showered with love

last weekend our crew had the privilege of showering our close friends kyle and liz with love and gifts in anticipation of their baby girl, due in just a few short weeks!  the day was perfect with friends, family, games, delicious food, and refreshing beverages.  with kari, kyle, and phillip by my side, i learned about the key elements you must have for a successful baby shower.  in no order of importance, they are as follows:

#1 – choose a theme.  if you’re short on inspiration, asking the mom and dad to-be for decor ideas they have for the newborn’s room is a great place to start.  you don’t have to get too specific (even a color theme will do), but i’ve found a general theme of some sort helps put you in a good direction for other parts of the party you’ll be planning.  i myself am dying to throw, attend, or be given a winnie the pooh themed shower some day.  just saying!

#2 – pick out and send the invitations.  now, on this one i personally went a little overboard and designed some custom invitations on vistaprint.  i know it’s so easy these days to do electronic invites and rsvp’s, but i still think there’s lots to be said for hand-addressed envelopes with personal greetings.  but hey, maybe that’s just the old soul part of me talking.  also, it’s hard to resist invitations when they’re this cute – just look at those squishy little animal faces!

#3 – decide on the menu and beverages.  of course this part of the planning depends on the time of day and how long you expect the shower to last.  will folks already have eaten lunch and not be hungry?  do you need to fire up the grill for a cookout or will finger foods do?  regardless of how much you do/do not do, i’d recommend making/getting the mom and dad’s favorite foods if you can find out what they are.  doing so adds a personal touch and will really make them feel special.

#4 – figure out how much decorating you’ll need to do.  this one will depend greatly on the space you are using to host the event.  if you’re having a “destination” shower at a local shop or venue, there might be enough natural decor or beauty that you don’t have to do much.  or, if you have a blank slate, you might want to get creative.  of course, all of this also depends on your budget (kari was the pinterest queen on this one!), but believe me that whatever you are able to do, the parents to-be will be overwhelmed simply by the gesture of the shower itself.

#5 – get all the help you can!  putting on a baby shower might not sound like it is a lot of work, but believe me, the to-do list tends to grow quickly and kind of sneaks up on you.  knowing that, i highly encourage delegating and making the event a team effort.  that’s what fiances and husbands are for, right?

#6 – make sure you make it easy for your guests to find your house (or wherever you are hosting the shower).  for example, darling balloons that match colors of your theme, wrapped sweetly around the mailbox.  believe me, there’s nothing worse than driving circles around a strange neighborhood while squinting to read street numbers in a place you’ve never been and all the while sweating through your cute shower outfit because of the humid georgia summer.

all credit goes to phillip on this one!

#7 – i think we’d highly recommend planning for at least one game.  it’s a great way to bring the crowd together, especially if you have guests from different areas of the parents’ life (you know what i mean, work friends and then the college friends and then the high school friends and then the family).  the game doesn’t have to be complicated or even last that long, but it brings some variety to the party.

#8 – take a bundle of awkward photos of the guests of honor as they open every single gift.  and then!  upon revealing each gift, gush over them all with “ooohs” and “awws”.  i think this is actually a baby shower law, and we do not apologize for all these pictures.  🙂

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and just like that, once the tissue paper settles and the toys are toted away, you will be done throwing the baby shower of the year.  but, i have good news for you – the joy doesn’t end there.  soon enough, there will be a whole new life to be thankful for, and i suppose that’s what all of it is about after all.  🙂

austin – day 1

as most of you know by now, the andrich family is a big ‘family’ family.  we had the time of our lives when everyone came to atlanta for kari and kyle’s wedding last october, and since none of our parents are turning 60 this year, we figured we’d begin a new tradition in an annual cousin trip.  yep, just like that we instituted the first of these new get-togethers over in austin, texas.  most of us had never been, and with it being pretty much halfway between georgia and california, it seemed like a pretty solid destination.

thirteen of us total made the trip, and that number included phillip.  oooh, our first time traveling together!  and so soon!  yes, yes, we’ve only been together a couple of months, but when you know, you know.  so, it was a very early five a.m. when we woke up, packed our suitcases, and made our way to hartsfield-jackson international airport.  after getting our boarding passes, we shuffled through security with hundreds of other sleepy travelers.  although it was a busy morning there already, it was quiet, so we tried not to be too disruptive as we waited for our plane.

since we’d checked our bags, we relaxed at the gate and coolly walked on that md90 towards the end of the line.  we were on the left of the plane in the two-seat row, a nice cozy setup for a quick two-hour flight westward.  we of course took a few pictures, but none of them had both of us looking our best at the same time, so phillip craftily composed this cropped mashup of the two of us.  hehe.

such a happy couple!

such a happy couple!

it seemed like we had just finished our breakfast smoothies when we touched down in the lonestar state.  with an early flight came an early arrival, and we practically had the whole day ahead of us.  we deplaned and snatched our suitcases from carousel five.  the taxi line was short, so we quickly hopped in a cab with a driver who looked exactly like quint from the movie jaws.  he had a little bit of an oddball demeanor that made for an entertaining ride to san bernard street.  we grabbed the luggage, thanked the driver for his advice, and joined kyle and kari in chinquapin, our massive and funky abode for the next 48 hours.  when you’ve got a baker’s dozen to accommodate, your selection pool is narrowed down pretty quickly.  we got a speedy tour of the common space and then took a stroll up the block to the nearby liquor store j&j spirits.

me, doing about what you would expect me to be doing.

me, doing about what you would expect me to be doing.

okay, yes, it wasn’t even noon yet, but we needed to stock up the fridge for all the cousins who would soon be in town!  the cashier was kind as we perused this quaint shop for the necessities:  seagram’s, fireball, white wine, red wine.  yep, that oughta do it…at least for a rew hours.  kyle and phillip used their big muscles to lift those heavy bags, and it was back to the house we went.

look at our hunks!

look at our hunks!

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band nerd classy

okay, everyone.  i don’t really know how to introduce the subject of this post, so i’m just going to be straight with you all:  i’m officially dating someone now.  eek!  yes, it is an exciting thing that gives me butterflies to share the news with you.  the best part about it all?  okay, maybe it isn’t the best part, but one of the most interesting facts surrounding this new life event is that we owe all the credit to tinder.

yes!  i promise you read it correctly.  phillip and i “met” on tinder on valentine’s day (aawww!).  after both of us swiped right, he struck up conversation as i was out and about shopping for clothes and makeup.  we met for coffee a couple nights later after a long getting-to-know-each-other phone call, and with the last sip of my decaf vanilla latte, i knew something felt right.  i’m usually a ball of nervous anxiety and excitement when i meet a guy, but something at the perimeter pointe starbucks that monday night that was very reassuring.

after many strange and unsuccessful tinder dates those first few months, i had lost a little faith.  i know, no one promised that i would meet my soulmate on tinder, but a little part of me thought “surely it isn’t supposed to be this difficult, is it?”  i had been single for years, and as i’ve written in the past, there are days i loved it and days i hated it.  i spent the better parts of the last four years embracing my single status and being selfish with my time.  tinder was supposed to just be a social experiment to keep me entertained, but it has somehow brought me to something more, something that i wake up being thankful for each morning.

phillip is quite the goofball, a great thing considering i’m a bit of a weirdo myself.  he lets me be silly and doesn’t question all the strange and girly ways i have.  to him i am a complete one-eighty from the girls he’s dated in the past, and i’m just thankful that he finds my differences attractive.  he’s been describing me as “band nerd classy” to his friends and family, something that makes me cringe but probably shouldn’t.  classy is always a good thing to be, and i guess i have to be honest and admit that i am a bit of a band nerd.  i mean, i played piano throughout my childhood and then french horn for over 10 years in wind ensembles and marching band.  in that respect, i’m definitely a good match for him considering he was a voice major at mercer.  who doesn’t love a man who can sing?  i knew you’d agree.  🙂

i promised phillip i’d write some kind of update here on the blog, but i didn’t want it to be too mushy and sweet.  something i like is that he is much more of a romantic than me, so he’s getting me comfortable with that side of a relationship.  for this post, though, i wanted to keep things light, and so a darling little photo shoot was what came to mind.  i really don’t know what the exact inspiration was, but this is what we do in our free time, take strange pictures of our faces doing things.

ah, yes, the yellow pages.  an artifact from times of yore.

just like pooh bear, think, think, think.


mm, envelopes.  the best tasting things ever.


i specifically remember we had mcdonald’s that night.  tasty.

i’m so hood…?  #andrichheavy


…and so is phillip…?

glamour shot!


to quote sex and the city…

one of the reasons some people still risk the possible horror of a first date is the possible magic of the goodnight kiss at the front door.

well, ladies and gents, i didn’t have my front door last night, but things had gone so well that, to spoil the end for you, there was magic when he walked me to my car, and i’m still smiling because of it.

i think i had forgotten how well a first date could go, and this fellow reminded me that it can be easy and enjoyable and so refreshing that you look forward to date two.  well, it’s a relief to know that all those other mediocre dates weren’t something wrong with me; they just weren’t the right matches.  not everything works out, and as he and i agreed, everything happens for a reason.  we meet who we meet for some underlying purpose that might not yet be realized, and if we have enough patience and perspective, we might be able to see it soon.

this post is a brief one, for i don’t want to jinx the good mojo that’s here, but to those of you treading the single dating waters out there, keep on keepin’ on.  if nothing else, you’ll always have a good story to tell.

let’s play tinder!

tinder:  a social networking app that helps you find people near you that want to meet up, for whatever reason.  maybe a hookup, a new friend with benefits, a spark that could turn into something more.  the outcomes truly are endless, as you never know what you’re going to uncover.

on this app, you create a simple profile for yourself with up to six different photos.  make sure you pick the best one to be first, though, because folks may be swiping left (they don’t want any of your action) or right (yes, please!) based solely on your looks.  sound a little bit shallow?  that was my first thought as well.  for the longest time i heard horror stories from my coworkers about what people said and how tinder dates went, and then a week or so ago i realized i had nothing to lose and made an account myself.  i told myself it was for the sake of social experimentation, but how do i feel now?

for starters, meeting someone through a dating web site or any kind of social app has a certain something that goes with it.  you may have called it a stigma years ago, but saying you met someone online in whatever capacity is becoming much more commonplace these days.  i’ve never thought the online meeting experience was for me, but there is something relatively non-threatening about tinder.  it doesn’t require a personality exam, they don’t ask you about your values.  people are getting on there and consciously deciding what to put forth about themselves.  pretty low on the serious scale and rather straightforward, actually.

now, what exactly do i mean when i say “straightforward?”  well, some folks are very clear in that they are looking for some hit-it-and-quit-it action while they’re in town for the weekend.  others aren’t too shy to say they’d be interested in finding something a little deeper.  it makes the “swipe left, swipe right” game very easy at times.  get those awkward pleasantries out of the way and get down to business!

as i began playing and reading through these guys’ profiles, i couldn’t help but ask myself, “what do i actually expect to come of it all?  what intangible value or perk is there to this process?  is this thing really as sleazy as it sounds?”  i thought about all those questions after about a week with my active profile, and then i stumbled upon a fellow who had something to this effect in his personal blurb:  “we’ve all been playing tinder before this app came along.  it’s called the double-take, the-introduce-yourself-to-a-stranger bit, the walk-up-and-buy-her-a-drink-because-she’s-cute move.”  eureka!  he’s absolutely right!  if we aren’t being introduced to someone by a friend or acquaintance, our meeting of another person is possibly random and based on our initial gut reaction when we see them.  looks are a big part of the equation, yes.  if i see a cute guy in the bar, i certainly want him to notice me and to talk to him.  with something like tinder, you’re showing the same interest in a similar manner.  get it?  it’s just the avenue, the channel so to say, you take to get there.

after getting off my high horse and taking it for what it was, i clicked on photos, scrutinized profiles, and made matches left and right.  ha, left and right.  you swipe left and right on the app.  ah, i humor myself so!  my first match was startling, as i had no idea what it really meant or what to do with it.  i matched with four guys in nearly record time, it felt like.  when i later logged back in and went to go look at them, i found i was now only matched with two.  um, huh?  turns out you can UNmatch yourself from someone on tinder.  ah, harsh!  that’s just how it goes though, right?  i guess so.

getting those matches was like a tiny burst of self-esteem in the middle of the workday, probably right when i needed it the most.  it puzzled me, though, as my tinder experience continued on, when conversations weren’t really being had.  i had oodles of matches, but only a handful of fellas had the confidence to strike up a conversation.  and for those matches where i said something first, no lasting exchanges were held.  i think this is what has gotten me most out of it, that i match with someone yet we do not do anything about it.  seems kind of pointless in that sense, yes?  i thought so, too.

being the positive person i am, though, i kept things going with a few of the matches and actually have a date scheduled with justin for some beers later this week.  ooh, a semi-blind date – how thrilling!  it becomes clear very quickly that if someone’s on there to meet you, you’ll know.  they’ll ask questions and show their interest, and they’ll get what they put into it.

will i meet my soulmate on tinder?  oh my heavens, that would be a story to tell if it were true.  i have no clue, though.  i’m looking forward to meeting new folks and trying new things, and if tinder is the way that some of those experiences come up, then who am i to say no?  as many of the guys have put on tinder, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.  bazinga!

the wild world of dating

i just settled into a table here at disco starbucks, and the folks next to me are clearly on a first date.  “so why did you decide to move to atlanta from tampa?  is your family still there?” he asks, feigning interest, or perhaps it is genuine?  let’s hope it’s genuine.  “what about your folks?” she returns after giving her answer.  their exchanges seem to be fluid, effortless, enjoyable.  i think it’s clear she ordered her drink first, because she has a venti shaken tea-something, and it looks like he has the exact same thing but a different flavor.  ah, he’s being kind and making her comfortable.  he’s laid back in his chair, exuding relaxation.  she’s leaned over the table, displaying her interest through her physical motions.  they say a large percentage of communication between individuals is non-verbal.  and you know, i’ve been around long enough to believe it.

how did they meet?  is it a date?  were they set up by mutual friends?  did they find each other at a bar this past weekend?  i suppose i’ll never know.  maybe i should lean over and politely ask?  ah, never!  that’s even too imposing for me, and i know i’m a nosy person.

they both are asking good questions that are smoothly leading into conversation.  it sounds like they both have lovely families, yet they are the only ones here in atlanta.  he chuckles at a story she tells, and she smiles with flattery.  will they go on a dinner date later this week?  will they meet up to watch football on saturday?  i only wish we could know how the story ends!  i suppose i’ll just leave them to be enraptured with one another.

listening to this pair next to me gets me thinking:  why are we singles so afraid to date?  this encounter they are having seems to be painless and enjoyable, at least from three feet away it looks that way.  i know many people who loathe the idea of meeting someone new and having to go on a date.  dang, sounds like we’re a little spoiled, or maybe jaded? or maybe both?  i don’t know what the right adjective to use is, but i furrow my brow when people tell me they feel this same way.  is getting to know someone new that awful, that unpleasant, that we pass up the opportunity to get to know a possibly magnetic and compatible match?  what do we have to lose?  a couple hours over dinner one night?  an afternoon coffee?  of all the hours in our lives that we waste on other menial and trivial things, why do we push away the chance for a good night out?  and, if nothing else, a good story?

i love going on first dates.  i love going on dates.  perhaps they don’t occur as frequently as i would like, but i’m not going to force anything.  going on a date with someone new is like going on an adventure.  you never know what you might get out of it, but you’re telling the other person, “yes, i would like to spend time with you.”  and you know what?  you never know how that one date, those few hours together, might change someone.  sure, most first dates don’t turn into second dates.  i’m not here saying that they have to, but every time we say no to someone because we’re unsure, we’re shutting down the opportunity for something, anything, to come of it all.

with all of this being said, let me take a moment to say this as well:  being asked on a date is extremely flattering, no matter who you are!  someone saw you, spoke with you, was caught by your eye, and they had the gumption to come over and ask to spend more time with you.  it doesn’t mean you’re getting married.  it doesn’t mean you have to sleep together.  it means that someone simply wants to get to know you more.  and hey, did the thought ever cross your mind that after the first date, they might find that nothing more is there?  oooh, let’s soak that one in for a minute.

when you’re a mature, single adult in the dating world, you find that it becomes easier to let things not work out the way you want.  so he doesn’t want a second date?  okay.  i’ll have my “it’s his loss” moment and then know that there are other men out there who now have the chance to sweep me off my feet.  dating is not a matter of life or death.  it’s actually a great opportunity to find out what you do and do not want out of a relationship, however casual or serious it may be.  i’ve found out more about myself through the dating i’ve done than i ever would have had i spent those nights cooped up in my condo.

i want to leave you with this message, dedicated reader and passer-by:  allow yourself the underrated luxury of meeting someone new.  it’s something that terrifies many of us but will make us a bolder and more assured person in the end, so that when mr. right or mrs. right does come along, we know where we are and where we want to go.


save me!  help!  someone!  anyone!  we’ve become consumed in a 2d world only accessible via touch screen.  oh, the horror!

we’ve all seen it:  a group of folks out and about, engaging in their mobile devices rather than one another.  i know, maybe one of them is looking up directions to the restaurant.  maybe another is checking in on an ill friend or family member.  and maybe another is jotting down a funny joke they want to later retell.  OR maybe they’re all checking their social media profiles!  did anyone like my picture, my status, my tweet?  did everyone see where we just checked in?  does the universe care about me at all?!  okay, maybe i just got a little carried away there, but it seems to me that although we live in a nearly wireless world, people are more tethered to their devices than ever.

i may not be the oldest person in the room, but i did grow up without tablets and cell phones.  and even though we did have gameboys and an n64, i spent most of my free time playing pretend outside with my best friend adam.  it was a time when, after finishing my homework, i rode my bike to the neighbors’ and was told to be home by 6:30 for dinner.  i was a child.  i lived in the world that was in front of me, and i wouldn’t change one bit of it.

generally speaking i don’t have anything against technology.  it has put the world at our fingertips, and the potential for discovery is boundless.  i think it’s unreal, and almost unsettling, that google can nearly read my mind, knowing what i do and do not like, knowing where i am and where i’m going.  and then i see one of those iphone commercials on tv that tells me i am stronger than i think, that i am capable of anything.  it’s hard not to buy into it.  i get it.  but there are days, many days, when my phone buzzes and i just want to throw it out the window.

would i rather do without?  of course not, but i truly believe you can have too much of a good thing.  can i “justify” all my mobile devices?  i can.  my phone i certainly need.  my tablet is a good thing to have, too.  my ereader is supposed to be saving me money, although i’m currently reading a paperback novel…they all do serve a purpose, but i feel quite silly having them all with me at the same moment.  how can i possibly pay each of them due attention?  i really cannot.  in certain moments they are a distraction and nuisance.  i sometimes even get embarrassed when i’m on my phone in public.  surely there’s something more interesting around me in which i could engage. surely!

my dad has an even stronger opinion about people and their devices.  i was once in the car with him very early one morning, probably around six, and someone next to us was on their phone, deep in conversation.  “who does this guy think he is, that he just has to be on a call this time of the day?  is he really that important?”  ah, good ‘ole milo.  he even mocks us kids when we’re all home and on our phones at the same time.  it’s quite humorous actually.  but, i do think he has a point.

i’m not suggesting we go cold turkey with our smartphones and tablets and devices.  can you imagine what would happen?  the earth might implode!  all i’m suggesting is that we be a bit more aware of how much time we spend with these things.  i truly believe there is a time and a place.  it’s your decision when you choose them to be.

flowers make everything better

my parents are coming in town tonight, and on my trip to the grocery store earlier in the week, i grabbed a bunch of flowers to put out in the condo.  my mom always puts fresh flowers in my bedroom and bathroom when i visit birmingham, so i like to do the same for her.

i separated the bunch between a tall bottle in the living room and this smaller vase in the guest bedroom.



my work week has been less than extraordinary, and i’ve come home the past couple of nights feeling deflated.  yes, i think that’s the right word to use here.  deflated.  i’ve begun each day with such high hopes.  even hearing my favorite songs on the radio on my morning commute set the expectation high.  however, the days have failed to fully deliver.  and we’re only halfway through the week!

when i got home last night, i went in the guest bedroom to switch on the lamps, and i paused for a moment when these flowers on the dresser sweetly faced me.  i couldn’t help but revel in the simple beauty of these earthly treasures.  the wrinkle in my brow was quickly wiped away as a smile crept onto my face.

these delicate flowers reminded me that although we may find ourselves caught up in the stresses of day-to-day life, the good Lord promises that He is on our side and that we are welcome to enjoy the journey while we take it.