Oh, baby baby!

This past Christmas I found out I am going to be an aunt to two little babies this Summer. My brother in law, Will, is having a baby with his girlfriend, Melissa, and my sister in law, Melissa, is having a baby too! Ironic, I know. Last week, Will and Mel C called me to share that they’re having a baby girl in July. I am beyond excited! Marrying into the family, I became an aunt to three kids whom I love dearly, but they are older and I don’t think we will ever have a bond like I had with my aunts, which is why I am so thrilled to be an aunt aunt!

Growing up, I had two aunts on my mom’s side and six on my dads side. I only have fond memories of the aunts I was close to. My Aunt Sherry was the adventurous one. She took us to swim with manatees, she kept a portable potty in her trunk for when she went on road trips, she listened to Ricky Martin and had us put on fashion shows in her clothes from High School just for fun. She would always plan the best, most creative birthday parties for us and even bought us chicks one Easter. As I got older, she would take me thrifting and talk to me about adult things that I appreciate now but maybe thought were a little awkward back then.

My Aunt Becky is my moms younger sister. She is the clean-freak, perfectionist and a shopaholic which is probably where I get all of those traits from. Her birthday is a couple days after Christmas so more than once I have been on shopping sprees with her and had a great time. I have always felt like she is more of a friend or sister to me than an aunt. She is fun, zany, beautiful and sassy.

Growing up in Florida, it was always exciting when our dad would take us to South Carolina to spend a week with our Aunt Kathy and Uncle Kent on Lake Murray. Jet skiing and wake boarding, convincing them to buy a puppy and playing with our cousins in the “cupboard under the stairs” are some of my fondest memories. Aunt Kathy is the funniest person I know… (besides myself…duh!) She is the equivalent to Melissa McCarthy and always has everyone laughing.

Aunt Lisa lives in St. Augustine and our mom would take us to stay with her for week long periods during our summer breaks. It was there that I cracked my head open on a coquina rock from swinging too hard on a hammock, Jordan, Nick (our cousin) and I would play Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego, Oregon Trail and N64 religiously and would have dress up tea parties just because. Lisa is spunky, funny and worldly. Her home is filled with old art from the antique shop where she works and the last time I was there, she had a faux palm tree in her living room.

The last aunt I am going to mention is my Aunt Dennie who lives in Gainesville now, but lived in West Palm Beach when I was growing up. Dennis and Dave always invited Jordan and I to stay with them for about a week in the summer, too. Thinking of them brings back memories of Shirley Temples, French toast and the play “Oklahoma”. My cousin Abbey has always been into musicals and my cousin Elliot and I have always enjoyed food. We watched “Grind” about 50 times one weekend and would swim for hours then Jordan would make me burp the alphabet and everyone’s name just because I can.

Putting these memories into writing brings back so many emotions. My reason for this post is because my aim for this new baby girl is to be the best aunt I can be. I will love her unconditionally, introduce her to new, fun things, and be the person she can rely on when she just doesn’t feel like talking to mom and dad about it. I want to be the “fun” aunt. The one she’s excited to introduce her friends to and the one she wants to take shopping for prom dresses.

I want to be to this baby girl, what each of my aunts has been to me.

Family is the most important thing to me. Money, clothes, cars… none of that matters. What matters is the people you surround yourself with, the ones you go to when everything seems to be going wrong. The ones who can lift you up when you’ve fallen and don’t care if you get makeup on their shirt from crying on their shoulder. Family is the best, and I cannot wait for this little angel to come into our lives. She is already so loved by her Auntie Liv.



Invest in people who invest in you. 

I saw this quote on Instagram @thealisonshow and immediately fell in love. It seems that things are always delivered to you when you need them and I needed this quote. 

I have always been a million people in one body. Does that make sense? Probably not so I’ll try to explain. I can be a people pleaser and a me pleaser, independent but shy, an extrovert yet introvert… The list goes on and on. When I took the Myers Briggs personality test in college, I wasn’t surprised to find that I am not just one of the personality types. I have a little bit of everything thrown into one person.

One thing I pride myself on being is a good person. I have been a bitch, dishonest, legally wrong, sinful and hateful. I have done things I am so ashamed of and I’ve lost little pieces of myself along the way. But I have grown so unbelievably much. I look back on the things I’ve done and can only be thankful for them. They got me to where I am now, physically, mentally and emotionally. When I compare who I am now to who I was five years ago, it’s apples and oranges! Then, I was outwardly happy but inwardly depressed. I bundled all my emotions up until I couldn’t hold on to them anymore. I was boy crazy, unconfident and always trying to buy my happiness.  

I have also lost friends and disconnected with people I thought I’d be attached to my whole life. I’ve healed relationships and started fresh with others. When you look at your life in a five year span, it’s a little nerve wracking to see how much can change in what seems like a small amount of time. 

Back to the quote, it seems lately I have been in a funk about being the one to reach out to others. I get down on myself when I realize that instead of a mutual friendship where you’re both investing time in trying to plan something to do together, I have been the sole planner. This is in no way in regards to every relationship, just some. And it sucks. Why would you waste your time with people who don’t seem to care whether you’re in their lives or not? 

It ties in to all of my friendships as well, though. I have some friends whom I go days and sometimes weeks without speaking to, but I know that if I ever needed them, they’d answer in a heartbeat. We don’t need to communicate daily because we are that close. I don’t get upset if they don’t text me back right away and I don’t call them until they answer. There are friendships that mean the world to me, where we understand and respect each other unconditionally. 

If I have something I’ve been beating myself up about, I reach out to Aida. If I feel sad and miss home, I call Aly. When I need to laugh and reminisce on high school times or remember an old song, Ashley is my girl. I have some of the best friends in the world. They get me and never let me down, no matter what we’ve been through. Realizing this makes the quote a little more real. 

Invest in people who invest in you.

You shouldn’t have to work at a friendship. It shouldn’t feel like a tiresome job. Instead, it should benefit you and make you feel great. Time is so precious, why would you want to waste it on someone who doesn’t care to use their time on you?

Just some food for thought on this snowy Tuesday. 



Friendsgiving

I was randomly thinking about my relationships with people in the past and present. How they got to where they are and why some ended. Something I’ve always known, but maybe never really started doing accurately until maybe the past two years, is that communication is the most important thing in any relationship.
I used to hold my emotions in until I just couldn’t anymore. I wouldn’t tell my mom when something upset me, instead I would keep building up more and more frustrations until we had a huge fight. Mom and I fought like sisters because I couldn’t ever figure out how to communicate with her. To this day I hate that I acted so bratty towards her in the past but I can’t take it back. I can only move forward knowing what I know and attempt to react differently in the future.
Every person has a different communication style. Some people tell you how they feel with just a look. Others will tell you flat out that they’re mad at you while some will change their exclamation point to a period in a text if they’re pissed off. Subtle things that you either notice or don’t, can really affect the way a conversation is going to go.
One of the biggest things I’ve been trying to glue into my brain is the people cannot read your mind. If you’re upset, SAY SOMETHING. Don’t expect your boyfriend to get that you’re not really “just tired” but upset about something he said or did. It will get your relationship nowhere. When Zack and I started dating, his ex girlfriend started a lot of drama in our relationship. Calling, texting, cyber-bullying me, etc. Sometimes I would tell him how I felt, but others I would just mope silently and expect him to know what I was upset about. I expected him to make me feel amazing without realizing that I had to first make myself realize that I am already amazing.
Openly communicating doesn’t necessarily mean complaining about every tiny, inconsequential thing that irks you. It just means being honest when you should (well, you should always be honest obviously… But do it tastefully) and taking a step back to really think about whether or not it’s something that should be brought up.
I’ve come so far from the type of person I used to be. I no longer get my panties in a bunch over stupid things that shouldn’t bother me. I try to keep an open mind and see both sides of every situation. When I’m upset or feeling depressed, I talk about it. Nobody can read my mind but me, I can’t expect everyone to know when I need a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen (or an eye to read because I rarely call anyone). I’ve realized the importance of reaching out to friends and loved ones when you’re in need.
Think about your friends and family and what you know about each of them. You’ll be able to pick out their communication style and what they need as an individual. It really is quite beautiful when you think about it.

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Obsessed dog mom

As most everyone who knows me knows, I am obsessed with my dogs… Since this is my second post about them, it should be a little obvious. Scout, Thatcher and Irving are more than just small-medium-large balls of fur, they are my kids, models, snuggle buddies, kissers, best friends and biggest fans. When I walk in the front door, whether I’ve been gone a day or for five minutes, they act like I’ve been gone a year.
You never know the true meaning of unconditional love until you have a dog. One minute you’re yelling at them to stop chewing your shoes and the next they’re smothering you with kisses. Watching them experience different things for the first time is relatable to experiencing them yourselves. Today, Charlotte got some “snow”. I say “snow” because it was mainly just ice. Thatcher and Irving have never seen snow and watching them this morning was just as fun for me as it was for them! I made sure to take a lot of photos.
I can’t imagine life without a dog. “Man’s best friend” my ass. They’re MY best friends. I talk to them, rely on them and take care of them, just like they do for me. When I come home from a long day at work, I look forward to their numerous kisses and cries for my attention.
Zack thinks I’m a weirdo, which I very well may be. He laughs when I ask him to take a photo of me with the babies and when I take selfies with them. People think it’s hysterical that I have an Instagram for Thatcher but love it nonetheless. Life without four-legged furry friends would be one without unconditional love, licks and happiness.
Hug your furry friends close!

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Think ink.

I have always loved tattoos. I never expected to have 13 by the time I was 23, but things happen, ya know? Some of my tattoos are just for looks. They’re pretty and perfect to me. While others have an insanely deep meaning that I deemed necessary to mark permanently on my body. Almost everyone has suffered loss at some point in their lives. This post is about the two tattoos that I have that hold the most emotional meaning.

“Smile and the world smiles with you.” My grandpa Forrester used to say this all the time. When he passed away, I had a difficult time coping. I tried to write out my memories with him, the way he looked, smelled and sang. I remembered he always had a pipe in his mouth, a golf hat on and socks pulled halfway up his calves. He called cars “jalopy’s”, called Jordan and I “gal” and would wake up super early to go to Perkins for breakfast on the weekends (my cousin Elliot and I [the chubby ones] always wanted to tag along).
He was a strong man with incredible talents including but not limited to, creating amazing stained glass lamps and pictures and playing countless instruments. He was a WWII vet who established a full life with a doting wife and 8 kids (Kurt, Kent, Cliff, Tim, Elton, Lisa, Dennie and Celeste). He lived in a hand built cabin on a 10 acre piece of land across from Lake Weir Middle School and allowed us to tear it up on our 4wheelers, dirt bikes and golf carts. He liked homemade oatmeal cookies, chicken noodle soup and cranberry juice. His only concern, besides our safety, was that we were learning something and having fun. When I look at my tattoo, I picture his smiling eyes reminding me that smiles are contagious. I miss that man. Continue reading

Road trippin’ to Florida

I’m probably jinxing myself by typing this in the car. I typically get car sick trying to read/write while riding but oh well, it’s worth a shot! My husband and I are currently en route to Ocala, the “Horse Capital of the World” a.k.a my hometown. My best friends sister is getting married on Saturday, so it was the perfect opportunity to take a long weekend to see my friends and family.
Road trips have always been an exciting thing to me. I remember taking them when Jordan and I were kids with my dad to visit our Aunt, Uncle and cousins in South Carolina. The thrill of spending a week in a different state with our fun family was always so exciting. Growing up we would also take trips with our mom to see our Papa in Tennessee. We would always stop for Krispy Kreme donuts because Ocala only had Dunkin’ (and Tas-t-o’s… Drool). It was also on a trip to TN that we saw snow for the first time. Now, though, “road trips” take on a different meaning to me.
Road tripping these days means going home. Sure, I live in Charlotte with my husband and doggies, but Ocala will always be my home home. It’s where my mom is. Where my 102 year old great grandma Neene lives in a nursing home wondering when her favorite great granddaughter (me, duh!) will be by to visit. It’s where my Grandmommy spends time with my cousins and sisters missing me (Just kidding…but really). Ocala is where my 15 year old sister is growing up and going through high school without her older sister to help when mom just won’t understand. It’s where my friends are. The ones I can’t imagine not having in my life.
Ocala holds a lot of things for me. Taking a road trip there sends a mix of emotions spiraling through me. I feel excited, happy, sad, stressed… Just to name a few. I’m excited to see everyone, happy to be home, sad because I know it won’t be a long enough visit and stressed because I want to fit in as many people as possible and it isn’t always that easy.
Moving 8 hours away from Ocala has opened my eyes to a plethora of realizations. Family is so important. Not having my Grandmommy a ten minute drive away has had a huge impact on me! Not being able to take my sisters to school when my mom can’t really bothers me. Only seeing my friends faces on social media SUCKS! It’s hard when you have a full time job and responsibilities keeping you in place. We don’t always have time to see each other when we want to.
But moving has also helped me to grow as an individual. I am not the same girl who left Florida as a 21 year old with a Boston Terrier and a car full of clothes. I’ve matured in more ways than one. I’ve grown more confident in myself and my abilities. I’ve learned the importance of keeping up the relationships that mean the most to you. I’ve learned that it isn’t necessary to waste time trying to make people like you if they don’t.
I am almost 24 years old. In the last 23.9 years I have learned, grown and adapted to become who I am now. I’m proud of what I’ve done and gone through to get me to this point. I’m looking forward to where I go next. Well, after Ocala. Thanks for reading!

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