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Charleston Times

Thursday, December 25, 2014

On our quick trip to charleston we...

Reunited with the incredible John White at Big John's Tavern. Was great seeing him and some of the other cool characters I'd met during my last and first Charleston trip.  

Started our first day with morning coffee swingin on the porch. 

Probably said, "Ooh, look at that house!," "It's so pretty!" and "I love Charleston!" about a million times while strolling through the streets on our rainy Saturday morning. 
Admired the dreamy flowery windows. 
Laughed lots at Dylan forgetting how to eat fried chicken. And thoroughly enjoyed our whole southern goodness meal at Jestine's
Dreamed of being a student or professor at this  campus. 
Enjoyed some of the most delicious pizza and local brew at De'Allesandros and uniquely delicious sammis at Brown Dog Deli

Toured the antique-filled, impressive Calhoun Mansion. Which we also learned was in the Notebook. Allie CALHOUN! Connections!
Caffeinated and collaborated at Normandy Farm and Kudus cafe. 

And rested our walking feet in the Notso Hostel's Hemingway Room
Saw some dancing folk and ate some oysters at the Sunday Brunch Famers Market. 
And learned a little about how tea is made at the only tea farm in America, the Charleston Tea Plantation.  

Wish we had longer to enjoy this city but it was quite a lovely trip to say the least. 
Another time, Charleston. 
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Thanksgiving Goodness

Monday, December 1, 2014

This Thanksgiving was a wonderful and unique one. We had quite a new dynamic with the new addition to this Ross family! Adaleigh was definitely the star of the show and got lots of loving from the whole crew. I loved seeing all the new roles in action... Mom and Dad, Grandma and Granddaddy, uncle, great aunt and uncle and great grands. Two facts: She's the cutest and new parents are champions. So proud of Chris and Liesl and can't wait for more visits with their beautiful family. 
We also went on a boat tour of the Withlakoochi and Rainbow Rivers with a passionate environmentalist, singing, Florida man included. Quite entertaining and always beautiful. Adaleigh even enjoyed the music and ride!
Game night was made even better this year with some new guests that added even more humor to the mix and ending in a "question game," with no winner, but lots of funny stories shared.  

It had been three years since my last family Thanksgiving, since last year was Jacksonville Friendsgiving because work, and two years ago was this international ThanksgivingAll so wonderful. Still can't believe how grown up my two baby cousins are! Obvi thankful for my amazing family. 

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High five for Friday

Friday, November 21, 2014

Happy Friday, Friends! I hope everyone enjoys their weekends and starts gettin those bellies ready for Thanksgiving! I know I'm more stoked than ever for this Thanksgiving. I get to meet my precious niece and see my brother and sis I haven't seen in over TWO YEARS. 
Talk about too long. These are some of the highlights from my week.  

1. A week full of amazing nanny times. Walks with this precious angel baby, sharing the love of flowers, the beach and music made for a lovely Sunday. Stopping to enjoy the musicians on the street was beyond worth it, watching her little legs bouncin and shoulders swaying (link to video of the cuteness).The lady even let her pluck her (probably) first violin. Another enjoyed night watching three great girls last night. From 2 years old to 15, these girls all have an amazing sense of humor, sweetness, and character. Their whole family makes me excited about family life.
2. Bringing these two beauts home. Meet Buttercup and Cornflake. I went in for a window screen and came home with these guys. "Priorities," as Les agreed. Also, loved my interactions and conversations with the lady at Home Depot. We shared a love for plants and referring to them as people. She said she may have loved her succulent more than the guy that gave it to her. Oh, Lynn from Home Depot. I'll visit you again.  
3. Snugs with these guys
...And many more lovely times with this handsome man. More adventures to be shared on here soon. Maybe. If I feel like sharing our sappy stories. ;)
4. The cool weather coming, leaving some of us unprepared, but making coffee and cozy beds even more appreciated.
5. My giving, wonderful, helpful friend Leslie lettin me move on into her casa. And our brief, but much needed catching up yesterday after a month PLUS away. Too. Long. 

Linking up with Lauren with high five for Friday

Tuesday DOsday Tunesday

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Productivity is beyond great. Healthy breaky, yogaed, ran, organized freezer, front porch lunch porch, first French press success, laundried, deep cleaned. All before work this afternoon. It's amazing what a clean home and body can do to yo spirits.
Tuesday DOsday. 
I share with you... This mellow tune
Tuesday Dosday  Tunesday! 
I hope your Tuesday was filled with goodness too! 
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Quarter of a Century Celebrations

Monday, October 20, 2014

turned a quarter of a century on Sunday! Kinda crazy. I'm not quite as responsible or old feeling as my 18 yourself may have thought 25 would feel. I'm also not married or have a dog or living in the mountains or who knows what else I had on my "plan." But I'm cool with that. I have grown prouder, more independent, and content. Always workin on it. Anyway.
On my birthday weekend, I had a lovely breakfast and Birthday Toast with Mom surrounded by sunshine and flowers on her patio. Still hopeful I've inherited her green thumb. 

Kayaked with her on the Silver River
Laughed at this goofy guy
Thought this guy was fake...
Tried to pet a turtle 

Probs looked crazy to on-lookers chanting "anhinga! aninga! anhinga!" thinking that 3-times memory trick might help me become a bird expert like Moms. 

Had retail therapy with mama, walked with her and Denise, barbecue with Mom and Pops, and we were very adult-like seeing Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day. Pretty cute. 

Enjoyed a hearty and delicious lunch at The Top with life-long friend, Amy. Twenty four years with this girl as my best friend... I'm a lucky chick. 
Reunited with Charlyn over cupcakes and coffee and got to meet her man. So glad to see her after a year apart and meeting her boy I felt like I'd known forevs. (Facebook does that sometimes). 

And ended the night with surprise flowers, wine, a French press and coffee from Vietnam, eggs, and brownie mix, with some front porch chillin... "I can't imagine a better combination of goodies" for me, as Rubin also pointed out. This kid knows the way to my heart. 
Cheers to the new year, making the best of all things, channeling positivity like no other, being healthy and present, learning some more adult things... and all that jazz.
What were you doing on your 25th birthday, post 25ers out there? I asked Mom and Pops but Mom said there was no Timehop app at that time so she doesn't know. Haha
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Today's Gratitude

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Many dinner, lunch, walk, and beach dates with Leslie lately. Not to mention an amazing experience helping her execute a wedding for a lovely couple. Their wedding had oodles of ridiculously sweet moments including the Best Sendoff Ever award. Thanks to the never ending sparklers, this excited couple ran up and down the steps until they finally burnt out for a total of about 5 times. "One more time!" was even chanted at the end. 
A quick but always great visit from the Padres. Mama Brunch, shopping, new sister-in-law lunching, and daddy dinner made for one heart and belly filling day. 

Pain free running! Started again and  hoping that leg pain is gone forevs. 

A great weekend "nannying" the cousins in South Carolina aka hanging out with my baby high school cousins. We went to their football game the first night at which I felt a little old, worrying about these high schoolers in no clothes. Glad the cousins weren't some of those girls. The next morning was super hip with coffee and checkers after Pilates with Anne Marie. Then we went to Fall for Greenville where I ate some shrimp and grits and the best gluten free baked good ever... Remember that scene on Matilda where they ate loads of that chocolate cake? This was that cake. Shopping, movies, and church completed our weekend. It was great getting to hang with and get to know these girls. Fine young ladies, they're going up to be.  

A ridiculously funny night of karaoke with coworkers. Quite an experience. 

Lastly, my ridiculously adorable niece. I can't wait to meet herrrr. Is it Thanksgiving yet?! I was going to say I can't even handle her cuteness but I think that may have become a cliche white girl thing to say now or something. 
Here's to gratitude and it almost being Friday AND my birthday!! 
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Evening Thoughts [Commitment, Kid Spirit, and DIY]

Friday, September 26, 2014

Finishing the 11th day (in a row!) of my 30 day yoga challenge is officially the most consistent, committed thing I've ever done. Not really, but close to it. 
My year anniversary with Jacksonville,
living under the SAME roof, in a couple of weeks will be a major milestone too. Got Leslie in on the yoga madness yesterday too! Even after Al's Pizza $1 wine night. Commitment. So much goodness.

My casual walk to the pier tonight turned into an amateur gymnastics show, flying attempts with the powerful wind giving me kid-like vigor, sporadic lunges, and a random sprint to home at the end. Here's to being a kid again. 

The kid section in the library is one of my new favorite hangouts. 

Oh hey, look what I did. 

Painted these bad boys this week with the help of Meryl. DIY Success! Chalk paint is the best! DIY success! Chalk paint is the best! Sounded like it needed to be turned into a chant. 

Lastly, if anyone is moving and hates unpacking, I gotcha. That's one of my weird passions apparently, as I've volunteered these services to my mom and many friends. Settling in houses is my gig.

Oh, super lastly, Happy weekend, world! Last one of September, man. Can't believe it. 

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High Five for Friday

Friday, September 19, 2014

Happy weekend!! My weekend will be busy with work, working all three of my jobs. Nanny tonight, tutor in the morning, nanny tomorrow night, Daniel Sunday morning. Dad pointed out that I'll be able to tell my future kids I used to work three jobs to get by. So enjoy relaxation time extra for me!

So I got into my "not much blog-worthy stuff has happened lately" thinking in the last couple weeks but I suppose it has. 

1. One being an extremely impressive drag show. Finally. my first drag show, and it blew me away. They were some Beautiful queens. Not to mention there was a crime scene for a shooting right next door. Kinda crazy. After said drag show and discovering Nick's hidden talent for dancing, we chilled with stranger friends we met on our walk home in their high rise apartment with a ridic view of the beach, left my purse and all importants at their apartment, didn't realize til home and tired, and my most irrational option led to a trip to Home Depot the next day and running into ex boyfriend wet, ragged, and braless (after an actually enjoyable walk home in the rain with the baseball stud). That stud's team won the championship! Woop woop. And he's back in Indiana... So to maybe be continued. 

2. I finally started this 30 day yoga challenge. I signed up 25 days ago... I started on Wednesday. I found that just leaving my yoga mat out and ready in my room is good motivation. 

3. Pampered myself a little this week with a haircut and a massage. It was my first massage and it was lovely. I may have been the first person to ask my masseuse to turn down the heat on the table because "it was burning my nipples." I was surprised that no one else had that problem, but found they may have, but they would just say "it's too hot." I also may have fallen asleep near the end. (After I was on my back and the nips had recovered). 
4. Finished my writing children's books class!! Woohoo. That's two online courses complete this year. Now I'm magically gonna be able to teach English as a second language and write children's books all day, right? 

5. Practicing sketching. Having some fun with these little guys. I'm not as bad as I thought. 

Linking up with Lauren for H54F!
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Little Bit of Everything [Baseball, Water, Labor Day]

Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy 1st of September and Labor Day, friends! The last couple of weeks have been filled with greatness liiiike...

Lots of fun with this guy...
Two half days at work very well spent. On Wednesday, Nick and I had planned to paddle board but a date mix-up led us to a Fish Fry Grill with his team, hosted by his generous sponsor parents. They grilled up a portion of their 200lbs of personally caught Alaskan salmon and halibut. Fantastic. If only we hadn't just indulged in some deliciously filling MShack burgers, I would've enjoyed it even more! It was like an excited lightbulb went off in my stomach when I finally became hungry enough to eat it. 

We spent the next day paddle boarding, Lemon Barring, and stumbling in on a Sam Hunt concert at Mavericks. The end of the night transformed from a unique situation into a fun, exciting and strangely romantic night. 

An incredibly enjoyable time at a concert with Neighbor John and Leslie, cuttin a rug on the dance floor. Enjoyed several front porch chillin nights with the neighbs too. The guy's pretty rad.    

Beach time and a farmers market pit stop to pick up this beaut. After Lola's demise, I did some research so hopefully I'll keep miss Dea (Dee-ah) alive. 
A going away party for Kelly Dill that was appropriately filled with slip-n-slide flip cup, a redneck coozie (duct tape), a game we never really got the hang of, a soapy trampoline, fireball, and good peeps. Sad to see this girl go. 

Wedding dress shopping with my brother's future bride! I was honored enough to be invited to this, and especially honored to be a bridesmaid! She's going to be one beautiful bride. It's a good problem to have when all the dresses look too good to decide. 

A baseball game with miss Leslie and Dana... 

Another baseball game with Miss Meryl! 
And yet another game by myself last night. Gotta support this man! 

Just finished off this weekend at an always fantastic lake party at Lake Weir. Got to bring Meryl along too to meet some of the bests. Cannon balls off the jet skis, Trudy's ridiculous smorgasbords of goodies and catching up with these friends was much appreciated. Just what I needed. 

Oh and heeey! Nick and the boys are going to playoffs!! Woop woop! So excited and proud of him and the team! 

What greatness was your week/weekend/Labor Day filled with?! 
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Today's Gratitude

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I've been waiting for the go ahead to post this for like a week now because of some exciting news I include. It's been a good couple of weeks in the world of Abby. Here are some of the things I'm grateful for lately. 

Going to my first Reggae Sunday in St. Augustine with Dana, Martin, Will, and Milton. What a place for people watching... Old man with crazy, salsa-like dance moves all around the dock and funky smelling tent, old lady with crazy bejeweled hair net and... chest squares? It looked like she used the jewels preteens use to bedazzle their cell phones for a chest decoration. We said these two probably "came to Reggae Sunday 20 years ago and never left."
We're such "consistent smilers." 
Will and I had a Cute Niece Contest. Adaleigh won with a forfeit after one video of the precious angel baby's smiles. 

A surprise birthday dinner to celebrate Mr. Chad Baker. I've been back in Jax for like 10 months now and had probs only seen the kid for like 10 minutes. I had the most expensive but best dinner at new favorite restaurant, Black Sheep. Great boiled grapefruit calamari appetizer, best salmon I've ever had, perfectly sweet Riesling, and deliciously unique chai creme brûlée. I had written them a review before even leaving the restaurant. We continued celebrations with some drinks at O'Brothers. It was a great night with some awesome people. 
A Suns baseball game with Dana and Martin, that included a meet and greet with a player. Several dates have followed and he's been racking up the points ever since. A gentleman even the Salt Life waitresses and roommate are impressed with. (Roommate is probably more telling with his big brother-style protection). Glad we relocated to the seats near the relief pitchers... 
Paddle boarding adventures with Dana and Martin (lots of good times with these two lately) complete with yoga, dolphin sightings, headstands, cannonballs, racing, conquering shark fears, relaxing, and chicken fights. I expected it to be pretty cool, but it seriously surpassed my expectations. 

A delicious and special dinner shared with Brother Matt. We enjoyed the rooftop of Black Sheep overlooking the hip old Riverside area, (two weekends in a row), rocking shrimp and grits and a burger, and excitement over his proposal plans the following day. Grateful to have had this night with him. Crazy these happen so few and far between being in the same city! 

A successful proposal for those two love birds, giving me another amazing sister-in-law-to-be. My brothers pick some good onesMatt's engaged! Welcome to the family, Rachel!
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Stranger Friends and a Beach Frolick

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Had yet another beautiful slap in the face reminder to get out of the house yesterday. The last couple days, I've come home wanting to just laze it out and watch movies and sleep. Fortunately, today I saw a post from Lynch's Irish Pub reminding me of the art walk going on just down the road

Just as I was contemplating heading to Publix to get the supplies to make baked goods (paleo at least) and veg on the couch watching Frozen to catch up with the kiddo culture, I realized I now had an art walk to pass through. Definitely getting out now. 

I rode down the street to find surprisingly unique artists along the sidewalks. I think I was expecting the typical palm tree paintings, hippie clothes that are supposedly handmade but mysteriously look the same as every other hippie booth, and some sea shell jewelry. Not so. There were definitely some cool ones here. I found some sweet art and artists alike for some future gift ideas and good conversations. Jax Beach Art Walk. I'd recommend it. 

Then I decided to stop to talk to Jesus Loving (and sign holding old man) on 3rd and Beach. I've passed him a lot and he's always waving and happy, so I figured I'd stop for a quick appreciation and introductory conversation. We/he wound up talking for like 20 minutes. He offered a sweet prayer, like half his life story, and advice. Sweet dude, that David is. 
"I love everybody. Those people driving by with those red lights? I don't know what they look like. I don't know what they do. But I love em." 

On my way back, I met a cool couple back at the art walk with art ranging from pretty flowers to owls, skulls, and grim reapers. I opted for the skull with a flower. Pretty sweet. They were cool conversation too. The girl said I looked a lot like her old Roomie. I said I was, I was just seeing if she'd notice. 
To end the night, I went for a quick swim and float in the ocean followed by lots of child-like frolicking complete with handstands, cartwheels, back bends, and sand angels. The swim was shorter than I'd have liked... It was pretty dang dark. And once that image of a shark or sting ray popped in my head, I could only hide it for enough time to get the invigorating dive or two and appreciative float below the stars in. "No one would know if i died..." I tried to justify. Which I suppose was true. But I probably could've floated a little longer. 

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Wild Man, Willis, and Kiddos

Friday, August 1, 2014

Happy Friday and First of August, friends! This week's been an interesting one for sure. The highlights could basically all be dedicated to Willis but I'll include a couple others. 

1. Number one will go to hanging out with a new friend we're appropriately calling Wild Man on Monday. We stuffed our faces with awesome burgers at Poe's, played some laughable games of pool, and attempted dumpster diving for some flowers. None were to be found and we were a little disappointed in our grossed out reactions. Gotta keep trying. I haven't laughed as much as I did this night in maybe ever. 

2. Now. Local Friend Willis. After meeting him on Sunday, Wild Man and I took his much desired Coke to him. After swimming, grocery shopping, and cooking (some delicious fish tacos), we came back to find him still dancing away in the ocean. Tonight I took him fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. "Do you like chocolate chip cookies? These are right out of the oven!" 

"Ooh yeah! I like German chocolate cake too!" 
"Ah, I've never made that but maybe I'll give it a try sometime."
I learned he does his dancing for 12 hours a day and he's trying to "get back to the right weight." (Willis is as tall and lean as could be.)

3. One of the hilarious girls at work yesterday "protecting us from zombies." 

4. Getting news that I'm officially full time and continuing at Lindamood, plus getting some cool new responsibilities like testing these chillin. I'm excited to hear their often creative, hilarious answers and give them nothing but praises.

5. My day being made today with Wild Man texting me that Willis had a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit for breakfast today. Every time I thought about that, a smile grew on my face. 

This sunrise was a pretty awesome highlight too. 
Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth for High Five for Friday  
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Local Friends

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Last night's slightly bummy mood was quickly turned around after a Dip in the Sea, followed by some Observing in the Sand. I smiled at the tough looking high school/college kids playing hand slapping games we'd play as kids in line at Disney. (Cousin Lindsey! ;) ). 

I also spotted a homeless (which we're now calling LOCAL from now on) man dancing away in the sea. I laid there for a while, remembering that night months ago that I ran passed him by the pier. He brought a smile to my face then, watching him dancing with so much joy. I contemplated stopping to tell him this simple fact of the joy his joy spread, but I kept running, immediately with regret but not enough conviction to turn around. 

After another time, seeing a Happy Go Lucky old man shoveling away in the sand, building what looked like a giant moat, (but rooms said was probably him burying his wife), and letting that interesting Character Conversation pass too, I vowed to never let that happen again. 

It still took a little conversations in my head, but I got the gusto and just found myself pushing myself up, heading toward the man. 

Willis was his name. He's been here for 6 years, staying up and down the coast. He gets his exercise dancing in the sea and has "learned how to run with the waves." 

We talked for a little bit and a couple more guys came and greeted this friendly man. 

I was excited to have found the person I'd been waiting for to share some gift cards with, so I asked if he was a fan of Subway. "Do you have any coke?" Was his reply. 

"No, but I'm sure you can get some at Subway!" I replied. Only now did I realize the humor in if he was actually referring to cocaine. I'm sure not though. 

I came back with the gift cards and a lemonade that he was so excited about. 
"We didn't have coke, but we have lemonade, if that's cool!"

"Oh, lemonade is my flavor!" 

He gulped that down with a smile in his eyes. 

See you around, Willis. 

Local: much more appropriate term for people without a physical home of four walls. The beach could still be their home. It's just different. 
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Drinks, Discoveries, and Dipping

Sunday, July 20, 2014

This weekend was one unexpected crazy night after the next. Friday night started with hanging with a new coworker friend, Sarah. We biked over to the bars and laughed a lot at our bikes that were way too big. We needed a sign saying, "we're not hammered, our bikes just don't fit." Our night involved debunking my Foreign Radar Shoe Detector Theory but meeting a foreign looking surfer in the process, meeting a guy that's building merry go rounds in Africa to provide water, assisting in a scavenger hunt, celebrating a stranger's 21st birthday with a fun group of dudes, and making several new friends. 

After this crazy night, I had to work at 8am the next day. Rough. But it was a good shift followed by a not so beneficial nap. Are they ever? I did some domestic things before joining Dana, Martin, and another friend for biking around. Lemon Bar time commenced and ocean skinny dipping plans were made and executed. Twice. Giant cards were played, dancing done, and way too spicy food eaten.  
It was a good night... a good weekend... Of which there are no pictures. Sorry, guys. 

If you haven't gone skinny dipping in the ocean at night, do it. Or anytime really. 

Hyperboles I'm tired of

Friday, July 18, 2014

"I have the best mom/dad/husband/whatever in the world."
Ok he/she is probably really great and you may even believe she's "the best mom you could ask for (thank goodness we don't get to pick em), but let's not forget there are lots of awesome moms and it's just utterly impossible to judge, so don't even try. 

"I'd only be half the person I could be without him/her."
Well that sucks. Hopefully they don't break up with you or die. 

"I love ____ with all my heart."
Sucks for everyone else in your life to realize there's no room for them in your heart. 

"We need more chivalry in our society." 
So maybe this isn't as much of a hyperbole as it is just a stupid phrase I'm tired of. So maybe dudes don't hold the car door for you anymore (which is totally doable for your independent self), but you're also not just a trophy wife that can't even work and is just expected to pop out babies and make sandwiches). Ya win some, ya lose some. I'll take a little extra arm effort over being property. 

"Only in ______," when referring to one's hometown in which something redneck, crazy, or skeezy happened. That shit happens everywhere. Don't try to put the spotlight on yourself even for a bad thing, to try to make yourself feel different. If I went to my Social Psych class I'd probably know the official term for that kind of attention seeking behavior. 

"I can't function without coffee." Now I'm all about some coffee, but I'm convinced the energy aspect is 75% a placebo. 
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Afternoon Thoughts; Struggles

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Woke up late today. Threw on a dress I'd set out the night before. Rushed to work. Didn't eat breakfast. Didn't pack a lunch. Got to work and realized the dress is too big on me. And it's white. And my underwear is dark grey. And according to the period tracker I just downloaded, I have 0 days left. So I can't go commando. Was just made aware the only way Moes is still running is their queso. 

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Some Self Lovin

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

You know what? I realized that, though I have so much single time, and I do enjoy solo exploring, I actually haven't been treating myself to it as much as I should. My solo Sunday exploring was beyond lovely, I've added several routines to my days to show myself appreciation, and am trying my best to appreciate this "independent time I have." But there's definitely still more I can do.

When a friend canceled our river date plans the other day, I just ended up running errands... I totally could've still gone and had a solo day at the park. 

I think I'm pretty awesome. To the extent that I don't understand how my awesome dude has not come around and discovered this yet. I had been getting bummed that I don't have a guy to do all the romantic, fun things I want to do. But I'm not gonna let that keep me from doing these things. 

So until that day comes where I get my Partner in Adventure, I'm going to enjoy my time and still do just what I want. With no second opinions, no canceled plans, no wondering if they're as excited about the plans as I am, or what their expectations are... Noneathat!

I know what I love. I know what my expectations are, and also the openness to changes. I know I'll appreciate myself for whatever plans I do with myself. 

So I will open myself up to more opportunies. If I want to go somewhere new? I'll go somewhere new. Even if I don't have a dude or an available friend to come with. I don't need to wait around for someone to take me there... To do something I wanna do. Silliness, y'all. Silliness

So yesterday, I went to Memorial Park,
my favorite, near the sweet area of Avondale where I've been working lately (and not taking enough advantage of!) Shame. 

Took the journal, arts, ideas and open mind and heart, and had a little picnic.  On my way in, I stopped to talk to a sweet lady with a sheltie (always gotta pet shelties when I see em after Dolly, the best dog ever). But she used to be a teacher so we shared a lot of stories and laughs about our experiences. Then she, or her pup really, led me to the chance to meet another adorably happy, corgie pup and his owner. Just from one decision I met two people and their pooches!

So anyway, for now, I'll be dating myself and enjoying the heck out of it. This reminded me of MacKensie's post. I can definitely relate.

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Fourth of July, St. Augustine Style

Monday, July 7, 2014

Making a decision about my Fourth of July plans this year was basically my hardest decision I've ever encountered. I had to choose from family and friends' traditional Lake Weir festivities, celebrating in Infamous Jax Beach style with some old friends and potential to make more, and later had the addition of St. Augustine with Les and Brad to confuse me even more. After more than a week of debating, getting advise from everyone, and setting my GPS to the lake once out of work on Friday, I wound up changing route and decided on St. Augustine. Though the lake is always a good time and I'd be spending with some of the bests and family, the idea of celebrating in a whole new way was too enticing. 

Once Brad and I made it to St. Augustine, I was so glad I chose this. (A statement made several times throughout the night). We met Les and Gabby at Conch House Marina, where they were working/hanging with us til fireworks time. We passed a good friend, Diane, on her way out, who fortunately decided to turn back around and celebrated with us. 

This ended up being such a great fourth. "Sittin on the dock of the bay, wastin time," with Brad and new friends was so appreciated. I got a warmer heart, just from the perfectly joyful on-looker next to me that would literally shake from excitement at every burst of her favorite firework. 
"This is when they start playing Proud to be an American at the fort," said Leslie. 
Commence our rendition of the song, making one of my favorite moments of the night. 
I attributed my hoarse voice the next morning to this instance, plus another belting at a pub, but as Leslie pointed out,
 "Pretty sure we had enthusiasm with every sentence that came out. Haha. BEST FOURTH EVAAAARRRR." 
After the fireworks, we walked cartwheel over the bridge to the British Pub (I'm sure we would've gone to The American Pub had there been one?), continued to White Lion for friends and dancing jigs, and then made The Fort our playground, for some extreme entertainment. Les and I attempted a Fort Invasion but unfortunately that's not as easy as hoped. I continued, convinced that another entrance had to exist. Along the way I fully took on character... 
"Shhh! Don't give me away! I'm a Brit... Or Spanish? I'm not really sure. But I'm invading!" as I alerted the surprise(d) picnickers around the corner.  
"I think it was the Spanish," oh so helpful strangers said. 
"Ok yes! Spanish! I'm just gonna climb this here fort. Don't mind me." (Said with an attempted British/Spanish accent)
"Do you want some encouragents and cheers?"

Apparently the Americans had thought about this climbing the fort tactic and made it out of super painful shells. It was a no go. As was the search for my sandals after said climbing. 

Friends and I were reunited and enjoyed some serious laughs on the grassy knoll by the fort. I was trying to remember some of the awesome quotes or conversations but no luck. 
"OMG I laughed hysterically and remember nothing,
Leslie said, when I hoped she might remember. 

The night wasn't flawless though. This was made certain by the cab drivers that should not be cab drivers. 
It wouldn't have been complete without some misplaced keys, but they were retrieved with ease from the fort. Thank goodness. But these just added to the story of course of this epic Independence Day. 

What better place to celebrate the good ol' USA's birth than growing friendships with some of my favorites, with beautiful marina views, in the Oldest City in America? 

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The Sea and Some Heat

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I was debating whether to share about my Monday after this Sunday post, that could've been seen as one of those pretentious sounding, "my life is more awesome than yours," posts that "makes my life look better through my blog," etc like all these Facebook feeds are sharing.

But yesterday was honestly too good to not share. I got off two hours early, which at first was a slight inconvenience as I need the hours. But disappointment didn't last longer than my walk out the door, when it turned into excitement to enjoy the beautiful day. 

On my way home, I got a call from one of my favorites, Mr. James... mysterious funny dude I mentioned here and here. Oh and here. (Just guess which ones are about him). He was off work and interested in beach time, so he came on over. 

We had a delicious Brinner feast on the porch, shared poems and ideas, and laughed a whole lot with his reciting of my poems. It sounds a bit different, to say the least, coming from someone else. 

We enjoyed the sun for a while on the beach before I finally convinced him to get in the water. First just his feet, then halfway, then finally all in. It turned into quite the spectacle, watching him try to get out passed the break to join me for some relaxing floating. 
"How are you floating?! You have you relaxed for that!" 
"Yeah? You can't relax?"
I'd get excited when he'd almost make it out to me, then turn around and he's way the heck back. It was such a struggle. A very entertaining, laughable struggle. I think he attempted floating once to be pummeled by a wave. Bad experience. 

It felt so nice continuing my "Swim Every Day Resolution." That day I swam longer than I have in years, and it was fantastic. Lots of floating. Lots of empowerment conquering the waves. Lots of humbling tumbles in the ones I didn't quite conquer.  

We got in some more sun time, and one more swim before deciding we needed food. Off to Al's Pizza we went for one of the funniest dinners I've ever had. I thought the buffalo chicken would be too spicy, so we went with the spicy Caribbean chicken pizza. 
"Ooh, It's not too spicy," waitress said. 
"Spicy" is In. It's. Name... That should've been a sign. 

Two slices later and I'm across the table with a runny nose, lips burning, and snorting coke (the legal kind) from laughing so hard at Mr. James' similar struggle. That was the spiciest food I have ever eaten. Spicier than some buffalo chicken pizza I had from Mellow that turned my poor lips into lobsters. Spicier than that "mild" Indian food I ate in Scotland... It was rough. 

I proceeded to laugh for about 15 straight minutes, while he powered through to "be a man" and kill those last two pieces. The waitress came back at one point, with me dying of laughter and James sweating and rocking. We alerted her to never refer to that pizza as "not too spicy," and sarcastically requested some milk. 

Second time around, she comes back with our waters, asking if we needed anything else while I'm videotaping the ridiculousness, and he's soaking his lips in his water... Comes up from his cup with lips dripping wet. I was pretty much hysterically laughing at this point. 

I wouldn't have changed our pizza choice for the world.

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My Artsy Sunday

Sunday, June 29, 2014

In recap of this wonderfully refreshing, inspiration filled day, 
I started off with journaling. This was definitely the turn around after a discontent, reminiscing night last night. I went from thinking about my next move, with CPH on my mind, and plans to research my move today. But after journaling, I just crossed that off my list and focused on today.  
Off I went on Hendrix (after paying more to fix him yesterday than I did to buy him) to do some "research" at Bookmark, a bookstore in Neptune Beach, just down the road. This research consisted of finding some awesome children's books that sparked some ideas for my own books that I'm super excited about. 

With ideas a brewin', I went on over to Lillie's for some brainstorming and poetry, and met an interesting dude sketching a Zombie Bieber. I also got to FaceTime with Chris, Mom, and sweet Adaleigh and talked about some of my ideas. 

With a hungry belly, I came on home for a delicious smoothie, and continued my arts-inspired day with some harmonica, guitar, calligraphy, and more poetry. I attempted some more watercolor this evening, but am struggling the most with this art form.      
I finished my night with a dip in the sea and reading The Rum Diary with toes in the sand. Perfectly appropriate. 

Dana and Martin's simple question and my pathetic response about how often I actually swim in the ocean and even go to the beach a week, has changed my days. 
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High Five for Friday

Friday, June 20, 2014

Happy Fridaay! That seemed like a long week. A good week, but long. It definitely seems long thinking I was in Ocala last weekend. And back to Ocala I go this weekend for a wedding! 

1. The birth of my first niece is obviously number 1. She was born healthy and beautiful late Wednesday night. I cannot wait to meet her! I realized how much it hadn't set in until I got the pictures of her. Even when I was told she was On the Way, it hadn't hit me. I can't even imagine the feeling I'll get when I get to hold her. I'm so excited to be an aunt and watch her grow. I'm probably equally as excited to watch my brother and his wonderful wife grow as parents. They're going to be so amazing. I just can't get over the excitement my heart is filled with right now. I had a serious moment of realization about all the changes that one birth has, thinking not only about the  couple becoming parents, but also the new grandparents, the brothers and sisters becoming aunts and uncles... So much love and new roles to be taken on. 
There's the happy family! 
2. Showing up at Daniel yesterday to visit the kids, and a client crying at my appearance. Crying! Nearly balling actually. I don't know that anybody has ever cried from seeing me. Maybe Mom. So that was pretty special. Plus enjoying time with one of the new little ones that's just precious, playing cards and telling "inappropriate jokes." She had me and Ms. Hue in tears from laughing. 

3. Another funny night hanging with my favorite Daniel staff. Hanging out with them at work on my night off is actually preferred. 

4. Getting my deli meat spot on the money the other day. Plus enjoying Publix free coffee in the presence of a beautiful stranger to whom I mustered up the courage to speak. (Check out that grammar). Next is throwing my number at him. 
5. Plans to see Amy and Padre, and see a good friend from middle school get married this weekend! That wedding I don't have a date to, mentioned here

Linking up with Lauren Elizabeth with High Five for Friday!
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Times I wish I had a boyfriend

Monday, June 16, 2014

When my back and shoulders and feet are in dire need of a massage. 

When there's a beautiful sunset that would be even better shared. 

When I wanna sleep on the beach. Cuddles (and some protection) would be a huge plus. 

For cuddles any time. 

When I have to check "1 attending" for my first wedding where I'm not in the bridal party or have a wide base of friends attending. 

When I wanna do something adventurous. Traveling, picnics, fishing, hiking, kayaking... All would be better with a partner in crime. 

For rent purposes when dreaming about moving out of the state/country. 

To avoid being the fifth wheel. Third wheel I can deal with, but fifth? It's like I'm wrecking two dates.  

When everyone's all love struck and in serious relationships, and I'm over here like, "I spoke to beautiful stranger at Publix today?" 

When I have sweet ideas or plans to do for my nonexistent lover. AKA all the time. I have way too much love to share with no one to share it. I don't know what might happen but I feel like exploding is a possibility. 

When I'm trying to think of a couple more points I might be forgetting for this list, and wanting to text a friend for thoughts... But they all have boyfriends. So they don't know the struggle. 

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Things I Learned This Weekend

Sunday, June 15, 2014

1. Throwing away pictures quickly turns into hours of laughing at old selves and bringing back so many memories. High school friends and I have often wondered what we did in high school since we weren't the typical partying teens. After this picture raid, I realized... we took pictures. In dressing rooms, walmart, cars, kitchen islands... 
2. My parents are awesome. I didn't learn this this weekend but it was definitely reinforced. They are just such dedicated, good people. We're also surrounded by some amazingly supportive friends. 
3. My dad is so cool. I mean really...
Cool guy on the right... Can he get any more awesome? Not to mention that crazy guy on the left, aka Uncle Dennis. I never did get a straight answer about whether he dressed like that on the reg or not. So was that a regular occurrence, Dennis?! ;)
4. Sleepy babies are one of the sweetest things to see. 
5. Having adult conversations with toddlers is so amusing to me. Brooks and I discussed how he needs a dog.. the same color as his hair (ginger), wants to play a violin when he gets bigger, all foods are favorite, and Denmark should be my next move. 
6. I cannot wait to have my own kids and give them completely bonkers information and stories. This is also not something I just learned but just reminded of. "Don't push all those buttons on the printer, Brooks. It might send the president the wrong message and we could get in trouble. We don't want that." "No! We don't!"
7. At my baby shower, this will be one of the games I request. Share some funny and/or helpful lies I can tell my offspring. 
8. I also love teaching kids new tricks. Roll-over, handstands, yoga. You name it.  
9. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is being added to my To Do List on those bad days. It's so relateable! 
10. Alexander's I'm Not (and I mean it) Going to Move made me cry. The Alexander series is basically my new favorite. 
11. You know it's your girl time when a World Cup promo video makes you cry. 
12. I am getting to that weird, "man I feel old" stage tha I always thought was weird hearing the twenty-something's say when I was a kid. Seeing these "kids" from church or my own baby cousins driving and having babies is nuts. 
13. Feeding a needy man makes my heart happy. 
14. Hot tubs are way more fun when they're being hopped. Especially with my two funniest dude friends. 
15. I'm blessed with one heck of an amazing dad. Last year we were spending Father's Day in Germany. This year we spent it opening his new store and celebrating this big adventure. Happy Father's Day, Papa! 
Linking up with Katie!



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