Turning 30 in Nashville

You guys, I had the BEST 30th birthday!!! My birthday was on a Saturday this year (aka the best day to have a birthday) so I knew it was going to be a good one. I had to be in Nashville the next day for a work trip, so I flew out a few days earlier and had a super fun birthday weekend with friends!

I know a lot of people dread turning 30 (and I guess I kind of did a tiny bit…) but honestly, turning 30 was such an exciting milestone for me. All of the older ladies I know say that their 30’s were SO MUCH BETTER than their 20’s, so I definitely was looking forward to a new decade! I am ready to feel “adult-ier” than I did in my 20’s and love that I can now feel better about going to bed early and not going out as much. Now Liz Lemon can officially be my spirit animal.

I flew to Nashville on Thursday night and stayed the weekend with my friend Michelle who lives there. On Friday, our sweet friend Ashley drove into town to help me celebrate – we just had the best weekend and I felt SO LOVED! On Friday, Michelle and I (who both took the entire day off) both had some work to do, so we spent the morning working hard so we could have the rest of the weekend free for fun.

Once we were finished working, we went to the 12 South neighborhood for a little bit of eating and a little bit of walking! We had lunch at bartaco (they have quite a few locations around the country – it was pretty good!) for tacos and a margarita, and then we moseyed on down to Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams for a little treat. I seriously wanted a scoop of every flavor!! I got a cone with two delish flavors and enjoyed them thoroughly.

Next Meesh and I walked to the famed Five Daughters Bakery to pick up some 100 layer donuts (they’re cronuts) to eat later! They had a few great flavors to choose from, but I’ll tell you now that the regular sugared option was MY FAVORITE!!!

Once Ashley got to town, we got ready to go out to dinner at Tavern. I can’t remember where we tried to eat first, but that place had a CRAZY long wait. It took a while to get a table at Tavern, too, but the food ended up being delicious and the dinner was really fun! After dinner we met up with some of my Dallas friends for a Josh Abbott Band concert! They were also in town a little bit early for the same work trip, and it was fun to see them in another state! The concert was pretty good, and I got to start my actual birthday in the WEIRDEST Uber ride of my life!

Saturday (my actual birthday!!) started out with some delicious cronuts! Even being a day old, THEY WERE SO GOOD! And after eating a treat, what’s the next thing we did? Go to brunch, obviously!! Michelle, Ashley, and I met up with my old friend Jacob for brunch at a place called Hopsmith. The food was great and it was a lot of fun seeing an old buddy (we’ve known each other for about 21 years!)

After eating ALL THE FOOD, we hopped in the car and headed to Franklin, TN! My mom has always raved about how cute it is and how much she loves it, so for my birthday I chose to go there and experience it for myself! My mom was definitely right – it was adorable! We walked, we shopped, we got coffee at Frothy Monkey, and we had a blast!

After a quick pit stop at Chick-Fil-A for an afternoon snack, we all got ready at Michelle’s apartment and then headed out for my birthday dinner. There were quite a few of my work friends in town and so I got to spend my 30th birthday surrounded by 10 of my favorite people while eating delicious burgers at The Pharmacy. We also got delicious milkshakes and I tried rose cider which is the absolute best (and apparently the new big thing so go to your grocery store and try it!)

We all parted ways after dinner (and it started POURING) so us girls went back home to play games and listen to music and finish out my birthday in comfy pajamas. It was such a wonderful day! It’s always a nice feeling to get so many calls and texts and messages from family and friends.

The next morning we woke up and packed up and went to have breakfast at a cute local cafe. Then I went to my hotel and started my work trip!

Even though it was “technically” for a work trip, I just had THE BEST TIME celebrating my 30th birthday in Nashville with some of my very favorite people!! I really feel like I saw (and ate) a lot of great parts of Nashville and I already can’t wait to go back some day! There were so many great things (and lets be real, lots of restaurants) that we just didn’t have time to check out, so I’ll have to keep my list for the next time I get back there.

 

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Sparrow Conference 2018

Do you remember last year when I posted about going to a Christian women’s conference? It was so good that I bought my tickets for the next year (aka this year) in advance. Well, the 2018 Sparrow Conference was a few weekends ago and just like last year, it was SO GOOD! I went with two friends and we just had a great time together. The speakers this year (quite a few of them were also speakers last year) were amazing and I filled up my little notebook with so many good little nuggets of biblical truth.

This year it was held at the Music Hall at Fair Park so that more people could attend. The lobby was decorated so well, there were lots of opportunities to purchase books and candles and earrings and things like that, and there was even a super fun photo area!!

All of the (again, incredible!!) speakers led us through the book of 1 John, and I got so many great things out of it- SO MANY- and I wanted to share a few of the things I learned/took away from the weekend! (Just remember that this is all coming from going over 1 John, for context.)

The goal is to experience fellowship with God so we can have fellowship with others.

God made something good. We messed it up. Jesus made it right. One day God will make all things new.

Abiding is a choice. It’s loving Jesus beyond anything else so that is the place we want to be.

If we abide in Christ and not in the world, we will love as God loves. But you can’t abide in both places at the same time- you can’t be bitter, withholding, and unkind AND be nestled in Jesus.

If we abide in Christ, our life patterns will change. We cannot keep in a pattern of sin and also keep in a pattern of loving Christ.

You repeat the actions that matter most to you. God isn’t calling us to be perfect followers of Christ, but to be practicing followers of Christ.

When you’re living a life abiding with God, He will give you the desires of your heart because your desires begin to be His desires for you.

God hears you. He is not a distracted father. He is present and interested and we can have a fellowship with Him.

God’s commands are not burdensome- they are an extension of his good character. Sin IS burdensome, oppressive, and worrisome.

Llama Llove

It’s a well-known fact that I’m a bit (a LOT) obsessed with llamas. They’re just… the best! I’ve loved them for years! Llamas are super trendy right now, which is really fun to have so much llama swag in stores (it’s all amazing!), but I also kind of miss back when llamas were “my thing.” Does that make sense? At all?

Anyway, I get emails from Groupon every now and then – mainly because I keep forgetting to unsubscribe – and I got an email back in the Fall saying something about “Llama Lessons” and I opened it IMMEDIATELY. It was for an hour long llama lesson at a “farm” near Dallas and I signed up so fast!!! A chance to hang with llamas in person?!? Yes, please!!

I convinced a friend to come along with me and we went for our llama lesson! There were about 20 people there, and it was actually really informative! They gave so many fun facts about llamas, and then gave everybody plenty of time to take pictures. Which let’s be honest, is 92% the reason I went.

The black llama was named Barack O’Llama and clearly he is my new best friend. I know he looks indifferent but trust me, the excitement was totally mutual.

The llama lesson was only an hour, but it was plenty of time to enjoy my favorite creatures! I definitely want to go back and take my nephew, but I think we’ll have to wait a while for that. The llamas are just so big and he might get a little nervous around them.

I just had such a fun time at the llama farm and I can’t believe I forgot to post the pictures! If you live in the Dallas area you should definitely go! It’s definitely geared toward kids… but clearly two almost 30-year-old gals went and we had a blast!!

 

101 in 1001: An Update

So I’m not saying that I forgot about this thing again…. but actually yeah I kind of forgot about this thing again… Oops! But looking through my list, I was very proud of how many I could cross off with little to no effort at all! I still have a few months left to finish this (or attempt to finish this), but the December 2018 end date will be here before I know it.

I still have so many to cross off! You can see my full list here, and here are the 16 things I’ve completed since my last update!

4 | I made a baby blanket for my new niece, Julia! (My sister is my friend so this counts.)

8 | I’ve completed a few Lynda courses! HTML, CSS, Illustrator, FrameMaker, and some on soft skills like communication and marketing!

9 | I have made my bed almost every morning in 2018 so far! It hasn’t always looked super pretty, but it got done.

10 | Another concert added to my list! I saw Josh Abbott Band in February in Nashville and they were great!

14 & 15 | I FINALLY made my 2015 and 2016 photo books! Better late than never. I’m just waiting to take pics of my new apartment and then I’ll have 16 done, too!

24 | Floss, floss, floss. My dentist will be so proud

35 | I blogged every day for an entire month last October!

45 | I celebrated my 30th birthday with a Nashville trip! I have a post all about it coming up soon- stay tuned!

56 | I went to the Wizarding World of  Harry Potter last month! Best amusement park ever!

58 | All my recent game nights have consisted of playing What do you Meme which is absolutely hilarious. I’m either the ULTIMATE CHAMP or I lose very very very badly!

66 | I went “hiking” at Arbor Hills Nature Preserve which is very flat and in the ‘burbs, but I’m going to count it.

85 | I’ve seen so many musicals lately! It’s easy now that I have the season pass for Dallas summer musicals. I just saw Les Miserables this past weekend and it was INCREDIBLE!

89 | I found this perfect whipped matte lip mousse and it’s PERFECT. I have the color “Say Hello.” Get’cha some.

92 | I am now a proud member of the eLearning Guild. Oh boy.

98 | I went to Orlando/Winter Park at the end of March and both were awesome!!!

101 | I’ve read so many books, I feel like I’ve missed a few! But you can see all the books I’ve read in my recent reads posts!

How to Keep Your Long-Distance Friendships Strong

When I moved to Dallas in 2015, I was moving somewhere where I didn’t know anybody. That meant that every single one of my friendships was suddenly going to be long distance. Granted, I did already have lots of long distance friendship experience under my belt, but this time if felt different and bigger and more difficult. It definitely took some getting used to and some practice, but I’d like to hope that now I’m an even better long distance friend than I was before.

Since I’ve had a lot of practice, I wanted to share some of the ways I keep my long distance friendships strong, and they’re ways YOU can keep your long distance friendships strong, too!

Send a text. It’s the simplest and easiest thing, but it can make a huge difference! Send a text to share big things like a job interview you just scheduled! Send a text to share little things like you just found a dollar in the parking lot! Sending a little text will keep the communication flowing and show your friends that you still want to include them in all aspects of your life.

Return texts. On the flip side- if you get a text, please my goodness return it!!! There’s nothing worse than sending something to a friend and just never hearing back. And yes, I know that life happens and I know I’ve been (too often) guilty of seeing a text and telling myself “oh I’ll respond after I do this one little thing…” but then oops I get distracted and start doing another thing and then my bad 3 days have gone by and I never answered when you asked me a question. It happens! You just have to own up to it and try to do better. So let’s all try. 🙂

Embrace the group text. It can be daunting to feel the want/need to text 18 people a day. That would be a full time job right there! So when it’s possible and when it’s fun, embrace the group text! I have a few group threads going constantly and y’all – it’s fun and hilarious to have so many close gal pals responding all the time! It’s such an encouragement when things are going well, and it can be extremely comforting when things aren’t going so great and you just need a flood of “that sucks” texts. I love the app GroupMe for group texts- go look it up if you’re not already using it! You can like people’s messages (and not get the annoying “so-and-so liked “this text” messages like the iphone does) and you can look up gifs right in the app and the best part, it lets you make a meme out of your pictures in the app!

Call them! Another obvious option, but it needs to be said! A short phone call is so much fun with a friend you haven’t seen in a while! You can go into details about stories, talk about silly little things, or really go into some deep topics with people you really trust. Even if you just squeeze a call in while on the road (use a hands-free device, please!!) that’s better than nothing! I sometimes keep a running list of topics I want to talk about with a friend on our next phone date – everything from the royal wedding to a great recipe I just tried to something that happened at work!

Use Snapchat! Again, I know you’re already using Snapchat, but I had to add it to the list! It’s one thing to send a text telling an embarrassing story, but it’s even better to tell that story over a video! I’ve also been loving the group Snapchat feature where my friends and I can share videos and pictures together!

Send snail mail. I think I was maybe born in the wrong decade/century, solely based on my love of snail mail. I love love LOVE sending little notes and cards to people, because who doesn’t love getting something fun in the mail?!? Sending a little postcard or note to a friend is a fun way to stay connected without feeling pressure to constantly be on your phone.

Plan a visit! This is the ULTIMATE way to keep in touch with your long distance friends! If time and money allow it, plan a time for you to get together! Whether it’s you going back to your old stomping grounds, them coming to see you, or you both traveling somewhere in the middle, it will be such a great reunion and it will give you both something fun to plan and look forward to!

Utilize the awesomeness that is Facetime. Just like a phone call, but better! You not only get to talk to your dear friend, but you can SEE them, too!! What a great way to give your far away friend a tour of your apartment, show off your new haircut, or just chat while you’re both doing meal prep.

Set reminders. Sometimes life gets busy and texting or calling your friend gets pushed to the back of your mind. This is where organization can come in handy!! (Because organization is the best part of friendship, right? Lol.) It can be great to set up a day and time for a weekly phone call with your friend, a monthly Facetime session, or even a reminder on your phone to text a friend and follow up on a previous conversation. It’s not glamorous, but it works.

Have realistic expectations. Life gets in the way sometimes, and it’s good to have realistic expectations that your friends won’t always be able to drop everything to text or call you 24/7. And that’s normal. They should also be understanding that you have a life and won’t be able to talk or text with them 24/7. If you go in remembering that people are busy and not just ignoring you, it goes a long way toward making sure you don’t get your feelings hurt unnecessarily.

Make the effort! If a friendship means something to you, then put in the effort! It’s so easy, unfortunately, to adopt the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality with the people in your life. If you’re not seeing them all the time, it can be easy to not stay in touch. So take the first step, put in the effort, and I promise you’ll be happy that you did.