Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Start of Something Good

I'm a little nervous to say everything I'm about to say because it is a little soon to be making bold statements about the new man in my life. I don't want to jinx myself because this whole thing is feeling too good to be true, but I just have to fill you in!

You might remember before the holiday I mentioned meeting a new man downtown after I ran the Tap n' Run. Last you heard, he brought me flowers, called me on the phone and we had a great time on our first date.

Despite me being at my parents' for a few days, we've managed to see quite a bit of each other since then. He lives in Lake Mary, which is about 40 minutes from my house. I drove out there last week for a movie night.

While at my parents' for Christmas, he called me every day to say hi and chat for a few minutes. What? Someone wants to hear my voice everyday? Someone who doesn't go days without contacting me? Someone who was counting down the days until I came home? Is this real life?

I showed him around my side of town last night and I'll be staying there tonight before hitting the road to Jacksonville in the morning. We've fallen into what feels like such a normal relationship so effortlessly. It just happens. There is nothing to analyze. No one is trying to play games. The feelings are mutual. There is a level of comfort that I haven't felt with someone in a long time. I think I've mistakenly said that before, but this...this feels comfortable. I can say what's on my mind whether it is too cheesy, too honest, or unreasonable without feeling like he is going to reject it.

I am totally surprised by this whole situation. I've never met someone in a bar setting that actually seemed like it could be a normal, viable relationship. I know it's so early to be saying all of this, but I can't help but feel giddy and optimistic. I don't know where this is going to go, but I feel really good about it right now!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Snapshots

Hello! I hope you all had a Merry Christmas. The last few days have been absolutely wonderful. I feel relaxed and so completely blessed after being home for Christmas. I'm back at work for 2 days, then off to Jacksonville for a long weekend to see my cousin get married. I really want to update you on the man in my life because things are moving right along, but that will have to wait until tomorrow because I have too much to say. In the meantime, here are a few snapshots of my Christmas -

On Saturday, I spent the day at Disney with Taryn. She was in town for Christmas and Saturday was our only chance to see each other before I headed to my parents'. As always, we had an absolute blast.

Minnie Mouse ears were a must!
My mother and I schedule a day just for baking every Christmas. We did this on Sunday and as always, we had a wonderful day in the kitchen together.

I still had a bit of last minute shopping to do on Christmas Eve, so my brother, dad and I braved the crowds (which actually weren't too bad) to finish up. I told them it would absolutely make my day if they wore Santa hats out shopping with me and after putting up a bit of a fight, I walked out that morning and they were both wearing hats. This made me happier than you can imagine.
they are such good sports!

It just wouldn't be an occasion if I didn't get a family photo of Blake and I. This is my first Christmas with Blake and he was so adorable playing with all his new toys and playing in the piles of wrapping paper in the living room on Christmas morning. 
It's safe to estimate that I cried happy tears at least 5 times over the last 2 days. My parents always made Christmas so special growing up, making it less about the gifts and more about being together and appreciating the special time together. This is why I get emotional during the toast at dinner and why I love looking around the living room as we open gifts on Christmas morning. Our house is so filled with love and support. It is such a blessing.

Tell me...

What was your favorite Christmas moment this year?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Flowers & a Man Who Actually Called me on the Phone. Is This Real Life?

Hello world. I've been stuck in bed with a nasty cold all week, but yet somehow a lot has happened. This cold couldn't have come at a worse time. I still have Christmas gifts to buy, errands to run before my holiday trips and my workout schedule has been completely thrown off.

In the midst of all this, I absolutely need to post something here because things has taken an interesting turn in the last few days.

I met a really handsome guy downtown last weekend. If your single, you know that 9 times out of 10 when you meet a guy at a bar, the chances that (1) you'll actually hear from him and (2) that you'll actually want to get to know him outside of that environment, aren't very good. Nevermind the fact that you probably had a conversation about nothing at the bar and may not even remember it. Well this guy seemed a little different from the get-go. He bought me a beer and he asked about my job, my favorite books...not the typical "so, where are you from?" conversation most guys go with.

I was surprised to get a text from him Monday and even more surprised that he asked me out to dinner Tuesday night. Then something amazing happened. He picked up the phone and called me to make dinner plans. I can't tell you how refreshing it was to skip the weeks of awkward texting conversation that inevitably end up happening with guys I meet. I feel like so many guys (or maybe just the ones end up interested in) hide behind Facebook chat, texting...anything to avoid picking up the phone and talking like a normal human being. Getting an actual phone call from someone I had just met was such a treat!

Anyway, we met for dinner on Tuesday night and had a great time! Things that made me think I might like this one:

-when I walked up to meet him at the restaraunt, he shouted "You look beautiful!" I'm not one of those girls who needs to be told that all the time, but I've also dated too many people recently who couldn't even tell me they liked me, so it was nice to hear this from him.

-he brought me flowers. What? I haven't gotten flowers from a guy in years. We walked to his truck after dinner to get his jacket (which he made me wear because it was chilly and I was getting sick) and he pulled them out and handed them to me. It was sweet and thoughtful and not over-the-top cheesy. I didn't know how to react!

-I didn't feel like we were on a first date at all. The way he talked with me was like he had known me for a long time. It was comfortable and fun without the first date awkwardness that I am all too familiar with.

We ended the night with frozen yogurt and plans to see each other again tonight. I'm excited and pleasantly surprised by this whole situation.

I think I posted this quote on a blog post a while back, but it rings true for so many things in life including my relationships with people. I can't dwell on people who don't want to be in my life. I need to look forward and put my energy toward the people who want to be here.

I've had a tough time lately finally getting up the courage to speak my mind to people who haven't treated me fairly. I'm realizing when I stop putting my thoughts and energy toward people who don't deserve it from me, I make room for people to come in my life who do deserve my attention.

Unfortunately, this is a lesson I keep having to learn. I'll get it down eventually, but in the meantime, I'm excited to see what happens next. I just hope I'm feeling better in time for my date this evening!

Monday, December 17, 2012

"We Just Have to Beat the Girls Who Stopped for Ice Cream!"

Good morning! I hope you all had a lovely weekend.

As many others were, I was completely torn apart by the events that took place Friday in Newtown. I wish I could find the words to write something...anything on this. But I can't. Simply knowing that horrific tragedies like this happen on this planet is absolutely heartbreaking. Since I can't find the right words to say, before I get into the nonsense my weekend consisted of, I wanted to share this song with you all. It came on my country music playlist on Friday night while I was home and it gave me a little spark of hope...hope for better days ahead.

My weekend...

The highlight of my weekend was running participating in the Tap n' Run 4K in downtown Orlando on Saturday. For those of you unfamiliar with this race, the emphasis is less on running the 2.4 miles and more on drinking beer, wearing ridiculous costumes and inappropriate behavior. Instead of the typical water stops during a typical race, there were 3 beer stops along the course and at the end of the race, everyone gets a medal/beer opener and another beer at the finish line. I had an absolute blast!

I'd fill you in on every detail, but the few photos I took really highlight the best parts:

I loved that when you registered for this race online you could choose a nickname for your bib. I obviously went with Booze Clues, which is what I refer to as trying to figure out what happened the morning after a wild night.

I absolutely loved our team baseball shirts. So cute!

It was absolutely necessary to take a "baseball card" photo. I obviously don't know how you are supposed to stand, but that isn't really important.

Best friends stop in the middle of a race to get ice cream with you. We were maybe two minutes into the race when we ran by my favorite frozen yogurt place. We just had to run in and grab a snack for the race. It was so funny to hear people behind us cheering each other on saying "We just need to beat the girls who stopped for ice cream!"

This is probably the most serious photo Laura and I have ever taken together. We got way too much joy out of creeping people out with these mustaches throughout the night. We would hold put our staches on and stare at random people from across the bar until they very awkwardly caught our eyes. After being vicimized several times, one guy finally came up to us and told us we were making him really uncomfortable and left the bar. It was hilarious.

If you ever have a chance to particpate in something like this, you just have to. It's so much fun! For all the running I've been doing and the hard work I've put in lately, it was kinda nice to partipate in something like this where I didn't care about the actual running at all.

I do have to say that day drinking really isn't my thing. I get a headache and start feeling hungover before 8 p.m. Does this stop me? Not usually. However, when at midnight you are twirling and dancing to 80s music and realize you've been drinking since 3 p.m., it's time to go home.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12 on 12/12/12

In case you haven't been on Twitter or Facebook yet where everyone is telling us the date, it's 12/12/12. I've been sitting here thinking of fun things to do to mark the 12 miles tonight? drink 12 glasses of wine? Well, I can't quite run 5 miles without feeling like I might pass out and while 12 glasses of wine would be great, it would take me until the next repetitive date to recover from that hangover.

So instead, I'm celebrating with a list because the least I can do today is celebrate the things I'm really excited about. So here goes-- the 12 things I'm most excited about right now:

1. The Tap n' Run 4K this Saturday. I was planning on taking it seriously by skipping the beer stops along the course and trying to get a good time, but I changed my mind. I'm doing this for fun, so I need to make it fun. This means I will skip, dance, twirl and drink beer through the course and just enjoy the fun of it and not stress myself out about the time.

2. Finally having my house decorated for Christmas. I say finally because apparently December 9th is way too late to go out looking to buy a real tree, white Christmas lights and a tree stand. We had to go to several stores before we tracked down the lights and stand. WalMart was completely out of both and by the way the staff reacted to us asking for these things, you'd think we were looking for this stuff in April or something.

Anyway, this is my third Christmas in my house and while I've put up a tree every year, this is the first year I've had the house fully decorated. We have lights on the bushes outside, the porch window and the sliding glass door. There is a wreath on the door and garland up the stairway. There a little bell ornaments throughout the house and a holiday centerpiece on the kitchen table. A lot of this is thanks to my awesome roomie helping me decorate. We had a blast decorating. I just love her! We even got a real tree (another 1st for me)!

3. Reuniting with my friends from college. I haven't seen some of these girls since we graduated in 2008 and almost all of us we be together in Orlando for one night in January. I couldn't be more excited about this.

4. My best friend Laura moving in with me in February. I lived with Laura before I bought my house and we've only become better friends since then. I can't wait for her to join our happy home. There will so much baking and dancing going on!

5. Christmas baking with my mom. It's looking like we'll have our annual cookie baking day the Sunday before Christmas and I can't wait. I haven't figured out what to bake yet, but I know it is going to be an awesome day with my mom!

6. This little guy. Meet Ashton David, my beautiful new nephew. I can't wait to hold this little boy in my arms. I just need to get my butt up to Buffalo soon so I can meet him!

7. Jacksonville at the end of the month. My roomie is joining me in Jacksonville for my cousin's wedding just a few days after Christmas. They are getting married on the beach and I couldn't be happier for these two. I'm also excited to get some quality time in with my good friend Kendal who lives there as well.

8. My two younger sisters are moving closer. Right now, one of them lives about 30 minutes from me and the other lives with my parents about an hour away. This weekend, they are moving into their new apartment which is only about 20 minutes from my house! I am so happy to have them both closer.

9. Blake wearing a Santa hat. This makes me happier than it should, but he is just too cute. We will be taking a family photo that involves this hat at some point.

10. The state of my friendships. I have been a little down lately about my lack of success in the relationship department. I know I'll meet the right one eventually, but I can't help but feel a little sad/lonely sometimes. On the flip side, I think back to about 4 years ago when I moved back to Orlando after college and didn't have any close girlfriends. I've come a long way since then and can't say how thankful I've been lately for the group of very close girlfriends I have. It's something I never take for granted because I remember the time I would have given anything for a few really good girlfriends. I have those and they keep me sane, they keep me laughing, they dance with me in public and they are there for me no matter what. I am so overjoyed to have girls like this in my life.

11. Messy Twister. I don't know why I didn't think of this before (Thank you Pinterest), but it's brilliant. This will be happening in my house sometime in the next few months. I can't wait!

12. Life. I haven't completely been myself lately and I am worrying, stressing out about things and getting down on myself. the midst of all of this, I am fully aware of how blessed I am. I have faith that the things I am worrying about will work out in their own time and the struggles I feel like I am going through will make the good things to come so worth the wait. Despite the things I want to change/fix/find, I am so excited about the life I'm living. It's all about perspective, that's for sure!

Tell me...

What are you most excited about right now? Are you doing anything exciting to mark 12/12/12?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Random Thoughts #2

I already warned you that I have a lot to say this week. Unfortunately, I can't seem to pull a coherent post together. Do you ever have that problem? You have topics you want to write on and things you want to say, but you just can't seem to piece it all together. Instead, you end up rambling on about a variety of unrelated things. I've already done a post like this just recently, so I guess this is going to be a regular thing here on days I can't focus on one topic. So here goes...

Most importantly, I have a new nephew on his way into this world as we speak and I am esctatic! This is my sister's 3rd child and I cannot wait to get word that he has arrived. My sister lives way up in Buffalo so I can't be there to meet him which kinda stinks, but I am hoping to get up there sometime in the next few months to visit. I can't wait for that.

I pinned this on Pinterest today and actually said "oh shit" out loud at my desk because I was that overwhelmed by how wonderful and awful it was that I found this. Awful because my love for York Peppermint Patties is really intense and I don't think I have the self control to even make these. Good lord they look delightful.

Do you ever feel like negativity has become more common in this world than positivity? I come across too many people who don't know how to react to my attitude and I don't know how to respond. Some people even seem offended. What gives? Are there just too many bad things in the world getting people down and making them cynical?

I understand that it's easier to focus on the negative sometimes. It takes less energy to complain about things you aren't happy with than it is to find the bright side of that situation. I guess I just feel overwhelmed by this lately. Don't get me wrong. I have days that are not-so-great. But on those days, I certainly don't post "FML" Facebook updates or project my negativity onto others. That doesn't do any good. I don't spread happiness and positivity to people on a daily basis. Even I'm guilty of being pessimistic sometimes. But I catch myself. And I wish more people would catch themselves and turn their thought process around.  Maybe this needs it's own post. Maybe I need to blog about how you can cheer yourself up. I don't know.

Taylor Swift is coming to Orlando for two nights in April and I'm going to attempt to snag tickets on Friday morning at 10 a.m. Her shows sell out so fast so I usually don't even attempt to buy tickets. I've never seen her live and I know it would be amazing. If we are actually able to get tickets I am going to completely lose my mind. That's how excited I will be. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Has anyone else not even started their Christmas shopping? So many bloggers I follow said they were finished shopping Thanksgiving weekend. What? How did you do that? Thanksgiving weekend I went shopping and left the mall with two new sweaters, a sequin skirt and new aviators...all for myself. My dad totally judged me to my face. I just hadn't thought about what I wanted to get people yet and nothing jumped out at me. I need to get on this...

Speaking of Christmas, my coworker has Peppermint Kisses in her office. Why are these so delicious? I can't stop sneaking into her office to snag a few. It's getting out of hand. Have you tried these yet? If not, go pick yourself up a bag and proceed to eat the entire thing.

Is it frowned upon to tell your parents you want a flask for Christmas? I can't help but really, really want this one.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Speaking up, Sea World, Being Crafty and a Runaway Blake

Hello friends. I have a lot I want to say this week and I don't know where to start. I guess I'll start by telling you about my weekend and figure out the rest later this week.

Sometimes when I reflect on the weekend, it's hard to believe I crammed so many adventures, mishaps, awkward moments and good times into such a short time. This weekend was definitely one of those weekends.

Saturday I spent the day at Sea World with The Dog Whisperer, his roommate and a lady friend of his. I hadn't seen and hardly spoken to The Dog Whisperer in a few weeks so I was feeling a little anxious. We had a really fun day and got to hit up just about every attraction they have. The dolphin show is by far my favorite show there and everytime I see it I am completely overwhelmed by how amazing it is. I also cry tears of joy everytime I watch it and this time was no different. Did our whole group think it's weird and hilarious that I cry? I think so, but oh well. Sea World at Christmas makes me ridiculously happy. They have fake snow and do Christmas versions of some of the shows. We fed sting rays, which if you've never done is really awkward because they basically suck the food out of your hand. We also spent way too long in the game area of Sea World and The Dog Whisperer walked away with a creepy amount of small stuffed animal prizes. It was a really fun day.

While I had a really fun day, I have to say that The Dog Whisperer treated me like nothing more than a friend all day. Because he's been sending such mixed signals, I've already backed off quite a bit so if he just wants to be friends, that's cool. It would be nice though if he would just say so instead of leaving me to figure it out on my own. It's exhausting.

My goals for Sunday were simple: at least start to decorate the house for Christmas. I'm saving the Christmas tree for this weekend when my roomie and I can go pick one out and decorate together, but I wanted to get some lights up, get the Christmas candles out and finally pack up the fall decorations. As I tend to do, I got a little overzealous and decided I was also going to attempt to make one of those adorable yarn wreaths I see all over Pinterest.

I wouldn't describe myself as crafty, but I used to scrapbook a lot and I can pull off pretty basic DIY projects. The problem is, that no matter what I do, I always end up spending 3x as much on the supplies and the project takes about 2 hours longer than the tutorial says it should. This is why my crafting days are few and far between. The good news is that I'm pretty happy with the result.

I didn't really follow any specific tutorial because there are so many online and honestly, this is pretty easy to make. Wrapping the yarn around the wreath is really more of a two person job (it took me about 2 1/2 hours and it is not perfect by any means), but other than that, it's pretty self explanatory.

I'm not gonna lie, I was pretty exhausted and mentally checked out after the wreath was complete and I hadn't even gotten around to hanging any lights yet. This explains how I didn't notice Blake walking right out the front door somewhere between me trying to hang the wreath on the door and standing in my kitchen sink trying to hang Christmas lights in my front window (side note: you can't help but stop and laugh at yourself when you're using an ice cream scoop as a hammer for an hour before realizing you have a tool kit in the garage).

When I was finally finished, I realized I hadn't seen Blake in a while. He hadn't been feeling very well and I kinda figured he gave up on following this mad woman around the house and went to sleep on the couch. I walked through the house calling his name and he was no where to be found. I started to panic realizing he could have been gone for an hour or two at this point. I had been so wrapped up in what I was doing, I had no idea when he got out. I started freaking out, crying, calling his name and as I ran outside to look for him, my neighbor from a few houses down was walking up to the door with him.

I was so relieved and panic-stricken that I brought Blake inside and cried like a baby for a good 10 minutes. Before you judge my parenting, I am usually much more attentive. Blake is still a puppy, so I don't let him out of my sight most of the time. I honestly don't know how he got outside without me even realizing it and it really makes me worry about my mental health. He would've had to walk right past me to get outside when I had the door open for goodness sake! The good news is that thanks to my neighbor walking his dogs, Blake didn't go far and I didn't end up having to roam the streets hysterically looking for him.

So yeah, to summarize: Hot mess, party of one right here. I'll get it together soon, I'm sure. I do know that though I feel like I am kinda falling apart, it's making me say and do things that need to be done. I don't ever fall apart without coming out of it feeling better and more secure with myself. So, there's the bright side. Oh, and I'm sure you would all agree that succeeding in any DIY project can make you feel like you could take over the world, assuming you don't let your dog run away without you noticing in the process.

Holy cow that was long. Thanks for sticking around to read it if you did and I hope you all had a wonderful weekend.