Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Home of the Free because of the Brave

Nothing screams "America" more than good food, the best of friends and beautiful fireworks.  We celebrated the 4th with all of the above thanks to one of our favorite spots, the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Apollo hopped in the car and enjoyed the ride down to Charlotte's hidden treasure while we questioned the darkening clouds up above. We escaped the rain for the first two hours while we met up with Reuben, Shannon and Sairy. We ate outside listening to the sounds of the live band and enjoying the summer atmosphere. Right when we stepped outside of the awning, it started to sprinkle. Those few rain drops soon turned into a heavy rain and Apollo decided it was time to hit the road (he HATES water and being wet). We high-tailed it out of there, missing the fireworks but also dodging the traffic that would soon build up later that night.

We kept the American tradition going and grilled out the next day. Shannon and I got a break from the kitchen and enjoyed some rays at the pool while Jeremy and Reuben cooked up delicious hamburgers, ribs, baked beans and grilled zucchini. We grubbed our little hearts out enjoying a full dinner table for once. Later that night, Jeremy and I avoided the uptown crowds and headed to downtown Waxhaw for snow cones and fireworks.

We rounded off the weekend with more family time and for Jeremy, a trip to the barber shop. You read right. Jeremy took a trip to the barber, something he hadn't done in 10 years. He left the house, dreads hanging loosely and came back with a fresh cut, no dreads in sight but still handsome as ever.

With literally a big weight off Jeremy's shoulders, we headed to the pool joining my sister and her family for a fun filled afternoon. Keegan played hard, splashing and kicking in the water until it was Adult Swim, forcing him to rest. After a few snacks, he couldn't keep his little eyes open any longer and was out for the rest of the night.

Jeremy and I couldn't have asked for a better 4th of July weekend. We are so grateful to live in this country, land of the free and home of the brave. Let freedom ring.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Leaving the Lion's Den

5 years ago, I walked into my first full-time paying job. I was excited...I was nervous...The 1 hour drive to Salisbury didn't even bother me! I was grateful for a job in my career field and that alone made me happy. I walked into Food Lion knowing that I would find success in my career but I didn't necessarily know that I was walking into a second family. I've grown to know people with the biggest hearts, the largest laughs and the most sincere personalities. 5 years brought many adventures, my first look into a corporate organization and the closest friendships. I've learned how to quickly thaw a frozen turkey, revive my dead tomato plant and my southern vocabulary has slowly expanded.

Over the years, the drive got longer as I joined a vanpool to help save on gas. I walked into another group of close friends that would easily make me laugh on those long rides home on I-85. It was another opportunity to learn more stories and make more friendships that I am grateful for.

My last day at Food Lion was definitely bitter sweet but it's time for me to be closer to home, to hopefully start a family, and mostly, to take care of me. On my final day at the lion's den, I held it together until the very end. I couldn't help but shed a tear when I hugged the manager who hired a girl fresh out of college, a girl who needed someone to take a chance and believe that she would succeed. From there I sobbed all the way to my car while one of my closest and first friends I made at work, Elyse, walked me out.

It was hard to say goodbye but I know I will see those familiar faces in the future. I'm reminded of them each day when I look at the time on my special, 5 year engraved clock given by the Food Lion Marketing team. Something about accepting my new position as senior graphic designer at MetLife just felt right. I'm hoping to learn at a new level, looking forward to the shorter drive and spending more time with my husband and family. Working on the same floor as my sister is also a plus :)

Thank you, Food Lion, for letting me pursue my passion. I couldn't have asked for a better group of people to be surrounded by each day. It was you that made the 3 hour commute worth every minute.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Out the Door in 2004. Back in 2014.

I can't believe it's been 10 years. 10 years since I've put on that red cap and gown and walked across the Charlotte Coliseum stage (which is sadly no longer around). I was giddy with excitement when a facebook group started for our 10 year reunion. We were updated weekly with pictures from our high school years, songs that were popular at the time and fun facts about the reunion itself. I was excited to show off my hunky husband and mingle with some old familiar faces that I hadn't seen in a while.

We were fresh off of our cruise when we walked into The Dilworth Neighborhood Grille full of people I grew up with. I must admit, my stomach was full of knots but within minutes, I was at ease talking, mingling and introducing Jeremy to old track-mates, fellow band geeks and of course, the friends I still hang out with to this day. We had the best time hanging out with Parents-To-Be -- Chelsea and Jeremy, newlyweds -- Parker and Caitlin and chatting it up with Sairy and others over food, drinks and live music.

It was great having all of those South Meck Sabres in one room again. It was definitely a site to see how everyone had changed...and some who haven't much at all :) I'm sure 15 years will bring even more changes and surprises to the class of 2004. Until then, party peeps!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Our island hopping adventure was over but we had one more full day to enjoy on the ship. We enjoyed lounging in the sun, eating MORE food and we couldn't pass up going down that huge slide that was calling our names the entire week.

The next morning we arrived to the beautiful Miami. Before heading home to Charlotte, we decided to play tourists for a bit. Our friend, Rachel, recommended walking along the Hollywood Beach boardwalk and eating at the Taco Spot where they had the best fish tacos. If you know Asha, you know she can't turn down fish tacos so our decision to visit Hollywood Beach was made sooner rather than later.

Although we were only there a few short hours, we loved everything about Hollywood Beach. We window shopped, dipped our toes into the sand and walked along the shoreline, making sure to take in the view before heading home. We, of course, couldn't pass up the Taco Spot, ordering their famous fish tacos and piƱa coladas served in fresh pineapples. It was the perfect ending to our week long trip while we sat amongst the locals cheering on their teams during the World Cup.

Although sad to leave those white, sandy beaches, we were more than happy to hit the road and return to our slobbery beast, Apollo. He had fun spending time with his grandparents but we were happy to be reunited as a family. We came home with another honeymoon in the books, excited to share our stories of laughter and adventure in the Western Caribbean.