Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Holiday Rewind Part 5: 28 in DC

It's the last day of January and I'm wrapping up the holiday rewind. Finally. 

About a week after my real birthday, I had my D.C. birthday. Other than going out for my 22nd birthday in college, I never celebrate with friends. I just think since I'm never there on the actual day -- since I prefer to spend it at home -- it shouldn't be celebrated. But my friend Shana basically told me this was crazy talk and that I should celebrate. After weeks of needling, she finally got it out of me that I'd really just like to wear a pretty dress and have champagne and cupcakes with my girlfriends. Done.

We spent a nice Saturday evening at Serendipity 3 in Georgetown. It was a combining of circles with my Carolina friends and my work friends that I think went well. (Unfortunately my other circle of book club friends couldn't make it.)

The five of us split three deserts: their infamous frozen hot chocolate, the most ridiculous chocolate cake ever, and a black and white sundae. The before:

The after. So. Much. Chocolate. So. Good. After all the sugar I had to eat tortilla chips as soon as arriving home. Needed. Salt. (I also had a major sugar crash the next day with a bad headache. But it was totally worth it.)

We all had drinks and fun conversations. And since it was an unseasonably warm day, we weren't all miserable being out. I'm thankful for such good friends who wanted to celebrate with me and plan on doing it again next year. 

And now for some vanity: My party dress. After trying on around 10 dresses the day of, I found this lovely dress on clearance at Zara for $39. It needs to be taken in on the sides to avoid being belted in the future, but other than that, it's just lovely. (If I'm going to keep posting pictures of my outfits I will need to get a better camera and location.)

Closeup of the fabric. It's more black than it looks here.

Closeup of my $3 Forever 21 earrings and my InStylered hair. (Thanks, Mom.)

And now I'm 28. Let's go.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Holiday Rewind Part 4: 28 in NC

Reasons I love my birthday and love that it's on January 1:
  • It's a holiday.
  • It's a holiday celebrated in practically every country in the world.
  • There's a countdown to it.
  • It's the first day of the year and it really is a fresh start.
  • In any given year I can only be one age.
  • When everyone else is freaking out about New Year's Eve plans, I just sit idly by knowing the real event is the next day.
  • I never have to work on it.
  • It's my favorite day of the year.
This year my favorite day started a bit earlier than I'd like, but was necessary. After opening a few presents we left to have brunch in Raleigh at the french restaurant, Coquette Brasserie.

The food -- and mimosas -- were excellent, as was the company.

After brunch we went to every newly 28 year old young woman's dream store: Harbor Freight, the hardware store. Ok, so it's not actually my dream store, but as my Dad holds the title of Handiest Man Alive, I've spent many an afternoon in one and genuinely like hardware stores. As does everyone in my family, actually. And I left with a leather punch, which given my slight addiction to belts, will serve me well instead of having to use a paper clip/scissors/exacto knife to add holes.

After shopping we went to my sister's for cake and presents.

I inadvertently matched the wrapping paper a bit.

Not quite 29 candles -- thank goodness -- but still far too many.

Mike thought so, too. Hilarious.

Opening presents. (Pictured: 50th anniversary "Breakfast at Tiffany's" book.)

After brunch we headed home, which was good since mimosas make me super tired. I chilled with the parents and dozed on the couch while a "Designing Women" marathon played. All in all it was a great birthday and a great start to the year.

Always a heel

My cobbler* thinks this is what my last name is. Why it's funny is probably obvious but because it's Monday I'll spell it out anyway. It's funny due to the fact that:
  • A person who deals in shoes thinks my last name includes the word "heel" 
  • I am a Tar Heel
(I've blogged about this particular name mutilation before. Four years ago. But this time I have a photo so it's new.)

*Yes, I have a cobbler. How grown up am I? (Or, how hard do I walk that I have a cobbler on call?)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Holiday Rewind Part 3: Christmas

This year's Christmas lasted several days, in several locations, with several combinations of family members. But in the end all that mattered was we were together, at some point, in some form. I think we each got stuff we wanted, stuff we needed, and stuff we didn't know we wanted and needed. As I was too busy opening gifts, giving gifts, eating soup, and staying in my PJs most days, the only pictures I have are from Christmas Eve at my sister's. But don't let the lack of photos or commentary fool you: It was Christmas at home with my family, which is all I ever really need.

Daddy and Mom

Mike and Melissa

Joey and Michelle

McKinley and Jordan


Some of my (most easily able to grab five minutes ago to take this picture) spoils. The Eastern Airlines bag pictured is one of my favorite gifts. My grandfather worked for the airline for many years and we have tons of paraphernalia, but nothing like this. I'd had my eye on a vintage PanAm bag for years, but they are so outrageously expensive. Mom knew this and found this Eastern one on eBay, which is far, far superior and more valuable than a silly PanAm one ever would be.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday Words

"As a quick aside, let me observe that in moments of high emotion--whether they're triggered by anger or envy, humiliation or resentment--if the next thing you're going to say makes you feel better, then it's probably the wrong thing to say."
-Amor Towles, Rules of Civility

Red Shoes on Blue Floor
My View After Moments of High Emotion and Ensuing Wrong Thing

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Holiday Rewind Part 2c: Carolina Girls at the Carolina Inn

Yes, yes, another Chapel Hill post. But seeing as how I had not been there in nearly a year, did you expect any less? This is just to highlight our hotel, The Carolina Inn.

From their website:
"University Alumnus and former trustee, John Sprunt Hill, built The Carolina Inn in 1924 and was gifted to the University in 1935 to be ' … A Cheerful Inn for Visitors, A Town Hall for the State, and a Home for Returning Sons and Daughters of Alma Mater…'"

As four "Returning Daughters of Alma Mater," we'd each always wanted to stay here. And as we've done practically everything else you're supposed to do in CH, we're glad to have now crossed this off our list. It's the only hotel on campus and if you know anything about Chapel Hill you know its reputation. You never know if something is going to live up to your expectations, but I should have known that when it comes to Chapel Hill, they're usually exceeded. It just felt like an extension of our beloved University, and like we belonged there. A few tidbits:
  • Our room door was Carolina blue.
  • University and town history pervaded everything from the photos on the wall to the suite names.
  • Due to the combination of booking early, my alumni association discount, and splitting one room four ways, we each paid less than $40 for the night.
  • We got fresh cookies when we checked in and were (accidentally?) not charged for parking. (And if you know Chapel Hill, you know what a big deal this is.)
  • They replaced our broken coffee pot, brought us (many) extra fresh towels, and found us a DVD player when we wanted to watch a movie.
  • No one bothered us when we model walked in one of their hallways.
All in all it was a great experience and I hope to repeat it many times in the future.

Sign out front

Our room

Gingerbread Old Well

Each year they illustrate the 12 days of Christmas throughout the lobby.
These are 12 lords-a-leaping in basektball player form.

Holiday Rewind Part 2b: Carolina Girls By Night

In many ways, our friendship as a foursome was solidified during Chapel Hill nights. Around a table in Top of the Hill. At a booth in Carolina Coffee Shop. In the line at Qdoba at 2 a.m. On the living room floor in the house Brandie and I lived in our senior year. 

As the years have gone by, the scene has shifted to nights in Durham, Ocean Isle, and Washington, D.C., but the sharing has never stopped. We can talk about anything at anytime, from movies and tv to clothes and hair, but when we're together, our most serious discussions tend to happen at night, gathered around, drinks in hands. Broken hearts, fights with family, disagreements, health concerns, career decisions, life worries--they all come out. As a result, there are probably a good number of people in any place we've all been together that can tell you entirely too much about the four ladies at the table beside them. But that's ok, because it's about our friendship. 

It's about laughing until our faces go numb. It's about leaping topics, jumping sentences, forgetting words, and still understanding. It's about having our own language.  It's about our roots. It's about our shared passion and drive. It's about unwavering compassion and unvarnished truth. It's about feeling like nothing is right and then feeling like everything will be alright.

Posing in the Carolina Inn lobby before heading out


Dinner at Bandido's

Our favorite/the old standby: Top of the Hill

Three days before Christmas in Chapel Hill=deserted. 
So we took silly pictures in the street.

And then we took our patented "one person hold camera and all gather 'round" shot.

Empty hallway+4 tipsy ladies in heels=model walking

Yes, another group shot. But it never gets old. At least not for us.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Holiday Rewind Part 2a: Carolina Girls By Day

Three days before Christmas, four ladies, coming from four cities, gathered in the town where it all started, at a place where they'd always wanted to stay, for 24 hours of talking, laughing, eating, walking, drinking, and gifting. And this is what they did on a dreary, but unseasonably warm, December day.

After Jan and I checked into the hotel, we waited for B and K to arrive. Once they did, and after a little catching up, we set out for Franklin Street, a mere 3 blocks away, and had Sakura for lunch.

After lunch it was a walk through campus, stopping to make sure Davie Poplar was still standing, take a group photo with the Old Well, make note of all the still-loose bricks, and pretend, just a little, that we were students again.

A stop at Student Stores was in order, of course, in case there was any Carolina paraphernalia we didn't already own. For instance, this amazingly chic ram's head toboggan. (I didn't buy it though. Have to draw the line somewhere.)

After debating waiting for a bus or risking the likelihood of a downpour if we walked, we started hoofing it to South Campus to visit the basketball museum. First we had to walk by the recently remodeled/rebuilt football stadium. It's big. Really big. Especially for a never-going-to-be-a-football-it's-always-going-to-be-a-basketball school.

We got to the museum shortly after the skies opened up, and only 15 minutes before it was to close. (A fact NOT advertised on the website, by the way.) This was extremely disappointing as Brandie had never been, the four of us had never been all together, and we couldn't watch the awesome video introduction. However, we made the most of our 15 minutes and sped through.

There was even some time for some fun photos. We each posed "hugging" some of our favorite players. (Karey and Hansbrough, Brandie and Felton, Jan and Jamison, and me and Montross.)

When we finished the museum we headed out in the pouring rain and caught the RU back to our hotel to rest and then ready for the night's activities.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Holiday Rewind Part 1: Decorations

February is right around the corner which means it's probably time for me to post my recap of the holidays. First on the docket is the subject of decorations, starting with my apartment Christmas tree. (Confession: I took this photo about five minutes ago because yes, my decorations are still up. It's my birthday month and I'll do what I want.)

Next, the National Christmas Tree. Every year I like to swing by the Tree and the Willard Hotel to see their decorations. Unfortunately, the National Tree was uprooted last year during a windstorm and replaced with this sad little thing.

I'm sure it will be taller and grander and Nationaler next year. I hope.

This year my work had an office decorating contest. I had no desire to participate and thought we'd just throw a bow on the door and call it a day. But then one officemate had some great ideas, the other officemate got supplies, and before I knew it I was wrapping everything on our walls, cleaning spray snow off a window with a q tip, and folding paper stars. One or more of us may have even uttered the phrase "we're decorating the shit out of Christmas." As a result, may I present the third place winners.

We've taken down everything but the hanging paper bits from the ceiling. Partly because we're all too lazy to take them down. But mainly because they just make us smile.


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