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christmas recital

This is a bit overdue, but I was so thankful to be able to be home for the holidays this year for more than 2 days. It was wonderful. And because of that, I was able to attend my nieces' Christmas dance recital. They did a pretty terrific job if I do say so myself (being that I am their incredibly biased aunt and all). I got a seat right beside Tate, a good view, and an hour and a half of Christmas music, Christmas costumes, dancing and festivity. What could be better?

Please try to enjoy these pictures as much as I have. They're helping to keep me in a bit of the Christmas spirit on these cold, gloomy, dreary, freezing, miserable January days we've been having in New York City.

yes, that's a deer wearing a cowboy hat.


And yes, I think Brendan is as scared as he looks. Welcome to Boligee, my friend: the place of many childhood memories and fun times. And the home to the bustling population of 369 people.

We took Brendan to see my dad's hunting camphouse after my birthday dinner in Livingston, AL. He might have been in shock, I can't tell for sure. I know one thing: he was excited about the "carpet" in the camphouse being the astroturf straight from Bryant Denny Stadium, home of the Crimson Tide. I think that secured him a bed there next time he visits. 

welcome back to america โœŒ
































Oh, and I forgot to mention: our lunch at Big Blue Bagel was also a celebration of Anna's homecoming to America! She had been in Korea since last August, and just moved to Birmingham a few days before I visited. You can read more about her time there on her blog: Curl in Korea

(During my first year in New York when Anna was still in school at Auburn, I used to randomly get care packages in the mail from her with a bag of bagel chips from Big Blue! I, sadly, couldn't return that favor while she was in Korea, but it only made sense that we would choose a Big Blue lunch for our glorious stateside reunion.)

big blue bagel. in birmingham.

































I had an after-church Sunday lunch (just like the old days!) with these two gals 2 weekends ago in Birmingham. One of the nicest treats I've had lately. Both lunch and the company! Not to mention, we happened to run into three other dear friends from Auburn during our meal. That made for one happy heart in this girl.

we entered the madness.































How could we not? I'll do just about anything for Hot Now donuts - and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. That includes waking up at 4:50 am to be at Krispy Kreme by 5:30 to beat the crowd. It sounds crazy, but surprisingly, we weren't even the crazy ones.

Last year during a horrible tornado that destroyed much of my hometown, Krispy Kreme was one of the businesses that was completely obliterated. Now - just over 1 year later - Ttowners have apparently missed their donuts something fierce.

On opening day, my mom and I tried at 3 different times to stop for a donut (once at almost 9pm at night) only to have at least an hour wait ahead of us - in both the drive thru and inside. There was a police directing traffic, with traffic backed up half a mile. And according to the local news, 125,000 donuts were sold that day. Needless to say, we finally succeeded at getting in the door on Day 2. And it was worth every Hot Now donut I ate. Especially at 5:30 am.

I know one thing: I unintentionally picked the right week to visit Alabama!

scenes from (last) weekend

I know it's already, er, Thursday but I had such a fun weekend in Alabama last weekend that I wanted to share. I spent a short weekend in Birmingham that might as well have been a weekend during my college days in Auburn. I stayed with the new Mrs. Eads, and practically everywhere we went, we ran into old friends. It was so refreshing to see familiar faces out and about and catch up with friends I haven't seen in years (yes, years?!). That's a much less frequent occurrence in my days in the Big Apple. Birmingham is no small town, but it sure did feel that way. I miss that.





























L to R clockwise: [1] Shindigs, the hip new Birmingham food truck [2] Frank, AKC's pet fish [3] Harrison, aka: Harry-dog, Rose's little sidekick [4] Evidence that there's a Big Blue Bagel in Birmingham now

big apple bbq festival
































As I mentioned, this past weekend was the Big Apple BBQ Festival. It happens every year around the second weekend in June, and I look forward to it all year long. That's mostly because my favorite BBQ from growing up and visiting my grandparents, Big Bob Gibson's in Decatur, Alabama, comes to the event every year with loads of pulled pork and their famous white BBQ sauce. And every year, it's the only BBQ I'll eat at the festival. (One year, I got my picture taken with the owner!) This year - as is the case every year - Bob Gibson's had the longest line, and Brendan and I stood in the line for over 45 minutes for a couple of pulled pork sandwiches. There's nothing else quite like it! It was worth every minute we waited. Until 2013, Big Bob...

[I took the picture of me eating Big Bob's just for GG and Anna Curl!]

my rehearsal dinner speech



Rose Lynn and I have a pretty special friendship. We met on our sorority bid day at Auburn, yet we had no idea how much history we already had. As we were taking in all of the bid day festivities and looking around as nervous freshman at 54 other girls we barely knew, her dad spotted my mom in the crowd gathered in front of Mollie Hollifield Hall. Mr. Mike, Rose's dad, recognized my mom from 20+ years before. He recognized her because some 20 years earlier, my dad was Mr. Mike's high school football coach, long before the thought of either of us had entered anyone's mind. My parents had 3 small kids when my dad was a high school football coach, and Rose's dad never knew I came along because he was a senior in high school the year he played football for my dad. (Can you imagine his surprise when he realized his high school football coach had a daughter the same age as his?!) The rest of the story of our friendship is pretty much history. Rose and I spent spring breaks together, ate 85% of our meals together in college, and drove identical cars at Auburn. Once, she drove me home, 3 hours to Tuscaloosa, so that I wouldn't miss my niece's pajama birthday party. I had stayed up all night the night before finishing a final project, and could barely keep my eyes open to walk, much less drive. We really formed more of a sister bond than a friend bond. I feel like she's as much a part of my family as I am hers. She's visited at least once each year I've been in New York, gotten me through many emotional breakdowns - in New York and in college - and was the best darn Chemistry tutor I've ever had. Meanwhile, I was helplessly watching as she studied endless hours during her time in pharmacy school, and anxiously waiting for her next unbelievable story from the life of a real-life pharmacist. And now...she's married. With a husband.

Oh. My.

And oh my, what a fun weekend the wedding was! I finally have more pictures to share (that aren't from my iphone) that I'll post in the next few days. I thought it was only appropriate to give the full background of how special this girl is to me before I shared the details of her wedding. Plus, this is what I meant to say in my toast to her at her rehearsal dinner. But I was too busy holding back tears to say any of this. Or anything at all, for that matter.

no vegetable left behind

When I was home in Alabama last month, I made sure I got in all of my most favorite eating spots (& more than once when possible). I don't always make it to City Cafe when I'm home because they happen to be closed on holidays, which is the primary time I'm in Alabama to visit. This time, I made it there twice in my nine days. And to make this story even better, I got to hang out with Meg (and her little girl, Reagan, who quickly became my new BFF) on one of my lunch dates there.

As I'm sitting here in my New York City apartment, trying to decide what I'll have for lunch today, I sure do wish City Cafe would deliver a fried chicken breast fillet, fried okra and mashed potato plate to my door. With a sweet tea. All for $5.65.
































Proof above, no vegetable left behind.

coming soon.

I'll be posting my thoughts and photos soon from the Farmer & Eads wedding this past weekend. I still can't believe it's already come and gone. And now I'm just waiting for Mrs. Eads (so weird!) to get back from her honeymoon so I can talk to her again.






















Isn't she the cutest bride you've ever seen?

weddings


It seems I'm still a day late and a dollar short. I'm already on to (and, er, done with now) wedding #2 of the season, and I'm just now blogging about #1. I've been back in Alabama for the last 10 days to get ready for Rose Lynn's big day, and now I'm already headed back to the big apple this afternoon. Sigh, how times flies...

I've completely deserted this blog over the last two months, so I'm hoping to give snippets of where I've been. Sadly (and happily, at the same time) so much of the last couple of months has been spent on airplanes, which doesn't leave much time for blogging. All for happy reasons, though!





























We went to our friends' wedding, Mark & Lucy, in Mountain Brook at the end of April. It was a beautiful wedding and fun to have worlds colliding a bit with Alabama and New York connections. The church Mark and Lucy were married in was so beautiful! I had an especially fun time with so many New York friends spending the weekend in my old stomping grounds!