Nothing Could Be Finer

As the old song goes, “Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning.” Personally, I would change the lyrics to say, “Nothing could be finer than to be in Chapel Hill, North Carolina the week after the national championship win.” Not quite as catchy maybe, but man is it true.

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If you’re a sports fan or have any connection to a sports fan or the University of North Carolina, then you watched the game last Monday night. And you know it was ugly.  Both teams were sloppy, no one could hit a shot, and everyone was in the double bonus with fifteen minutes left in the second half. I spent the majority of the game with my eyes closed, mentally preparing myself for the utter devastation of losing the national championship game two years in a row.

And yet somehow (and I still don’t know how), every time I checked the score we were within a few points and sometimes even in the lead. And then Isaiah hit that shot and Kennedy made that block and you could see it in their eyes…they knew. When the final buzzer sounded, it took a few seconds for it to sink in: We won the national championship.  There was plenty of screaming and jumping around as we watched the confetti fall. We watch live coverage of college kids spilling out of bars onto Franklin street. We didn’t go, but we thought about when we did. Later, I may have shed a tear during One Shining Moment. Redemption is pretty sweet, indeed.

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On Saturday we decided we needed to venture over to Chapel Hill to stock up on national championship gear and introduce Finley to one of our favorite places on earth.  And we made sure to pack it all in. We admired Old South and took pictures by the Well. We had blue cups at He’s Not and joked with strangers on Franklin Street. There was something in the air—a certain electricity that’s not there all the time. People were celebrating, yes, but it was more than that. We all got it—how unique this is, how lucky we are to be a part of it.

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I promise that after this post I’ll stop gushing about Carolina—at least for a little while. But there’s something about being on campus in the spring, a few days after winning it all, that makes you want to stop and celebrate. It’s a good day to be a Tar Heel, y’all. Nothing could be finer.

On Being a Tar Heel

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I don’t write about it here often because people tell me that I can be a tad obnoxious. (I prefer to think of it as passion.) Still, when I think about my favorite things in the whole world, there is one thing that finds its way to top of the list every single time:

Carolina Basketball.

I come by the obsession honestly.  I am a born and bred Tar Heel.  My dad instilled in me a love of all things Carolina—especially Carolina basketball—from the very start.  He passed on the kind of love that can elicit the sweetest kind of euphoria and the worst kind of heartbreak within seconds of one another. It’s the kind of love that makes you want to jump over fires and throw things at the tv.  It’s the kind of love that makes you feel a little giddy when you hear names like Phil Ford or Tyler Hansbrough or Dean Smith. It’s pure bliss.

I was a junior at UNC when the Heels won the 2009 national championship. I will never forget that night—the confetti, the noise, the celebration. I sprinted to Franklin Street with a few thousand of my new best friends to jump over fires and climb trees and sing Hark the Sound at the top of my lungs. There’s just no other happiness quite like that.

Tonight the Heels take the court in the title game for the second year in a row.  As I watch tonight, I’ll inevitably be thinking about Marcus Paige and Brice Johnson and the game that could have been. I’ll be thinking about my sister and how much I wanted her to have a championship like I did before she graduated last May. I’ll be thinking about that last second, punch-in-the-stomach buzzer beater (and I’ll try not to cry).

I’ll be thinking about 2009 and reliving the days when I could actually participate in the shenanigans going on down on Franklin Street. And yes, I’ll be thinking about 2005 and 1993 and 1982 and 1957. Because, dynasty.

I’ll be thinking about Luke Maye’s game winning jumper over Kentucky and Kennedy’s incredible performance versus Oregon.  I’ll be thinking about Justin Jackson draining threes like nobody’s business, and unfortunately I’ll probably be thinking about our free throw percentage.

But mostly I’ll be thinking about how lucky I am to be a part of the Carolina family.  I’ll be thinking about how incredible it is that I’ve gotten to watch so many games in the Dean Dome, surrounded by the kind of legacy most programs never achieve . I’ll be thinking about football games in the fall and picnics on the quad in the spring—how the campus changes colors with the seasons, but is gorgeous in every single light. I’ll think about how I feel every time I hear James Taylor’s Carolina in my Mind and how that little town in Blue Heaven holds some of the best memories of my life. I’ll be thinking about the people I spent four years with there and how being a Tar Heel means you have family no matter where you go. And I’ll be thinking that win or lose, it’s a really good day to be a Tar Heel. Always.

Go Heels!

Cheers to 10 Years!

My college roommates and I spent the weekend in Charlottesville celebrating our friendiversary. We had SO much fun exploring, eating, catching up, and generally just being ridiculous. I love these ladies so much, and every time we’re together I’m reminded how important it is that we invest in these relationships. I tried to pick just a few pictures, but I couldn’t do it—there was simply too much goodness!

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On Friendship

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This weekend I’m headed out of town for a girls’ weekend. My college roommates and I are celebrating our friendsiversary—10 years of friendship. 10 years of knowing each other.  10 years of dinners and trips and football games and dance parties. 10 years of arguments about who left her dirty dishes in the sink. 10 years of carrying one another’s burdens and celebrating one another’s successes.  10 years of birthday parties and weddings and babies. 10 years of friendship is a big deal. (Of course that also means it’s been 10 years since we started college, which definitely calls for a glass of wine or two….)

When we first met, most of us didn’t know one another. We didn’t know ourselves, really. We were nervous and anxious about beginning a new chapter, equal parts homesick and ready for an adventure. We had boyfriends, majors, and ambitions that wouldn’t last. We were craving community, friendship, and someone to go out with on Thursday nights. And we were BABIES (see picture for reference).

Our freshman RA referred to us—both affectionately and ironically—as the “suite of angels.”  Over the time the term stuck and became an accurate description of what we were to each other. We lived together for four years, and we grew up together. We laughed and cried and kept secrets and learned a little bit more about ourselves along the way.

Now, ten years later, so much has changed. We party a lot less and sleep a lot more. Five of us are married and one of us welcomed her first baby girl this year. We have mortgages and responsibilities and real jobs. We see each other much less often, and we don’t always know every single detail of each other’s lives (an inevitable situation when you have seven females living in one house).

But in a lot of ways, things have stayed the same.  We’re still there for each other through bad days and bad boyfriends and painful transitions.  We still tell the same stories every time we’re together and pick up right where we left off.  We still tell each other the big news first, still celebrate together, still show up for the moments that matter. We still refer to one another as angels (even though we still drink too much wine and Debbie always has an inappropriate story to share).  They’re still my people.

Today I’m feeling excited and thankful—thankful for friendships that endure time and distance and growing up.  It is a gift, and I’m ready to celebrate!

 

Friday Links

Friday Links are round-up of my favorite posts/videos/projects/photos from around the web.  

tumblr_nkrviuqPpc1rt5pgzo1_400It’s Friday! I’m so excited for the weekend.  We’ve got the usual on the agenda—some time with friends, Netflix marathons, good food, sleeping in, and church on Sunday. Have a fabulous weekend, friends! XO

For your weekend reading pleasure….

 

*Image Source

Things I Love {Durham}

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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.

 

Friday Links

Friday Links are a round-up of my favorite posts/videos/projects/photos from around the web.

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Happy Friday, friends! Spring peeked its head out just a little bit this week and got me all the more excited for sunshine and warm days. It has been a hard week—there has been a lot of sadness in our church this week, and I’m looking forward to a little soul rest this weekend. Here’s to a slow and restful two days! XO

For your weekend reading pleasure…

  • This video that is EVERYTHING I love about Carolina basketball.
  • This perfect response by J.K. Rowling to a fan who said she couldn’t see Dumbledore being gay.
  • This good-to-know grammar rule. (Confession: I will share any post on grammar. Grammar is my jam.)
  • Some fun DIY projects for your weekend from Paper & Stitch.

*Photo Source

Friday Links

Friday Links are a round-up of my favorite posts/videos/projects/photos from around the web.

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Happy Friday, friends! So our weekend is about one thing and one thing only: basketball! The first weekend of March Madness is basketball 24/7, but we’re also throwing in some time with family and a friend’s birthday party on Saturday. It’s a lot to pack into three days, but I couldn’t be more thrilled that Friday is here. Happy Weekend! XO

For your weekend reading pleasure…

  • This advice for young writers from The New Yorker. Never forget that the truest luxury is imagination, and that being a writer gives you the leeway to exploit all of the imagination’s curious intricacies, to be what you were, what you are, what you will be, and what everyone else is or will be, too. 
  • This hilarious interview with preschoolers on how to fill out your NCAA tournament bracket. The kid who picked the Tar Heels to win it all is my new best friend.
  • This post by Lynne Hybels on peace, prayer, and becoming like Christ.
  • These words from Nancy Ortberg—Dear Women: There Are Many Ways To Live a Good Life.

Currently {March}

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Reading: Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’ll be honest—I really wasn’t expecting to like this book. Outdoor adventures don’t tend to be my go-to form of entertainment. I wanted to read it because I had heard so many good things about it and really want to see the movie (I kind of love Reese Witherspoon). I am LOVING it. It is so fascinating to read about her life on the PCT and how she got there in the first place. I’m blowing through it—more to come in my March Reading List post!

Watching: My husband and I have started watching a new series on HBO, Togetherness, and we both love it. We very rarely find a show that we both enjoy (he’s really into the NBA and I’m really into Scandal), but this one we can actually watch together. Each episode is only 30 minutes long, which means we can watch it before bed without one of us falling asleep halfway through.  It’s about a lot of things—love, marriage, friendship, family, relationships, and real life. It has moments that are absolutely hilarious and others that leave you sort of stunned by the raw, but real honesty about how hard marriage (and life) can be. It makes you laugh and think and feel—all the components of a truly great television show.

Listening: Country music. Something about it just makes me feel like warm weather, which is exactly what I need right now. Nothing puts me in a good mood quite like country music.

Anticipating: March Madness. March is one of my favorite months of the year for one very important reason: college basketball.  Even though my Tar Heels have turned out to be something of a disappointment this season, I still love this time of year. There’s so much excitement, trash talk, and competition. I get a little teary-eyed every time they play “One Shining Moment” (except the year that Duke won—that was the worst). Maybe there will be some sort of miracle, and the Heels will surprise everyone. That’s the thing about March—anything is possible.

Celebrating: SPRING (I hope). It has been miserable around here lately. In the south, we don’t do snow well. Everything shuts down, schools are closed for weeks, and everyone gets a little crabby once the beauty and magic of that first snow day passes. Even though there is snow in the forecast this week, the arrival of March means that spring is near. Warm weather, sunshine, flip flops. That, my friends, is definitely worth celebrating.

Why I Hate Duke

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“Now I realize that school spirit is a pretty goofy thing to some people, but I’ll tell you something: I hate Duke with an infernal passion undying. I hate every leaf of every tree on that sickening campus. I hate every fake cherub Gothic piece of crap that litters the buildings like hemorrhoidal testaments to imagined superiority. When I see those Dookie boneheads shoe-polishing their faces navy blue on television, squandering their parents’ money with their fratty elitist bad sportsmanship antics and Saab stories, I want to puke all over Durham.

So this is my request, boys of basketball: Tonight, I not only want you to win, I want Krzyzewski calling home to his mother with tears in his eyes. I want Alaa Abdelnaby to throw up brick after brick. I want Rick Fox to take Christian Laettner to the hoop so many times that poor Christian will be dazed on the bench with an Etch-a-Sketch and a box of Crayola crayons. I want Bobby Hurley to trip on his shoelaces and fly into a fat alumnus from Wilmington. Send Thad and Lorna home with their blue tails between their legs.

God bless them Tar Heel boys!”

-Ian Williams (Originally published in The Daily Tar Heel on January 17, 1990)

*Photo Source (Inside Carolina)