Georgia on my mind…

When it snows in North Carolina, the best thing to do is head South. That’s exactly what I did this past weekend. With predictions of “ice pellets” and high temps in the 20s, I packed my things and headed to Athens to see my dear friend Gwendolyn. She recently moved to the home of UGA this past summer for a job opportunity, and I love to  take advantage of any opportunity to get away. It was the perfect weekend.

South

Friday night, Gwen and I headed to a sushi restaurant and ordered wonderful food. I even tried a tempura banana roll. Honestly, it felt like the banana was trying to have a party in my mouth but the sushi rice was making it sit back down and behave. It was interesting, but good nonetheless. After heading back to her apartment, I proceeded to put on sweatpants in record time. The phrase “I feel like a sushi-filled blob.” was uttered more than once. Friday night was the perfect example of why Gwen and I are friends. We didn’t feel the need to go out or try too hard to have fun. We just put in Pitch Perfect (which is aca-awesome!) and laughed at each other.

sushis

Saturday, we met up with another wonderful friend from Virginia, Deborah. We ventured to this weird little zoo thing that was tucked away in the back of a community. We saw bears, beavers, some sort of Asian chicken thing, and bald eagles. We also came across to crocodiles but we weren’t quite sure if they were alive or not.

bears

After spending the morning with the critters, we headed to The Varsity for lunch (and milkshakes!). It was recommended to me by my boss’s boss. The flagship restaurant is in downtown Atlanta, but lucky for us there was one in downtown Athens, too! Now I’ve always heard things are slow in the South, but I didn’t quite believe it. Now I do. I think we waited 20 minutes to get to the counter to order and none of the attendants seemed to worried or rushed. It was an interesting experience, but the milkshake was well worth the wait!

shake

After wandering around downtown and browsing in some seriously cute stores, we walked through UGA’s campus. Tradition states that no undergrad student can pass under the famous arches until he/she receives a diploma — good thing we aren’t in school there because we blew that tradition out of the water. It was kind of cool though to see the steps beside the arches worn down by loyal undergrad students over the years.

Saturday night, we cracked open a bottle of wine and made mini pizzas (lunchable style) and laughed some more. It was a great way to relax and enjoy some down time during this crazy, hectic work and school season.

Now I’m off to take my first midterm of 2013. Happy Monday, friends!

Advertisements

Going, going, gone!

In the spirit of saying yes to new things and doing things that scare me, I made a spur of the moment decision to cut all of my hair off this weekend. I’ve been wanting to get a pixie cut since last summer, but I care too much about what people think about me. I didn’t want people to judge me. I didn’t want to look like a boy. I didn’t want boys to think I’m ugly because of my hair. (blah blah blah, whine a little bit more, right?) So Friday morning I walked into the salon and told my hairstylist that I wanted to chop it all off but I was scared. The reaction of the entire salon (it had been snowing and no other clients were there) was “Go for it! You’ll look great with short hair!” So out came the razor blade and off went the curls.

hair

Those pictures are all within the past 12 months. I get bored with my hair easily – it’s not a crime. Now I go through a slight “Oh my gosh, what did I do?!” moment every day, but my short hair is growing on me (ha! pun intended). It’s a little funky and fierce – but I don’t think it’s going to stay like this for long. (I should not have found that picture of my curly hair – I miss it!)

Here’s to doing new and daring things in 2013!

Twizzle On

It’s not uncommon for me to perform in the car on my commute to work; however for the past three weeks I’ve been nursing a sinus infection that decided to drain to my ear. Gross, I know. This drainage has prevented me from hearing out of my left ear — seriously, I have resorted to saying “Huh?” and making sure I walk with people on my right so I can hear what they’re saying. Without being able to hear, I don’t really enjoy singing (or talking for that matter). It feels like my voice is trapped in my head and I’m either screaming without realizing it or talking too softly.

Anyway, this morning I had about 20% hearing rather than the usual 5-10% I’ve been struggling with. Talk about a small victory! I got so excited that I decided to blare my music and sing for the first time in weeks. It was all well and good until I decided I wanted a Twizzler. I guess I have Aldi to thank for tempting me with the king-size package of Twizzlers that is currently hanging out in my work bag. Picture this: driving down the road, singing Turning Tables into my strawberry Twizzler mic when all of a sudden I have to sneeze (thanks drainage!). I tried and tried to fight it off, but I couldn’t — and that resulted in little chunks of Twizzler coming out of my nose.

This is how I know God has a sense of humor and how I’m not quite well enough for my commute concerts.

Folk Authentic Week 3

This is a continuation of a writing challenge from Folk Lifestyle. The second post can be found here.

At what point in your life have you experienced a successful failure? What are some things you have done but previously thought you could never do?

A successful failure – I love that description. My whole life I’ve constantly viewed failure as something to be ashamed of. I have considered so many things failures in my life; a poor quiz grade, a missed goal on the soccer field, forgetting my lines in my high school play. Now that I’m older, those failures have more meaning: a broken relationship, a missed job opportunity, even a bad haircut (those are the worst!). Somehow I’ve never managed to view those failures as being successful in any way, shape, or form. Now taking the time to think about it, every failure has made me who I am. Every shut door has made me think creatively about what I want and why I want it. Every disappointment in a relationship has taught me how to fight hard for the other person or fight even harder for myself. And I’m sure every bad haircut is slowly preparing me for the day I find the haircut for my face, shape, and body!

Some things I have done but previously thought I could never do:

  1. Live by myself
  2. Take (and pass) the GMAT with little preparation
  3. Make an A in graduate school
  4. Go through airport security by myself (it’s the small battles I’m most proud of!)
  5. Navigate one of the largest cities in the world by myself (did this twice! Bam!)

These are all relatively small accomplishments, but a girl’s gotta start somewhere.

New York City: Part 3….finally!

This is the third and final part of my trip to NYC at Christmas. You can find part one here and part two here. Thanks for hanging in there and waiting patiently.

Day 3 of our trip started with a short trip down 6th Avenue to the Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes’ Christmas show. Sarah and I both grew up in pink tights and leotards with the dream of one day being a Rockette. With the gorgeous costumes and their long legs, who wouldn’t want to be a New York City Christmas tradition for a living?! Plus our tap teacher, who struck fear in every dancer who came within ten feet of her, was a Rockette in her younger years. The show was phenomenal. It showcased the history of the show and ended with a living nativity scene complete with camels! Any show that puts not one, but two, camels on a stage is a show after my own heart. It was a magical hour and a half. If the traveling show comes anywhere close to you, you must go see it. You won’t regret it.

Sarah park

After the show, we meandered our way through Central Park. It was an overcast day, but it wasn’t too terribly cold and it wasn’t raining! We walked by Strawberry Fields, where two girls were laying in the middle of the Imagine mosiac for a photo op. Sarah and I might have judged them just a little bit…especially since one of the girls was wearing a white coat. Every Southern girl knows you don’t wear white after Labor Day, and you sure as heck don’t lay on the ground while wearing it!

From there we wandered up to a very popular spot for movies and tv shows to film. Sarah kept talking about Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Apparently this spot was where Kevin was trying to lose the bad guys. I think she seriously debated our friendship when I told her I had never seen it. Then we found the Boat House, or as we kept calling it “The Boat House! The one in 27 Dresses! That one!” I wish I was kidding about that, but I’m not. We decided to stop in for lunch and champagne. After all, the world hadn’t ended (it was December 21), we were both on break for the semester, and we had so much to celebrate!

After lunch, we walked to the Met to feed ourselves with some culture. I never quite know how to take art museums. I know I like them, but I’m not sure what to do with them. I visited one in London that I could spend days in, but I couldn’t pinpoint why I wanted to. I felt the same about the Met. It inspired me and overwhelmed all at the same time. There were pieces that didn’t phase me and there were some that shook me to the core.

met colors

Lucky for us, the Met was featuring an exhibit with Andy Warhol’s work. I love Warhol’s portrait of Jackie O. It’s my favorite, and I was so excited to see it in person. That exhibit also featured other artists’ work and it had some strange and unusual pieces. For instance, there was a mold of a male butt with human hair on it and a chainsaw covered in Chanel bags (Sarah’s favorite piece). Unfortunately (or fortunately), we couldn’t take pictures in that exhibit.

We ended our day back in Central Park where we found the Alice in Wonderland statue. There was an adorable family taking a picture of their baby girl on the mushroom, so we offered to take a picture of the whole family. This was another moment where I got to say “y’all” a lot. I’m sure they thought I was the nicest redneck they had ever met.

Alice

That night we made our way back to Macy’s and Bryant Park to purchase a few last minute Christmas gifts and stopped by a street vendor for a snack. The next morning, it was off to the train station to head back to Virginia (also known as the train ride from hell). I’ll spare you the gory details on that.  Our next trip is to Texas or Colorado — somewhere where a good “y’all” and cowboy boots are appreciated.

Folk Writing Challenge Week 2

This is a continuation of a writing challenge from Folk Lifestyle. The first post can be found here.

What short term and long term goals do you hope to achieve this year? How are your New Year’s Resolutions holding up?

This is a tough question for me. I’m very detailed oriented and I like to have things listed in steps. I like knowing where to go when I’m finished with a task. However, I’m very challenged in the goal setting category. I’m great at accomplishing things other people want me to do, but I can’t for the life of me make my own goals. With that being said, I’m actually glad this question popped up. It’s forcing me to do something I don’t like.

I’m going to define my short-term goals as things I can accomplish in six months or less. These would include: getting back into shape for the summer, making an A in the class I’m about to start, keeping my spending to a minimum, and doing things for myself.

My long-term goals would be things I can accomplish by December 31, 2013. These would include: reading 75 books (which is a resolution!), saving money for a big trip after I graduate with my MBA, moving out of my first “big-girl” apartment, and taking up a new hobby that I’ve always thought was cool (painting!).

As for my resolutions, I’m only a week in but I have been eating healthier. I’ve learned that I only eat junk food if I buy it, and it’s not hard to resist buying it. I have recognized that I was people-pleasing and put an end to it as hard as it was. I have met my Gympact pact for the week. And I am almost finished with one book and started another.

2013, I think you’re going to be alright.

Hydrangea Conundrum Part 2

Remember when I was nursing a stomach ulcer over the size of the hydrangea plant on my balcony? Well he’s continuing to give me grief. In November, I decided it would probably be a good idea to bring the stupid thing inside so it wouldn’t freeze. So since the first weekend of November, it’s been adjusting to it’s winter vacation spot, also known as a pink beach towel in my spare bedroom. I didn’t think anything else of him except to water him from time to time.

Then the weekend before Thanksgiving happened. I found a frog in my apartment! A FROG! Now, at first I really flipped out and then I took a closer look at it. Apparently the frog had been living in the hydrangea plant and was trying to escape. Therefore it hopped out of the plant and onto the carpet where it proceed to dry out and die. I wish I was joking. Thankfully, my sister’s now-fiance was on his way to my apartment to hang my Christmas lights. He got the fun task of disposing of Mr. Crunchy Frog.

I wish that was the end of this story. However…I forgot to water the plant for 3 weeks. Whoops. So this is what he looks like now:

Hydrangea

I thought at first he was a complete goner, but he just needed a good trim and some water — that’s what the wine bottle is for. He’s not an alcoholic. It’s just my makeshift AquaGlobe. You might want to say a little prayer for this guy. Hopefully he makes it to the Spring.

 

Folk: Live Authentic Writing Challenge

My dear friend, Christopher, sent me a link to a writing challenge on Folk Lifestyle and encouraged me to do it (you can read his first post here). The idea is that a year is basically a 365 page book, and that we are to write a good one. Each week they’ll post writing prompts for readers to tackle. So here goes nothing.

Week 1: Write a letter to the 2012 you. Reflect on lessons learned in 2012 and how you will apply your new knowledge to 2013.

 

Dear 2012 Leah,

I wish with all my might that I could send you the wisdom you gained in 2012 before you experienced the first day of the year, but unfortunately I wouldn’t be the person writing to you today if you hadn’t gone through it first.

First and foremost, 2012 is going to suck. It’s going to knock you down, challenge you, and piss you off, but worst of all…it’s going to break your heart. You’re going to be angry and upset for a good chunk of the year. I know it seems easier to run away from it all, but stick it out. It’ll get better. That heartache and pain will teach you things as only experience can.

It’s going to teach you to not trust everyone. You have a real problem with that, you know? You’re always believing the best of people, and sometimes people are just fooling you. Sometimes people know the right thing to say and the right time to say it. Those people will hurt you more than you can imagine because you want them to be better. You’re going to learn that you can’t change those people.  You can’t make them be who you think they are. Don’t waste your time on people like this.

It’s going to teach you to stand up for yourself because right now you think everyone has your back.

It’s going to teach you that being an adult is way harder than it looks. You’ll develop an appreciation for your parents that you can’t even comprehend right now.

It’s going to shake your world and take your Papa away from you. DO NOT complain about driving to Lynchburg – this will be the last time you see him alive. Savor every second.

I’m sure right now you’re thinking, “Don’t make me do this!” Don’t worry. You’ll get through it. You’ll experience far more joy in your life and appreciate so much more after going through these tough times. You’re going to start grad school and make your first A in your MBA program. You’re going to get a promotion. You’re going to have the best pizza you’ve ever had in your life. You’re going to celebrate your golden birthday. You’re going to learn how to dance the Charleston. You’re going to visit Las Vegas and New York City. You’re going to decide what that tattoo you’ve always wanted is going to be. You’re going to spend the Fourth of July on the beach. You’re going to laugh until you cry with friends you didn’t know you had. You’re going to meet a cute boy while bowling. You’re going to have a lot of sushi with your sister.

So chin up, little one. You’re going to make it through 2012 and we’re going to be a better Leah because of it. Thanks for enduring it.

Love always,

Leah

 

New York City Part 2

On day 2 of our fabulous trip, Sarah and I hit the streets! We made our way to Macy’s to admire the world’s largest store. This store always blows me away. The first time I saw it was during the annual flower show, and it is amazing what artists and designers can do with flowers. However this time, the store was all decked out for Christmas and it was beautiful! Although there was this really obnoxious LED light fixture in the main entryway – every time someone walked in (so basically ALL the time) it flashed bright red. I thought I was going to have a seizure right in the middle of the doorway.

Lights!

Our next stop, after taking a ride on the wooden escalators behind a darling little boy singing “Jingle Bells”, was 5th Avenue. I could have spent hours looking at all of the fabulous window displays. There’s not enough that can be said about the creativity and passion you see in those windows. I think “window dresser” at Bergdorf’s is now my dream job.

After popping in a little deli for lunch, we made our way back to the hotel for a quick nap and time to get ready for the night we were waiting for! PHANTOM OF THE OPERA! This was Sarah’s first Broadway experience and my first time seeing Phantom on the stage. Words can’t do it justice. Our seats were phenomenal (and half-price, holla!) and I was mesmerized for the entire show. Although I must say, I like Gerard Butler’s Phantom way more than the stage Phantom. He’s a romantic…Broadway Phantom wears a floppy hat and sparkly cape. What’s up with that?

phantom

(Sorry for the grainy iPhone pic, it was the best I could do with what I had)

After the show, we were planning to hang out in Times Square for a bit but we decided it was a little too sketchy and tacky for our tastes so we ate some cheesecake and went to bed early. We had to get our beauty sleep before seeing the Rockettes the next morning!

Part 3 coming up shortly!