In a Nutshell: A Volcano, Wedding Season and Cape Escape
Every time I write a Nutshell recap post of what I’ve been up to, I vow that I’ll write the next one much sooner. And each time it takes several months without fail until I get around to sitting down and writing it all down. It’s kind of like going to confession. Forgive me father for I have sinned. It’s been five months since my last life recap on the blog. The past few months have flown by. Literally. I think I’ve been on almost 45 flights in the past five months from Boston to Raleigh to Orlando to Los Angeles and a few spots in between. I just hit 100 nights at Starwood Hotels this year, which means I’ve hit the highest level of status they have in just over the first half of the year and get a personal ambassador. Oh, and we launched a volcano. So I’ve got a lot to catch y’all up on.
Last we left off in these Nutshell recaps I was heading to Asheville, North Carolina for my birthday weekend with friends at the end of March. It was an awesome spot and great weekend and I can’t wait to go back. If you’re planning a trip to Asheville, make sure to check out my Asheville Weekend recap on the blog with lots of recos of where to eat and drink.
My Bae, Volcano Bay
Let me tell you how 90% of the conversations go when I meet someone on a flight who asks me about where I’m from.
- Stranger: “Oh hi random stranger on an airplane dressed in all black like a ninja lady boss, where are you from?”
- Me: “I’m from Boston, but I recently moved to North Carolina, but I work in Florida during the week.”
- Stranger: “_________ what?”
And scene. And that’s the conversation I’ve been having for the past two years while I’ve been commuting to Florida for this project, which had a major launch over Memorial Day weekend when Volcano Bay opened to the public. I’m used to big project launches, but usually ecommerce sites and mobile apps. Which usually involves a lot of really late night phone calls and Webex sessions. So this was definitely a first for me. I rocked a skort with sneakers, a company polo shirt and name tag for a few weeks and mastered some new skills like running water bottles, guest services and folding towels, while our whole team helped to support the opening of the park. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience that I am proud to be part of and will never forget. Maybe that’s why in third grade we all had to build paper mache Volcanos. They just must have known this Volcano was in my future. Anyway, I’m still doing my Florida commute and working on other cool things. I just can’t tell you what just yet, so stay tuned. A consultant ninja never reveals her secrets.
Y’all, I have got to get myself a solid dynamo on the dance floor plus one because wedding season is in full swing this year. So start sending resumes in of eligible bachelors for consideration for the role. I’ve got a record number of weddings to attend this year and two stints as a bridesmaid. I kicked off wedding season with my friend Amanda’s bachelorette party in Newport in April, which was a blast. Even more fun was her recent wedding up in Maine at the end of June. It was a beautiful day for a beautiful couple and we bridesmaids definitely brought our A-game to the dance floor. #holdonforonemoreday
In the midst of planning for such a unique event, the idea of incorporating a horror-themed escape room was an unexpected but thrilling choice. As a fan of adrenaline-pumping activities, I found that Hell in a Cell offers an exhilarating stag do experience in Bristol. The immersive setting and cleverly crafted puzzles not only tested our wits but also strengthened our camaraderie. This escapade turned out to be the highlight of our weekend.
Next up was the wedding of one of my favorite people – my friend Caitlan, the other half of the Young Gunz Boston Athletic Club doubles team and my former Boston partner in crime before we both moved South. To say Caitlan is the coolest bride you’ve ever met is the understatement of the century. We all boarded a double-decker bus in Philly on the night of her wedding and stopped at the “Rocky steps” of the Philadelphia Art Museum to “take a group photo” which turned into a surprise wedding ceremony, where Caitlan rocked a beautiful wedding dress and leather jacket. Once a total badass, always a total badass. Party Marg would be so proud.
Next weekend is my friend Caitlin’s wedding in Boston, and we celebrated her bachelorette at Fenway over Memorial Day Weekend. I’ve been friends with Caitlin since high school when we were both on the Shelton High softball team. The other bridesmaids are her sister Meghan, and other high school friends Sam and Kate. Little known fact, back in high school when Caitlin competed in a talent show, Caitlin, Sam, Kate our friend Carrie and I did an epic lip sync rendition of the Spice Girl’s “Wannnabe” and “Spice Up Your Life” – with choreography memorized from the Spice World video. I’m pretty sure once you learn those moves they stay with you forever, so you better believe that will be on the DJ’s “must play” list next weekend.
Semi-Charmed Drops of Jupiter
I was home in Raleigh three weekends back to back in June which was the longest stint I’ve been in Raleigh since I moved there in October. I went to two really great concerts during that time home that has given me concert fever for the rest of the year. First up: Train, OAR and Natasha Bedingfield. I bought the tickets on a Thursday morning for a Sunday evening concert and we got second row tickets for $100 each. We also only left about 30 minutes before the concert started and still got parking and into our seats in plenty of time. Very different from my concert experiences in Boston. I went with my friend Sue who moved to NC from Boston, and my friend Suzanne and her sister who live in my apartment building. It was one of the most amazing concerts I’ve been to in a long time. All three bands sang their hits, and put on a great show. The lead singer from Train is a total rockstar. Literally. I also forgot how many Train songs I knew. Nothing brings you back to middle school like a little Drops of Jupiter.
For my birthday earlier this year my brother bought us tickets to see Third Eye Blind at the Red Hat Amphitheater in downtown Raleigh on a Saturday night in June. It was the 20th anniversary of their self-titled album, which they played start to finish. The first time we saw 3EB was at the Meadows in Hartford back in High School with the Goo Goo Dolls. I’m fairly certain Stephen Jenkins was pretty bombed during the concert, since he forgot the words to Motorcycle Drive-by, but still a great performance.
So with all those flights, weddings, bachelorettes and a Volcano, I was in desperate need of some much needed unplug and chill time. After Amanda’s wedding I spent the next two weeks over the July Fourth holiday on the Cape. My daily routine went something like this:
- Sleep like a normal person in my own bed
- Drink coffee in the sunroom
- Go for a walk on the bike trail with my mom
- Grill all the meals
- Float in a watermelon tube
- Eat charcuterie and drink wine
It was amazing.
It was nice to spend the time with my family, and also I got to spend time with my friends Heather, Andrea, Allie and Luke, and Colleen while I was down there. The only “deliverable” I worked on over those two weeks was capturing a new sunset instagram every night. I’m now crunching the numbers to see if I can somehow financially survive if I just become a professional sunset instagrammer. That can be a thing right? Here’s a small sampling of some of my favorites. I titled this photo series: Relaxed AF.
It’s definitely a bit harder to get to the Cape every weekend with my travel schedule and not living in Boston, but I’ve been able to get there a lot more than I originally planned. In fact, I’m writing this post somewhere over North Carolina 30,000 feet in the air en route to a girl’s weekend on Cape.
Real Product Owners of Beverly Hills
On a recent work trip out to LA, my clients and I opted to hit up the touristy spot Sur Lounge for drinks. If you don’t indulge in trashy reality TV from time to time, let me catch you up. Lisa Vanderpump is one of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hill. She owns some restaurants in Hollywood, including Sur and Sur Lounge, and has a spinoff show called Vanderpump Rules that basically is about the good looking young waiter/waitresses from her restaurants doing some stuff and hooking up. It’s my guilty pleasure to watch in the hotel when I’m on the road. Anyway, we went to grab a drink in the lounge to at least say we were there. Little did we know, they would be filming an episode of the show on a rando Tuesday night. So we stayed most of the night, had to sign releases of our photos to appear in the background and got to see Lisa, her husband Ken and famous dog Jiggy. It was a pretty cool experience to see the whole filming process. Spoiler alert: it’s not reality.
Shake and Bake
Now, as you can imagine, when I average 4 nights home a month in my own kitchen it’s been a little harder to keep my recipe backlog packed with solid goodies, but I did do a lot of delicious baking over my vacation on the Cape and have some good recipes coming your way soon. The Chocolate Sprinkle Cookies that I recently posted were definitely a solid cookie if you are looking to make some ice cream sandwiches this summer. In case you missed any, here’s the recipes that have hit the blog recently:
- Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
- Chocolate Sprinkle Cookies
- Caramel M&M Cookies
- S’mores Cookie Bars
- Mini Key Lime Pies
- Oatmeal Butterscotch Pecan Cookies
- Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Goat Cheese, Prosciutto and Caramelized Onion Pizza
- Peanut Butter Bark
- Goat Cheese Sugar Cookies
The Big Oh-Two and Beyond
The rest of summer is jam packed with more travel and fun with friends, but what I’m most excited about that’s coming up very soon is my nephew’s second birthday. Carter will be turning two on August 9th and I’m really looking forward to celebrating both on the Cape and down in North Carolina next month. I’m pretty sure he thinks his “Ah Bet” (that’s me) is pretty cool. Maybe just because I always show up with fun toys. Or because he’s already learned easy bedtime delay tactics because how can you deny a cute face asking you to read just one more book … eleven books later.
So I’ll leave you with the same promise I do every recap. I’ll write the next one of these sooner. I promise. Well, I promise I’ll try. Maybe it’s the southerness finally seeping into my soul y’all. Just taking things a little slower. Which is definitely a good thing. Though I will admit my favorite thing about the South that I’ve adopted so far is the phrase “Bless her heart.” It’s the classy approach to keeping my Boston edge in the South. Till next time y’all.