santa barbara & sara’s wedding

I’m back and better than ever!  It’s Kelsey’s dad with a blog about our recent trip to Santa Barbara for my niece’s wedding.  None of the names have been changed to protect the guilty.


Unlike the trip that Kelsey and I made out to San Pedro for my brother’s birthday a couple years ago, we left plenty early to drive to Hartsfield airport.  While on the way, I serenaded Kelsey and Phillip with a few powerful renditions of “Phillip The Man”.  Fantastic if I do say so myself.  Anyway.  We got to the airport and parked in extended parking row 63 (in tribute to 1963, the year that John F. Kennedy was shot).  Kelsey, Phillip, Kyle, Kari, and I all flew out together – a train wreck just waiting to happen.  We got to the gate and I began to chat it up with a lady sitting near us.  The lady loved my Chinese proverb “Humor is the passport to success.”  What can I say?  The flight itself was long and bumpy, but four and a half hours later we landed at LAX.  Victoria and Clark picked us up and we were on our way to Santa Barbara.

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Clark did a terrific job driving and also helped put together a specially requested “SoCal” playlist, a playlist only with songs about California or songs by artists from California.  We hit massive traffic going up Highway 1/PCH.  But eventually the traffic broke loose and we stopped at Neptune’s Net.  Neptune’s Net is a classic beach-front dive and we enjoyed their food and beer.  Some would say the highlight of Neptune’s Net were the two seagulls who were “doing the wild thing.”  Some would say this “doing the wild thing” was disgusting.  Anyway, just nature.

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We finally got to Santa Barbara where, guilty as charged, it was sunny and 72.  We found our hotel, The Inn at East Beach.  Only stay there if you DO NOT want air conditioning and DO NOT want an elevator.  Otherwise, it was okay.  Lucky for us that the Swedish girls’ volleyball team was staying there also.  😉

We rested and then were on our way to Dargan’s for a reception-type activity for those who were from out of town for Sara and Christian’s wedding.  Needless to say, the “Alabama Rednecks” traveled the furthest.  Anyway, Dargan’s was a huge hit.  All the Rednecks wore Hawaiian shirts, and I thought they looked great.

OMG.  While leaving Dargan’s, Victoria mentioned she was hungry.  Great idea and, even better, there is an In-N-Out in Santa Barbara!!!  Clark did another terrific job driving and got us there safely.  I ordered a double-double, animal-style for both the burger and the fries.  Heaven!!!

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greensboro, nc – day 1

this weekend i am spending some much needed time in greensboro with one of my favorite couples mary and mike.  mary has known me all my life; we lived in the same neighborhood when i was born all those years ago in birmingham.  our mothers tori and kathleen were besties, as were our dads mark and milo.  they were friendships that were meant to be in that sweet neighborhood of broken bow south, but more importantly, they are friendships that continue to stand the test of time, as they have moved anywhere and everywhere over the past 20 or so years.  as young adults, all of us kids love each others’ company.  i consider them some of my closest friends, and to visit mary and mike at their humble abode in north carolina is a very special treat!

i rolled in late thursday night to a winter wonderland in their darling subdivision.  it’s so pretty!


the picture below is from us all at kyle and kari’s wedding back in october.  such a good looking bunch!  i’ll point everyone out, starting with kathleen on the far left and working clockwise.

kathleen, mark, clark, milo, kyle, mary, mike, gregory, me, kari, tori.

kathleen, mark, clark, milo, kyle, mary, mike, gregory, me, kari, tori.

so, they both went into work that friday morning while i posted myself up at their kitchen table with my laptop, cranking out some sweet documentation for work.  before i hopped to it, though, i laced up my running shoes and braved the cold winter air for a quick jog.  when i say quick, i mean that the roads were still icy and i almost twisted my ankle and fell flat on my back, so i very quickly ran down to the edge of the cul de sac and right back into the garage.  oh well!

snow running:  as unproductive as it sounds.

snow running: as unproductive as it sounds.

the afternooon came and went, and then the happy couple arrived home, ready to begin a weekend of fun and plenty of laughs.  we were going to keep things chill this friday night, so we started by cracking open some beers and bottles of wine.  it amazes me how quickly you can fall right back into conversation and comfort even when you haven’t seen someone in months.  in between handfuls of cheez-its and hummus we reminisced about our families and caught up on the latest and greatest in the neuwirth, guthrie, and andrich lives.

after appetizers we dug into our wedge salads, something remotely healthy, for the rest of the weekend we were quite bad with our diets.  okay, so maybe i’m not actually on a diet, but i needed something green with this meal, so iceberg lettuce and cucumbers sounded like a fair idea.  oh, yeah, but then we covered them in bacon bits and ranch dressing.  whoopsies!


mary whipped up some shake’n’bake chicken and nancy fuller potatoes for our dinner.  the chicken was delicious, but i will admit that the potatoes were somewhat average.  don’t get me wrong, i love carbohydrates and butter and cheese all in the same dish just as much as the next foodie, but i wasn’t dazzled.  regardless, we cleaned our plates and got to cleaning the kitchen and then…..oh……and then the garbage disposal broke down on us.  oh, the horror!

mike opened those cabinet doors to find water dripping from the disposal all over the place.  well, that’s an easy way to spice up an otherwise already lovely friday night, yes?  there wasn’t much we could do about it at the time, so mike quarantined off the kitchen sink so that the damage wouldn’t get worse.  excellent work, mike!  stay tuned for saturday’s greensboro post to find out what happens in the garbage disposal chronicles.  i promise it will be worth the read!


we topped off our glasses and snuggled onto the sofas to watch gone girl.  mary and i had read the book and were dying to see the movie.  mike didn’t have a clue about the film but was a trooper to watch with us anyway.  it’s more of a thriller than anything, so it was a good choice for the three of us.  two and a half hours later the credits rolled and although i liked getting to see the story on the silver screen, i concluded i liked the book much more.  i know that’s typical with most movie adaptations (just ask me my opinion on unbroken), but even knowing that, i’d say it was definitely worth the rental.  maybe not the eleven bucks it would have cost to have seen it in the theatre, but definitely the few redbox bucks we spent.

we turned off the gas logs, folded the blankets, and trudged upstairs to bed.  i ended the evening with an endearing conversation with phillip and then called it a night.  if you thought friday was entertaining, just you wait!

this is how we do

hardly a dull moment passes by these days, and this past weekend was no exception.  our friend ashley was getting married on sunday at historic smithonia farm, so a getaway to athens was a must!  after grabbing a grande java chip frappuccino from disco starbucks, i hit the open road.  the drive east on 316 was easy and relaxing, and soon enough i found myself in little five points with garth, al, and kari to eat some food and watch some football.

grindhouse killer burgers has a new location here, and it was the perfect spot to gather.  although the game was in rain delay (apparently there was lightning…?), we let our pregaming begin.  i am warning you now that we drank our fill that afternoon, and as a result, there are oodles of pictures for your viewing pleasure.

we supplemented our liquid diets that afternoon with plenty of food as well.  i started with an order of french fries topped with bacon and bleu cheese sauce.  ooh, girl, you would think i had died and gone to heaven.  the crinkle fries were the perfect choice for the bacon and bleu cheese, and i am telling you now, if you do not like bleu cheese, these fries are not for you.  i could have gone for a quick swim in that tiny little boat of starchy, salty goodness.


the game finally started, and all the other dawg fans with us were optimistic as the skies cleared and the players took the field.  it’s just the gamecocks.  surely we will defeat them!  oh wait, we’re losing?  it’s the end of the second quarter and we’re still losing?  those feelings look like this, hopeful and brokenhearted all at the same time.


halftime arrived, and we decided to distract ourselves from the looming misery that would become the uga loss to south carolina.  how better to distract ourselves than hopping on tinder!  kari and i took over al and garth’s accounts and got to swiping.  ah, tinder, the epitome of people judging.  my fingers are crossed that we found them a match.  i mean, who wouldn’t be interested in these two handsome fellas?  these gents are single and ready to mingle!

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well, we made it through the game, some how, some way, and headed over to mercy’s.  we know mercy from the redcoat band during our college days at uga, and she is now back in athens for work.  she just moved into her adorable home recently and was hosting a housewarming party.  of course we just had to be there!

first things first, mercy adopted the sweetest little corgi pup honey, who is a lively 14 weeks old.  i saw that little face when we were ushered inside, and i was done.  i think it’s fair to say that half the night we were consumed with her.  i also think it is fair to say that we wore her out!  there’s almost nothing cuter than a pooped pup, especially when it is a corgi.

sarah & honey & garth.

sarah & honey & garth.

the evening was full of laughs as old friends caught up over snacks and drinks.  athens is a place that will always have a piece of my heart, and having been back several times recently, i realize just how much i love that town.  so many memories of my college days, but now new memories to create as we all grow up and tread into adulthood.  they say that time goes by more quickly the older you get, and from just my few years of experience, i agree and am afraid i do not like it at all…

we all slumbered soundly that night and woke sunday morning ready for a new day.  kari was off to do wedding things, so garth, al, and i grabbed breakfast at the five points waffle house.  what better way to begin the late morning/afternoon than with cheese and hashbrowns and waffles and gravy as far as the eye can see?  not much, young lady, not much.


oh, also, it was terribly cold inside this waffle house, and from what i’ve been told, that’s actually the norm for this location.  well, now we know…

since we were in little five points, i insisted we hop across milledge to jittery joe’s.  i worked at jitt joe’s for a couple years in college, and it was indescribably fun.  i loved being a barista at school, and if i could make a steady five figures serving coffee to folks throughout the week, you can bet i’d be trading in my laptop for an apron in a heartbeat.  ah, i suppose a girl can dream…

ah, look at the time!  we’ve got a wedding to get to!  we headed back to al’s place and got all spruced up for the big event.  ashley and jonathan met while working together at the wesley foundation on campus, and out of respect for the day and the event, they wanted a dry reception.  well, that certainly doesn’t mean we can’t still party.  1, 2, 3…#soberfun!


the ceremony was beautiful and big; there were over 200 guests!  the groom and his men were very humble up there, and the bride and her ladies were just gorgeous.  this wedding was my fourth this year, but i never cease to be amazed at just how much love there is at an event such as this one.  it makes my heart want to burst with joy.  ashley and jonathan clearly adore each other, and that feeling is something you cannot hide.

kari, me, ashley, & mercy.

kari, me, ashley, & mercy.

after appetizer hour, we headed back inside for dinner.  mama’s boy, a local athens institution nearly, was catering the event, just as they had for sam and nathan’s wedding back in july.  after that meal a couple of months ago, we were stoked to have some of that good ole’ southern cookin’.  fried chicken and mac’n’cheese and homemade biscuits, oh my!


folks wrapped up their meals, and since we had some time before the dance hour began, we decided to have a little photo shoot.  ladies first!

and now, i give you, the boys:  al and daniel.

we danced into the evening, tried to catch the bouquet and garter, ate some unforgettable cake, and sent the newlyweds off in style with grade a sparklers.  it was a delightful evening that reminded me how sweet and precious our time is here.  love those closest to you with all your heart and let them love you in return.


okay, i don’t typically prefer to swear on my public, social media, but this post is the exception because we were celebrating kari’s bachelorette-ness this past weekend.  she’s marrying my older brother kyle in a short 53 days, and labor day weekend was the perfect time for the bachelorette party.  plenty of time to relax and recover after the fact.  i wish i could share all the shocking and juicy details, but some things are sworn to sisterhood.  thankfully most of the weekend was g-rated, so i’ll let you in on the fun.

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