Big life changes – its about time


Ohhhhhh 2014…

(Hey there, btw. I realize I have been slacking on this whole writing in this blog that I love and miss and think about all the time but have been a little busy for. Never fear. I’m back, bitchezzz..)

OK so in 2014, a few major things happened.

Numero uno: I turned 30

Dos: I bought a friggin’ condo.

Three: I got myself a puppy.

WHAT???!?!?!

Yeah it was a bit of a busy year. So busy, in fact, that I still haven’t gotten curtains for my living room. But, the blog’s higher on the priority list right now. I can live without curtains a little longer. I’m almost never naked in my living room.

ANYWAY. Focus.

Today we’re gonna talk about home ownership. Because I know about it now. (No worries, the next entry will have the puppy pics…I know my audience).

So about this time last year I started making serious efforts to get out of the parents’ basement. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to live with them or because they did anything to make me want to go. It wasn’t because I didn’t want roommates or free Showtime… 

A personal goal I set was to not be 30 and living in the basement of my parents’ house. If my birthday came and went and I was still there, it better only be because I was waiting on closing on my new place.

And wouldn’t ya know it, third time is the charm. The third time looking for a place to live, I mean.

A family friend from church was my realtor and had been looking off and on for places for me the year I lived with my parents. My ignorant-of-real-estate self only wanted a townhouse for a long time. And I came awfully close to getting one. But then the owner wouldn’t come down on the price and then wanted me to decide on it within like two days or else he’d rent it to someone and I can’t make decisions that fast that involve that much money.

The house-hunting process itself wasn’t too eventful, really, just nothing that I really liked for a while and one townhouse that had concrete floors on the main floor and I’m pretty sure there was a seance room upstairs.

A few years ago I looked at places and fell in love with one. And then I couldn’t afford it and figured I’d never find a place I liked that much again because I am a fatalist.

But then I saw the place I’m in now. Out the window went all my thoughts about only wanting a townhouse. My condo looks and feels like a house, and did from the first second I walked into it.

I was sold pretty close to immediately and made an offer, and wouldn’t ya know it, I could afford it. I could afford one I liked, a lot. Take that, pessimism.

I’ll not bore you with the rest of the process but I will say my hand felt broken from signing my name so many times and it’s really annoying to deal with mortgage companies because they want copies of every time you’ve ever used money, basically.

It’s still a work in progress to some extent to make it completely mine, but since I moved in May 10, it’s felt like home. We’ve already repainted two rooms and I’m planning on some flooring changes and more painting in the next couple of months. But for now, check out my crib (imagine the pictures with awesome zooming effects and maybe listen to your favorite rap song while you look at them so it’s just like MTV).

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Celebration Summer

As of right now, I think the parties are over for a little while. At least the major ones. I think… This is why I have a planner. Helps. Well, whenever I remember to write things in it.

But they have been pretty much nonstop since early May.

I’m not complaining – at all. I loved every single one of them. But WOW I’m worn out… So worn out, in fact, that I’m giving you the short version now. Longer versions of some of them will come later. You can see some of the photo booth-ness from them in my last post.

It started with some graduations: Baby Einstein and my cousin, Caitlin, graduated from the University of Kentucky. My cousin/little brother, Cool Ethan, graduated from University of Louisville.

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Then we had a party. Where basically every one of our family and friends did a keg stand.

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No seriously.. they did.

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We celebrated my other cousin/little brother’s beautiful wedding to the sweetest girl ever and that ceremony was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.

We celebrated Liz’s upcoming (at the time) wedding with a 2-in-1 day…wedding shower in the morning, bachelorette party at night.

Then we went to Boston – for the last time for a while – so Charles could graduate from MIT! On account of he’s a boss. And a mega-smartie.

We moved them home to Louisville (yay!!!!!!!) a couple days later and then went right into wedding week for Liz.

After that it was one more grad party and just last weekend, the last in the string of weddings for the summer – one in Minnesota for our very good friend, Lauren, who we’ve known since she was five, when she and Rachel met in kindergarten and became BFF.

It may have been the happiest summer ever! So much to celebrate, and something going on literally every single weekend.

And now, we sleep.

‘Tis the season…for photo booths

There are few things more fun than a photo booth. It’s pretty much par for the course for a wedding reception to have one anymore… so being that I am trying to become more of a professional photographer that does weddings and such, I thought I should try to start getting in on it.

Plus, I just love photo booths. That’s all that is on my refrigerator right now – photo booth strips. It’s a sickness.

Earlier this spring, I was looking for things to add to my Amazon wish list (because addicted. Also poor.) and happened upon a really great deal on photography stuff. So I ordered a backpack (that was then stolen in Boston, but more on that later) and some filters and other cool stuff. The most important part of that purchase? A remote.

The first time we tried a photo booth with my camera it was at the Murder Mystery Party for New Years. It worked pretty well, but to take the picture you had to keep going over and pushing the timer on it and running back into place. No bueno. Remote solved all that.

So you better believe, that starting with the first of the several parties we were attending, I was going to test it out.

Well, correction, we tested out the props first.

And then, the day we had both Liz’s wedding shower and bachelorette party – the photo booth became very important because we used it at both.

I’m thinking it was a hit..

And some self-promotion real quick… hosting an event and looking for a photo booth? I’m your girl!

Better the second time around

Want to know what I remember most about the first time I went to New York? The fact that the boys in my class kept chasing pigeons and my dad was getting pissed because he was having to keep after them about it all day every day.

So naturally, when we went back a couple weeks ago, we re-enacted, kind of.

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Oh I also remember being scared to death at the top of the Empire State Building (because heights) and buying Oakleys (sunglasses) from these pretty sketch vendors in the park who we later watched run from the cops and then get arrested.

Yay for tourism!

So yeah.. we went to New York a couple weekends ago because once upon a time we promised Sami we’d take her this year.

What?!? Yeah. Back in the day, when we realized this momentous birthday would need a big celebration since we’d all finally be of legal drinking age (not to mention the fact that I had an allegedly momentous birthday the same year as this would happen) we told Sam we’d go all out for her 21st birthday.

Mind you, this was before we had full-time jobs and had no idea how much money we’d make/have to make this trip happen. And late last year, we were reminded of our promise.

Lucky for us, Santa (and our parents) are pretty awesome and our combined Christmas/birthday presents were plane tickets up to Boston and a hotel room in NYC for a night. Who knew, back when we planned this, that Rachel and Chuckie would live in a reasonable driving distance from the city and make it so we could get the experience but not have to worry about paying for a place to stay for four days.

Besides chasing pigeons, we actually fit a lot into those two days in NYC.

First up, a stop at the Freedom Tower/World Trade Center/9-11 Memorial.

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That memorial is beautiful. It’s a testament to the beautiful lives of those people who were lost that day. I couldn’t take enough pictures of the waterfalls and names of the fallen cut into the stone around it.

We learned that when it’s one of the victims’ birthdays, a white rose is placed with their name along the memorial.

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We paid our respects and took in the sights and feelings and reverence of that place and I’m so glad we got to include a visit there on our trip.

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Later in the afternoon we made our way to The High Line, a very cool park in Manhattan’s West Side that was built on an old railroad line above the street.

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The weather was pretty great that day – considering it’s been cold for just about as long as I can remember at this point – so it was nice to slowly make our way through the park seeing some of the sights. We saw several cool buildings…

…busy(ish) streets….

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…amazing street art…

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..and just a little tiny bit of the Hudson River.

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There were tons of places along the park’s “trail” to sit and relax and I bet it is beautiful in the spring and it’s somewhere I’d be hanging out all the time if I lived anywhere near it.

The High Line is where my cousin Megan, and her boyfriend, G, met up with us. They’d come in from Jersey to go out with us that afternoon and night and spend the night.

So, once they got there, we headed back to the hotel to pregame, watch the UofL game and get ready for a night on the town in which we may or may not have tried to get Bryan Cranston and Neil Patrick Harris to come hang out with us..

But that’s a story for another day..

#TBT Fun with wild animals

In “Did I really not write about this already?” news – one time I went to this place in Indiana and hung out with baby tigers.

WHAT?! I know, right?

It was quite random, but one of my bestest friends, Liz, loves cats of all kinds. And had heard about this place where you could pay $20 and play with baby tigers for half an hour.

Sounded shady, and trust me, when the drive up there took forever and there were like creepy roads and handmade signs, I thought I might be ending up in something out of Saw.

But lo and behold, I got there. And this happened.

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Holy hell it was awesome. So in honor of #tbt this week, rather than the tunes, we’ll do something a little different. Here’s some pics of the time I went and made friends with three baby tigers and almost switched careers to zookeeper/tiger babysitter.

Photo(s) of the Week, special edition

You guys – I got some new photography toys.

tripods

Thanks to the magic of Amazon and it’s amazing deals, I got all of these goodies for an awesome price. Why, you ask? To do more of this kind of thing:

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The goal is to eventually have enough to buy another camera so besides my regular photo shoot stuff, I can now add photo booth to my resume. Kinda.

We tested it out on New Year’s Eve – well, Jenn and Matt’s tripod, which inspired this purchase.

But yeah, the ability to take beauties like these had me convinced.

Money well spent

Best Week Ever. Greatest Hits.

I’m just about done telling/showing you about the Jamaica trip. Except for one more thing to tell you about later that’s such a big deal it gets its own post. And here’s a hint: It involves crossing something off my List.

But that’s for another time.

I took almost 1000 pictures that week. Well personally I probably took about 600. I gave my camera to kids/Jordon a whole lot.

I’ve shown you several, and none really do the week or the relationships we have with our friends there any justice.

But these are my absolute favorites from the trip. Please enjoy.
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My girls

I’m the oldest of three girls. I without a doubt have Oldest Child Syndrome. I’m bossy, protective and afraid to be a rule-breaker, most of the time.

My sisters and I are three and nine years apart, and these past few years we’ve reached ages where it doesn’t feel so far away. Our friends are just that – “OUR” friends, because we all hang out with most of the same people most of the time.

I’m currently the only one full-time in Louisville and the others have left, but they’ll be back. Sami’s in Lexington, being all smart and whatnot at school, and Rachel’s in Boston, with her HUSBAND (AHHH!!) who is studying for two years at MIT. Because he’s a genius. No seriously. Frigging MIT.

The three of us stay in touch in as many ways as we possibly can – texting, calling, Facebook, Skype, FaceTime, Twitter, Instagram. It’s safe for me to say these two know me better than just about anyone else and I’m pretty sure I know them just as well. And we all three know that if given choices somewhere on something, we will all pick completely different things.

We have songs. The High School Musical 3 Soundtrack is one that never gets old, and with both of them I have a special song just for car dancing. And both, strangely, are by Enrique Iglesias.

When Sami gave her MOH speech at Rachel’s wedding, she talked a little about our bond. She talked about how we’re kind of weird in that we are sisters who enjoy spending time together, want to hang out with each other and aren’t just sisters, but best friends as well. That doesn’t always happen. I know siblings that don’t even speak to each other and haven’t for years.

I’ve thought about that a lot since the wedding, since both of them went to their respective second (temporary) homes, away from the town we grew up in. Because I miss them.

Growing up comes with its perks – like driving and being able to go to bars and weddings and babies – but it happens too fast. Wasn’t it just the other day we were all under the same roof, fighting over whose turn it was on the computer and what to watch on TV?

I take comfort in the fact that my relationship with my sisters will only continue to grow as we do, as we get older, get married, have babies, find jobs doing what we love.

One of my jobs at the pre-wedding festivities (in addition to keeping the bride calm, keeping the drama out, making sure Liz was on time, putting together a playlist and various other things) was to take some pictures during the time the professional photographer wasn’t there.

Oddly enough, probably my two favorites from the weekend taken on my camera, weren’t taken by me.

But they were taken of me, surprisingly, with my two girls, when we looked all pretty and when we did that thing where we have a group hug and sing that song from The Hangover.

I love these two more than anything in the world, and I’m damn lucky to have ’em.

Even more smiley things

This next week and a half or so I’m gonna be a little bit distracted. On account of my sister’s getting married!!

But that doesn’t mean y’all will be neglected. Look at all the fun stuff I found for you…

Jimmy Kimmel Live is great. Since I stay up so late most of the time, you’d think I’d watch his show more often. But I don’t. I usually just catch the best clips later. And this is a prime example.

I think my favorite is Zooey Deschanel. Also, he’s done this before.

Put this on your feed. This guy does drawings for the New York Times every Sunday and did a whole series of interactive ones for the Olympics. And y’all know how I love the Olympics..

This picture:

If you don’t have Buzzfeed on your reader/bookmarked, do it now. I’ll wait…. Seriously you won’t regret it because they do lists all the time. And not just any lists. Adorable and awesome ones like this: Dogs Wearing Sunglasses.

This: Moon over London

This picture:

New Ragu commercials. Hilarious.

The next T-shirt I’m buying.

So true.

Also, this picture: