She who leaves a trail of glitter is never forgotten…

2012 has been such a memorable year, if not the best year I’ve had in my adult life. It has been full of so many milestones, new faces, and adventures.

January was kicked off with an incredible New Year’s celebration that helped me solidify that my friends are beautiful, wonderful, and mine–and that 2012 was destined to be my year (as cliche as that sounds).

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My beautiful princesses with our funky legs

January also brought a mega-reunion for my best friends from college & I to celebrate my bestie, Treesh, turning 24. It was an early reminder of the constant love, joy, and light that these women bring to my life on a daily basis. These girls are my soul mates, and 2012 was a big reminder as to why we are connected for life.

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Fly girls

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Me, birthday girl, my Botzis

I also started a brand new job–teaching pre-school has been a beautiful, wonderful, & important decision. I feel so fortunate to go into work every day and get paid to laugh, play, and teach such unique spirits.

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My difficult job

In February, I met Craig–definitely the highlight of my year. I can’t believe we have only been together for a year–it feels like we have been together our entire lives (I mean that in a totally positive, awesome way).

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One of our earlier pictures together

In March, I had the most wonderful, beautiful birthdays of my entire life. Between being flooded with love and gifts from family and Craig, I had the surprise of my life when all my girl friends from college reunited. It was such an incredible birthday–I think I smiled for five days straight.

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So much love packed into such a small space!

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Some of my favorite people in the entire world

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Super serious girlfriends that never have any fun, obviously.

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How many guys will wear an amazing American flag tank top for your birthday?

Also in 2012, there have been great times with family:

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Father’s Day

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Living in the same city as your sister/best friend has its benefits.

Trips to visit friends all over the south:

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Celebrating Skylar’s birthday in Atlanta in September

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DC bears reunite in Nashville

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Goofy Greensboro times with JED & Treesh

Training & running my first 5k with Craig & my bestie, Ashley:

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My best friend since age 14 drove from Winston-Salem to come run my first race with me!

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Pretending not to be nervous at the starting line

Saying farewell to some of my best friends with parties, concerts, and love as they set out on their new adventures:

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Saying “adios” to my Miss Ali & Mr. Matt at a Dirty Projectors concert

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My bestest friend since I was 13 moved to Boston, so I baked her a Boston Creme pie from scratch

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Miss those two goofballs

Craig & I taking our first trip together to Virginia Beach, VA…full of sand, sun, and so much seafood:

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nom nom nom

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Our first vacation of many

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Handsome boy on the beach

And, of course, enjoying everything that Asheville has to offer:

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Happy Halloween from Hank & Peggy Hill

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Asheville Oktoberfest

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Memorial Day at McCormick Field: Asheville Tourist games are a hoot

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Barley’s for pizza and any beer you could ever dream of

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Enjoying a stroll downtown in May

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The Southern for good food with great company

 

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Bowling at Sky Lanes

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The Wedge Brewery!

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Mt. Mitchell in June

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WNC Nature Center….OTTERS!!

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My kitten faced tiger at Troy & Sons Distillery

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The Bywater is my favorite place to be from April-September

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Being simultaneously silly & supportive of LGBTQ rights at the Gay Pride Rally downtown

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Watching Dr. Dog at Bele Cher!

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Sky Bar is essential.

Not to mention seeing some of my favorite musicians in concert (The Avett Brothers, Feist, Dirty Projectors, Dr. Dog, and probably more) and all the other countless memories.

Probably the best part about 2012 has been the growth I have seen in myself–I am so excited for the future, and am planning accordingly. 2013 is going to bring so many more adventures: a new house, hopefully a new kitten, new reasons to laugh, and more reminders of why my life is full of so much joy and light. Thank you to everyone who has made this the best year of my entire life.

 

A House Hunting We Will Go…

Asheville has provided the backdrop for many events in my life. I had my high school proms here, one of my best friends from childhood got married here, it’s where many of my dance competitions were held, and it has provided me countless bar hopping and silly adventures along the way. However, the biggest moment I’ve had in Asheville is meeting Craig.Image

We had our first date in the bottom part of Thirsty Monk downtown, we shared our first kiss on a hike in Bent Creek on the Blue Ridge Parkway, he asked me to be his girlfriend at a show at The Magnetic Field, and we have visited, laughed, and chatted in numerous restaurants, art galleries, and parks all over this place. But we’re making our next big step in this city–together.

We are buying our first house!

Asheville is about to have two very permanent residents! We have begun the process of searching, falling in love with, and purchasing our first home. So far it has been quite eventful–lots of funky houses, tiny bedrooms, and potential ghosts have awaited us. Luckily, our search seems to be drawing nearer to a close–we have narrowed down our search to two potential houses! One’s property ends because the Blue Ridge Parkway begins, and the other is behind the WNC Nature Center (walking distance to river otters! My favorite!). Although it extends our commutes to work, both houses provide easy access to downtown shenanigans. We are really excited, albeit anxious to figure out which one we really want so we can put in our offer & begin our new adventure!

Keep your fingers crossed for us as we continue our house hunting process! I can’t wait to solidify my commitment to such a wonderful city (even if it does include a mortgage 🙂 ).

Whenever I tell people that I live in Asheville, NC, there are one of two responses: “Wait, where is that?” or “Oh my God, I LOVE it there.” It is the only place I have ever lived that is simultaneously adored and unknown. It is like a secret city that only the privileged, the cool, and the earthy know about. Admired for its fine and varied cuisine, beautiful landscape, and beer-accessible goodness, I actually grew up 30 minutes away from this marvelous place.

Growing up in a small, bible-thumping, blue collar town can be many things. I am still friends with people I have known since I was in elementary school, I enjoy bluegrass and being barefoot on porches, and I grew up with a set of manners and sweetness that can come only from growing up in a small town in the South. However, as you could have guessed, growing up in such a town can be very damning–I felt trapped in a town full of people that used religion as a weapon, that had no goals outside of marriage and babies, and didn’t even LIKE the music I liked (high school was tough, ok?). I was fortunate enough to get along with most of my classmates, and even more fortunate to form tight-knit bonds with a select few that just seemed to get me. And as soon as we got our licenses, our weekends were spent somewhere that wasn’t our suffocating little town. A city that boasted fine arts theaters, Asian restaurants with foods we had never dreamed of, and artsy boys in dirty cars. A city called Asheville.

We would pile into one of my best friend’s cars and jet off to coffee shops, sitting in their comfy chairs and talking or eavesdropping. We would parade downtown with goofy smiles, Converse sneakers, and vintage t-shirts plastering our bodies. We would whisper about our futures–we wanted out of our crummy town, we wanted penthouse apartments and cosmopolitan agendas. We listened to indie music in hip record stores and talked about how the other kids at school just didn’t get it–and they probably never would. Asheville provided an escape for my friends and I–it was dangerous, yet close by. It felt miles away from the bratty girls who thought wearing flip flops with jeans was a fashion statement. It seemed decades ahead of a town whose hottest hang out spot was the Wal-Mart parking lot. It was like our secret. Anyone could visit Asheville, but so few people knew how to LIVE in Asheville.

Fast-forward to the present. We are merely days away from being in 2013, which means I have been out of high school for almost 7 years. In the past 7 years I have graduated from college (in another sleepy mountain town, albeit way more interesting, diverse, and fun than my hometown) and spent a year living in our nation’s capital. I have traveled to many cities, I have heard about all my friend’s adventures, and I have thought about where I want to be in the next 5 years. When it all comes down to it, I’m right where I want to be in this moment:

In Asheville, NC.

I have a great job working with wonderful kids in this amazing city. I have an incredible partner who is funny, sweet, and dang handsome. My sister also lives in Asheville, and our family is still 30 minutes away. I have a great network of friends who enjoy so many of the same things I do. There are opportunities for graduate schools, volunteering, and happy hours all over this city, and I don’t plan on leaving it any time soon.

So, I’m inviting you to explore this city–and my life–with me. I’ll be writing reviews of restaurants, bars, festivals, whatever. I’ll be sharing with you what it’s like to work, live, and play when you have the Blue Ridge Mountains as your back yard. In my heart, I’m still that excited 17-year old that’s excited for what this place has to offer. I hope you’ll escape with me.