The Atlanta I Love.

I’ve been in love with Atlanta since I was probably five years old.

Something about the skyline driving through to Braves games or the combination of road-side farmers stands and urban graffiti. I have always loved the eclectic southern-ness of Atlanta and it was a beacon of “the good life” for me since I was a teenager.

“Man, if I live in Atlanta when I grow up — I will be the HAPPIEST,” I thought and wrote in my diary probably 50 times from 2001 to 2010.

I couldn’t wait to be able to go to The Ted on any given day of the week, read the AJC on the reg and officially be considered a peach state resident. Strange aspirations maybe, but they were all tokens of the city that I obsessed about.

I had and have been to other cities of course; but Atlanta has always been magical to me.

Growing up I would tell anyone who would listen about how one day I would probably be VP of Communications for the Braves and if not that maybe I would work at CNN. Lofty ambitions, but life is funny. And great sometimes.

You can imagine what people said when I announced four months ago that I was moving here. It was the smallest surprise of the year. Half the people I told thought that I already lived here.

Now, I live here.

Every day.

I don’t think I’m a bonafide Atlantan yet by any means. I DO have a Marta card; but I’ve never been to a number of the local institutions like Manuel’s or the Landmark. I’ve yet to really run very far on the Beltline and I’m not sure I could find my way around on the west side of I-75. I have no idea what the best restaurants are in Decatur and I haven’t been to a single festival yet. There is a lot to still see and experience on my “Atlanta To-Do List.” In fact, I probably need to create an actual list.

Related: If you live in Atlanta and have suggestions on what earns me my Atlantan certificate. Please advise.

But now on any given Tuesday I can go to Braves games, explore new restaurants, neighborhoods and museums.

Atlanta is home.

And I love Atlanta.

The trails. The parks. The history. The culture. The diversity. The food scene. The music. The access to hiking, swimming, home, friends and family.

There are so few things that could improve this city for me. (Aside from much improved public transportation. That’s it.)

But I found an Atlanta that I loved even more when Andy visited last week.

It wasn’t in a specific place or an activity. We had:

  • normal nights at home
  • tacos at Superica
  • drinks on the Beltline
  • King of Pops shade breaks
  • hikes on Stone Mountain
  • tent time at Lake Lanier
  • tomahawk chopping at Turner Field
  • picnics at Piedmont Park
  • meanderings downtown
  • sightings at MLK’s childhood home
  • lots of neighborhood explorations

It was a normal week of me trying to share why I loved this city so much.

Since moving here, it has been so fun–but I promise you that each exploration was paired with “I wonder what Andy would think of this?” or an “I can’t wait to show this to Andy when he visits.”

Can you imagine how lovely it was to just adventure and have him there to talk about it?

It was the BEST Atlanta yet.

Turns out when you combine the city you love + the person you love, it results in the BEST days. But, not to cheese ball, basically Andy and I always have the best time regardless of what city we’re set in.

I was pretty close to right at 14 years old when I thought that living in Atlanta would be the end-all to pure happiness.

But this week I saw a side of an even sweeter Atlanta that I hadn’t quite experienced yet–and oh boy, I cannot wait to visit that place again.

In the meantime, I get to keep exploring. I get to keep finding new reasons that Atlanta is my favorite. More parks to venture into and more neighborhoods to wander. More days to learn about myself in a city that–over the years–has been integral to my figuring out who I am.

While I really wish Andy was coming back tomorrow or that my trip to Portland started Wednesday instead of three weeks from now–I have Atlanta. And if I have to be patient for the day that we get to make a city ours, I’m positive that 95-degree heat, 80-percent humidity, and all, I wouldn’t take any other place while I wait.

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From My Lobster Sammie to My Boat Shoes. #CapeCodder

There have been so many  wonderful and fun adventures this spring but I haven’t been able to blog about them. Mostly because I’ve been lazy—sigh—but, I now right the ship.

One of the best parts about this beautiful time I have in Boston is that I’m learning so much about a new city––but also a new region. I moved to Boston in September being the hugest New England nube. I had no idea what was good about Rhode Island, nor did I have a consistent idea of which was west and which was east – Vermont or New Hampshire? (They look alike, cut me some slack.)

Having my car here over the last six months has opened up a whole new radius for me.

Most recently traipsing all over Cape Cod with Andy and his mom.

There had been a huge build up to May since….well, since I met Andy. (For me, May has meant graduation and Andy moving away from Boston. BUT. That’s not happened yet. Well the moving part. So we won’t talk about that for now. I’m using avoidance as a coping mechanism very effectively 🙂 )

May came.

And with it a graduation.

And finally meeting Andy’s mom and brothers.

It was the best. Such the best. And such a happiness that I immediately felt like I had known them for a long time.

Graduation was a wonderful send-off of celebrating some of my best new friends.

Credit to Ms. J-Radz. Most of the people in this photo….They’re what’s made Boston “home.”

Of course, most of my time revolved around being with this guy and his family. It was – I’ll say it again – the best.

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We have some awkward photos in our relationship. There’s a strange part of me that likes this photo though. I look proud.

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Don’t mind my mound of crap in the background. I was a working girl that day doing interviews!

Did I mention that he was also the speaker at the graduation ceremony? Proud girl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In that wave of bonding, I tagged along on a week-long road trip all along Cape Cod and into Rhode Island with Andy and his mama. We left on the road trip pretty much immediately after graduation had settled down.

And I have to say. Y’all, I pull off New England OK.

Lobstah Sandwich? Check. Clam Chowdah? Check. Boat Shoes? Check, check.

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Our first stop on the Cape was South Yarmouth. It was lovely. We stayed at the Red Jacket Resort and our view was aahhhmazing. It was so nice we went with the intention of staying one night and ended up there for three. Totally recommend.

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While it was a little too breezy for what I would call “beach time,” it was still really nice to just be barefoot in the sand. Jacket or not. What shocked me though was how clear and green the water is up here. Maybe it’s because it’s so cold…

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Glare warning. You would NEVER believe that I’m vaguely capable of a tan these days. Curses NE weather!

One of those days we channeled our inner “Wings” and went to Nantucket for the day. It involved three hours on a ferry, biking around this tiny island, finding a secluded beach where I FINALLY saw a seal (I’ve been on the look out for months) and it was DEAD. Smelly, gross, leathery, dead. Disgusting. But the rest of Nantucket was so great. Very quiet, peaceful and as New England as you could imagine.

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Andy takes a lot of naps. This is a lifestyle choice we don’t see eye-to-eye on. “WAKE UP! Let’s look at the water together.”

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We did sequence shots of Andy jumping down the cliff into the water forever. This one was the funniest. He looks so happy. HOORAY BEACH.

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So we settled on a selfie.

As we wrapped up our time in Cape Cod, we made a mecca to the homeland of potato chips. We got less free samples than my potato-chip loving heart would have preferred–but it was still a fun, free stop along the way.

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Then it was off to Newport, RI, the mansions and the cliffs. Newport is so beautiful and unique along the coastline (at least to me). If you ever want a weekend getaway that’s cozy and romantic, or cozy and fun—try that. Lots of old stuff. Fun things to see. Good restaurants and bars. And when it’s warmer there are good beaches, as well.

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Surreal that someone lived in these places.

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Not suitable for sandals. I about fell to my death a few times.

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Haha, hence I took this photo thinking it was funny how terrified I actually was. I kept thinking of some book I read in elementary school where a girl falls to her death off of cliffs. Scary.

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Mansions. These have to be haunted. But totally less scary.

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This is Rose Hill … or Rose Cliff…Andy always has to tell me the right one. Regardless, it’s where the original Great Gatsby was filmed, as well as some of 27 Dresses, True Lies and….another movie I hadn’t seen. It was gorgeous and so incredibly Art Deco.

We toured four mansions over two days. It was fun and interesting. The history nerd in me was in heaven wandering around listening to the audio. I have to say though, living so close to the Biltmore House growing up has spoiled me. I was rather unimpressed by some of the sizes haha but then had to realize that to these aristocrats these homes were just “summer cottages.” Crazy.

We stayed in an airbnb in Newport that Andy swore was haunted. It was pretty scary one night — but mostly because I think we had been watching too much “American Horror Story.”

When it was time to go back to Boston it was bittersweet having to leave and take on the oncoming summer busy-ness. But it was also a welcome to be back in my own bed.

What a wonderful opportunity to spend so much time with Andy and his mom. When you have bi-coastal families that’s just such a rarity. Who would’ve ever thought I’d date someone from the other corner of the States and have to even think about such things?

All I can say is, when I left North Carolina I knew that my world was bigger.

Boston added to that.

Going to the Cape. Gallivanting New England adds to that.

But also, having Andy does too.

My world is a LOT bigger than it was a year ago.

So, do you want to go to Cape Cod? I’m full of places that I’VE liked. What about you? I’m very open to New-England-like weekend, day and long-weekend trips. Pearl the Mazda is ready for a trip — just give me a suggestion where to go next!

The Boston Blur.

That’s what life in Boston is turning into.

I was terrible and should have posted more over my long winter break; but alas you’re away from home for four months and don’t know when you’ll be back again––so instead of passing bored moments with blog updates or scheduling time to write, you find yourself just constantly being with people. Annoying your family with closeness. Strategically scheduling friend time to catch up.

The month that I was home was weird, wonderful and relaxed. And long. Very long.

Immediately after I got home there was a wedding and parties; family dinners and the immediate holidays.

Panthers game with my Winston-Salem ladies.

Wedding with my AOII alumnaes.

It’s funny how holidays are so different in this mid-20s phase of life. You don’t have kids for there to be that same Christmas magic. You’re no longer a kid so it carries a different connotation of happiness. And all of siblings are in a similar comfortable place of contentment with just . . .spending time. No more racing each other to the living room on Christmas Day. No more spending the full day playing incessantly with a new toy (well, maybe sometimes). But it’s just different. It’s so much less pressure. And so much more relaxed it seems. I loved it. This is a pretty cool time in life with my family. We just get to appreciate the time together.

LIttle brother + Me.

The weeks that I was home passed in hang outs and work outs, basically. Running. The gym. Sitting on the couch. Shopping with mom. Eating out with friends. It was really a rinse and repeat of my life four months ago.

Eerily it seemed almost that I could just close my eyes and slip back into my old life.

But yet. I couldn’t. Boston wasn’t a dream. And Boston was going to be returned to. Instead it just felt like I was living this parallel life that no one knew anything about.

Four weeks at home.

The hardest part was probably being away from ole’ Andy. The new(ish) boyfriend and I had been together for two months when we left for our respective Christmas breaks almost 3,000 miles apart. Three time zones. We went through our third month marker while we were apart and it was just so strange to bridge that much space for such a long period of time when you’re so early into a relationship.

But it was good. The best part? Andy, total sweetheart that he is, volunteered without me asking to fly to North Carolina to ride with me back to Boston since I was taking my car on the return.

That meant he got to see my North Carolina.

And he got to meet my family. And my friends.

And now, sure he still knows who I am, but he knows a lot more about why I am.

Favorite things all in one place.

Pretty awesome that he gets to see all that and we’re only (almost) four months in.

The weeks since our two-day, 15-hour return drive to Boston have been full of watching football (RIP Panthers), getting back into a work schedule (mama needs money), readjusting to a new class schedule (SO MUCH FILMING) and having reunions with friends in the area.

Last weekend we took a short road trip to Providence, RI (hello first new state of 2014) to see our friend Jeanna’s boyfriend play hockey with the Providence Bruins. Fast forward two days later and we’re getting together to watch him play on television with the Boston Bruins.

That's not Zach fighting. But nice that Zach scored...the Bruins won...AND there was a fight.

That’s not Zach fighting. But nice that Zach scored…the Bruins won…AND there was a fight.

Rob, Rox, Andy + Me at Doyle’s.

A Sam Adams Brewery tour. A winter storm.

That was pretty cool in the last two weeks, as well.

With all of this fun though, I’m still starting to feel the pressure that this program is only a year and a half long––and I’m already working on two-thirds finished. I have my first thesis meeting next week and I really need to get rolling on internship applications.

I’m going to continue to try to be better about posting : ) Maybe THAT should have been my NYR.

Forty Days of Dating.

I am winning at the internet today. I have the BEST thing to share with you today.

#1) Forty Days of Dating

Sounds like a chick read, right? “Oh someone’s given up dating for Lent and posted a blog about it. Groundbreaking.”

But you’d be wrong.

“What do you do when you’re tired of the prospect of dating? Two good friends with opposite relationship problems found themselves single at the same time. As an experiment, they dated for 40 days.” — Forty Days of Dating

So, it’s two designers. Be prepared for so much typography porn. And the 40 days? It’s a reference to how many days it takes to break a habit. (Kind of curious that Lent is 40 days . . . some other things are making sense, but I digress.)

They tell their story in an amazing way: side-by-side questionnaires, same questions, every day. Seeing their answers next to each other and the progression of their relationship throughout the experiment is fascinating.

Timothy (the “can’t-commit” guy) and Jessica (the “fall-too-fast” girl) give a wealth of relationship background and opinions that are very relatable. If you can’t relate to Jessica on a self-perspective, you’ve probably been involved with a Jessica. If you can’t relate to Time on a self-level, then you’ve definitely dated or been friends with a Timothy.

I find it so interesting to see their approaches to the experiment; their reactions to the same situations; their worries and musings when it comes to considering the future of a relationship and even what’s influenced them personally to shape how they act and what they’re looking for.

I read the About page. I read the bios. I watched the video. And then I read (starting at the bottom on the home page) Day 1. Day 2. Day 3. Day 4. . . .all the way to Day 10 and thought, “WHERE ARE THE REST?!” I was convinced that they are going to fall in love based on this experiment, and I needed vindication that I was right.

But where were the rest of the days!?

No fear.

They’re in the midst of posting a new day every day. Today was 11. Tomorrow will be 12.

I’m fascinated. And we all know how bossy I get when I find things I like. So, go read : ).

On not writing about relationships.

This blog is aptly named “Actually on the Line” because I pledged to lay it all out there. However, all my paragraphs have fallen curiously mute on one topic in my life.

MEN.

While I’m not quite the minxy, 20-something that would have chapters on chapters to write about when it comes to relationship developments and romance; there have been compartments of the past 14 months that have gone in investment to certain others.

Yet, this is the one line that I’ve drawn on talking about my life, my goals, my hopes, my 25 by 25s, my work and my travels. No talk about love (or the hope of it).

Why?

“Aren’t you being hypocritical censoring yourself?” you may wonder.

And sometimes I think that maybe I am.

But the truth of the matter is that I simply don’t feel comfortable writing about something that is so typically emotionally charged to write about only A) expose personal things about someone else (hey, this isn’t all about me) or B) put hopes in black and white on this blog. Oh goodness, when you talk about something it makes it real, right? Please ignore that as a symptom of weariness.

I far prefer to post obscure quotes, photos or third-party dialogues that relate to my situation and passively insinuate that I have a life outside of friends and family : ).

What do you think? Do you blog about dating?

I know that I would feel far different about it if it were something established. A bonafide, facebook-official, instagram-ridiculous relationship. But simply to write about my dating experiences, mishaps, rages, swoons and dreams––oye, I already feel too personal writing that sentence.

So tell me, if you do write about those infant relationships––how do you do it? Do you worry about them reading? Or do you worry about an online track record to your dating history?

One of my closest friends in the world writes a rather candid blog on just this matter at Confessions of a Love Addict. I adore her candor and I think that’s obviously why she has so many faithful following readers; but for me I shiver to think about future interests reading about my past. Or God forbid, current interests reading about my present. (Someone thinks an awfully lot of their blog, right?)

So, here it was. Me on relationships. I have them, yet don’t write about them. What about you?

PS: Maybe I’ll break that in the future. In the wise words of J-Biebs, “never say never.”

Washington Post: “People who marry young are happier, but those who marry later earn more.”

Interesting article today on WashingtonPost.com discussing studies on earnings, happiness and perceived quality of life based on if couples were married in their early, mid- or late-twenties.

A thought on being single.

“If I wanted a boyfriend right now, I could probably get one right now. But I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to be with someone just because I’m not currently with anyone. Like if I’m looking for a nice winter coat I’m not going to grab a parka from Wet Seal. That shit’s going to fall apart in five weeks. Just like a relationship.” — Apocalypstick

Thoughts for a Tuesday.

My mind is swirling this evening, with an eclectic collection of desires, motivations and fixations. And it’s been going on all day.

What’s that, you ask?

25 by 25 List

After accomplishing so many in January with my travels I’ve now moved on to other more easily accomplishable 25 by 25 items to check off. It’s probably a combination of focus on working through the list paired with a genuine freaking obsession with simplifying my life. What am I working on?

Learn how to actually keep a personal budget.

This starts week one of the personal budget. I’ve created pretty aggressive savings goals and we’ll see how the first few weeks go. My biggest pitfalls? Bar tabs and weekly restaurant outings. If the envelope system doesn’t help (plus the spreadsheets and Mint.com); maybe Lent will. This year? No spontaneous eating out. No. Only events planned well in advance. That includes drinks! We’ll see how that helps me learn to say “No.”

When you see family members are calling, answer it. When you see long-distance friends are calling your phone, answer it. When you don’t want to call, don’t underestimate the power of sending the unexpected letter.

There’s a lot to be said for some pretty personal stationary. Starting in February, I want to mail a letter to a friend or family member to share some love and maybe some encouragement. Maybe appreciation. Or maybe just a bit of inspiration. This month I’ll send two since I missed January. You really can never underestimate an unexpected piece of mail.

Simplify. Purge the belongings I don’t need. Space, memories and people are more important than things. 

Oh my gosh, I cannot wait for this weekend. Spring cleaning mood has officially hit. I’ve been simplifying gradually for a while now.

– Haven’t used it, worn it or needed it since I moved to Winston-Salem three years ago? See ya.

– Friends who aren’t even really acquaintances anymore on Facebook? It’s been real.

– Email subscriptions that always get the automatic delete? Thanks, but no thanks anymore.

– Disorganized closets and desk drawers? I can’t handle it.

– Investing energy in projects, people or situations that aren’t building me or putting positive energy in my life? I can’t go there anymore.

Must, must simplify. And this weekend I am psyched to do some deep, deep cleaning to check this off.

Creating

Maybe it’s residual from this spring cleaning fix that’s making me want to also nest and craft a little.

How fun would it be to do some porcelain crafts like below? Maybe not polka dots, but the possibilities are endless. All it takes is a little oven time and a gold Sharpie.

Relationships

It’s no secret that I’m a happy single. But. The past few weeks a “but” has been percolating again. Darn that “but.” That’s all you get today, though.

Politics

Maybe it’s all of the “House of Cards” that I’ve been watching; but I can’t help but fixate on the ways that the Democratic party was leveraging and ensuring focus on their plans for gun control policies at the State of the Union Address tonight. I agree that these atrocious violent acts committed with firearms has to have more preventive regulation–but I can’t help but still question what is being done for mental health concerns and the other issues that contribute to the violence outside of the actual. It’s amazing the focus on violence tonight.

Random thoughts as I watch: “I wonder if I’ll ever get to see this in person one day?” and “Geeze, I’ve forgotten a lot of these faces since the election. Time to brush up.”

Lastly, Brian Williams makes me swoon when it comes to the news. He is the picture of what I think of network news. That voice. Can’t wait to go see to him speak at Elon University this spring.

There. I felt like I hadn’t written my ramblings in a while. Just a piece of  my mind.