Thirty Years Old

Hello, again. Saturday is my 30th birthday. Tomorrow is my last day “in my twenties.” I don’t think I’ll wake up feeling any differently on Saturday, but it’s a strange transition nonetheless.

I loved my twenties. I went to India, graduated college, moved out of my parents’ house, adopted several puppers, married K, had my little Moo, bought and sold a few houses, traveled, found my (fingers crossed) forever job… It was a decade of discovery and growth and freedom. I squeezed a lot into those ten years. K was with me for all of it, too ❤️

I momentarily freaked out when I hit 25 but I have no qualms about 30. I truly have everything I want and I’m excited to live my life in that mindset. We’re comfortable, we’re in love, we’re happy. Is 2020 a weird sh*t show? For sure. But personally I’m entering my 30s with confidence.

As such, I thought I’d share 30 thoughts/tips/pieces of advice that I live by…

  1. Look up.
  2. People, animals, and experiences will make you rich. Things will not.
  3. Speak clearly and learn to communicate well. It will alleviate so much heartache.
  4. Spending money to get your dog(s) groomed is worth it.
  5. When you can help someone, help them. When you need help, ask for it.
  6. Pay attention to what and who bring you joy- then invest your time & energy there.
  7. Find your people and show up for them. Quality over quantity.
  8. Know how to calm your mind: pray, read, meditate, write. I prefer sitting in the dark.
  9. Clean your dishwasher & washing machines. I guarantee they’re gross.
  10. Same with fan blades.
  11. The miracle of aging is a gift. Accept your mortality & appreciate your longevity.
  12. “No” is a complete sentence.
  13. Eating chocolate before bed makes for some really weird dreams.
  14. You’re not for everyone. Everyone’s not for you. See #23.
  15. The most rewarding things are often the hardest things.
  16. You can do hard things.
  17. Less really is more.
  18. Order a side of gravy for dipping when you get fries at Dairy Queen. Trust me.
  19. Eat your veggies. And if you don’t like veggies, change how you cook them. They’re delish.
  20. Honesty is the best policy but sometimes silence is the best option.
  21. Respect your sig. other & give him or her the benefit of the doubt. They are on your side.
  22. Drink more water.
  23. It takes all kinds of kinds.
  24. Wild animals are meant to be wild.
  25. The grass is greener where you water it. (K says this a lot actually.)
  26. Adopt don’t shop.
  27. Always try to be kind. You don’t always need to be nice, though.
  28. Absolutely positively NOTHING is guaranteed. And no one owes you a damn thing.
  29. It’s not a good deal if you can’t afford it.
  30. Blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make yours brighter.

Just call me the Audi Lama. I kid, I kid. Sometimes (often) I fail to take my own advice, but over the past three decades these are the things I’ve learned bring me the most joy and serenity.

What am I doing for my birthday, you ask? Getting a professional manicure (FINALLY! I’ll be masked up, obvi), going on a family hike, and playing a board game at home. Coming into my 30s like a mad woman! 😉

The Last 366 Days in My 20s

I am 29 years old today. Until two days ago, I forgot my birthday was this week. I feel both retrospective and future focused.

This past year was very out of my control and that’s not something I handle well. We finally kicked off our parenthood journey. We felt a ton of professional and financial pressure. We grieved harder than we’ve ever grieved before. It was a weird year & I honestly don’t care to look back on it.

I feel like I’m walking into 29 as a complete and total wreck. My emotions & hormones are a mess. My house is a mess. My brain is a mess. For a type-a control freak, it’s actually quite terrifying.

But I also feel a sense of calmness in the chaos. Most things are out of my control right now and there’s a unique freedom in that.

The planner in me wants to list some goals but I already have my 30×30 list (which will definitely not get accomplished). If I had to list three vague, general goals for Year 29 they would be:

Figure out how to be a mom. Hopefully a good mom, sometimes a bad mom probably, but just a human MOM overall.

Wrap Enzo and Bristol in as much love and patience as I can manage. B is still adjusting to our home & both will feel the shift when baby arrives- so I just want them to always feel loved and wanted.

Keep up the incredible, understanding, same-team relationship with K that we’ve had for years. It’ll be weird to bring another human into our mix, but I love my life with Kyle and I don’t doubt I’ll love it even more when our mini arrives.

That’s it. Those are my goals for the next year. That’s where I’m dumping my energy and time and efforts. Yeah, I’ll have other goals like cleaning out the ________ or attend x amount of holiday festivities or train Bristol to not blah blah blah…. but those are the core initiatives for the next 366 days. (I get a bonus day w/ the leap year!)

Very little makes this day different from any other day in 2019, but it feels like a fresh page for me. Things from Year 28 will certainly shape how Year 29 goes, but I want to take on this new age with a new attitude. I won’t be a Pinterest mom or a dog whisperer or a marriage expert by 30, but I hope that I fully experience age 29 and all it has to offer while I’m here.

I also hope to read more books. That seems like the loftiest goal of all given the newborn. Haha.

Halloween Housewarming Party 2017

I like to share and record our Halloween party every year. This year I abandoned the theme and didn’t implement the mandatory costume rule due to the housewarming-nature of the party, but we still had some dressed-up guests and obviously it was a good time 🙂 So without further ado…

My brother and his wife arrived Friday night and we each carved a pumpkin. (Can you guess whose is whose?) K and I spent most of Friday and Saturday preparing the house for a party and hiding not-yet-unpacked boxes and random objects 😉

On Saturday one of my best friends arrived around 3pm and helped me get last minute things done. Our first guests arrived at 4:30! (We started the party at 4 so our parent-friends could bring the kids and hang out for a bit before bedtime.) The majority of guests arrived around 8.

We had +30 people show up from 4:30 pm to about 2 am. (It was a looong night.) Some of our guests dressed up and some came as they were. Regardless, it was a fun & busy night!

The ghostbusters also had a little slimer with them but she wasn’t feeling the costume. I’m still dying over Tobin’s Stay Puft Marshmallow Man costume.

My brother and Christina were Scooby-Doo and Shaggy!

Lylee was a cow. I think she might have lost some of her dignity… and her respect for me. Enzo’s costume was also a little degrading, but he makes the cutest little squirrel horse. 😂

Our food spread was on point 🙂 Guests brought taco dip, a veggie tray, a cheese ball-skull, jello shots, and a charcuterie board spread! On top of that I made…

Halloween cupcakes (just yellow cake mix with chocolate buttercream frosting), spinach and artichoke dip via Nadine, and my signature puking guacamole pumpkin. I also made this caramel apple dip and the world-famous Aubrey Johansen put together these incredible charcuterie boards!

We also ordered pizza around 9 pm.

The night consisted of laughing, talking, drinking, game playing, and eating. It was fun to see the new house- which was empty a month ago- filled with all our friends and family. Overall, we had a really good time.

I’ve said it before, but the calm next-morning is always my favorite part…

Another Halloween party in the books 🎃 Happy Halloween, my friends!!

Why Do I Keep Going to Myrtle Beach in the Fall…?

Remember all those eons ago when I talked about our side trip to Charlotte, NC? Yeah… it’s tough for me to recall, too. Anyway… Charlotte was just a pit stop on the way to our main destination: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. **This is a long post 😉

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Just a refresher… in October K and I packed up the car after work and headed to Circleville, OH. We did some Pumpkin Festival fest-ing with my brother and Christina, stayed the night in stormy Lancaster, OH, then took a lap around the NASCAR museum in Charlotte. After dinner at Carolina Ale House we forced ourselves back into the car for the three hour trek to Myrtle Beach. Now you’re all caught up.

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I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I am a Grade-A, award-winning, hall of fame plan-a-holic. I take relaxing vacations and plan them down to the millisecond, squashing any and all spontinuity out of the experience. But this time I didn’t. I didn’t plan one. single. thing. I made note of fun things we could do, but I put no pen to paper, made no reservations, and formed no expectations. All per K’s request.

F R I D A Y

We got in pretty late on Thursday so the adventuring began the following morning.

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We stayed at The Horizon at 77th – it was one property off the beach and down a side road from N Kings Highway. Our rooms were in that center section. The hotel was in Myrtle Beach, but on the north side which meant we could venture to North Myrtle without any trouble.

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We picked a chilly weekend to visit the beach so we tried to take advantage of the warmest day on the trip. We started off browsing the Tanger Outlets at Hwy 17 and picked up a few Christmas gifts for folks. We also nommed on lunch in the food court and treated ourselves to Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.

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It was a breezy 80 degrees by 3pm so we packed up the towels, blanket, and umbrella, and walked to the beach.

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. . .

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After a few chapters, a stroll along the coast, and a near-fatal wind+umbrella incident we decided to call it a day. I think we spent an hour and a half on the sand. (That’s the risk you take in October, I guess. )

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We decided to be a little adventurous and try out some new restaurants on our trip. We made a reservation at Aspen Grille for 6:15pm and got spiffy.

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High risk, high reward. Dinner was delicious. It was a slightly expensive meal, but we were 110% satisfied. We ended the night on the couch watching a NatGeo special on Teddy Roosevelt. #excitingtimes

S A T U R D A Y

In hindsight we’ve both decided I should’ve planned something during the trip. Anything, really. We spent the morning at the local Cracker Barrel and then Bass Pro, Books-A-Million (where K bought me two books as a late b-day gift), and a smaller local mall. We also stopped into the Harley shop for K before deciding to visit Boardwalk on the Beach.

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Lunch was at American Tap House where the first conversation in this post happened. K got a burger and I ordered a Thai Chicken Salad.

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Lunch was late in the day and after we finished we decided to just lounge around the hotel room.

For dinner K discovered a restaurant called Boom Boom Wine Room. Um. It was the coolest place.

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Upon arrival they loaded a debit card with any amount you wanted for use in the wine bottle machines. You could then select different wines in different quantities from the machines. (1, 3, and 5 ounce I think). It awesome!

The food was snack-like and we ordered plates of the short-rib nachos, bruschetta, and “buttered scotch” pudding. Delicious.

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S U N D A Y

I am married to an early-rising homebody so by 7:10am we were on the road. We got home without incident before dusk 🙂

. . .

To be totally honest, it was a “meh” trip for us. I’m glad we had the opportunity for downtime together, but we got a little bored. I failed to plan anything fun, we’ve been to Myrtle Beach a handful of times, and there wasn’t much beach-ing. The food was incredible, though!

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Do you enjoy traveling in the fall? Have you been to Myrtle Beach? Have you ever taken a trip that didn’t live up to the hype?

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A Wild Weekend Means a Grateful Heart

I’m having a hard time believing that today is Monday. This was one of those weekends that had no slow moments- but I enjoyed every single second. Originally today’s post was going to be about what I read in September, but that only included one book… ha. (I’m still working on the three I mentioned here, but there was no time to read this weekend.) In lieu of a book review, I’m linking up with Emily for Grateful Heart Monday!

This weekend included time with my family and more landscaping, drinks at home with friends and late, late nights out at the bars, birthday celebrations and comfortable, lazy mornings.

Saturday afternoon/night was the absolute best. Aubrey & I met up and headed to Columbus to surprise Kayla and hit the bars for her birthday. The three of us were friends in high school but really cemented that bond in college- despite being at different universities. Our fourth high school amigo, Emily, just gave birth to a gorgeous baby girl and happens to live in Columbus, too. We were able to stopped and visit her and meet Gracyn before the shenanigans started. It was a little surreal to see Em with a perfect baby in her arms.

A little later, three of Kayla’s local friends joined us to pre-game the night. Guys, the bar scene in Columbus- oh man. I should’ve trained for that event 🙂 We started at 9pm and uber-ed home at 2am. The night was 100% perfection and filled with dancing, drinks, music, and laughter. Honestly, it was an incredibly amazing night and I’m so grateful for my friends. The three of us live in different cities and I feel so lucky that we can get together and have a carefree night on the town. My heart is so full, even if my body’s exhausted.

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So that was my weekend. Now I’m sitting in our basement on our new den furniture. (K insisted we take advantage of the BigLots 20% off sale and obtain this chaise/chair/ottoman combo he’s been lusting over.) Tell me about your weekend in comments!

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A Grateful Heart with Ember Grey