Sunday, October 24, 2010

Shower the People You Love With Love

Our friend Crystal is having a baby in November!  We are so excited for her, as she is the first one in our little group of friends to become a momma.  Today we celebrated Baby Ethan’s upcoming arrival with a safari-themed shower, to match his newly decorated nursery.  Jamie and Anne were the hostesses in charge of all the cute decorations and ideas.  The rest of us did our part by showing up with food and total confusion over the majority of the baby gear.  (“What’s butt paste for?  Don’t answer that please!”








We can’t wait to meet you, Sweet Ethan!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Chronicles of a Townie

How is it possible that 5 days can pass so slow, and 2 days oh so quickly?

It seems to happen with an alarming regularity.

Another weekend, come and gone.

We went out to eat Friday at a new restaurant called Bob's Big Gas Subs and Pub. I am obsessed with the building this restaurant is in. It's in one of my favorite parts of town - West End - and I've been watching crews come and renovate this former dilapadated service station into this beauty. I declared long ago I wanted it to be my future office, but I wasn't exactly picturing a pub and sub below... ... maybe more like a coffee shop that also served cupcakes and champagne. We'll have to work on that.

But in the meantime, until I can move in upstairs, subs and pubs will have to do.

I will say, it's the first place in Winston-Salem I've ever found Labatt Blue Light. Oh LBL, you somehow make me a teensy bit homesick.

And their sandwiches are quite tasty too. Strange combinations - apple, ham and goat cheese toasted. A pimiento cheese sandwich with bacon and avocado? Worth repeat visits.

After dinner, we went out to two watering holes- Tate's Craft Cocktails and Rec Billiards. Winston's night life has changed tremendously since we were here in college when I'm quite certain the only three choices we had were Burke St, Black Bear and Daytona's. I'm still not sure why we went to Daytona's - a complete hole in the wall without anywhere good to dance (a priority for my 21-yr-old self) and has since become a tractor and mower parts store.

Certainly a far cry from Tate's with cocktails that have more ingredients than most dinners I cook, comfy couches crowded around heaters and blankets outside, and old rugged high wooden bar inside.

Winston, you done grown up!

All the changes that we've seen in downtown over the last few years makes me excited to see what's to come in this city, as people keep finding new ways to use old buildings (like tobacco factories into apartment lofts) and the growing movement of a slow food culture, a night life and a walkable downtown. It makes me proud to be a resident here... going on 8 years! Seeing as how that's almost a third of my life, do I qualify for townie status?

If so, do I need to relocate to Burke St?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Y Not?

I do not recommend waking up at 11:43 when you have a noon date at the gym. Especially when said gym is 20 minutes away. I never intended to sleep so late - when Jamie and I made gym plans, I famously said "Let's make them at noon, so I can sleep in without an alarm."

I sort of assumed I'd wake up around 9... maybe 10...

But noon?

Hello, college me.

Jamie and I met at a rescheduled 12:20, and officially joined the Y! I can't believe it's been quite so long since I was a gym member, but it feels good to be back in the saddle. I deliberated on whether or not I should pony up and pay for the Y - especially because it's in the complete opposite direction of my house and there's other, cheaper gyms in Winston. But I love the facility, I love how much it offers (cardio/multiple free weight rooms, a pool, classes) and I finally decide to just suck it up and invest in my health - both financially and time-wise.

Oh hey, novel idea there, health coach.

After the workout, I came home and tackled my house. I won't tell you how long it took, but I swear, I can't figure out how 2 people and 1 dog render so much destruction in such a short time. I still haven't gotten up the nerve to do my sewing room, and I'm wondering when that's going to happen as the next few weekends are packed to the hilt. I've got a deadline of our Christmas party, as the rooms at Hotel Cline book up awful fast for that soiree. So I guess I've got about 8 weeks to knock it out.

Yes people, Christmas is that soon.

Go ahead, panic. I might have.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Boomtown Rats, I've Got Nothing

Monday gets a bad rap, but it's one of my favorite nights of the week (and not just because there's a new HIMYM which became my new addiction this summer. Self five! Anyone? Ok...) I rarely ever put coaching clients or make other appointments* on Monday, because the first day back to work always is a little shock to the system, so I look forward to an entire evening with nothing to do every Monday.

Tonight was no exception - I used the free night to pre-prep Tuesday's dinner since I have a couple coaching calls in the evening and dinner often gets slighted, took the Budster for a long stroll and caught up on some laundry.

Man, my life is EXCITING. You know, I've kept a "dear diary" type of journal since 3rd grade and the entries don't stray too far from this exhilarating type of real life documentary. I wonder if my brother would have been on such a mission to break into my diaries if he had known the entries sounded something like this:

Dear Diary,
Today I got an A on my spelling bee. I also had to memorize a poem this week so I could get into the play "The Children of Buttercup Commons." Also, Elizabeth asked me to sleepover this weekend. And we won our softball game!!!! I got walked four times!!!!**

Pretty sure he would have moved on to other missions.

Like Dungeons and Dragons.

ANYWAYS...where was I? Oh that's right, I chopped up squash and zucchini and wrapped prosciutto around chicken. I folded scrubs, I swiffered floors, I jogged the Spuddy Buds a good mile.

Oh yea, and then I had a coaching call. Oops. So much for no-evening-work Monday.

Annnnnd then, I forced myself to go to bed because somehow I had talked myself into an early morning gym workout which meant a 4:30 am alarm. Gag. But so worth it to get it out of the way. See? How can Monday have a bad rap with an evening as peaceful and productive as that?

*Except half-price wine night at Mozelle's on Monday. I am always available for this appointment.

**Because I remained under 5 feet tall until I was 15 years old, my strategy throughout most of my Little League years to maintain as small a strike zone as possible. It's quite likely that I only actually hit the ball two or three times in my five year career, but I almost always got on base. If that's not using what the Good Lord gave ya, I don't know what is.

***Post title... anyone get it? anyone?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The One in Which I Make a Dress

Some people are hoarders. Some people are purgers. And some people keep every single note their BFF in 10th grade passed to them, while at the same time taking bags of clothes to Goodwill on a whim only to discover they really miss that shirt they just got rid of.

I fall in that last category. I'm unabashedly sentimental when it comes to holding on to some things, but I simulteanously love nothing more than pulling everything out of a drawer or closet and getting rid of things I haven't touched in a month ...

(To discover I want them back a month later.)

I think that's why I love the idea of upcycling so much. (I had to google that word, to make sure I was using it right. So trendy, right?) I like the idea of taking something that I'm not using it and finding a 2nd life for it. It's not holding on to something useless, but it's also not purging something I still like.

My first attempt at upcycling (or repurposing, or refurbashing, or being a total cheapskate and figuring out ways to rationalize not throwing things out) was to create a dress out of a Goodwill-destined t-shirt and some fabric I had bought for a long-ago neglected project.

I've been drooling over this blog for the last year (go back to older posts for tutorials) and have had this particular post bookmarked for nearly the same time frame. I'd dabbled in a little bit of t-shirt re-creation (and was totally blogstar-struck when Lexi commented on my post here), but this was a little bit of a loftier project. (Read: I needed to actually measure things, and I'm not talking about measuring fluid ounces of chardonnay.)

Measuring, or precision, is not really my strong suit. Good Enough is my slogan, and I was a little bit nervous about tackling this project.

To be honest, it was super challenging. I measured, but I had a hard time estimating how big the skirt would be once I ruffled it and it was way, way too big the first time I sewed it on to the shirt. So I took it apart - one tiny stitch at a time - with the seam ripper and tried again.

And again.

And again.

By the time I was finished taking apart and reattaching my dress three times, it had gone from a normal waist to an empire waisted dress. And with every take apart, my t-shirt material became a little more puckery, leading to a less-than-perfect seamline. Oops. But whatever... it was MY dress, I made it and I'm so freaking proud of it.

Of course, I had to have my sister come over and give me the go-ahead on whether I could wear it out in public, because of said puckery seamline. (Anyone know how to avoid that in the future?)
Now I know why people just go ahead and shell out $100 to Anthropologie for this stuff.

But hey - I saved one of my favorite t-shirts from being banished to the Goodwill pile, I finally used fabric that had been sitting in a pile in my sewing room, I proved to myself I CAN measure things and I. Made. A. Dress.

Good enough.

(And also? Under the "Good Enough" category? A phone pic of just half the dress. I kept intending to take a real one and maybe, um, brush my hair... but... 2 weeks passed, and well, here you go. Good Enough.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Oh, Play Me Some Mountain Music

I always thought I was a beach girl until Matt started taking me to the mountains. Now it seems my loyalties are divided. Sun and surf, versus leaves and crisp air... how's a girl to choose? (Fortunately, one of the best things about living in NC is that I don't have to - 4 hours to the beach, an hour and a half to the mountains. Road trip central.)

We had a bunch of friends come up with us to the mountain house this weekend - Jason, Minez, Jamie and Zac and Jacob and Akanksha. Friday night, Jamie and I threw together a feast for the masses including the most amazing marinated chicken - a recipe I stole from the Arnolds after they debuted it at their tailgate - followed by delicious handcrafted mojitos by Jacob. We passed the evening circled up playing Kings around the huge circular table made by Pa with its trademark lazy susan. Bet Pa never foresaw that as being one its many uses! (Hi Nanta + Pa!) (They don't really have internet access, do they?)

Saturday, after brunch cooked by my hubby, we headed off to one of our favorite spots - a tucked away riverbed with ginormous boulders that gradually ascends to a small waterfall and a flat creekbed. Perfect for picnics... or maybe just sitting and pondering life if you had, sayyy, just eaten 2 lbs of Neese's country sausage and couldn't fathom the idea of eating again for eons. The hike isn't too strenuous, but the boulders provide challenges the whole way - sometimes forcing you to jump, leap, grab someone's hand, crawl or even pull-up. (When it came time to do a pull up on a rock, us smart females found another path up the side of the creek bed.)





After the hike, the girls attempted a shopping trip to the outlets - although in what was probably an act of intervention from the wallet gods - we were so worn out from the hike, that by the time we got to the 3rd store, we were lazily picking up clothes and going "ehh... don't feel like trying it on." We rejoined the boys, who had been watching college football (Yea USC!) and headed out to Canyons, a local favorite for dinner.

Canyons is known for it's amazing sunset views (which did not disappoint - see below) and, on fairly regular occasions, a good live music venue. Tonight we were treated to the musical styling of the winner of Irish Idol, who was apparently kicking off his American tour in the high country.


Isn’t it weird how people with accents when they talk have almost no trace of accent when they sing? That has always boggled my mind.

Anyways, as it was, our group simply was a little too worn out, and a little not drunk enough to appreciate the musical styling of this fine gent… we were all feeling a bit more Simon than Paula. We left a few songs in, got ice cream and shuffled home early.

We wrapped up Sunday with a leisurely walk around Bass Lake, and packed up the house - probably for the season. Every time we're up there, Matt and I swear we're going to go up more often but weekends seem to fill up as quickly as they show up. It's hard to get away from it all when you keep scheduling it all! I think it was a much needed and well timed break for all of us - everyone getting a little burnt out on work and routines (or starting a new one on Monday, yay Akanksha!) but the "break" of the holidays still feeling far enough away. I know for me it came at a good time, and there's few things that restore my soul more than sitting around a table (or crawling up a rock ledge, as the case may be) with people I love.

Friday, October 8, 2010

This Little Light of Mine

Last night I gave a talk at a community center for a small group of people - a support group called RAPP (Relatives Acting as Parents Program.)  I had been asked to give the talk a few months ago, back when I was working at my other job and had readily agreed.  All week long I'd been dragging my feet on prepping for it, and was really just not feeling it.  It'd been a hectic week, and I was mentally drained from work and the last thing I wanted to do was put on my happy face and my high heels and talk.

However, as soon as my PowerPoint flashed up I felt it - the little butterflies I get in my stomach whenever I start talking about something I'm passionate about.  In this case, I was giving a talk I've given a few other times - about how people who are caretakers often neglect themselves.  It's a talk I gave about a year ago at the NC Association of Volunteer Coordinators  - that time I was in a ballroom with 50 people behind a podium with a microphone and oh, man I was digging giving that talk.  I was on fire.  But, I felt the same thing last night though - even though I was in a community center with an aluminum table, my PowerPoint flashed on a cement wall with maybe a dozen people, expectantly looking at me. 

When I first started working in wellness, I was really in touch (as my life coach self would say) with the reason why I wanted to do this.  It's a complex bundle of my past experiences - my own struggle with my weight and eating through high school and college, mixed with the experience of becoming suddenly aware of how easy it is to take health for granted when I was diagnosed with colitis - that provide the kindling for my passion for wellness.  I know that for me, if I'm not healthy, I'm not anything else.  I'm not a good wife, I'm not a good sister, a good friend, a good doggy-momma, a good person when I don't feel well.  Being healthy - for me - gets the junk out of the way so that I can be my best self. 

There's a quote - cleanliness is next to Godliness – and whenever I hear that, I think “no, scratch that… healthiness is next to Godliness.” Being clean is lovely, but being healthy – feeling your best, feeling unlimited by your physical state – is so powerful.  I really feel that being healthy allows you to be your best self – and allows you to fulfill whatever purpose it is that you’ve been called to. 

Teaching people about wellness feels like something bigger than myself – it feels like I’m giving people a tool to get closer to being their best self, and ultimately, to find their own purpose.  I know that sounds a little lofty, but on the days that I’m “feeling” it, I know it’s because I’m doing something greater than myself.  I consider my understanding of motivation of behavior, my complete lack of competitive nature (which allows me to be a good coach, slowly easing people along to their goals), and my ability to inantely hear things that people don’t say out loud to be gifts that I’ve been blessed with.  There’s some days I don’t want to do my job.  Honestly, it’s hard.  It’s hard and it’s exhausting sometimes, to encourage and lift up people who are entrenched in unhealthy patterns.  But every now and then, I get one of those blessed moments when I realize it’s not about me – doing this job is not something I chose to do, it’s something I was chosen to do.

I didn't feel like going to that talk last night, but sometimes it's the things that you don't feel like doing that you need to do.  I left feeling reconnected to my work and grateful that I have a purpose I feel passionate about. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Happiest of Hours

Mozelle's. 6:30.  Wine.

The text came at noon and I spent the rest of the afternoon in anticipation. 

I was there 20 minutes early, but luckily Anne was there already - as was an opened bottle of Pinot Noir.

Once our crowd grew bigger than the small tables indoor would hold, we switched to outside tables.  I already love Mozelle's for their delicious incredible seasonal yummy food, I love them for their 1/2 price wine Mondays and $4 glass Thursdays, but I fell even deeper in love on Monday for the snuggly bright green fleece blankets on each chair outside. 

Southern hospitality?  You doin' it right, Mozelle's.

These are my happy hours: delicious food (Anne and I shared a fried goat cheese salad, and the table shared artichoke dip), great wine (thanks to Sonoma, I now appreciate why people always say red wine is for cooler weather... it just is) and most important, some of my most favorite people ever crowded around a table, talking and laughing. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Everyday Life 2.0

Life is starting to settle into a routine again (ahh, sweet sweet consistency)... just in time for the weekends to get busy with tailgates, trip to the mountains and soon enough, holiday preparations.  Last week Matt had to work 12 hour shifts (night ones too) so we've been high fiving on the front steps as he comes home and I take off, and having about an hour together after work - sometimes long enough for dinner, sometimes not. 

There's one person who's been quite happy about this - the Budster.  After spending 8 hours asleep with me, he gets a walk and a bowl of breakfast  and then he's back in bed for another 8 hours with Matt. 

After a busy Friday and Saturday - pizza/movie/vino with my friend Lauren, a 5k in the morning with Heather and her boyfriend, and rushing around getting ready for and going to the tailgate - I crashed hard on Sunday.  I'd been feeling hints of tired all weekend, and then I think I got dehydrated on Saturday (running followed by Gulp-size diet coke followed by tailgate beer... not so brilliant.)  Every time I tried to go vertical on Sunday, my head protested vehemently.

As delightful as spending another 8 hours in bed was to the Buddy, it was frustrating to me.  Didn't my body know I had dishes to clean?!  There was remnants of artichoke dip plastered on every pot I owned.  Laundry to fold!  Floors to be swiffered!  And then there were blogs to be written and papers to be filed - I still haven't put away 4 years worth of an office that I brought home from WFU and dumped in my guest room.  My blessed hubby has not taken up my dad's strategy of dealing with annoying piles of crap - that is to say, I have not found my stuff dumped in the outside garbage can.


After I roiled around for a few hours being mad at the world that the ONE DAY where I had nothing on my agenda, I couldn't even stay upright, I finally accepted the situation and took a nap.

A five hour nap.

I know, poor me, right?

(Before I fell asleep, I desperately Googled "emergency housecleaning service" thinking MAYBE just maybe if I could find someone to clean my house while I slept MAYBE just maybe I would feel less guilty about sleeping.  It's not as my house is usually eat off the floor clean, and I’m super particular about it, but it was a bomb, y’all.)

So I slept.  I slept, I slept and I slept and I woke up intermittedly to text my mom or answer a phone call from Matt and would test my upright powers.

"Can I stand up yet with no headache? Nope.  Okay, back to bed."

Finally around six, I felt functional and was able to clean up the kitchen, do a few loads of laundry and blog.  (Priorities... the floor can get swiffered lately, I had to blog, yall.)  Matt came home a few hours later with dinner/lunch and a big ol’ Gatorade for me. 

Of course, after sleeping most of the day awake I was wide awake at what should have been bedtime, so of course, I fretted about that and how I would already be starting the week with a sleep deficit if I couldn't fall asleep soon.

Go with the flow is not really my specialty - are you picking up on that?

I finally feel like I’m starting to find into a routine with my work schedule, which is most excellent as this week somehow became jam packed with extracurriculars.  I haven't felt "ready" so to speak to take on the extras the first couple weeks, and I still feel a little bit overwhelmed, but I’m getting there.  I mean, if ever there was a week to take! on! the! world! it would be right after a 5 hour nap, right?

Does everyone take so long to adjust to new routines as I do?  In college, I often felt like by the time I got a hang of my schedule – it’d practically be midterms.  I guess the problem isn’t so much that I take awhile to adjust to a new routine, it’s that I berate myself for *not* having adjusted yet.  As if, somehow in my 28 years of routine-loving-living, one day I might wake up and find oh hey! I rock at flying by the seat of my pants now!  Wouldn’t it be a whole lot easier if I just accepted that this is who I am, and anything new makes me wonky for at least a good six weeks?

Acceptance.  A novel idea.  Something that a life coach might encourage people to do?  Weird.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Rebuilding Year

Fall weekends in Winston mean one thing: TAILGATES!

Tailgating combines many of my favorite things: good friends, heaps of delicious food and beverages and being outside in the sunshine (at least through most of October!)  I love my alma mater, and I am so happy that Matt and I live in our “college town.”  I am proud to be a Demon Deacon!

Now actually watching those sporting events...well…  On one hand, I did sit through a massive downpour last game to watch us have our 11th straight victory over Duke.  But, I also wasn’t disappointed yesterday when my friend Anne texted me after the first quarter to ask if I wanted to meet back at the car (yay for re-entry this year!) and we ended up staying out the rest of the whole game chatting.  Besides, it’s a rebuilding year this year… I can miss a few games, right?

We had a great turn out for tailgating yesterday… one of those rare weekends when most of the guys didn’t have to work!  Those are few and far between, so we try to take advantage of them when they happen! 

IMG_5818 IMG_5821IMG_5819