fall foilage.

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Perfection: getting to hangout with my little AND my grandlittle in the same day. Happy heart.

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Family line photo.

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Bob – love this kid!

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Kay got me a cookie cake!

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Tailgate randomness with the dogs.

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Brady and I at the game.

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Me, Kay, and Drew at the game.

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Another Snapchat.

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Group photo!

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Snapchat snapchat snapchat.

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Kaylynn showed me the magic of a curling wand.

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And to close it out, the gorgeous sunset on my drive back to Florida.

It turns out, this year my birthday happens to be the week before Thanksgiving once again! We’ll just have to wait and see what kind of shenanigans we can get into then, but this was a fabulous start to kick off 26!

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Ohh oh we’re halfway there…

Well, look at that? How many times have I sat in a room, somewhere in this state thinking about the future? I mean, there’s only so much thinking you can do. Only so much preparation. At some point, it just comes. The future arrives and you’re in it. Right in the middle of it, whether you’re ready for it or not. So, I’m just going to remember how all those other times I didn’t really have much of an idea what was ahead of me then either. The summer when I got that envelope in the mail in Inverness, telling me about who my roommate would be in the all girls dorm at FSU. Freshman year trying to figure out housing for the next year, thinking maybe I’d live in New Hall with my big sister? And then getting a spot in the sorority house and matched with a girl who I wasn’t very close with at the time. Look where that brought me? Two years of an awesome roommate, a lifelong sister and friend. Summer after sophomore year having one of the most amazing experiences of my life studying abroad in London. Living in a “flat” with one of the most amazing girls I know, who would have known then that little lady would be the one to inspire me to run years later? Junior year, after a trying time, and trying to figure out an internship for summer and all kinds of other weird stuff you try to pretend you’re planning going into senior year of college – and then look! I wound up in the senior annex living with another sister would become one of my greatest friends. That whole house brought me all these friendships I might not have stumbled upon otherwise. Friendships that would last years later. A lifetime later. And then when I left Tallahassee and came back, there Camille was again to offer me a place to stay. Then I found Alex and who’d have thought answering a random Craigslist ad would bring me to the position that it did? Another “lifer” friend, an amazing housemate, and it’s been a good run. I don’t know what’s next. I have no idea. But one way or another it’ll work out, and probably, most likely, I think I’d even bet on it that whatever’s next…it’ll be more amazing than the slightly in the back of my head kind of panicky me could imagine. I just have to get there. And I will. Because pretty soon there won’t be a choice, it’ll just…be. But until then! Onwards and upwards right?

Wanderlust Wednesday: BKD Wedding Recap

Happy third of July y’all! After an afternoon doctor’s appointment, I’ll be hitting the (rainy) road to the beach so I’m sure my posts over the next few days may be a little sporadic. I guess that’s not new though, right? Today’s is a different kind of “Wanderlust Wednesday” post, a little reflection on last weekends roadtrip to Destin, Florida! Ohh man, the wedding weekend was great fun. 

On our way to Destin we stopped at an exit in Bonifay. We both needed a bathroom break, and maybe a snack. Of course there was a line, and then we decided to buy icecream (umm I know great roadtrip breakfast right?) and the woman working locked herself in the employee breakroom on the phone before she checked us out at the counter. Awwwkward. Then we hit crazy traffic on the way into Destin. So, I attempted to practice guitar. Then we went on a jacket hunt adventure at the outlets, (and of course a visit to JCrew was due because the whole store was 50% off!) Finally, we met up with my brother and his girlfriend for lunch at Harbor Docks. What a quirky, delicious little restaurant. I kid you not, the menu had photos of the cooks on it, and they served seafood, thai food, and sushi. You would think that’d make for weird service, but no I totally recommend it. Megan asked me about Bonnaroo so of course, lunch convo was fun haha. Luckily we were able to check into our hotel smoothly, and I literally got ready in about fifteen minutes, and we were still able to make it to the wedding early! 

It honestly was one of the most beautiful ceremonies I’ve ever witnessed. I’m not an automatic wedding crier, and this one brought me to tears. I was so proud. Not to mention they’re a beautiful couple, and their love for one another is so visible it’s impossible not to smile at. The reception had so many personal touches to it, as well. Very sweet and great fun! It’s not very often that I don’t know a first dance song at a wedding (since you guys know I’m such a music freak,) but theirs was “My Love” by Third and Union and oh.my.goodness. SO SWEET. I have listened to it on Spotify multiple times now because I’m a dork like that. (And the six flower girls all huddled on the floor together watching the dance? Ohh, my heart.) Katie’s dad’s band sang a song (how cool!), and they had a really good band playing all kinds of music. The food was delicious, they had a cool teal signature drink called “Swamp Juice,” and our table mates were fun. (Ohh more, convincing conversation for me to head out to Portland. GAH!) Plus, it was so great to be reunited with my pirate friends. You know, as we get older the times where we’re all together in one place at the same time (under celebratory circumstances,) occur less often so I’ve learned to treasure them each time the opportunity comes. All the hugs are a little tighter, the laughs a little deeper, and the moments a little sweeter.

I’m not going to bombard you, but here are a couple of my favorite photos from the weekend (sorry about the bad iPhone photo quality, that’s why I switched to my camera!):

Okay, Okay I guess a little bombarding. I couldn’t be happier for these sweet friends starting their new adventure in life together! And to all of you readers, Have a Happy Wednesday!

PS: Look at this awesome rainbow on the drive back to Tally!

Throwback Thursday: Lifelong Friends

This weekend, I’m hitting the road again. Larry and I are headed to Destin to see one of my oldest, dearest friends get married to his sweet fiance! I’ve been friends with Brad, Kyle, and Charlie since kindergarten. That’s twenty years of life right there. We coined ourselves the Pirates back in highschool, and they were my great adventure partners. We’d explore in the dried up lakes, go canoeing when there was enough water, roam the country club on nighttime golfcart rides (oh! the year I was on the golf team haha,) hit up Huddle House at odd hours of the night, they’d watch Degrassi with me since Charlie was the only one of us with that channel. Late night swims where they might’ve practiced scuba diving, or jumping off far too high awnings, climb trees (though I might’ve needed assistance getting down,) go to basketball games together, hit up Ocala just for Moe’s (small town kid life, alright?), sometimes head to the beach just for a day. Getting our liscenses definitely broadened our adventure scales – oh the places we could explore! Sometimes, that just meant finding an icecream shop that was open, and jamming out in the car with the windows down. Even being able to drive though, I can’t tell you how many countless nights we ended up just hanging out in the kitchen at Charlie’s house talking about life, looking up music, watching random videos on the internet. Aren’t the times you spend doing absolutely nothing, some of the best though? Of course, our ideas didn’t always align. (Very conservative versus my liberal self, and the lone Seminole in a room full of Gators – this led to a heated argument or two, and maybe some fierce pingpong matches.) They’d be just as down for a game of Guess Who or throwing darts, as they were to go hangout at this smokey dive bar in our hometown and throwaway money on the Jukebox, down Irish Car Bombs, or sing kareoke. As Maroon 5 would tell you, it’s not always rainbows and butterflies, we’ve known each other long enough to hit some rough patches of life too – the hard stuff memorial services, family life changes, all kinds of stuff. Love these boys through thick and thin, and it’s been nice to know someone has your back. I’m so excited to see them all so happy about life, and so excited to celebrate with them this new chapter in Brad & Katie’s life! So! Today I’ve got a little photo spam of some highlights over the years. These boys are always down for making crazy faces with my ridiculous amounts of photo taking, so I’ve got some randoms:

Georgia Roads Bring Us Home

Passing somewhere through the middle of Georgia, after we finally found a rest stop. Bonnaroovians padded slowly down the same sidewalks, sleepy eyed and dazed after days of adventures. I watched a dark haired boy reach his tanned hand through the bars shielding the vending machine, attempting to retrieve some kind of snack. The moms dragging their toddlers across the slick restroom floors, didn’t know how odd it seemed to be using a bathroom with lights and flushing, and running water in the sink. We’d grown accustomed to the plastic box life of portapotties, and keeping a roll of toilet paper in your backpack, and following the path to a dusty street in early morning light. This early morning light was different. We were still alive with possibility, but sleep was battling for my brain waves and all my thoughts started to get hazy in the struggle to resist. I may have nodded off for a few minutes. I may have surrendered to the dreamy thoughts, not ready for all our beautiful moments to start the transformation into memories, a distance that can’t be crossed once it’s been created. I could only think of this land, a paradise carved out from the rest of the world where worries can’t reach you, and every stranger is a new friend to be made. The stories of these gorgeous people, and their journeys and their exquisite passion for life resounded in my ears lulling me to sleep. When I awake, my dreams weren’t real dreams, they were revisited thoughts of the same things I was pondering before I took that snooze. My mind is littered with the sensation of wet grass beneath your feet, moonlight bathing an open field in a soft glow, and the ease that accompanies life and the people you entwine yours with when you are absolutely, positively yourself. Love in its purest form because there’s no space for anything else.

Wanderlust Wednesday: Tennessee Edition

Remember when I promised I’d share a few pics from my trip to Tennessee? Well, I know I am a total slacker but here I am with photos to share!

I just love airports, so I had to snap a shot of the “Welcome to Knoxville” sign.

And my view from the adorable row of rocking chairs, located across from a Starbucks. I sat and drank coffee, and chatted with my mom, and skimmed Jon Acuff’s Stuff Christians Like.

The title of my Facebook album was appropriately “Tennessee Stole My Heart.” Because my goodness, it did. Even the dog park was gorgeous!

Codey got to play with lots of other dogs.

One of my favorite parts was this gigantic used book warehouse called McKay’s.

Nerd heaven, I’m telling you.

This wine bar called Drink. is one of the coolest ideas ever.

Could we have asked for more beautiful scenery on the roadtrip to Nashville?

This angle makes it look like a short distance across, but that was not the case. The rock I landed on was not very sturdy and into the water I went.

Relaxing on the deck in the sun, airing out my shoe, munching on Dill Pickle pork rinds. (I recommend!)

Playing tourist in front of the Loveless Cafe sign.

These hot biscuits with homemade preserves? Worth the wait.

Southern Biscuit Sampler with hashbrown casserole. Ohmyword.

Goo Goo Cluster pie that I saved for a “midnight” (more like 3am ha) snack.

Your guess is as good as mine and what exactly this means? Dentist convention?

Happy hour at the hotel where we made new friends.

Love this pretty lady.

This is a classic Leah/Megs photo.

Canadian money from our new friends.

We decided it was a must to go to Jack in the Box since neither of us had ever been. Forget the fact that we had just eaten breakfast.

Someone needs to get Florida involved in this deliciousness. Mini churros!

Grand Ole Opry woo!

Shoutout to Blake!

Gorgeous flowers!

Delicious portobello eggplant sandwich at Fido.

Windy walk to explore Vanderbilt campus.

Seriously beautiful.

How cool is this bike rental system?

Mmm Whiskey Pecan and Salted Caramel icecream with a shot of espresso from Hot/Cold.

So there ya go! I am a little bit (and by that I mean a TON) in love with Tennessee now, and believe you me this will not be my last visit. I can’t tell you how many sweepstakes I’ve entered for country music festival/award show tickets in Nashville this past month, haha. Fingers crossed 😉

Jax Weekend Recap: Stranded to Rescued and a Celebrity Meet & Greet Come True

PART ONE

Oh my. How about that premature St.Patrick’s Day post the other day? How would I have known all those mentioned activities were this close to not going into fruition?! I was just chugging along I-10 on my way to Jacksonville destination (one): Florida Theatre – Lisa Loeb. Then out of nowhere, I hear this weird clicking noise so I turned down Phoenix on Pandora Radio, so I can listen. Then the clicking noise stops, and about a minute later (my car that’s on cruise control at 75) seems to be slowing down on its own? My foot wasn’t on the break, so I press the accelator, and…nothing. It’s gone from 75mph to 50mph in about zero seconds. I try not to freak out, so I start to pull over to the shoulder of the road and before I can even get the car all the way in the grass to park – it shuts off! None of the lights had turned on or anything, and to make things more crazy – the car has filled up with smoke. Me and my wild imagination immediately envision the car bursting into flames, so I grab my purse so I at least half some money and an ID, grab my phone (which is all wrapped up in the car charger, trying to trap me in the smoking vehicle,) and literally like attempted to jump out of the car. Of course it’s tilted on the side of the road so the door was too heavy (and there was traffic) to open all the way and it comes swinging back and slams on my knee which has been a lovely shade of green and purple this week, ha! So then in m efforts to escape I ran to the woods, and called my Dad. I know, always calling the parents – but hello! I didn’t know if I was about to be in a Fast and the Furious scene on the side of I-10 in the middle of nowhere. What went down next was a very long ordeal of a thousand phone calls, and amazing people coming to my rescue. I was trying to stay calm but got pretty freaked at some points because I was on the side of the road, by myself, dressed for the concert, scared to get back in the smoking car – and I could hear voices coming from the woods. Is this not the perfect scenario for every horror movie you’ve never wanted to watch? Phone call after phone call, lots of text messages. Where the heck to get it towed to, where was I, etc. The guy from the insurance company was like “hey, not to make you feel worse but I had a Mustang and it sounds like almost the same thing that happened to be. Unfortunately it was a serious problem.” Oh great thanks! What’s that place you want to tow it to? Pineda? Vaneda?! Oh you don’t know? Me neither, I think that’s probably not the best choice. OH my word. I eventually walked back to the car, so I’d be closer by and after like an hour and a half a cop comes pounding on my window. What’s going on? What are you doing? What happened? Is someone coming? Oh you know, I just like to chill on the side of the road for fun. Anyway. So! As fate would have it, a friend of a friend was also enroute to Jax and would actually be passing me on the side of I-10. I went from being alone, to then Jules (to the rescue! who first pulled up to a van with a family and a bunch of confused children as to why she was approaching them,) then my cousin! Who left his hang out to come save the day and because he didn’t like me chillin on the side of the interstate by myself, and thennn a tow truck all at the same spot. I am so eternally grateful to my cousin Tim, and to Jules for helpin a girl out. Like seriously. Life savers. And my parents for their patience, since they were trying to help from a baseball game in Panama City. And Beth the friend I was enroute to visit, for orchestrating the rescue to Jacksonville. I mean seriously? Way to pull through and ignite my faith in humanity. No one had to do anything they did, and it really meant a lot. I tweeted on the side of the road about being disappointed since I’d wanted to see Lisa Loeb since like middle school. SHE TWEETED ME BACK! “Oh no! Someone call triple a” eek! I had kind of just let myself try and accept that if I could even get there, it’d be worth whatever came of the weekend. And you know what? After a crazy adventure in weird directions and getting stuck waiting for the longest train ever to come through Jules got me there in time! (And we had a nice girl talk on the way over, and that was nice after being in the middle of no where by myself with just my thoughts.) I didn’t even miss her! How that magically worked out? Ohh definitely not by my doing. Apparently, according to the woman seated next to me (who’d seen LL seventeen years ago with Lyle Lovett, and then later at Lilith Fair) the opener had gotten stranded in Dallas, so I didn’t miss that either. (I guess one of the band members of Nine Stories, played in the meantime?)

Now, after all these years look what happened! I had the pleasure of meeting her. I bought that poster she signed and spelled my name right! She told the woman who took our photo, “we tweeted each other! We talk on Twitter.” Because you know the first thing out of my mouth was “I was the girl who tweeted about being stuck in the middle of nowhere!” And she was like oh no that was you! Did you get to see the show? I’m so glad! ahh etc. but my brain is mush because I was so in awe. She’s just as beautiful and awesome in person as she seemed in my head all these years.

The show was incredible, too. She was so funny on stage. And she played so many songs! Wishing Heart, Truthfully, Jake, I Do, Stay, Dance with the Angels, Snow Day, Hurricane, Bring Me Up, This even The Disappointing Pancake! And several songs from No Fairy Tale! Ohh, I thought my heart might explode. She’s just so talented, and I was trying to soak it all in, each note, each strum. She had some anecdotes to go along with the songs too, and it really felt like she was just having a normal conversation with the audience.

So yeah, just like a friend said – what had temporarily seemed like a bit of a nightmare turned into a pretty memorable night, in a good way.

To be continued…