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.)

 

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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!

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.

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: