When a Stranger Buys You Beer [in a grocery store…]

Y’all know this blog has a lot of really random themes including odd grocery store experiences and encounters with strangers. I mean, my original blog post set the tone that this little corner of the internet was going to be dedicated to strangers who buy me things. Well, this one has all three!

20150603_170801Last night while Bret and I were picking up a few groceries at Harris Teeter, we had an experience that made me think I am definitely going to be writing about this.

We had just finished our nightly walk around the Greenway (pictured left), and decided that we wanted to make cheesy grits and salad to go with dinner, so we thought we’d pick up a bag of corn grits, cheese, and salad ingredients.

I LOVE shopping at Harris Teeter because of all of the samples. I was bopping around to each sample station eagerly sampling rye bread with oil, cantaloupe, and then some cheese while Bret checked to see if the seafood counter offered a particular kind of fish he liked to order in Tallahassee. (They don’t).

We met in the beer and wine section. We were looking at some local North Carolina six-packs that we bought a few weeks ago, but ultimately decided to buy some Blue Moon. It is one of our favorite beers so we agreed quickly. When we turned to to walk away, a voice called out,

“Excuse me, are you done shopping?”

This caught us both by surprise and we weren’t sure how to respond. The man who was wearing a shirt with the Hefe logo was holding up a 6-pack of Hefeweizen beer. In response to whether or not we were done shopping, I just said, “No – we’re not done.”

“I just wanted to ask if you’d tried this beer before. Have you tried this?”

We looked at each other to confirm before answering, “…No, (have you?), No.”

He went on to explain that we were buying the number 1 wheat beer in the country, and that Hefeweizen is number 3 and asked if we’d be willing to give it a try.

I should say right here that Bret does not like sales people – especially those who interrupt him to try to sell something. It may be why he doesn’t frequent the sample carts as often as I do. We were about to leave when he said,

“Okay – I’ll buy it for you.”

I felt like there was probably a catch so we still declined, but he insisted.

“It’s okay. I work for the brewery!” He pointed to his shirt to prove it.

Beer 2He told us that he would go purchase it at the register and leave it up there for us. Instead, he ended up finding us a few minutes later and bringing us the 6-pack in a bag with a receipt! I couldn’t believe it.

I said thank you and he said, of course, and he hoped that we’d like it. When we made it to the checkout lane with our other groceries I was going to explain the whole scenario, but when I held the bag, the cashier said,

“Oh yeah – he told me about that.”

I asked if he knew that guy (thinking maybe this was a normal Hefe/Harris Teeter experience) and he said no, but that really is the best beer they carry.

While we were walking out of the grocery store, I told Bret I’d had random men buy me a beer in a bar before, but never in a grocery store, haha. Also, yes, I am wearing my LCB high school gym shorts.

So while we were making dinner, we decided to do a little taste test. We poured one glass of Blue Moon and glass of Hefeweizen. Do you want to guess which one was smoother, a little sweeter and probably my new favorite beer?

Beer 1Yep. Hefe.

If you like wheat beers like Shock Top or Blue Moon, you will probably like Hefeweizen. Bret even tried it with an orange in it! I will say that we usually put Florida oranges in the Blue Moon and all they had was a regular old naval orange which isn’t the same, but, Bret tried a regular orange in both and still preferred Hefe.

So there you have it – a strong sales skill that worked. I will probably be buying Hefe again, but for now, we’ll enjoy the free 6-pack!

How a Magic Hat changed my life

Four years ago, I made a list that answered this question: If everything was perfect in your life right now, what would it look like?

I think this is an important question to ask yourself every now and then. There are a lot of things in life that you can’t control, but there are plenty of things you can free yourself of, and sometimes it just takes a quick assessment to figure out what needs to change. In 2011 I knew my life wasn’t perfect, so I made a list of what would make it better. My 2011 “perfect life” list included things like: a membership to a hole-in-the-wall yoga studio and plenty of space and tools to paint, write and bake. I was definitely committed to finding a fun, fulling job. The thing that stands out to me the most now, though, is this: I wanted to love where I lived.

The funny thing is, this philosophy was inspired by a beer bottle. My “favorite” beer is Magic Hat. I put that in quotes because as Bret will tell you, it’s not my favorite tasting beer, but it’s my favorite beer because it comes with a fortune under the cap, or, in my case, life-changing advice. My favorite Magic Hat bottle top to date says, “love where you live and live where you love”. I stuck a magnet on it and slapped it on my fridge the day I moved to Florida and it smiles at me every day.

MagicHat

Bret and I … we love Florida.

DCIM103SPORT

I mean we LOVE our Disney trips and we LOVE that we can drive to the Gulf of Mexico in an hour, and we really, really, really love this place we live called Tallahassee.

I always get attached to places, but I’m not sure I’ve loved anywhere I’ve lived before as much as I love Tallahassee. After living in a cute, small town (Harrisonburg, VA) and then living in one of the largest cities on my own (Washington, DC), Tallahassee feels like the perfect fit. It has my favorite aspects about city life: I can walk to the mall, Panera, the grocery store, and a frozen yogurt shop right from my apartment. And it has the small-town charm I can’t live without: familiar people in in familiar places, local festivals, farmers markets, seasonal parades. It’s just perfect.

We both love it here, but, pretty soon, we’re going to be moving somewhere new.

Despite our best intentions, I know we’ll be swept up in the logistics of the move and then we’ll be busy getting acclimated to our new city and before we know it, our Tallahassee life is just going to be a memory. Before all of that happens, I’m making a point to focus on and enjoy this particular stage. I want to absorb all of this goodness that our Florida home offers. For the most part, that just means living out our regular routine but being extra intentional about the way we spend our time knowing that this may be our last weekend out to eat at this particular restaurant or that we should walk an extra lap around the lake because we only have so many walks left in this particular place.

I also wanted to make sure we can preserve all of these memories in a tangible way. That’s why I’m so glad we invited an incredible photographer (who happens to be one of my very best friends), Tiffany, down to Florida last weekend to photograph us living life in our favorite place before we move. I sent her a whole brochure about what I wanted to do while she and Erik (her husband/also my friend) were here.

tallybrochure

I can’t wait to get these pictures. I want to put them in frames and on canvases and hang them on my wall. I know it will be so nice to be able to “hold on” to these memories when I’m living in a colder climate and missing my Florida life. Eventually, I want to get them in an album, too, so if we ever have kids, I’ll be able to show them how awesome our Florida life was before they were born. I’m kidding (kind of).

Before Tiffany and Erik arrived, I made a list of places I want to be sure to visit. It was so hard to narrow it down: all of my favorite spots in downtown Tallahassee, FSU’s campus that brought us here in the first place, the coffee shop where Bret practically lives, and my new favorite cupcake shop. We went to the Farmer’s Market, to FSU’s campus, and all around our favorite Tallahassee places. We also ate at nearly EVERY one of our favorite restaurants. It was excessive, but wonderful. It meant so much to me to have these wonderful friends in town.

Making this list made me all sappy about this place we’ve lived for the past few years. Here are just a few of my favorite Tallahassee things I’m going to miss so dearly…

All the palm trees

campus

My hole in the wall yoga studio

Yoga_3

The North Florida State Fair. If you don’t love it, hush. I love it.

HUMP DAY

My Annual Disney Pass

Disney Pass sisters_disney selfie_1 muppets ladytramp food_3 epcot_2  epcot_3

The Tallahassee Museum

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All of the FREE water sport rentals because Bret is a grad student

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Skies over Tallahassee in the planetarium. And the iMAX.

madagascar

The Downtown area

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The Greenway – where we’ve attempted to train for a 5K multiple times.

20140913_190236 Greenway

Downtown Get Down. It’s like a pep rally for 100,000 people.

downtown getdown downtown 2

The Jingle Bell Run & all of the festivals

Dec_2014_2 parade  glee tallahassee 4th of July_2

Southwood & my Giraffe Tree & the armadillos we’ve seen there

March_Anniversary tallahassee Armedillos

The people.

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The Food.

4th of July 3 my husband sushi

The French Pastry shop.

Feb_French Pastry IMAG4170 IMAG4169 french pastry 2

Sigh.

When I think about saying goodbye to all of these things, it hurts a little. I recently texted my sister – desperately – about how much I’m going to miss the Winter Wonderland Festival and Candy Cane Lane next December. She texted me back,

“You’ll find another Candy Cane Lane. You always do.”

To me, that was so comforting. When I feel doubtful, I remind myself that the core things that I was craving in 2011 are now life constants: a brilliantly secure relationship, my perfect orange cat. I didn’t KNOW I needed a free kayaking option, a sushi restaurant that feels like home, or access to a French pastry shop. So even though I don’t exactly know what I’m getting myself into with this new move, and even though it isn’t exactly what I had in mind, it may just be THE thing I need in my life right now.

And let’s be honest. The best part of Tallahassee, for me, has been Bret. Living here together away from our core group of friends and our families has taught us how to rely and depend on each other in a way I’m not sure we would have had to otherwise. We started our married life here. We’ve grown closer together here. And we know that as long as we have each other, any place we live will be just as sweet.

rehearsal dinner_5

Even though, if you asked me, I’d tell you I’d be happy to stay in this cozy Tallahassee place for a few more years, I would have stayed in Harrisonburg forever if a job hadn’t pulled me somewhere new. I think after I plop that magic hat beer bottle top up on our fridge, it will be easy to fall in love with the next place we call home. Sometimes you have to move to find out what else is out there. It’s a big world. I’m ready for the next big adventure.

2014: Savoring our Tallahassee Life

At the beginning of 2014, I remember feeling trapped. I lived in a wonderful city with the best partner, but I absolutely loathed my job.

I know a lot of people don’t love their jobs, but my job stressed me so much that I couldn’t “leave it at the door” when I got home. I felt worried and overworked and grumpy most of the time. I dreaded every morning. I dreaded a convention that was literally 10 months away. It wasn’t good.

Last January, during the first full moon of the new year, my yoga instructor encouraged my class to light a candle and welcome the unexpected changes this year with an open heart.

I didn’t do that.

At this point, I had given up on pep talks. Instead, I looked down at my 10 fingers and assigned each one a month. My 1st finger was “January” and my 10th finger represented October – my LAST convention before Bret would graduate and we’d get to move to a new city. I resolved to have a better attitude. I can do this, I thought. I just need to get to November 2014.

Even though it was a pretty effective coping mechanism – breaking the year into manageable chunks so I could track my progress – I’m here to tell you that approaching a new year as something that I had merely had to “get through” was a horrible strategy. I had a whole year of possibilities in front of me, but I’d already made up my mind that 2014 was just a big long countdown to get rid of. I wish I could have told myself that I’d be getting some exciting news in March, a new job in June, and that I’d never even have to go to another dreaded convention. I didn’t know.

I couldn’t have known, but I could have tried harder to change my attitude. Looking back, the whole year flew by. When I started to write my recap, I drew a blank. I had to turn to my Instagram account which faithfully tracks my year through pictures.

Now that I’m looking back, 2014, the year I wanted to be over, was actually a pretty neat year.

January

  • Started my Question a Day 5-year journal from Mallory. This is such a special gift. I can’t wait to start year 2/5 today 🙂
  • Had my first (only) Tallahassee Snow Day! It didn’t actually snow, but it was cold enough for the schools/offices to close, and I got to spend the whole day with Velveeta!

Jan_1 Jan_SnowDay

February

  • Discovered the French Pastry shop. This is now one of my favorite Tallahassee places. Mmm macaroons.
  • Bret (and Sadie) started playing the piano again. Isn’t she the cutest?!

Feb_French Pastry Feb_Piano

March

  • We celebrated our One Year Anniversary
  • Went to Indianapolis for a conference with Bret. This was a fun road trip for us to take together, and it was a healthy, much-needed break from work. Bonus: while we were on that trip, I learned my old DC job was going to be open again. That was such an exciting, unexpected feeling.

March_Anniversary March_Indy

April

  • One thing I wanted to do before we left Tallahassee was visit Thomasville, GA during their famous Rose Festival. We went with a friend from Bret’s grad program and it was beautiful! We saw so many flowers there, at the Tallahassee Art Festival, and at Disney’s Flower & Garden Festival, too.
  • Speaking of flowers… in April I saw the first bloom on my Peace Lily from a dear Florida friend.
  • Oh, and I made this awesome homemade Spring Wreath using silk flowers and yarn.

April_thomasville.roseAPril_Disney  March_Peace LilyApril_Wreath

May

  • Mallory & Drew visited us and we want to Universal Studios! It was so much fun. I love them.
  • Our cruise! I think our cruise is my very favorite 2014 memory. It was our 2nd honeymoon and the most fun vacation ever.

photo 4 May_UniversalOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADCIM103SPORT

June

  • My parents visited Florida and we got to spend a weekend with them in Apalachicola. This was a happy, unplanned surprise. I love my parents.
  • I quit my job and heard “We Are Done” by The Madden Brothers” play on the radio while I drove away for the last time. That was gratifying.
  • I started my new DC teleworking job, and got to go to San Francisco 🙂

June_MomDad AAMC Teleworking SanFran

July

  • We watched the 4th of July at Tom Brown Park – it was our last in Tallahassee! I also discovered Diva Pops – the yummiest natural popsicles that come out of a food truck.
  • We saw armadillos on a walk one morning!
  • I renewed my Disney Annual Pass for the last time, sadly. (for a while)

4th of July 3 Armedillos Disney Pass

August

  • Truly, August was a sad month. I had to say goodbye to my wonderful grandma. I miss her and think about her all the time.
  • August was full of good things, too, though. Some of my most wonderful friends from high school drove own to Charlotte and we celebrated Friends Weekend 2014.
  • Bret turned 30. We celebrated with some sweet friends at his favorite (Tallahasssee) Mexican restaurant wearing a shirt that says, “Aged to Perfection”
  • We had the best trip to Disney with Bret’s family…and Olaf!

me and grandmabalcony pic 30th Olaf

September

  • We got to see a lot of wonderful grad school friends at Brandi & Sean’s wedding
  • My “tweet” was “published” or something

Sept_BrandiWedding sept_tweet

October

  • I got to go to D.C. for work!…and then I spent the weekend with my family in Richmond – we went to a pumpkin patch!
  • We made a hilarious gift for Bret’s mom that involved Bret re-creating some adorable baby pictures.
  • Then, I went to Sacramento, California for work and got stranded in a Dallas airport… no pictures needed.

Sept_DC Oct_pumpkin  2014_pumpkin Full-Size-20

November

  • We were invited to a SURPRISE PARTY for our friend, Christine’s, 30th Birthday
  • I went to Chicago for work and ate authentic deep dish pizza!
  • We celebrated Thanksgiving for two 🙂
  • I wrote half a novel. I’m pretty proud of that.

Nov_ChristineBday Nov_DeepDish Nov-Chicago

December

  • Mallory visited us in Tallahassee for the happiest time of the year and the Jingle Bell Run 🙂
  • We celebrated Christmas in VA with my fam
  • We celebrated New Years in PA with Bret’s fam …and I got to go to Wegman’s for the first time! My new favorite grocery store.

Dec_2014_2Dec_2014 Wegmans

I’m not listing off all of these things to brag about my year. I hope it doesn’t seem that way. On a personal level, the year was a good one. I got to go on a cruise and a visit a bunch of cities on work trips that I’d never seen before and I’m so grateful for that. There were some unexpected challenges, too. And there was loss and heartbreak and frustration and so many moments of longing for peace and understanding.

This year was really just a good reminder that I have no idea what’s going to happen half the time. I didn’t think I’d find a way to leave my Florida job before 2015, but I did. I didn’t think I’d get to see my family so much, but I did. When I was grumping around and wishing the year would go by quickly, I could have been focusing on the things I had control over and feeling grateful for all the good things. So, thanks, 2014. Thanks for being good to me even though I had a terrible attitude about you.

Last January, I decided that 2014 was going to be a “get through” year, and I wish I hadn’t done that. I wish I had done something my yoga instructor had encouraged me to do on January 16:

light a candle and welcome the unexpected changes this year with an open heart

New Year New Moon

Good thing I have a whole new year to apply this philosophy. This year promises to have a lot of big changes including new city to call home and a new job for Bret. There are sure to be some challenges, but I’m ready for them.

I don’t have a concrete resolution this year, really, but I’m resolving to spend more time away from my phone and social media. I want to be present and intentional and available to live in the moments I’m given. I want to listen to more music and read more books. I want to finish my novel and submit it for publication, too.

Cheers to 2015! I’m ready to welcome the unexpected changes with an open heart.

Pre-School for Adults

Something wonderful happened to me.

A few weeks ago, I decided to try a new yoga class – Flow & Meditation – and it was the best medicine.

I arrived at my regular yoga studio a few minutes early and the instructor asked me if I had ever taken this particular class before. I said no, and he told me the class consists of:

  • 45 minutes of vigorous vinyasa yoga exercises
  • 20 minutes of  guided meditation
  • 10 minute reflective writing activity

My first thought was wait, really?! There’s a writing prompt?  Continue reading “Pre-School for Adults”

Making it This Far

I am sad today.

Since I’ve moved to Tallahassee three months ago, I have made it to the “final round” of interviews for three mid-level Communication Specialist, Communication Coordinator, and Marketing Coordinator jobs. Each time, I have been called in for a second (or third) interview with the President/CEO. Each time, it has come down to 2-3 people, and they have told me at that final interview,

“First of all, Congratulations for making it this far” (…before going on about the number of qualified applicants and how much it means to be called in for another interview.)

Each time, I have come home feeling confident and excited, and each time I have received a follow-up phone call telling me that, unfortunately,

“We’ve decided to offer the job to another candidate.”

 …It has been an emotional and humbling experience. Continue reading “Making it This Far”

Wakula

Why did I want to move to Tallahassee? Two reasons.

1. Bretski
2. Manatees

I love manatees more than your average vegetarian hippie animal lover. I LOVE them. And I never miss a chance to see them in captivity, but my dreamiest dream has been to visit them in the wild. As soon as I heard that you could get a glimpse of one of these babies down here near the gulf, I have been researching boat tours like it’s my job.

In all my searching, I found the most perfect little piece of real life jungle cruise heaven: Wakula Springs. I love everything about this place beginning with the name, including the old time ice cream soda refreshment shoppe, and ending with this little token of hope:

So we signed up for this boat tour and I tried NOT to get my I’m-going-to-see-a-Manatee-today hopes up. I was content with the little turtles and gators and serene wildlife as pictured below:

But then.

It happened.

Manatee!…and…baby manatee!

Of all places, they were snuggled up next to my side of the boat and these perfect uninjured babies living safely and happily ever after in this majestic state park brought tears to my eyes. Literally.

Dream come true. I’m going to love living here.

The Granola Incident

On Sunday night I cut my heel. No big deal. I thought I stepped on a particularly pointy piece of granola since it’s the only thing I could find on the floor. I soaked my heel in hydrogen peroxide, rubbed some Neosporin, and put a little Hello Kitty band-aid on it. Healed? Basically.

It hurt pretty badly, so went to Urgent Care after work, but they had a two hour wait, so I left. I just had a paper cut on my heel. From a piece of granola. It’s fine.

I usually bus, metro, and walk 10 minutes to work. I balanced on one foot on the metro and took the shuttle form the metro to my office this week to avoid excessive walking. I couldn’t really put any weight on my heel, but I assumed that’s because, you know, cuts are sensitive. I got dinner with a couple friends, trekked over to Yogi Berry, loaded my car up with some furniture.

Five days went by. I was still limping around. Still hydrogen peroxide-ing. Still oozing… oozing? Gross. Infection. Continue reading “The Granola Incident”

Prancer Sighting in Washington, DC

I have some exciting news!!!

Today, I discovered a portal between the Arlington Cemetery metro platform and THE NORTH POLE!!! Don’t believe me? Read on.

I was riding the metro to work. Unlike the lame tourist (and sensible professionals) who take a seat or hold on to the metro rails, I have learned how to stand still in the middle of the car where I can brace my legs and balance like a surfer. I’m really proud of this new skill and brag about it frequently. Important to note: to keep my balance, upon entering a station, I usually look out the windows for a point of reference instead of keeping my glance straight ahead. Continue reading “Prancer Sighting in Washington, DC”

Some things I cry about

The last several weeks have been busy and while that’s no excuse for avoiding my blog… this is: I have a lot of negative thoughts going on. While many of these thoughts involve big life-altering dilemmas that lots of soon-to-be grads worry about, others are too raw and too personal to make a headline in a blogpost.

Which leaves me thinking… what topics are too private for a blog? I’m realizing it is not the topic but how comfortable the writer is associating herself with the topic that gives it permission to be shared. It’s only those thoughts that we’re afraid to admit that we deem too personal, and it’s not until you get a thought into words that it becomes an extension of yourself. Before it’s verbalized or written, it’s still inside of you. Safely.

Continue reading “Some things I cry about”

Would you like to feed a squirrel?

First, this title makes me think of the movie, Rat Race, and the YOU — SHOULD — HAVE — BOUGHT — A — SQUIRREL scene. That movie always makes me laugh.

Moving on.

I don’t know how many people my age are lucky enough to have senior citizens for neighbors, but it is truly a blessing. My next door neighbors are the most kind people I interact with in a typical day. He is pushing 75, let’s call him Jack, and spends most of his time reading the paper, animal watching, people watching, and maintaining a beautiful house. She is also in her 70’s, let’s call her Diane, and still works long hours every single day. In addition to caring for their own lawn, Jack volunteers to cut everyone’s grass on our block every week and knocks on my door when I accidentally leave my car lights on. Diane maintains a BEAUTIFUL garden and keeps offering to help me start one. I have a few plants in pots but I’m hesitant to plant them. I really should just take her up on it. Both of them offer pleasant conversation and a break from my busy schedule whenever I need it. Continue reading “Would you like to feed a squirrel?”

You will never see me again, and you don’t owe me anything.

I gave up coffee for lent, and even though I slipped a couple times on those early mornings touring New York City and apartment-hunting in Boston, I (basically) lived for six weeks without it.
So, I start Easter morning with a medium cup of black coffee. Something you should know: I always drink straight, black coffee. Unless, of course, its 90 degrees outside and I’m craving an iced coffee. Anyway, I spend Easter Sunday driving all over Virginia with my boyfriend to visit my family and his family, and then we arrive back in Harrisonburg around 8pm on Sunday night. I feel exhausted and moderately overwhelmed with the amount of work I have left to do before Monday, so when we pull up to the gas pump, I run inside to buy a coffee to get me through the night, not expecting any life-changing events to occur.

Continue reading “You will never see me again, and you don’t owe me anything.”