14 Big Moments of 2014

Um.  So 2014 is over?  When did that happen?

So it was a big year, for things both good and bad.  And here, in no particular order, are some of the biggies from 2014.

14.  Coco.  Coco the poodle came to us from a friend of a friend.  She’s an older dog, so she was probably not going to get adopted, so without much thought, we took her in.  It ended up being a pretty sweet deal, because she’s a sweetheart, and a joy to have.  She came to the beach with us, and visited with my mom when she was sick.

13.  We went to Fripp! This was one of my favorite memories. My friend, Kelly, invited me and Austin for a weekend. We drove down to SC, and had a blast of a weekend. One of my favorite memories of the year!

IMG_0913

12.  Snow, snow, snow!  Remember snowpocalyspe that rendered Atlanta crippled?  About two weeks after, Raleigh got a similar storm that left Austin stranded for hours after work.  Melanie, another friend got into a little accident.  And my current boss’s boss had to run home in the storm.

11.  I made this, than caught a stomach flu.  I’m pretty much a straight-up vegetarian, not a pescatarian now.

photo (2)

10.  I modeled a little bit here and there.  I did some shoots for Headbands of Hope, did two shows for a local boutique.  I’m hoping to do some more jobs here and there to help pay off my student loans!

9.  We bought a house!  Which is kind of a relief, we had a few weird experiences renting, the latest of which was when a man tried to break into the girl’s apartment downstairs in the middle of the night to do her some sort of harm for not calling him back.  

Us the first Saturday when we came to scrub the house.
Us the first Saturday when we came to scrub the house.

8.  A close friend lost her mother to cancer.  The experience was jarring, to say the least, and a really painful reminder that our parents are getting older.

7.   We acquired a foster beagle.  After Mel’s mother passed, an older female beagle was left behind.  We are hanging onto her until she finds a new furever home.  If you’re interested….

Beagle

6.  I saw Stevie Wonder live!   And in good seats!  Stevie Wonder announced tour dates in September of 2014, and I went on the hunt to find affordable tickets, which was no easy feat.  Seriously, the scalpers had bought up all the tickets, and I was lucky enough to find tickets that only cost me about $300.  We had seats on the floor, and I feel like I can officially cross seeing one of the greats off my bucket list!

5.  I ran….far…in Vegas!  My first trip to Vegas was not some drunken slob-fest – rather – I ran an Ultra relay in Vegas with Bondi Band.

4.  I literally got my dream job.  I may have told this story here before, but if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, mother effin’ try again.  I’d had my eye on this job as a Group Fitness Director for over 3 years.  The first time I interviewed for the job, I made it through a few rounds, and didn’t get the job.  I was devastated (and remember, this is all taking place back in 2012 when my ego was already wounded from learning that jobs aren’t super plentiful), and I stayed in bed for days.  A few years, and some more professional development later, the job was open, and it sort of fell into my lap.  It worked out probably about a month before we got married.

3.  My sister got engaged, then married!  Deb and Luigi had been dating sort of on and off, and they decided, in the late spring, that they were going to make it official.  They got engaged, then married pretty quickly in South Carolina.  They celebrated with a reception just a few weeks ago.

DSC_0742

2.  My best friend suddenly lost his brother.  Probably one of the worst phone calls I’ve ever gotten in my life was this phone call.  Austin and I made the quick decision that the weekend of the funeral, we would drive to Philly and back to pay our respect’s to Michael’s brother.  I’ve never seen my best friend in pain like that, so it was hard, and I’m trying with everything in me to support him as best as I can through this really really trying time.

1.  We got married on August 23, 2014.  It was the most incredible day ever, and when I woke up on August 24th, I wanted to keep my eyes closed and bottle the feelings that the wedding gave me.  It was elation, happiness, and the joy of seeing old friends meet new friends all wrapped into one.  If you could shoot that feeling directly into an IV and take it, I totally would 🙂

Exit

What would you do if your income doubled?

I read this a few days back on Roo’s blog, Semiproper, and I found it really really interesting.

What would you do if your income suddenly doubled?

This really stuck out to me because money has been a hot topic in our house – having just gotten marred we spent a pretty decent chunk of it, and now, having purchased a house, we’re always talking about money.

Spending it wisely, spending less on coffee, saving more, eliminating our debt – all things that have become the stuff of our weekly conversations.

So when Roo blogged about this the other day, I thought about it.  What would we do if our income simply and magically doubled?

If our income doubled:

  • I’d pay more down on student loans, and get them paid down faster.  As of right now, I’m on the track to have them down in a few years, but shortening that time would be amazing, and help me to sleep better at night.
  • We’d save more.  Thankfully, my husband is awesome at saving, but having a nest – for a bad day, for our parents as they get older, for kids and a college fund?  I want more savings for that.  The thought of getting caught with my pants down like so many folks did a few years ago really scares me.
  • We would travel more.  I would just love love love to go places, anywhere, with my husband.  I’d love to go to Alaska, go to Hawaii, go to Greece, go to Bora Bora – just beautiful places where we can go hiking and swimming together without checking our email.  The thought just makes me so happy!
  • I would race more.  Right now, I race as much as the budget will allow – but I would definitely race more if I could afford a few more registration fees and to travel to where all these races were.

And that’s really all I’d like.  Not too much to ask is it?

What would you do if your income suddenly doubled?

We bought a zoo.

But before I get to that, let me tell you about this thing I discovered!  So, the humidity in North Carolina is absolutely killing me as far as running goes, and I’m trying really hard not to let it discourage me.  On Wednesday morning, the humidity had its way with me for about 6 miles, and then again on Friday, for almost 4 miles.  Both times, I had that horrible feeling like I was going to faint, and both times, I had to reach for something that would quickly give me a little sugar boost.  So on Friday morning, after a run from work, I ran to the Harris Teeter, and would you looky what I found!

Starbursts

I found a packet of Starbursts that only contained the good flavors. Which is obviously pretty important because the most offensive thing about fruity candies, the main reason that I steer completely clear of them, is the errant yellow ones you get. Like what am I supposed to do with something that tastes exactly like lemon Pledge? Well, this here packets of Starburst complete eliminates that problem, and I praise the good lord above that I live in a world where this pervasive problem has been addressed head-on.

We bought a zoo.  

Okay, not really a zoo – more like a house.

We put in an offer here a few weeks before our wedding, which I told you about, but I didn’t mention much more about it because I was super busy with wedding stuff, and because I didn’t want to talk it up too much in case it felt through, which is apparently something that isn’t super uncommon in the house-hunting process.  But after our offer was accepted, and we went through all of this house insanity, we finally closed on the house last Friday!

Home Signing

It’s weird. Even though we signed a stack of papers that was the size of a small novel, I’m not really nervous, more just excited to get into a space where a squirrel doesn’t live in the wall, where our pets can fit, and where I’m not taking my life into my hands to get to a greenway to run – a biggie for an active couple like us.

What’s one cool thing you purchased this week? 

Remember the big announcement that wasn’t?

A month or two ago, I blogged, incredibly disappointed about a big announcement I’d wanted to make.

We found a house in a really cute area of town, went to go ahead and sign on the dotted line, and we couldn’t do it.

2380 Y_sch9At some point during the process, it started to appear that the purchase we were about to make was not smart as far as our cash was concerned, and we had to back out of the deal.  I was sad, just because I’d started to envision our lives in the house, but it was the best thing for us.

So in the mean time, we’ve been searching high and low for a house.  There was the house of horrors on Peartree.  I never saw this house, but Austin visited a home where the poor woman living there was an actual hoarder.  There was also this house that looked so so cute on the outside, but was so 90s inside, that everything in the home would have to be replaced should we ever want to have people over or you know, sell it.

So the process has been really annoying and nothing at all like it is on Million Dollar Listing.  I think part of the unpleasant parts of looking for a house also were fueled by the fact that I’m completely over renting.   But I digress.

So all that to say is.

Well, uh…

We’re under contract on a house.

WE ARE UNDER CONTRACT ON A HOUSE.

And I ain’t no fool, so I’m not gonna post the address.  But what I WILL do is show you my favorite part of the house.

New HouseThe kitchen, the kitchen, the kitchen!  That island is NO joke, and I cannot wait to put my dips on it.  Dips is what I’m excited about people.  Lining dips down the counter maybe a casserole or two, while my friends laugh with champagne flutes.  We don’t drink out of champagne flutes, but you get it.

Gah so excited!

Things we love about the South.

North Carolina, in particular.

I made a single-day trip to Charlotte from Raleigh this weekend (about 6 hours total, to where my parents live), and even though the South isn’t renowned for some things (race relations and state budgets), but there are a LOT of things that make North Carolina totally worth it.  If you’re ever thinking of making a move, let me help you with a few reasons why North Carolina is one of the most beautiful states EVER, and you should move here.

North Carolina.png

1.  The pace is perfect.  We’re not as slow as some of the spots in the deep south, but we’re not as quick as say, DC.  We don’t use our horns.  We’re generally not a bunch of assholes when we drive.  Stuff opens when it’s supposed to.  Closes when it’s supposed to.  It’s really nice.

2.  Customer service.  In New Jersey, where I’ve spent a ton of time (and where a lot of my family lives now), you pay someone for a service, and they’re STILL rude to you.  The guy parking your car is a colossal idiot of a jerk, and will yell and scream at you if he deems it fit.  Here in North Carolina, at the Harris Teeter, for example, if you’re looking for an item, the kind associate will WALK you to the item that you’re lost on, and then ask you if you have any questions about it.  Oh, and Harris Teeter!

3.  Northerners (which I am one of,) try and make fun of this, but they are jealous. We get snow days off.  So rude folks, enjoy making fun of us, but we get to sit at home and sip hot chocolate while you slough your way to work.  Boooo.  As a kind of bonus to this reasoning, the weather is amazing here.  We (typically) don’t get much of a winter, have a gorgeous fall, and the summer nights make you want to slap someone they’re so good.

o-RALEIGH-SNOW-STORM-570

 

This is what happens when it snows in Raleigh.  Snowpocolypse.

4.  The food here.  There are a few things here that you can’t get in New York (mah home state), and it’s so sad.

  • Mac and Cheese made right.  Velveeta should not be an ingredient.  And it needs to be baked.
  • Biscuits.  The biscuits down here. Like.  Don’t even get me started.
  • Cookout.  Not like, a barbecue.  There’s a magical place called cookout where you can get really disgusting food and enjoy it.
  • Sweet tea?  That is one thing that I could never really get down with, but people say it’s amazing down here.

5.  The music.  If, for a second, you don’t think some of the best musicians come from down here, you are trippin.  Clay Aiken (okay, kidding!), Fantasia, Chris Daughtry, and the amazing Petey Pablo are all from here.

So are there any North Carolina people out there?  What do you love about this state? 

 

 

The best things ever.

photo (13)

 

Seriously, yesterday was an incredible day.  I’m finding that the more I choose to be happy, the happier I am, and yesterday, every little thing made me extraordinarily happy.

  1. The weather was gorgeous in North Carolina yesterday.  Seriously, it was like 60 degrees.  I was able to run 6 miles in shorts and a tank top.  Today, it’s supposed to snow.  Climate change at its absolutely finest.
  2. I forgot my Garmin charger in Florida.  Not the good part obviously.  But my sister sent it my way yesterday, which was perfect timing because I got the beeping sound of death that indicates your Garmin is fixin’ to die.  (Like the way I threw Southern lingo into there?)
  3. My sweet tooth was going nuts yesterday.  So I made an executive decision, stopped by the Harris Teeter on the way home, and bough this teeny tiny Ben and Jerry’s, pictured above.  It’s like a tiny taste of exactly what I needed, and it won’t ruin your life, as it comes in at 280 calories of cookie dough goodness.
  4. Apothic Red Wine.  Bought some of that too.  And drank some.  YUM!
  5. Gloves.  I was given some Columbia gloves as a gift.  Très necessary, as the temp plummeted from 60s to upper 20s as the evening went on.
  6. Glamour Magazine.  I love magazines.  If I could, I would have a subscription to Glamour, Rolling Stone, Elle, InStyle, Self, Shape, Women’s Health, Brides, Runner’s World, and Cosmo.  But there are only 24 hours in the day, and my bank account would be very upset if all I bought was nail polish and magazines like I want to.
  7. I made some time to clean!  So in between the baby ice cream consumption and a glass of vino, I was able to light candles, sweep, sprinkle some smelly stuff on the carpet, and vacuum.  There’s almost nothing that makes me happier than waking up in the morning to a clean space.

So, if you could have a subscription to any magazines, which ones would you have?

What things are making you happy today/this week?

That time I tried to go apartment-hunting.

I drove past this place today while running an errand for work, and the horrors just came back again and again.

A few years ago, I was super new to Raleigh.  So I set about the task of finding a place here, using the only platform I was familiar with to do so. Craigslist. (Seriously, if you’re moving to a new place, don’t only make sure that you visit the place, but also go off of word of mouth. I cannot stress to you how important this is. Luckily, I always ended up with super cool roommates, and my only rando Craigslist roomie I had turned out awesome, and our time together was only cut short by a tornado.) But I digress, that is another story for another day. Anyhoo, so this place called Westgrove Towers had been advertising a butt-ton on CL, so I’m like “Okay, anything with the world ‘Towers’ in it is fancy, and that’s where I need to live.”

Tower

So, this is the picture they kept advertising with. Idk, the sky is blue in it. It kind of looks like a hotel. How bad could it be right?

I literally walked in to the biggest murder scene of my life, minus the murder.

    • The advert, and the man at the front desk was bragging about how close you were to “shopping”.  By shopping, he meant a run-down K-Mart with a parking lot big enough for you to park your Winnebago in, and the $1.50 movie-theater. Other than that, I’d be forced to cross a 4-lane highway on foot to reach civilization. Listen now, before you get all up in arms, I’m perfectly aware that there are nice K-Marts, and dollar-theaters but this, this was not one of them.
    • The lobby was really dim.  Not in a fun, romantic way.  In a creepy murder way.
    • The room they showed me….

So, for some reason at this point in my life, I’d become enamored of this idea of living in a studio. I felt like it was very hip and cool, and that I would stylishly roll out of bed, my hair perfectly imperfect, a sort of Shakira-Lauryn Hill hybrid, and I’d step into my fringed moccasins, wrap my pashmina around my neck, and glide across the room to pour myself a latte, which I’d obviously brewed in my single-girl espresso machine. Plus I think the studio was all I could afford.

So I remember taking this Alfred Hitchcock elevator upstairs in this “high rise” and we step into the studio apartment. It literally looked like a motel room that you could rent by the hour, if you know what I’m sayin’. The apartment was their showroom, and the bed was saggy, it might have been a pull-out, and the furniture was all made out of that particleboard stuff, all furniture that had probably fallen off the back of a Big Lots truck. I tried to mask my horror as Miguel motioned around the room – it smelled of stale cigarette smoke, and the back lighting made the room look even worse. I forced a smile, as Miguel took me down to the front office, a room lit only with fluorescents, and pitched the “high rise” to me. He complimented my figure, told me I looked like a Zumba teacher (well duh bud), and shook my hand before we parted ways. He even emailed me like a month later to follow up!

I ran, not walked, out of this place, and called my father immediately, almost in tears about what I’d seen. And today, as I drove past Westgrove Tower, I giggled at poor little 21-year-old me, looking for her single-girl studio.

Fleas.

By now, I’m absolutely sure you’ve met the newest member of the fam.

Marlon
Martin, post-vet to this day, he remains one of the most relaxed animals I’ve ever taken to the vet.

Martin, or Marlon, as he chooses to go by sometimes (Martin is very inspired by the works of the Jackson 5, and assumes the identity of one of the littler brothers,) has been nothing short of an absolute blessing in my home.  He’s cute, he’s sweet, and he’s a great lap cat, so even as I write to you, he’s sitting, watching, and purring in my lap.  But as a stray, he came in with a dirty secret.

No good deed goes unpunished.

Martin came to me as a stray.  Austin’s family got us the hookup, and Austin went and picked him up the weekend I was gone in New York that my grandmother passed.  It was such a sweet surprise to come home from a draining weekend to little Martin.  But!  I discovered Martin’s (Marlon’s) dirty secret.

I was petting him when I kinda noticed he was scratching a good bit.

Like, really good.

I flipped him over, where he was all white?

Fleas!  Left and friggin right, he had fleas everywhere.

I don’t do well with a few things.  NFL.  Fantasy football.  Lice.  Mushrooms.  And fleas, evidently, I have no tolerance for.  And the fleas sent me into a cleaning tailspin.

I tried Frontline.  Wasn’t working.  (Come to find out, fleas are kind of resistant to it). And finally, I called the vet.  Little Martin needed his kitten stuff anyways, so it was time.  And they told me I had to bathe him.  Have you ever tried bathing a cat?  It was really fun, lemme tell ya, and I don’t have vision anymore because he scratched both my eyes out when I dunked him in the sink.  While he ran around, traumatized, post-bath, I salted every soft surface in my home and vacuumed. And finally, I used this disgusting invention called a flea comb to literally comb the little parasites off my dear Little Martin.

I’m still hopelessly in love with my cat, and at the same time, terrified that there’s a nest of fleas in my hair.  At any rate, I think we got his fleas under control with a dose of Revolution, that bath from the depths of hell, and a thorough scrubdown of the home.  Ah, to be a pet owner!