Friday, August 26, 2016

#KeepPounding

I swear... God just loves blessing me.

For those of you who know me, you know I love me some Carolina Panthers football. Growing up, I was a little slow to really hitch my fandom to the Panthers. I was a big San Fransisco 49ers fan because I loved Jerry Rice and Steve Young. But in the 1996 NFL playoffs when the Panthers beat the Cowboys... I permanently became a Panthers fan 'til death do us part.

Fast forward to July 2016 and me posting my #PlayLikeAPanther photo on Instagram. The Panthers, in partnership with MillerCoors, were holding a contest to win a VIP trip experience at training camp.  After tons of entries, I actually won!

The winning photo that my amazing wife took.
So I was the social media winner. There was also a Hickory Tavern reverse raffle winner and 6 others who were employees of MillerCoors. We all gathered at Bank of America Stadium (aka The Vault) and our VIP experience began with a quick locker room tour. It was incredibly awesome because we were able to tour the locker room with all of the players' personal things there. We were told that was extremely rare so immediately we were feeling pretty VIP-ish. We then moved over to the visitor locker room and awaiting us there were our custom Panthers jerseys. As the young kids say... it was lit.

Squawd.




Luuuuuuke


Reuben at Cam's locker. He keeps hot sauce in there.


Now before you start hating... ain't we fresh tho?!


Custom jerseys. 
Once we finished with the locker room tour, it was time to head down to Spartanburg, SC and check out some training camp action. Once we arrived, we immediately felt the jealousy coming our way as me made our way down to the field to catch the end of practice. As soon as practice was completed, we headed to our dorm rooms to receive our swag before eating lunch with some of the players. The lunchtime entertainment for the day was a magician who definitely entertained us all. Many of his card tricks left players confused and laughing.

Us blocking the jealousy directed at us.

Swagged out.

Players during lunch, magician not pictured.

Killa Cam in the straw hat. He is a large human being.
After lunch, we spent the rest of the day with Carolina Panthers ambassador and maybe now the second best tight end in Panthers history - Wesley Walls! We started with a Q&A style session and Wes shared awesome stories with us from his playing days. And these were the kind of stories every fan wants to hear from their favorite athletes. Stories that only players can tell. Microphones and NFL Films can't tell. The best story he shared was about his time playing with the Green Bay Packers and the Monday night game against the Oakland Raiders after Brett Favre's father passed. I'll never forget watching that game and thinking about how it was one of the best performances I've ever seen, but hearing Wes talk and reminisce about it gave me chills.





After Q&A, we hit the field! Wes took us through some drills and routes before we played some touch football. Wes played all-time QB, and of course, the game ended in a tie.


















On day 2, we had an early breakfast, then made our way back to Charlotte. After a quick lunch Uptown at Blackfinn, it was time for another tour in the stadium. This time we met some of the people that make the Panthers go. Among those people were radio executive producer, David Langton, and award-winning, play-by-play announcer, Mick Mixon. While speaking with David Langton, I was able to step in the radio booth and call a play. I totally crushed it... but that's because I majored in Electronic Media/Broadcasting. So it wasn't my first rodeo.









Once the stadium tour was finished, it was time to relax in the Miller Lite Suite and watch the Panthers' practice during Fan Fest. Luckily, the off and on rain didn't deter our awesome fans and once the rain finally left, Fan Fest was much more enjoyable. Free food and drinks with leather seats and a great view of the field... equation for an awesome time. To make things even better, we went down onto the field. When you're on the sideline, you really get a true feel for how big and fast the players really are. They are not normal human beings. At the end of Fan Fest, we were able to head down to the tunnel and greet players as the exited the field. A few of them were clearly tired and not exactly in the mood to speak with fans, but many of them stopped and signed a few things for the few lucky fans there... including Superman himself, Cam Newton.









video










I don't win too many random contests very often, but winning the #PlayLikeAPanther social media contest was the perfect way to end my summer. With what felt like the longest offseason ever, I'm now officially pumped and ready for the Panthers' season! Super Bowl 51, here we come! #GoPanthers #KeepPounding!

Friday, August 12, 2016

GOALS, GOALS, GOALS

We're more than halfway through the year and my 2016 resolutions have been on my mind. Let's see how well I'm doing with 4.5 months left.

RUN
Haha, running. That's funny.

I did have good intentions with this goal. I even signed up for a series 6 pack of races throughout the year to keep my promise of running. I did great throughout January and February prepping for my first race in March but it was after that, that I fell off the running wagon.

I got a new membership in hopes of keeping up with my promise to run. That's another joke because I went to the gym once in July and haven't visited at all this August. Eh, I'll get back into it hopefully.

My next race is the Yiasou Greek Festival 5K in a few weeks. Wish me luck!



PAY OFF COLLEGE LOAN
San Diego happened. 



Vet bills for Apollo happened. 



Hawaii happened. 



I wouldn't change any of those experiences for the world but with all of those things going on, my college loan payment has stayed the same. We'll see if I can put a little more towards it during this next few months but I'm not holding my breath.

ALZHEIMER'S SUPPORT GROUP
Hey! Something I've actually accomplished this year! My sister and I joined an Alzheimer's support group in January. We've learned several facts, struggles and next steps we need to take while our mom suffers with this awful disease.

One of the best things we've walked away with is getting information about The Ivey, an adult daycare committed to brain stimulating activities, social interaction and friendships for those with Alzheimer's and dementia. My mom goes twice a week where she has a great time dancing, listening to music, and being a beast at cornhole. My sister and I literally cried tears of happiness when we witnessed by mom having the best time dancing with John Lewis, an Ivey regular who entertains all members. It was a special moment and a definite deciding factor in joining this great community.



NC BBQ MAP
Totally forgot about this one! I had purchased a NC BBQ map for Jeremy for Christmas. We were supposed to visit 5 stops on the map. We're lucky if we marked off two my accident. Oops.



T-SHIRT QUILT

Yeah...nowhere close on this one. Our t-shirts are still piled up in a corner waiting to either be shipped off for someone else to do the job OR they'll come with me to Thanksgiving so my cousin can give me a sewing lesson.



Reality check. I'm not doing so hot on these goals. I've got 4.5 months to get my act together.



Friday, August 5, 2016

Julyin'

Peanut Butter Pop-Up Booth
I learned from Charlotte Agenda of a Peanut Butter Pop-up booth for dogs being held one Saturday morning. Have you seen those photo stills of dogs mid-shake; jowls showing and drool everywhere? That was the idea of this pop-up except with peanut butter. It was hot, but worth the wait. Plus I learned that an old friend from high school was the dog photog! Apollo did great and was quite proud of himself for getting up on the bench.








This Land was Made for You and Me
This 4th of July was started with the American 4-miler held in Dillworth. I signed up for this race at the very beginning of the year and pretty much forgot about it. So much so, that I thought it was a 5k (3 mile race) and not a 4-miler. Boy, was I wrong. I ran the race with no training and Jeremy (jokingly) told me that if I came in last, I had to find a ride home. Jerk!

The Pros-Sairy and Julius





 The rest of the day was dedicated to a very long nap and Jeremy grilling. He sure is enjoying his grill this summer!







Skill Pop
I've been eying Skill Pop classes for a few months now and I was super excited to attend my first class, Blogging Basics. What is Skill Pop you ask? They are pop-up classes offered monthly on skills you want to advance on. From how to market your small business, to chocolate 101, to how to buy a house, these hourly classes are a lot of bang for your buck.

At the Hygge Cowering building where classes are held

Ray LaMontagne
Jeremy and I missed Ray LaMontagne come through Charlotte during his last tour so we were excited to score tickets for his Ouroboros Tour. Surprisingly, we didn't enjoy the show as much as we had hoped. We could BARELY understand Ray as he spoke soft mumbles and he only played one song that we knew and enjoyed. We left early, haha.




Jolly Rolls Ice Cream
Oh. My. Gosh. We experienced the best ice cream ever in little ol' Waxhaw. Fresh, made-to-order and hand rolled right in front of you. This ice cream did NOT disappoint.



Make Burgers Great Again
I celebrated the start of CLT Burger week with friends from work, the National Hot Dog Eating Champ, Joey Chestnut, and linebacker for the Carolina Panthers, Thomas Davis. The goal? For professionals to eat FOUR Roadstar burgers as fast as they could. What's in the Roadstar burger you ask? Oh, just 4 cheeseburgers in one. So yeah, those guys downed 6 lbs of beef in record time. Joey did it in 4 minutes 28 seconds. Insane!!!



The amateurs (they had to eat two as quickly as they could)


The pros
Oh and I got to meet Thomas Davis! Cool dude!


Living Room Flood
Ugh. One night Jeremy picked up his book-bag from the floor and noticed that it was wet. We had been petsitting earlier that day and figured the dog had some sort of licking fetish. We brushed it off...

I then noticed that the entire spot where Jeremy's bag was felt a little wet. I thought it was odd so I told Jeremy. He decided to investigate a little more and noticed that the wet spot continued to Apollo's bed.  He then continued to feel the carpet and realized that it was soaked along the ENTIRE wall...the wall that backs up to our neighbors kitchen.

NOT GOOD.

By this time it was 10:30 P.M. We tried getting in contact with our neighbors but no answer. We dried our carpets the best we could but knew there was definate damage underneath. Later that week, we had our carpet removed and have been drying the wet cement that was underneath. Our house is a mess and I can't wait for it to get back to normal.



Matt Nathanson & Philip Phillips
July ended with a girls night out with Elyse. Matt Nathanson entertained us with his witty banter during each song and Philip Phillips jammed out with his staple songs Home and Raging Fire.


Matt Nathanson
Phillip Phillips
 Bye, July. Hello, August.

(this was not written by Jeremy...I'm too lazy to change it though)