Adventures!

Hello, O-HI-30 readers!  Yes, this is your long-lost blogger here.  What can I say, I’ve been busy.  If I’m being completely honest (and when aren’t I?), I’m still trying to figure out what I want out of this space.  For almost six months I wrote twice a week, every week, and rarely missed a post.  I found that writing this blog gave me something “to do” on random weeknights besides watching TV.  Although writing is a solo activity, sharing my life and thoughts with you made me feel less lonely.

And then I actually met someone, and aside from being great, he’s also taking up more of my time.  And that’s a good thing.  A great thing, actually!  But a side effect is that I’m finding myself with less “me” time – and perhaps less of a desire to write.  I never wanted this space to be something I had to do, but rather something i wanted to do.  I tend to view the world as black-and-white, at least when it comes to me – I don’t like to do things half-assed.  But here I am still, and I’m not at all ready to cut the cord.  I realized – why does it have to be all or nothing?  After all, there is nothing stopping me from posting twice a week, or twice a month, or twice a year (although I’d probably lose some readers in the process!).  It’s my blog, and it’s supposed to be something I do because it’s enjoyable – both for me and for my readers.

So that’s where I’m at.  I’m going to keep writing, and I hope you’ll keep reading.  No promises on how often, or what about – but I promise I’ll be keepin’ it real.  And with that, I’ll share some of my latest Adventures with you – I’ve been busy!

Dresses!
My freshman year roommate (Bradley 304 (or was it 305?) baby!) and dear friend Laura Nash is getting married this year!  It’s hard to believe this little girl is going to be walking down the aisle – let’s hope she can do it without squealing like a teenage girl!  I’m so happy for her and Kyle, and am completely honored and excited to stand next to them at the alter on their wedding day (November 14!).  This photo is circa 2006…I look much older now, Nash looks about the same!
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First things first – wedding dress shopping!  I drove down to Cincinnati, where Nash and Kyle live and where the wedding will take place, a couple of weeks ago to provide support to the bride-to-be as she tried on no less than 20 dresses.  Never being one to turn down a shopping trip or lack an opinion, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  It’s much easier being the person who sits on a comfy couch and murmurs her approval (or disapproval) than it is to be the one trying on gown after hefty gown.  Needless to say, by the end of the day, Nash was exhausted, and her entourage was in turn.  Shout out to Christen for planning a wonderful day!  I failed to capture any photos other than photos of Nash in wedding gowns, and I can’t share those on this space – don’t want Kyle to get any ideas!

Sadly, I wasn’t there to witness THE dress, which was found the following day, but if pictures do it any justice, then let’s just say that I say YES TO THE DRESS!  I LOVE it, and I’m so excited to see her in it in person.  Nash, you are going to make a beautiful bride!

NOLA
After my time in Cincinnati, I turned around and packed my bags again – this time, to fly south to New Orleans for my company’s annual sales meeting.  It wasn’t my first time in NOLA, and it certainly wasn’t my first time at one of these meetings, but nevertheless I enjoyed myself – it’s nice to get out of the office and “bond” with co-workers I don’t get to see every day (and those that I do!).

Our hotel was in the French Quarter and right on Bourbon St. (luckily, my room faced the inner courtyard!).  The best part was our meeting room – unlike the windowless, depressing meeting rooms of the past, this room was lined with floor-to-ceiling windows – and had a BALCONY.  For those of you who travel in the corporate world, you can understand my excitement!  It was sunny and warm during the day, and man was that Vitamin D appreciated during 15 minute breaks.

View from the Meeting Room Balcony

View from the Meeting Room Balcony

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Just a Random Tuesday Afternoon

Unfortunately, the food was a bit disappointing.  Perhaps my expectations were just too high – last year’s meeting was in Savannah and it was some of the best food of my life.  Don’t get me wrong, the food in NOLA was good – just not great.  Some co-workers and I did manage to patron the famous Cafe Du Monde, and their beignets were as good as I remembered.  Love me some powdered sugar!  And that’s their equally famous chicory coffee – my old boss LOVES it, but I’m on the fence.

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Also on the food front, I discovered a new hot sauce that I am obsessed with – Crystal.  It’s not actually all that hot, just full of amazing flavor.  I couldn’t get enough!  One of my co-workers assured me that I could find it at my local grocery store back home, but so far, I haven’t been able to locate it.  #majorfail.  Knew I should have picked some up when I was down south!
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As far as nightlife goes, there was some of that….a lot more for others (you know who are you are).  Sure, I enjoy going out with co-workers for a drink or two, but I also really value sleep and exercise at these meetings.  Years of traveling has taught me that exercise is the single most important thing that keeps me feeling good.  No matter how much I eat – and it’s a lot – if I can run a few miles on the treddy in the morning it makes all the difference.  Anything that can keep me feeling as “normal” as possible, which is tough when you’re out of your normal routine.  So this trip, I called it early one night, and hit up Bourbon street the other two.  I was in bed by midnight both nights, and up and at ’em by 6AM to squeeze in a workout in the hotel gym. I wasn’t sure what this hotel would have to offer – NOLA isn’t exactly known for health – but I was pleasantly surprised.  Three treadmills and also a decent weight selection – I did a mini “sweat” workout one morning.
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But don’t worry, I had some fun too!  One night I karaoked (not a word…) to “Wanna Be” by the Spice Girls with a middle-aged male co-worker who claimed he knew the words but definitely didn’t.  And the next night I danced my booty off to some of the best live music I’ve ever heard!  Check out the vodka soda my old (previous) boss got me….yep, that’s a normal sized beer.  It was HUGE – and actually really really good.  I stuck to just “one” drink that evening…
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I got back late Thursday night, and then packed up my bags AGAIN for my next adventure!

Lake
Wyatt invited me to join him and his brother and sister-in-law for a weekend at their friend’s cabin on Deep Creek Lake, Maryland.  Maryland, you say?  Yep – it was only a four hour drive from Columbus – apparently Maryland gets real skinny and comes much further west that I knew.  #georgraphylesson.  After a fairly treacherous drive in the snow and dark, we arrived at Megan and Matt’s (technically, Matt’s parent’s) cozy lake cabin late Friday night, fire roaring and soup on the stove.  A very chill weekend commenced – think lots of comfort food, games (euchre and Cards Against Humanity), oohing and ahhing over the adorable babies (both of the other couples have a baby boy), and sleeping.  I did venture out twice on Saturday – once to help the boys build an “hockey rink” on the lake, and again later in the day for a snow walk.  The ice was half a foot deep on the lake (probably more), which meant we could walk – and skate! – on the lake.  So cool, and so beautiful.
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It was a really nice weekend.  Those of you with lake houses – they aren’t just for the summer!  There was some really magical about being out there in the winter .  Very quiet and peaceful.  It was just the weekend I needed to chill out after such a busy couple of weeks.  Thanks, Megan and Matt for your hospitality!

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