30 Before 30

It hit me this past weekend that I’m almost 30. For so long, 30 seemed old. Now it’s kind of the new 20 (but you go to bed earlier and can’t drink as much). It’s funny that at 18, I thought I would have been married for at least 5 years by now, and have a couple of kids, living in Raleigh, NC, and have a house-full of dogs, too. Even at 22, I thought I’d have kids by now.

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But we don’t. Instead, we have our two furbabies that I treat like kids (we celebrated Tucker’s 8th birthday this weekend with a trip to Petsmart for new toys that he picked out, a big belly rub and cuddle-sesh mid-morning, a long walk with the whole family and then cupcakes after dinner).

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At almost 30, I think we’ll definitely have a kid by the time 32 rolls around for me (35 for my husband), maybe even two – but we’re not in a hurry. First we want to travel more, starting with our European vacation this summer and South Africa next spring. Knocking a few more things off the list before we change up our lives completely.

birthday1I have always LOVED celebrating birthdays (or any other random holiday, or reason I can find to celebrate). Some of my favorite birthdays have been spent having large gatherings with friends, or visiting beaches with my husband (this year we did Key West). I was inspired by a few lists/challenges I’ve seen others doing to knock things off of a somewhat “bucket list” before they turn 30.

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Emily Thomas, author of Em For Marvelous is doing a 60 before 30 list. Some girls I went to college with are trying to rack up 30 race medals before they turn 30. I think I’ll stick with being my random self and doing just 30 different things before I turn 30.

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30 before 30

  1. Do 3 more 10k runs (equaling 30k) — 2nd goal? Get my sister-in-law to run one with me.
  2. Volunteer for 30 hours with a charity (or multiple charities)
  3. Do 30 hours of yoga
  4. Visit Paris
  5. Visit London
  6. Visit Ireland
  7. Foster (3) dogs (if I said 30, I might be getting divorced before I turn 30, so we’ll stick with 3)
  8. Go to Charleston
  9. Go to Savannah
  10. Read 30 books
  11. Write 30 blog posts
  12. Go on a tropical vacation (I’m thinking Costa Rica, Belize, Turks & Caicos, San Juan…)
  13. Take a cooking class
  14. Help 5 more items be crossed off the Pretty in Pink bucket lists
  15. Celebrate our two year wedding anniversary (and 6 year dating anniversary)
  16. Visit Tonya in Colorado
  17. Go zip-lining
  18. Have an album with our wedding/anniversary pictures created
  19. Run another half marathon | Hokie Half | Jekyll Island Half | Savannah Half
  20. Pay off another student loan
  21. Re-organize our master closet
  22. Get a porch swing (or my grandfather’s glider)
  23. Learn how to use my SLR in manual
  24. Learn how to do calligraphy (I have the class paid for, all the materials…. time?)
  25. See Florence + the Machine in concert
  26. Spend a weekend with my BFF Sarah
  27. Meet my BFF Brittney’s new son, Holden
  28. Go whitewater rafting
  29. Eat more tomatoes from our garden than the squirrels do this year
  30. Get my thesis published

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I know some of these items are technically already planned, and that’s okay. I need to follow thru with them. I’m excited to tackle these things in the next 10 months, and to continue working on saying ‘yes’ when people ask us to do things (instead of eating in our neighborhood and binge watching House of Cards), being more patient with people, trying to be more timely / not 5 minutes late to everything in life, and crushing it at work.

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The last one is tough for me because I’ve gotten in a groove and I feel pretty good at my job, I’m recognized for doing a good job and I’m in a good place. There have been some opportunities lately that I’ve looked into but they’ve all asked that I move to Boston if offered the job and I just don’t want to move to Boston. I LOVE Charlotte. I love our life here. I love our friends here. I love our house here. I love how close we are to both of our families. And I know that if I move there, I won’t have the chance to move back here and stay with the same company (most likely – things change!). NC feels like home to us. For the right opportunity, we might consider moving, but right now I’m in a good spot, and I’m okay. I don’t need a career change. So… yeah. Onto tackling my 30 before 30 list. I will update as items are able to be marked off.

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I’m still trying to raise money to help cancer champions mark items off of their bucket lists, you can read more and donate here. I heard about another lady in NC trying to do a similar thing (on a larger scale) and I am going to try to combine forces with her. Stay tuned!

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Weekend Wrap Up [Date ideas]

It’s officially my last day of being 28 – and it’s been a damn good year (and weekend). Friday, I spent the morning with my adorable niece and nephew. Damon and I went to Discovery Place Kids.

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And then I got to see my sweet niece who was super smiley and happy. She loves giggling at her big brother and she kept pushing up like she was getting ready to crawl. Won’t be long now!

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They are seriously cute together. He loves her so much!

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We had the most delicious shrimp tacos for dinner and stayed in instead of battling the cold outside. No time for pictures because they were so delicious I practically swallowed them whole and proceeded to talk about them for the rest of the weekend  (in my true OCD form). On Saturday, we had the most exciting morning ever: WE BOOKED OUR EUROTRIP! Here we come London, Paris and Ireland!

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Since it was my birthday weekend, the hubs agreed to go to Sephora with me so I could replenish my make-up collection. I was set on only purchasing natural items that were paraben free and not tested on animals. There were only THREE brands that lived up to that. Isn’t that crazy?

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First of all, I ordered this lavender Stress Less oil from Organic Bath Co. last week and I’m loving it. As far as the make up goes, I went with the Tarte Amazonian Clay Tinted Moisturizer. I don’t need a whole lot of coverage (or like it) but I do love that this has SPF in it. A little of this goes a long way too, so it will last for a while. They were actually out of the color I needed, so I got a sample and they ordered one for me. I got a shipping notification today! So fast! I also went with the Tarte Pressed Powder. It’s not for coverage as much as it is to set the foundation. I also got the Tarte Amazonian Clay concealer and I already love it! Sadly, I couldn’t find a mascara that I liked so I floated over to the Benefit Cosmetics section and picked up “They’re Real.” It indicates they do not test on animals (and below is an excerpt from their website) but PETA says they do. And because of that “…except where required by law” part, they do. And I won’t be buying their items any longer.

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As I was checking out, I saw the Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo. Since I’m getting ready to travel again, I grabbed a sample for $12. It’s AMAZING. I used it today and felt great. I didn’t purchase the NARS lipsticks, those were a gift for my birthday. I was curious when I got home to see if they tested on animals. Their site says they do not, but other things I read indicated that their parent company does and therefore, any money spent on NARS supports the parent company and animal testing, so there’s another one to mark off the list. Josie Maran is a natural brand that doesn’t test on animals, but I didn’t find anything that I wanted in that section. Slowly but surely I’m making progress on changing over to paraben free and items that aren’t tested on animals. I have a battle with myself over being wasteful and throwing out things I already have and wanting to use items that aren’t tested on animals/paraben free. My conclusion is that I will replace when I’m done using what I already have. Here are some other products I like if you’re interested in switching over too!

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This morning after trying out a new church, we separated restaurants we want to go to into two jars: Weeknight and Weekend. We put the more expensive/farther away restaurants into the weekend jar. This will not only help us eliminate the dreadful “where do you want to go for dinner?” question, but also give us the chance to try some places that we put off in lieu of going to our usual spots. I’m excited to try this out and see how many new spots we can taste together! [Jars are from Beach Blues and the color scheme is “Aruba”]. There’s a 3rd jar that I’ve labeled “Be Spontaneous” and will put ideas in for things we can do together such as hiking, biking, golfing, tennis, running, kayaking, rafting, go to the movies, a day trip to Charleston, a day trip to the beach, a day trip to the mountains, a brewery tour, etc. Again, I’m excited to see how it plays out!

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My boys have been extra cuddly since they got home from their week at Grandma and Grandpa’s. I think they missed us (or they’re using me as an excuse to be on the couch). Either way, I don’t mind. They’re my favorite cuddle buddies!

Friday fun!

I am so excited it’s finally the weekend. Both of my sister-in-laws are celebrating their 30th birthdays this weekend (well, we’re making one of them celebrate early!). So we are off to the beach to soak up the last little bit of summer and shower Logan with birthday love.

And while we’re showering people with things, I’m happy to announce that Megan was the winner of the GIVEAWAY! Thanks to all who particpated – I promise there will be more soon!

For those who didn’t win, here’s a great deal on personalized stamps from Tiny Prints to use for all of your thank you notes after the wedding (or just in life in general!).
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Enjoy your weekend, happy birthday to Kerah & Logan, and congrats again to Megan!

Countdown to Wedding: 3 days!

Y’all… it’s almost here. I can hardly sleep from all the excitement. It’s like Christmas, but better. I get to marry my best friend, my favorite guy, and the love of my life in 3 teeny-tiny days. EEEEP!

This past week has been a whirlwind. I am officially off work now and signed off too (occasionally “off work” still means checking email). Last weekend, I made a quick trip to the mountains of Blacksburg, VA for a birthday party for one of my favorite little girls – who happens to belong to one of my favorite bridesmaids and favorite best friends.
photoI also spent one evening exploring a gorgeous undiscovered park in Blacksburg with my mom and a photographer for bridal portraits. Shhh! These were a last minute decision. My groom will surely be surprised.
photo-4My favorite part of being home was spending quality time with the best Paw Paw a girl could have. Sharing little moments with him means so much. We enjoyed a homemade eclair that I brought safely in a cooler with me all the way from Charlotte. We took a walk to look at his fields and the mountains all the way in Blacksburg. We talked about life, the wedding, and my new job. And before I left we spent some time sitting on the front porch. My heart still breaks to think about not having him here with us on this earth but my heart was full of happiness for getting to spend some uninterrupted time with him and steal a bunch of hugs while I was at it.
photo-2After Hollins’ birthday party, I had to scoot back to Charlotte to celebrate the graduation of one of our dear friends from grad school! We have both worked closely with Courtney in the past and are proud of her success. She definitely has the “favorite coworker” award from me!
photo-1And after a wonderful brunch with our awesome friend Jeff who is providing the DJ service for our wedding, we spent the evening watching The Lion King! Such an awesome production – and so fun to reminisce on our childhoods. This was our last major event as an engaged couple and our next big event is THE big one!
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This girl cannot wait!
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Birthday Blog

As promised, here is an update on my FABULOUS birthday weekend. Many thanks to all those who texted, emailed, called, tweeted or Facebooked to wish me a wonderful day!
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I woke up to my beau making me breakfast, complete with hot apple cider (best Keurig K-cup yet!). I had to have a birthday workout, so he informed me that when I returned we should get ready to keep up with all the plans he had for our day. But when I returned, I walked into present heaven! I got a new pearl necklace, bracelet and a fancy jewelry box to keep them in. I can say this about him, he’s always listening when I say I want something. He got the exact strand of pearls I was wishing for!
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We went to the Mint Museum uptown to explore their wood work collection… but not before stopping by Halcyon for a light lunch. Halcyon has creative meals and drinks, that they try to create with all local products. It truly is a gem to have here in Charlotte. We greatly enjoy their drinks and the food has been good the few times I’ve actually eaten there. We shared a cheese plate and some chicken & collards soup on Saturday, since we were preparing for a delicious, surprise dinner.
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We explored the Mint for a few hours before popping in Aquavina for a pre-dinner drink. And then my surprise dinner… at Bernardin’s! This place is special to us because it used to be Ratcliffe on the Green. We had a very special and romantic 6-month anniversary dinner there and we really fell in love with the place, the atmosphere and our waiter, Asa. Bernardin’s is slightly different but still delicious. We very much enjoyed every aspect of our meals. The butternut squash soup was delicious!
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A very wonderful birthday weekend… and my sweet in-laws (soon-to-be) sent me these gorgeous roses that I am still getting to look at every day! How was YOUR weekend?
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Happy Friday + Happy Birthday!

It’s FREEZING (literally) outside today and my birthday is tomorrow. I always wished I had been a summer baby so I could have fun birthday parties instead of Super Bowl themed ones or being snowed in for the celebration. Oh well. We’ll make the best of it! My sweet, sweet fiance has a day o’ fun planned for us and ending with a delicious dinner – but it’s all a surprise to me, so I’ll let you know ALL about it afterwards!

This week was a good one. We met with the caterer, I met with a magazine editor (eeek!), our best woMan ordered her dress, and I got to have lunch with a dear friend who is also one of my bridesmaids. So although it’s cold outside, I’m still a happy camper this week!

I’m sure everyone is wondering who my bridesmaids are and I’m happy to introduce them!

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Sarah was my FAVORITE college roommate. We met the summer before junior year and were inseparable from that night on. I think people were probably surprised if we showed up somewhere without the other one attached to our hip. She is the definition of PIC and BFF and I could not be happier that she is my MOH. I am one lucky girl to have her by my side for so many years, and on the best day of my life!

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MOH – Sarah

Amy moved to my high school sophomore year, and I can’t exactly pinpoint the moment that we became friends – because I can’t remember ever not being friends with her. Although she was only at our school for a couple years, we’ve remained the best of friends – I even lived with her in Wilmington for a summer. I’m so incredibly excited to have her in my bridal party – and to also be celebrating her upcoming nuptials with the love of her life!

Bridesmaid - Amy
Bridesmaid – Amy

Brittney and I became friends one night over AIM. We had attended middle school together but didn’t become friends until high school… but when we became friends, it was forever. We shared all of those classic high school moments – some that can still make us laugh until we cry. I’m blessed to have friends like her that are still in my life after so many years, and so many miles between us! Excited to celebrate my big day with my Bre!

Brittney - Bridesmaid
Brittney – Bridesmaid

Michelle waltzed into my life on my first day of college in Jacksonville, Florida. Her sweet southern accent and charm let me know right away that I was going to LOVE being this girl’s friend. We ended up in the same sorority (same family too!) and came to find out that we both knew & loved Claytor Lake in Virginia. Now she and her sweet husband live in Charlotte and we are elated when our schedules align and we can get together with them for a fun evening. We adored everything about their chic wedding this past summer – so I’m glad to have her helpful hints when it comes to my own!

Michelle - Bridesmaid
Michelle – Bridesmaid

Katie, last but not least, my “little” cousin. I have always cherished any amount of time that we get to spend together, so I’m over-the-moon excited about all the quality time we’ll be spending together. Katie was supposed to coordinate our wedding, but having her as a bridesmaid means so much. And I know I can still count on her for anything that I will need. I’m so happy that she’ll be standing on my side on the happiest day ever!

Katie - Bridesmaid
Katie – Bridesmaid

I feel like such a lucky and blessed girl to have wonderful friends and family in my life to share this time with. With every turn of the planning process, we are reminded how much love is in our lives and it makes our little hearts so happy. We can’t wait to celebrate with each & every one of y’all!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOH!

Today is my BFF’s birthday. I luckily, although unexpectedly, got to spend last weekend with her eating cupcakes, drinking wine and watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s. It was her idea of a perfect evening and those cupcakes were darn good!
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It got me thinking about all of our college birthdays that we celebrated together and boy were those fun! 3-night celebrations or full blown wear-a-costume-or-get-out parties. Sarah and I have spent the past 6 or 7 years laughing hysterically with each other and hugging it out when one of us was crying. Someone once described us as “Hard to handle alone, unbearable together” … I’d like to think we were just the life of the party in college.

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Regardless, we have lots of memories over the past 6 or 7 years and I am still totally excited about her being my MOH. I have several BFFs but only one MOH!
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Now… take a second to leave a comment wish this pretty lady a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!