Friday5 {St. Patrick’s Day Edition}

New Years, Birthday, Anniversary, Feaster, and now St. Patrick’s Day… the first few months of 2013 have been jam packed with holidays. Here is my guide to making sure you have the most Irish-ly amazing St. Patrick’s Day!

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A real leprechaun I saw last year during the pub crawl

1. Green Milk: Each St. Patrick’s Day growing up, sneaky little leprechauns would somehow break into our house the night before St. Pat’s without anyone knowing. Once inside, they would take an entire carton of milk and DYE it GREEN. We’d wake up and head downstairs for breakfast to find that those little rascals had done it yet again! My sister and I were convinced that the milk tasted different and refused to drink it.  Although we would basically waste a gallon of milk each year, those leprechauns were relentless and kept coming back year after year!

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2.  Rich & Bennett’s 13th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl: If you live in Charlotte and still have the college gift of being able to drink for 9 hours straight, this is the event for you! The event claims to be the largest pub crawl in the world (although I don’t know if I buy that) and is a great way to try a variety of bars. You pay $20 ahead of time, so cover at the bars is free. Last year we went with a group and just bounced around from bar to bar all day. There are drink specials, if you like beer, but don’t go with the intent on this being a cheap outing. My advice…wear flats and order a water at every bar. It’s a marathon, not a sprint!

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3. Get The Focal App: What do you say when the guy at the pub crawl screams “Erin Go Bragh” at you from across the bar? No, he’s not mistaking you for his ex-girlfriend, Erin, and no, he’s not referring to the garment you’re wearing under your shirt.  He mean’s “Ireland Forever“, duh! To avoid an awkward apology after you slap the guy, save yourself the embarrassment and download the “Get The Focal” app. The app contains a massive database of English/Irish translations including pronunciation.

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4. “Where Da Gold At?” Video: I could watch this video every single day for the rest of my life, – that’s how much I love it. It’s not St. Patrick’s Day without this riveting report straight out of Mobile, Alabama. This video reminds me to: avoid crackheads, always carry a pencil and paper for rendering amateur sketches, never leave home without my special leprechaun flute to ward off spells, and to rent that backhoe. I want the gold, gimme the gold. 

5. The Trickey Leprechaun Book: This literary masterpiece was written by your’s truly eighteen years ago and continues to grace us with it’s presence every year. If you’re wondering why it didn’t receive the 1996 Pulitzer Prize…so am I. The suspenseful plot…the vibrant illustrations…you’d think it would be New York Times Best Seller’s List worthy? Perhaps it was the misspelled word in the title…? How did my editor not catch that??

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“May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light; May good luck pursue you each morning and night.”

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Feaster 2013

“Feaster” (Fake + Easter) was born out of the necessity to create a new holiday that would accommodate many busy schedules. My sister and her fiance made a deal that if they spent Thanksgiving here in Charlotte, then they’d celebrate Easter in Chicago with his family.  My parents couldn’t fathom the idea of not spending Easter together, so they decided we would celebrate whenever Whitney and Bob happened to be in town. We’ve been celebrating Feaster for three years now and each year it gets better and better.

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This year we added two special guests, Matt, and Bob’s mom, Donna who was in town for one of Whitney’s showers. Mom prepares the ultimate Easter brunch and it’s one of the few meals during the year that we actually eat in the Dining Room with the fancy china and silver. Following brunch, it’s time for my favorite part of Feaster…the Egg Hunt!

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The Egg Hunt has definitely evolved over the years. There used to only be just a few, small eggs, hidden around the house, and they contained coins and dollars. Now the eggs are hidden outside, and in really hard-t0-find, creative places. My dad learned from his mistake, and now a makes a list of where he hid all the eggs. There was a year when he didn’t keep track and there was one lingering egg that no one could find. A few years back Mom discovered medium and large-sized eggs which makes the hunt even better! The bigger the egg, the bigger the gift, right?! This year’s big eggs contained mini-bottles for the boys, and Girl Scout cookies.  There is nothing funnier than grown men running around the backyard with over-sized Easter Eggs! Following the egg hunt, we go inside and search for our Easter Baskets that have also been hidden.  I’ve had the same Easter basket since I was born, and I absolutely love it. I can’t wait to pass it on to my kids one day.  Our Easter Baskets are similar to our Stockings we get during Christmas – they are awesome! We don’t waste space on Cadbury Eggs or Peanut Butter Eggs, our baskets are typically filled with new bathing suits, spring purses, jewelry, make-up, and the greatest all-around gift, the iTunes gift card!

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I am so thankful that my parents go out of their way each and every year to make every holiday memorable. As we’ve grown up, it’s harder to get everyone in the same place, but I am grateful that for every minute we get to spend together. Although Fester has come and gone for 2013 , I am looking forward to celebrating Easter with the Helgeson’s and of course, celebrating the real reason for the season!

You Can’t Find Love in a Bar, Right?

Wrong.

I’d say we proved that theory to be incorrect – even though we continuously tell our Mother’s that we met on ChristianMingle.com.

And beside’s Blackfinn is technically a restaurant – we just happened to be in the upstairs bar area at 11pm on a Thursday night.

Anyways, today marks the one year anniversary of the day the stars aligned, and Matt and I met. It’s was an unlikely twist of fate. A girls night in for me, that suddenly took a digression to uptown Charlotte. A business meeting for Matt that happened to spill over for after-dinner-drinks at the Epicentre. We both ended up at Blackfinn and I’ll never forget the moment I saw Matt and his co-worker walk in. They claim it wasn’t strategic, but they just so “happened” to order drinks at the bar right where me and my girlfriends happened to be standing. After some small talk, we let the guys know that we had scored some free tickets to the Bubba Sparxxx and Vanilla Ice concert that was taking place at the bar across the street. After getting over the initial shock that those two artists were actually still “touring”, they agreed to join. We had to twist their arms to come with us, but honestly who couldn’t pass up free admission to see to such talented performers??

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Matt and I ended up standing at the bar talking until they eventually closed kicked us out at 3am. I vaguely remember accusing him of his glasses being fake, and I believe that I asked a few of my standard questions including: occupation, birth order, lake house or beach house, and of course the ever so important ‘middle name’ question. Two particular moments of the night stand out to me. First being his watch. For those of you who know me, you know how much I adore a guy with a good watch. It means they are important and have places to be. It means they have appointments and are accountable. Secondly, I asked him to order me a water, and when I got back to the bar there was a Fiji bottled water waiting for me. Of course tap water would have been sufficient, but Mr. Smooth pulled out all the stops that night.

The first few weeks we took things slow, only seeing each other a few times (which drove me insane!). But eventually things picked up and we’ve been pretty inseparable since then I had a continuously evolving list in the “notes” app of my iPhone that I would update on a regular basis of traits I was looking for in a guy. I can honestly say that I can check most items off the list with Matt. I know it might sound cliche, but for many years I prayed for God to bring someone into my life. We both joke that someone else had to have had a hand in this.

I wasn't joking...I really had a list

I wasn’t joking…I really had a list

So cheers to the guy who won me over with his watch and glasses, Tervis Tumbler collection and passion for SEC football that puts mine to shame, and who makes me laugh every day. Thanks for making the last year of my life the best, I love you MRH!

Working on the Weekend – Perspective Shift

For a few months now I knew that I had a work trip coming up that would require me to be gone the entire weekend. I thought of every possible excuse to get out of it, and finally settled with the fact that I had to suck it up and go. The trip was this past weekend and I found myself in a TERRIBLE mood all week just thinking about it.  Things have been so busy since Thanksgiving and I was craving a lazy weekend where I could wear over-sized sweatpants and take at least five naps by sundown on Sunday. It’s basically illegal to have to work on the weekend, right? What about work/life balance? What about those two very important days of rest required to get up and start again on Monday?

So it ended up the weekend wasn’t the most horrible thing I’ve ever been subjected to, in fact, I actually enjoyed it. I got to spend a lot of quality time with my boss. Most people wouldn’t see this as a blessing, but it was great to see her in a different setting than our office.  I also got to meet a lot of the Managers who I support. None of them live in Charlotte so our relationship has only existed via phone and email until this weekend.  They were all extremely nice and funny (and happen to love Baby Guinness shots) and I think they have a new respect for what I do after getting to know me.

Enter my perspective shift: There are so many unemployed people out there who would do anything to have a job. There are also people who have jobs that require them to work EVERY weekend, or EVERY night. After reevaluating, I am embarrassed by my bad attitude leading up to the weekend. I don’t appreciate enough the amazing company I work for. I have a fantastic boss who is the most considerate and flexible person I’ve ever worked for. I work with a team of people who genuinely care about me. I earn a salary that affords me useless shopping sprees at Target and random flights to Chicago at the drop of a hat. I work for a successful company that is growing and not downsizing.  Yes, I did have to work over a weekend…but I also get to work from home when I’d like, arrive to work whenever I feel like it in the morning, and leave at night without having to take my work home with me. My hope is that my experience this weekend will teach me to stop dreading things that might actually turn out well. And to especially count my blessings on how lucky I truly am!