A 30th Birthday Party or Secret Wedding? You Decide.

July is almost over. W.T.F. I’ve been anticipating a horrifically hot summer here in FL, hotter than Atlanta, hotter than hell. But summer’s just flying by, and because work has now gotten really busy, I’m barely even aware that the work week is over until it’s over. I haven’t experienced death by humidity yet because I’m locked up tight in my work cave all day (although there have been a few mornings that I’ve regretted my choice of curling my hair). The only part of the weather I see is walking to and from my car, walking 3 miles after work, and walking the dog at home (and let’s not forget dark skies on my commute home). That’s all I got folks. Not complaining, but slightly bummed that I did all that worrying about the heat for nothing.

The last few weekends have also flown the hell by. I’ve barely had a chance to come up for breath between the traveling, the laughing, and the catching-up-on-sleep. I know I called it in with the last post of iPhone pictures, but hey, that’s about all I had time for. Case in point: I now just throw my hair up into that always-sexy-librarian bun because I can’t freaking be bothered to do anything else with it. Not the epitome of great morning time-management (not that I ever claimed that I had that). I haven’t filled y’all in on quite a few weekend trips, but to save you the headache, I’ll catch you up later.

Anywho, this post isn’t about all those weekends spent away or on our couch. This post is about something I want to everyone to know about, so spread the word. This post is about “30 Years, 1 Wish“.

Have you seen the picture on the right side of our blog? 30years1wish

Have you seen the “30 Years, 1 Wish” page tab on our navigation menu? Have no idea what it is or too lazy to type in the password? First of all, that’s ridiculous. Type in the password that you received on the back side of your invitation and read the freaking page. No, I do not want to have to recap everything off that page simply because you haven’t taken all of 5 minutes to read it yourself. That’s why the page was designed, sillies, so that you could read on your own time and get the answers to questions. I know you all are busy with babies and work and stuff, but just read it. I promise it’s funny and is useful.

This event is a pretty damn important event for Timmy and I. Ever since I started thinking about turning 30, I knew I wanted to do something totally different. I’ve had a few friends raise funds in honor of their 30th birthdays, but on a small scale for causes that are deeply personal for them. I wanted to do something large-scale, almost wedding-like because we’ve been to enough now to figure out how to do a reception-like event on a beer-budget (I’ll get to the beauty of using those words in just a sec). What could we do that would throw the concept of turning 30 on its head? Instead of something people fear, becoming something people aspire to being? That’s when “30 Years, 1 Wish” popped into my head.

30 Years, 1 Wish” is our fundraiser for turning 30. Some people don’t understand why we’re making such a big deal about turning 30, saying things like, “Well, wait till you turn 40, 50, [insert some other decade]!” and sounding pretentious and condescending. We get it. 30 is not that awe-inspiring, and we’re not saying it’s the most amazing thing to happen in the history of ever. Sure, we both had AMAZING 30th birthdays this year. Why it’s important to us is simple: we’ve known too many people who didn’t get to turn 30. We’ve known too many people who didn’t get to be at any of our important events up until we turned 30. And that alone is cause for celebration.

Why should others get to celebrate their 30ths/weddings/engagements/showers/etc. with tons of beer and blackouts but people think that throwing a fundraiser for turning 30 is over-the-top? I’d like to think it’s saying something about how we were raised and the type of support we’ve received from family and friends that helped us carry out this idea into a real cause. We have always pretty much received anything we’ve ever wanted and needed. We’re not delusional about our blessings; we know we’ve been above and beyond gifted simply because of the families and circumstances we were born into. All our lives, we’ve been able to be selfish, going after the dreams we’ve wanted because we had the opportunities and the freedom to do so. We haven’t been burdened with debt. We’ve had tragedies occur, sure, but we’ve been determined to not let those misfortunes rule our lives. We’ve amassed amazing friendships, stories, and countless memories of fun and laughter, and we’ve grown into becoming responsible, self-sufficient adults with purpose and direction in life.

The last few years have been difficult for everyone, needless to say, with the recession, student loan rates, unemployment or underemployment, senseless violence in media, and the growing ideological rift between political parties. Everyone has something to say, and everyone has something to complain about.

We’re here to say it loud and proud, “Shut up and give back“.

It’s easy to get caught in that never ending cycle of, “Life is hard, life isn’t fair, someone owes me something, I don’t like what’s happening, blah, blah, blah.” But don’t let that stop you from understanding that people are still suffering greatly. People are still routinely shut out of opportunities that we’ve never stopped twice to think about in our own lives. People still need help. It’s our duty to help when and where we can. It makes us better people, emotionally and mentally, it helps us become more compassionate and understanding. This isn’t about blaming people for the circumstances of their lives, and bootstrap pulling, and crap like that. It’s just about helping, plain and simple.

The purpose of “30 Years, 1 Wish” is to raise funds for our three charities: mine is the Women’s Resource Center to End Domestic Violence, Timmy’s is the American Indian College Fund, and our joint charity is the Colon Cancer Alliance. These organizations all mean something special to us and it would mean the world to us to use our birthdays as a chance to raise awareness of the amazing work that they do and to help them in their missions. We’ve rented out the Red Brick Brewing Company y’all (told you I’d get to the beer budget), so be prepared for some amazing local craft brews and a brewery tour. $25 gets you admission, a pint glass, and 4 beers! We have an amazing band, food truck, and raffle prizes! We’ve partnered with Uber to give you an amazing deal on car service so DON’T DRIVE DRUNK! No excuses.

All of this information plus more can be found on our “30 Years, 1 Wish” page, so please click on the link (password is 30years1wish) to RSVP and to donate. Everything is online to make it easier for you to read up on each organization, why each cause is important to us, where you can stay in Atlanta, and more.

(Un)Fortunately, Music Midtown is the same weekend, and like a friend I know who had this same problem when planning their wedding a few years ago, we set our date and ordered the invites before Music Midtown announced their date to the public. Understandably, a lot of you will want to go to the concerts (although bands will come back to Atlanta to perform, more likely indoors where you won’t sweat to death with 20,000 drunk, out-of-control, underage kids). We are anticipating this. But please, if you are able to, please think about donating anyway. These organizations need your donations and help. We won’t even call you out if, in the past, we attended something major of yours instead of doing something else we may have wanted to do. Honest, we won’t. We’ll still love you.

Please go to our “30 Years, 1 Wish” page and RSVP by August 1st. We need the numbers to let the brewery know how many bartenders to supply us with the night of the event as well as let the food truck know how much grub to supply. Start making travel plans now and take advantage of the great deals we secured for you. We can’t wait to see you at our party, and we can’t wait to share the amazing feeling that giving back can bring you. Thank you for supporting us always, for your love and guidance, and with luck, we’ll be able to pass that support and love on and on and on and on. If you would like to donate online, please visit this link.

♥,

VB & Timmy

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Life Lately, as captured by my iPhone

Scroll over the photos for captions.

♥, VB

Floyd: Before and After

I forgot to post yesterday what was also another milestone in our lives: one year ago, we adopted Floyd. He has brought so much joy into our lives; there really is no explanation for how much you can love a dog. He makes us laugh, he frustrates us, but most of all he makes us love more. My heart is so full because of that little guy. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?

One year ago, this was him.

After finding him from Georgia Poodle Rescue, we welcomed him with open arms.

Our new furry son, not sure of the path that lay ahead of him

Our new furry son, not sure of the path that lay ahead of him

Both equally unsure about the future

Both equally unsure about the future

He truly loved what all dogs love from the very beginning.

Mommy, can I stick my head out of the window now? Can I? Can I?

Mommy, can I stick my head out of the window now? Can I? Can I?

ahhhhh, sweet jesus this feels great!

ahhhhh, sweet jesus this feels great!

You may have started out with a whipworm infection, but that didn’t stop you from being an active, fetch-loving, sweet buddy. Thank you for being a sweet patient boy while we take pictures like this:

Really mom?

Really mom?

And this:

Really mom again? Now with a sweater?

Really mom again? Now with a sweater?

And this too:

Mom, I just woke up, really?

Mom, I just woke up, really?

You are a trooper at bed time.  At first, you woke us up every three hours because you were so scared, you probably were afraid you wouldn’t be able to control yourself in a new house. Now, you normally sleep all through the night, unlike some dogs that wake their owners up at 7 AM on the dot for food and a walk. You are just like your mommy and daddy: you love to sleep. Thank you for being a snuggly little cuddly thing:

Must protect Mommy from TV shows

Must protect Mommy from TV shows

In case of bad dreams, must hold onto Daddy

In case of bad dreams, must hold onto Daddy

You’ve learned 7 solid commands in the last year, and now when we show you a treat, you cycle through all the tricks you know before we can even give you a command. Smarty pants. It’s like you know that one of the tricks has to at some point be deserving of the treat. Thank you for making us laugh by doing weird things like:

Sleeping under end tables is totes comfy

Sleeping under end tables is totes comfy

This is obviously more comfortable than sleeping in my dog bed.

This is obviously more comfortable than sleeping in my dog bed.

Adopting you was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Thank you for being you. WE LOVE YOU FLOYD!

♥, VB & Timmy

6 Months and Counting

July 7th marked 6 months since I moved down to Orlando from Atlanta, followed by our big move 2 days later on the 9th to Lakeland, so today is now our 6 month anniversary of moving to Mehland. Do I have any updates about living in Lakeland? Construction is now complete on our section of 33. Yay.

It’s not that Lakeland is really that bad. It’s that there’s nothing to do here PLUS I work so far away that exploring becomes too exhausting of a notion to entertain. Actually, that does sound really bad.

We’ve had dinner in downtown Lakeland a few times, to mostly meh reviews. The area is super cute, and you can tell that this area was on the up and up before the recession hit and pooped them out the other end. The architecture of the buildings is so wonderful, a mixture of old and new, and the landscaping is beautiful. But almost every store front is for lease or sale, which is a huge downer. I don’t even have any skills as an entrepreneur, but I’m freaking dying to open up a bakery, a farm-to-table restaurant, tapas, non-smoking gastropub, and a crepe shop.

after another meh dinner, at least the swans of downtown Lakeland are nice to look at

One night, we ate burgers at this place in downtown that made us feel like we were on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. We were so freaking excited, we were like, “OMG, we’ve found our burger spot! Yay for supporting local businesses!” But this experience immediately became a haunting note in our relationship with Lakeland as we were both stricken with diarrhea not three hours later and had to make a “run” (see what I did there) for our lives back home.

The Mexican food isn’t all that bad here. Our normal spot Tapatios isn’t open on Sundays (what the hell…I hate small towns), but it’s the best we’ve found so far. Ignoring the fact that their clientele all weigh about 150 lbs over their ideal weight, the cheese dip is good, and that’s how we measure success in these here parts. We found a place called Abuelo’s, which seems to be a chain in FL that serves some pretty alright food. Our bartender last week served us some super sweet skinny mojitos that probably were mixed with a cancer-inducing sugar substitute, so we shan’t be ordering that crap again. The cheese dip is not Timmy’s favorite so another strike.

BTW, every Mexican restaurant we’ve eaten at here in FL doesn’t understand “cheese dip w/ or w/o jalapeños”. It’s like a crazy mystery order to them. Which is super odd because that’s a standard order in Atlanta. Do you want your cheese dip to taste like the napkin or do you want a slight bit of heat in your cheese dip? I’ll take tasty heat, thanks! When you order w/ jalapeños here, you have to explain to them to put them on the side (or else they will dump half a jar of jalapeños into the cheese dip and you will burn your face off), and to have them finely diced (otherwise they will put them sliced raw with seeds and ribs and you will burn your face off). WTF. Why is this so hard?? I miss Taxco like whoa, and especially El Toro, which was right down the street from us in Decatur. God, why is it so hard to find good Mexican food here?!?!?

Floyd has adjusted nicely though, which we’re very thankful for. He loves playing in our huge dog park field in our complex, and he’s even made a few doggy friends. He still “sags his pants a little” (as Barbara says) when he’s on his leash and sees anyone or thing that might be a threat. So far, that list includes: trees, people, dogs, children, squirrels, bushes, frogs, and my favorite, a bicycle. Anyone have any feasible tips on training out leash aggression?

We’re waiting for fall to come around so that we can plan a few days to go visit the parks in Orlando when tourist season is over and the deathly heat abates. Timmy has also never been to SeaWorld (like how our Disney trip last November was his first trip ever…the horror!!), so we’re pretty pumped to get our butts there.

Other than our constant trips out of town for weddings, things here aren’t really that different than when I started this blog. I don’t know how I feel about that, but hey, I guess it’s better than things being god awful, right? I feel almost ashamed that I don’t have a better update 6 months later about our lives here. We’ve been through a lot of ups and down in our relationship, and we’re both working really hard to make things good at home. Work is pretty fantastic and I’m still grateful for being able to get my dream job in the first place. But I think both of us would be lying if we said, yes, this is it for the long haul. FL is totally where we want to settle (I think I threw up a little in my mouth writing that). Our hearts belong to Atlanta forever. But I guess our bodies will have to be all tan in FL for the time being.

Here’s to the next 6 months. May we find more things to do in Lakeland, or so help me I will tear this town apart. At least help me find some good Mexican food within driving distance. A girl needs her cheese dip.

♥, VB

P.S. Don’t forget to check out our “30 Years, 1 Wish” page! It’s our 30th birthday party/fundraiser in September and we’re donating to three charities! Donate by clicking the link on the sidebar (or clicking here) or ask me for the password to the page!