Mainely on the Nubs

I am so completely in love with my friends. Even when I don’t get to see them regularly, it’s like no time has passed when we get together. They are the best group of people I could ever know, and on more than one occasion, have saved my life both physically and mentally.

My grad school girlfriends in particular kill me in the best way possible. When we are together, we experience the most side-splitting laughter, tears of empathy, and emotional connection that leaves us so fulfilled at the end of our time together. Those are the kinds of friendships that sustain you, leave you excited to see each other again, but independent enough to need our own lives…because let’s be honest, living our own lives gives us better stories to share the next time we see each other!

In the past, we’ve visited Charleston, Colorado, DC, San Diego, and any trip we take that one of us is unable to attend, we will simply print out a picture of their head, attach it to a stick, and take pictures with our absentee floating head of a friend. Our trips aren’t as often as they were when we were in grad school, but now we definitely don’t pile 9 people into a 1 bedroom place anymore. We’re grown ass women now after all.

We planned our trip to Maine nearly a year before because Mel was pregnant and ready to get the hell out into the world with adults. We actually end up planning many of our trips WAY ahead of time because our group is filled with type-A planners, whom many of which now have children. And we all know I love a good plan, so I was down immediately. We planned it the weekend after Labor Day, which was excellent timing since I hadn’t really gotten too deep in my doctoral program yet. However, my full time job was a different story, and by the time this trip rolled around, even though we were only 3 weeks into the semester, I felt ready to drown.

Once I landed in Boston, I was of course, the last one. And I mean like 1 am, last one. Nidia, Handy, and Lauren were all waiting for me, and once I got in the car, it was a freaking sitcom of a shitshow watching us try to get out of Boston. I swear, that city and its roads have been under construction for like 25 years. We at one point were seriously driving in a circle trying to find an exit, and at some point, we ran over a skunk, which should just sum up what driving in the Boston area is truly like.

We decided to take a few day trips while making our homebase in York, Maine. It didn’t hold any special meaning, other than it was 1 hour from Boston, and about 1-2 hours from other sites we could do in a day. We had originally thought up a plan to drive to Acadia National Park, which would’ve meant nearly 7 hours of driving in one day. See, this is what happens when you plan things far ahead AND you still think you’re 18 years old. When we got together that weekend, we all immediately were like, WHAT THE EFF WERE WE THINKING, and decided on another idea quickly.

All in all, we made as much of the weekend as we could, while also taking the time to relax, sleep in a little bit, and enjoy each other’s company. We rented two cars and had assigned seating in those cars the whole weekend (not intentionally, but it worked out well). Mel found the house in AirBnb, and it was completely amazing. Enough bedrooms and bathrooms for 7 women, 2 of whom were sick, so we quarantined them in the upstairs, pirate-themed bedroom. Lauren and I shared a room and our view was beautiful! It was walking distance to the Nubble Lighthouse and the quaint little town of York.

Our first day, we just explored York. It’s small but oh so freaking cute. I have to say how proud I was of myself when we went grocery shopping and I guessed our total amount so closely that I was only off by 75 cents! Go me! We visited the Lighthouse, which we didn’t know you can’t actually get to. So we looked at it from afar, and got some yummy lobster because duh, you’re in Maine. We also took a walk along the coast, and you gotta love a New England coast. So incredibly different from Florida, but beautiful nonetheless.

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The next day, we drove to Portland, ME. Our first stop was a bathroom, and we ducked into a tea shop for it. It was crazily enough, one of the most memorable places we’ve ever been, because if there’s ever been a tea shop with its head up its own ass, it was this one, Dobra Tea. We had to ring a bell to get service at our table, we couldn’t order a tea for the table then ask for it to go because the sizes were somehow different, and honestly, I didn’t know what the hell 75% of the teas were anyways. I just got chamomile and a cookie.

We ended up at a sandwich shop, Sisters Gourmet Deli, right around the corner, and it was DELISH. Highly recommended. We walked around for a bit, went to the Liquid Riot brewery, an outside gallery, and then tried to go to Portland Head Lighthouse right before it closed. Only half of our group made it, the other half (my half) went into a private neighborhood, snapped some pictures of the lighthouses we could see, then went to dinner at Bao Bao (again, highly recommended as well). This is also how many of our trips go: we base our walking on food and drink stops. Isn’t that how everyone plans their vacations??

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Our last day, on our way back to Boston to catch all our flights, we stopped at Portsmouth, NH. I feel like I had been there in college, but I can hardly remember anything (thanks antidepressants), so even if I had been there, it was a brand new experience this time around. We were only there for about an hour, but man, I just can’t get enough of these little New England towns. The history, the bricks, the sights…just too beautiful. Our first stop was a coffee shop, and I was so confused when I saw that the  names of all the pastries in the display case were in German. Once we walked outside and I actually read the name of the GERMAN coffee house, it all made sense (and clearly I needed that coffee for reals).

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We all left on our flights that afternoon, and it was done. Our trip we’d planned so well and efficiently was over, and thankfully I have these amazing photos to remember it by.

Some of these ladies discovered Marco Polo a few years ago, which is a video chat app that allows you to record yourself, send it to one person or a group, and the video waits for the person in the app until they can get on and see it. I resisted. And resisted some more. I refused to download one more app that required me to figure out how to use it. Then during this trip, I acquiesced and it’s been one of the better choices I’ve made (I’m looking at you, stupid Snapchat). Since we left Maine, we’ve been in constant contact, and it makes it that much better when you can see each other’s faces regularly.

I can’t wait for our next trip. This being Thanksgiving week and all, man am I grateful for amazing girlfriends who only make my life better. Thank you ladies, I love you so much.

♥, VB

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Costa Rica

December started with a trip we had been planning forever and then POOF it was here. We went to Tamarindo, Costa Rica for my college friend Taamy’s wedding to her perfect match Dave. It all started with the card enclosed in our goody bag and ended with some of the best memories I’ll take to the grave.

We flew from Tampa to Atlanta, Atlanta to Liberia, Costa Rica. From there, we took a shuttle about an hour away to Tamarindo, a little surfer town right on the Pacific, close to the Nicaragua-side of Costa Rica. It was so cute and really hopping, with tons of shops, restaurants, and surfer hang-outs. We got to Hotel Pasatiempo, and tried to get a quick nap in before walking around and exploring the place.

Taamy is that friend (we all have one) who can’t wait to start planning her next exotic vacation, who will try anything once and more times if she likes it, who is fearless, beautiful, and fun fun fun. We were so honored to be invited to this intimate shin-dig and we were incredibly emotional to see their love and gratitude for their wedding weekend. Timmy actually had a moment during the ceremony where he couldn’t stop crying, it was really that overwhelmingly touching.

The first night we got there was the joint Bachelor-Bachelorette party at Casa Alang-Alang, the house that Taamy and Dave rented for the week. There was a moment where I was dancing on the side of one of their many infinity pools at the house they were staying at. All of the sudden, I got pushed into the pool, fully clothed. Now, I’m not one for drama, but if there’s ever a reason to get pissed off beyond belief, it would be when a grown ass adult pushes another grown ass adult into a pool fully clothed in a pretty dress.

Well, I did nothing because it was a wedding celebration party for Dave and Taamy and I will NEVER be THAT person who starts fights and takes attention away from the couple. I went upstairs, asked Taamy for a change of clothes, and obviously had to explain what happened, but I left it at that. Taamy and Dave were PISSED. I kept trying to diffuse the situation, but at this point, Taamy had had a few, and you could see the drunk spiral happen a mile away.

The next day, Taamy said she got so mad not because of the alcohol but because she hates when men think they can behave however they want around women because they’ve been drinking. I still think the spiral contributed to how upset she got, but either way, it was unfortunate and I wish it hadn’t happened. The guy who pushed me in however sent me and Timmy a nice bottle of sparking wine with a very classy apology note attached over the holidays, so it’s all good.

It was actually all good the first time he apologized, but I guess Taamy and Dave really let him have it later.

Their wedding was drop-dead gorgeous, their house was UNREAL (I mean it. It was like 10 bedrooms, owned by the guy who started Billabong and who owns Au Bon Pain, 3 infinity pools, and a cliffside view of the Pacific), their wedding vows were real and deep, and we couldn’t be happier that the two of these crazy people found each other in this world. Any opportunity to hang out with my college peeps is the best time ever.

Timmy learned from his Panama mishaps and decided to pack every undershirt he owns and also brought sweat towels. He DID NOT stop getting compliments from everyone on his suit choices and his towel decisions. He was so proud of himself. 🙂

There was a crazy, “This world is so small” moment we had while getting breakfast at a small place across the street from our hotel. We sat down and Timmy saw that the people next to us had an Oakland hat on. Taamy and Dave currently live in Oakland so it wasn’t a complete jump to assume they were there for the wedding. When we asked, they said no, they were actually on their honeymoon. This was the conversation.

Timmy: “Are y’all here for the wedding?”

Guy: “No, actually we’re here on our honeymoon.”

Timmy: “Oh cool, I thought you were since the bride and groom live in Oakland.”

Guy: “Nope, we live in Florida. We just got married in Orlando.”

Me: “Really?! I live in St. Pete and he lives in Orlando.”

Guy and Girl: “Where?”

Timmy: “Lake Mary.”

Guy: “Dude, I live in Sanford.”

After discussing the streets, they realized that they live 1.2 miles away from each other. WTF.

Then the owner of the cafe came out and said he was from Marietta and went to college at Georgia Southern. I mean, really.

So I’ll leave you with pictures, even though they don’t do any justice to the beauty and fun we had there. These college peeps of mine, god, I love them so much my heart wants to burst. Taamy and Dave, we love the hell out of you.

♥,

VB

Labor Day NAHS Shenanigans

Oh man, this past Labor Day weekend was the freaking best. You know that feeling you get when you and some of your best friends are about to get the fun on? Not every friend or group, but a particular group of friends that you know are going to make you laugh so hard, you may pee a little. Just a little.

Don’t lie. This is exactly how you feel about having fun with a certain group of friends.

That was 100% Labor Day weekend 2014. Some of my girls from NAHS (or Nof Atanta, as we like to call it…the Atanta came about because our soccer sweats were all misspelled, I kid you not. The Nof is just cause we ghetto) came down for the holiday weekend and we really packed it in. I of course planned the itinerary because I’m a major control freak  I knew what they wanted to do, which was mainly to chill out.

Crazily enough, this is now the 3rd Labor Day weekend I’ve spent with NAHS ladies in a row. Lindsey’s bachelorette party in Folly Beach, then Jessica’s bachelorette party in Charleston, and now this one in St. Pete. We apparently like getting married and drinking on the beach. Shocking. Unfortunately, there were no hijinks with a certain lingerie gift shower that involved a full body fishnet stocking or blindfolded “kiss the stud” game like at a certain person’s bachelorette (and NO, those picture will NEVER see the light of day. EVER), or poop talk for an entire weekend at another certain person’s bachelorette.

God, I love these girls. I’ve known them since I was 15, and they seriously rock my world. After an extended absence in each others’ lives, we can always come back to each other without grudges, without envy, and support each other through the good times and bad. I’ve seen these ladies come into their own, and I’m so proud. Fighting for who they want to become, securing lives that make them happy, but continuing to want progress and improvement in themselves. So admirable.

And they are funny as all hell.

We used to spend evenings at Starbucks on West Paces people watching, and getting drunk together after “borrowing” mini bottles from the Buckhead Ritz Carlton (don’t ask). We danced on bars. We spent many an hour talking about partners, extremely bad life choices, and crying over all the things we did wrong after college. We also spent a lot of time supporting each other through bad relationships, career changes, getting married, and making babies.

These are my ride or die chicks.

This past weekend, we spent a lot of time in the sun, paddleboarding, drinking, and especially laughing. It was one of my most favorite weekends I’ve ever had. Saturday, we spent the day at Indian Rocks Beach, and loved how we had no men folk to entertain because they can’t sit still for more than 30 minutes at a time. That night, we hit up my favs, 400 Beach and The Canopy. We took a million pictures that came out looking like we were club kids again, mainly because I still don’t really know how to work my fancy camera.

Sunday, we paddleboarded for 2 hours in Ft. Desoto (which of course made my back hurt so bad I was practically in tears on the way back), and took tons of pictures. At some point, there is extremely shallow water, and it’s just a delightful spot to sit and relax. It was hot as hell that day, so we parked it for a few, and made fun of how white Jessica is compared to me. Being ethnic is fun. After that, we went to Madeira Beach for a hot second and ate snacks like we hadn’t eaten in DAYS. After 2 hours in the sun and working out, we stuffed our faces with homemade pimento cheese dip and chicken salad, courtesy of our resident chef, Lindsey. It was awesome.

Early evening, we met up with Jessica’s sister Nancy and her man Miguel at our favorite brewery, 3 Daughters. We sat out the rainstorm, and took a bunch of ridiculous pictures because we’re just like that.

That night, we had taco night at home and had the MOST FUN EVER playing Heads Up. It was also the MOST FRUSTRATING EVER because Jessica is the absolute worst. I’m dead serious. The Worst. Take for instance this exchange:

The card says “C3PO”. I have to make Jessica guess what I’m acting out, with words as long as they don’t rhyme. (Disclaimer: I did get confused and thought I was supposed to do R2D2, but it really didn’t matter because the response was so crazy ludicrous…sigh.) 

I start moving my robot arms and say, “BEEP BOOP BOOP BEEP.”

Jessica’s response: “POLISH!”

Her response was Polish. Fucking Polish. TO A ROBOT MAKING THE NOISE BEEP BOOP BOOP BEEP.

At this point, we all fall to the floor in hysterics. No joke, we literally all fell onto the floor, tears streaming down our faces, because of that response. We couldn’t even finish the round before the timer went off, we were laughing so hard.

She is the WORST at that game. Just an FYI. (love you girl)

After that, we played a little Michael Jackson Wii and Just Dance, and talked until 2 AM. Just like high school.

Monday, we fed our inner fat kids and went to Urban Brew and BBQ (which was DELISH), and justlikethat, the weekend was over. I can’t believe it went by so fast. It’s so unfair.

Ladies, I heart your asses. Don’t ever change.

♥, VB