Baby Girl

This Saturday a big part of your family traveled to Greenville to discover whether you were going to be a little boy or a little girl. Your aunt, uncle and cousin came from Augusta, GA which was really special since they’re moving to Texas soon. Your other aunt and grandparents came from North Carolina, Greensboro and Charlotte respectively. Your paternal grandparents and one of your great-aunts drove all the way from Virginia! Even your great-grandparents on my side came from Charlotte. So did Steve and Larry who are wonderful family friends. So many others wanted to be there so we FaceTimed with many and took video so we could share with those too far away.

Your dad had a pool going where people bet money! More people guessed boy then girl and guess what? They were wrong. I had always thought we would have a boy but I have to say I’ve just had these feelings that you were going to be a little mini-me so whereas I was a little surprised, it actually felt right.

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Even your daddy was team blue (his shorts were pink though!)

Your dad came up with the idea for how we would have the reveal. He wanted Cookie Monster cupcakes, since you’re our little Cookie (last name Cooke), with little king’s cake babies in them, pink or blue. We didn’t find out until your dad took a bite of his. I had a little pink plastic baby in my strawberry cupcake!photo 5

We used our wedding baker for the cupcakes since our wedding cupcakes were the best we had ever had. There was a little mix-up on the order but we still had enough and the plan worked. With Love and Confection will still get a referral from me because they are just so good. The cupcakes were super cute but unfortunately the blue icing broke off and we are finding it everywhere! We will probably find it for months to come, maybe once you’re here!photo 3 photo 2

We had burgers and hot dogs which your dad grilled, snacks that several of our friends brought to celebrate (Maria’s avocado salad and Brantley’s corn dip were my favorite), watermelon, chips and salsa and more! It was a really great party and I think everyone had fun. They even brought some gifts just for you which I cannot wait to use/dress you in. Girl clothes are so much fun.photo 1

We are one step closer to learning who you are going to be as a person. Everyone is so excited to meet you and I’m getting excited to really start getting your nursery decorated and thinking about names.

We love you already!

Just for fun, here is one of our friend’s 1 year old daughter playing with your two year old cousin – your cousin wasn’t too keen on sharing her family but little L was just too cute and sweet. You’re going to be just as cute, I know it.photo 1 photo 5

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20 Weeks

Dear Little One,

20 weeks is a big one! You have grown so much and I cannot believe that you are halfway done in there! Last week we had your anatomy ultrasound and everything looked great! The ultrasound tech was really nice and loved your little feet. We had no idea that she did, in fact, check out your gender but since she didn’t say anything we had no idea she was even looking. She wrapped up that “boy or girl” and sealed it in an envelope so I could drop it off at the baker for our big reveal party this weekend. Your dad and I are really excited about finally learning whether you are a girl or a boy – most people think you are a boy but we will see.

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Your dad came up with the idea for the party – Cookie Monster all the way at a little “Cooke-out” at our house. Both sets of your grandparents are coming, all of your uncles and aunts, your cousin, one set of great-grandparents and a great-aunt plus lots of friends who already love you. I might be a little stressed about such an undertaking but will be happy to have so many helpful hands at the house. Be prepared, once everyone knows if you’ll be in pink or blue, I have a feeling the presents will start coming. :)

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Father’s day was this past weekend and I got P a card. He’s been really sweet letting me rest when I need to, lots of hugs and kisses for the belly. Plus, he painted your room last weekend. It’s a pretty blue-green color and I cannot wait to see the sheets your great-grandmother is making. It’s all coming together!

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We have had lots of visitors the last few weeks at the house and all of them always ask about you. Your paternal grandmother and great-grandparents visited a week ago along with your maternal grandparents. It was great to have help cooking, cleaning, and in the yard. Your grandmothers are going to be a big help once you are here helping your mom keep her sanity. And tonight one of my college friends who is living in Switzerland is also coming to visit! We will be definitely using all of our guest sheets this week.photo 2As far as how Mom feels (me), I’m ok. The past week or so I have struggled with bad  moods and just generally feeling in the dumps plus feeling a lot of stress. I don’t know how I am going to leave work when you come but you will definitely come first so I will! My cold/sinus/allergy issues have been bad again and the doctor recommended a nasal spray which I think is helping but I cannot be sure. Nothing seems to make the sniffles, coughing and congestion go away. I’m still working out, walking or going to the gym but my goal is to start making it to yoga on Sunday afternoons, once we have a Sunday afternoon at home with no plans. I think I’ve gained maybe 10 lbs? I’ll find out later this month at my next pre-natal group appointment. Everyone tells me I don’t look pregnant and some days I don’t physically feel it in terms of my belly but when I have on fitted clothes it seems obvious to me. I think you might be hitting a growth spurt today though because my belly has been uncomfortable.

16 weeks

16 weeks

18 weeks

18 weeks

Other random symptoms and comments: no cravings really although I did buy (and ate exactly 1 then forgot about them) Smore’s PopTarts, no stomach sickness (knock on wood), I get sweaty at night especially with my hair down, and I’m loving Snoogle! My main “symptoms” have been the allergy/sinus issues, tiredness in the afternoons/early evenings, and the moodiness. I’m sleeping better again and hope I continue to do so!

So excited to learn more about you this weekend and to celebrate with our families!

 

18, almost 19 weeks!

Tomorrow I will be 19 weeks and one week from today we have our 20 week ultrasound. I am so ready. Despite feeling Baby move pretty regularly, I feel like I haven’t connected with him/her in a while so seeing a “real” looking baby on the screen is going to be awesome. Two weeks and two days we have our big gender reveal party to find out whether we are having a little girl or boy!

Last night a friend stopped by the house (he owns Deckmasters of Greenville and Deckstore, two great companies for outdoor living whether you need product or services – they built our two decks and theideagroup built their websites) and we showed him the blue color we had chosen for the nursery. He was like, you’re giving it away, but despite our traditionally “boy” color choice we still have no idea. Girls like blue too! We will accessorize more to fit the specific gender but not too much. I took an interesting gender studies class in college while in Australia and a lot of what we learned is that we start “teaching” our children gender roles and stereotypes early on even unintentionally.

I’ve always wanted to have a boy first but now that I’m actually expecting I’m not so sure. Obviously P and I will be happy no matter what but there are some definite differences I see between boys and girls at different ages (whether you teach them gender roles or not!) and there are days now that I feel strongly it is a girl. But everyone who has taken a guess has said boy so who knows! I’m getting anxious though, I’m ready!

How far along: 19 weeks tomorrow
Gender: we find out in two weeks!
Weight gain: I was up 6 lbs at my last appointment at the end of May
Workouts: I am still getting to the gym 3 to 4 times a week and trying to walk on week days that I can’t make the gym. Weekends I may walk but mostly allow myself to rest and catch up around the house. I would like to start getting into yoga again but have yet to find a class (unheated) that works with my schedule which is super busy these days. I hit up Total Body at the gym today but it’ll be the only class I make this week. Hoping to get back into it more often but work is keeping me stretched during the day.
Maternity clothes: yes! and fortunately a lot of my dresses still work
Stretch marks: none yet, but have started using a cocoa butter, vitamin E, etc. combo lotion twice a day
Belly button in or out: in
Sleep: I think sleep is getting better but it varies day to day. Unfortunately P has developed a snoring habit over the last several months so I tend to sleep better when I’m alone in bed but I miss him. We are trying to find solutions so that he doesn’t snore or at least not as badly.
Best moment(s) the past few weeks: 
Fabric shopping with Mom
Worst moment this week(s): Ugh, I think I’ve been moody and negative the last week or so. I’m not sure if it’s hormones or just all the little things that have been going awry, cracking my phone screen, ants in the bathrooms, hurt my back (chiropractor helped greatly), some stressful meetings at work, etc. I need to focus on being more positive.
Miss anything: Not really. The ability to just move around freely, have energy, the desire to cuddle with P on the couch (which is just uncomfortable right now)
Movement: I don’t feel the baby moving but I definitely feel my body shifting.
Cravings: I don’t know that I’ve had real cravings but there have been days over the last week or so when I’ll get something in my head and want it: Mellow Mushroom, BBQ, Raisin Bran. It seems to be only once and then I’m good.
Queasy or sick: I’ve had some nausea at times but my little dissolvable pill has helped.
Looking forward to:  Our gender reveal party and seeing the nursery painted which P is hoping to work on this week. Also, some of our family will be here this weekend which is always fun.

Nursery Fabric

Mom and went shopping yesterday to start picking out fabrics for the nursery. We went to Mary Jo’s in Gastonia – I highly recommend. We also got our master bedding fabric there. My grandmother is going to sew the sheets and the curtains so we wanted to at least get sheet fabrics picked in order to help us decide on paint colors. We will go back later after MawMaw has fully recovered from her foot surgery. We felt a little over our heads figuring that out. photo 2

Here are the paint chips we landed on, leaning more towards the ones on the right and left.photo 1

Here are the sheet fabrics. The cream and teal only geometric is going to be a blanket and maybe play into the curtains? The number fabric will probably be paired with the teal geometric in a blanket or a trim fabric for other items. I love seeing them all together!photo 3photo 5photo 3 photo 4 photo 2 photo 5 photo 4

Here are just some curtain options we saw but are waiting on MawMaw to figure out what fabrics we need and how much. One whole wall of the nursery is windows so this is going to make a huge impact on the room! We are thinking cream or white with colored trim or different panels but we need the expert to help!photo 2 photo 1I’m finally visualizing everything and getting excited! Thanks Mom for your help! Now picking the paint… any suggestions?

 

Week 17 – I felt the baby!

Yesterday, Memorial Day, driving back from Charlotte after shopping with my mom for baby items I felt the baby move. Just a little poke in my lower left abdomen. I felt him again later that afternoon when napping. Today I’ve felt that little poke several times! I sometimes wonder if some of the other things I feel are movement as well but I’m not sure. This was a pretty clear little poke or bump from the inside! Oh my little alien :) I cannot wait until P can feel it too.

Quick notes from Memorial Day weekend – pregnancy brain strikes again! We left (and yes, it was a we, not just me) our bag at home for my Little MC’s wedding (ugh) and then I managed to leave my purse in P’s car when he left a day earlier than myself. Good thing my grandmother and I have the same coloring and could share make-up and I’d brought my wallet and keys inside to the wedding.

Monday, Mom and I shopped in Gastonia picking out fabrics for the nursery – I’m getting excited now as I’m starting to get a clear picture of colors and patterns. I’ll post pictures in another post just about that. Mary Jo’s in Gastonia has the biggest and best selection of fabrics – it was really fun to put things together and play. We also found our car seat, infant carrier, stroller travel system at Target. It was actually really easy. Fortunately, Mom had already been researching and I have since looked at more online and think we made a great decision. Plus it’s on sale right now and a great deal! It’s a Eddie Bauer jogging travel system only from Target. We hit Babies ‘R Us also and strolled the aisles rubbing super soft fabric and just chatting about what we will need/want. It was a great day.

Then I drove home and feel asleep immediately for over two hours. Exhaustion and forgetfulness: true story.

16-17 Weeks

I’ve actually been blogging weekly to bi-weekly throughout my whole pregnancy but all of those posts were marked private because we decided to wait to tell the world about our big news. I think I will probably keep those posts private but it’s probably time I start “the list” that most other bloggers use to mark their time while growing their wee ones.

For a quick rundown, I am 17 weeks pregnant tomorrow. Not quite showing but there is a little belly. If you didn’t know me very well you would never know especially since I mostly wear loose fitted clothing. All of my pants though are either yoga or maternity – so comfy! And one of P’s cousins actually gave me some more clothing this weekend when we were up in VA. We went up (6 hours there and 6 back – whew) to see his family and celebrate one of his other cousin’s baby showers and also one of his other cousin’s (there are a lot) daughter’s 3rd birthday. It was a whirlwind trip and I was sick with a cold the entire time but it was worth it to get up there. I am feeling fortunate though that we will only go one more time before the baby comes for our own baby shower. As much as I love being up there the getting there is rough especially right now and especially when sick. P was so frustrated with my coughing that I finally laid into him about being more sympathetic – I think that was the first time I’ve really gone off since pregnant so wanted to make note. He says I get mean when I’m hungry but I think it’s more that I just say, I need to eat, firmly. He knows to find food.

How far along: 17 weeks tomorrow
Gender: we find out next month!
Weight gain: not sure, was about 5lbs 3 weeks ago (129lbs total)
Maternity clothes: yes! and fortunately a lot of my dresses still work
Stretch marks: none yet, need to find a cream/lotion
Belly button in or out: in still
Sleep: not much. even though so tired most of the day, when I finally lay down to sleep, it eludes me and then I wake up several times during the night due to discomfort, P’s snoring, my coughing, need to pee or move, and sometimes for no obvious reason at all. I’m planning on getting a body pillow this week in hopes it will help
Best moment(s) the past few weeks: 
I think being with family this weekend at the baby shower was really nice. I got lots of advice and it was just nice to know that there is this large support system. Oh, and the wallpaper in the nursery was stripped – by someone else! – and that felt really good to know we won’t have to do that ourselves.
Worst moment this week(s): Yesterday I felt really weird/bad. Symptomatically, it was like I got overheated and had not eaten enough but since I was in the AC and made sure I was eating that could not have been the reasons. But I blacked out, fortunately while sitting, while at a video shoot at a client’s that morning and then continued to feel weighed down, tired and sluggish all day. My stomach also felt off. But it seemed to get better the later it got. I have no idea what it was or why.
Miss anything: I miss feeling normal, like myself and having energy. I miss the idea of hot yoga even though it’s the last thing on my mind since I never have enough energy to much more than just walk for exercise. I miss a really good night’s sleep.
Movement: I don’t feel the baby moving but I definitely feel my body shifting.
Cravings: No real cravings. I drove past an old favorite Mexican restaurant and really wanted their amazing shrimp quesadillas so I had one and one day a couple of weeks ago I really wanted a blueberry bagel with cream cheese. Other than that, no real cravings just a basic need for food.
Queasy or sick: See “Worst Moment.” I’ve had a cold for about a week which is draining on top of my stomach being out of whack for no reason I can tell. Heartburn and indigestion is a fairly regular companion.
Looking forward to:  Our gender reveal party next month and finding out the sex. Also, starting to figure out what we want in the nursery in terms of color and decor. (Maybe getting some of that 2nd trimester energy everyone’s been telling me about!)

I Love You

valentines day background

As P was leaving the bedroom this morning for work where I was still cozily wrapped up in the bed covers my only words to him were, “I love you.” For some reason, maybe because it is Valentine’s week, it got me to thinking about how my use of the words has changed over the years.

When I was younger I rarely told people I loved them, younger as in child-age. I have distinct memories of walking up the stairs to my bedroom after saying goodnight to my parents and telling them I loved them solely for the reason that I was afraid something would happen in the night. I was extremely afraid, like had nightmares, of death. I would go days without letting my family know I loved them and then have these moments where my imagination would go crazy, think the worst, and make sure I covered all my bases by telling them I  loved them just in case one of us died. Sounds kind of crazy when I type it out but I guess a lot of children are fascinated by and scared of Death. And sometimes we assume that the people we are closest to just know how you feel. Duh, Mom and Dad obviously know I love them… I’m not sure why they were words I was uncomfortable with but I imagine it had to do with not wanting to be emotionally exposed or deemed uncool. Silly.

Fast forward several years: I used the L word in previous “serious” relationships when I was in college when every guy you dated for 6 months could be “the one.” Of course, now I look back and think, what was I thinking! Great guys but definitely not the ones I was meant to spend my life with. I lived, loved, and learned. I really don’t remember clearly but in those relationships, the L word, was almost a pawn in the game. It was used to manipulate (not in an evil way), to get reactions, to feel like you are adult enough to even understand what you’re saying. Dating, for me, in college was all about learning about myself and learning about relationships and a lot about what makes one unhealthy. I was young. I had a lot to learn.

Even when I met P, we almost met too young. Both of us were basically just out of college and were still very selfish and immature. I’m glad we stuck it out that rough first year of traveling, long distance, and just stupidity. In a way, we both became real adults together. We made a lot of mistakes but managed to figure things out together.

Ever since I met P, I would listen to him speak with his parents and other family and always end the conversation saying, “I love you” or “I love you too.” I remember being so intrigued that he would not only call his mom and grandmother in front of his girlfriend but felt comfortable saying those words. Words that can make you intensely vulnerable. It honestly made me start to feel more comfortable with the words and their meaning. I found myself trying to call my family more, because he did, and always making sure I tell them I love them before we get off the phone. It had nothing to do with well, just in case something happens and I never speak to you again… it was just, I wanted to make sure they knew. My stance towards hugging is also gradually changing. I once, and still can be depending on the person, very uncomfortable with hugging but now it barely phases me even when it’s a client who reaches out and pulls me in.

It’s very interesting how one person (and I’m sure growing up had something to do with it) can change you in small ways for the better. I try to tell P I love him at least once a day. Sometimes it’s on the phone but a lot of times it’s just what I tell him along with “Have a good day.” I used to think that you should only tell a significant other “I love you” when it was special so that the words didn’t become less valuable. And a part of me still thinks they can be overused and grow less significant but P deserves to know, even on our bad days, that I love him no matter what. And there are definitely times I just blurt it because I feel so loved by him and overwhelmed with love for him that I have to share. It’s an almost physical impulse. The L word just means so much more to me and I am really glad that I have learned that it is a word that is meant to be shared.valentines day background

2014

New Year’s Eve. It’s snuck up on me this year. It kind of feels anticlimactic after all the traveling we did for Christmas (which was great!). I have no desire to go out, fight the crowds, pay for parking (yes, Greenville has spoiled us until recently with a lot of free parking), and also pay inflated prices because of the holiday.  So despite P asking if I wanted to go out to dinner last night I said no.

We have a good friend bringing over his date for dinner which P is handling and some other friends who were just as uninterested in the holiday hoopla coming over after dinner for dessert and drinks. Basically a low key evening. I wish I could enjoy it in my pj’s but it’s not quite that low key. I’m hoping to get home early enough to enjoy a short nap before entertaining so I can stay awake until midnight. Probably wouldn’t be a very good host if we kicked people out of the house early…

Of course, with the close of one year we are all thinking and planning for the one starting. Some people have resolutions, some people have goals, I just have a list.

Here are items I want to get accomplished on the house:

1. Refinish our hardwood floors. Due to previous owner damage and fairly new dog-digging-to-China damage, our floors desperately need some TLC. I am debating whether to just do the affected areas or all of it (probably about 1,000 square feet-ish). Do it ourselves or hire someone professional – pros & cons to both.  But after some new deep scratches this has moved up the list.

2. Build out our guest room closets, both of them. Or guest room closets are good sized but have no organization other that top shelf and long hanging bar. I’m hoping will build/install some shelving in half of each closet so that we can better organize and store items, especially downstairs which is literally just a heap of extra towels and sheets.

3. Back deck. I think P and my dad (who is finishing up his own new deck) can do most of this work themselves although we will hire professionals to redo the frame and base since their are some structural issues and it’s pretty high off the ground. This will be the 3rd and final deck we need to do until we decide what to do about the one below it off the basement. Currently, there are no issues there so it’s not on the list.

4. I want a new stove and a new dishwasher.

5. Finally remove the wallpaper in the little bedroom and paint.

These projects mean saving money. So that is going to be the big goal for 2014 – save. P is actually much more of a spender than myself so it will be us dually establishing and keeping to a budget. Last year I started moving a specific amount into savings every month. This year I’ll probably increase it.

Projects also mean that we need to get it together, and just start them. Whereas the list has decreased A LOT since we bought our little fixer-upper, a few of these are pretty time consuming and require time and energy. Both items, I feel like we are lacking in these days. Fortunately, we do not have the travel plans we did the last several months this spring so fingers crossed we can just do them.

Other general things I want to focus on this year is just being less stressed and more positive. This is a constant battle for me – just be happy. Why am I stressing when everything is going well?  Constant character battle – 2014, hopefully will become that much easier to smile, relax, and appreciate all that life has to offer.

Happy New Year!  Don’t forget to develop a plan for your goals for 2014. With a plan, success is much more likely!

Happy Thanksgiving

I do like the trend of posting every day for 25 days to Facebook during the month of November 25 things we are grateful for in life.  However, it seems like no one actually makes it 25 days without skipping a post and then they have to catch up for like a week of missed posts – this would totally be me.  Then there’s the whole thing of OMG I can’t think of 25 things to be thankful for that aren’t  kind of dumb and at the same time how can I limit my thankfulness to only 25 things (depends on the day guys).  So, I’m going to start my list here and post it once.  Please believe this does not encompass all that I have to be thankful for or that there is any order to this.

I am thankful for…

1. for a husband who asks my opinion and whether or not it is okay to buy expensive items (even if we both know he is just going to buy or do it anyway).

2. that we can afford to occasionally splurge on big ticket items (i.e. the new Xbox – not mine) and not break the bank because we are both well-employed and actually are both doing something we absolutely love.  (This is a big one!)

3. for 4 working wheels and a fast car even though we are hoping to sell my 2008 Altima Coupe and get me a new, larger vehicle. It is nice to not have to worry about how I’m going to get around town or worry about my car breaking down.

4. our house. I LOVE our house.  I thank God every day when I walk through the door and look out the windows that he blessed us with the luck to find this gem and also the ability to purchase and renovate it to our dream home.  I will be buried in the back yard.

5. getting together with old friends.  After a wedding last weekend, some of P’s friends that we had not spent time with in a while came over with their significant others.  We had a great time and it made me think, why do we not hang out more? Here’s the hoping for many double/triple/quadruple dates in the future.

6. new friends with open minds. That same night we hung out at our house we had some of the deepest conversations into well into the evening.  Oh, hello 2AM. We talked religion, we talked marriage, we talked hot & controversial topics.  I haven’t had discussions like these since college and man do I miss them, especially with people who are open-minded and just want to understand you even if they don’t agree.

7. this season. I wish these feel-good, let’s be thankful and all gather-round holidays were spread out throughout the year. I wish I had an excuse to see our large and spread-out families more often and that I was reminded to publicly (and privately) acknowledge how wonderful life is!

8. our families! Can’t say enough here. I love that my mom and I email back and forth all the time and that I can have an hour long conversation with my mother-in-law that only stops because one of us loses service. I love that my uncle calls me to talk about his coffee shop in Mandeville, LA and my father-in-law will call just to check in and make sure I made it home okay. I can text my dad for any kind of advice but definitely about house and car stuff.  I can go on. P and I both have really wonderful families – the ones we chose and the ones we didn’t.

9. my friends. I have really amazing girlfriends, most from college and a couple from even further back. I love that I can get together with them and it’s like no time has passed. That they have seen me at my worst and my best and still love me. Several of us were able to get together this year for Furman Homecoming and it was one of the best weekends I have had. Good for my soul.

10. new friends. I’ve met some really, really great new friends over the last year. Some are new to Greenville and others have recently moved but it is a blessing to have more inspiring women in my life. I am thankful for the ability to form true and lasting relationships as adults.

11. my husband. There is not enough I can say about him really. He does yard work. He is becoming extremely handy and I love watching as he puts personal touches on our house, often with blood, sweat, and tears, well, maybe not tears. He keeps me warm at night and tells me he loves me once a day, at least. He builds fires and chops his own firewood. He is one of the most generous person I know, sometimes giving me heart attacks, but I wish I could be more like him in that respect.

12. Rain so I don’t have to water our plants! Although next year I’m hoping that some of our plants don’t drown.

13. a fun work environment. Most of the day I sit in my office alone which allows me to be productive. But, I spend one day a week and visit several times a day the “other side” where my creative team sits. I always know I will laugh and laugh and laugh.

(whew, this is a lot)

14. apple picking. I went apple picking with one of my best friends in October and P’s mom and grandparents went and sent apples home with us. We have been eating our apple a day in oatmeal, muffins, grilled cheese sandwiches, and simply bitten into.

15. Harry & David pears, otherwise known as the best and juiciest pears on Earth, if a trifle expensive at $30/box.

16. our health. Even though P and I are both trying to not gain the first years of marriage poundage we are still extremely healthy. We continue to strive to eat better and be more active every day.

17. good wine and a husband who has learned to enjoy it with me. We have two wine racks in our house that remain decently stocked but we really enjoy to open a bottle and split it at home. Sometimes it is a sign of a special occasion, sometimes a rough day at work, and other times it just goes down well with dinner.

18. Thanksgiving at my mom’s house! Mom is a great cook and she always makes sure that we all, from my grandfather to my younger sister, have our favorite items on the table. I think the menu this year had 15 or so items! I cannot wait for mac ‘n cheese and Brussels sprouts.

19. for steady clients and a growing business.

20. for the Overdrive library app on my phone which is by far the most used app I have. I can download free library books, read them, and return them wherever I am.

21. the ability to do yoga even if I have been seriously negligent of my practice the last couple of months. I’m definitely going this week to make up for all the eating I plan to do!

22. fun gym classes with people who make me laugh while we get tortured. Thankfully it is only 30 minutes of torture!

23. the internet. Cannot imagine life or work without it.

24. Black Friday shopping with my mom – a tradition that we missed last year because P and I Thanksgiving’d with his family.

25. girl’s nights! And the hope that we can make them happen at least once or twice a month especially when we can do them on a comfy couch in our pjs.

and 26, just because! I am grateful for a bright and shiny and exciting soon-to-be 2014 and everything that it will bring, know and unknown!

Euphoria Traffic Jam

I was lucky enough this weekend to be given two free Euphoria event tickets by a client.  I’ve never been to Euphoria as a guest although I did volunteer to help host a pairings dinner last year at Rick Erwin’s.  It was an amazing meal with delicious bourbon drink pairings with each course.  I would have love to host another in the future.  This year I was able to attend the new Traffic Jam event Saturday evening.  It was at the Old Cigar Warehouse, a fairly new event venue downtown but they mostly used the empty lot next to it.  The theme of this event was food trucks!  Greenville has, over the last year, joined the food truck wagon and I love it.  I’ve been wanting to try some of the food trucks in town but have not had the chance yet so I really wanted to attend and try out some of the food.IMG_3596 IMG_3598IMG_3600

The set-up was really great for Traffic Jam and the weather cooperated fully.  It was a beautiful, early-autumn night.  Lights were string up between trees, picnic blankets, tree stumps, and hammocks provided cozy seating and, the best part, a corn-hole area was set up.  We spent most of our time there!  I brought a friend of mine and we ended up meeting up with some others and had a really fun time.  That fun was definitely supported by the all-you-can-drink liquor distributors there (I personally enjoyed the Tito’s stand with their version of a Russian Standard).  That had to be why the cost of the event was so high: $75!  I cannot eat or drink $75 worth, especially when it is small bites from a food truck window.  IMG_3604IMG_3611

My friend and I talked about it later – we were full at the event (probably from alcohol) but later in the evening we both had the munchies.  Thinking back we probably only had a few bites of food all evening!  A super mini taco, half a macaroni & cheese BBQ sandwich (yes, they exist), a few bites of banana pudding and some tater tots – not the most well-rounded or satisfying meal.  I guess our bellies got distracted by corn-hole!IMG_3606 IMG_3609IMG_3602

I cannot say that there was really a stand-out food item.  The mac-n-cheese BBQ sandwich was a hit but it lacked a little flavor for me (more cheese please!) and the banana pudding was good.  Other than that the food was a little unmemorable.  The booze was a hit, both the liquor and the beer.  I’m glad they offered more than  beer since I don’t drink it.  The best part of the evening was the setting and enjoying time with friends.IMG_3608

I wish that I could participate more with Euphoria.  I will probably volunteer again but this year could not because we had family in town (which is better anyway).  But, I do not see myself buying tickets to the events any time soon.  The Traffic Jam at $75/per person was one of the lowest priced events and I question whether it was really worth it – I probably would not pay even $50 to attend again.  They are high dollar and very well done and I’m sure the food is incredible like at Rick Erwin’s last year but as far as value goes for us, personally, it’s not really worth it.  P and I will spend $$ on a nice dinner but mostly just for special occasions.  This is the opinion of a lot of my peers and friends as well, that Euphoria is very exclusive and has out-priced itself from the average individual and family.  Maybe one day we will have the expendable income necessary but until then, I will take any free tickets and cool volunteer opportunities that come my way!

You can see a list of the food vendors that were there online – most food trucks post where they are going to be on their social media so it can be quickly updated as they move around the city but I think in Greenville most of them set up in a pretty regular spot for normal meal times.  Give them a try!