Top 10 Things to Be Thankful for This Year

This Thanksgiving we’ll be driving everywhere, so forgive me in advance for not posting this weekend at all. Lakeland to Valdosta — Valdosta to Athens — Athens to Stone Mountain — Stone Mountain to White, GA to Atlanta — Atlanta back to Lakeland — Lose Mind.

So for this Thanksgiving, since this is the year of turning 30 and wishing big and being grateful for blessings, here’s my top 10 list of things to be thankful for this year:

10. I didn’t die this past year!

9. I make enough money to live comfortably.

8. I have opportunities after opportunities after opportunities here that I’ve waited forever to fall in my lap.

7. I am healthy. Chronic back pain aside, I’m healthier than I’ve been in a long time.

6. The friends I have are the most amazing people I will ever hope to know in my lifetime. They continue to amaze me and challenge me in ways that I don’t even see coming.

5. My nieces. They are the most beautiful, bubbly, surprising little people, and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings as they continue to learn and explore this world.

4. Floyd. Floyd is seriously the bomb. He makes me laugh, he melts my heart, and I care more deeply for this dog than I ever thought feelings could go.

3. My family. They are incredible people who keep getting more incredible as the years go by. Thank you for supporting me and my choices because your support means the world to me.

2. Timmy. Oh Timmy. What can I say about you that hasn’t already been said before? Are you a major pain in my ass sometimes? Absolutely. Does your obsession with Auburn baffle me? You betcha. Can I guarantee that I’m in it to win it with you? 100%. I love you. You have taught me how to become a better person through challenging me and never keeping it boring. I’m so thankful for you, even on the days I want to strangle with you, I’m thankful that you’re my partner.

1. My faith that things happen if you believe they will happen. If you trust yourself and you control the things you can control, amazing things will happen to you. If your faith is in a higher power, believe. But also have faith in yourself, that you can get to where you want to go, that you will get what you want in life because you believe that you deserve it. I’m thankful that I believe I’m worth it.

Be thankful for something and everything this year. Happy Thanksgiving y’all!

♥, VB

Advertisements

Things That Only Happen to Me

When you look back on your life, do you ever think, Why me? Of course you do. You’re human. It happens to the best of us at the most inopportune moments. Those flashes of “WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?!?” and “Does this ever happen to anyone else?!?!” and of course, my favorite, “WHY GOD, WHY?!?!”

I’ve not only had a few, I’ve had more than I care to share out loud. But since this is the internet, and I know you guys won’t tell anyone, I’ll give you the inside scoop on what it feels like to be the one who things always happen to but not to anyone else.

Ready? I’m sure you’re on the edge of your seat.

  • You know the chain that hangs in the line inside a fast food restaurant that tells you not to enter there. It’s on the front part, next to the registers, and blocks you from entering right up front so you have to travel that itty bitty maze until you order. I sat on it once as a kid, swung once on it, and fell straight on my ass when the chain broke. I’ve never EVER heard that happening to anyone else.
  • I was “asked to withdraw” (fancy way of saying I got kicked out of school) after doing drugs for the first time. In 8th grade. On the school trip to D.C. Granted, it was LSD, which is a bit extreme for a 13 year old to be doing, and I hadn’t even smoked weed before that. Quite a few of us share this story as 23 of us got kicked out, which again, I’ve never heard anyone other than this group share that type of story from their past.
  • Within the first three years of owning my Mini, I replaced every single tire. Maybe that’s specific to Mini drivers, but as I don’t currently know any other Mini drivers, I’m the only one who’s dealt with those financial setbacks so quickly after buying a brand new car.
  • I had reconstructive ankle surgery in 2011 after 14 major ankle sprains in my lifetime. I’m definitely the only person I know who had to have major reconstructive surgery on a body part that had ZERO scar tissue show up in any MRI I had. And I had 3.

I also have no luck when it comes to winning things. I’m not alone in that clearly (hello, lottery anyone?). But a few weeks ago, something was definitely in the air. Timmy felt it. I felt it. The tide was turning my friends, and for the first time in my life, I was hit with pure dumb luck.

I talked Timmy into going to the Annual Meeting for the YWCA of Tampa Bay. I had attended a lunch fundraiser for them a few months back where during a silent auction, I won two purses. Silent auctions are my jam. They are the only way I’ll participate in anything that seems like gambling because I can track if someone has outbid me. I will stalk the table and give menacing looks to anyone who even THINKS of bidding on one of my items.

I have issues.

Anyways, ever since that luncheon, I told myself I would get involved with their organization once I moved closer to St. Pete. Their mission of Empowering Women, Eliminating Racism — it’s a winner. I got a hotel for the night in downtown St. Pete and hounded Timmy about his schedule to try to get him to attend with me.

It was held at the St. Pete Yacht Club, which I go by all the time when I walk along the waterfront after work. I just wanted to know more about their work and find an opportunity to help them. After 30 Years, 1 Wish, I’ve felt more than ever that fundraising is amazing, but I really want to do more. Now that I’ll be in St. Pete around the end of next month (YES I FOUND AN APARTMENT), I can get more involved!

During the dinner, they told us about a raffle. A raffle for a free week’s stay in a private villa in Tuscany. Italy. A free week in Italy, people. That is the shiznit. I went to Italy when I studied abroad in London in 2004: Rome, Milan, and Florence. Our weekend there was so filled with memories, and most of them involved getting me fatter. It was awesome, and I’ve been dying to go back ever since.

Raffle tickets were only $25 per entry, so I filled out a ticket and Timmy filled out two. The dinner went on and I knew that we weren’t going to win. Wait, let me correct myself: I wasn’t going to win. I never win anything, why should this time be any different? But this time was different. I felt deep down in my gut that something was different this time, but my experience kept telling me, “Yeah freaking right.”

Timmy was so arrogant, he kept saying things like, “We’re so winning this. How can we not win this? I win things all the time.” And I just rolled my eyes because this is our normal mode of communication. Once they were ready to announce the winner, 5 more people stood up saying they wanted to enter the raffle. With the addition of 5 new entries, yeah right, like I stood any chance whatsoever.

Timmy went to the bathroom, and I pulled out my phone and started to check FB. When you know you’re not going to win, FB is a great distraction. They got up to the microphone and announced the winner.

“Victoria B!”

And with that, I threw my hands up in the air and let out a loud, “WOOOHOOOOO!!!!!

Awesomeness cannot begin to describe the feeling you get when you win something of that magnitude. It felt like karma was finally starting to pay me back. For all the hardships I’ve had to endure this past year, for all the struggling I’ve done to get this job and to keep it, for anything I’ve ever had done wrong to me, I felt it being lifted off because mother effer, I WAS GOING TO MOTHER EFFING ITALY!

I ran up to the front of the banquet room, shaking, ready to take pictures with the CEO and CFO and wine guy and whoever else was there, with a smile I couldn’t get off my face. Timmy came running back into the room, and once he saw me at the front, he knew. He knew from the beginning we were going to win. He felt it. That astute boy of mine.

No airfare was included, which is a bummer, but there is no complaining. We have a week’s free stay in a private villa in San Sano, a village of 50 people about 1 hour south of Florence. It’s in a 12th-century building that used to be a monastery, and there is only one person in the town that speaks English. So as I’m sure you figured out yourself, Timmy will clearly be talking to everyone there nonstop.

The couple who donated their villa apparently own a number of super successful drycleaning stores around the Tampa Bay area. When we met them at the dinner and thanked them for their generosity in donating such an amazing prize, they couldn’t stop talking about the town. About all the fun we’re going to have there. Of all the relaxing we’re going to be doing. Of all the food we’re going to be stuffing down our mouthholes. It’s going to be glorious.

So ladies and gentleman, let this be a lesson to you all. When your hand is open to give, it’s open to receive.

And receive we did.

#winning

#winning

♥, VB

Good Times, Great Trips

So I definitely have the best boyfriend in the world (despite our occasional inability to compromise on things). After what has felt like the year from hell, we’ve been working our asses off to regain a new sense of normalcy within our relationship. Nearly 4 years ago, if you had asked either one of us if our relationship would turn out the way it has, we’d both punch you in the face because you are a LIAR! But alas, our relationship has changed drastically since we first began, and we’ve had to grieve the loss of what we wanted it to be and come to terms with the way it looks now. And that’s ok. Every relationship follows its own path, and ours is unique to our journey. We love each other deeply and are just as committed, if not MORE, than we first were. The tide is turning and things are looking much brighter now.

It’s been so hard for us for a number of reasons, none of which I will go into tons of detail here. But throw in a move to another state, new jobs, isolation, a ridiculous commute, and a chronic illness, and we got problems my friend. With traveling all the time for weddings and not having enough time to dedicate to our relationship, it’s been pretty bad in the sunshine state. It takes more work than most people realize to make a relationship really work, and I’m so thankful that we’re getting through this with not only our sanity intact, but a renewed sense of love and appreciation for each other.

When you say those vows through sickness and in health, just know that sickness can come at any time, not just when you’re really old and dementia sinks in. Most young people don’t have any clue how to keep a commitment going through an illness, one that really takes the life out of you without ever coming close to killing you. It’s hard to complain when one of our closest friends is battling Stage 4 colorectal cancer and is not doing well at the moment. I mean, that’s a friggin illness. I can’t even imagine how difficult life must be for not only Jake, but his wife and family, trying to hard to be supportive and loving yet struggling for self-care and balance.

Seeing how bad this year has been, Timmy decided to make a move and take me on a trip this past weekend. Finally a vacation that has nothing to do with weddings! WAHOO! We went to New Orleans and it was a total blast. I’d never been, and never really had the urge to visit before, for no real reason in particular. But holy cow, am I so glad that Timmy booked it!

We arrived incredibly late on Friday night, and Saturday morning I woke up to what amounted to a migraine. I’ve never had migraines before, but if that was one, holy shit, I have a new sense of respect and sympathy for migraine sufferers. It was terrible, and not just because I felt like poop. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a planner. I was anxious already at the thought of having a wide open schedule. I’m not a spontaneous person by nature, so I need to know when things are happening, where, what time do they end, what’s the next thing, etc. Timmy hadn’t planned anything, and I was not really having the best time mentally dealing with that. But then, to wake up with the worst headache of my entire life, in a city that is ripe for exploring, well, I was devastated to say the least. What are we going to do now?? It’s central time, the sun is going down super early, and I couldn’t get out of bed until 1 PM.

Well thankfully, Timmy is of a completely different nature, one that is way more easy going than mine, so we ordered lunch room service, and chilled until I didn’t feel like beheading myself anymore. Took a cab downtown to the French Quarter, and walked. And walked. And walked some more. And I was happy. One of my favorite things to do in any city is to walk and see the sights. I’ve walked up to 9 miles before in one day, just taking in the city at a leisurely pace. It was delightful to do that in New Orleans, and we SCORED on the weather. It was amazing, slightly chilled air, but warm in the sun. Perfection.

And let’s not forget the delicious food. Oh the food. I’m not for one a big fan of Cajun food because I’m a ginormous baby and can’t eat spicy food. But seafood…I could live in seafood (that sentence makes no sense, but stick with me). God, the food was awesome. The drinking was fun on Bourbon St., but I’m a foodie, and this trip was def a success, food-wise. Oh yeah, and Bourbon St. was exactly what I expected, even though I didn’t know what to expect. Crazy stuff? Check. Loud drunk people? Check. Wedding Parades? EIGHT. The picture I took was at 6, and after that, I just drank until I didn’t care about the weddings following us around the globe. LEAVE US ALONE!

We also got to run into some of my favorite people on the face of the earth, Austin and his buddies celebrating Labat’s 30th. Remember Austin? Greatest wedding reception dance battle of all time?

Labat's 30th and other shenanigans

Labat’s 30th and other shenanigans

Mr. Monogamy and myself

And we had the best time ever. Holy cow, they went balls to the walls, we were just trying to keep up. Poor Austin. He doesn’t drink alcohol, he’s definitely the pickiest eater on the face of the earth, and they made him go to NOLA. What a good friend. 🙂 I’m not only amazed that we were able to meet up with them on vacation, but we also stayed out until nearly 3 AM. So goes it on Bourbon St.

Sunday, we decided to change it up and do something a little outside the box. We rented electric hybrid bikes and it was THE GREATEST IDEA EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD. I’m not joking, go do this now. We rented from It’s Easy NOLA for the day and got the best recommendation from fast-talking Nikki. We rode down Esplanade and saw the most beautiful houses; the whole area had a very San Francisco vibe, which I didn’t expect and of course loved. We rode through a beautiful NOLA cemetery, which Timmy informed me that all the graves are entombed above ground because NOLA is at sea level and they can’t dig underground for burials. The more you know.

We rode about 2 miles down to City Park, which was one of the biggest surprises ever. I’ve never heard one person ever talk about City Park when they visit NOLA, and let me tell you, they should. This park was HUGE, with a lake and paddle boat rentals, tons of trails and greenery, a railroad for kiddies, a museum and tons of sculptures throughout, and an amusement park. Yeah, you read that right. An amusement park. We had the greatest time biking around, and stopped at Santa Fe Cafe on the way back. I didn’t take any pictures because I was in it to win it, people. It was by far one my favorite days ever, and definitely the best part of the entire trip.

Side note: we took one of the funniest pictures we’ve ever taken during this trip, in our opinion, that kind of backfired on us. Timmy and I of course are privy to many engagement photo albums on FB these days, and they all have the same few pictures in common: field pictures, railroad track pictures, brick wall pictures, and covered bridge pictures. Not that there’s anything wrong with these pictures, in fact they’re super pretty. But once you’ve seen 15 of them, it starts to get a tad bit unoriginal. While walking around Jackson Square towards the Mississippi, we crossed these tracks, and I told Timmy, “Hey look, railroad tracks! Let’s take engagement pictures!” And we both died laughing and took a selfie with the same caption, thinking everyone would get the sarcastic humor.

not an engagement picture. We repeat, not an engagement picture.

not an engagement picture. We repeat, not an engagement picture.

Nope, didn’t work. Timmy’s phone started BLOWING UP with congratulatory messages. Apparently, no one stopped to think whether or not we’d actually ever announce our engagement that way. I mean, we might because we’re silly, but no, that wasn’t our engagement. We were just making fun of people, and it didn’t go the way we planned. Karma I guess, if karma was kind of lame.

So thanks to Timmy for planning an amazing trip that had no actual plans in it, which was the most refreshing change of pace for me. I love you, you are the best and I look forward to loving more trips with you in the future!

♥, VB

What Joy Looks Like

This was us at the end of November 2012. The end of our wedding year (no use of the word season can apply to what we go through).

end of weddings 2012

This was us last weekend in Key Largo, FL. The end of our 2013 wedding year.

end of weddings 2013Sensing a pattern?

We love everyone who got married this year and last. It was a blessing to be a part of your day, and it was even more special to catch up with our loved ones who we haven’t seen because we live so far away now. Thank you for wanting to include us, we appreciate every invite we received, even if we couldn’t make it to some.

Now that we’re done with weddings, now it’s time for our real fun shit to get underway! This weekend we head to New Orleans! I’ve never been and I’m so excited to go, I may throw up. Any recommendations for awesomeness in NOLA?

After that, it’s time for vacations and more vacations! For those interested, it’s time for Timmy and I to start working on our holiday cards this year. I promise, it will live up to everything you think it will be. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, I’ll do a post closer to the end of the year and fill you in on a secret: Timmy and I are the masters at holiday cards. We OWN them.

♥, VB

P.S. Thank you to all our veterans! We support and thank you as we honor Veterans Day on Monday!