Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Trip to Coffee Headquarters

I love my job, and that's in a big way thanks to my great clients at Starbucks.

After more than two years of conference calls, emails, instant messages and Facebook friendships, it's hard to believe that I just now got the chance to meet them in person.

With the opportunity in front of me, last week, I jumped on a plane and finally headed out west to Seattle. It was the longest plane ride I've been on in awhile, but it was worth it because I was excited to spend a few days with my Edelman Seattle colleagues and the team at Starbucks.

Not knowing what to expect and exhausted from the time change, I landed in Seattle and was nearly breathless. It is such a gorgeous city. As soon as you land, you are surrounded by trees, mountains and water. I just fell in love. It was a great trip!

My perfect, cozy little hotel.
Starbucks HQ (it was of course, raining).
Check out the view from Edelman Seattle's patio!
Enjoying a cup of coffee at the first Starbucks.
Out at a fabulous dinner with the team! We ate at SPUR which is on Food & Wine Magazine's "Go" List of the world's best restaurants.
Me & Sanja! Get ready for Aspen!
Two of my Edelman favorites (Emily & Evan). Thanks for being such perfect hosts.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Never Too Old for Flip Cup

10, 20, maybe even 30 years from now, I know we will still play flip cup.

Even though I hate to admit it, my group of girlfriends and I are collectively growing up. We have jobs, homes, pets and there's even been engagements and weddings. These are all signs that we are living right in the thick of the real world.

Just last weekend, Allie, Lauren, Rachel, Carol and I hosted a wedding shower for the lovely Lindsay Singletary and her fiance Chase.

The shower theme was "Cookout & Cocktails" and Tim and I held it at our new house. It was a beautiful day in Georgia and we all enjoyed spending the afternoon celebrating Lindsay & Chase while drinking Bourbon Peach-Tea out of Mason Jars (thanks to Carol!).

But after everyone ate dinner, after the sun went down and after all the gifts were opened, it was time to go back to college and pretend like responsibility was something we didn't know anything about. It was time to play flip cup!

During our first semester of college, when we were all getting to know each other, we always went out to parties and found a way to take over a room and play this game. We were a team from day one.

We laughed, danced, drank and cheered each other on like winning a round of flip cup was life or death. Some of my favorite college memories are of the times we played this game.

Now, years later, it makes me so happy that no one even thinks twice that we are too old, or too grown up for flip cup.

Even the real world can't stop us from grabbing a pack of solo cups, a case of beer, finding a table and letting loose! Go team!

Tim & I enjoying our backyard!

Flip cup team #1

Flip cup team #2

Twin's team was very enthusiastic about their win.

Flip cup in full force.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tim's New Love

Who has time for yard work? That was the question we asked ourselves when we were house hunting. Through our search, it was a big priority that our yard was low maintenance. Tim, especially, led that charge. The thought of mowing a lawn instead of tailgating for a football game was beyond him.

Well, now six months later, here we are all settled into our house and Tim has suddenly fallen in love with yard work. This is something I never expected.

It all started when my parents came down to visit for Easter. My Dad is an unbelievable gardener and his mission that weekend was to help get our yard jump started for the summer. They arrived on a Friday and by the time they left on Monday morning, our yard was transformed. Trees were trimmed, the grass was mowed, flowers and trees were planted and we installed solar lights. Jules even power washed our driveway. Talk about curb appeal!

So ever since that weekend, Tim has developed a serious relationship with our yard. He is obsessed with keeping it in tip top shape. When I come home from work, he's watering the plants. And on Saturday morning, he's up early cleaning the gutters or pulling weeds. Our yard is beautiful and my Dad sure is proud. (My Dad's garden in STL is like his child, so I joke that my garden in ATL is his grandchild :)

I'm so happy that Tim loves spending time outside in the garden. But, the true test will be football season. It's highly unlikely that Tim will cheat on football Saturdays with the lawn mower. But only time will tell.

Our new solar lights (thanks to Tim's mom).
p.s. Tim wanted to be sure you all knew that since this photo was taken, those weeds have been pulled.

One hard weekend of yard work = 11 full bags of yard waste.

My Dad couldn't stand the idea of Tim doing yard work without simultaneously being able to listen to the Braves. The "ManRadio" solved that problem.

New flowers!

New plants and a Dogwood tree.

This is my favorite plant! It's a hosta that I've had since college. It made its first appearance at the Dollhouse in Auburn. Tim adorned it with pretty white rocks.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dave & Jules Celebrate 30 Years

My parents just had their 30th wedding anniversary (May 2) and Tim & I flew up to St. Louis to join them in celebrating the occasion. We went to the new Italian restaurant in town. My Aunt Carol (my mom's sister) & Uncle Charlie came too! They were celebrating their wedding anniversary (which is also in May), plus my Aunt's upcoming birthday.

The moment we walked into the restaurant, it became apparent that we weren't the only St. Louis Italians who were wanting to try out the new, trendy Italian restaurant in town. We knew everyone there - including the chef!

He owned another Italian restaurant on "The Hill" (the Italian community in STL where my mom and Aunt grew up), and this was his new restaurant in Kirkwood. He really wanted to show off his cooking skills, so he didn't even let us order off the menu. The waitress just brought out course, after course of the chef's fine Italian cuisine. We tried it all! I've never eaten so much delicious food in my life! It was perfect for all of us to enjoy such a special dinner together.

The one thing my parent's have taught me about a lasting relationship, is that love is about putting someone else's needs in front of your own, it's about always thinking about their happiness more than yours and loving them through better or worse.

My parents' anniversary gifts to each other are a perfect example of this. My Mom bought my Dad tools that he's been wanting for his beloved yard, and my Dad bought my Mom front row tickets to the Black Eyed Peas for their upcoming concert in STL. The gifts were perfect!

Now this summer, they are treating us to a week at our family vacation spot in Captiva Island, Florida to continue celebrating their 30th! We can't wait!

Dinner with Tim, Mom, Dad, Uncle Charlie & Aunt Carol.

Julie & Carol.

Mom & Dad on their anniversary!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Kirkwood Reunion

Kirkwood was my home until the day I left for college. I was very fortunate to grow up in such a special, spirited community.

But when I was a senior in high school, I was ready to leave Kirkwood and try a new home. There was just this part of me that wanted see what else was out there, and it all started when I choose to attend college at Auburn University.

Auburn turned out to be the best four years of life, hands down. But at the beginning, it was hard for me to say goodbye to all of the happiness that Kirkwood gave me.

I remember turning to my dad at Auburn’s freshmen orientation, Camp War Eagle, and saying, “What am I going to do without Emily and Anna (two of my high school friends)?”

That moment took place nearly seven years ago. Somehow, time flew by and the high school gang all went in separate directions, on to bigger and better things.

But this past weekend, we all got back together to celebrate the marriage of Anna Bradford (now Anna Schwartzman). Anna is the nicest, most lively girl who always brightens up a room. She came on multiple family vacations with me and we even have matching tattoos (in memory of our last day of high school, of course :).

She met the man of her dreams and I’ve never seen her happier.

The wedding was a true celebration. It was a celebration of Anna and Justin, but it was also a celebration of life long friendships. It was so laid back, but that's what made it so special.

We all laughed, danced, laughed a lot more and reminisced about our high school days while catching up on everything that’s happened in the mean time.

It was all just one big reminder how special of a place Kirkwood was to me, and how special it still is. I hope for another reunion soon!

Two of my favorite boys, Bryce & Adam.

The sweet, sweet bride Anna.

The whole group.

All of the girls! Me, Abby, Anna, Emily Cuba, Emily Robinson and Emily Randall.