3.5 Weeks, So Many Stories

So yes, that was a long blogging break. Although, I can’t say that it was a break from anything because since summer kicked into swing here at school, life has progressively gotten busier and crazier. And these are the months that are supposed to be slow, so that’s not saying good things for fall semester.

Life has been pretty freaking fantastic though, so don’t take me staying busy as a complaint. It’s been wonderful. I think of all those years I spent languishing at the CDC, sitting in front of a computer, hour after hour, with little face time with people I liked, and how every second I spent there, I wished for the life I have now. I appreciate everything I have here because I worked hard for it: my job, my friends, my relationships, and my partner. It has been 100% worth it to be able to say my life is busy all the time and I’m hardly ever bored anymore.

That last paragraph felt like the biggest victory ever.

I didn’t quite mean to stop blogging the last few weeks because things have been happening (I say that in the 70s, groovy, kind of way) but honestly, I just put this on the backburner to share. But now I’m back and I’ll fill you in on my life lately, because damn, it’s been good.

I’ve now had my new Mini for over 1 month and I’m totally in love. It’s fantastically fun to drive (like my last one) and I didn’t know this at the time, but it’s the perfect beach vehicle. We have packing for the beach down to an art. And since we know I love beautifully organized things, staring at my trunk filled with beach goodies is just such a joy. (I’m a dork.)

I’ve met a new friend, Jackie, and we’ve hung out a few times here and there, so that’s been refreshing. It’s so hard to meet new people, but if you don’t work with them, how on earth do you ever establish a relationship? She’s a super cool, chill woman, and her boyfriend and Timmy get along super well (like it’s hard to get along with Timmy), so hopefully we’ll be doing more things together this summer. Memorial Day weekend, we hit the Movies in the Park to see “The Jerk”, we took a dolphin sail tour and had a drinking day at the beach, and just in general had a great time! Yay to new friends!

Timmy and I finished the weekend in St. Pete with a fun date night and a stop at The Canopy, a beautiful downtown rooftop bar with amazing views of the waterfront. Since it was a holiday weekend, it was pretty empty, so we ordered some amazing drinks (my new favorite: Winter Sunset with a splash of agave), and loved on each other some more.

The following weekend, my favorite NYU ladies came down to visit. This is the first time they’ve all been down to visit me since I moved away after college, and we could not have had a better weekend if we tried. The weather was amazing, we laughed, shelled, relaxed, and I made them all jealous of the beautiful town I live in.

Saturday, I took them stand up paddleboarding with a few friends from work, and we accidentally on purpose ended up paddling for two hours. If any of us had known ahead of time how long we’d be out there, I don’t think they would’ve signed up. But before we knew it, we were too far out to go back and too nice to complain, so ahead we forged. It ended up being one of my favorite days in St. Pete yet. 🙂

I also took them to the Canopy, and promptly forgot that the weekend before had been a holiday weekend, so therefore not representative of the normal crowd that goes there on Saturday nights. It was kind of gross. Like the tunnel crowd in Manhattan. It was very club-ratty, and my precious Winter Sunset didn’t have any agave at all. Whatever, we still had a blast because what else can you do?

The next weekend (June has been and will continue to be PACKED on the weekends) we traveled over to Palm Coast to visit with Jake’s parents and his son. We previously had planned on the entire weekend, but due to a mistake in the planning, we only got one night with them. We wanted more, but hey, at least we got to visit at all! It was totally worth it too.

Jake’s son Aiden has such an immense love for his uncle Timmy, and I’m sad that I couldn’t get the one picture I wanted from that weekend. Those two together are like little devils, so I had to act fast to get candid shots like the one I wanted but ultimately got a blurred version. At dinner that night, Timmy was telling stories, and Aiden was staring at him with such a look of admiration, I got a little choked up watching it. It’s such an honor to be a part of that little guy’s life, and we definitely shared some age-appropriate stories about his father with him as promised.

Of course it was so difficult to leave them the next day as they packed up to head back to Atlanta. Cheryl cried, and it took everything I had in me to be strong and smile and wave. Love that family so much.

The rest of the weekend we spent napping and loving on Floyd. Because he’s a rescue, we only know the history that was told to the organization that rescued him, and who knows if that was the truth. We don’t have an actual birth date for him and I so desperately wanted to celebrate one, so we made it up! We’re assuming he’s around 5 years old, so that’s what we celebrated on June 8.

As you can tell from the photos, Floyd has some warming up to do with his birthday hat, and Timmy thought I was a complete moron, but you know what. I. don’t. care. That little dog has lit up our lives, and he deserves to know that we love every year he’s with us!

The past weekend, my entire family came down to visit and oh what fun we had. My sister, Jared, and Charlotte came last year to stay with us in Lakeland while they visited Disneyworld, but this is the first time all the adults have been down, sans children. I didn’t particularly sell Lakeland well, so once I moved to St. Pete, I sold the hell out of it. I secretly wanted to talk my parents into buying a condo downtown near the waterfront and I could potentially move into a bedroom, pay part of the mortgage and serve as property manager at the same time, and hey, everyone wins! I may have gotten closer to that goal, I’ll let you know how it goes. 🙂

Friday night, we had dinner at 400 Beach Seafood & Tap House, right next to the historic Vinoy Hotel where they stayed. Holy cow, that’s beautiful place. I absolutely recommend it. As for food, I have now been to 400 Beach three times and I highly recommend it. The oysters are to die for, and the food is generally delicious and well priced. You can’t lose.

I then took them back to the Canopy and we had the greatest time. A few of us were a little happy, happy, but who cares when all you have to do is walk one block back to the hotel!? Also, after we returned to the hotel, we made a bathroom trip before driving back to my apartment, and when I exited the restroom, there’s Timmy, playing the name game with four people at the hotel for a wedding (we seriously can’t get away from them), one of whom was originally from McDonough, GA. Shocked I tell you. I was shocked.

Their last night, I made us a reservation at the Maritana Grille in the historic Loews Don Cesar Hotel on St. Pete Beach, mainly because I’ve been wanting to check out the hotel every time I drive past it to get to the beach. It’s GORGEOUS. And the restaurant knocked it out of the park. I didn’t have one thing I didn’t like, and my family for the most part agreed. All of the fish was cooked perfectly and the desserts, holy crap. We also celebrated Father’s Day, and because my dad is a dork, his favorite gift was the book of Godfather quotes my sister and I got him because he desperately needs a new line other than, “Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”

That’s it for now. I think I’ve caught you all up. Do you feel caught up? Please tell me you do. I don’t have time to take that nap that I desperately want after writing this post.

♥, VB

Life Lately, According to my iPhone

Life has been pretty great lately. After all the traveling, things slowed down a bit, and I’m able to think clearly again. It’s so very nice.

We had a wedding last weekend in Atlanta which was a blast, and we have another wedding this weekend, which should be so so so fun. I have come down with a cold (thanks to the lady who was coughing up her lungs without covering her mouth on the plane last weekend…you suck), but I don’t care, I’m having fun this weekend no matter what.

Last weekend, we got a chance to visit with Matt after his first week of chemo, and I was so glad to be able to see him. After hearing about his stage 1 diagnosis, my mind was telling me “Yay! That’s good news as far as cancer is concerned.” But my heart was broken. Hearing this news so soon after Jake’s passing, I just don’t know how to describe the sadness I feel. And knowing about his chemo treatments, 5 days a week, 6 hours each day, one week on, two weeks off, 4 rounds…god, that’s going to be so rough on him and his family. I’ve been thinking about them nonstop, crying most mornings and fighting complete mental breakdown some days.

We also got to visit with Jake’s parents last weekend, and man, that was fun. Timmy had them dying laughing at some amazing Barbara stories. If only for 30 minutes, I’m glad we got them to laugh.

A few weekends ago, Timmy planned the best weekend in Lake Mary. We drove super fast cars at the Orlando Grand Prix where I was the only chick on the course and everyone was driving poorly (as in running into me and others. It’s not bumper cars…no wonder, since they were all dudes). We went to the Central Florida Zoo and were surprised at how sad zoos are once you’re an adult. The animals trapped in cages, unable to move very far…you don’t see that at all when you’re a child. And the weekend before that, we enjoyed a lovely day at Pass-A-Grille beach in St. Pete. God I love living here.

Here’s what life has been like the last month or so. Enjoy.

♥, VB

Life Lately, According to My iPhone

Ok, so some of the pix are from October, but it’s been a slow few weeks of picture taking. I can’t lie, it’s been nice to have some down time. But now that I’m moving to St. Pete in two short weeks (O.M.F.G.), and Christmas and NYE are right around the corner, shit’s about to get real, real fast, again. This is what life was like the last month or so. Enjoy!

On our 2nd to last wedding weekend of 2013, we traveled to Atlanta for an old friend of Timmy’s wedding in Greensboro, GA. Not only did I not know where that was, but it was in the middle of nowhere on this gorgeous farm that was just breathtaking. Yes, our shuttle arrived late to the venue and we were the last ones to arrive to the wedding and had to walk IN FRONT OF THE ENTIRE GUEST LIST, including the WEDDING PARTY, in order to get to our seats, but hey, embarrassment is my middle name. Drama ensued later on the dance floor, but I chose to focus on the heat lamps because it was 32 degrees outside and the beautiful sunset instead.

Our last wedding of 2013, we traveled to Key Largo, FL for one of my oldest friend’s wedding, Bailey and Nick. I’ve known Bailey since Sunday School at Christ the King in Atlanta, where we met as 5 year olds. Later, when I was kicked out of school, I saw her in the cafeteria of Sutton, and we relaunched a friendship that created so many memories that I hold dear to this day. We also ended up at NYU together for college. Craziness. Nick and Bailey really know how to throw a party, let me tell you, because their wedding band was the most fun I’ve had in a long long time. They were so L.A., it was ridiculous. Plus, Bailey was the HOTTEST bride I’ve ever seen. Rock it girl.

Timmy was in Atlanta for a week, so I took pictures of Floyd doing cute things.

Thanksgiving weekend was a complete blast. We spent time with my family, including my nieces, at my sister and bro-in-law’s new house in Athens. It’s holy shit incredible. Like those were the exact words Timmy and I used when we saw the house. We celebrated the twins’ 3rd birthday a few days early (it’s actually on Dec 2), ate some delicious food, and loved on each other 🙂 We also spent a lot of time with Timmy’s family, which was so nice, since we hadn’t seen his nieces and nephew in MONTHS. We celebrated one of my best friend’s birthday (Alia’s) a little late at their lovely new home in Sandy Springs. We heart Raymond and Alia, they are the greatest. It was beautiful fall weather, and exactly what the holiday of Thanksgiving is all about.

♥, VB

Life Lately (According to my iPhone)

What have we been doing lately? Do you really even need to ask anymore? I’ll give you one guess.

Here’s what my iPhone says we’ve been doing the last month or so. Enjoy!

Austin and Reina’s wedding. You can see a few pictures from the “60 Minutes” video the groomsmen created for Austin, a.k.a. Mr. Monogamy. It was hysterical. And take note of the paper cranes. Reina did them ALL BY HAND. Giiiirrrrrrrllll, that’s patience. Notice that we also take many dumb photos together while at weddings.

Trips back home to Atlanta always include a visit to one of our many favorite restaurants. While in town for Austin and Reina’s wedding, we stuffed our faces at Flip Burger Boutique. Go there. Just do it. Just don’t add the donut vodka to the Krispy Kreme Milkshake. Blech. (And yes, that does say Krispy Kreme milkshake. I told you to go there.) I also wore really cute shoes, introduced Austin to obesity in Orlando, saw some weird sky things happening, and saw what nice businesses do for people who can’t work.

Another wedding two weekends ago, this time Gino and Jessica, two of our closest friends. Jessica and I are life twins, which means that everything that has ever happened to one of us has absolutely happened to the other. It’s hysterical and creepy all at the same time. You’ll remember that this is also the amazing lady whose bachelorette party pictures I can never share with the outside world. Naughty. It was such a freaking fun night, and it’s always a blessing to see people who love each other make it official in front of people who love them. Congrats you guys, we love you.

This past week I burned my forehead and my nose (AGAIN) because it was Fall Wellness Week at USFSP. Everyday we held events outside to encourage students to seek out health and wellness resources, make healthy decisions, and raise awareness for Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Thursday’s Clothesline Project was an extremely powerful and emotional event where we displayed shirts created by survivors and families of victims of abuse, sexual assault, rape, and incest. Each shirt had a personal message to display on a large scale a very silent epidemic.

Oh yeah, and I also cut the shit out of my hair. Time to welcome back the old Victoria, short hair and all. I made it to my goal of growing my hair out until it longer did anything except lie on my head like soggy paper towels. 8.5 inches later, I’m a new/return-to-the-old woman!

Thanks for stopping by. As you’ve probably guessed, we have another wedding this upcoming weekend, followed by another wedding next weekend. Lord be with me and my credit cards.

♥, VB

Life Lately (according to my iPhone)

This is what my iPhone says we’ve been doing lately. Look at the pretty pictures and try to follow along!

♥, VB