Better late than never, right? I’m nothing if not great on a deadline, so let’s get right to it.
- Dad’s Birthday: I’ve learned in the last 4.5 years without my dad that the milestones and anniversaries don’t get any easier. Instead, they become this new normal you adjust to, and you find ways to get some semblance of peace among the pain. I raised a few glasses to Slick Rick last night, on what would have been his 68th birthday. Cheers and 143 always, Dad.
- St. Paddy’s Day: In true Irish form, we mourn a loss the same way we celebrate. This year, I’ll be at a wedding, but I have no doubt it’ll be a holiday to remember. It doesn’t matter how old I get, I still love spending St. Paddy’s with good friends, good music and good beer. Slainte!
- Minneapolis: The wedding I’m attending is in the fair metropolis of Minneapolis, which I’m excited to explore for the very first time. The weather forecast isn’t ideal, but there are tons of breweries and local (inside!) hot spots to hit. If nothing else, this giant cherry and spoon sculpture is bound to give me some fascinating photos.
- “Meet Me in the Middle” – Zedd, Maren Morris + Grey: This earworm has been in my head nonstop for a few weeks now. If you recognize it from the Target commercials, you can blame them instead of me. (Fun fact: Target’s HQ is in Minneapolis!) Maren Morris’s voice is killer, and the hook gets me every damn time. I’m losing my mind just a little… if that doesn’t sum it all up, I don’t know what does.
Before we jump into this week’s distractions, I cannot sit idly by without voicing my disgust for Trump’s tweetstorm plan to ban transgender people from serving in the military. I cannot fathom the courage it takes to identify as trans and to voluntarily serve our country — then to be denied the latter for any seemingly legitimate reason. If you’re as outraged as I, please take a moment to call your representative, then sign and share this petition. To my trans friends and followers, please be reassured I admire your strength and am here to support however I can.
Now, as I’d previously planned this post… In the interest of an upcoming trip back east, I figure there’s no better way to honor it than with four Florida finds:
- #WigginOutWedding: Not that I need a reason to travel 3,000 miles per se, but my good friend Cheryl’s wedding next weekend is justification enough. I can’t wait to celebrate with her; her fiancé, Stephen; our families and friends; and to “wig out” for the new Mr. and Mrs. Wiggins! T-minus nine days to party time.
- A Snooty Statue: 69-year-old beloved local treasure, Snooty the manatee, died Saturday at the South Florida Museum. From tragedy comes triumph, though, as a petition is circulating to replace a Confederate memorial statue near the aquarium with one of Snooty. Get your typing fingers ready to sign, folks. It’s what Snooty would want.
- Aunt Amanda Babysits: Any visit home means special time with my nieces, and I’m going to be gifted with a WHOLE DAY during this particular trip. I’m hoping my mom will be on hand, too, and it’ll be a rainy day so we can just stay inside for a movie marathon. That’s realistic with a 1- and almost 4-year-old, right? Woof.
- “Sell Out” – Reel Big Fish: Truth be told, this came on while listening to Spotify’s current #ThrowbackThursday playlist. But, I can’t hear it without thinking of “cruising” with my fellow 9-year-olds and jamming to this new (to us) thing called ska. Oh, and how I’m a sellout for leaving a startup to resume my role as a corporate drone 😉
I’m happy to report I made it safely back to SF, and even happier to report my four-day migraine has finally subsided. Is it possible my silent apartment was, in fact, deafening after eight days of nonstop fun with two nieces, two dogs and family galore?
- RIO 2016: If you know anything about me from 2012 and 2014, you know “obsessed” is an understatement for how I feel about the Olympics. The opening ceremonies in Rio are Friday, and I can’t quite wait to fill the DVR with gymnastics, beach volleyball, swimming, sailing and speedwalking.
- Local Olympians: It wouldn’t be fair to mention my love for the games without highlighting alumni of my high school and college Greek life, respectively. Ryan Lochte already has 11 Olympic swimming medals, so why not add some more to the collection — and with a new ‘do? And Paige Railey hopes to sail her way to victory in her second Olympic games. Good luck, FL friends!
- Cosmo + Tasha Tie the Knot: In non-Olympics news, a good friend from my Tampa days will marry the love of his life in Napa next week. The celebrations start Friday, though, so it’s a good a time as ever to wish them well. Cheers to all this next chapter will bring, you two — I can’t wait to celebrate!
- U.S. Men’s Basketball Sings Vanessa Carlton: Is there anything better than a bunch of grown men, who are professional basketball players, singing a sickly sweet pop song? I submit that there is not. Carmelo just isn’t having it, but the other guys seem to know a good thing when they hear it.
After months of planning and anticipation, my cousin’s wedding was absolutely amazing! The newlyweds ended the evening with a firework sendoff fit for a fairytale. I’m sort of back to reality while working remotely from Tampa this week — so here are four things I’m loving while in the 813. Are you surprised they’re all food-related?
- The Columbia: We celebrated my sister-in-law’s birthday Sunday at this iconic Ybor establishment. From mojitos to the 1905 salad to “good rice” that’s to die for, it’s no wonder this Cuban cookery has been a Tampa tradition for 110+ years. Don’t pass through Tampa without stopping by!
- Moreno Bakery: What birthday dinner would be complete without a towering, tantalizing cake? My SIL’s mom provided a fantastic Bananas Foster cake that left us all with sugar comas beyond compare. I’m actually drooling at the thought.
- Publix Subs: These things have a cult following for a reason. The PubSub is actually life-changing, and being so far from this grocery store makes them all that more special when I’m in Florida. Boar’s Head Italian FTW!
- “Sugar” – Maroon 5: Full disclosure: I actually can’t stand this song (or Adam Levine’s voice, still). But something about hearing it at a wedding — or when my niece is in the car — just gets the people going. Plus, the video is just the cutest ever (fake or not).
I’ve got a fever and the only prescription is not, in fact, more cowbell. Being sick in December is litchrlly the worst, but here’s what I’m doing to keep calm and carry on:
- #AllTreesAreBeautiful: After many people took to Twitter complaining about the shape of their Reese’s Christmas Trees this year, the brand responded with a call to end “tree shaming” and it was glorious! Check out some of the highlights here.
- “Love Actually”: In my humble opinion, there is no better holiday movie. Sure, we all enjoy “Home Alone” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” but it doesn’t get any more festive, actually, than Hugh Grant dancing around 10 Downing Street.
- “Billy on the Street” with Will Ferrell: Here’s two guys who are likely to disagree with my previous statements. And that’s OK — because they’re at their best when yelling at innocent people in NYC. Fa-la-freaking-la.
- Las Vegas: I’m suuuper pumped to spend part of next week in Vegas for my cousin’s bachelor/ette party! The sights, the slots, the spirits… hope Sin City is ready for some naughty troublemakers right before Christmas!