Not Enough MINI Dreams

My dream car has been a MINI Cooper since I have no idea, but it seems like forever. After seeing The Italian Job (the remake), I became even more obsessed with owning the sportiest little car this side of the Atlantic.

In 2007, after wrestling with what used to be my dream car, the first Ford Focus, it quickly became a piece of crap as domestics tend to do, but this was unexpected. It only had 42000 miles on it since 2000. That’s right, 7 years and only 42000 miles, but the noise it made upon starting, you would’ve thought it was a 1978 Buick boat-car. It ran like shit, and it was super clear that I had to get a new car before grad school or else I would inevitably end up stranded on the side of 400 (which is never a good place to be during rush hour in Atlanta).

So upon weighing all my options, costs, benefits, etc., the MINI Cooper came out on top. I designed it on their website, and within days, my very own, custom built MINI arrived in Atlanta. It was mine, ALL MINE. And it was loyal, and beautiful, and kept me company through tons of good times, sad times, and moving on up.

Then the extended warranty expired last year and all the expensive shit started breaking. OF COURSE IT DID. And after the 3rd item that would’ve cost almost $2000 to fix , I decided enough was enough. My relationship with my bright yellow MINI Cooper was coming to an end at 99, 400 miles. Here are some of the things we did together over 7 years:

  • Got me through grad school in style. This included every social event, drive to the lake, and vacation I took that didn’t require someone else and their luggage to be in the car with me.
  • Transported me from Sandy Springs to Decatur to Smyrna and back my 2nd year of graduate school, which was quite a lot of driving each day.
  • Helped me get through my last relationship and make it to Timmy, the ultimate achievement.
  • Comforted me through 3.5 years at CDC, where I hated my life and was bored to tears every day.
  • Moved me to FL (where I had to leave half of my stuff in Atlanta because you can’t actually move anything in a MINI), where great things have followed.
  • Drove me through hour+commutes from Lakeland to St. Pete and back, where most Friday evening drives resulted in nervous breakdowns and tears.
  • Moved me to St. Pete, where life is now calm and beautiful.

    MINI Cooper, you shine like the sun


    Small enough to hug, big enough to love

I’m still grieving the loss of my companion. She was beautiful and fun and a joy to drive. But in anticipation of getting older and perhaps starting a family one day (I said PERHAPS), it’s obvious that a MINI Cooper just won’t be practical with children and all their mountains of crap (literal and figurative).

I nannied in grad school, and getting the youngest in and out of the car seat was a pain in the ass then, but now is a literal pain in the back, and I wouldn’t ever be able to do that with my own children. So two doors were out. Four doors are in.

And now we come to the newest member of the Beltran family. My newest ride, my newest companion who will see me through more good times and bad…

The MINI Cooper Countryman


4 doors of beauty

the NYU Sticker is the only thing remaining from my last MINI

the NYU Sticker is the only thing remaining from my last MINI

hello beautiful

hello beautiful

I fought the 4 door as long as I could. I am a MINI purist, which means that I believe that the only true MINI is the original hatchback version. But I sucked it up because I’m more of a planner than an optimist, so here it is. The car of my dreams, expanded.

♥, VB

No Voice, Something to Say

So remember all that talk about me being sick? That was quite a doozy of a week that I never got a chance to fill you in on.

I completely lost my voice for over a week. Like, not even a squeak. Have you ever completely lost your voice? I remember it happening maybe in 4th or 5th grade, but not for over a week. It was torture.

Two weeks ago, I spent most of my time at home pouring prescription eyedrops in my eyes to rid myself of the pinkeye and trying to catch up on any sleep I could. I celebrated my 31st birthday at home, alone, taking online classes through the weekend for my Michigan program, missing the incredible weather and waking up at 7 AM Saturday and Sunday (which we all know is not an easy thing for me).

That sucked. I knew it was coming, and it really helped that I had no voice because it made me feel less bad that Timmy wasn’t over to keep me company. I mean, that would’ve been anti-fun for him, sitting around ALL DAY, watching me take online classes, then not even be able to have a conversation with me. But it still sucked.

So this past weekend, after a few staff and Division retreats that left me even more wiped out, I made Timmy promise that we would have an amazing time in St. Pete to belatedly celebrate my birthday. And it was a fantastic weekend.

I love when people ask me about my group of friends down here. I usually respond, “What group of friends?” Not to sound self-pitying in any way, but we all know what it’s like to move somewhere and start over. It’s not that I don’t have work friends, it’s just that it’s always awkward to try to make friends from scratch as an adult. It’s like the most uncomfortable kind of dating situation you’ve ever been in. And because we lived so far away last year, I missed a really crucial time to get to know people outside of work.

But this time, I bit the bullet and asked a few people that I know for a fact are cool enough to handle a local brewery on a Friday night to come meet us out to celebrate. And we had the greatest time, listening to a 3-piece jam band that may or may not have been a Mormon family (we couldn’t tell), playing cornhole and giant-sized Connect 4, and drinking the night away. I have no pictures, that’s how fun the night was. I can now say, finally, that I have friends in St. Pete. 🙂

Saturday, of course, I woke up with a ginormous pinched nerve in my neck, so going to the beach to hangout with said group of friends was out of the question. But we ended up going to one of the last Saturday Morning Farmer’s Markets with Floyd and touring my campus and the waterfront. Later that night, we went to Taste of Pinellas (if you know me, you know I’m into food and festivals, and MAN, how I’ve missed those two together) and listened to K.C. & The Sunshine Band and The Blues Brothers w/Dan Ackroyd and Jim Belushi. It was one of the most fun nights we’ve had in a long while.

Am I dating myself if I admit that I’ve now seen K.C. & His Sunshine People 3 times now?

♥, VB

Sick of Sickness

Remember how I started that last post with “Life has been pretty great lately”? HAHAHAHAThat ended quickly.

I’ve been sick as hell the last week, with a cold, loss of voice, and then pinkeye. How’s that for the most awesome week ever??

Why can’t I just get a normal cold like everyone else? Anytime I get sick, I get really sick. It’s no fun, especially when you live by yourself and have to take care of Floyd. It’s times like these when I miss my overbearing caretaker named Timmy (overbearing at times because he super takes care of me, even to the point of “No I don’t need soup/massage/blanket/food/drink/bath/anything! Just silence!”) (and yes I’m aware that he’s amazing for even offering those things, so don’t think I’m not grateful. I am; sometimes you just need quiet when you’re sick.)

The wedding two weekends ago was really interesting. It was in Atlanta in a location I have NEVER heard of, let alone seen but it was beautiful. It would’ve been more gorgeous had it not been raining and 60 degrees, but hey you can’t win them all.

Timmy’s neighborhood gang was all there, including a few older alums from our high school. We actually made it out to a bar afterwards like normal young people do, and got to catch up with my favorite Lyndsay. I cried when I saw her. That’s how much I missed her. All in all, it was a blast.

The wedding last weekend in St. Simon’s was amazing, and like I said before, I was determined to have a good time. And that lasted until about 9:30p at Saturday night’s shindig. I was over it. No voice. Coughing like crazy. Trying to hold conversations over a live band playing. Yea, no. It wasn’t happening.

But the weekend was seriously a blast. I got to meet Timmy’s newest nephew, Stewart a.k.a. Mr. Chins, and hang out with his sister which was so fun. We squeezed in a little beach time (and yea, east coast beaches CANNOT beat gulf coast. Not on any grading scale) and just laughed and laughed. It was a wonderful weekend, and I only wish I hadn’t been sidelined with this stupid sickness.

A week later and my voice still isn’t fully back. That blows. Although this weekend I have online classes for my Michigan program, so that should keep me quiet for another few days. Sucks that I have a full day of class on my 31st birthday this Sunday, but hey, I think I did 30 pretty good. I can sit this one out if need be.

Enjoy the photos and imagine a raspy, squeaky, cracking voice narrating them. Or not. That sounds terrible actually.


♥, VB