04 November 2014

Playing Catch Up

I thought I'd post about everything going on in my life over the past few months since its been nearly a quarter of a century since the last time I did.

My summer was crazy busy with weddings. I think there was a total of five consecutive weddings. I was a bridesmaid in my friend Tara's wedding (& I'm sure I need not remind you of the many obligations that go along with that--the bridal showers, bachelorette party, hair, makeup, etc.), and my boyfriend Ashley was a groomsman in another. It was exhausting but a lot of fun too.

The first wedding was for James and Wendi. James is a good friend of Ashley's and he was a groomsman. The festivities were held at DeBordieu--a swanky golf community near Pawleys Island. It was an outdoor wedding and the weather couldn't have been more perfect. EVERYTHING about the wedding (and the weekend as a whole) was phenomenal. 


The view from our hotel room in Litchfield Beach


James & Wendi

Can you tell that Wendi is a news anchor?
She looks so polished and perfect! :)




A few weeks later, I was a bridesmaid in Tara's wedding. She got married the Saturday (which was also one day) before the 4th of July. The traffic was kinda nuts in Myrtle Beach, but everything was great other than that. 




Tara's coworkers hosted a "Beach Themed" & this is the caddy I put together. 




 Bachelorette Fun
(We kept it low-key and rented a room at a local hotel for a "stay-cation" bachelorette!)


Me & Mrs. Harder

Another wedding we attended this summer was for one of Ashley's coworkers, Jake. He and Andrea were married at North Beach Planation in North Myrtle Beach. It's wild because I live here and I didn't know this monstrosity of a hotel even existed because it's so secluded. 



CRAZY! It looks like it belongs in Dubai or something. I must say... it is every bit as nice as it looks. If you are debating about a wedding location here at the beach, you should check it out. The appetizers that were served during the cocktail hour were freaking delicious. Some of the best food I've ever tasted. NO JOKE. Mini crab cakes. Chicken Cordon bleu. Coconut shrimp. All of it. Exceptional

This is Jake from State Farm.

& this is his beautiful bride, Andrea.

In addition to the thousands of weddings over the summer., something else pretty awesome happened. My brother hosted an orphan from Latvia for six weeks. It was such an awesome experience for both my brother and his family and "Fly Girl" (which is the nickname my brother gave her because she's into hip hop dance).

I'm unable to post her real name or any pictures of her (for legal reasons and whatnot), but she was really great. She's an older orphan (although, I hate using that word to refer to her) at 15. She was the perfect age in my opinion though. She helped my sister-in-law out with my younger nephew (3) and niece (6) a lot, and I think that really made her feel needed. She fit right in with them, and I know my brother was really sad when she had to leave. 

In other news, I made the decision to get braces again and had them put on in August. It's been quite the adjustment... to say the least. They were extremely painful for the first week or two and I hated them so much. I felt like my teeth stuck out like a beaver. The braces felt so foreign and strange in my mouth. My gums and the inside of my cheeks were cut up like a turkey. I literally wanted to rip the braces off my teeth during that time. 

Even though I spent a year with braces on my teeth in the fifth grade, and again when I was 19 (third time's a charm, I promise), I don't remember my teeth being as sore as they have been this time around. Maybe they are more painful because I'm older now or maybe it's all in my head? I'm not sure.

I lost close to 15 pounds in two weeks because I couldn't eat anything but soup or mashed potatoes or apple sauce. I'm used to them and they feel like any other part of me now... but I've only gained five pounds back and I still don't eat anything I can't eat with a fork. Initially, the orthodontist told me I would need to wear them for a full year. But then at my appointment last week, he said my teeth are shifting back into place so quickly that he doubts I'll have to wear them that long. Three months down and counting! YES.


29 October 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Happy Halloween




















17 July 2014

Defying the Funk

Back in 2011, a few unfortunate events triggered my life to plummet into a downward spiral. Instead of picking myself up and moving right along, I kept on spiraling until I landed in the funk of all funks. I was listless and devoid of emotion. Nothing made me happy… or sad… or excited… or angry. It almost felt as if the very thing that made me human—my soul—had been destroyed. I walked through the motions of everyday life with no real purpose. The few emotions I did manage to feel over the past few years were those of bitterness, resentment, or jealousy. I resented anyone who experienced joy and happiness when I no longer could.

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’ve always been a complainer. Lately, I’ve taken it to a completely different level. I’ve been downright wallowing in self-pity.

“I hate my job. I’m so stressed out. I’ll be stuck in this dead-end job forever. I’ll be earning pocket change for the rest of my life while my college degree goes to waste. Why did I even bother? I wasted four years and piled up thousands of dollars in student loan debt for absolutely nothing. I’ll never be able to take another vacation (and I needed one like yesterday) because this stressful job weakens my immune system and I get sick every other month. So, I’m forced to use my leave time as soon as I earn it. It doesn't matter anyway. Even if I never got sick again and had 80 hours of leave saved, I wouldn’t be able to take a vacation because I’m so broke and can't afford it. I’m such a failure. I have no friends. I can't do anything right.”

Yada, yada, yada… and the list goes on and on.

Then one day, out of nowhere, something crazy and kind of amazing happened. I got really sick of hearing my own damn thoughts. I said to myself, " JUST SHUT UP ALREADY AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT THEN!" And, now... I plan to do just that. 

But before I start making a plan or major changes in my life, I need to reprogram the negative thoughts I’ve spent years sowing in my brain. I also need to give my self-esteem some much-needed TLC. Otherwise, I’m bound to fail. I’m not sure when (or why) my self-esteem took such a detrimental hit, but it's clear to me that it needs a lot of love.

I’ve read quite a few personal growth and development books over the last few months. The only reason I'm able to write this post, and make a conscious effort to change my circumstances, is because I read those books. I need to retrain my brain to believe that I’m worthy of happiness, deserve to have everything I want out of life, and I’m more than capable of creating it myself. The books I’ve read include “The Four Agreements” by Miguel Ruiz, “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin, and “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. I’m also still reading “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson and “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown. The knowledge I’ve gained from immersing myself in these books has been life changing, really.

I know that "defying the funk" won’t be easy. As they say, nothing worth having in life ever IS. I constantly worry about a million different things. What if I make the wrong decision? What exactly do I want to pour my heart and soul into for the rest of my days? I’ve never been certain of that one thing I want out of life, and I’ve envied those who seem to have known their life’s dream since birth. My problem is that I prefer to just go with the flow and I want too much. But, with that said... I’m determined to make my own path and create a life that encompasses a little bit of everything I want.

Who says I can’t have it all?

11 May 2014

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Happy Mother's Day to all the "Blog Mom's" out there...
I hope your day is FABULOUS!



This is my favorite picture of my mama. It was taken back when my dad was in the Navy and stationed in San Diego.

10 May 2014

101 Songs That Make Me Smile

We all have songs that bring back those crazy, fun memories from our past.
Here's mine:

1. Girls by Beastie Boys

2. Stand By Me by Ben E. King
3. Steal My Kisses by Ben Harper
4. Check Up On It by Beyonce 
5. Still Not A Player by Big Pun featuring Joe
6. Still Fly by Big Tymers
7. People Are Crazy by Billy Currington
8. Good Directions by Billy Currington
9. Whoa! by Black Rob
10. Spaceship by Kanye West
11. Notorious Thugs by Notorious B.I.G. featuring Bone Thugs 'N Harmony
12. Mud On The Tires by Brad Paisley
13. Oh Boy by Cam'ron
14. Please Mr. Postman by The Marvelettes
15. He's So Fine by The Chiffons
16. Then He Kissed Me by The Crystals
17. Baby Love by The Supremes
18. Where Did Our Love Go by The Supremes
19. All I Do Is Win by DJ Khaled featuring T-Pain, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, & Rick Ross
20. Let Me Clear My Throat by DJ Kool
21. Xxplosive by Dr. Dre
22. The Motto by Drake 
23. Under the Boardwalk by The Drifters
23. You Be Killin' Em by Fabolous
24. Ain't Worried About Nothin' by French Montana
25. You Can Do It by Ice Cube
26. I Love It by Icona Pop
27. Love You Down by INOJ
28. Shout by The Isley Brothers
29. Cowboy Lady by Jason Aldean
30. '03 Bonnie & Clyde by Jay-Z and Beyonce
31. On To the Next One by Jay-Z
32. Big Pimpin' by Jay-Z
33. Bait A Hook by Justin Moore
34. Small Town USA by Justin Moore
35. Summer Love by Justin Timberlake
36. Back That Ass Up by Juvenile
37. Ni**as in Paris (T.I. Remix) by Jay-Z and Kanye West featuring T.I.
38. Please Come to Boston (Cover) by Kenny Chesney 
39. Get Low by Lil Jon & The Eastside Boys
40. No Problems by Lil Scrappy
41. No Worries by Lil Wayne
42. Ice Cream Paint Job by Lil Wayne
43. We Steady Mobbin' by Lil Wayne
44. Stagger Lee by Lloyd Price
45. #Beautiful (Remix) by Mariah Carey featuring Rocky A$AP
46. Good Vibrations by Marky Mark and The Funky Bunch
47. Real Love (Remix) by Mary J. Blige
48. Tell Me What You Want by Mase
49. Make 'Em Say Uhh by Master P
50. Da Rockwilder by Method Man & Redman
51. How Can We Be Lovers by Michael Bolton
52. The Way You Make Me Feel by Michael Jackson
53. My Dick by Mickey Avalon & The Dyslexic Speedreaders
54. Sure Thing by Miguel 
55. Hot Boyz by Missy Elliot
56. Don't Take It Personal by Monica
57. Take It To Trial by Mr. Bigg
58. To Be With You by Mr. Big
59. Danger by Mystical
60. Aww Naww by Nappy Roots
61. If I Ruled the World by Nas
62. Batter Up by Nelly
63. Juicy by Notorious B.I.G. 
64. Wonderwall by Oasis
65. Got Your Money by ODB
66. Wagon Wheel by Old Crow Medicine
67. (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding
68. That's How Strong My Love Is by Otis Redding
69. I'm A King by P$C
70. Oh Girl by Paul Wall
71. Rush Rush by Paula Abdul
72. Vivrant Thing by Q-Tip
73. Bump 'n Grind by R Kelly
74. I Can't Sleep Baby (If I) by R Kelly
75. Feelin' On Your Booty (Remix) by R Kelly
76. Fiesta (Remix) by R Kelly featuring Jay-Z
77. Down Low by R Kelly
78. It Takes Two by Rob Base
79. Shoop by Salt 'n Peppa
80. Some Girls Do by Sawyer Brown
81. Nothing Compares to You by Sinead O'Connor
82. Your Winter by Sister Hazel
83. Wiseman by Slightly Stoopid
84. The Joker by Steve Miller Band
85. Little Black Backpack by Stroke 9
86. What You Know by T.I.
87. Whatever You Like by T.I.
88. All Too Well by Taylor Swift
89. Creep by TLC
90. Wild Thing by Tone Loc
91. Paint Me A Birmingham by Tracey Lawrence
92. Bring It Back by Travis Porter
93. Say Aah by Trey Songs
94. She's In Love With the Boy by Trisha Yearwood
95. Dixieland Delight by Alabama
96. Wicked Games by The Weeknd
97. I Wanna Be Bad by Willa Ford
98. I Wanna Dance with Somebody by Whitney Houston
99. Chicken Fried by Zac Brown Band
100. Jolene by Zac Brown Band
101. Colder Weather by Zac Brown Band

04 May 2014

Disney World, Braces, and Duke Basketball

I can't believe I haven't blogged at least once in 2014. This is a recap of the few things I've been up to over the last several months.


November

Ashley and I took a five day vacation to Orlando, FL. We spent 4 days at Disney World (we visited the Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and the Magic Kingdom) and one day at Sea World (this trip took place before I saw the documentary Blackfish because I definitely wouldn't spend a dime of my money there now). My favorite parts of the trip: all of the beautiful Christmas decorations and the Electrical Parade at the Magic Kingdom, creating a personalized Mrs. Potato Head at Downtown Disney, devouring the delicious Holiday Sandwich at Earl of Sandwich, seeing the animals and riding Expedition Everest at the Animal Kingdom, strolling around the World Showcase at Epcot, and the Pets Ahoy! Show at Sea World (the most adorable and IMPRESSIVE show ever; the trainers even trained squirrels to do tricks!)

Dole Whip



Main Street Electrical Parade

Epcot


World Showcase at Epcot

Christmas Decorations at The Magic Kingdom

Me and Ashley at the One Ocean show at Sea World


Building Mrs. Potato Head


Apart from the vacation, November was uneventful...
but I did enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving lunch with my parents, my brother, sister-in-law, nephews, and nieces at California Dreaming.



December

I had a really great Christmas; Ashley surprised me with an iPad mini! At work, I got crafty. I painted a pretty ornament for our office Christmas tree and decorated a beautiful 'Ugly Christmas Tree' sweater sweatshirt & WON the contest for best shirt!

A Christmas tree ornament Ashley's mom gave me.

I purchased a plain 'ole Fraser Fir wreath and tied some burlap and a ribbon on it.


January

Clemson won the BCS bowl game against Ohio State! WOO HOO!

Ashley and I spent a weekend in Raleigh. We cheered on the Duke Blue Devils as they played the NC State Wolf Pack. It was my first trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium, and the fans really are as crazy as they appear on TV. We had a blast! An added bonus: George H.W. Bush was there! It was wild seeing his secret service agents in real life.  

Cameron Indoor Stadium

Myrtle Beach was hit with a rare ICE STORM. I sympathize with people who must deal with them every year because I now understand how dangerous (and disruptive to everyday life) they can be. 


My iced-in Honda that kept me from work for two days.


February

I painted a picture of a funky looking giraffe at a Wine and Design class with one of my work friends. I've wanted to take one of these classes for a long time. It was fun but way too fast-paced; I felt rushed from the moment it started.





April

I started a new training class at work. I hate listening to myself answer calls from customers during the feedback sessions (which is a large part of the class requirement), but I won’t hate the $1,500 bonus I'll receive when it ends in July!

Ashley moved in with me the first weekend in April. 

I've decided to schedule a consult with an orthodontist, and I'm pretty sure I'll braces again. Depending on the price tag and the finance options available, if I decide to go through with it, I won't be happy about it. It will be my third time going through the whole process. (I had braces for a little over a year when I was in the fifth grade and again when I was 19.) But, my teeth have shifted a lot over the last few years, and I'm self-conscious about them. I know I'll be happy with the results when it's over. I just need to be 100% sure that I can force myself to wear the retainer forever this time.