Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Things I Love Most About Being in Rockford

After singing the praises of Charleston yesterday, I felt I would be remiss to not give a shout out to the things in my 1st hometown of which I have been gratefully reunited with after my recent move. Here we go, in no particular order...

1. Less Humidity-

Girls let me tell you, my hair thanks me for this relocation! On any given day you CAN have a great hair day sans Moroccan Oil, who knew?! Don't get me wrong, I'm still using the Godsend oil, but, I can walk out of my house and not undo the last hour of hair effort that just took place that morning. It's amazing. Plus my make-up rarely feels like it's sliding off of my face and onto my neck here, which is always a bonus!

2. Soft Grass-

Granted we're in a HUGE draught here, like kill all of the farmer's crops kind of draught, but typically we have real, actual grass. The kind of grass that begs you to kick off your flops and explore the day barefoot. If I could go barefoot here all day without being called a freak or tree hugger, I most certainly would.

3. Beef-A-Roo-

It may not sound delicious as neither beef nor roo are the most appetizing words, but these people know how to make a french fry y'all! Their season salt is straight from the Lord above and if it ain't in Heaven, along with McGriddles, well then I'm not really sure what I believe anymore. Poor Tim, my marathon, Ironman running husband, typically tries to stay away from fast food, and with me, he doesn't really stand a chance when it comes to Beef-A-Roo. If you've never experienced their roast beef, cheddar fries, and a shake, come on down for a visit and I will ALWAYS be available to take guests to the Roo.

4. Attending Family Functions-

After almost 16 years of missing out on family dinners, birthdays, and really any other excuse to see one another, I've got some making up to do and I am pumped. Who knew going on a random Thursday to watch your little cousin play softball could be so fun? Giant snow cones with my hubby at the ballpark, okay! I realized recently that I had never, ever been to one of my uncle and aunt's homes and they had lived there for years and years. Well, that is just sad and inexcusable. Not anymore, fam! Ready or not, I'm making my rounds. If you don't want to see me, turn off the porch light and close the blinds, otherwise I'm coming in!

5. Exploring My Hometown As An Adult-

When I moved away in 1997 at the ripe age of 18, there was not too much to do legally in the area. Sure you could go to the mall for the 11-billionth time, or see a movie at the $1 theater (which was a date favorite with my now husband when we were 18 and broke), or attend the typical high school house party (hence the illegal matters of underage partying like fools, sorry mom). But now, there is something to do every weekend! We must live in the capitol of festival and fairs, I swear, and you KNOW I love it!

I always used to tell people in Charleston "if you're bored here, it's your own fault", and I'm beginning to think that could become my tag line here as well. Granted, there's no beach, but we have concerts, fairs, The City Market on Friday nights which rocks my face, movies in the park, trendy little spots downtown, and what should be award winning sushi at Mark's Fusion! I hope Tim's ready to grab our weekly "Go" section and get a little Christopher Columbus up in this place.

6. Seeing My Husband Every Single Day-

After dating long distance on and off throughout our adult life, seeing his handsome face every day is a special treat that I don't know will get old. People tell me it will, but I'm determined to prove them wrong. Whether it's running errands, quietly reading books on the couch, or laughing ourselves to sleep at night, just being with him is a welcome change from what was our norm of daily phone calls and 3 day visits every month or so.

I recently saw something that said "marriage is getting to have a sleep over with your best friend every night of the week" and it made me smile from ear to ear because it's so true! Our evening hang outs are the highlight of my day, and in a world of change for me, this guy tries to go above and beyond to help me adjust. If he can do something to make things easier, well, he does it and it doesn't go unnoticed.

I still have a lot to learn about being back amongst my Midwestern roots, but in the meantime, these 6 sunny spots in my life are giving me something to sing about. Yes, literally sing. Just ask Tim.

Well hello there, Rockford, good to see you again!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Things I Miss Most About My Beloved Charleston

1. Everything-

Seriously though, this list could go on, and on, and on, and on, and well, you get the drift.  I'll try to narrow it to my top few faves today, but this wouldn't have been a truthful account if the word "everything" had not made a personal appearance.

2. The Beach-
My love affair with the SC coast is what led this Midwestern girl from the snow storms to the saltwater in 1997. And I. Never. Looked. Back.

No mater what problems you face, no matter what awaits you on your desk come Monday morning, there is nothing like a weekend of sun on your face, new freckles on your shoulders, sand in your toes (and every other nook and cranny that bathing suits don't cover), and an ocean breeze in your hair. The great and wise Garth Brooks got it right when he sang "heartaches are healed by the sea." Nothing can be finer and sweeter than a circle of beach chairs holding good friends, beach snacks, and laughter. My heart is actually aching for a few hours of those healing breeze and waves as I type. Soon. My old friend. Soon.

3. My Church, Seacoast-

Seacoast church is like no other, in my eyes.  This church is more than just a sanctuary where Christians gather once a week. This church is a place where believers can literally change the world according to His plans for us. The teachings are applicable to every age group, and often meet you exactly where you're standing. The people are generous, loving, loud (in a great way), and passionate. If you want to get involved, you have every opportunity to do so and to do so in a way that speaks right to your heart and interests. The Pastors are wise and approachable, and I have grown so much in my 10 years there that I know I'll be able to take their teachings with me and continue to grow where the good Lord has planted me in Rockford.

Nothing compares to Seacoast's worship either. What I wouldn't give for a few minutes of being able to close my eyes and get lost in Tara, Martin or Garret's voice during this transitional time here. Their voices bring you closer to the Lord every single time.

4. The Food-

From something as simple to Chick-Fil-A, to a night out on the town at High Cotton, you almost cannot go wrong when dining in Charleston. I miss Red's no frills, straight from the Creek seafood, Moe's Monday night with my roomie, Heather, and anything served southern style. Anything! Red velvet cupcakes from Cupcake haunt me in my sleep, and thoughts of happy hour appetizers with my girls at Uno Mas makes my tummy flutter. The Elvis burger at Sesame will change your life, and Cork's tomato bisque will make you smack anyone who ever served  you Campbell's. I promise.

Whether you lean more to the foodie side of the restaurant arena, or can get down and dirty at a country kitchen like SeeWee, you can eat your way through your days in the Lowcountry, and this girl plans to do just that when I'm back in SC this Fall! I may start working out now to pardon myself from the inhuman amounts of calories I plan to consume! *Warning, Tim, it will not be purty!

5. My Town Home-

I built my town home in 2008 and it was my perfect little nest. It welcomed many an awesome roommate and was home to more laughs than I can count on a million hands. I've weathered many of life's ups and downs amongst those walls, and that home was definitely my safe place through it all. While unpacking last weekend, I pulled out a sweater from a random box, and the sweet, familiar smell of my home hit me like a ton of bricks. Of course, I then sat there and cried a little bit into said sweater like a weirdo, but it was comforting to actually be able to smell the familiarity. Home, sweet smellin', home. There's nothing like it.

6. The Citadel/ The Citadel Foundation-

Over the last 8 or so years, I was lucky enough to work with some of the best people on the planet and I miss them daily. I miss how comfortable we all were with one another, how ideas, both good and not so good, flowed like the Merlot we served at donor events. I miss the smell of office coffee in the morning (minus the skunk-like smell of Starbucks), and every one's little quirks that made them them. Even the quirks that drove me nuts at the time, which I'm sure I possessed some as well which drove others nuts, but I digress. Albeit chaotic and crazy at times, it was my home away from home, my passion and way more than my job.

7. The People. Good Lord, I Miss The People-

This "miss" point makes my heart ache. Literally. I can actually feel the lump growing in my throat as I type.  Being 1,000 miles away from home, my friends in Charleston became my family. And not just the family that you love to see 3 times a year on all major holidays, but the actual family that you run to, that you wake being excited when you know you get to see them at a family function, and those that you know will drop everything to run to you when you need them the most.

My friends in Charleston are a huge part of my heart. They're a huge part of what has shaped me into the person I am today. They've opened my eyes to new adventures, allowed me to fall in love with things they love that I never would've found on my own, and they've shared in my personal victories along the way, as I have with them. They are the shoulders I needed when life got me down, the prayers I needed when life was unpredictable, the laughter we all needed after a long week, and the hug you always welcomed!!

I'm biased, I know, but my friends are the best in the world. Distance sucks, there's no other way to say it, but I think about them every single day and no amount of miles will change that for me. You hear me, miles!

So as you can see, this list could go on and on, but at least I've given my shout outs where shout outs were due! Now if someone could please FedEx me a 5 piece chicken nugget pack from Chick-Fil-A, that would be so stinkin' sweet of you.

Until next time, my beloved Charleston!