Paradise Found

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a girl surrounded by her bestest of friends is the happiest of people. UNIVERSALLY ACKNOWLEDGED. And I’m not talking about your run of the mill acquaintance here…I’m talking deep, unfailing friendship.20170224_140811.jpg

The kind of friends that tell you “Those shorts do not work with your ass.” They tell you “No, no, no the bangs look great with your face, you’re overthinking it.” They tell you “He is not worth your tears, girl. Save ’em for a better man!”

These are the friends that will stand the test of time. When other friends fade away…they will remain. I am blessed to have a handful of these “Forever Friends.” And last month I got to spend a weekend in Miami with two such gemstones. Check it out…

Ladies' Weekend 2017

There were a lot of options going into Ladies Weekend 2017. Last year (Ladies Weekend 2016) we ended up in sunny Orlando, Florida. Home of the happiest place on Earth, Hogwarts and yours truly. And we had a blast, check it out. So…the bar was pretty high. We waffled between New Orleans, Las Vegas, Mexico and even Paris made an appearance as a viable option, given that flights were only $400 round trip when we were looking. But in the end we decided to hit up Cristina’s home town…Miami! Another sunny vacation…not too shabby.Miami Florida Diplomat Beach Resort travels

I’ve mentioned this to you before, blog readers, but I am a summer girl!! 100%. All the way! The thought of spending a vacation anywhere where the temperature might drop below 75…no thank you! (Talk to me next year when we hit London for Ladies Weekend 2018.)

Cristina is the planner of the group. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love planning too, but we are very different sort of planners and this was her hometown, so the agenda was all hers with some input from Erin and I. But it’s best to visit a town with a local. You can see all the cool spots you might miss if you are doing the tourist thing. So Cristina hooked us up with a home cooked meal at her childhood home. (Dad makes a mean sangria!!)

We also hit Coral Gables, Coconut Grove and of course… SOUTH BEACH!! Erin’s mother-in-law got us a SICK deal on a casita (way better than a cabana) at The Diplomat and let me tell you something, we felt like Queens! We had a personal server and about 5 other employees that made the rounds to check on us throughout the day (Thanks Leo, Cassandra, Jeff, Josh and Danny!) We ordered drinks and fancy lunch and swam and laid in the sun. This is the best way to spend any day, I am convinced. And a day spent like this in the presence of beautiful friends…well that’s where the Paradise Found part comes in!!

Yeah…we did a bunch of other stuff. We went to Cristina’s home church on Sunday. We did little photo shoots for an upcoming blog project I have in the works. We made a pilgrimage to Instagram mecca, aka Wynwood Walls. We ate ALL THE FOOD!! We even tried to hit up South Beach’s night life, but the weekend proved too strong for our dance moves and we tuckered out at around 11:45pm and hit the hay instead of the dance floor. (Don’t even think of calling us old…the sun took it out of us! I blame the sun!)

Wynwood Walls Miami Florida travels blogger

All in all, there were so many things that made it a perfect weekend, but the thing that will stay with me is hanging with my squad for a full 3 days. We each live in a different state these days and quality time is hard to come by. We do our best with phone calls, Google Chat, texting, Snapchat (life saver), Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But who are we kidding…it’s never going to be enough. Our lives have us moving in circles far from the ones we moved in when we lived in New York together and tore the town upside down whenever possible.

Does our current reality diminish what was? Of course not. I think it just serves to make those shining moments of “togetherness time” shine a little bit brighter and causes us to hold onto the new moments we create a little big tighter.20170226_131405.jpg

See you in London next February, my beautiful friends!!

Unrealistic Friendspecations

Unrealistic Expectations from Friends TV show blog nerd

As a single, 30-something who was living in New York until a short time ago, I relate to the beloved TV show, Friends, on so many levels. Too many to count. There is no show that means so much to me and has influenced my life the way Friends has (with Seinfeld coming in at a close second.)

7koKFlru_200x200.jpg

I didn’t watch Friends when it first aired in 1994. I was only 12 and my parents did not find it appropriate viewing material for a 12 year old girl. They were right, of course. But that didn’t keep me from wanting to watch it and it certainly didn’t keep me from tuning in the minute I was old enough and watching it till it ended in 2004, when I was a junior in college.

Looking back, I now know that it played a huge part in my eventual move to the big city. The entire first year I lived in New York felt like a dream, like I was in an episode of Friends. I’d see a street sign or a coffee shop and dream of Central Perk and the 6 most quotable characters in the history of TV. Tell me you don’t say this in Chandler’s voice when you read it “Could I BE wearing any more clothes?” Well, Joey doing Chandler’s voice, but I’ll bet you knew that too.

landscape-1453374111-friends-joey-wearing-chandlers-clothes.gif

As much as Friends will always have that place in my heart and that finale will continue to make me cry even after I’ve seen it dozens of times, I do think that Monica, Ross, Joey, Chandler, Phoebe and Rachel created some unprecedented expectations of what friendship could look like, but usually doesn’t. Where most shows up to that point (again, besides Seinfeld) were about family units or couples getting together, Friends was something altogether different. A set of 6 inseparable Friends who created a family away from family. They did everything together and remained connected for 10+ years (we know they are still together in TV land somewhere.)

Think of all the Christmases and Thanksgivings they spent, not with their nuclear families, but with each other. Think of their trips to Vegas, Barbados and London. The jobs that were forgotten the minute something came up. The family that was forgotten in lieu of the family unit that was created in New York City. Shared life stage and values bonded them in a way that has just never been seen since Friends left the small screen. How I Met Your Mother touches on those element and at times feels similar, but it doesn’t manage to touch the level of nostalgia and love that people (and I) have for Friends.

At the same time, what was created between the 6 of them is as unattainable in real life as a Ross and Rachel friendlationship is. People don’t drop everything to go to Barbados with you, much less for a work conference they have no interest in. You’d be lucky to have one or two good friends show up at your destination wedding, much less the whole pack (minus a pregnant Phoebe.)

I can’t even get some of my friends on Skype most days, much less entice them away from their families, their jobs and their lives to come play with me at Disney. It’s less a complaint and more a realization that real life is just that much harder sometimes, than an episode of Friends (realization may be a little strong.)

friends-central-perk-new-york.jpg

I miss what I found in New York and the brief moment that I grasped onto what it was like to have capital F, Friends. A group of people who were pursuing things the way I was. People who were bonded together in the face of a strange, transient city like New York.

Sure, we didn’t drop everything for each other, every single day. And because New York is so expensive, we all really did have to work most of the time, making it very difficult impossible to sit around in a coffee shop all day, talking about relationships and about our feelings. It just didn’t happen. That’s a beautiful dream that only can live in TV land.

But I think that’s what made Friends so popular and such a strong show with staying power. That kind of Friendship is what we all hope to find. The kind that can last 10+ years and weather being on a break and children and marriages and stuff. When you find that kind of capital F, Friend…hold onto them and never let them go!!

And now…my favorite Friend, Chandler:

giphy-downsized-large.gif

Quality over Quantity

Pick your friend's nose E Cards friendship blog post

Think back to when you were in the 2nd grade. How many friends did you have? If you’re a social butterfly like me, then you had lots of friends. I knew practically everyone in the 2nd grade at my little, country elementary school and they all knew me. I was the one who was always on the play ground holding court and making sure everyone had room on the jungle gym. If you can’t get along on the jungle gym then there’s no hope for you in the halls of a school. I tried very hard to make people feel welcome and accepted, which lead to my bevy of friends.

Jungle Gym Unsplash photos by Daniel Ruyter blog post friendship
Photo: Unsplash.com by Daniel Ruyter

Flash forward to high school and gym time was an entirely different story. Not only do jungle gyms disappear in 6th grade (sadly) but so did my popularity. In 6th grade I began to show signs of becoming awkwardly tall and awkward in personality. The quirks that set you apart and make you cool when you’re little, immediately are seen as weird when you hit middle school. It’s all about homogeny and I wasn’t good at that game. So, I had a couple friends that were my besties, but that was really it. All the awkwardness of middle school was only exacerbated by age and my entrance into high school. And to some degree it continued into college.

The older I got the smaller my pool of friends became. In my head, I still had this picture of me on the jungle gym surrounded by all kinds of people, all kinds of friends. The friends that will get your back in a fight. The friends that will tell you it’s stupid to fight. The friends that started the fight. The friends who are fighting you. The friends on the sidelines cheering you on. I’m the kind of girl that cherishes all the friends. The more the merry.

So, to have a handful still throws me sometimes. I feel like I’m doing something wrong if I invite my friends to my party and 4 people show up. It doesn’t diminish the importance of those 4 friends, it’s just that sometimes my head doesn’t reconcile itself to my present reality. It may sound juvenile or silly, but what it really is, is completely honest. I have a hard time with reality. Especially when I paint really gorgeous thoughts and ideas in my head. Why wouldn’t I want to spend more time up there?

Friendship blog post Unsplash photos by Brooke Cagle
Photo: Unsplash.com by Brooke Cagle

See, in my head, it’s easy to be friends with people, but in reality it is difficult to be a friend and have friends sometimes. Especially when most of my besties are far, far away. There are times when I think that I’d make a better cave person than a friend. I want so desperately to do life with people that I care about, that I forget that there are people who don’t want to do life with me back. It’s still a new concept for me, hopeless optimist that I am. But it has become part of my present reality. A decidedly painful reality.

I get it. We all have one life to live and we have to make choices about who gets our time. Time is very important to me, so I understand spending it well. I guess the thought that I would be someone undeserving of a person’s time and energy is just so baffling, because I find myself occasionally delightful at best and moderately tolerable at worst. I hope that doesn’t sound narcissistic. It’s just that I spent all those awkward teen and college years trying to be anyone else. And I’ve finally accepted that I’m a pretty neat person. So I don’t apologize for liking myself after all this time. Liking yourself is a gift!

With that in mind, I want to give the time that is allotted to me to those individuals who enhance my life’s journey. And what I’ve learned is that quantity does not matter. Who cares how many friends you have? What matters is who will show up when you need them the most. The quality of friendship far outweighs the latter.

I am blessed to count on my hands a number of people who would drop everything to take my call. And who I would do the same for. I hate to make it sound harsh and I truly hate adulting. While cutting out the chaff may be difficult, it is a vitally important step in the process of growing up.

That’s not to say that I don’t still sometimes wish I was back on the jungle gym where things were easy and you became friends with someone simply because you were both wearing the same color…it’s just not physically true anymore. And I don’t have time for the fair-weather friends of the world. What happens when the storm comes? Who’s holding the umbrella with you? That’s the friend I want in my corner. It’s the kind of friend I hope that I am to my quality handful.

Friendship blog post  Unsplash photos by Pavel Badrtdinov
Photo: Unsplash.com by Pavel Badrtdinov

You’d think that social media would help immensely with this friendship problem, but it only muddies the waters. It only creates a false sense  of closeness with people who let go of you a long time ago and you just forgot to delete from your contact list. So, gentle reader, choose quality over quantity. You can pick your friends and you can pick your nose, but you can’t pick your friend’s nose…unless they’re a quality friend, then they’ll probably pick your nose right back!

Pick your friend's nose E Cards friendship blog post
Photo: SomeEcards.com

Brand New Episode

Previously on So…This Happened…

And now…

Episode 38: Poster Boys

Starring:

Liz Tailor

Ethical Closet:

download

download

Sponsored by:

Corporate Logo

(Click here for more information on our sponsor: Licensure Exams)

For more information on the companies we partner with and what they stand for CLICK HERE, and for more on the fashions and where to get them CLICK HERE.

1433255543111

Check back every Tuesday for brand new episodes!!

The Friend Zone

It’s a classic tale.

Girl meets boy. Girl really likes boy. Boy really likes girl…as a friend.

1429586176934

I can’t tell you how many times this has happened to me. And I’m sure it’s common for men as well. So I know I’m not alone in this. Chemistry isn’t always a two way street. Sometimes one person will feel something that the other person just doesn’t get. That’s ok. That’s normal. That freakin’ sucks!

Listen, the fact of the matter is that there are over 6 billion people on this planet. So the chances of feeling something for the wrong person is likely to happen and happen more than once. It doesn’t mean you aren’t worth it. It doesn’t mean you won’t find it. It just means you have to keep looking and not let it get you down.

I don’t know if you’ve ever felt this way. I don’t know most of you at all. But I know that the things we feel are not unique to us. The hurts and heart breaks are universal. And if you’ve felt it, you better believe someone else has too.

Check out this week’s episode, because I’ve definitely been there before!

I hope you can find comfort in knowing that you aren’t alone!! I’m right there with you! Tweet me, email me, message me! I’m here!

I Know the Good Stuff

f206b38c6e1e3ecbe552d6e86bb45c0e

I have been on exactly one real Valentine’s date in my entire life. I’ve been on plenty of V-Day dates with my girlfriends where we sit around and talk about how awesome we are all and how being single on Valentine’s Day isn’t all that bad. And I’ve spent plenty of Valentine’s Days watching action films instead of rom-coms to ignore the holiday altogether. I’ve even wallowed in the romance of Valentine’s Day and had marathons of every Jane Austen film ever made. I’ve done it all. And this Valentine’s Day, I will be celebrating Galentine’s Day with my executive producer and all around great friend. We will be doing a Rom-Com walking tour of New York City… so stay tuned for that.

But what I’m talking about here is that one and only Valentine’s Day date. It was with a friend, so I do call it a date, but only in the strictest sense of the word. Meaning that he asked me to get dressed up and to go out with him on said day and he paid for dinner. That made it a date and nothing else. We were not interested in each other in THAT way. But it was probably the second best date I’ve ever been on and the most fun I’ve ever had on Valentine’s Day. There’s a very good reason for that. We were friends (still are.) And there’s something safe and comfortable in friendship that I have not found on any of these dates I go on. We ate Italian and he threatened to fake propose to me to give the couples a little show and we spent the whole night laughing and making fun of all the weird couples around us doing weird couple things. (This one guy kept his hand, palm up, on the table the entire night while his girlfriend periodically held said hand. It was strange!) And incidentally, that night makes the all time favorites list.

180412_649028939159_4855627_n

See, when it comes right down to it. I don’t know how to date. I’m pretty sure I’m doing it wrong! The small talk, the dating etiquette, how long to wait till texting after a first date, when to reach for the check… I know nothing about it. And all it does is depress the hell out of me. People always tell you, it’s a normal part of the process, it’s what you have to do to get to the good stuff. People tell you a lot about love when they’re in it and you’re not.

But I know what the good stuff is. Let me tell you about the good stuff. I’m gooood at the good stuff. I’m good at being a friend and wanting to be around someone. I’m good at baking cookies and laughing till my sides hurt. I’m good at remembering occasions and caring about someone. I’m good at Netflix binge-watching and being silly. I’m good at playing and loving and just being there for someone. That’s the good part. The part people suffer through small talk to get to.

635adba11676884fd94bedc0bcdb2d32

Of course, it’s easy to be good at something when there is no threat of the hard stuff. That’s probably why I’m good at all of that. It’s easy with friends. Lack of expectations. Lack of romance. The romance is the messy part. The hard part.

But no one tells you that. They tell you things like “you’ll know it when you feel it” or “you’ll find it when you least expect it.” What does that even mean? How can I find something that I don’t even know how to look for? And what is it magic or something? It just comes upon you and your sixth sense just knows it’s happening. Sounds like a lot hocus pocus to me!

4d6c0317848f02154c4b0bb83e098e81

Listen, I hate having butterflies in my stomach and I hate dating. I like being comfortable with someone. I want to be sure of someone, of something. And all dating does is lead to massive uncertainty. To wondering if the other person likes you as much as you like them. To wondering what exactly about that text you sent made them never text you back. This is why people get this part out of the way in high school, because by the time you reach your 30’s, it’s just ridiculous to still be this uncertain. But here we are.

So… sure, maybe it’ll come when I least expect it or maybe it’s here and I just don’t recognize it yet.

What I do know is that I have a standard that I measure these dates with and it’s that one Valentine’s Day date. And no one has come even close to measuring up. Not even within throwing distance. It’s not their fault… you can’t compete with deep friendship. It’s unfair to measure by that, but measure I do. Now isn’t that an interesting fact!

image

 

As always, the future is bright! And I look forward to sharing it with you all, lovely readers!

I Forgot to Play

I’ve always been really good at being a kid. It’s an art really. Pretend play? Mastered! Arts and crafts? Duh, have you met me? Childlike awe and innocence? Yep, got those too. It’s what makes me an awesome nanny. It’s what will (one day) make me a kick ass mother. And it’s why kids freakin’ love me!!! (Not to brag.)

But somewhere along the way I forgot that part of myself. Sometimes, especially in New York (land of growing up too fast), we’re forced to be grown ups. Turning 30 and 31 meant being an adult now. Meant that I had to quit playing. To stop dreaming (or only dreaming realistically.) To be serious. To be… boring? No thank you!!

This past Saturday, I went to Disney World with my oldest friend, Stacey. And it was like chicken soup for my soul. When one goes to “the happiest place on Earth,” one does not spend time worrying  about adult problems.  One does not try to be a grown up. One must and does just play!

wp-1462200227314.jpg

So that’s what I did. I ran around and took pictures and ate ice cream and rode rides and wore Mouse ears and played with my oldest friend. And I was refreshed. God reminded me that we are meant to come to Him with the heart of a child and that it doesn’t mean you can’t be a grown up sometimes, but it does mean that you shouldn’t be one all the time. And that in remembering the innocence and honesty that children are gifted with, we find a new way to worship.

This week as you walk through your adult life, whatever that may look like: kids, jobs, spouses, problems… remember to play. Take a moment and run as fast as you can. Wear something frivolous. Dye some Easter eggs. Go to Disney if it’s within reach, and dream about it if it isn’t in reach. And every time you pray come to God with the heart of child and like I was, you too will be refreshed.

And while you’re at it never, ever forget to play!!

Just One Word

image

Welcome to the New Year! A time of reflection. A time to assess the year that’s passed. A time to start looking forward to the year to come. And, inevitably, a time of resolutions.

If you’re like me then you make long lists of things that need changing. Things that are wrong with you. Maybe it looks something like this:

-Lose that weight

-Get rid of my debilitating debt

-Be better at my job

-Take up a new hobby

-Eat better

-Be nicer

-Travel more

-Curse less

-Pray more

-Hurt less

Be this. Do that. Change, change, change!
image

Let me tell you. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t inspire. It only hurts.

So this year it’s time to try something different. (Brought to you by Roommate’s mom, Karen)

Pick a word. A word that inspires you. A word that you want to describe you. A word that will help you make some positive changes. A word you’d be proud to have someone say about you.

I’ve chosen BOLD.
image

I want to be bold in my relationships with people. I want to be bold in my aspirations. Bold with my big, wild dreams. Bold with my heart. Bold with my health. And perhaps if I attempt to create a bolder life, then maybe I will accomplish some of the goals that inevitably end up on my 5 page list of resolutions every year. And wouldn’t that be a better way to improve myself?

The truth is that I am exactly who I’m supposed to be. And the fundamentals need not be altered. I just need to start thinking the best about myself and the rest will follow.

What’s your word?