Friday, December 13, 2013

25 on My 25th

Happy 25th Birthday to Me!


I'm a quarter of a century old--and I dig it. I've learned a lot in these 25 years and I'm proud of where I am today. So in honor of my 25th birthday, I would like to share with you 25 important lessons I've learned (in no particular order).

1. Be a good great friend. It seems simple but honestly, many people don't have what it takes to be a true friend, to put others ahead of yourself, to love and to be loyal. Friendship is similar to romantic relationships in that, if you work hard enough, they can last forever. But it's only friendships you can have multiple of at once without anyone getting hurt. Friends will outlast most boyfriends and will certainly outlast fashion trends. Friends should be cherished. I am a great friend. I take a lot of pride in that.

2. Gift giving is a privilege not a chore. Don't half ass it. Listen (which is probably the real lesson here) and be willing to kill yourself--or someone on Craigslist--to make it happen. Side note: you don't have to spend a fortune to give an epic gift.

3. Develop a hard work ethic and be notorious for it. When I worked at restaurants, I was always the server who could take one more table. I would pick up shifts, work late and sanitize the coffee maker without complaint. In my "adult" life, I am trying hard to have that same work ethic at home and at the office, and while it's not always as simple as life at the Ale House, I'm work my ass off to make sure everything gets done.

4. Listen to good music. Life is too short for trendy bullshit. If you ever find yourself lost or overwhelmed with options, just type "George Thorogood" into Pandora.

5. If you ever feel like you've failed as a parent, tomorrow is a new day. Children are wonderful in that they are very forgiving. Even when I'm at my wit's end and I feel like I've been really tough on Mila, she kisses me goodnight and smiles when she sees me in the morning. Side note: do not take advantage of this. Get your act together ASAP because once they start forming lasting memories, you don't want them to recall how bitchy their mom was every other day.

6. Drive the speed limit. Going six miles over isn't going to get you there that much faster, it's just going to make you overwork your brakes and get yourself stressed for nothing.

7. Scrunchies are not okay. The 90's are over, it's done. Also, leggings are not pants. Side note: neither of these apply if you're pregnant or the mother of a newborn. Do what you want, girl.

8. Pick a great breakfast restaurant and go there every Saturday (not Sunday, Sundays are too busy and you'll be a burden to your server, no one will enjoy it). You'll find yourself looking forward to it all week and your server will be grateful for her/his regulars. Speaking of going out to eat...

9. Tip well. This bares repeating, TIP WELL. At least 20%.

10. It's okay to be the one who doesn't love "more," but make sure you're willing to admit it and that you cherish the person who truly loves you more.

11. Smiling and waving enthusiastically to someone flicking you off in traffic is not only a way to cut stress, it's hilarious to see their reaction.

12. There are only two things you should remember about everyone you meet, their name and their drink (if you can also remember their children's names, thats a bonus). As a veteran bartender, I can tell you that if you remember these two things, you will be praised like a high saint. Plus it's a neat trick to order for the entire table. Side note: Allison "Alli" Cox - Absolute Mandarin, tonic and lime.

13. Read, a lot. And if you don't like to read, learn to.

14. Don't make promises you can't keep. I remember the exact moment someone first presented this lesson to me. I was a sophomore in high school, Jason Lawlor said it to me. He is one of my life long friends and someone I completely respect. Real men don't make promises they can't keep and real women, who want the respect of men, don't either. 

15. Furry children deserve equal love to human children. Mistreating them is never okay. Also, not allowing them to sleep in your bed is cruel. 

16. TV characters are not real, but it's okay to love them. 

17. Your house doesn't always have to be spotless. Life happens, we all understand, but mold and bugs are never okay. 

18. Never underestimate the power of a handwritten birthday card or thank you note. Also, handwritten letters for no reason are still cool, I promise.

19. Florida State University is the greatest school ever. 

20. Live with your bestfriend at least once. And if she has a great sense of fashion, make sure your house has an extra bedroom that you can turn into a shared closet. 

21. Your mom is way cooler than you give her credit for. Give her better hugs and mean it when you say "thank you".

22. There is nothing wrong with watching an entire season of a television show in one sitting.

23. Be willing and able to be a leader but be just as able to let someone else take the lead. You have to be able to do both if you want to be a successful and valuable asset.

24. Listen and don't interrupt.

25. Besides yourself, the only other person(s) you need to be there for 100% of the time is your child(ren). They will remember when you're not and they will never forgive you. Nothing should be more important than them, not even yourself.

❤A

Monday, December 9, 2013

Busted Ass Kia

I've driven a busted ass Kia Sorento for five years this month. The first year I was good to avoid any damage to it, except the radiator cracked and I had to get a new one entirely (a nice $400 bill). When that happened, I was stuck on the side of the highway in Tallahassee with a smoking car leaking coolant wearing my Outback uniform--not my proudest moment.

A few months later, on my 21st birthday, I got into a pretty bad accident. Actually two of them. That's when about 80% of the damage was done to my car. Fortunately no one was hurt and my car was still drivable. It was all cosmetic except for a broken door sensor, which randomly beeps like crazy while I'm driving when the door is closed, and my AC, which was stuck on heat at full blast--what a delight considering I live in Florida. I was a poor college student and couldn't afford the repairs so I left it. 

When I graduated college, got a job and finally became able to financially afford to fix up the Kia, it hardly seemed worth it. It's constantly in the shop, I finally got the AC issue solved (although it still acts up sometimes), the door sensor is rigged with a piece of cardboard and some masking tape, I'm pretty sure I had to get another radiator, as well as new wheel bearings, all sorts of belts and hoses, etc., etc., etc.

Lately it's been making this wining noise. I know it's not good. It doesn't have the pickup it used to and I feel like it's about to break into pieces when I drive over 70mph (making highway driving a complete nightmare that I try to avoid). I've been joking that it's on it's last leg and I've been saving for a new car. 

On Friday someone from Craigslist said he'd give me $2,000 for the Kia, knowing good and well the Kia has it's fair share of problems. I found the title packed away in my old college stuff and was planning to meet him today. That was until last night. 

Last night I took Mila downtown to see the lights and the giant Christmas tree. As I was unloading her from the car I heard a loud hissing, I thought I had a flat tire but sure enough none were leaking air. All of the sudden, yellow liquid started pouring from my car. I stood up an realized the hissing was all the steam coming from under my hood. 

I called Ryan at work, he told me it wasn't safe to drive. AAA towed the car and Ryan's mom left dinner with her friends to come get us. We're praying it's an easy fix, just a disconnected hose or something simple that we can repair for a reasonable price and still sell the car. If not... Well, at least I rode her into the ground. 

RIP (?) Kira the Kia
2004 - Dec 2008 BC (before Cox)
Dec 2008 - Dec 2013 AC (after Cox)

❤A

Friday, December 6, 2013

Birthday Cupcakes

Have I mentioned how much I love December birthdays? I feel like I have some unspoken connection with anyone who shares my birthday month. So naturally when three of the people in my office celebrated birthdays this past week, I thought it necessary to make cupcakes for my birthday-month kin.

 Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcakes

These Hot Fudge Sundae Cupcakes are super simple to make! The cake is funfetti, the boxed mix would work perfectly but I used a super secret (and delicious) homemade recipe created by my partner at Max and Jonah's. They're topped with a creamy vanilla butter cream, drizzled with hot fudge, dusted with colorful sprinkles and polished off with a cherry on top. These babies are perfect for birthdays, or really any event, because they are festive and OH SO tasty--I may have even had one or two for breakfast.

❤A

Birthday & Christmas List

For any of you who have birthdays in December, you know that there are endless pros and cons to having these two special dates so close. Personally, I really enjoy back-to-back days of fun and presents! All year long, I find myself making notes about what I will add to my end of the year Birthday & Christmas List. This year I found myself discouraged with the unimpressive amount of boots I have. I've also realized that gold, garnet and camel/tan are my favorite colors, as reveled to me by my list.


1. Raw Ruby Necklace - I'm not sure what it is that I love so much about a raw gem, but this ruby necklace from BubuRuby on Etsy has stolen my heart. Not only is ruby Mila's birthstone, it also represents my beloved FSU! To me, this necklace is the whole package.

2. MK Large Hamilton Tote - Somehow I don't have a gold and camel bag. How is that even possible? I've been eyeballing this tote by my boy, MK, all year. I may just have to snatch it up myself if Santa doesn't deliver ;)

3. Faux Leather Quilted Jacket - Last year I gave my mom a leather jacket for Christmas, now every time I'm at her house, I find myself wearing it. It's time for me to get my own! I looked long and hard for the perfect (faux) leather jacket, and here it is, from JC Penney--who would have thought? Oh, did I mention that it's 50% off?

4. Garnet & Gold Chevron Necklace - This is another handmade, Etsy find. The beautiful Linnea at Bird of Virtue has tons of fun, geometric, wooden jewelry. This piece in particular is perfect for FSU game day, need I say more?

5. MK Gold Twist Watch - Again, my closet of "staples" is lacking. I have a white and gold watch, I also have a rose gold watch, but just a gold watch? No. Santa, help a girl out!

6. Bandolino Riding Boots - I told myself I didn't like the equestrian style boots, that is, until I saw the most fashionable pregnant beauty (my brother's girlfriend) rocking a pair on Black Friday. Est voila, they made the list.

7. Ariat Cowboy Boots - Much like number six, I never thought I wanted a pair of cowboy boots until I bought a dress I swear was MADE for them. Now I need them. Plus, how can I call myself a "Lady Seminole" without a good pair of Ariat cowboy boots? Side note: I would be equally happy with the Sahara boots by Ariat that were recently featured in InStyle Magazine--drool, but not on my boots.

8. Raw Herkimer Diamond Ring - Raw Herkimer Diamond, get on my finger. Also, thank you Etsy for yet another fabulous shop. Now, Lumafina, please get back from vacation so Santa can order this baby for me!

9. Gold Stackable Alphabet Rings - Etsy is seriously crushing it this year. Mimic Design is producing gorgeous, affordable, stackable alphabet rings that look just like the beautiful (but pricy) ones at Catbird in Brooklyn. Santa, may I please have an "m" and a heart? Kthanks.

10. Nikon D3200 DSLR with Lenses - I saved the budget buster best for last, this is the Nikon D3200 DSLR with 18-55mm VR and 55-200mm lens (which is the same price as the D3200 with just one lens, thank you Best Buy?). This is one of the best digital SLRs for beginners, it's a good quality camera that is lightweight, affordable and easy to use--exactly what I need! I've been wanting a DSLR since high school. Maybe this year?

Bonus presents would include a new food processor, waffle iron and the other two Deer Girl prints (see below) by Alanna Vanacore available at Frame of Mind in Ormond Beach.


❤A

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Friendsgiving

I prefer to spend Thanksgiving with my friends. My parents always had their friends over for Thanksgiving, so when I was old enough to throw my own, it just seemed natural to do the same. My mom always says some of her favorite memories was spending Thanksgiving in Colorado with her little family and all her friends. Preach, Momma.

Mila and I started prepping food days ahead of time since we were planning to cook for 17 people--naturally, 21 showed up.


On Wednesday, we headed to Windemere to Chris and Dawn's house. We went shopping for last minute supplies, including a turkey--talk about last minute--then spent Wednesday evening spoiling my "brother" and his girlfriend with presents, as they're expecting a sweet baby boy.

Mila stole the show, typical.

Thursday morning my brother-in-law and I got up even before the babies and started cooking. For the record, Shane and I are a kitchen dream team. We are also a dream team at all games. We could basically beat anyone at anything. We're pretty sure my sister married him simply because of how similar and awesome we are.

BroSandwich 

Once everyone got up, there was lots of football, playing and pictures. And yes, Chris and Dawn required a dress code, no denim for girls or t-shirts for guys.



Some of our group missed the shots on the dock, due to a turkey coma.

Thursday evening ended with group bath time for the babies and late night card games for the parents. All and all, the perfect Thanksgiving--except that Green Bay lost to the Detroit Kittens.


 Oh, and the Grinch even held a baby...and his heart grew three times that day.


I hope you all had a wonderful and thankful holiday weekend and that you got to spend it with some of the people you most cherish. This group of friends has been going strong for over a decade. This wasn't our first Friendsgiving and it won't be our last. Hopefully, if we're lucky, the babies will be the ones hosting it for us one day!

❤A

Saturday, November 30, 2013

November in a Flash

November was like a catapult shooting us toward December. Now I find myself standing in the wake of it's madness with December on the other side of this night and all I can think is, what the hell have we been doing all month?

Well, here's the answer.

CARNIVALS

 Why yes, the picture on the left is one of me drinking a beer from home while sitting in my daughter's stroller. This would be a good time to mention this carnival is walking distance from my house.


HOME HYSTERIA
I swear, I walked in on her like that.



PREGNANT BOOBIE CAKE (x2)



FIRST HAIRCUT
Yes, I cut those bangs all by myself!


LEARNING TO BAKE


LEARNING TO DRIVE


CATCHING FIRE PREMIERE


MEETING SANTA


WORK WITH MOMMY
 

BLACK FRIDAY


FSU BECAME #1



...and MUSTACHES
 
The end. Bye November.

❤A

Monday, November 4, 2013

Kickstarting November

With October in our rear-view, it is finally holiday season! Turkey, more birthdays (including mine), Christmas shopping and tree decorating are in our near future, but the holiday season is also about spending time with loved ones--both planned and not.

This past Friday Ryan and I went out on the town to celebrate his 29th birthday. Auntie Evan stayed home with Mila Girl while we grabbed dinner with some friends and surprised Ryan with tickets to JJ Grey and Mofro at Jannus Live. The show was epic, they played all the hits as well as some new stuff. Ryan and I worked our way through the crowd to the front and hung out with some old hippies. It was great not being the oldest people at a concert.



When we left Jannus Ryan and I were walking around Downtown St. Pete, it was "First Friday" so the streets were closed and the booze was flowing. We were talking about which bar we should go to, but then some how found ourselves back at our car and climbing in--who were we kidding? We did make one stop before we got home, at Steak and Shake for milkshakes.

Saturday was the laziest of days--not because I was hung over but because sometimes they're needed. Jonah, Mila and I wore jammies until about 3PM when I decided that we should go for a stroll around the neighborhood in FSU gear, pretending to be walking to Doak for the FSU vs. Miami game.




Sunday started off as a day dedicated to jammies too, which quickly turned into cleaning the house in jammies, then some how evolved into an impromptu trip to the Brocante Vintage Market with Mila and some of my girl friends. While checking out at the market, where I somehow only ended up buying things for other people, a woman told us about the Folk Festival just a few blocks away. Local craft beer, art and live music? Sold. We decided to drive the 13 blocks and found ourselves turning down an alley--so many alleys in this damn town-- in search of a parking spot. We found the perfect spot right in front of a brewery none of us had ever heard of, Green Bench Brewing Co.

"Girl's Day, you say?"

In search of an adventure, we decided to stop by Green Bench before heading to the Folk Fest. This place is awesome. Not only were there tons of other kids there, they have a huge beer garden, tons of choices and a super helpful and friendly staff.


Humorously enough, MJ wasn't the only one subject to a wardrobe change, her Auntie V also found herself in a new shirt after dousing herself with her very first beer of the day. Luckly, as previously stated, the crew at Green Bench was helpful and friendly. They made sure V had a new beer and "GB" tank top just as quickly as the spill happened.  

If the rest of the month is as must fun as this past weekend, I'm going to be exhausted by Thanksgiving.

❤A