Good Grief.

Good Grief

I have a bulletin board above my desk with a plethora of things pinned to it.  Things that are thought inspiring and make me smile.

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Amidst the duck calls and cards from friends and family you will find three handwritten quotes; one, written on the expo side reads:

I intend to know and fully believe- beyond the shadow of a doubt- that I create everything in my reality and that I can create the life of my dreams.  #BOOM

(yes, I really did write in the #BOOM at the end, makes it more official)

The other two quotes that are on my bulletin board are pinned and they always stop me in my tracks when I read them.  Both of them are about loss and this time of year, with the holidays just around the corner, they always seem to be hitting home even more so than normal.

“If you have a sister and she dies, do you stop saying you have one or are you always a sister, even when the other half of the equation is gone? ~Jodi Picoult

How many brothers or sisters do you have?  What was once such a simple question became the hardest and most awkward question for me to answer.  It would leave me feeling all like, well, I guess Sadness.

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My answer used to be so easy, so fluid, and didn’t require me to even think.  I don’t even remember myself before I was a sister.  I mean I obviously know that I existed because I’m the eldest by 5 years but in terms of memory, I don’t remember never not being a sister.  So how do you answer the question that you know is coming but still blindsides you every time it is asked?

There’s this little app called TimeHop and if you don’t have it you should.  It’s pretty great and shows you all the memories you’ve collected via social media, your icloud photos, etc. for that particular day.

Any who, on Valentines Day, when I logged into the app it had this warning (which I thought was genius by the way):

TimeHop

I really thought about that warning and how I’d like to have one, not for the douche bags I’ve dated in the past but for everyday life.  Like when I see a picture of my sister pop up on someone’s news feed or some kind of warning that comes on the radio before Macklemore drops the beat for Thrift shop.  You see that was the song that played what seemed like non stop when I was in California for a surprise visit to see Ashlee before she passed away.  We spent hours in the car driving from one appointment to the next and the one thing we could count on is that Thrift Shop would play at least 10 times and hour.  In the words of Eric Church, “funny how a melody, sounds like a memory…”

Some of the best moments in my days are when I see her tagged in a picture on social media or when I come across a card she sent me.  Or when I’m shopping at TJMaxx and come across a collection of pig inspired decor. They are unexpected and wonderful reminders of an amazing person I once knew and had the privilege to call my sister.

Claire

Anne

Although these moments are often the best they are also the hardest; which is where the second quote comes in to play:

“Grief is the price we pay for love.” ~Queen Elizabeth

Oh Queen Elizabeth, you hit the nail on the head with that one.  Grieving is hard.  It’s not for the faint of heart because it never stops, it’s something that you deal with every day.  When you love someone and you lose them you never forget them and you hope others won’t either.  But the fact of the matter is that life goes on and while I would give anything to FaceTime Ashlee tonight I can’t.  So instead I’ll smile, be thankful for those that I can FaceTime, and cherish the memories I have.

Cheers!

Celebrate Everything- September Edition

I know, I know, you just couldn’t get enough of my August celebration post so like most awesome things in Key West I’ve decided to extend it through the month of September as well!  Lot’s of reasons to celebrate this month!

September 1- Calendar Adjustment Day
aka:  The Official Start of Pumpkin Spice errrrrrythang!  
Check out the September Inspiration I got yesterday when turning over a new page on my calendar…
September 2- V-J Day
Good-morning-vietnam
September 3-  Skyscraper Day
September 4-  Bring Your Manners To Work Day
Wait, shouldn’t this be every day?
September 5-  World Beard Day
I’m more of a five’ o’clock shadow fan myself but beard lovers and growers rejoice!
September 6-  Read A Book Day
Might I suggest The Mermaid and the Crocodile, written by Miss Edee Fallon, one of my best gers and favorite friends!
September 7-  Buy A Book Day
See above.
September 8- World Physical Therapy Day
Shout out to two of my favorite Physical Therapists:  Dr. Jamie Hadaway and Dr. Courtney Miller.
September 9-  Wonderful Wierdos Day
September 10-  Swap Ideas Day
September 11-  Patriot Day
September 12-  Chocolate Milkshake Day/ Video Game Day
If I were you I would drink a chocolate milkshake while playing a video game.

September 13, 2015 

Whoa!  This is definitely my favorite day of the month.  Look at all the awesome things to celebrate!

Fortune Cookie Day

What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten from a fortune cookie?

Mine is this:

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I can’t make this shit up. Seriously.

Hug Your Hound Day

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Positive Thinking Day (#PPT)

Grandparents Day 

Check out this post I wrote a little while back about my grandmother’s giggle.  Always makes my day!

Peanut Day

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What I wouldn’t give for some boiled peanuts! Preferrably from some sketch ass roadside stand in the middle of I-10.

Roald Dahl Day

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My absolute favorite Roald Dahl quote!

September 14-  Eat A Hoagie Day
September 15-  International Dot Day
Break out the polka dots!
September 16-  Guacamole Day

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September 17-  International Country Music Day
September 18-  Cheeseburger Day

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September 19-  Coastal Clean Up Day/ Gymnastics Day/ Talk Like A Pirate Day
Jess & Shannon, you should probably schedule a Crossfit gymnastics class and make everyone talk like pirates.  Then everyone can join me for a coastal cleanup.  Location TBD.
September 20-  Wife Appreciation Day
September 21-  World Gratitude Day/ International Day of Peace
If you want to change your attitude, practice gratitude.
September 22-  Ice Cream Cone Day/ Dear Diary Day
I’ll probably write about how delicious my ice cream cone is in my diary.  I have  kept one since I was 12 after all.
September 23-  Checkers Day
Just for the record, this is one of the greatest movie quotes of all time.

September 24-  Punctuation Day
Again, shouldn’t this be every day?
September 25-  Hug A Vegetarian Day/ One Hit Wonder Day

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Dear Marisa, please come home so I can hug you.  Then we can go celebrate Stevie B’s one hit wonder and dance to Spring Love at The Gecko.

September 26-  Love Note Day/ Lumberjack Day

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Slip a love note in your lumberjack’s lunch. #manbuns

September 27-  Crush A Can Day

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#getonmylevelllll

September 28-  Good Neighbor Day
I don’t quite have a plan for this one yet but I’ve got a month to figure out a nice gesture for my neighbs; and you should too!
September 29-  International Coffee Day/ World Heart Day
September 30-  International Mulled Cider Day

Cheers!

Celebrate Everything!

I often feel as though I’m the last one to find out about things.  For example, two years ago I was perusing through a magazine when I saw that August 1st was National Girlfriends Day.  Say whaaaat?!  How the hell long had this been going on and why didn’t I know about it.  I mean seriously, how could I not know about this. I’m the self-proclaimed queen of celebrations and adore my girlfriends.

Girls YOLO

Night #1 in Savannah, GA- Life Enhancement Week 2012

I’m always all like, “damn, I wish I would have known that was going on, I totally would have gone to that.” Like last year when I saw that all of the sudden Key West had outdoor movies!  Once I found out I quickly researched and I was relieved to find out I had only missed out on one showing and the next movie up would be Sandlot.  I mean really, Sandlot, on the beach, with 5 of your friends, does it get any better than that?!  Oh wait, it does when you bring all the necessary supplies to make s’mores during the infamous treehouse campout scene. #boom

Sandlot Smores

This year something similar happened when I realized that August 2nd could soon become one of my favorite days of the year because it’s one day celebrating 4 of my favorite things!
1.  National Sister’s Day

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2.  National Ice Cream Sandwich Day-  When I was a kid I called them bread popsicles.  Now I call them heaven, which is why my homeslice K.Story made this giant ice cream cookie sandwich cake for my birthday this year. Chocolate chip with vanilla gelato.  I’m still dreaming about it.  #getinmybellycookie

Cookie Cake

3.  National Friendship Day-

See #2.  Just one example of how awesome my friends are.  Always surrounded by love, laughter, happiness, and support.

vibe attracts tribe

4.  National Coloring Book Day-  Coloring is a favorite past time of mine.  I was somewhat of a fanatic about my crayon collection and could be found hoarding all the crayons with a “point” so no one else could use them while my sister tried to stay in the lines with the dullest crayons you can imagine, probably RoseArt brand.

When it comes to crayons we all know Crayola is king.  This was my favorite aisle in Toys R Us or any store for that matter:

Crayola Aisle

I’m also fairly certain I got one of these bad boys every year for Christmas from the time I was two until they retired it in the mid 90’s:

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As you can see from the photo above of my birthday cookie I turned 31 this year and figure its time to get back to coloring.  Click here for a link to my fave, Erin Condren, who just came out with an adult coloring book.  Apparently adult coloring books are all the rage.  I’m also a HUGE fan of her Life Planner collection.
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I’m always looking for a reason to celebrate and who wouldn’t want to sit around with their sisters and friends coloring and eating ice cream sandwiches (insert girl with raised hand emoji here)?!

Bummed you missed out on August 1st and 2nd celebrations?  Have no fear, below are 28 more reasons to celebrate August!

August 3- Watermelon Day
August 4- Assistance Dog Day
August 5-  Oyster Day
August 6-  Root Beer Float Day
August 7-  International Beer Day
August 8-  Happiness Happens Day
August 9-  Book Lovers Day
August 10-  S’mores Day
August 11-  Play In The Sand Day
August 12-  Middle Childs Day
August 13-  International Lefthanders Day
August 14-  Creamscicle Day
August 15-  Corn On The Cob Day
August 16-  Rollercoaster Day
August 17-  Thrift Shop Day
August 18-  Bad Poetry Day
August 19-  Photography Day
August 20-  Lemonade Day
August 21-  Spumoni Day
August 22-  Be An Angel Day
August 23-  Ride The Wind Day
August 24-  International Bad Music Day
August 25-  Whiskey Sour Day
August 26-  Dog Day
August 27-  Burger Day
August 28-  Bow Tie Day
August 29-  Franchise Appreciation Day
August 30-  Toasted Marshmallow Day
August 31-  Trail Mix Day

Cheers!

Humble Pie With A Side Of #GetAGrip

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Humbling:  The word I would use to describe Christmas 2014.

I often write about how I have the best life and to live where you vacation.  I’m a huge proponent of warm weather and will choose sunshine over snow 364 days of the year.  There are however exceptions to every rule.  My one exception is the month of December.  I will tolerate weather under 70 degrees if and only if it occurs in the month of December, and snow only if and only if it occurs on 12/25.

The holidays are my favorite time of the year; a time of tradition and family.  For someone who has moved at least once a year since I was 18 tradition and family are two things you tend to look forward to.  This year was the first time in 30 years I did not spend Christmas or the holidays with my Maryland friends and family.  It was the first time in 30 years that I didn’t wake up at my mother’s house and have my dad go into the living room to “see if Santa came”.  It was different.

It’s easy to become consumed in our own egos.  The holiday season is a time of seemingly universal joy and happiness.  It’s pretty outrageous that my mind would even hint that the holidays are a time for me to think about all that’s missing rather than all that is present.  Sometimes I have to give myself what I call a spiritual reality check, this was one of those times.  Would it have been nice to spend the holidays at home?  Yes.  Did I survive without doing so?  Yes.  Does everything happen for a reason?  Yes.  Did Santa leave me a piece of humble pie with a side of #getagrip on Christmas day?  Yes.  So without further ado, here are the 6 most humbling experiences I had this holiday season…

Six Humbling Experiences of My Holiday Season:

1.  There is major construction going on next to my new apartment.  I really wouldn’t consider myself to be a morning person to begin with but to be woken up for 3 weeks in a row by hammers and nail guns it can really take its toll.  The guys playing Christmas tunes from the radio made the noise a little more bearable.

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2.  December 4th, when I was walking Skyy I noticed a homeless man sitting under a tree at Bayview Park playing Christmas songs from his boombox. Later that night, he was still in the same spot so after our nighttime stroll I went home and made him a plate of shrimp fettucine alfredo, still warm from my dinner and walked it over to him. I introduced myself and told him that I enjoyed his Christmas tunes this morning and that I thought he might be hungry. He looked at me dumbfounded and asked me if I was serious. I responded “of course!” He cried and thanked me for my kindness. I smiled, shook his hand, and wished him a Merry Christmas. Tis the season!

3.  December 14 I came home and noticed my Maryland flag was gone.  I’m not sure when it happened but I posted a small rant on Facebook.  One week later I received a replacement Maryland state flag from my buddy Mark in Maryland!

4.  Friday I got a surprise Mary Poppins package from my lifelong friend Rachel.  In it was everything from a shirt she had borrowed to housewarming gifts, but the most important item was this life changing gem:
oldBay Do you even have any idea how flipping delicious this is?!  I’ve dubbed it “Heaven In A Bag”

5.  Yesterday, my friends surprised me with a new bike!  My cruiser was stolen a few months back and my friends all came together and got me a new one.  My new whip has a bike basket, cup holder, and good time written alllllll over it.

6.  Watching my favorite movie It’s A Wonderful Life and one of my new holiday favorites Meet Me In St. Louis.  The first is a reminder that no matter what is happening, it really is a wonderful life.  The second features the song Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, and the words of the song have never been more meaningful…

JudyG
Someday soon, we all will be together
If the fates allow
Until then, we’ll have to muddle through somehow
So have yourself a merry little Christmas now