oh, 2014

i know facebook has this whole “year in review” thing going on, but this post?  this post is going to be much more exciting!  oodles of stuff happened in 2014 for me, and i am going to give you the ultra recap you never knew you needed but have been dying to read.

first things first of 2014, i started this blog!  it began on a whim one dreary january morning when i was in starbucks, and it has been the best thing i have done for myself in a long time.  you guys, my loyal readers, inspire me to keep it up and give you guys an insight into my world.  thank you for the encouragement and loyalty!

with a new year came new traditions, and we began our new restaurant wednesday outings with the first review at the smoke ring in castleberry hills.  the reviews were mixed, but it was a great excuse to see friends and eat food.  in total, we tried 27 new restaurants in the year 2014.  not a bad start!

what else did i start in 2014?  well, with the tired new year’s resolution of “getting fit,” i did my part and joined orange theory fitness.  i kept it up throughout the year and loved getting to challenge myself.  if you have a location near you, i highly recommend you take them up on their first free session.  it’s a different environment and unique approach to personal fitness, but you have my personal testimony that they’re definitely doing something right.

i got my first taste of  local comedy when gregory and i went to see postmodern collapse perform at the warren city club in virginia highlands.  this sketch comedy group was a riot, and it was an added bonus that the food was delicious.  if you find they’re performing near you and you’ve got a free night, definitely check them out!

in late february, i took a quick flight up to new york city to visit grant and leah and their sweet pup boba fetch.  i kept things super touristy as i explored the city on friday and then simply enjoyed the company of good friends in their neighborhood of chelsea.  as you guys know, i’m all about an awesome weekend getaway, and this one was a great way to start off the year.

bridge wide

the traveling kept up in april when i flew back to one of my favorite cities, washington, dc, to have some weekend fun with my dear friend evan.  she and i grew up together in birmingham, and even though we’re years and miles apart, we still know how to have a good time.  i got to visit some new museums, watch the braves beat the nationals, and grab a sunny brunch right in eastern market.  aah, the memories!

it was in the spring that i got my feet wet in the social dating experiment known as grouper.  i had some good laughs, but even more so, i had some excellent stories to tell all my married and engaged friends.  the fun didn’t end there, as i also dove head first into the tinder dating app.  ah, what a riot!  to all my single amigos out there, keep your chin up.  i still believe there’s greener grass out there, so let’s go find it together.

as summer arrived and school let out, the best week of my year was here.  i spent seven days in knoxville, tn to volunteer for the destination imagination global finals tournament.  it is the best week of my year because i get to see some of my closest friends as we watch kids be creative and amazing.  destination imagination molded me into the person i am today, and to be able to give back is something for which i will always be thankful.

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work had me traveling the summer to dallas, tx for a client, so i took the chance to go out a few days early to spend some time with our family friends mark and kathleen.  i got to learn plenty about the jfk assassination in this historic city, and in between it all, i of course enjoyed plenty of tasty food.

i spent a lot of time in the atlanta airport, for between my trips to dallas, kari and i visited our friend gregory up in chicago.  i love the windy city dearly, and after our first summer weekend there a couple years ago, it beckoned us back.  we did a little sightseeing, some serious shopping, and plenty of drinking.  hey, we’re a bunch of twentysomethings; what do you expect?

not two weeks later at the end of june, i found myself westbound with my dad as we joined up with the pedro family to celebrate uncle craig and aunt janie’s 60th birthdays.  the tradition started last year when we surprised my father in vegas, and this trip certainly set the bar even higher for the next one.  it was my first time on a cruise and my first time on foreign soil (woohoo, mexico!), and with this group of people, there was no shortage of outrageous fun.

the first cruise photo!

the first cruise photo!

we turned into the latter half of the year with fourth of july weekend.  we ran the peachtree road race under sunny skies, had our traditional post-race lunch at chili’s, and cheered the braves on at turner field in some pretty sweet corporate seats.  ah, how american of us!

a couple weekends later we took to midtown with some coworkers and their significant others for the first ever atlanta glam night!  we had a three course meal in a private room at einstein’s and it was all as fabulous as you would expect.  after some post-dinner drinks, we partied at and shut down ri ra, one of my favorite atlanta establishments.

august started out with much fun when kyle, kari, and i met up with my parents in auburn, al to celebrate clark’s graduation with his masters of accountancy.  after cheering loud and proud for him at the ceremony, we had a lovely dinner at acre, a local farm-to-table restaurant right in town.  mom and dad headed home, the four of us checked into a hotel, and the rest of the night was just what it should have been:  drinks at the local bar and a late-night taco bell run.  yep, pretty par for the course.

the brothers!

the brothers!

ah, yes, and then kari’s bachelorette weekend was upon us.  i had been planning the event for months, and all my hard work finally came to fruition.  it was a three-day extravaganza in atlanta as we dined at bistro niko, got our nails done, ate petit fours while unwrapping naughty lingerie, and cheering on the bulldogs before shutting down buckhead saloon.  it was a weekend to remember, and the best part is i have evidence.  hehe.

it was the year of weddings and all things nuptial related, so the festivities continued in october when i drove up to asheville, nc for kristen’s bachelorette weekend.  i didn’t know anyone but the bride, so i quickly made friends with all the ladies.  it was a hoot of a weekend, just ask any one of us!  we were super bourgeois with all of our designer labels and our fancy reservations.  it was an excellent getaway, and i was so glad to have been invited and am even happier that i went.

alex, me, lindsey, kristen, cindy, maryashley, meredith, talia.

alex, me, lindsey, kristen, cindy, maryashley, meredith, talia.

and then…october 25th arrived and the andrich invasion was upon atlanta.  the andrich happy hour, the rehearsal dinner, the ceremony, the reception, the after party!  oh, i could go on and on!  it was a stunning celebration of love and family, and i could not be more thankful for the chance to spend time with those i hold dear and close to my heart.  these are the things that matter most.

the happy couple!

the happy couple!

november came, thanksgiving in birmingham went (i’m sure i don’t need to mention the obscene amounts of eating and sleeping i did), and then just like that, i was off again!  this time to boston with my coworker vinh who joined me at the 1975 concert that i had been anticipating for months.  between meals, he took me on the local tour of town on sunday, which was fortunate since the sun was out and the wind wasn’t too cold.  i even got to tour fenway park before i left!  now, just to plan my spring trip so i can actually go to a game…!

the next weekend was full of fun as well on our annual dc december trip.  it was our fifth annual trip up there with the crew, and just as i expected, the city delivered again.  this year we stayed in chinatown, toured the holocaust museum, contributed to the local drink count, visited arlington, and supported local eateries.  all in all?  a great success!

nathan, sarah, jamie, lenora, me, alison, kiley, garth.

nathan, sarah, jamie, lenora, me, alison, kiley, garth.

after a grueling week back at work, the Christmas holiday was upon us, as was a much-needed trip back home to birmingham.  kyle, kari, clark, and i trekked home through some relentless rain to be warmly greeted by mom and dad.  the days at home were precious and cozy, just what you want when you return to your childhood house.  there was so much baking and cooking and eating and laughing that i was tired on the drive home!  not a horrible way to end the year, right?

as i reflect on these past twelve months, i realize how significant the turning of a year can be for a person.  it’s almost as though you have a clean slate and an open road ahead of you, yours for the taking.  2014 made some outstanding memories for me, and it’s fun to read all about it on this single post.  i will say, though, that i am very excited for the things to come in 2015.  i’ve got three trips planned already, a few folks i want to see in concert, and a big adult-size decision coming later.  i am flattered you all stuck with me through 2014 and hope that you’ll stay around to see what this new year brings.  cheers!

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