Thursday, June 19, 2014

Home Buying 101, Book Signing, Baby Shower, Dog Diagnosis, and Other Lessons in Life

New York is still just a blur. It feels like it was yesterday and yet it was three weeks ago. A part of me will always feel I belong there. I honestly don't think I could ever live there though. Rent would eat up my entire paycheck, but it's always nice to visit!
Here's my list of things to do when I do go back:
1. The Highline
2. More Central Park exploring
3. Century 21 for retail therapy
4. Silvercup Studio Tour
5. Levain Bakery
6. Sky lift to Roosevelt Island
7. Billy's Bakery
8. Cafe Lalo from "You've Got Mail"

I would like to think I'll decide on a whim to hop a plane and go just myself. Would it be just as magical if you were by yourself? I don't know. I'm positive I would enjoy a beach trip by myself but you kind of want someone with you for big city trips.

For now I'll happily settle for evenings walking on my family's land seeing sunset after sunset just like this...surrounded by lightening bugs and gazing up at the stars at night. I love being in the country.
You can't take this for granted, y'all.

Did you know that "Napoleon Dynamite" celebrated it's 10th anniversary this year?! That makes me feel old. I remember being in high school and rushing over to my friend Caitlin's house after church one night to watch it on DVD--a big deal, and getting my first speeding ticket, another big deal. That was traumatic.
I still blame it on getting caught up in Kelly Clarkson's "Breakaway" song. You try belting out one of her power ballads and not go over the speed limit. Ugh! Tickets...back to Napoleon!

I have so many beloved quotes from that movie.

Napoleon: "I like your sleeves. They're real big." Deb: "Thanks. I made them myself."
"I want that!"
Tina, Pedro, Uncle Rico, tots, Kip, the infamous dance scene at the end...I could go on and on. What are your favorite quotes? I think people either love or hate that movie. For me, it's right up there with "Dumb and Dumber" for a hilarious movie that I can watch again and again.
Last week, our Young Professionals group hosted a "Lunch & Learn" networking luncheon at Hospice of Marshall County. Thomas Moore from First Bank Mortgage gave us all some great tips about home buying/selling/renting. It was very educational to know about how to get approved for loans, what levels you should look for when buying, etc. These luncheons are coined to "teach us everything we need to know as an adult but they didn't teach us in school."
I had an early meeting in Tuscaloosa last Friday so my mom and I drove down on Thursday and shopped, ate, and walked around campus. I'm always amazed at the changes, new buildings and apartments, etc. that have came in the five years since I've been there. It was a beautiful and surprisingly cool moonlit night for a walk around the Quad. Ahhh...memories.
Friday, after my meeting, we met my sister for lunch in Homewood and then went to meet one of our favorite authors, Emily Giffin. She has written seven books and you might remember her first book, "Something Borrowed" was made into a movie. I forgot how many times Shake Shack was featured in all it's gloriousness in that film. It has to be a record. Anyway, for all you fans of the movie, the sequel "Something Blue" is coming out next year, set in my other favorite city, London. Whoop! Anyway, Emily was in Homewood for a book signing at the cutest little bookstore, The Alabama Booksmith
Every book in there has been signed by the author and so many famous authors and personalities have done signings there over the years. Check it out if you are in the area and a bookworm like me.   Emily was really nice and down to earth. She talked informally to the forty or so groupie gals who had gathered inside the little bookstore.
She answered questions and then took photos with us and signed copies of her new book, "The One and Only." I haven't read it yet but it's set in Texas and revolves around college and football. She asked me and Lauren if we talked on the phone everyday. Does texting count? I told her we travel together and like to swap books, haha. I told her she writes in a very thought provoking way. If you haven't read her other books, put some of them on your summer reading list. They really do make you think what you would do in certain situations in life.
Hard to top getting to meet one of your favorite authors, but we headed to a bakery Lauren had been raving about called Dream Cakes. They were voted the #1 bakery in Alabama and I instantly fell in love with this Curious George banana peanut butter cupcake! A sweet ending to an already great day.

On Saturday, my good friend and former college roomie, Malarie, had a baby shower. It was outdoors, hosted by one of her and Shannon's good friends, Monica Dooley, who is a professional photographer. Look at the half moon prop behind us. And a lemonade stand for drinks and cake, a quilt covered table, and a house full of props to browse through. So fun! Malarie is just glowing, along with Kelli and Ashley who are also expecting.
So good seeing Cara, Lori, Shelley, Delaney, and all other ladies as we celebrate Mr. James David Allen's arrival next month!

This week, we found out my 11 year old pug, Cuddles, has an enlarged heart and a collapsed trachea. She had been coughing for a few weeks and medicine wouldn't cure it. The enlarged heart and collapsed trachea are both manageable with medication thankfully, but it still makes me feel so bad for her. There is really nothing we could have done to prevent it, but I still hate seeing my baby girl have to take medication everyday for the rest of her life, but hopefully that will be many more years.
The bad news: no exercise or heat exposure. Um...problem #1: She LIVES to eat and problem #2: We live in Alabama. We love to get her out to walk but it looks like that will do more damage to her health, so I guess she'll just be on doggie Weight Watchers now and limit her time outside, especially in the summer!

It's incredibly hot for June. I've had flashbacks to January and February when we have snow for days.
I went walking on my lunch hour one day this week because I wanted to workout--but all I had was tennis shoes in my car. Sooo if you passed by the trail by the lake and saw a girl with a bright turquoise dress and socks and tennis shoes huffing and puffing, that was me. I honestly didn't care what I looked like. I wanted exercise but in 90 degree heat, it's probably not the best thing to do unless you have the rest of the afternoon to crash. Heat exhaustion. Bleh.

All I can think of now is going to the beach! Ahhh...the sand and waves are calling to me.

Has anyone besides me noticed the random lists put on any social media nowadays--especially sites like Buzz Feed, Twitter, Thought Catalog, etc. They are so addicting. What did we ever do without these lists telling us things like: 59 Things You'll Only Understand If You Were a Teen in the Early 2000s, 28 Problems You Have Now But Didn't Have 10 Years Ago, How We've Been Cutting Cake Wrong Our Whole Lives, 20 Things You're Taking For Granted Without Even Realizing It, and 27 Things You Won't Regret When You're Older.
I could spend hours reading these and yelling "AMEN!"and "Aww" at my screen. What has been your favorite list you've read???

Living Out the Plans
I have been thinking that age 27, while not always a good age for celebs, as it's seen as an omen for untimely death, is actually an age I've come to like. I feel like I'm finally settling into my own skin and not afraid to just simply be me. I know what I want in life, and really see more of the big picture now. Most of my 20's have been about trying to discover what I want, who I want to be, where I'm going, etc. While my style, preferences in relationships, and tastes continue to evolve, I feel established, happy and content. I am trying to live without regrets and so over the past few years, I've tried to be more outgoing and take more risks. That's what your 20's are for, right? Nothing that would damage or pose a threat or get your a speeding ticket, but more personal risks that get your out of your comfort zone, grow a little deeper and try new things. I have made a list of things I want to do while I'm in my 20's/Early 30's and will try to work a little harder each and every day to see those goals/wishes come true. Yesterday, I was driving home thinking about these deep life things--a rare thing indeed, and jotted down my thoughts on life's journey we are all on:
We shouldn't fear the journey. The lessons we learn from the challenges we face along the way strengthen us and allow us to face each day stronger than the day before, with more love, peace, hope and joy than we thought possible.
Let's not have regrets. Let's not forget to tell the people closest to us how much they mean to us. Let's not be glued to our phones and miss out on the beauty right in front of us. Let's not back down for what we know is the right thing. Let's live in the now, not yesterday or even tomorrow, but simply be in the present.