Gers and Garbage Pasta

ger [guh-er]; noun

1. a frequent or favorite female companion
2. a never-ending source of belly laughs, advice, memories, and good times.

Official Origin:
1855–60; girl + friend

Un-Official Origin:
1994; Jamal the Camel Jockey

You may or may not already know this but Friday, 8/1, was National Girlfriends Day.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say that if you did happen to know it was National Girlfriends Day yesterday and you live in Key West and/or are a friend of mine there is an 90% chance that I was the reason that you knew this little snippet of information…

You see, last year, as I was paging through one of my magazines, I saw a little column written about how August 1st is National Girlfriends Day.  I cut it out and pinned it to the bulletin board in my kitchen/ dining room/ office to remind me to send a little love to my girlfriends on August 1st.  Then, as it always does, life happened and the next thing I knew it was mid-August and I had missed this important holiday.  I immediately busted out my planner and “saved the date” for 2014.

Side Note:
I feel like this is the perfect time to introduce you to one of my favorite things;  Erin Condren Life Planner.  This is hands down the best planner that I have ever purchased in my life.  There are both monthly and weekly spreads and plenty of space to write.  It’s literally the key to me staying organized.  I know, I know, you’re all like, #getwiththegets Krystal, that’s what your phone is for.  But that doesn’t work for me.  I have to write it down.  I must have something tangible; a book I can hold, page through, and plan my fabulous life in.  Here’s a peek at my planner:

2014-08-02 12.07.07

Front Cover

2014-08-02 12.07.20

Back Cover

It’s almost time for me to start designing my 2015 planner but to be honest I don’t want to trade this one in.  I just love all of the pictures I chose for the covers; although that is one perk to the new design for 2015, interchangeable covers!

So anyways, when August 1st rolled around this year I was ready to roll.  I had written myself reminders for two weeks in my planner and spent a small fortune at CVS buying cards for all my girlfriends up north.  It might seem silly to some but to me it’s important.  It’s important to nurture friendships, to keep in touch with people and to let them know how much they mean to you.

According to my financial advisor “quality of life” is not an applicable category in my monthly budget (at least not in this stage of the game);  so after work on Friday I headed home and mentally started preparing for a homebound weekend.  Then I got a text from one of my gers, asking if she could stop by on her way home from work.  Of course!  Then I invited another ger.  And then another.  And next thing you know I’m whipping up some garbage pasta over belly laughs with some of my favorite people.

IMG_8220

How To Be Awesome 101: Always have a cute tablecloth, witty bev naps, and tea lights on hand. Instant ambiance.

Now you’re probably asking yourself, what the hell is garbage pasta?  Well it’s my answer to not wasting food and incorporating more veggies into my diet.  Two birds, one stone.  I know I’m not the first person to come up with this concept but I may be the one who perfected it.  When I first moved out on my own one thing I had a really hard time with (and still do) was cooking for one.  I found myself wasting a ton of money every week on vegetables I had bought at the store but not been able to eat before they went bad.  I was literally throwing money away every week so I just started chopping everything up and throwing it in with my pasta.

Friday night’s recipe included: mushrooms, tomatoes, bacon, broccoli sprouts, Greek yogurt, 1% milk, fresh lemon juice and zest, and some parsley to give it that gour-met look. The key to good garbage pasta is to reserve about a cup of pasta water to add back into the pan when you mix all your veggies and sauces together; the starches from the pasta water help thicken the sauce.  Just like a good steak, once you’ve combined all your ingredients be sure to let your pasta rest under the lid of your pasta pot for about 15 minutes and bingo, ready to serve!

So in the end what I thought was going to be an uneventful Friday night turned into the perfect impromptu celebration of National Girlfriends Day, complete with garbage pasta and my favorite gers.  The moral of the story is that celebrations are important.  When you celebrate the people in your life, whether the occasion is big or small, whether it’s over filet mignon or garbage pasta, it’s a celebration for your soul.  After all, friends are the mirrors reflecting the truth of who we are and from where I stand I’m looking pretty damn fabulous.  Cheers to my gers, whether we talk once a day or once a year you are always in my heart.

 

My Dawg. Fo Real Doh…

Skyy @ Ft. Zach

Skyy @ Ft. Zach

I never in a million years thought that I would become a crazy dog lady until I met Skyy.  Skyy is my Husky.  She is the keeper of my secrets, my sidekick and silent judger, and my best friend.

Skyy first came into my life in the summer of 2006.   I was dating a guy from Key West and his mom just literally came home one day with a Husky puppy and was like here you go.  I myself wanted nothing to do with it.  I specifically remember the conversation we had, we had just started dating and I was not into additional responsibility what so ever.  In fact, it was already putting a damper on my plans because we were en route to Shanna Key for some day drinking and to watch the World Cup with one of my girlfriends that was working there at the time.  Then we found out that Shanna Key was pet friendly and that was all she wrote.  We took the then unnamed puppy to Shanna Key with us and she curled up on the end corner of the bar and slept while we proceeded to do one Jagerbomb after another.  Needless to say we ended up keeping the dog.  After all, any dog that can hang with me during some day drinking is my kind of dawg.  Fo real doh.

Long story short, you know what they say, boyfriends’ come and go but dogs are forever.  Ok, so maybe I made that up but who cares, it’s true.  Living in Key West with a dog is amazing and I try to include Skyy in my life and adventures as much as possible.  From trips to the beach, to paddle boarding, to bacon wrapped hot dogs from Five Guys, my dog really does have the #bestlifeever.

Skyy

Skyy Running For Jaime on 3/17/14   #RunForJamie

John Grogan, author of Marley and Me, nailed it when he said “such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.  It is amazing how much love and laughter they bring into our lives and even how much closer we become with each other because of them.” Skyy comes to work with me practically everyday, she’s the official office greeter for Last Key Realty.   Anyone who lives in Key West knows it’s not cheap and that many people have to work two jobs to survive and thrive here.  Skyy is no exception; when she isn’t greeting office visitors at LKR she is doing flower deliveries with Love In Bloom Florist .  She also models occasionally.

Skyy Modeling

Work hard, play hard right?  There are so many pet friendly places on the island that you can take your pup to its hard to choose what to do on your days off.

Krystal and Skyy’s Favorite Pet Friendly Spots

Pepe’s, 806 Caroline Street:  A quirky open-air restaurant that features great fresh specials and fresh squeezed juices for cocktails.  Also a fab lunch spot, happy hour spot, or dinner spot.  Hell, it’s just a great place.

The Lazy Gecko, 203 Duval Street:  A Boston sports bar (blah, Go RAVENS!) but their tater tot nachos are on point and so is their Fireball.  Also happy hour from 5-8 with 2-4-1 beer and well drinks.  Hot damn!

Dairy Queen, 1207 United Street:  A traditional favorite that serves up “pup cups” of ice cream for 50 cents!

Little Jazz Room, 821 Duval Street:  One of my new favorites.  Happy Hour from 1-8 everyday and check out these mojitos ($8 for both)!  They also serve light snacks (cheese platter, hummus, and chips and salsa), which is always a plus for us.  We like snacks.

Little Jazz Room Mojitos

Shots & Giggles, 201 Ann Street:  Just a stumbling distance from Sloppy Joe’s this bar always has the same Soup Of The Day:  Jameson.  They also have Fireball flip night where you can flip a coin to see if your shot of Fireball is on the house as well as the house shot which is usually some fruity concoction that is delicious.  They also take music requests (well sometimes, if your name is Libby and you harass the bartender until she puts on Tanya Tucker Pandora).

My friend Alex has a magnet on her car that says “Who Rescued Who” referring to Murphy, her peek-a-poo rescue, and it wasn’t until this past year that I really got the meaning behind the phrase.  Skyy definitely rescued me.  When my sister Ashlee passed away last summer Skyy saved me.  She made me get out of the house, I had to walk her, I had to feed her, and I had to take care of her.  And in taking care of Skyy I unknowingly  was taking care of myself too.  Skyy is my girl, she gives me a reality checks when I need them, gives me silent judgements when I don’t need them, howls at me occasionally to keep me punctual, snuggles me when I’m sad and celebrates with me when I am happy.  She’s become a staple guest at our monthly “girladays” and like her mom is simply one cool chick.

544914_10103977739689623_1615868172_n

Christmas Eve 2013

“A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.” – John Grogan, Marley and Me:  Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog

I know I’m a day early but in closing I’d like to wish my best girl Skyy a Happy Birthday.  Thank you for coming into my life and teaching me more than you will ever know.   Love you boo, here’s to 8 more!  #56andfabulous

1231430_10103475416973373_1484270356_n (1)

I Laughed So Hard, Tears Ran Down My Leg

I dare you to watch this video and not smile.

Laughter really is the best medicine.  I mean who doesn’t love a legit LOL moment?  Humor such a good character trait and much more contagious than any cold or flu.  Think about it, if you ask someone what they are looking for in a partner they almost always have “a good sense of humor” at the top of the list.  Now think about the last time you had a good, laugh out loud, un-intentional ab work out laugh.  Doesn’t it just make you smile?

This weekend I’m heading back to my home state of Maryland (represent!) to celebrate my sisters; Kate’s engagement and Ashlee’s birthday, and I cannot wait for the laugh out loud moments to unfold.  It’s kind of like waiting to open presents on Christmas day you know there are good times just waiting to be unwrapped.

You know that commercial “gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now…”, well it’s pretty much my family to a T.  When we have to go, we have to go.  Usually I end up doing a weird gallop dance in place trying to refrain from peeing my pants until I feel I can safely get to a bathroom (which I totally misjudge at least 50% of the time).  As a result of my poor judgement in time I’ve developed a reputation.  I usually get at least 1 package of depends or some other novelty gift that is making fun of my weak bladder, everyone’s always a comedian when it comes to gift giving.  But the best gift is the memories that come along with it.

Needless to say, pants peeing is not uncommon in my family, especially once the alcohol and laughter starts flowing. But who cares, I say embrace it.  I remember the first time I had ever heard of such a thing.  My mom was having a party and all her girlfriends were over.  They were all sitting around laughing and her one friend Janet peed her pants from laughing so hard, do you think she let that stop her from a good time?  Hell no!

Kath: (while laughing hysterically) “Oh Janet! Are you going to go home and change?”

Janet: (while laughing hysterically) “Hell No, I’m having too much fun!  Go get me a trash bag to sit on!”

Now THAT is what I’m talking about!   Over the years I’ve learned to become proactive instead of reactive; I’ve become an stealth squat popper (experience level: expert), I pack extra skivvies for trips and try to stay in my bathing suit as much as possible on my days off in Key West.  I’ve learned to stay away from wearing jeans when day drinking (dresses are much more convenient for emergencies) and how to turn my weird gallop into a dance move so it’s not so obvious when I’m biding time to make it to a bathroom.

If I could spend the rest of my life laughing I would; In fact, I think I shall!  Here’s to a weekend of family, friends, extra skivvies, un-intentional ab workouts and priceless memories.  Cheers!

IMG_7323

 

 

 

Everyone I Know Is Getting Married or Pregnant. I’m Just Getting More Awesome.

awesome

Remember that one time on How I Met Your Mother when Barney Stinson uttered those infamous words “everyone I know is getting married or pregnant and I’m just getting more awesome.” Well, ladies and gentlemen, that is my life in a nutshell.  Seriously, I’d say upwards of 90% of my friends are either engaged, married, or pregnant (hopefully in that order) and then there’s me.  Single and posted up on a tropical island, living where everyone else vacations.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining.  I’ve got my hands full with Skyy and can’t imagine having another person to take care of besides myself.  So while my friends are going to pre-marital counseling at their church or learning how to breastfeed I’m planning my next boat day and this Friday’s happy hour.

Although living on an island isn’t for everyone.  I work for Last Key Realty, a luxury vacation rental company and exclusive buyer broker.  I’m a licensed real estate agent and coined the term working tourist because I get to see the beautiful houses of Key West and help people make an investment in their own happiness for a living.  I also put less than 4,000 miles a year on my car and can ride my bike to work.  Like our radio station 98.7 says, “if you’re closer to Cuba than Wal-Mart, you’re in Conch Country!”  Oh so true.  I mean, in my opinion Amazon Prime was the best thing to happen to Key West, followed closely by the salad bar at New Publix.

People tell me everyday how lucky I am to live in Key West and it wasn’t until a few months back I started correcting them.  I’m not lucky, I made a conscious decision to move to a place where I am happy.  Just like my friends made a conscious decision to get engaged/ married/ pregnant because that’s what makes them happy.  And I’ve got to say, it’s pretty exciting meeting all these new little people!  Maybe that’s my life’s calling, to be a really good aunt; Tia Kweed has a nice ring to it don’t you think?

One of the things that Bishop TD Jakes says is that you have to surround yourself with people who have your same rhythm in life.  It’s easy to pick out the people that are dancing to your same tune and the people who are so off beat it’s crazy.  Everyone has a different soundtrack to their life, some might be your favorite song, others may not, the trick is to appreciate all the music, not just some genres.  My sister Kate sent me a card a few months back with a quote that has come to be one of my faves.

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Sunday  I was watching a show about how to have hard conversations and realized that the hardest conversations are often the ones that I have with myself.   Constantly reminding myself that other people do not get a vote in my happiness and to follow my  instincts.

Mile-Marker-0

But then again, isn’t that what life is all about?  Learning to trust in ourselves and follow our instincts and heart.  Recognizing that nothing is arbitrary and at this very moment I am exactly where I need to be.  Realizing that nothing and no one in your life is arbitrary?  I sometimes find myself thinking about the future, I mean is it really realistic for me to live on this little 2 x 4 mile island for the rest of my life?  What are the odds of me meeting someone to spend the rest of my life with here, at mile marker 0 of all places?  Then I laugh to myself and say who cares, it’s working for now!

photo (2)

Call The Cops, I Murdered The Dance Floor

In my opinion “Regret’s Only” invitations translate to of course you are attending and if you aren’t you are stupid.  So here’s my “regrets only” invitation to learning how to stay young forever, have the best time of your life, and burn calories at the same time.  It’s called a dance party and if you haven’t been to one (alone in your kitchen counts) then you need to #getwiththegets.

 

My mom taught my sister and I how to jitterbug when we were kids and that was all she wrote.  In fact, whenever Pat Benetar’s, Bloodshot Eyes comes on I get an instant flashback to the summer of 1993, jitterbugging around my Aunt Trish’s backyard with my mom.  In my family dancing became essential to our well being and one of my favorite past times.

photo 1

One of the best living situations I’ve ever had was living in Bethesda with my best friend Tabetha.  Everyone was pretty worried about it, especially Tabetha’s dad.  You know what they say; living with people is a whole different ball game and no one wanted our new living situation to come between our friendship, I mean at that point we had 14 years invested.  Well, that or they were concerned we might not make it through the year since we both like to have a good time (to put it mildly).

403083_10101529740943733_610712481_n

The first weekend we ever stayed at our house in Bethesda we didn’t have any furniture or heat (it was February in Maryland, heat was necessary) but we had a tv, a couple of logs to throw on the fire and The Grammy’s were on.  A bottle of Captain Morgan later we were dancing around in our kitchen and made what has come to be known as the best dance party video of all time.  We had so many dance parties in that kitchen and living room it makes me smile just thinking about it.  The best part was walking downstairs the next morning only to find two brooms, aka our microphones, leaning against the wall in the living room.  Now that was a sign of a good time. Untitled

Like Blanche from the movie Grease, “when I hear music I just can’t make my feet behave.”  Last night the dance party bug struck again (and by again I mean for the 3rd time this week).  Sitting in my kitchen I FaceTimed my BFF, ol’ Tabby Cat, to catch up on the day’s news and see what she had cooking for the weekend.  I was pleasantly surprised when she answered the phone and was at a sports bar routing on The Wizards with our friend Cole.  As she’s panning the crowd and I’m talking to she and  Cole I hear AC/DC fire up in the background.  Bingo!  I immediately kicked off my flip flops and broke out the air guitar.  So as I’m dancing around my kitchen with my dog judging the hell out of me I started thinking not about how terrible my dance moves were (#whitegirlproblems) but how much fun I was having.

Dancing and fun go hand in hand.  I don’t know one person, unless they are dancing the Tango, that dances with a straight face.  BTW, have you ever tried “straight face dancing”?  Bet you can’t do it.

So tonight check out my playlist, Call The Cops, I Murdered The Dance Floor, on Spotify and break out your dancing shoes.  Smile, have fun, show off your best moves, and make your own dance party video.  And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.