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!

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!

Bonnaroo Is My Neverland (Part One)

(I swear I clicked publish on this the other day, and it didn’t go anywhere! So since this draft is just sitting in my dashboard, I figured I may as well go ahead and share it now…at least the beginning.)

I know, I have been a horrible blogger in recent days, but in my defense I have absolutely been all over the place. So, you know how I’ve gone to several concerts lately? When I was at the Phoenix show back in May in Orlando, I made a new friend. I got his number because he wanted to buy my Postal Service ticket at Hard Rock a month later. We kept in touch over this time, becoming fast friends, an epic long phone conversation etc. One of the first things we talked about at House of Blues with people surrounding us in the crowd was Bonnaroo. At that time it was a distant dream, a someday bucket list check. (Because the original group I knew who wanted to go, then had a wedding to attend and bailed. And you know? I’ve planned all these other quick trips lately, and it didn’t seem as feasible anymore.) So, I would stare at the line-up online and we would discuss hypothetical, if you were going what would you see and compare scenarios. Then I went to Athens, and we were in this cool little bar and all of a sudden Bonnaroo came up. And we were drinking, so of course excitement escalated. One of the guys had been the previous year, so he was completely gung ho, and in joking I was like hey! tickets aren’t sold out yet, we could still go. So he started corralling people, and being like wanna go to Bonnaroo?! Of course, they thought we were crazy. Then a few more weeks passed, and it got closer and closer and the itch got stronger, and I was like hey! we could seriously still do this. I weighed the pros and cons of irresponsibility? How crazy was it, to up and go to Tennessee with like less than 48 hours notice? And some people spend a whole year prepping for this, and I was gonna do it in the window of time after work in two days? But I kept thinking of two Christmas breaks ago when I got invited to the Keys and I turned the offer down, thinking I can’t just run away from work like that (even though I had vacation time.) Then I sat at work with absolutely nothing going on during the holidays and got sent home early and I was kicking myself because I could’ve been on a boat in paradise! So, I vowed I wouldn’t let opportunities like that pass me by again. And here it was staring me right in the face. Plus, then James threw out the:

“You’ll never be in your 20s again! You’ll turn 30 next year if you don’t go to Bonnaroo!”

Which were like the magic words.  Hello, he’s right! I’d been saying the whole time, I wanna go while I’m young! The years are going by, and you’re not always at the place in life where you can just throw crap in a bag and road trip hours away on short notice to spend four days camping and concert watching on a farm in the middle of nowhere. (Think of all my married friends with babies?!) So. I posted a Facebook status inquiring about adventure partners, and one of my original adventure partners from growing up responded – Kaela. And she was in. So, she just had to work out the details but since I knew it was a giant possibility, I couldn’t sleep that night. I knew if we were going, we’d have to be prepared in some way so I started scouring the Bonnaroo Survival Blogs for tips and advice, and what to pack. Plus, James started passing on his Veteran knowledge, and a few other friends who’d attended in the past. That night, while I told my roommate there was a chance we’d go, but I didn’t wanna get my heart set on it – she was so super encouraging. So I had James with the you’re only in your twenties once spiel, and I had myself with my encouraging, no day but today story! Then Alex, who pulled out her photo album from the Woodstock anniversary concert, and her tales of awesomeness, and she was like YOU GUYS HAVE TO DO IT! So basically my heart was set on it, so there I was 4am, reading blogs on my phone while I couldn’t sleep. The next day Kae was like yeah, we need to do this – we have to do this. So, we bought tickets. Then that night, they sold out. So obviously, it was meant to be. That night, and the following day were a whirlwind of trying to pack and scrounge up items we would need (and I’ll probably do a blog post on a crash course of how to pack for Bonnaroo in 48 hours,) which included a zillion trips to Walmart/Target/Sams Club, lots of photo text messaging, and pure adrenaline that broke concentration on anything else.

Wednesday night, (I had returned to the house for a Voice watching break, and to scan the inventory) before I ran back out again. I sat surrounded by clothes and miscellaneous camping items, and food scattered throughout the living room, with re-runs of Freaks and Geeks playing in the background because why not? This was too exciting of a situation to be stressed, but there’s always an open door for some giggling in my life, and so what if I know that series by heart? Kae was driving from St.Augustine, and got there late. We hadn’t seen each other since November of 2010, so of course we needed a little catch up time! (Though we were gonna have a 7.5 hour drive to take care of that in a few hours.) But first things first – beast mode with the packing! Successfully threw four days worth of stuff in my car. Then we chatted, then we nodded off for about three hours, and then grabbed some last minute things from the house (including coffee of course,) and hit the road! We had a few stops, gas stations and bathrooms. A random exit in Georgia where we happened upon a Walmart, picked up some supplies, and later we stopped somewhere outside of Atlanta, (I think Marietta maybe who knows) and went to that Willy’s burrito place? One last hot meal in air conditioning! Yeahhh.

We were getting kind of anxious as we followed the live tweeting of #BonnarooTraffic and expecting to be sitting in the lines for hours. We might have played a little chinese fire-drill off some abandoned looking mountainous exit, so we could trade drivers and neither of us would throw up in the high altitude condition swap. Plus, we got mixed directions of driving to Coffee County High School to get our wristbands, or to just go to the tollbooth. I called customer service again, they sent us to the toll booth. We’d both read the warnings of not entering the grounds without a full tank of gas, but we were kind of out of luck on that note, not realizing exit after exit would be closed with cops guarding the ramps! So, all of a sudden there was the flashing sign and it was time to turn off! So, on we went with a half tank. And whoulda thought?

We got in, in like less twenty minutes! Though watching vehicle searches was definitely entertaining. (I have a feeling some of the people wandering the parking lot with vests on and no shirt weren’t actually volunteers, but just wanderers.) When it was our turn not much happened other than them throwing all the tampons out of my glove compartment everywhere, and some koozies from the console? Realll intense search, guys. Then we went to this trailer, got our wristbands and first they didn’t activate so we had to go back, THEN we got sent to park in the GA camping section! Dun dun dun! Since people had gotten there on Wednesday before the gates even opened we were thinking this parking situation could get interesting, but the Bonnaroo Guru was correct in telling us that it kind of works out for the later crowd because they get parked closer to Centeroo. We were thinking we were gonna be out miles away on that 50 minute walk (but next to the $1 grilled cheese.) Literally we were like a ten minute walk away in Pod 6 Camp Zoolander (holla!) right next to an RV lot. Our campsite neighbors were a couple from North Carolina who go to college in Boone, and then a crew of kids from Hudson, Florida (land of the youth soccer tournaments down in Central Florida near Tampa.) And a large group of southern kids behind us who were a constant source of amusement with their stories.

We started setting up our campsite, and of course in came rain. But we were smart and went ahead and got the canopy up, so we could work under it. Good thing Kaela is an expert outdoorswoman (first time setting up a tent,) or I would have been laying on a tarp on the ground with the tent in a pile. We got it all set up in less than thirty minutes, and bam! We were done. So we changed clothes, checked out our surroundings, and went on our way to check out Centeroo (where all the stages and tents are.)

Then the true adventure began. I don’t think we knew what we were in for, (and I mean that in the best way possible.)

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 Part Two: Piano Man, Beach Bars, Cemetery Run, & Irish Fun

PART TWO

Once I finally arrived in Jacksonville, and my friend picked me up outside of the Florida Theatre, the rest of the weekend was a lot smoother. I felt like a hitchhiker most of the time, but with awesome people donating rides. When Beth swooped me up they’d brought me a piece of pizza! Since all I’d eaten since 5ish was an orange, and it was almost 11 that was like heaven in a box. We went by her and Anna’s place real quick so she could let her dog Codi out real fast, and oh my gosh what a love muffin! So sweet! (I know, I’ve met SO MANY great dogs lately!) Then we went over to this place called Monkey’s Uncle where we met up with a bunch of their friends. There was karoke going on. I rarely drink anymore, but I also rarely go to bars anymore (red letter weekend!) but I definitely got a second wind of energy after such a crazy day. I had already decided that with me being in Jax and my car being in Georgia, there was no point in worrying about anything. So I did just that, and it was really nice to truly let things go. Their friends were a riot and if there is something I love it is definitely watching entertaining karoke. I mean seriously. ESPECIALLY when Piano Man is involved, seriously this guy (who they kept calling Yellowcard and since YC was from Jax I had to wonder if he was originally involved with the band?) did like THE BEST VERSION of Piano Man I’ve ever heard! Their friend Bo got reeeally into it, and it was awesome. Then their friend Courtney sang Friends in Low Places and she was on crutches for a foot injury and she definitely involved the crutch into her “routine,” and she had the whole bar clapping. Then a few of the girls did a rendition of Brown Eyed Girl. Annnd this adorable old man with a hat with feathers all over it sang Sweet Caroline, and of course that’s a classic crowd favorite. One girl sang Sweet Home Alabama, but the first time she changed Alabama to Jacksonville Beach, (which just doesn’t fit.) THEN she changed it to California for the rest of the song?! It was so long winded and bizarre. There was this woman that was wayyy shorter than me that was all about getting one of the guys to dance with her. She just wanted to twirl and twirl. So that was entertaining as well. (But don’t we all wanna twirl sometimes?) We stayed until they closed, and then eventually went to two of Beth’s guy friends house, where I got to pick the satellite radio station on the ride home (which is my favorite thing to do,) and we played with the dog Charlie Brown (another dog! Another adorable name!) and watched Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives. I mean seriously, perfection because I know I’ve told y’all before how that’s another one of my favorite things, when people end up sitting around together just being. Simple. Love it.

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Saturday was a fabulous blend of everything. Brunch at The Brick (mimosa, grits, and spinach & goat cheese Benedict – DELICIOUS.) Wandering around that area, in the little shops. Picked up some flowers from the Farmer’s Market. Race packet pick up at 1st Place Sports. A short venture to the outlet mall in St.Augustine. Icees from Race Trac! And eventually we headed out to Lemon Bar (which is technically in Neptune Beach) and M Shack (OMGsh obsessed – like Shake Shack obsessed, except it might’ve stolen its spot. I got the mushroom burger and onion rings and I was too full for a shake, but those all sounded fabulous too.) It was just a laid back enjoyable day. The sun was shining, it was breezy, the music and company were good – what more could you ask for?

Sunday was St.Patrick’s Day. We got up super early and headed out to Evergreen Cemetery for the St.Patty’s Day 5k! We saw the sun rise on our drive over. It was a fun, fast run – it was cool, shaded and flat. Basically the opposite of Tallahassee runs, haha. It was super fun. The first mile was reeeeally crowded, but after that it thinned out. Beth and I left soon after (you know how I love to stay, but hey like I said mercy of people who give me rides!) we finished because it was still an hour before any awards would start. Apparently we both won second place in our respective age groups! (We’re five months apart, so we’re not in the same age bracket right now.) But it was worth it because she took me to the most amazing breakfast place that I’d heard everyone raving about. Metro Diner. (I had the cinnamon raisin pecan french toast, with hash-browns and Snickerdoodle coffee, but seriously all the choices were amazing – fried chicken Benedict served on a waffle?! Banana split waffle with pineapple and icecream?! Omgshhh, definitely need to go back if you can’t hear the enthusiasm of my inner fat kid right now.) Then we kind of went all over the place on a sunglasses search, with no results.But I did find a dress to wear for St.Pat’s for like $11 – haha can’t beat that. And of course I wanted everything in the surf shops we went in (but what I’d want more is for that sun to come and stick around here, with warmer temps not this freeze warning junk!)

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Later we went over to the girl’s house and hung out on the back deck drinking, chatting, jamming to Jimmy Buffett Pandora (and yes there was another dog involved!

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Eventually we made moves to a bar called Culhane’s for some St.Patty’s Day celebrating. (Including more of my favorites – Guinness and Irish Car Bombs and BAGPIPES!) We met this guy who was a DJ for the radio station, and even though it was kind of dark and rainy-ish it was a great afternoon. Eventually I got a cab back to Beth’s place so my mind could come scoop me up so I could get back to Tallahassee. The cab ride was definitely interesting. Remember how my one roadtrip rule is “DO NOT DISCUSS DELIVERANCE!” ?! Well, what do you know, I’m telling the cab driver my story and he’s singing the banjo song over – myohmy. Then I just went and hung out with the dog again for a while til my mom got me and I got a kid’s meal from Bojangles. Obviously this weekend was full of friends, food, and fun.

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Friday Favorites

Just dropping in to share some of my favorites from this past week!

Watched Country Strong with my housemate on Wednesday night. Loved it.

The VMars Kickstarter campaign (because it means THE MOVIE IS COMING!) So, let me just share one of my favorite scenes of all time.

The Shamrock Scurry 5K last Saturday was probably one of my favorite races yet. (I got a new PR!) It was definitely a challenge, that hill in mile 2? Ouch! But awesome. And there was a free pancake breakfast with Bradley’s sausage afterwards, and so I hung out with some of my friends from the Springtime Training group. Also, it was down the street from my house so I could jog there for a warm-up and walked home. That was about the coolest thing ever.

My parents are dog sitting Brody while Larry is on spring break in Cali! We took him for his first trip to the beach. (I drove over to my parents after the race Saturday and my brother went too. We had a great day walking on the beach, eating good food, laughing and enjoying each others company. It was one of those days I wish I could freeze in time.)

This little one is always callin’ shotgun.

I took Monday off of work. A rainy, windy, cloudy day at the beach beats a day anywhere else!

Tonight I am seeing Lisa Loeb perform live for the first time! I’ve wanted to do this since like middle school. And I get to spend the weekend with one of my favorite friends since middle school, Beth. The weather is supposed to be good and we plan on brunching (and hopefully beaching?!) and we’ve signed up for a St.Patty’s Day 5k on Sunday! Looking forward to a fun weekend.