The Year Without A Halloween Party

If you’re new around here, you might not know that Halloween is kind of a big deal. It is my favorite non-religious holiday (although if we get down to the nitty-gritty, paganism is a religion and Samhain is a festival to celebrate the harvest…. AND Halloween is All Saints’ Eve which falls on the day before the Christian celebration of All Saints’ Day… so can we really call it non-religious? I digress).

Anyway… we typically celebrate big around Halloween. For example:
2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | (I didn’t post the 2013 party)

Since we said “I do”, we’ve been hosting Halloween parties. It’s expected. People start asking me in August what the theme is going to be. And while I absolutely love that and look forward to the party every year, this year it felt forced and exhausting.

So I decided to cancel it. (I’d even made the FB event already.)

As soon as I did I had a few friends reach out to make sure I was ok. I had a few people tell me they were glad I took the year off. Some people were sad to not be getting together.

I felt very blah about it. Which kind of let me know it was the right decision. If you’re not excited about a voluntary just-for-fun party, why are you throwing it?

I love having people over and planning parties and celebrating Halloween with costumes and food and games, but… none of it sounded fun to me this year. I’m worried about COVID. I’m tired from chasing a toddler. I’m swamped at work, buried in home projects, and deadass tired by 7pm.

There is a small part of me that’s sad I cancelled. It doesn’t really feel like Halloween this year. Maybe that will change when we dress Maddie up on Saturday to trick-or-treat, but I didn’t make a puking pumpkin or carve a jack-o-lantern or buy costumes for the dogs. It’s a weird year.

And also, after last year’s party, I came down with COVID. (I don’t know that it was the party- we were outside the whole time, food was individually packaged, and I was the only one of all the guests to get it.) It made me very hesitate about getting people together. And I still feel that way.

It’s difficult to make a decision that might let others down (or feels like it might). Maybe past guests are thrilled to not have to come to another Halloween party at our house. Maybe it won’t be missed. I don’t know. But it did feel a little selfish to cancel.

I know it was not. I know our friends will celebrate the holiday in their own way this weekend, and we will take Maddie around the neighborhood, and next year we can chose to have a party or not. But it’s odd to break an 8 year tradition. And there’s my explanation for why there will be no Halloween post.

And now let’s switch topics. Tell me something fun you’re doing or did for Halloween!

-Aud

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 โค๏ธ

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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 aย 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 definitelyย 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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.ย ๐Ÿ˜‚

Our food spread was on point ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 booksย ๐ŸŽƒย 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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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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. . .

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. . .

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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 ๐Ÿ™‚

. . .

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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