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Happy 2013! Several people have asked me if I received my sign that I wrote about a few days ago, and I actually never did. Which is a sign in itself, I know. I think I made a good decision even though it wasn’t the one I had hoped to make. I feel good about it, but hopefully something works out soon in the near future.
We are on our way back to Birmingham after a fun vacation in Topsail State Park for New Years. I had my last run of 2013 yesterday on the beach, and it was absolutely perfect. The temperature was mild, the sun was peaking through the clouds at the ocean, and I was one of the very few people out taking advantage of the last evening of the year next to the water. When I looked both directions, I couldn’t see another person for a long distance. It was an amazing feeling. I thought about how lucky I had been in 2012, and how grateful I was to be right there at that very moment. Sometimes having a little alone time helps put things into perspective. That’s one of the reasons why I love running so much.
Since I missed the last day or two while being on vacation, I am going to do two flashbacks and two resolutions today and tomorrow (for a total of four each).
2013 Quest #2:
WRITE A BOOK. Gosh dang it. I know that’s been a resolution of mine for a few years now, but I feel closer than ever. I’ve changed my idea, which most of you already know. Instead of writing a book based on my blog, I want to do my original concept of writing a fictional period piece on prostitution at the turn of the 19th century in New Orleans. I am obsessed with my topic, and am knee-deep in research. As an accountability tool I am going to put $200 in a savings account for each chapter I finish, which I can’t access until I am completely done with the book. I would have to write 1.7 chapters a month for 10 months to get seventeen chapters. That would leave me another month or two in the year to edit and clean up before submitting a first draft. I am not going to worry too much at this time on the publication process.
2013 Quest #3:
I am going to do a 365 day challenge where I write a fortune a day, including lucky numbers. It will go live tonight, so I will post a link via Twitter once the Tumblr site is up. I really love encouraging thoughts and predictions, so I am going to give a stab at writing my own. They will have a character limit of 140. I am so excited to start doing this!!
2012 Flashback #2:
In 2012 one of my most lucky life moments happened – I got to meet James Martin. Of course it happened very randomly, and could have very easily not happened at all. He was passing through town working on the Something in Particular documentary with his two co creators, and they stayed with and interviewed one of my best friends – Vero. On one of our morning runs Vero invited me to eat dinner with them since I too am a filmmaker. Since that first meeting, we’ve talked every day since. We have been on so many adventures in a short amount of time, and my world has changed dramatically since he entered it.
2012 Flashback #3:
Since being with James, I’ve discovered the joy and love of cooking and eating in a whole new way. And with that passion has come initiatives that I never could have imagined that I would pursue. I’ve met chefs, food enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. I even find happiness now in cleaning dishes, or thinking about how a finished dish is presented. I’m glad that I’m not afraid of food anymore, and that I’ve released its power to make me feel a certain way. I still need to find balance with my intake/output, but that isn’t far behind. I have met so many foodies who are healthy in weight and overall fitness. I find that very encouraging! You can have your cake, and eat it too.
The days are moving by quickly here in Destin, where I am spending the New Years holiday with my family and James. So far today James and I have gone exploring in the state park (and found an alligator marsh!), traveled to Destin for lunch at The Back Porch, and risked our lives by attempting to buy something at the outlet mall for our family photo shoot tomorrow on the beach. I really, really despise shopping at overly crowded places…but, it was a practice of patience for me. Now we are back, chilling in the quiet afternoon, watching the sun set on what’s already been an amazing day.
Before I get into my first flashback & quest, I wanted to share something fun – my siblings and I (plus our boo’s) are having a competition to see who can make the best tasting and looking breakfast. James and I drew the first morning, and luckily we’ve been prepared via a Google doc for over a month now. ;) We decided to do breakfast parfaits in mason jars with layers of goodness (from bottom to top): strawberry jam, crumbled country biscuits, white gravy, spicy sausage, hash browns, shredded cheddar, fried egg and topped off with hollandaise sauce! The rims of the mason jars were dipped in raw sugar and garnished with a slice of lime and grapefruit. It was a lot of fun to make, easy to execute and absolutely delicious. I attached a photo below. We had one more ingredient that we totally forgot to add and was ready to go – crumbled fruity pebbles (only the green) to sprinkle on the very top. It would have added a little color and been fun to talk about. Oh well… next time!
2013 Quest #1:
Speaking of food, 2012 has been the year for eating. Which has been really wonderful in a lot of ways, I’ve learned so many new things and met so many people through my food adventures with James. It has been a great source of happiness to share the eating experience with others, I wouldn’t take a second of it back. However, I do need to lose a little bit of weight due to being a little overindulgent. Luckily I don’t think this will be too hard of a task. I’m already in decent shape, and with my Half Ironman training I know that I will be more health conscious in the coming months. I know this blog started off as an accountability tool to lose weight, but I don’t want to turn it back into that again. However, I do plan to keep you guys updated on my return back to peak health! So for 2013, I want to learn how to balance my new passion for food with the importance of maintaining an ideal body weight range.
2012 Flashback #1:
This year my sweet red-headed niece Lucy Bug was born. I wasn’t there for the birth like I was for Anna, instead I arrived later that day to spend the first night with Christy in the hospital. There I got to snuggle with a Bug and spend my first one-on-one time with her. Lucy is now almost 6 months old and couldn’t be any sweeter. Little human beings are so special…there is something in their eyes that seems to be forgotten in the aging process, but once you hold a baby you are reconnected with that powerful purpose. The purpose of our existence, the reasons we are so unique, and the knowledge that we will continue on for a very long time because of these young ones. Lucy reminds me of how important my own life is.
Tomorrow is the end of the world (or today if you live on the other side of the planet)! Then we are all formally invited to the zombie apocalypse on Saturday, midnight respectively for each time zone. As if we didn’t already have enough going on this holiday season. However, I do love the Halloween spirit spillover! I hope some people decide to dress up for the occasion.
If it were truly the end, how would you spend your last day? It seems like a cheesy question, but there are people every day who have to face this reality. Some of us will be living our last day without even knowing it. If I knew for a fact that this was my last day, these are some of the things I’d want to do:
1. Wake up with James by my side.
2. Have breakfast with eggs prepared every way possible. Dad’s sheep herder spuds on the side.
3. Do a long run with Vero & Brandi. Feel the wind hitting my face.
4. Play hide and go seek with Lily and Anna.
5. Watch Lucy being a baby.
6. Love on a Baby Kitty.
7. Eat the burger at Saw’s for lunch.
8. Have a beer at Avondale Brewery.
9. Listen to good music. Dance.
10. Spend most of the day with my family in my parent’s house, just being together.
11. Eat dinner with James at Ollie Irene. Have homemade apple pie a la mode at Chez Lulu.
12. Meet my friends for drinks at Rojo. I’ll have a prosseco, please.
13. Tell everyone I love how important they are to me. Tell them to go forward living their best life possible.
14. Document my last day on film with a fun goodbye message at the end.
15. Go to bed with James by my side, and a smile on my face.
How would you spend your last day? Something to think about.
What an amazing weekend in Atlanta! James and I kicked off our first Twelve Supper, which was a huge success and so much fun. Thanks to everyone who attended! We are going to host our next one in Birmingham on January 27th, so if you are interested please sign up on our mailing list. There has already been a big response, so if you happen to miss out this time around we will do another one very soon in Birmingham. The next supper in Atlanta will be a vegetarian meal with a date TBA in February. We posted a fun blog entry on our inaugural dinner experience here, and you can also view the finished dishes and recipes on Pinterest. I can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store for our fun little food project.
For my dish, I made an egg drop soup with chopped bok choy and spring onion topped with a sesame wonton candy that you could either eat separately or let dissolve in the hot liquid. I was originally going to do a savory cotton candy, but the texture came out a little differently than I expected. I got my soup recipe here, and my candy recipe on this site. The soup was super easy to make, and I seasoned it with soy sauce and sesame oil (which I am totally obsessed with). Bok choy is very much like cabbage, and I can’t wait to cook more with it in the future.
This weekend I am rolling up to Nashville with James to see a handful of really good friends before Christmas. James will head on home to Cincinnati from there and I will come back to Birmingham for the holidays with a quick trip to see my sister and her family in Columbus. Lots of activity to come! Also, after Christmas, my official Half Ironman training will begin. I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve decided to hold off on the marathon until later in 2013, even though my running is still going strong. I want to build back up a little slower just as an extra precaution for my knee. Every now and then it gets a tad sore, but it’s usually from something that I could have anticipated – like running downhill.
I will be having a quiet New Years on the beach this year with my family and James. I’m happy about that because usually I put so many expectations on that night…so this year I will be able to relax a little and succumb to my environment. There is something awesome too about being in front of the wide ocean as you welcome in a new year. What new shores will you reach? How will you get there? Which direction will you go in first? I’m ready for my new adventures.
Exciting news! James and I have started a fun dinner/potluck series called Twelve, and our inaugural dinner is this Sunday in Atlanta. The concept is built around the idea of twelve people (us + 10 others) bringing a dish, and everyone is assigned a specific word and course as inspiration. You don’t have to be a chef or excellent cook to attend, it’s more about the fun, creativity and community than anything else.
The plans for 2013 are to alternate every other month in Atlanta, with various wanderments in other southern cities during off months. Our first southern city is, of course, Birmingham in January, so stay tuned for an official announcement with date and location soon! Anyone is invited, first come first serve. If you are interested in attending one, please join our email list here. Atlanta is already full for this Sunday. Please follow the creations via our hashtag #twelvesupper as people prepare for the kick-off this weekend! My assigned word is chaos in course 4, and I’m pretty excited for the dish I have planned. I will share the recipe once dinner is served…
Anyone else overwhelmed yet with the current and upcoming December holiday happenings? It’s mostly all good, but it’s also impossible to do everything you’d like. The most important thing to remember is to relax and try to enjoy every moment you’re allowed to share with others.
My favorite part about Christmas is the tree. I love the smell of pine, homemade ornaments and the way the tree twinkles in the evening light. My mom’s tree is always my favorite as she’s kept so many interesting ornaments over the years. The funniest ones are from when we were kids…the best were the cookies that eventually dwindled down to crumbs dangling from a hook. At least I think they were once cookies, I guess it could have been something else that lost complete recognition. When I was a kid I would just sit under the tree and stare at it for hours. It was a symbol of magic and happiness for me. Still is to this day, actually.
This past weekend James and I worked on our first collaborative pieces together for a We&Co holiday project that they plan to give to their employees as end of the year gifts. Our word assignment was service, which is an important concept to remember during the holiday season. James was nice enough to include me in the project, because honestly his word art can stand alone. I did a watercolor base in the company colors with a distressed texture, then he did his xerox transfers on top. We spent the better part of Sunday creating 35 unique pieces for them, which I was really proud of in the end. I think they all turned out beautiful. We are going to put the money we earned into our travel jar which will hopefully help fund our big trip next fall to Portland and Seattle. It was so much fun to pick up a paintbrush again, I’m looking forward to doing more projects like this one in the future.
The concept of collaboration is an interesting one. I am usually super protective of my personal creative work until it is close to being finished. The idea of a first impression was always really important to me…so if someone saw my work incomplete it made me feel very vulnerable. That’s one amazing thing that I’ve learned from James, the concept of letting another person in on the process. To let them see my mistakes as I go along and be ok with it. He has been very open with me from the very beginning, and it’s one of the things I love most about him. Crush was also a successful collaboration between me and another director – Rebecca Pugh. Working intimately with another person isn’t without it’s own unique challenges, but the rewards are two-fold when you get to share the success with a partner who has been along for the same journey.
December and January are probably the most interesting pair out of all the months of the year. December is mostly about endings – things slow down… yet we have to get our boards ready to hop the wave known as January as to not miss the tide. December is about reflection and preparation, January about action and the beginnings of momentum. Why do we place such enormous focus on starting over? Out of all the time oriented goals I have and keep, my yearly ones are the most significant to me. You can do a lot in 365 days. You can make a movie, write a book, change the way you look, change your direction in life, go from being single to having a family… almost anything. It’s as if the universe knew the importance of the calendar year on human life. We only get so many – and you never know which one will be your best or last. To me, a year falls somewhere in between a short-term and a long-term goal…the foundation of what dreams and hopes can be based on. You can break a year down, and you can look at them in blocks for the future. I am a super goal geek, so December ends up being one of my favorite months of the year. I love to look ahead and think of all the possibilities for my life that I have control over. It’s a challenge of sorts, really. In x amount of time…what can you achieve? By the end of the month I will have my new resolutions – some of which will turn into new opportunities and others which might not take off at all. Next December, I will see what worked and what didn’t and change my path accordingly. Honestly, I couldn’t have predicted what an amazing year 2012 ended up being for me. There are so many wonderful things that I can’t wait to recap and share in the coming weeks. 2011 was much different, very hard but necessary in many ways. That’s how we grow though, through the good and the bad. As I get another year under my belt, I feel like I am even more prepared to run out of the gates with a clearer path. Obstacles that would have grounded me in the past are easier to fly by. The course is more challenging, but I am more prepared. I’m excited to see what 2013 has up its sleeve…
A quick note, Rebecca and I learned this week that Crush has been accepted into the Oxford Film Festival in February! We are rounding out our festival year, and Crush has had an amazing run. We couldn’t be more proud of our short film. For you Birmingham folks, stay tuned… looks like there will be a screening of some local shorts (including Crush) in mid-December at The Edge theater in Crestwood. More info soon!
I hope your Thanksgiving weekend was all that you hoped it would be. Mine was very special and as always went by way too fast. The day was spent with family cooking, eating and watching movies in Columbus, Georgia. That morning my sister Christy and I went for a pre-turkey run, and I am so very grateful for that one-on-one time with her. Nothing beats a workout on Thanksgiving before you stuff yourself! Makes you feel like you earned it a little. I think my favorite dish this year was my mom’s homemade stuffing… pretty sure I’m going to dream about it until I get to have it again.
Since it’s almost December, it’s getting close to that time for me to announce my new goals and dreams for 2013. Have you thought about how your life might be different in the year to come? What things would make you the happiest, small or large? I really enjoy the cycle of a year as a way to plan, because so much can happen in 365 days… but also, if you drop the ball, then you can plan accordingly to make the changes needed for the year to come. We get new opportunities to start over all the time, but there is something about the new year that is so inspiring. I’m sure when I look back at what I had planned for 2012 that I will have missed the mark in some areas, but I also dramatically changed in ways I could have never predicted. That’s the fun of it all – having the best of intentions but also being open to surprises. It’s all about adapting and being flexible. Today’s bad news could be tomorrow’s blessing in disguise. You never know what’s just around the corner. But still, dreaming has a significant place in my life that I hope never gets replaced by any other pastime. If you can’t be hopeful, excited and passionate about something, then what is left?
The main areas that I plan to focus on for 2013 are creative goals, overall happiness and living in the present. I want to be resolute in making small changes as important as bigger ones. I want to continue my journey in learning to love myself even more. These probably all sound like familiar goals for those of you who’ve read my blog for a while, but they continue to be the most important things. You can’t love others to the fullest capacity and give as you wish until you are happy with yourself and your own life.
Two things before I go!! Mark you calendar for this Friday night to go by Vero’s gallery for the Craft Bazaar. 100% of tips and 10% of your purchase that night will benefit the restoration of Birmingham’s beloved Lyric Theater! Be sure to say hi to Glenny Brock behind the bar who will be serving up tasty apple cider spiked on request, she is the lady behind the fundraising for the Lyric. She is all around awesome and an important person in Birmingham. ALSO, last thing, you should check out these beautiful handmade local ornaments benefiting The Little River in honor of Shane Hulsey. I got one for myself today, and plan to use it as a year-round remembrance of living for a purpose. Be sure to go through the website when you visit, and you will see why it’s such a wonderful cause.
Happy day before Thanksgiving! I was going to write that I hope your near future is full of food, love and happiness… but I know so many of us will go without tomorrow. Which reminds me of the gifts I received on Thanksgiving, 2011. My family was scattered around, and I was unable to leave town due to work. It was my first big holiday after my divorce, and I felt very lonely and sad to have no plans. That’s when my friends came to the rescue, I got several invitations to join other families for their Thanksgiving meals. I ended up spending the day with my good friend Courtney and her mom, grandmother and brothers. We had mimosas and plenty of food to go around. I left there feeling like I had been included in something important after all, even though it was only 2 in the afternoon. I wasn’t quite up for going home just yet, so I sent out a text to some other friends to see what they were up to. That’s when I got an invitation to join my friends Sam, Demet and Demet’s mother Nigar for a Turkish celebration. We had more wine, champagne, cheese, pasta and dessert than I’d probably had all year combined. I wish I could tell you exactly what I ate, but all I remember is that it was delicious. They shared so much love and treated me like I belonged there with them. That Thanksgiving taught me so much, that family doesn’t always have to be interpreted in the traditional sense. A little kindness goes a long way for others who may not have people to celebrate with. I am so grateful for those memories, and it ended up being one of my favorite Thanksgivings ever.
So my new wish for you is this: that you can make someone else’s Thanksgiving a little better either in a small or big way. Maybe it’s a text, phone call or invitation. Pass on the good cheer, and it will multiple your own.
It’s Thanksgiving week! This time of year we are all reminded of the things and people who make our lives whole. Since it’s Monday I’m going to kick it off with a LIST OF THANKS.
This holiday season I am thankful for:
2. Long runs in cool air
3. Cold pillows and warm blankets
4. Cute nieces
5. Family time
6. Adventures with James Martin
7. Baby Kitty hugs
11. A variety of good movies to see
12. Yellow leaves
13. Floor heaters
14. Bangs and bobby pins
15. Black boots
17. A pretty amazing 2012 thus far…