Having it ALL

Last week, I had the opportunity to go to NYC for work. As much as I’ve traveled, it was actually my first time in the city, so I played tourist and went to all the hot spots. It was a quick, but fun trip that reaffirmed I am not a city girl.

IMG_6102

While I was there, I met up with an old friend and frolicked around Chelsea checking out sites such as Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment from Sex & the City, the Friends apartment, and Diane Von Furstenberg’s place (I also got to meet her while I was there!).

DVF

After cupcakes and coffee and a major catch up session (haven’t seen her in 10 years!), she made the comment that I needed to share my secrets with her because I seemed to have it all. This was mostly based on what she has seen me post on Facebook and Instagram over the years, and we all know that we only post our best on social media.

highlights

I am also guilty of comparing my not-so-good days to what I see others posting on social media. Sometimes it makes me wish I didn’t have a full time job. Sometimes it makes me wish I could just hop on a plane and go to some far away place to explore. Often it makes me wish that I was the one who found puppies on the side of the road (where are these roads?? I have NEVER found a box of puppies!). But seriously, most of the time when we’re comparing ourselves to others, we’re not in our best spots. WE ARE ALL IN DIFFERENT PLACES. I am not in the same place as my cousin who is almost the same age as me. I’m not in the same place as my college roommate. I’m not in the same place as my best friend. I am not in the same place as the people I follow on Instagram. But sometimes we lose that…. especially when we see people doing things that we want to do or having things that we want or even see people achieving life milestones that we haven’t yet.

FullSizeRender

I told this friend that we all feel that way at some point. There were times where I felt like everyone else had it together and I was kind of wading through. I got disheartened after being passed up for jobs. I got even more disheartened when I made it to the next level and then all of the jobs I wanted were in Boston. But each time, something came up and it happened to be just at the right time (but not exactly the time I wanted it to happen). Aside from jobs, I went through the whole wanting to be engaged/married thing, too. My husband and I lived together after four months. We shared a home, dogs, grocery bills… heck, we even rode to work together! It felt like we already WERE doing the married thing, but also, there’s so much freaking social pressure (can we stop that?). I felt like we SHOULD be in that place because people asked me/us all the time, we were of a certain age, all of our friends were doing it, and every weekend I’d see a new batch of rings in my newsfeed. And when he proposed, it was the right time. We are all on our own journey and it’s the right one. I think as long as you’re happy, living the life you want to and headed in the general direction of where you want to be, then you’re in the right place.

DSC00605

I also made sure to tell my friend that I am fortunate and I know it. I would not be where I am without the support of amazing family and friends, meeting some of the best people I possibly could have early on in my career and retaining a few of them as mentors/sponsors, having the opportunity to go to grad school and while I know I’ve worked really hard at my job, to have my home, to be able to travel, I still attribute a lot of it to being in the right place, with the right people, at the right time. Also, I’m a planner, so I always have my next goal in mind. I’m always saving for the next trip. I have an answer to that pesky interview question of “where do you see yourself in five years?” Wherever that might be for you personally, keep at it. Being persistent, making connections, staying positive and moving forward are the best things you can do. You have to put yourself out there whether it is for relationships or jobs, and while they don’t always turn out the way you hoped, once in a while they do – and you’ll know when that happens. I don’t have it all, but I have all that I need.

(PS – Friend, I am rooting for you. You are so successful in the eyes of many and I know even bigger and better things are coming. KEEP trying. KEEP doing what you’re doing.)

Advertisements

Pig Pickin’ and Dogtoberfest

It’s hard to believe we’re in the last week of October already. This year is FLYING by. I’ve been focusing on raising money this month for some pretty awesome breast cancer patients and survivors, so I’ve slacked on my blogging. We’ve had some pretty special donations such as a hang-gliding experience for Michelle H (thanks Kitty Hawk Kites), a race car driving experience for Adrienne D (thanks Joey Logano Charitable Foundation), and a trip to Bald Head Island for Elaine P. – with ferry passes, golf cart and lunch at MoJos (thanks, Meg!). The donations we’ve received have gone to purchase the ferry passes for Elaine and her husband and a French speaking kit for Julie G. Thanks to the giveaway with $100 to Tieks has helped raise even more money so we can help even more items be crossed off bucket lists. There’s still time to enter (through 10/31!), go now!

Outside of the giveway, my husband and I traveled to Boston last week. Both of us had to work but we had the evenings together, which doesn’t happen often these days. It was nice to go out to dinner, have a few drinks, workout, spend time with his cousin Ryan + his wife Carrie while we were there. Our weekend was jam-packed with events, including Dogtoberfest. I work closely with a local rescue group called Dog Days of Charlotte. We work to pull dogs from high-kill shelters and find them foster homes for various rescues until they are either adopted or transported to their rescue (many of the rescues we work with are in the Northern part of the US).

IMG_6164

Dog Days is a 501-3c that operates solely on donations (seems like I’m talking donations A LOT lately). Dogtoberfest is our biggest event which raises money to help us with vetting dogs, getting dogs groomed, getting dogs transported and buying things like food, leashes, crates, etc., so that fosters are equipped with everything they need when helping us out. As a foster, you’re only required to give the dog a place to stay and some love, we cover EVERYTHING else. Which is why we need donations and events like Dogtoberfest help us. The day is full of vendors, raffles, music, a photo booth and tons of adoptable pups. It’s such an amazing event and so wonderful to see so many people coming out to support the organization. If you’re interested in fostering, here’s the application and more info!

IMG_6252

After Dogtoberfest, we hopped over to my aunt and uncle’s for a pig roast. They put on such a good party – and the food’s not bad either. It’s such a nice event where our family and plenty of my aunt and uncle’s friends gather and dance the night away.

IMG_6222

I wasn’t shy with food (although I was very careful not to eat too much earlier in the day) and I enjoyed a tad bit of everything. The food was seriously amazing and my uncle who cooked the pig is equally as amazing. I know how much work they put into this event each year and I’m so grateful that we get to be a part of it.

IMG_6264IMG_6254IMG_6253

Oh, and we got to spend time with our new niece, Andi and our adorable nephew, Damon, who was 100% obsessed with the tractor and kept telling us he needed the keys so it would go.

IMG_6196

We ran out of time to carve pumpkins, so we’ll be doing that this week, just in time for our first halloween in our new house. But we did have an amazing date night at Nan & Byron’s last night and a good day of shopping for me and golf for him. I’m loving these fall weekends with gorgeous weather. Not quite ready for snow and dark days, although I must admit, I turned the heat on this morning after letting the dogs out. Now that it’s in the upper 70s, I’ve turned off the heat and am ready to go for a run with the dogs. Happy Monday!

Weekend Wrap Up

I feel like we did nothing and everything this weekend. JJ Grey and Mofro came to a local theatre that is within walking distance of our house, so we had date night there – with dinner at one of our favorite pizza places beforehand.

IMG_5717

On Friday we felt like we had partied like we were back in college the night before. Funny how much differently three beers impacts you at 28 versus 21. So we hung low and decided to see “Gone Girl” and recreate our first date with a movie and dinner at Fox & Hound. The movie was amazing but sadly ends just the way the book did (which I HATED). However, I loved my dinner and movie date night with him. Saturday, I got up early (feeling better) to run the Rocktoberfest 5-miler with some girlfriends.

IMG_5858

Official results aren’t up yet, but I’m glad I got across the finish line in less than 50 minutes (according to my watch and clock time). On Saturday evening, we got to see one of our dearest friends marry the love of her life. We both met Brandy at work (we started on the same day) and immediately bonded. She is such an amazing person, I can’t possibly tell you how wonderful she is all in one post. So when she called to tell me she and Bill were getting married, I literally squealed (loudly) in the store I was standing in. This weddnig was a long time coming and such an amazing production.

IMG_5836

I say “production” because there was a comedian, pianist, singer, gymnastics performance, and two one-act plays. By far the most interesting wedding reception I have been to in my life. Brandy and Bill were just as wonderful on stage together as they are off. I am so glad we were able so share in their beautiful day! On Sunday, we woke up to rain and sniffles. I made pumpkin pancakes in an attempt to make us feel better. They didn’t do much for the colds we had caught but they sure were tasty!

IMG_5856

 

Pumpkin Pancakes:

  • 3/4 c. white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar
  • 2 teas. baking powder
  • 1/4 teas. salt
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/4 t. nutmeg
  • 1/8 t. ginger
  • 1/8 t. ground cloves
  • 1/2 t. pumpkin spice
  • 2 Tbs. melted butter
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 can pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg

Mix dry ingredients in one bowl. Mix butter, milk, egg and pumpkin puree in another bowl. Slowly blend in the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir until well blended. Heat griddle to 300 degrees and pour out 1/4 cup batter onto griddle (or skillet). Cook for about 2 minutes or until little bubbles appear and then flip and cook for 2 more minutes. I imagine these would be delicious with some powdered sugar or whipped cream, but we settled for just maple syrup. I made enough for leftovers for breakfast this morning – still good!

IMG_5851
I tried to ward off my cold symptoms some more with hot yoga but instead just made myself sweaty and dizzy. It did help to stretch out my sore leg muscles after Saturday’s race but I have to admit it was a very unfocused practice. Hoping to kick this cold soon so I can get back to the gym and yoga this week. Hoping we can make it to the pumpkin patch next weekend and finish getting ready for Halloween. How was your weekend?

 

 

Get Friendly!

One of our goals this year was to make more friends and do more with the friends we already have. It might sound silly but once you’re outside of college (and grad school), it’s rare that you’re in social settings with tons of people who are your age and share similar interests with you – so making new friends can be a little tougher than it sounds. As far as the “doing more”, well, we (and I’m sure we’re not alone in this) have a bad habit of doing things with just the two of us. And while we love doing things as a couple, sometimes while we’re out and about (at a museum, at a park, hiking, etc.) we think, “man, so and so would probably like to do this, too!”

We said that we wouldn’t said “no” if asked to do something. We haven’t help completely true to that, but we’ve definitely been better (and even given up our 9:30 bedtime!). Recently, I emailed a group of friends to see who would be interested in starting a book club. Surprisingly, everyone said they were in and had always wanted to be part of a book club. We had about 12 people for our first meeting a few weeks ago and we read The Book Thief. We plan to rotate houses each month to as not to overwhelm any one host, and to give everyone a chance to put their own spin on the evening. It was fun to discuss the book, but also so nice to spend time with friends and meet new friends, too!

DSC_0968

This past weekend, we hosted “Drinktoberfest” instead of going to the Oktoberfest event here in Charlotte. We invited over our friends + their kids (and my brother’s family) to hang out, enjoy bratwursts, drink some pumpkin beer and play corn hole. The kids had a blast running around and playing with their Tonka trucks and the adults enjoyed catching up. It’s so nice to have a backyard where we can do these kinds of things!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’ve recently said “yes” when asked to go to Yoga on Tap at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery but someone I only knew online (no worries, we had plenty of friends in common and went to the same university for undergrad). And I had a blast, even though I’m far from being a yogi and was there with practical strangers.

photo 1 photo 2

And made 3 new friends at NoDa Brewery run club (also gals I only knew online up until that 3 mile run). And I’ve also said yes to 3 miles with my friends Valerie and Katie. Friends and fitness? That’s right up my alley!
photo 3 photo.PNG-2 photo.PNGA group of grad school friends got together one night to hang out and catch up at Heist Brewery. These folks inspire me with their lives and the work they’re doing. I miss being in class with them and having 3 hours of intellectual conversations (or at least having them make me laugh all through class).

photo 1

Our fun friend Stacy joined us for Science on the Rocks at Discovery Place. A night where adults get to run the place, while drinking fun things like liquid nitrogen wine slushies. Oh, and it was 90s night!

photo 2Last time I was in the triangle area, I got to sit down for coffee with my most favorite college roomie and BFF. I had recently blogged about it being 2 whole months since I had seen her, but she’s the kind of friend where we can literally not speak for weeks and pick right back up where we left off. Most of the time we don’t go weeks without speaking, we send each other silly texts on the regular. I was pretty sure we were going to get asked to join a sorority while we were walking through Chapel Hill since it was apparently rush time for UNC.

photo 4

I feel like I have a pretty good friend base (even if they are all having babies and we’re the no-kid family). Not to say that I couldn’t have more. And not to say I don’t miss my friends who chose to remove themselves from my life just before my wedding. I’ve recently talked with a few of them, which was nice but it’s clear that things will never be the same. How could they? No need to re-hash the story here, if you want to read it, you can find it somewhere back in January 2013’s posts; we all made decisions that ended our friendship.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It’s hard losing friends at any age, but I think probably harder to lose friends that you’ve had for so long and thought you’d have forever. I never really let myself get upset over it, I think I was so stunned that they just left. But now I see that we won’t go to anymore weddings together, we won’t watch each other’s kids grow up, we won’t plan summer beach trips together or ring in the new year together. Birthdays will only be celebrated with some, and only through text messages. Grad school graduations won’t be acknowledged. Rival football games won’t be mentioned. These things all make me a little sad. Those are things i expected to share with each of them. Occasionally, my husband will ask about one or all of them: have I talked to them, do I miss them, etc. The answer to the first is sometimes yes, the latter, always yes. I grew up with these girls, and guys. We did practically everything together. Some of my fondest memories are with them.

But I’ll make new memories with new friends…. life goes on. I’m so thankful for the friends that I do have here in Charlotte and the BFFs that I have sprinkled around. I’m grateful for the friends we have across the country who we may only see on occasion but are so special to us. I’m definitely more aware of who I spend time with and I try to avoid those one-sided relationships. I’m excited for us to continue building “our friends” as a couple and hope we get to spend lots of time with new and old friends in the coming years.

We always try when traveling to connect with friends wherever we are but sometimes schedules don’t work out. I love my new book club, and the Stella & Dot party I hosted was fun last year. I’d love to hear your tips for staying in touch with friends from all over! Where do you go, what do you do? Does anyone else have a goal to say “yes” to all the invites they get from friends?