Ski Weekend

This past weekend we went up to Virginia for a ski weekend with some of our best friends from college. We had so much fun! I haven’t skied in about 10 years, but I managed to make it through the day without any serious injuries. The best part about the weekend was just being with these dear friends we love so much. Now that we’re all spread out all over the place, we don’t get to see other as often.  It’s extremely rare for us all to be in the same room at the same time, so we enjoy every second of it. We’re already planning next year’s trip!

IMG_7393

IMG_7398

IMG_7380

IMG_7394

IMG_7399

Advertisements

Things I Love {Durham}

Durham

I love to travel, but I think there’s something to be said for taking the time to be a tourist in your own city.  I love where we live, and there are so many fantastic restaurants and fun things to see and do. Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite spots in Durham:

Places to Eat:

Mateo: This cozy tapas restaurant is perfect for date night. It truly reminds me of being back in Spain—the food is fantastic and it’s always loud and crazy. Be sure to make a reservation!

Gonza: There are a ton of really good Mexican places in Durham, so it was hard to pick a favorite. Gonza never disappoints. The vibe is sort of dark and weird (which is actually pretty fun), and everything I’ve ever had there was wonderful. Best thing on the menu? Nachos with steak. YUM.

Rue Cler: This is my favorite brunch spot in Durham.  Really cozy, french vibe with a yummy croque monsieur and the most amazing beignets.  If I can ever drag Bryan out of bed early enough to make it to brunch on a Saturday, this is where we go.

Geer Street Garden: This is one of our favorite casual, outdoor places to eat.  Order “The Pile” and thank me later. After dinner, you can walk over to Fullsteam Brewery for a drink and games!

 

Things to Do:

Chapel Hill: One of the best things about Durham is that it’s right next door to my absolute favorite place in the world—Chapel Hill.  I love spending the day in Chapel Hill walking around campus, exploring Franklin Street, and visiting the basketball museum.  If you happen to be there on a day the Heels are playing, get tickets to the game….doesn’t matter what sport!

Durham Bulls: One of our favorite spring and summer activities is taking in a Durham Bulls game. The games are always a ton of fun, there’s a great community atmosphere, and you’ll have a view of the gorgeous Durham skyline as the sun sets over the city. Bonus: They have a sweet fireworks show on Friday and Saturday nights!

DPAC: One of the best things about this area is the emphasis on the arts and culture.  There are always great shows and concerts happening, and DPAC is a great place to catch a really high quality production (it is where I first fell in love with Wicked). We’ve also seen some great shows at the Carolina Theatre.

Don’t forget to set aside some time to just explore downtown Durham.  We love walking around the 21c Hotel (which houses an awesome modern art museum), playing games at West End, and finishing the day with a drink on the rooftop of the Durham Hotel.

 

Beach Weekend

We spent the most wonderful weekend away with friends. A group of us headed to the beach on Friday—several of my best friends from college and their husbands/boyfriends.  We spent three lovely days playing games, soaking up a little sun, and just catching up on life. It was SO nice just to get away, but it was even better to be with people we love so much.

The older I get the more I realize that friendship is an investment—you get out of it what you’re willing to put in. When I met these ladies, friendship came pretty easily. If we wanted to spend time together, we walked just across campus (or more likely just across the hall).  We ate meals together, watched tv together at night, and spent every weekend together. We knew when one of us had a bad day or had a big test coming up or was dating a new guy. There were very few secrets and even fewer moments alone.

These days friendship takes a little more work.  We’re all busy with jobs and husbands and homes and other commitments, and it takes more time and energy to be a part of each other’s lives. And so when we get three whole days together it feels like the most precious thing. I love catching up with these people who are such a big part of who I am—who cried with me and laughed with me and figured out life with me. I’m leaving the weekend behind a little more sunburnt and a lot more thankful for the kind of friendship that spans years and states, for the kind that makes life just a little bit sweeter.

IMG_5624 IMG_5623 FullSizeRender_1 FullSizeRender_2 FullSizeRender_3

Weekend Adventures

We had a lovely weekend in Charlotte with some of our favorite people. My husband is a huge NBA guy, so it was a big deal for him to get to a Hornets game–and I’m just a sucker for good friends and good food.  We went with my college roommate and her husband (who just so happen to be our neighbors now), and we had a blast! Despite me being a sick, sniffling mess the entire trip, we had a great time exploring downtown Charlotte, finding delicious places to eat, going to the Hornets game, and stopping by Ikea on the way home.

The older I get, the more I’m finding that relationships require intentionality. They need us to carve out time and energy if they’re going to continue to grow. I’m making more of an effort to create time and space in my too full days to go on adventures and make memories with the people I love, because these are the moments that heal and renew my soul. It’s not as easy as opening my door and walking down the hallway to hers, but in a lot of ways I think it’s even better. And it’s definitely worth it. photo 1 photo 2   photo 5   photo 4

A Love Letter to Chapel Hill

28492_806216453628_6005919_n

Lately my alma mater’s name has been dragged through the mud. A lot. The academic scandal rocking the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has been a hot topic in sports news, and I’m pretty sick of hearing about it. Because it’s not the whole story. It’s not even the biggest part of the story. Carolina is so much more than sports, and I think that story needs to be told, too.

I still remember the day I got my acceptance letter to UNC. I had no idea how much that letter would change my life—how much it would shape the person I am today. Carolina is the place I found my community and my niche. It’s the place I discovered that I love writing and that biology is not my friend. It’s the place I figured out how to stand on my on two feet and the place I heard God’s voice more clearly than I ever had in my life.

My classes at UNC were not easy. In fact, my first few classes at Carolina were a rude awakening to the fact that I had never really had to study before, and I didn’t actually know how to do it. The classes I took at UNC introduced me to new concepts, ideas, and perspectives.  I learned that the world is much bigger than I realized and that there are thousands of ways to think, believe, and live in it. My professors pushed me outside of my comfort zone and challenged me to find my own voice and form my own opinions. I left there feeling confident of my gifts and abilities and prepared to succeed in graduate school or a career or wherever life would take me next.

Not only did Carolina educate me in the classroom, but it also taught me how to be a part of a community—how to live and work and grow with other people. The people I met at Carolina are some of the most important people in my life. During my freshman year at Carolina, I lived in a suite on the sixth floor of Craige with six other girls.  The seven of us quickly became a pack, and over the years those girls became my family–the people I call when life feels too hard or when I have something to celebrate. They are the people I danced with at my wedding and the first people I tell when something wonderful or awful or big or scary happens in my life. If all I walked away with at the end of four years was them, it would have been worth it.

And, yes, I love Carolina athletics—for so many reasons. I love it for the chill that goes down your spine on a crisp October night when the game is close and the first chords of “Hells Bells” sound over Kenan Stadium. It’s the giddy excitement that I feel when I watch highlight reels of Michael Jordan’s 1982 game-winning jump shot, Danny Green’s dunk over Greg Paulus, and anything Tyler Hansbrough ever did. It’s jumping over fires and climbing street signs with complete strangers because, “WHEN WILL I EVER GET TO DO THIS AGAIN?,” and you’re all in love with the same place, the same feeling, the same moment. It’s the fact that everyone gets it—that it will always be more than just a game. It’s when the final buzzer sounds and the band begins to play the alma mater—you wrap your arms around people you don’t know and pay tribute to the “priceless gem” in victory or in defeat.

Did we mess up? Yes, we did—irrevocably and inexcusably. But anyone who has been a part of the Carolina family knows that it is about so much more than sports. What is happening in Chapel Hill right now is disappointing and sad, but it doesn’t change how I feel about my school.

So today, like every other day, I am proud and grateful beyond words that I graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  And just in case anyone ever decides to put me in the Ram’s Club video, I am (and always will be) a Tar Heel.