Friday Favorites

Hello, there! Here’s yet another edition of my Friday Favorites. Let’s say it all together now, “TGIF!” That’s for sure. I am so looking forward to spending sometime with the family at the beach this weekend. (And I’m a nerd and look forward to the time jamming out in the car ride on the way there. Maybe getting some coffee because what beats a Friday afternoon caffeine high? OK, Friday Happy Hours in the sunshine are pretty fabulous as well.) Anyways, you’re probably wondering what I’ve got for you today?

All Tide Up will be getting new shirts (TANKS! just in time for summer) in the store this weekend. Get excited because I know, I am! Be sure to check it out, and if you haven’t already, give ’em a follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. There are giveaways and free shipping deals you wouldn’t wanna miss out on!

I’m not even gonna lie here, I might be pulling for some contestants that are not on Adam’s team. (Though I did love Caroline and was sad to see her go – she better get a record deal with someone else!) But oh, wow did I love this weeks performance of The Cure’s “Lovesong” by Adam Levine and his team on The Voice.

This Buzzfeed article “21 Kids Who Sold Out Their Parents” had me LOLing at the office. Who doesn’t love kid art? And if you need a laugh you definitely need to skim over this one.


My heart may have been breaking a little last night as we had to say goodbye to The Office but oh my goodness, talk about a great two hours of television. Before they aired the finale there was this awesome interview session and montage collection called The Office Retrospective. If you missed last night, and even if you haven’t been up to date in the current season (or since Michael Scott left) I recommend you watch it anyway. From the get go, (which this is how it works for this show with me anyway) I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe. Later there were tears rolling down. Some from that uncontrollable hyena laughter and from some the tugging on my heart strings. The dynamics on this show have always been incredible. They casted some brilliant actors who portray these characters like they were made to, and the writing is just top notch. Plus, I didn’t know John Krasinski was working as a waiter when he auditioned for the role of Jim Halpert (even though he’d been encouraged to go for Dwight!) that “THE KISS” was his first on-screen, or that Jenna Fischer was a temp in real life. Hello. Fabulous news guy. If that ain’t a ray of sunshine and light sending hope into your dreams, then what is? There are some pretty awesome moments in the finale, and the speeches at the end?! All incredible and quotable, and *sigh.* Just go watch it, ok? Endings may suck, but wow what a great run! And to know that the cast and crew are as close as they appear, in real life? Just wonderful. I love knowing projects like this exist out there, people love work that much out there.

OK, so there’s my shout outs to a portion of the awesomeness of this week. Be sure to check those out! Annnnd as we head into the weekend, have a safe, happy, wonderful one!

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Trail Run Thursday Week 3: Joy of Community

Hello, hello! I know I’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus lately, but bare with me. I come and go and you’d probably much rather read an enthusiastic post than some dribble that rolls out because of obligation. No obligation here, alright guys? So! First & foremost Happy Thursday! As you might have noticed I’ve rolled over from Throwback Thursdays to Trail Run Thursdays where I ramble a little bit about running. Coincidentally, it’s not always just running – it turns into a story about life too ya know?

Well, my running ‘schedule’ got a little crazy with my travels and all of the adventures of life last week, but I managed to get in some runs Wednesday-Friday, so I’d feel somewhat prepared for the Palace Saloon 5K on Saturday. This is a race I’d been looking forward to since my very first 5K last August. All through college I saw the t-shirts around town, and when I “became a runner” I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of. Well, as it got closer it held a new significance in my mind because from what I’d read, it’s one of the fastest (and oldest) 5Ks in Tallahassee. I had a goal for myself to break 25 minutes in a 5K this year, and I knew if I worked hard this could be the one. As it got closer and all that craziness went down, I decided not to put too much pressure on myself because I wanted to enjoy it and there would be other races if it didn’t work out. Well, Saturday was a cool morning and I met up with my cousin Tim and his group and we did a couple warm-up runs. We met at the bank by McDonald’s and the rest of the group hopped in the truck to drive over to Messer Fields. We jogged there. At the crosswalk Tsige was standing there and I got so excited I screamed! At that point, I didn’t have her phone number, so it was the first time I’d seen her since our last trial run and her husband had been running Boston and I had been dying to talk to her! We hugged and dove into conversation, it was really nice and somewhat of a relief. We hung out at the fields for a bit and then went on another warm-up run. I was feeling good and excited (plus it was cooler than I thought it’d be because the sun wasn’t shining, so it definitely helped with that!) I ended up racing with Tim for the first 1.5mi and that really helped me hold onto the pace I needed. At the hill, I just told myself – if I wanted it bad enough, I could make it happen. I ended up finishing with a new PR of 24:40 and it was such an exciting feeling. I found people I knew during the race, and I love that too. I might have my goals, but I don’t ever take it too seriously – it’s too fun for that! I saw and talked to a sorority sister, a friend from Gulf Winds, my running buddy Tsige, my boss’s wife, and the list goes on. My cousin Sara lives right by the Palace so she came over with her dog Darla, and we all hung out for a bit. It was just a really fun morning, I was on that high of endorphins and adrenaline, mixed with that excitement I had for achieving that personal accomplishment. Plus it was exciting to see all the blue and yellow ribbons in support for Boston, (and the really awesome banner they had made for everyone to sign to send to the Boston Athletic Association!)

Those are post Palace pics!

Later, I’ll fill you all in on my Orlando concert experience of seeing Andrew McMahon on the Beacham on Saturday night, but that doesn’t really have to do with running. It does have to do with how awesome the weekend was though, and how much got packed in, and how I think it caught up to me since I went to bed at 930 on Sunday night! Following post-race hangouts, (and a little bit of beer and a taste of bloody mary because it was the Palace after all) I went home and showered and ate breakfast and headed on over to Orlando. Sunday morning after a great visit with JD and Tony I got back in the car and came back. I changed into my running clothes at a rest stop in Madison, and I arrived over in Southwood just in time for the 5.2 at 5 for Boston memorial run. I am so glad! There was an incredible turnout (more than 1,000 people!,) and it was a really inspirational experience. We sang the national anthem together, and “Sweet Caroline” and it was really touching. Tim and I ran together again (he slowed his pace down for me.) It was a hot, muggy run (because I wouldn’t normally run in the sun at 5pm) but it was wonderful. We hung out in the parking lot chatting for a long while afterwards, and like I said – I was exhausted! I didn’t even feel like making dinner, so after picking up a tuna sandwich from Jimmy John’s, and taking a shower – I crashed.

Tim, me, and Carson post-run in the parking lot.

Someone had a remote control helicopter flying over the crowd, and it turns out it was a video camera! My friend Brian sent me this video – it’s pretty cool, check it out!

Monday, the events of the weekend kind of caught up to me. There was so much excitement, and activity, and driving! I was feeling kind of sluggish (I’m sure my off kilter eating habits weren’t helping me out any.) Part of me was thinking I might  not go to the week three meet-up of Trailblazers, but by the end of the day I was like no! I was disappointed I missed last week, and it’s such a good start to the week! Plus, Tsige called me and having a running buddy is so encouraging. Of course, then I got stuck in awful rush hour traffic on my way to the trails and there was a disabled vehicle making the road I was on one lane, with one of those trade off deals, so I was late. BUT because life is awesome – there were people waiting at the crosswalk, to run with the “stragglers” through Forest Meadows. So, I made two new friends and we did two laps through the woods together – talking about all sorts of things. Central Florida, Mexico Beach, kayaking, cycling, motocross, (those last two I listened intently obviously not having experience in those areas haha) how we got into running – all sorts of stuff! After we made the loop two times, we were back at the entrance and mingling for a minute and then the group Tsige had been running with finished up. She was so nice about how she’d been worried I’d get lost because I was late and she kept an eye out on her phone in case. Running friends are awesome friends. I joined that little group and we did one more loop! (So much for “taking it easy” on Monday, I had planned on doing 2.5 or 3 miles, but that turned into 5.) But it was awesome because it gave me a new surge of energy, and those trails (of course!) were beautiful.

It just made me extra grateful for the community I’ve found in running. All of these days. At first I thought it might be a bit ambitious, or taking too much on pushing myself a few days in a row – but it was totally worth it. (And why I took two rest days this week, so I’ll be in shape for the Rose City 10K on Saturday.) It just filled my already full heart with an added appreciation for these people. I am just very content with where I am in life right now, and it has been a long time since I could say that. The fact that it’s not very conditional is so key, and important, and extra exciting. These new relationships I’ve formed (and older ones that were strengthened) just give me a new perspective on life. It’s been a really cool experience to get to know new people of different ages from different backgrounds, and to see support of each other in action. Picking up running changed my life, but I’ve seen it change even more as I’ve built relationships with people through running.

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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A simple saturday morning.

When I got off work last night I drove across town to the Greenway. (Luckily, on my way over I picked several random side roads and wound up exactly where I needed to be.) There’s really nothing like a trail run through the woods, pretending I’m Katniss. Ridiculous or not, I kind of have to or otherwise I’m too riddled with anxiety from all of the sounds in the bushes, and convinced a bear might eat me. Also, there were men climbing over the fallen logs deep in the trees and that kind of made me paranoid. Other than that, though? Gorgeous. Just wonderful. My favorite kind of tired. Plus, I was there for optimal sunset time.

Today is already off to a good start. I slept in later than usual, for me and when I drug myself out of bed for a quick morning run it was sunny and windy and I didn’t care. I was able to pre-order Something Corporate’s limited-edition clear vinyl issue of the Leaving Through the Window album! And I made sweet potato pancakes with dark chocolate chips, and a little PB2. Most of my cooking doesn’t look very pretty, and this was up there in the unsightly category, BUT delicious. Fishbraided my hair, the sun is still shining, and I’m listening to the Jack’s Mannequin Pandora station and it’s spitting out all the good ones so far: DCFC’s “Brothers on a Hotel Bed,” Of Monsters and Men “Little Talks,” Imagine Dragons, THE FORMAT! Anyway, yeah – there’s just so much we don’t have control over that when all these little moments of simple perfection appear, it makes my heart pretty happy. The only downfall to this morning is that we’re out of coffee (well, rather we’re not according to my roommate but she’s out of town and I don’t know where it’s hiding.) Off to remedy that!

Weekend Musings

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“More than anything, I want to see you go
Take a glorious bite out of the whole world”

I was running and Snow Patrol’s “You Could Be Happy” came through my headphones. I was tempted to skip the song because it’s not very upbeat for a run and it used to have a tendency to make me cry. Instead, I just listened as I tuned out the pitter patter of my feet on the pavement. I’d stayed in bed longer than most Saturday mornings, constantly checking The Weather Channel app on my phone, waiting for the sun to come out of hiding and make the temperature rise to a degree I could convince myself was a bit more bearable. Because of all that I was able to see the sunlight shining through what we have to show for fall foliage in Tallahassee. Tall trees, wide limbs that stretch out to cross the street like arms extending hands to shake hello, fill my line of vision. Sunlight trickled through the leaves, lighting them aglow with yellows and orange if you look close enough. All of this gave me just enough to think about to distract from the time on the clock. I always thought that line was, “more than anything I want to see you grow.” Funny that it’s not, because it’s always had a weight of meaning to it while I’ve listened. For years I’ve had a few people in mind when I hear that song. Maybe not anyone who actually walked away from me, but people who ties have been severed, (or at the last seriously frayed.) I’ve thought about their potential for life, their ability with a magnetic personality to light up a room, the kinds of smiles that stop strangers in their tracks, and the happiness you want someone else to find going out on a limb and finding the most out of what life has to offer. I guess this whole time, (kind of like a Taylor Swift song) I’ve been singing a long with these people in mind. But this time, it occurred to me…maybe, I’m singing to myself? These songs aren’t about these other people anymore. While I still want them to be happy, I want myself to take a bite out of the world. I want to venture out and reach this unknown potential. At least attempt to do so. See what happens in the process. It’s always the journey that creates the memorable experience anyway. The getting there, and not where you get. My brother was in New Orleans this weekend. I’ll tell you, I may have been a little bit envious because my wanderlust bug has been on high alert lately. I want to feel the miles on the map between where I am now, and somewhere else. By plane, by car, just that freeing feeling of adventure (and maybe a little bit of escape.) But even more I’d like to create a situation, where I don’t feel a constant need for that, not the perpetual nagging from the inside begging for a little escape. And all that seems attainable, I just have to figure out what changes to make. In the mean time it’s a step that I’m serenading myself for a change, and maybe I should recognize my own potential before it dries up and disappears.

A Saturday at Seaside

Several weeks ago on a Saturday morning, after my race at Maclay I met up with my friend Megan in the Panera parking lot, and we hit the interstate, headed towards Destin. It was a day trip, mostly for a certain store she needed to hit up at the Commons, but asked if I wanted to accompany her and hello! why not?! It was a beautiful morning to be driving somewhere, cool air, bright sun. So, we got a little bite to eat at Sonic, which I hadn’t indulged in, in quite some time and what’s not to love about tots? Plus, it was a gorgeous morning to sit out at the umbrella table sipping on a diet Shirley Temple (Sprite Zero with some cherry add-in.) So we did some outlet shopping (found some fun stuff at Gap, Nike, and Columbia and now I don’t need to go shopping for a long while. I think it’s time for another spending hiatus – notice this is after I already picked up the new Taylor Swift CD, strategic planning for sure.) Next we made the short treck over from Destin to Seaside. My oh my, Seaside is this lovely little picture-esque place. I could just wander around and stay for a week, and that’d be fine with me. We pulled into the parking lot and there was the coolest building in front of us – it was an old house and the top half was Central Square Records and the bottom, SunDog Books.  Oh my gosh, immediately in love – I mean, that’s like my dream set-up. Plus, there was a little amphitheater in a grassy area where people laid out blankets and folding chairs and were watching this kind of folky band, it was pretty awesome. We wandered around the shops for a bit, and then we went to this restaurant called the Great Southern Cafe where we sat out on the back deck, sipped some beer, ate some raw oysters ($5! I’m not even kidding!) (and I had some smoked Gouda cheese grits.) It was pretty fabulous. Afterwards we popped into a sweet shop where the nice guy behind the counter let me taste several flavors of gelato. He was so nice! Then we took our treats down to the beach and watched the sunset. It was kind of cool for October, and the sky was just gorgeous. (You know how I love a pretty sunset.) We took photos and played catch with other people’s dogs. Then we wandered around some more, since it was dark you could see all the pretty lights turned on. We browsed some at the music and books before we headed back to Tallahassee. It was really just such a great, relaxing day spent with a sweet friend. I’d definitely like to make a weekend trip back to Seaside sometime in the future.

Orlando Weekend Fun (Part Uno!)

(I don’t know what WordPress’s problem is, but it screwed up this post twice and deleted most of my photos and captions so I’m getting burnt out and the descriptions probably aren’t as great this time around.)
Ahh! I can’t believe I hadn’t shared any photos from my Orlando weekend extravaganza with you all, yet! As you know, my Orlando weekends are up there in my top favorites of anything. Not just because there’s so much activity, downtown is one of my dearest spots of Florida, and I always have a ton of fun but also because some of greatest hearts I know reside in this great little city. I always leave wishing I had a machine that could freeze my weekend and make each minute last a little longer. I’m going to try and be mindful, and remember that every body who reads this blog doesn’t necessarily want to see every single photo I took to document the weekend, (or else we’d be Facebook friends, or maybe Instagram (cupcakesandfireworks) ?) so I’ll try and keep it on the shorter side.
Friday night (after the worst drive on the interstate to Orlando ever, including the most ridiculous rain I’d ever driven in,) we went to a get together, celebrating some October birthdays that the boys dubbed “Real Housewives of Apopka,” (which I would say is pretty accurate.) Met some cool people, drank some good beer, heard some great stories (seriously great stories.) Also, met my new hero Chris who was participating in a 100mile bike ride that Sunday, as a training ride for the Iron Man competition. We chatted training for a few minutes, but seriously – so inspiring! Also, a party-goer gave us a mixed CD to jam out to on the ride home. That was pretty awesome too!
20121023-105652.jpgOctober birthday crew in their crowns.

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classic

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so handsome!

Tony playing bartender (but really!)

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Reunited, and it feels so right.
Saturday morning we made some breakfast (scrambled eggs, bacon, and coffee.) Then got ready for the day. Ashley came over, and then we made a pit-stop and headed to Gatti’s place downtown. We hung out for a little bit,(read: started drinking before noon,) took the house tour, watched some ESPN game day, then we embarked upon the pretty little scenic stroll to Lake Eola. JD was sure the parade was at one, we walked around checked out some booths, got a little sweaty then we ran into some people who were like no way it’s at 4 silly! So, we took a little scenic walk back to the house, dropping off one crew member at the barber shop on the way. It worked out because we just chilled in the air conditioning, ate some pizza, watched some football, had some great conversation, recharged and then headed out again. I finally got to go to Stardust (this awesome bar I’ve heard about all these years, and never experienced until then,) where we hung out a little longer, played some pool (I took pictures,) and then picked a spot across the street to watch the parade. It was super fun because we ran into sooo many people we knew. I don’t get to go to Orlando that often, so it’s extra exciting when I can see so many people who make my day in one place! The parade was a blast.

Lake Eola
Snapped this one on our first walk downtown.

Animated conversation obviously, in their matching Chubbies.

A little intermission

New Ohio friends, it was their 5 year wedding anniversary! (They were in town before they set off on a cruise the next morning!)

Ashley’s like a pool shark, and Tony was playing model.

Group shot at Stardust.

Look who we found! Note that Orin does not have a scar from our NYE incident, and he doesn’t hate me. And I hadn’t seen JD’s old roommate Frank since they moved!

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They had a good spot to watch the parade and eat their ice cream cones.

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Had to document this because everytime I look at it, it cracks me up!

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My favorite float!

so cute!

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The cool radio station in middle school.

Full of parade swag to take home to their son, since everyone gave Gatti like nine million things.

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Ashley and I were backseat buddies on the ride to Publix.

Pretty sky in the parking lot on our Publix run.
After the parade we went back to the boy’s place, ate JD’s awesome pulled chicken sandwiches, and watched some football. Like I said some of these were Ohioans, so we watched the Ohio State game (which they won.) And I wasn’t subjected to our ugly FSU loss, though I did hear and see the painful updates.
The funny thing about the weekend, is that I had just been telling my mom one of my favorite parts of being in Orlando is that I’m around people who have similar thought processes. We get each other, we want some of the same stuff out of life, have similar views on politics and equality rights. I was just saying that the atmosphere makes me so happy even if I’m not having some deep heart to heart. The funny part about it is that it was a great balance of both, I did get to have some deeper conversations, and the entirety of the weekend just filled my heart up with a new zest for life. If it had been waning at all, the battery life just charged right up. (Of course everybody always tries to talk me into moving, and I am so so tempted.)
Be on the lookout for Orlando Weekend Fun Part Dos, which will feature corn maze fun!