Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bon Voyage

Lately life has just been too busy busy to blog about, and I'm about to fall even farther behind on blogging :) Bo and I are currently at the airport waiting to taking off on our big vacation for the year! We are headed to Paris by ourselves, and then Dubai to visit Amy & John. So excited!!

Kind of crazy to pack for a winter trip and a desert trip at the same time.

I'll be back here in a few weeks to start catching up on 2013 so far!

Au Revoir!

**This is my first ever post from my iphone...getting so advanced over here! ;)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

2012 Year in Review

Overall I'd say 2012 was one of our favorite years. It was a crazy crazy busy year - we did a LOT!!  Just putting this post together brought back so many fun memories that may have gotten lost in the blur of life had I not documented them.

Birthdays and Anniversaries

We both turned 28 this year - my birthday was in January, and Bo's birthday was in November. On April 6th, we celebrated our dating anniversary, which marked twelve years together.  On July 11th, we celebrated our third wedding anniversary. And on December 30th, we celebrated five years since our engagement. Love that all these dates are staggered throughout the year, so we are always celebrating something :)


My sister, Leslie, had a very exciting year - she got engaged, graduated UF law school, got a new job and moved back home, and we had her bridal shower! We are all very much looking forward to her wedding coming up in just over two months. Bo's sister, Dudley, moved to Atlanta in August and we've loved spending more time with her now that she lives just a few minutes away. And my brother, Paul, moved up to Charlotte with his girlfriend Sarah, and is currently in the application process for the policy academy. It was a pretty big year for our siblings!


On March 17th, Molly turned 1! A few months later we celebrated our first whole year with our sweet puppy, a day we have dubbed MPD. This summer, she had her first experience in the cone of shame. It was very sad. She had also gotten quite plump, so we had to put her on a diet and I started taking her to run a few 5k's with me. The vet officially declared Molly in the "ideal weight range" as of our last appointment a few weeks ago - whew! We love this sweet puppy more than we could have ever imagined, and I am currently on the hunt for a little sister for Molly... :)


Though technically not a real vacation (for me) I spent a week in London for work, and mom & Aunt Tina joined me. The three of us spent the following weekend in Dublin together. Bo and I went on a Mediterranean Cruise in July for our big trip of the year. We spent three days in Venice (here, here, and here) before the cruise started. Over the next 12 days, we visited four new countries. We spent a day in Kotor, a day at sea, one day in Athens, two days in Istanbul (here and here), a beach day in Mykonos, about an hour in Kusadasi, a day in Santorini, another day at sea, and a day in Split. When the cruise was over, we spent one last day in Venice to cap off the trip. One of our favorite vacations ever!

Gator Football 

This was our first year as season ticket holders, and it was a lot less stressful knowing we had tickets to whatever games we wanted to go to. The actual games, however, were a lot more stressful this year, but it's hard to complain about our 11-2 record when we had pretty low expectations for this team. So as the song goes...in all kinds of weather...Go Gators! We went to six games this year - we drove down to Gainesville for the season home opener against Bowling Green over Labor Day weekend, flew to College Station for Texas A&M's first SEC game, drove to St. Simons and then Jacksonville for FL/GA, back to Gainesville for our annual Chi O reunion, and then again for Homecoming with my family. Last but not least, though technically not in 2012, we went to the Sugar Bowl. We are already counting down until next season (on that note, Happy National Signing Day!).

Other Trips & Sporting Events

We went to Athens for the first time ever, to see the UF-UGA basketball game back in February. At the beginning of April, I drove to Monroe to celebrate my cousin Jimmy's 30th birthday with family. Right before our cruise in July, Bo and I reunited with some of my closest college friends in Daytona this July. We attended our first Appalachian State Mountaineer football game with Dudley in September. We saw the other love of my life, Chipper Jones, play in his very last game with the Braves when they lost the playoff wild card game. And we finally saw a Falcons game!

Beer & Wine Festivals 

Leslie, Mike, and Liz came to visit in February, and we almost froze them to death at the Winter Beer Carnival. We learned the hard way that we prefer warmer weather for festivals (should have been a no-brainer), so the next one we went to wasn't until Summerfest in June. Our favorites are still all of the fall festivals - Taste of Atlanta, Decatur Beer Fest, and the Highland Games.


Over the past few years it has felt like wedding season never ends! So much love for our newlywed friends and family :)

Dani's Bachelorette Party (March | Charleston)
Dani & Mark's Wedding (April | Jupiter, FL)
Lauren & Rob's Wedding (May | Atlanta)
Alana & Matt's Wedding (May | Camarillo, CA)
Sara's Bachelorette Party (May | Gatlinburg, TN)
Sara & Robbie's Wedding (June | Knoxville)
Meg & Barrett's Wedding (June | Atlanta)
Brian & Krystina's Wedding (July | Atlanta)
Greg & Lauren's Wedding (August | Atlanta)


This year we welcomed the addition of eleven new babies born to our friends, family members, and co-workers! I still have yet to meet most of them, but between facebook, blogs, instagram, texts, and emails, I sure know all about them :)  Love these little babies: Elwynn (Kiersten and Sam), Emma Grace (Jenn and Scott), Kyla (Kelly and Dustin), Evan (Kyle and Valery), Allie (Tara and Kelly), Tillman (Ginny and JM), Braden (Tricia and Jordan), Jake (Ashley and Jason), Kellen (Jeremy and Aimee), Lachlan (Michelle and Max), and Madden (Alisha and Tristan) - 4 girls and 7 boys!!


Such is the circle of life, that with all these weddings and babies, we also mourned those who have passed this year. My Great Uncle Richard (my dad's uncle / grandma's brother) passed away on April 15th (obituary here and a great article about him here). Ginny's dad passed away on August 11th (obituary here). And Bo's Great Uncle John (his mom's uncle / grandmother's brother) passed away on September 18th (obituary here). We were sad to lose these three great men this year, but we're so happy to have had them in our lives.

My last picture of all of us with Uncle Richard, Christmas 2011. He's right behind Jessie (the dog) and next to my Dad.


This year we spent several holidays here in Atlanta - Easter with friends, Father's Day with my parents, the 4th of July with Adrienne, and Halloween! We drove up to Blowing Rock, NC to be with Bo's family for a long Thanksgiving break. A few weeks later, we drove down to North Palm Beach, FL to be with my family for Christmas. And just one week after that, we drove to New Orleans to ring in the new year. We logged a lot of miles on the road in December!


After a few months of foot pain the previous year, I had bunion surgery (follow up post here) the first week of January. My recovery went well and after a few months I was back to 100%. I finally got back into running several 5k's throughout the year and my second half marathon in November. I also had a gum tissue graft in April, and shortly after my recovery got a busted lip playing volleyball. Hopefully I will have nothing to report on this category next year!

So yeah, 2012 was pretty amazing! It's going to be a tough year to top, but here's hoping 2013 is even better!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

NOLA: New Years Eve and the Sugar Bowl

Our Christmas gift to each other this year was a trip to New Orleans for the Sugar Bowl, which was on January 2nd. We *love* New Orleans, so we decided to go a few days early and spend New Years Eve there as well.

We passed the Gator band and cheerleader buses during the drive! We gave them lots of honks and Gator chomps :)

We headed straight for Bourbon Street as soon as we got in town. We had a few favorite bars from our last trip that we wanted to hit.

zydeco band

obligatory hand grenades

Most people thought this was a purse but it was actually a BYOB cooler bag :)

After a few hours of bar-hopping, we met up with our friend, David, at The Swamp - the Gator bar. We spent most of the evening up on the balcony overlooking Bourbon Street. We were so glad to be up there, and not dealing with the absolute mob of a crowd down on the street!! It was a fun way to ring in 2013.


The next day, we started off the year at the oyster bar of Acme Oysterhouse. We went there last time we were in New Orleans and loved it. Just a warning, average wait time is about 30 minutes to over an hour - even at 11am on New Years Day! Crazy, but totally worth it.

That afternoon we went to the Gator Pep Rally at the Hilton. It was okay - definitely been to better, but at least we got some free drinks and gator swag out of it.

It was raining pretty badly that night, so we found a total dive bar and hung out with some locals until dinner. Bo had really wanted to go back to Commander's Palace, but I insisted we try somewhere new. Glad we did, Cochon was amazing! So much so, that we went to the Butcher for lunch the next two days, and on our way out of town we stocked up on some of their delicious meats.

It was still raining after dinner, so we stopped in Harrah's on our way back to the hotel. Neither of us really gamble at all, and they don't even have a sports book, so we just hung out at the bar watching bowl games until the rain let up again.

And for the main event...the Sugar Bowl! The first and last time I had been to the Sugar Bowl was back in 2001 with my family when the Gators lost to Miami, one of our biggest rivals. Bo had never been to the Sugar Bowl and we were really excited for the excuse to go back to New Orleans.

It was still kinda rainy and very cold on game day, which is not an ideal mix for tailgating. Thankfully the alumni association put on a tented tailgate with heaters and all you can eat and drink - so we hung out there for a few hours before the game with David and some new Gator friends.

It had seemed like there were a lot of Gators and Cardinals fans in town over the past few days, but in reality it was an extremely empty stadium. Kinda sad, actually. Low attendance seemed to be a theme for all the bowl games except for the national championship game. If for nothing else, it made our tickets really cheap!

Anyone who watched the game or read the post-game reviews knows that it was awful. We were out-played, out-coached, out-scored....out-everything'ed. Pretty frustrating game to watch. The very first play of the game was an interception returned for a touchdown, and we had a bad feeling it wasn't going to be pretty. We trailed the entire game, final score 33-23.

Since the actual football game did not make for great entertainment, I'd say my favorite highlights of the evening were:

1) Tim Tebow on the pre-game show! We had a great view of him :)

and 2) the concession stands sold beer and spinach & artichoke dip - my fav! Helped ease the pain of the loss, if ever so slightly.

After the game we wanted nothing to do with Bourbon Street or any of the fans (ours or theirs!). We went to Bar Tonique, a local bar that we discovered last time we visited. Not a single person there had come from the game, so no one gave us any crap for being decked out in Gator gear...mission accomplished. :) They have an enormous drink menu and everything is delicious. We drowned our sorrows with a few sazeracs, a New Orleans specialty.

We had a great time in New Orleans and are still glad we went. I know you all probably think we are crazy, but we've seen plenty of losses over the years so for big games like this we are glad to have made a trip out of it so that it wasn't all for nothing. Until next season...only 209 days to go!