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Friday, July 31, 2009

I'm Giving Away Money

Well, not really. Not yet anyway, but I will. 

I was going to proclaim here; "Someday when I have a ton of money, I am going to have so much fun giving it away." Then I thought you know- you don't need that much money to give it away or share with others, so I will shall proclaim instead; "Someday when I have a little more of my debt paid off and a tad bit of absolutely disposable income, I am going to have so much fun giving it away."

I think about this a lot.

Like last week when I watched this happy looking young guy on the side of the road twisting and throwing one of those huge cardboard signs outside of a restaurant to attract customers. He looked like he was just as happy as a clam. (Now I have had a lot of very un-glamourous jobs but this one to me is one of those; UGH. Would be SOO hard for me to keep a smile on my face doing this one- kind of jobs.) I All I could think was, look at that kid?! Standing outside in the sun and sweltering heat smiling away twisting and throwing. God I'd love to just pull my car over- hand him a $100 bill and drive off. How fun would that be?

Then there was yesterday at a rest stop. There I was running in to use the restroom, grab a coffee and fill up gas along with the 47,557,259,021 people on the road. As in most typical experience, there were moms scurrying kids, men looking annoyed waiting for their girlfriends/wives/daughters outside the ladies room and lines 15 deep for an egg Mcsomthing at the fast food joints. As I was washing my hands in the ladies room- the short, smiling female attendant was standing next to me scrambling to refill paper towels and soaps. Every time someone mindlessly tossed a paper towel near not in the trash- she just kept picking them up smiling and whistling away doing her job. She didn't looked phased one bit. I just thought- unbelievable. The scene was so typical and happens every single time I am at one of those rest stops. For whatever reason yesterday I just stopped dead in my tracks for a minute watching shaking my head. I finally got this woman's attention and told her thank you very much and I hope she had a great day.

I thought; God it's going to be fun someday when I can hand people like her a $100 bill, say thank you and just walk away smiling. 

I cannot wait to start doing this.

Thank you to all the people out there who bust your butts to keep our belly's filled, bathrooms clean or do any job that might totally suck, while choosing to wear a smile, even when you don't have to. You make me want to be a better person. I hope you know there really are other people out there who completely respect you, notice the good job you're doing, and feel lucky to have you as part of our day.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Eat, Run, Eat More, Run More

After I stuffed my face with that giant cinnamon bun from Frosty's the other day, I went for a run in an attempt to reverse the damages done by the delectable treat. I can't lie. It was hot and I felt like I was going to barf. It was totally worth it. Check out the road sign I found!

Funny stuff. This really was an actual road sign in use. Love it. It gave me enough pep to keep in my step to make it back to the cabin without heaving. 

Later that night I ate a Dairy Queen Blizzard. God I have some incredible willpower over my cravings.

I Love It When People Say EXPRESSO...

...instead of espresso. It absolutely cracks me up.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'm A Stripper, That's How I Make My Money

I figure if this waitressing thing doesn't work out- I can always fall back on my supermodeling career.

It's not rocket science.

You could too.

What the hell is the difference? It all works the same.

You'd be surprised.

Do you know how easy it is to do this stuff?

Yep- I got it for that cheap.

...So which of the above do you think I have said to people? 

Yes. All of them.

I have gotten and continue to get constant comments and questions along the lines of; "Wow- you sure travel a lot", "Must be nice", "Do you ever stay home?", "Business must be good!", "How the hell do you afford to go places all the time?", "You're so lucky." 

(That last one is my favorite.)

HA! Come on now. Are you kidding me?

Lucky? Yes. I guess I'm lucky that I have been smart enough (along with plenty of stupidity of course) to make some choices I have in my life. I have afforded myself the opportunity to go places and do things that I want. I'm not sure it has been "luck" though. I wonder what that means when people say that I'm "lucky." I've had every kind of job to make ends meet in the past 15 years from slinging burgers and beers to working on marketing projects and as somebody's "Toots" (they literally called me that. I was a Project Manager which in this case meant a glorified babysitter of staff and secretary.) I have struggled to pay my bills, put a roof over my head keep "food on the table" just like every other human, but somehow I am one of the "lucky" ones. Sweet. I like that. I'll run with it and pretend here for arguments sake that I am some uber lucky person. A total genius and way super smarter than everyone else walking around busting butt. Lets say I'm the magical merlin. The all-knowing. While we're rolling with that ridiculousness, I will share my secrets here. 

Next time you are:

*Grabbing your $5 Venti mocha frappa-dappa-yappa whatever delish at Starbucks and paying $10 for their unlimited TMobile Hot Spot WIFI for the day
*Writing a check for your monthly car and insurance payment
*Buying that new stylin' top/dress/pants-whatever at Banana Republic
*Out with pals having a top-shelf martini 

I will be:

*Grabbing my Tall Starbucks dark roast of the day with my 10% off card that comes with free refills. (It only costs between $1.43 and $1.65 depending on location.) I'll also be using their free WIFI because yes- you can actually get it for free
*Writing no check for car payment because I own my used Honda Civic that I paid in full on the spot for $3,800.) 
Car insurance? No monthly payment. I pay in full for 6 months because they give you insane discounts when you do that. 
*Buying something equally as stylin' from Banana Republic. But from the clearance rack. 
*Out with pals having whatever drink is on happy hour special or sipping some YUM $10 bottle of wine on my porch or theirs.

Just like everyone else, I can still get a caffeine high, drive wherever, whenever and safely when I want, I can look hot in my threads and get tipsy all for a sliver of what most people pay. And best? No one, including me- can ever, would ever or cares ever- the difference whether I spent a buck of a thousand bucks on anything. 

Yup. I'm a friggin genius. 

No, I just pay attention a little closer and take a few extra minutes for certain things. It's sure worth it to me. Come on people. It's not rocket science. I'm not lucky. I'm an average chick. I don't have disposable income, I have bills and problems and all the rest of life stuff just like everybody else. There's no luck about it. It's about being smart. I just make certain choices of how I want to live. My choices are time, experience and stuff that's usually on sale or not quite as new and perfect and shiny. Some people have to have the best and shiniest as soon as they can get their hands on it. That's Ok. To each his own. Believe me, I LOVE me some fancy and brand new cool stuff. I have expensive and "snobby" taste about some things. I just don't allow myself to practice that expensive taste and snobbery all the time. If I did, it would get in the way of buying lots of gas for my car and plane tickets so I could go see people and stuff that I love and that is so not worth it to me.

I'm happy to share money saving tricks and tips if anyone wants me to. I could teach you to save TONS of loot on the above and more. It does take a bit of effort, but if you want to stop looking at someone and thinking because they travel a bunch or have something you want, they are "lucky" just stop for a few minutes and take a look at yourself, your life and your choices first. You just might be able to make tiny little adjustments that could get you those new jeans or plane ticket before you know it.

Who needs a session? I should charge for this stuff. Maybe I'll start a side biz called "Living lucky with Diane." HA! 

Man does this free Starbucks Gazebo blend refill taste yummy while I use their free WIFI. 

(Now after rereading this post and some thought, I think I'm going to have to start posting some deals, bargains and money saving tricks and tips I use so stay tuned for some of that.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

These Buns Aren't Messin' Around

I accompanied my sibs and mom this morning to Frosty's in Brunswick, Maine to participate in their yearly cinnamon bun feast. Holy crap. Holy yummy. This sugary spot was jammed full of locals and enough pastries to make your heart stop. The cute older lady who helped us had that poof of grandma hair that was perfect for an old- school donut shop like this. My sister told me this poof haired lady had been working there forever. She was too busy serving up sweets for me to bother her for her picture though- so I opted for the buns themselves instead. As you can see these things are EEE-NORMOUS. (And those are my bite marks out of one. Mmm...)

I would like to add here that at the end of every day of my life when I think to myself; Self- you should really stop having treats and sweets and move toward an all healthy, all the time fruit and veggie diet. The thought that follows that up is; Nah- I'll just run another mile. I'm on a "live-it" not a diet. (Within reason of course.) 

Krispy Kreme, Dunkin Donuts and all others? You got nothin' on this glazed goodness. Thanks for the biggest cinnamon bun I have ever eaten this morning Frosty's. Now off to run...

Word Of The Day

LOVE this one and what serendipitous timing to the above visit on the same day to Frosty's!

sapid \SAP-id\, adjective:
1. Having taste or flavor, especially having a strong pleasant flavor.
2. Agreeable to the mind; to one's liking.

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Coast, Champagne And Condoms

Ahh... Portland, Maine today. Saw loads of great shops, restaurants, scenery, people, etc.- what a fabulous coastal city. Highly recommend this one too if you're ever on a New England tour. I'm having so much fun and running around experiencing it all (did you notice I forgot to add the photo to yesterdays post until now? Yeah, it's a case of the having too much of a good times.) so I haven't had much time to write all the gazillions of things I want to. Again I will have to say more soon- hang tight and if there's one thing I can guarantee for sure it's that I will never run out of material for my writing and posting here so I hope you're in for the long haul with me and you'll be patient.

We drank a bottle of champagne at a park overlooking the ocean, walked through alleys of cafe's as pictured here and went into this shop; Condom Sense . It was hilarious. (Don't be offended- it had great gag gifts. Even my mother came in the store with us was cracking up at the selection.) It was chucked full of things you could bring to just about any party or person for some good laughs. Great name, very entertaining. 

Summer days, the Maine coast, sunshine, a bottle of champagne with some fresh baguette and cheeses for a snack in the park, chocolate truffles, "lobstah", shopping, and still being able to get work done so as to not be complete slacker because you have a Blackberry...priceless. Now that's some quality of life and an office I like to be in.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I Love You Pinot Gris

I visited Atwater Vineyards the other day to pay a visit to a friend and taste some wine. Oh what tasty Pinot Gris they had along with this great chalkboard quote. They even have a webcam you can see Seneca Lake. from the tasting room. The view of the lake never ever gets old. It's absolutely gorgeous. 

This was my first Atwater visit, but I have been visiting the lake and many other wineries for years. There are over 30 on this lake alone. Wine tasting around those parts is always comfortable and casual as the typical air of snobbery is nonexistent. You always feel like the staff in the tasting rooms and wine makers themselves (that tend to wander through at random greeting you) are just those average guys and gals- neighbors that anyone could get along with. Love that.

Next time you have a chance to go for a trip and you're feeling like some green beauty, water, wine, relaxation and all things ahhhh...head to upstate NY. You just don't get this kind of package anywhere else. 

"If Travel Doesn't Change You...

...you are doing it wrong."

Read that this morning in a magazine soliciting travel essays.

I couldn't agree more.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Damn Inflation!

This is Willy's Variety. They used to have an entire wall of penny candy and other old school treats like Lemonheads, Fireballs, Lotsafizz, etc. when I was growing up. I thought for old times sake I'd take a stroll in there today. I know it hasn't been too many years since my last visit but looks like prices have gone up and selection is down. Bummer. Still a fun spot to get your sugar high for the day though.

Who knows where you can get penny candy these days? Maybe I'll go on the great penny candy hunt across America...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Watch This

Point Blank. 

Every time I think I am "doing my part" or consciously living on our precious planet, I come across things like this video. I have to welcome the slap in the face reality. Who am I kidding? I could be doing so much more. We all could. Please try with me. Step one; Encouraging everyone to keep spreading the word on information like this video. Two; Being really aware of ways we can produce less waste/trash. The average American produces 4.5 pounds of trash a day. Yikes. That is insane and awful.

It's so much more than trash but that's at least a start. We all have the power to make positive change. Now lets stop talking about it to be trendy and start doing it to save the place we'd all like to live in 30 years.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Still Working On #6 For You

Clearing out old emails, I just saw this one. Got it a while back after a break-up. Before I hit delete I thought I'd share. 

Glad I kept showing up for those 6am runs Neil. Who says you need to actually see or talk to a person regularly to know you have a real friend. Thanks for the love and for making me laugh!

From Neil, for when feeling blue:

1) listen to happy music
2) when you think of him/relationship, find a replacement to think about (for me, it's australia!)
3) write a little bit, but not too much
4) find someone else to go on some dates with, a total distraction. someone that you won't be tempted to talk about your relationship with at all
5) find a friend or someone to talk to, and tell them that you need them to NOT talk about the relationship for a while, and then just have conversations about nothing. and, have them be available when you need them 24/7 as much as possible. whenever you get blue, call them and talk about anything other than the relationship.
6) find sophia bush for me!!! (okay, that probably won't help you, but damn that would be awesome for me!!!)
7) know that you are loved by many, many people!
8) visit me in SF soon!

Meet Don And Doc

Don is on the left, Doc on the right. They're volunteers at the fire department in Trout Run, PA. 

I cruised by them last weekend and had to turn around. As soon as I got out of the car they asked me if I was lost. I laughed and told them of course not! I just wanted to talk to them and take their picture. Like a lot of people I photograph, they seemed a bit surprised. They joked with each other that "If she is taking our picture, we should charge her! HA!" 

They asked where I was going because of my out of state plates. Doc told me he had traveled all over working as a traffic controller for years. He was a riot. Just that jolly, I'm chillin' in my teeny little town watching the world go by and I can do that now because I have worked my ass off and been some places and done some things. Don didn't say a word. I think he thought I was a little nuts. I can't say I'm surprised. After all I was the chatty stranger who popped in out of nowhere. Hope I didn't scare you Don. Thanks for letting me take your picture. As promised, I will come find you and the Trout Run Fire Department someday and share my fortune with you when/if I make it. Until then, happy chair sitting and relaxing on those perfect summer nights gents.

Here's to everyday folks and all walks of life.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Phew! I'm Glad They Make Treat Sticks

I've been on a wild goose chase to find a place that did.

So, in case you were looking for a place to do your deer processing.

Here you go!

Yep, looks like they will cut, "rap" and freeze it for you. That's awesome. Musical and processing talent. It's like a one stop shop for all your needs.

(The best part of this photo is that I didn't even notice the "rap" until posting it right now. I thought it was funny enough as a sign in general. The "rap" just blows it off the charts.)

What's that I say? Oh yeah...

God I love this stuff.

Chop Chop

I walked by this old school barber shop in tiny Montour Falls, NY. a couple days ago. The barber pole was spinning at this place just like one did outside Al's Barber Shop that my grandpa used to take us to when we were in elementary school. My brothers would get the cuts, and Al would feed me Tootsie Rolls out of his candy drawer while I waited impatiently for the boys to be done. I had a nostalgic moment and thought why not snap a photo. Here's some interesting info. on the origin of the barber pole.

Can't say it enough. Love, love, love these small towns and their Main Streets. After the barber shop I ran into Judy; Square Dancer Extraordinaire. Good story on her soon.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'm Sorry-How Many?!

Walked by a poster for Food, Inc. today and the friend I was with told me a bit about the movie.That of course got me intrigued to look up some more info. Yeah. Wow. Talk about a movie I am going to make sure I see as soon as I can. 

Just watching the trailer alone makes me scared to ever eat anything again that's not tree bark I pick off myself. That and hearing that the modern supermarket has an average of 47,000 items in it. What?! Fourty seven thousand??!! Ew. Talk about the ultimate in gluttony.

Comparing myself to others, I think I eat fairly healthily. I do always like yummy treats of chocolate and wine and that will probably never change- but yikes! That number of supermarket items along with thoughts of what we consume as Americans on a daily basis makes me want to rethink a lot when it comes to my own eating habits. God knows what this movie will make me want to do after watching it.

Monday, July 20, 2009

What Is That? -A Raspberry?

I rolled on the ground laughing today when a friend asked me that as I pulled my Blackberry out from my purse. And he was dead serious.

You've gotta love someone who is one of the smartest, well traveled and aware people you have ever known, but at the same time could give a flip about certain modern trends and technologies.

This Ain't No Napa Wine Tasting

Where else in the world do you go to a wine festival with things like NASCAR and vineyards that chant things like "Red Cat, Red Cat- it's an aphrodisiac, Red Cat Red Cat- it'll get you in the sack!"


The one and only Watkins Glen International. Oh yeah.

In between our sips of Ice Wine and 1,000 sweet Reislings, there was a pace car ride around the track at 100mph, stickers being put on us from wineries such as Hickory Hollow that said "spit or swallow" and of course perusing booths of ridiculous wine fest shwag to purchase such as tshirts that said things like "I go both ways" and the pictured redneck wine glasses.

Pish-posh to you fancy wineries. This is how we roll in upstate NY with the locals. Absolutely freaking hilarious. Once again I will have to leave you with a "and that's only the beginning." 

So that's only the beginning. If my fingers could type faster, my camera could take more photos and there were 24 more hours in the day to devote to all the funny stories, things, people. I've got more coming about hammered attendees, some great tshirts and other bits of divine insanity that would make those wine connoisseurs who swirl too much gasp in shock.

Boy do I love that I can hang with fancies and black tie this and that and then partake in smashing beer cans on my head and riding around race tracks. I believe that makes me well rounded- right? Or confused and bipolar? Ether way I'm happy, laughing and having a great time so I'll keep rolling with it. Thanks to you out there who tell me it puts a little entertainment in your day. I love that. 

Sunday, July 19, 2009

This Is Where I Woke Up Today

In this little boathouse apartment. Can you say pinch me, lucky, heaven, is that the sound of water crashing against the shore as I am still laying in bed after I just fell asleep to a pure sky of darkness and stars?

Yes. Somebody pinch me. 

Do I say that a lot? 

I know I say things like pinch be and best ever a lot. Most of the time I'd like to have video or audio here so I could giggle, screech, dance around and clapping my hands like I do and possibly better share the moment. (I am working on it) Sometimes words can't do justice to moments and I'd like to have all the world sitting next to me just to breathe it all in... 

You'll just have to trust that even with all the rest of the crap, struggles and "stuff" that go on in typical daily life- I still fully feel like a kid in a candy store on most days. I wrote to someone last night that I am convinced that if I could take any person on the road with me and have them explore around like I do- I feel like it could open doors and eyes that never would open otherwise. I just feel like there are endless amounts of things to do and see. I'm so very thankful for people in my life who encouraged me to start exploring and continue to as years pass. They're the reason I get to wake up here today.

Onto other fun stuff. I am off to the Finger Lakes Wine Festival in a bit with a couple of the most incredible humans on the planet. 80 wineries, music, food, summer, lakes, crisp fresh air and the best company anyone could ask for? Now that's my religious Sunday!

Saturday, July 18, 2009


825 miles.

That is how many miles I drove today. It was friggin' awesome. (That is my latest favorite thing to say/write by the way when I think something is completely and totally amazingly, fantastic, stupendous and great.)

Here's a teeny taste of what I saw/heard/experienced besides this sign on the side of the road:

*Eric, the McDonald's employee in Harrisonburg, VA that was the nicest and most fun I have ever fast food employee I have ever encountered. (No, I do not eat fast food much ever- but are you kidding? A girl has to have her french fries on a 14 hour road trip!)

*A McDonald's in Pennsylvania that claimed to have a "Victorian Dining Room." Huh?

*A man walking down the highway shirtless in acid washed denim cut-off shorts and boots. (They're called "shit-kickers" where I am from. Hot.) I just Googled shit-kickers by the way and found this site for an interesting sounding "banjo-pluckin' jamboree. Niiiice. Please don't anyone ever tell me that you are bored or there is "nothing to do" in this world. Did ya click on that link? Holy entertainment everywhere you look Batman

*That song that has the line "I wanna take a ride on your disco stick" 422 times. Yes, each time I had a full-on-dance-athon in the drivers seat

*About 67 billboards with things like "Adult entertainment" and "Clean viewing booths ahead" and then some actual locations. Not sure how much I believe the word "clean" in any of that

*About 67 billboards that informed me that "Jesus Saves"

*A town called Shamokin Dam

*A town called White Deer

*A road called Grumpy Mountain Road

*A billboard that said every 20 minutes a child is diagnosed with Autism. (Ugh. Sad and a reality I was unaware of.)

*The song from Tag Team; Whoop There It is. Note the amazing lyrics such as "Slam dunk it, stick it, whip it and ride that B double O-T-Y- oh my" and "Here's a shovel can you dig it fool?" Oh Yeah. You wanna talk dance party in my drivers seat? It was on. I have no shame. You will so totally be dancing when you click on the link above. You love it

Oh and that's only 2% of it all people. I'd need years to write the rest.

Dear Honda,

The above title is the beginning mileage when I left my home in my super sweet 2000 Civic LX with tape deck today- and then ending mileage when I arrived at my destination. She drove like I just took her off the lot brand new. I love you Honda. I'm volunteering myself as a spokesperson for how amazing your little cars are. You can wrap my car with Honda logos or whatever you think works or give me a new little car to drive. I will go on the road, meet lots of people and tell them how amazing your product is.  Adventure ON! In return you pay for my expenses and I get to have the coolest life ever. I am not asking for much. I get excited over taking photos of old barns and eating dollar menu french fries. I'm a cheap date. I have no doubt I can sell hundreds of cars for you. You can find me here. Leave me your phone number and I will give you a call when I'm done enjoying my time at the lake. This could be your best marketing move ever. Hit me up. 

Friday, July 17, 2009

Me Too

This was on the wall in the bathroom where I ate dinner last night. Of course I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take a pic.

Wouldn't it be nice if this was possible?

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Hold tight.

I am about to embark on a road trip. Gas tank is full and I have my old school paper maps. It's on. I'm going to have LOTS of crazy, fun, cool and likely nutty things to share here over the next little bit so keep checking back!

If I disappear at any point and don't post like 3 times a day, know that I am loving life dancing in a field with a bunch of hippies, drinking too much at whatever local wine festival is going on, broken down on the side of road chillin' with tow truck drivers (I am good at that) feasting with family, friends or strangers, and a million other things that happen on the open road in summer time.

God I love this stuff.

Sat tuned...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What About Bob?

(Couldn't help thinking of Bill Murray hanging off the front of the boat screaming "I'm SAAAIIILING!" That movie cracks me up.)

I Just found this site and these neat bags by Ella Vickers. How cool. They are made from old yacht sails. She saves 20 thousands yards of sailcloth from landfills each year by producing these. (I'm sure preserving some awesome memories for people as well. Good stuff all around.)

Rocking out recycled materials in a totally creative way backed by Ella's great story of how it all came to be. Now that's what I call fashionable!

Dear Ella,

I'd be happy to sport one of your bags for you if you'd like to send me one. I love talking to strangers and I find it very easy to get people excited about things like checking out bags on websites and buying them:)

Reverse Retirement

My friend sent me this email two weeks ago:

I just found that I have 2 pages in my address book assigned to you and mailing addresses.. 5 addresses in total but I am sure there should be more J

My Grandma told me a few years back "Honey- I just use a pencil for you at this point."

Both times I just had to giggle and respond with "How the heck do you think I got all these good stories?!"

I have been thinking about all my crazy moves and adventures lately because of some conversations with young college girls I worked with a bit this spring. The kind that have all the potential in the world, life at their fingertips and are between the ages of 18 and 22. Questioning whether they should jump or not, they'd say things like; "I have always wanted to move here, or try this, or do that but I'm not sure..." I tell them:


Do it.


There's no time like now, it only gets harder as you get older. Listen to yourself. Go wander around, screw around, explore around, study around- whatever you have always wanted to do. Pay for it all yourself. Every penny. When anyone wants to give you any negative feedback/thoughts/opinions/ "noise",  you can tell them to go screw themselves. Why? Because you are supporting yourself, yes you have health insurance, AAA, a cell phone and all those other "safety and responsibility" things in line thank you very much and you have earned and paid for them all yourself. You'll know when it's time for you to slow down or start the next phase of your life. It's a different time for everyone and no one else can decide that for you. The time you spend traveling or studying or doing that "thing" you have always wanted to- will offer you lessons for your life like nothing else can. It is now time for your reverse retirement. Enjoy it. Be smart, keep your eyes open for opportunity (take it if it feels right), but for god's sakes don't ever worry about where you "should"or "shouldn't" be. I've done enough worrying about that for you and I can promise the worry has been a waste. Trust me.

I hope they listen and take some of that advice.

I'm thankful I got that advice from other people and can pass it on to the next "generation."

Not everyone would agree that it's the best and smartest choice for whatever successful future if you step off the beaten path and move around a bunch. Sure you might get behind the eight ball on a few things if you don't follow a certain schedule. Yes, you have to have some kind of game plan. I still think jumping is the best way to go. I'm no genius. I don't know any big secret, I just know jumping has given me lessons I would've never found otherwise. Most importantly I think jumping teaches us the ability to appreciate and understand things/life/people better and more. Now that's something I am all about encouraging. 

Go get em' girls! The world is your oyster!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What Are You Getting Up For?

I heard that question posed early this morning on a commercial and loved it. Made me think about what I rise and shine for and started wondering what others would answer if I asked. 

So what makes you jump out of bed? Post a comment and share...

"A Number 2 Value Meal And A Tour Please."

A "green" McDonald's opens this week in Cary, NC. 

Yes. You read that correctly. 

Apparently this location is going to offer "Tours of the restaurant, highlighting many of the innovative and sustainable features throughout." They're also going to have preferred parking spaces for hybrid and fuel efficient vehicles and charge stations for electric vehicles. Now I don't want to stereotype and I am all about going green and supporting the Hamburgular and Grimace, however- I'm not sure your typical hybrid car owner and canvas tote carrier is often rushing into the golden arches for a bacon egg and cheese biscuit. Then again, what do I know? Times are changing, and for the better I guess with news like this! 

I should pitch my ideas to Mickey D's corporate for company wide "French Fries and Farmers Market Saturdays" events or a one napkin per customer policy. Maybe they'd hook me up with a lifetime supply of hotcakes. We'd just have to figure out an alternative to me picking them up in a styrofoam box.

Monday, July 13, 2009

TTAA (Things that are awesome)

Feeling happy you can look back at a great weekend and be thankful for every minute of it. Inviting really old friends to meet brand-spanking new ones and having them all get along famously. Knowing that the old and new friends will likely be friends until we are all much much older and much much wrinklier. Catching up on laundry. Not waking up with a headache:)

TTAKOAB (Things that are kind of a bummer)

Dropping off a best pal at the airport to go far away and wondering when you'll get to laugh over coffee in the morning looking at old yearbooks again. Catching up on bills. Canned peas. Realizing you live far away from a lot of people you love.

...then back to TTAA...

Realizing you live in a place where you're supposed to be at this point in your life and sometimes that means being far away from a lot of people you love. Feeling so lucky for sharing minutes with incredible people who always make you laugh. Knowing there will be lots more.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

TTAA (Things that are awesome)

Waking up later than you should every once in a while. Giggling over bad high school hair in old yearbooks. Fried pickles on a patio for brunch. Relaxing at the pool reading People magazine. Frozen mudslides and live music. Complete strangers that are ridiculously nice and friendly. Watching kids splash around a pool and remembering how amazing being that kid was and how summer was so magical and perfect back then. Feeling like wow, summer is still that magical and perfect and you're over 30. Stepping into A/C after being sweaty all day. Laughing, laughing, laughing. Dinners on a pier with the best company you could ask for. Ocean breeze. Sunday nights knowing you don't have to work on a Monday. Falling asleep with music and all the lights on because the weekend you just had was perfectly exhausting. 

Saturday, July 11, 2009

TTAA (Things that are awesome)

Insanely fun and cool best pals visiting from Chicago. Riding in cars with boys. Waking up on Saturday mornings chatting and giggling over coffee about events the night before and how much of a blast you had as if you're 19 and still in college. Deep fried french toast and breakfast sandwiches with diet cokes at Sweet and Savory. Boat rides in the sunshine on the ocean. Cocktails on a patio. Getting showered and gussied up. Fantastic conversation over dinner, feasting at Brasserie du Soleil with a huge group of new and old friends, enjoying life the best way; "Another bottle please! Who wants a bite of mine? OOH this is SOO good, here- try a some! I am totally getting dessert- Ok, you want to share? We'll take the chocolate mousse, chocolate peanut butter and creme brulee please!" Laughing, laughing, laughing. A stuffed belly of really good food and drink. Booty shakin'. Riding in the back of trucks. Warm summer night air. Going to bed way later than you should.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Forget The Boardroom

I knew this was going to be there when I got back to my car. I had fed the meter a bunch of quarters, but my work meeting at the beach, sitting on a bench, in the sun on this Friday morning (yes I said work meeting) was just too good to interrupt. 

Thinking to myself as I sat on the bench in my meeting:

Shit. I think I only have until 10:10am on the meter. Don't want to interrupt this conversation. It is too good. The ticket is probably going to be 25 or 30 bucks. Crap. I literally don't even have that much in my bank account to pay for it right now. What's this conversation worth to me? A lot actually, so I'm going to sit right here and keep talking. Have fun hooking me up with a ticket- meter lady!

I am confident this will end up being one of the best $20 investments in my future I will ever make.

Now that's what I call a good deal.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Drop TOMS Not Bombs

As if I didn't think the company TOMS Shoes was fantabulous enough already. It has been the topic of a couple recent conversations I've had so I just sent the link to yet another friend. Saw this great tee and had to share. More ways to sport something cool and help a someone in need. Love that.

To all you big companies out there; How are you doing good? Hope you're following the lead of companies like these or have your own awesome community do-gooding going on.

Hats off to you once again TOMS! 

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Just click here and you're in like flynn.

Yes, my fingers are bleeding a bit for typing that. It's Ok. I'll get used to it and maybe I'll even start to like it.

What can I say. I want to go to infinity and beyond with Blue Lollipop Road. (Why do I keep quoting Buzz Lightyear?) So? Twit, tweet, twa-(whoa whoa whoa, keep it clean) I will. I am taking the help. Did you hear that world? I am taking the help and I am screaming that out loud. Funny it took me until today to realize it might take me much longer than I'd like, to dig my tunnel alone with a spoon to China.

I can't lie. I love being a stubborn ass. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

"My Acting Career Is Over!"

That's what I exclaimed, laughing after my second set of two hours waiting to be shuttled back to the set of TV show One Tree Hill today.

I didn't really mean it- but it was the perfect moment to be overly dramatic and practice my acting skills in a room full of my fellow Extras. (These would include oodles of overly excited young girls trying catch a glimpse of one of the "dreamy" main characters and the slew of wanna-be's attempting to get their feet in the door.) There I was. The one person in the room who still hadn't even -gasp!- watched the show I was about to "act" on and who wouldn't know the actors if they smacked me in the face. Last week a friend talked about being an Extra. She had hung at the beach all day, basically standing around getting paid and fed yummy food. I figured it'd be a trip to do it at some point when I had a free day and if nothing else, give me some good writing material and stories.

Oh and did it ever.

So I had gone into Screen Gems Studios, last week to register. The girl at the desk asked if I was available next Tuesday and did I have any experience being a waitress. I laughed and told her my middle name could be waitress. (How the heck do you think I paid for all those years of traveling in my 20's?) The job was mine. So there I was packed in a room today with about 50 others. There was primping and spritzing going on all over the place. It was very clear I was the rookie. The people in that room knew what was up and had some experience. They brought garment bags, books, magazines, laptops, IPod's- you name it. I felt like I was in an airport. I approached 3 women who looked looked the closest to my age and like they might know what the heck I was supposed to do, or where I was supposed to sit, etc. They were Jan, Gail and Linda. They had done this before. A lot. When I told them my part, they immediately said "OOH- you're a first-timer? And you got a waitress part?! OOH-how did you score that?" 


Apparently it's a big deal when you're an Extra and you get to even move. I had "scored" a sweet part. 

The day proceeded like this:

Us all being corralled as if we were cattle, van rides back and forth 6 times from holding tank to set, production people running all over the place yelling things that TV and movie people yell- the whole "Action!" and "Quiet on the set!" thing, a lot of waiting, FEASTING on some of the best catered grub I have ever had with the stars and staff in a muddy tent, conversations with random strangers like a dad and teenage daughter who were on vacation, (dad was such a good sport chaperoning the underage teen wasting a vacation day so she could be close to her crush. It was really cute) and of course- my stellar acting skills. 

I walked in front of the camera in both my scenes. Wow. Who wants my autograph? Get in line people, I'm a big deal around here. Next time you turn on an episode and see the short-haired girl wearing a black skirt, shirt and apron walking in front of the camera for a millisecond, oh yeah- that's me. 

If you're not laughing now, I'm not sure what might make you. The whole scene (no pun intended) from today was a crack-up. It was totally entertaining and perfect view that Hollywood is not all glitz and glamour. (Did you catch the part before where I said we ate lunch with the stars in a muddy tent? Yes, at cafeteria style tables. Very ooh la-la.) I don't want to be an actress, but I do love having a fun day that will give me some good stories. I got that and a whole lot more from the set of One Tree Hill. Not a bad Tuesday at my office.

Excuse me, my agent is calling...

Monday, July 6, 2009


I haven't posted/written in 3 days. That's the longest I've gone without writing in months and there's a reason for it. (Ok, yes- the 4th of July partying got in the way too just a little. Busted.) But really there's been a whole lot more than that going on. Clearly I needed some space from this, the complete and total meltdown that I had today and that serendipitously timed phone call from a friend I didn't expect- for me to take the walk to the end of my plank.

You better sit down for this one. It's going to get wordy. Just bear with me- I need to get this all out.

What I have written here is true, no fluff, filler or bull. I am almost 31 and I get insanely excited for things like ice cream cones and weird road signs, I see little things every day that make me giggle and want to run here to share with you. I'm quite sure these things make you shake your head or roll your eyes (in either adoration or disbelief.) and I love that. I'm good at getting geeked out and all thrilled about way more than most adults. I feel like I have the curiosity of a 4 year old so that probably helps. The truth is though, I started this project because I have felt I've always had too much good stuff inside not to share and was entirely comfortable and secure about "putting it all out there" in an attempt to encourage others to do so, but I have so have NOT been putting it all out there. 

So here's where I:

1.) Apologize to you who have been reading and thinking you're getting the full on story because I have told you "here it is!" The fact is, it's has been close- but not quite.
2.) I kick myself in the ass for crying wolf to an extent, claiming to have been as free and open as all get out a hundred times when I really haven't been until now.
3.) Thank some people who know me best (Particularly, M.P, E.P, T.B, J.F) who have called me out saying things to me like "You know other people are going through the same shit! Write about it. You keep saying you want to, just put it all out there. What the hell are you waiting for?"

Somehow in all my, I moved out when I was 17, I'm going to do what I want to do when I want to do it, I'm independent, I don't need anybody, I am totally confident and comfortable with all of myself, I'm so brave-ness, I have been a hot mess. A mess of confusion and insecurity. I've lived a whole lot of days in Chickenshitville. I guess I'm not as big and bad as I thought I was and I have needed to get knocked down a notch or 12.

Being entirely comfortable and secure about who I am am and want I want has been like trying to keep water out of a submarine that has a screen door; Impossible. I know now being completely entirely comfortable and secure about all that, takes years or often entire lifetimes if it's possible at all. I've been afraid of things even when I tried to convince myself otherwise. (I'm so good at that!) When I've thought things have been peachy in my life, I've had troubles. I've had huge issues I have not wanted to admit. Bad-ass chicks like me don't ever fess up to issues and troubles because we can fix them all alone and don't need anyone- remember? 

Obviously I've still not been ready to start being the not so bad-ass normal human me yet. Not until Meltdown Monday July 6th, 2009. Yeah. I think I officially lost it for a few minutes there. (Lesson #6,837,098,153,209; When you let things build for 30 years and try to run away, they will come and bite you in the ass with a vengeance like no other.) I guess when you try to run away from stuff, some force keeps poking until you just can't take it anymore.

Thankfully I am lucky to have a spectacular foundation to conquer my meltdown; To my current knowledge I am healthy as all get out. I have what I feel is the most outstanding family and first-rate collection of friends/people in my life who I know love and support me more than anyone could ever ask for. I've travelled to infinity and beyond, had buckets full of "pinch me, is this happening?" moments and just an all around blast and good times on so many levels. These things have given me tons of happiness, strength and irreplaceable experience. Like everybody else though, I have my moments and have gone through some serious shit. The following is a little story to start us off on a straight up and authentic foot for real this time. I'm throwing it out. Now lets see if we can get somewhere:

I got dumped by my fiance' the day before New Years Eve this year. I mean dumped. We had given up our apartment, packed up a bunch of stuff and were in the process of moving to NC so he could open his business. He woke up out of nowhere one day and dumped me. Yep. (I believe I finally used the term straight-up hosed when asked by a couple of ladies yesterday after doing my best to fluff the real story up in some other way for the past 7 months when others have asked.) I then thought I was going to die. I had packed up half my house to move with the fiance' after spending 11 years in Virginia which was chucked full of 11 years worth of friends, volunteer organizations, teams, you know- a full life. I was ready for a change, but now what the hell was I supposed to do? Where the hell was I supposed to go now that my home, our business and life was wrapped up and packed up to move and I wasn't invited in the Uhaul?! So I did what any other out of their mind, wrecked, ravaged and completely shocked dumped person would do; Put an ad on Craigslist and sold everything I owned then stored the rest of my soon to be new life at my big brothers house; 1.5 suitcases and 3 plastic storage bins and a tool box. I bought a plane ticket to Argentina and left the country a few days later. There I spent the next few weeks roaming around that incredible country (with my little brother who was there on vacation) doing my best to enjoy and breathe. I tried so hard, but boy was I a complete pile. At one point my little bro had to pretty much pick me up off sidewalk. He did the best at attempting to entertain me. He listened to me babble and sob more than any little brother should have to on his vacation. (Here's to big and little brothers. I LOVE YOU.) I Flew home early, short of my planned 5 week stay in Argentina. I was such a heaping pile of mess, I knew I at least had to try to get ahold of myself and start putting one foot in front of the other. Back in the states, I took my small bit of belongings from big brothers house, packed my little car and went to stay with some friends in Raleigh, not Wilmington where I was supposed to have been going with the fiance'. I stayed with those friends for a week because how could I move to Wilmington? The place where we were supposed to be together and I didn't have a single friend or family member? Was I trying to kill myself or something? Then I got pissed off and thank god there was an ounce of sass left in me to pack my little car back up and carry my happy ass onto where I wanted to be with or without anyone; Wilmington. So that's how I got to where I live today.

One day life seems all set. You are healthy, sure you might have some problems here and there but are happy and making things work, you have a place to live, a business, a strapping fiance'/partner, a life with friends and all the "stuff" anyone could really want, a plan, a future, a gorgeous ring on your finger- yadda yadda. A few days later you're in hysterics at an airport with the Delta staff asking "Oh honey- are you Ok?" because you know you now have none of the above and whoa nelly, life is about to get pretty darn hairy. Yep. That was me 7 months ago. 

Since ringing in this tearful new year by myself, my months have included, in no particular order:
Hysterics, 7,000,000,000 phone calls bawling eyes out to family and friends, 7,000,000,000 emails to family and friends complaining and asking advice and thoughts, consumption of 7,000,000,000 humble pies, laughter, 3 addresses and 4 different roommates, thoughts of throwing myself into the ocean, "What in the effin hell am I doing with my life?", lots of writing, new friends, anger, chocolate, frustration, confusion, despair, realization, thankfulness, hope, happiness, soccer, more tears- BIG TEARS, volleyball, time alone at the beach, time with friends at the beach, boat rides, huge crush on fantastical new guy (I know, I can't believe it either and was so not looking for it. Apparently that's how this stuff works though.), reality, learning who will be there and who won't, a 15 pound weight loss, good food after I started eating again, wine, beer, booty shaking, trip home to see family that I really needed, 4 jobs, perfecting being broke as a joke, new license plates, relationships with some friends and family elevated to a whole new level, using the mens room instead of the ladies because gimme a break- it's a toilet-does it really matter?, More tears, disappointment in myself but then real pride for the first time ever, random conversations with strangers that have changed the way I think, hopes, dreams, long car rides, fear, big smiles, running, yoga, more anger, more tears, more complaints, people showing up out of the wood work totally catching me by surprise and making me even more thankful for what I have, more fear and about bazillion other things.

And that's just the icing on the cake.

In my 30th year, life pulled the rug from under me in every way shape and form to tell me to wake the hell up. This is so completely and totally not about a break-up. It's so much bigger than that. In my 30th year I have been at a peak of misery, despair and complete hopelessness that I never thought I'd get to. There's no way I could've ever imagined how lost and alone I have felt. As I am about to turn 31, I am thankful I'm not about to turn 61 because now I have a lot more years to live better and I am learning a lot at a much earlier age than most. I don't think the ex fiance' is a total jerk. As much as I hate the saying- it is what it is. It's just life. Shit happens. Sometimes you unintentionally hurt people you love. Timing is everything. Growing up is much harder than anyone can explain, you just have to go through it to know. Sometimes by accident people drag each other through mud. It's Ok. It's all part of the package. I'm sorry too C.L. 

I've been a mess of normal cluelessness. Also a stubborn, hard on myself immature brat about a lot. This doesn't mean I am awful, it means I'm just a girl trying to figure out my place in the world. I screw up, trip up and mess up a whole lot. I'm trying my best to accept that it's all part of the package of wiggling my way into a comfy spot. This is not a sob story or pity party but just the opposite. Of course it's good therapy for me, but really I just want to continue to grow, learn and be open. I want to live the best and most authentic life I can and this is helping me get there. I hope in some way you can relate to what I write or find some enjoyment and comfort in it. Beneath the surface we all deal with tough stuff, some people are just more comfortable than others talking about it. To me, the best and deepest relationships come from talking about that tough stuff. That's where you get all the best lessons too. I want this to be a comfortable place to talk about tough stuff, and a place where I can follow my heart and encourage others to do the same. This is where I truly believe I can do great things. Today is my biggest step. I hope you'll step up to whatever you might want to as well.

2009 has been the hardest and best year of my life. I am no fool to think there won't be special deliveries of hard stuff for me to deal with in massive boxes coming in the future. I also fully acknowledge other people have much bigger problems and pain than my little measly ones. I'd just like to say I'm so beyond grateful of my recent lessons. I'm much better prepared for when the next rug gets pulled out from under me or when I pull it on myself. Yikes. As I type these last few words there are tears. They must be tears of relief for truly making my first big girl attempt in letting it all out. Thank you to every person I have spent one good or bad minute with. Those minutes have helped shape who and what I am and the good work I will do. 

Walk to the end of your plank people and get ready to jump. I don't know about you, but I'm not waiting anymore. I've waited long enough. I just jumped and it feels friggin' awesome.

For M.G., B.B and myself. For every day from here I promise; STRONG MOJO!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Food For Thought...

...besides burgers and beers:

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Meet Josie

I met her at a friends BBQ a couple weeks ago. She's the quintessential summer kid- popsicle dripping everywhere on a hot day just happy as a clam, not a care in the world. 

How adorable is she? I thought this picture was perfectly appropriate for 4th of July week as this will likely be the scene at picnics and BBQ's across the country.

Cheers to all things summer and delicious dripping treats!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Eat, Pray, Love

If you haven't read this book, you're probably either male or living under a rock. For those of you males who have read it, good job- it's not just a chick book. For those of you living under a rock? Please for the love of god just step out for a couple of hours and read it. Promise you won't be disappointed and if you are I will personally offer you a full refund.

I just watched this video clip of the author Elizabeth Gilbert. I think she is pretty much excellent. My favorite parts of her speech are around minute 10 about Ruth Stone and then when she talks about her own writing around minute 14. 

I have preached a lot to people in my life about "showing up" because I truly believe if you both literally and figuratively do that- great things will happen. Because of that, I was thrilled to hear Elizabeth end her speech with; "Have the sheer human love and stubbornness, to keep showing up."

Amen sister.

I decided a while ago, that I was going to show up here every day because every ounce of me loves writing about what I do. Even on days like today. Those days that I feel a bit pissed off and frustrated that I'm not quite yet at the point I'm able to pay my bills with this project. It's Ok though, I know it will happen. Practice, practice and patience, patience. I'm in for the long-haul. 

I'll keep showing up, hopefully you'll keep reading and the adventure continues...

Meet Matt

Title of this photo; Ice Cream Arm. (It's a combination of flavors.)

He is one happy guy scooping ice cream all day at Kilwin's. He has a theory that "Mint chocolate chip people are always mint chocolate chip people. They might sample another flavor, but they always get the mint chocolate chip." 

Friends and I wandered into Kilwin's today where we met Matt and other members of happy and friendly staff. How can you not be happy around ice cream- whether you're scooping or eating it? The smell of the waffle cones at this place make you want to lick the walls.

Nice to meet you Matt, thanks for making our day that much sweeter.

Calling Me Out

Thanks R.S!

It is Dublin not Doublin.

Sheesh! How do I miss these things? I even looked it up to make sure yesterday. What gives? I can spell. Really.