Monday, January 13, 2014

Bitches Who Brunch



I feel very lucky to have wonderful friends. Not just people that I love to gossip and drink wine with, but a small group of people who support me, don't judge me and I know I can count on. Then there's Miranda. She's my bitch and I'm hers. What does that mean? Here's my definition:

1. A friend for almost 20 years. For us that means since high school (a looooong time ago).
2. Someone who keeps a straight face when you show up with an ill-advised dye job and even lies and says "I think it brings out your eyes".
3. Someone who is willing to sit and listen to you babble every time you cry over a guy.
4. The first person you'd call if you had to hide a body. 
5. Someone who knows the bad and embarrassing things you've done in your life and loves you anyway.
6. Someone who never says I told you so.
7. Someone who is willing to let your friendship change and grow as your life does. 

Our friendship has taught me many things over the years but the biggest lesson I've learned is that things will always change and relationships will change along with them. When we were younger, before busy careers, babies and responsibilities, we could spend hours talking about anything and everything at the drop of a hat. Now we have to plan ahead and be far more deliberate in spending time together. We have to make an effort. But that's ok, that means that our friendship is important and we value it because we do make time for it. 

This past Sunday we planned some much-needed girl time before Miranda and her husband welcome another addition to their family. Their daughter Carolina is my goddaughter and I am endeavouring to teach her very important life lessons like how to make the perfect dirty martini. We had a fabulous brunch at Max's on Broad and our adorable waiter Charlie made our meal very entertaining. I hope you enjoy the pics as much as we enjoyed eating the food. The grapefruit we ordered counteracts the french fries, sausage gravy and cocktails right?










Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Wrapping Up


{ Despite my blue mood, Christmas decorations must go up!:) }

The holidays are over and I for one am very glad. The few days leading up to Christmas and through to New Years I did manage to find the spirit and actually have a fabulous time, but this season was hard. If I'm being honest the past nine months have been hard. I've done my best to navigate a very difficult situation and I'll be navigating it a while longer. If I look back over my life though, I always seem to take the long way around. Things rarely come to me wrapped up in bows. In fact, I more often than naught seem to only get my "happy ending" after all hope seems lost. So I will hope and be patient a bit longer, knowing that those "happy endings" have come in varied forms, but were always ridiculously amazing and better than I ever could have hoped for. I have to trust in that.

As I said, I did manage to get into the holiday spirit just in the nick of time to enjoy all of the fun goings on with friends and neighbors in Church Hill. See this year I made what me and my friend Mandy call a "big girl decision". Although I could have spent the holidays with my mother and my sister's family in Atlanta, I just knew that wasn't the right decision for me this year. I needed to rest in my own bed and have the kind of holiday I wanted. So I stayed home and celebrated with friends that I am fabulously lucky to have. They are also my family and I love them dearly. I do feel rested and recharged for the New Year so I know I made the right decision. Here's some pics from the season I hope you enjoy!

{ An amazing meal I had at The Four Seasons Baltimore for a work trip }

{ Celebrating with friends at The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond }

{ A little Christmas Eve bubbly }

{ My neighborhood is the best because neighbors randomly show up with wine and freshly caught oysters! }

{ A cozy fire on Christmas Eve }

{ Miss Austen gets to put on her fancy collar for my neighbors' Christmas Eve Open House }

{ Miss Austen being productive as usual }

{ This is our blogger support group. Thanks Karen and Kathryn! }

{ A fun photo shoot I did with friends }

{ Roast Chicken at Karen and Ted's! }

{ A beautiful evening }

{ I found these curry potato chips at World Market while shopping for presents and I'm addicted }

{ Waking up the day after Christmas and looking at the scale was not fun. Time to hit the gym! }

{ Picking out paint colors for my living room makeover! }

{ Trying new things so I whipped up Scallops with Champagne and Mustard Sauce, yum! }

{ My date for New Years! }

{ Getting ready to party like we're in our twenties when we are all really over 30, ouch! }

{ An amazing New Years dinner at Dutch & Co. }

{ Miss A and I ready for a wonderful, happy, love-filled, challenging, hard, but hopefully in the end amazing 2014! }

Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Road: Part 2


{ Miss Austen and I Christmas morning enjoying brunch at a friend's house }

If you read my blog regularly you know I'm prone to self-reflection. In fact, the last question I ask most people I interview is...if you could give yourself one piece of advice when you were 20 what would it be? Nine times out of ten the response is don't be afraid to find your own happiness and don't care so much about what other people think. We can't go back and live life over again, but we can learn from what has happened. Between my New Year's post and my Happy Birthday Austen Hill post in June, I have two great chances to look back over time and assess.

What changes have I experienced?

Why did I do what I did?

Did it work out the way I wanted it to?

What did I do that I wish I hadn't?

Are my relationships supportive and loving or draining and stressful?

What was I scared of that I overcame?

What can I work on for the future?

I hope this is considered self-awareness and not narcissism, but either way it helps me so I'm going to keep doing it. I actually had a much longer post planned based on the answers to these questions, but then I realized they were actually a few different posts that I'm going to delve into further over the coming months. There's some things I didn't know I needed to write about that just started coming out as my fingers flew across the keys so I'm taking it as a sign and giving each topic its due diligence.

So what did I decide to do with today's post? Well first, there are some things I want to remember from this past year and never forget..........in no particular order.........

The way that first oyster tasted.....

Walking into that meeting feeling like I was about to vomit on my shoes and then nailing it. I sunk his battleship.....

I hope it was fate but it could just have easily been chance....I almost didn't go that night......

Picking myself up like I've had to do so many times before...wondering how many damn years it will take until I listen to my gut when it says something isn't right......

Having more faith in my writing and taking chances with what I write about......

Hearing my own voice saying...I love him already. How is that possible? I used to be so afraid to make a mistake it took me 35 houses before I found the right one but THIS....I've never been more certain of anything in my life. That's why I trust it. That's why I'll always trust us. 

Hearing each Member say "yea" as their name was called......

Laying in bed, eating teddy grahams and watching a movie with my nephew Jack during his first epic sleepover.....he leaned over and said Aunt Kel, I want to stay with you every day for forever....well, how about every few weeks buddy:).....

The way I felt that day...and immeasurably glad I took a picture of that meadow......

Cheers everyone!!!!........glasses clinking......such good times.....

I'm sick of hotel rooms.....

The song Wildfire.....my Dad has used it several times this year to let me know how he feels about things. Don't worry I'm listening......

Hearing my own voice singing Angel From Montgomery on playback........

Realizing that when I feel loved, strong, confident and happy I am the best version of myself. When I feel taken for granted, less and insecure I am a version of myself I don't like.....and I act and do things that I'm not proud of because of insecurity and fear. If I feel this way it's up to me to change it, not anyone else.

Friends who supported me when I was a hot mess....

The clink of the spoon on my teeth as I took that bite of chocolate Hagen daz and the few seconds afterwards, anticipating what was about to happen.....

Realizing I want to be part of a team.........

The sound of my heart on the monitor.......what if there wasn't a next beep?...

My gold nugget necklace, it became my "Barbara Bush Pearls".....

That was perhaps the wrong thing to say (x10) (Please see above regarding how I act when I'm insecure)........

That number on the scale.......

My West Wing moment.......

The Old Fitzgerald........

Realizing I am not my mother......

A needed separation from people in my life I'd let bring me down for years.......

Try as I may there's nothing I hate about you.....even the stuff that's not so easy:)

Such happiness and promise......

Reality......

We are all fools in love.....

I'll be ok no matter what......

Sheesh! I'm emotionally exhausted! How about you? Just kidding:). I'd rather be exhausted than bored. If you had told me December 31, 2012 what would happen in 2013 I would have laughed in your face, possibly slapped you and asked if you were high:). But even with the good, the bad and the ugly it has been an amazing year and I wouldn't do a damn thing differently. It has been wonderful in so many unexpected ways and I will treasure it always.....

2014.....

I hope it's the best year of my life so far. That's what I always hope for. But I've also lived long enough to know it may not be. There are certain things I hope for that will make me the happiest little lady on this planet should they happen. But they may not. See most of what I want right now is completely out of my control.

Absent this comforting illusion, I will focus on what I do have control over, my own life. I have an exciting and busy year ahead at my day job. I'm hoping to take an opportunity I've been given and run with it. For the blog, I'm hoping to develop a business plan for the future and expand the scope of Austen Hill to include other projects. And the band already has some really fun gigs lined up for the first half of the year so I'm super-excited. Personally, I'm going to spend time with my friends, have some wine and see where the road takes me.....knowing that no matter what I want, where I hope it will lead or who I hope might join me....it knows best and will lead me home.
 

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