Ride the Wave

So, I’m sitting in the computer lab of my apartment complex typing this because I haven’t had internet for five days. (If I did, I’d hope that I’d have been back on the bandwagon of making regular posts.) Conveniently enough the computer lab is right next to the gym, so that all worked out. And I just happened to make a new friend. Well, anytime I have a connecting conversation with a stranger I tend to use the phrase “made a new friend.” But either way, positivity spread. It’s kind of rejuvenating sitting at a desk space being productive, though. And I brought goldfish, which probably the weird orb security camera above me disapproves of, but that just means Century Link should go ahead and fix my internet!

Today has been a day of days. This week marks a little more than a year since I’ve worked at my current job, which is crazy if you think about the past year. So much has changed, so much has happened in such a short span of time. How have all these months been so filled with friends and family and adventure? New experiences, repeats of favorite old experiences, memories, losses, growth. Change is inevitable, and most of the time it’s out of our control. Lately I’ve been reminding myself that because so many things are beyond my grasp of control. So the things that I can affect I just have to be very intentional about. In the meantime, I’m trying to remember to flow with the wave of life right now.

(Sunset on the way back from Mexico Beach last week.)

In other news my days have been filled with parks, happy hours, good phone conversations, family time, friend time, sunsets of cotton candy colored skies, walks and walks, puppies. Lots of puppy play times! Today a friend a few stores over brought over surprise egg rolls and fortune cookies. Last night I went and saw “Boyhood” and went to sushi with two of my cousins. Saturday my brother and I fiiiinally got to have a sibling dinner at Burrito Border, which hadn’t happened in quite sometime. While I was doing my cool down on the bike at the gym, Shelby and I reminisced over my time as house manager and VP in our sorority house. (And how somehow that turned into me being the person in charge of the internet, even after I graduated?) It’s funny to look back on all of those times now, and impossible not to laugh at the absurdity of being awoken in the middle of the night because someone wanted me to kill a bug in their room, or the buffet was leaking downstairs, or a girl locked herself out of her room and wanted me to call a locksmith. I’d like to think all these crazy circumstances were prep for something in this life, and I think they very well were.

(Meet Chief, one of my favorite puppies on the planet.)

Expect the unexpected. Life is full of surprises. Sometimes, beautiful ones. 

(Like these flowers waiting on my doorstep two weeks ago.)

 

Life’s Little Surprises

You know how sometimes life just makes you tired, and then you start not wanting to do things after work or make plans or whatever just because you’re so sleepy all the time? (No? Just me?) I’m someone who completely enjoys my time of decompressing, whether that means reading or writing, watching Netflix, laying on the floor listening to music, practicing guitar (not exactly relaxing, yet) cooking…whatever it is, I just enjoy being still and alone and not having anyone try and rush me around. That’s great, when it’s needed…like Sunday and Monday this week were for me. I ran tons of errands, took care of my little check list of things I wanted to get done before the semester starts and things are crazy at the store again.

My point in all of this is the flipside to that. All the things I said to say yes to? Even when you’re starting to get tired. I’m the kind of person who thrives off the momentum of all that activity. Until I hit a brick wall of exhaustion. But then I just need a little recharge, and it’s time to go again.

Last week I went to Food Truck Thursday out at Lake Ella with my friend Jamie. We hadn’t seen each other since the beginning of summer, so there was so much to catch up on. We decided to forgo real food, and skipped right to dessert with Big Easy Sno Cones. It was a nice evening because we sat on the front porch and watched the sunset across the street, and had time to just talk and talk. Which is basically my favorite thing to do. On my way to meet her though, I ran into another friend on the sidewalk who I’d known for years for but we never really hang out. We’d mentioned it a couple times at the beginning of summer, but never really made it a point to make plans. We decided to put an end to that last week, so yesterday we met up at one of my favorite little bars in Tallahassee, (Fermentation Lounge that’s over in the All Saints District.) Oh my goodness. Such a good time. We were there for a few hours just talking and talking, swapping life stories, and similarities, and a shared appreciation for our college friends, and adventure and travel and lots of laughter mixed in.

Even though my weeks lately have been packed with activity, it just reminded me of the little surprises life can through in throughout the days. If I hadn’t made my initial food truck plan with Jamie, I wouldn’t have run into my other friend and probably wouldn’t have been so intentional about making plans for us to hang out.

It just reminded me that as the easiness of summer starts to fade away in a couple weeks that I need to remember all these great evenings, and mornings, and mid-days, I’ve had these past few months. The time carved out from the days, even when the other compartments of life seem to drain the energy, quality time with people is so refreshing and rejuvenating in itself.

So, there you have it. That’s my encouragement for now. Don’t get stuck in a rut. Don’t spend too much time psyching yourself up to do things, just go do them. Find new friends. Invest in the relationships that click in life. And just enjoy yourself and make the most of the time you have, whatever that may be.

3-2-1…SMILE!

Last weekend Kaylynn came to visit me in Tallahassee. It was her first trip back since graduation! (Far too long if you ask me.) It was basically as epic as we could’ve imagined. Full of showing her what’s new, visits to some old haunts, good people, good food, and lots of laughs and love.

One of my bucket list items for the weekend was to check out the photo booth in the new Urban Outfitters, (which oddly enough is in the exact spot I used to work in.) Of course she was down. I have a mild obsession with photo booths. (Who am I kidding? None of my obsessions are mild. But I digress…) So, after showing her the fabulous hidden gem that’s Woodchuck’s breakfast, and a mini family photo shoot at the sorority house we ventured over to UO at College Town. Because technology is awesome they had this nifty little video from the whole shenanigans I thought I’d share with y’all:

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!

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?

Whole Foods: Where Shopping Really IS a Pleasure

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Today was the grand opening of Whole Foods Market in Tallahassee. I met up with my friend Larry (after my morning run – which in hindsight was good after all the free carb samples ;)) in the parking lot across the street around 8:30. We joined the line that wrapped throughout the parking lot, for the opening at 9am. It was a chilly 63 degrees this morning and a hazy, cloudy sky made it look like it was about 7am instead of 9, but it felt wonderful to get a break from the humidity. We mingled with the woman standing in front of us (and her adorable son playing with a plastic ambulance.) Everyone was in great spirits, and they were even handing out baked goods throughout the line! We were 400 and 401 in line.

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When I was little, I hated (hated) when we had to go grocery shopping. Everything about it just felt like a torturous experience. Now, I’m excited about it. I’d been anticipating this opening (and that of Trader Joe’s even closer to my house, on Friday.) It literally felt like a food playground in there today. I’ve never sampled so many different kinds of cheeses in my life. I watched an older man (with a cool old fashioned hat) eat a pie sample like a shot. We ran into old friends. We saw our line mate.

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The hot bar has insane amount of different kinds of food. Now I know where to go when I want chinese but don’t want to order like five cartons. There are bacon, smoked gouda hushpuppies! (Right next to delicious mac and cheese, and what I’m sure are equally good collard greens.) My favorite beer, of all time, in a six pack ON SALE! (Bell’s Oberon.) BOGO on gelato. Pumpkin mousse! Macaroons! My Van’s power grain protein waffles! Not to mention the pub style roast beef sandwiches, a million kinds of meat and fish and fruit. Just everything.

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After eyeing the hush puppies, my mind was made up when someone recommended them to me. There’s a bar with beer on tap, cocktails, and appetizers! We talked to the bar tender for a bit. (Yeah, I was the person carrying around a six pack at 930 in the morning.) I mean, this is a good place to meet new friends, haha. You know the guy who makes the awesome hard candy at Lofty Pursuits? They sell it packaged there! And he was doing a sample table today. I’m so excited for him. That means even more exposure for his awesome craft.

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There was a jazz band playing at the front of the store. Seriously, I’m not kidding. Could it have gotten any cooler? And we got free reusable bags filled with all kinds of samples. And when we walked in they gave us free ground coffee!

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Larry got this awesome tall mason jar (I think his was filled with sweet tea,) this morning and I was thinking about it today so after I met Ethan and Megan at Decent Pizza I went back for a second time to get one for myself. Mine’s filled with what I’m sure I’ll enjoy of the “Backyard Brew” iced coffee. Fun fact? You can take the jar back to the coffee bar for a $1 refill! As I perused the aisles I overheard employees talking about how different Tallahassee customers are (as compared to another part of Florida,) and how friendly everyone was today. They were excited and surprised by how so many people wanted to engage in conversation. There were a lot of police officers on site inside and outside the store, I’m guessing for crowd control (and necessary traffic control.) One of the cops who works on game days by the stadium was there and I kept ending up in the same section as him and a friend and they joked about me following them.

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By the time I got to the register with my gelato and iced coffee, I was greeted by a very pleasant cashier and bagger. We talked about it being my second time there that day and about the jars. And did you know that for each reusable bag you use they donate 10 cents (either you get it refunded back to you, or you can give it to a local or world charity!) They found an old receipt from The Fresh Market in my bag and joked about how I couldn’t shop there anymore. And then we talked about how the opening went and everything.

I know this is a scattered entry, but I just had to write it down somewhere. It might sound silly, but I had today off of work and that can be positive and negative. I need a chance to recharge my batteries, but sometimes when I have an empty house and a stretch of day ahead of me without distraction, all the thoughts that flood my mind can be overwhelming. This morning on my run an old friend screamed my name from traffic, and it was the extra motivation I needed to finish that run. Combined with going to dinner with my brother and his girlfriend (and a good interaction with someone working at the pizza place,) and wandering around grocery shopping with a friend (and a visit to my safe haven – the library, downtown) I really needed today. It just turned all my negative energy I felt looming, around. Like it spit it back out as positive instead.

I’m sure I’m a chatty cathy and sometimes I talk too much but I think my most favorite thing is good customer service experiences. It says so much, about an organization, the establishment, the people, and it can do wonders for someones day (and I can tell you personally – that it can affect both sides.) I needed to find some peace today, and I did – I took an afternoon walk in this gorgeous cool temperature we have floating around Tallahassee right now, and the sun finally peaked out for a bit!

Multiple lessons from today: appreciate the little things.
Be nice to everyone.
Go check out Whole Foods when you get a chance!
Take even a minute to step outside, turn your face towards the sky, feel the sunshine and the cool breeze and savor it for a moment.

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Friday Favorites Makes a Comeback!

Hey guys! I know, I’ve been slacking on the Friday Favorites posts, but here I am, and they’re back.

(Found on Pinterest)

It’s been almost a month since Bonnaroo and I am still having withdrawals. I just can’t readjust to regular life, whatever that means? I just wanna follow where ever the road takes me. Where the sunshine lights the way, and when it rains? You just dance in it.

In the meantime, I got real hooked on reading the Bonnaroo Missed Connections posts. (And look! Some of them actually worked!)

This kid, (my awesome brother) turned 22 yesterday! Celebrated with a delicious dinner at Jasmine’s, fun times. And now it’s back to the beach this weekend. Fingers crossed for some sunshine at some point!

Last weekend I made my return to the world of 5Ks. So what if it was in a tropical depression, untimed, and not my prettiest run? It was enough to kick back in that competitive spirit I’d kind of lost touch with. This has been a good running week for me, I’ll get my groove back eventually. Yesterday morning, cotton candy skies greeted me good morning on my pre-work run and I can’t really ask for more.

Got tickets to see Kinky Boots in NYC next week. Excited for a trip to the city, time with old friends, and some good ole explorin’!

Oh, did I tell y’all I got a guitar?! This is going to be a long journey, but the dream’s still alive. (My sound still hurts my own ears right now, but I’ll get there – eventually!)

It’s no new thing that one day I will make my way to Glastonbury, but you have to see how awesome this video is. Could that stage hold any more talent?! Gah.

Oh, and if you hadn’t noticed I’ve given Meg Says & this blog Mugs Life face lifts, and I’m pretty excited! They’re long overdue.

Look how awesome my house-mate is. Like, beyond awesome. She knows me so well. And not just because these are cool presents, but because they’re so sweet! AND she made that stationery herself! On her friends letterpress in California! Seriously, so cool. Living with her is probably my favorite thing about Tallahassee.

One more thing? Don’t forget about the kindness of strangers. It’s always there. You’re always .2 seconds a way from making a new friend, some new connection. Heck. Dustin at Pep Boys took $10 off my oil change yesterday just because we engaged in conversation. Made my day, and helped me out. Plus it was just a reminder of how much the universe balances out.