Sunday, November 04, 2012

My Bestie is Getting Married!

My very first job was working at the YMCA with Toby and his best friend Rusty. Toby moved out of working in the "teen room," to working at the front desk, which left Rusty and I working with the smaller children, although the good thing was that we could still see Toby through the window. Toby graduated high school two years before us and I'm not entirely sure where he went after that, but Caitlin and I went to UNF and lived together. Rusty and I ended up working together once more at Mellow Mushroom where we became decent friends. He invited me to his going away party for the Navy which was toga themed, naturally, I brought Caitlin. It was in October 2008 and I remember that Caitlin and I had pretty legit togas. We arrived at his party and pretty much just stuck to the bar. The next thing I remember is that I couldn't find Caitlin.. I took my time walking around the entirety of the club house that the party was held in when I saw her sitting on someone's lap. I hadn't seen Toby in a few years so I didn't even recognize that he was there. His hair was long and shaggy! Not what I had expected. She was sitting on his lap and they were singing Across the Universe.  Random, but this was a big deal for a few reasons....
1. Caitlin loves the Beatles.
2. Not many guys Caitlin ever met liked the Beatles.
3. Toby was a musician.
4. I knew Toby and thought he was already cool so I approved.

They hung out for the rest of the party and on the way home I vaguely remember hearing Caitlin talk about how she thought Toby was hot and was already pretty attracted to him. In fact, I do believe they exchanged numbers and he texted her the next morning and planned a date. There are a few details I'm leaving out but that's probably a good thing.

Some time went by and they decided to end things. Needless to say, I was pretty upset for them but it seemed like they were both handling it well. Some more time went by when Caitlin opened up to me to tell me that she missed Toby and thought she might want to give it another shot. She called Toby and invited him out to dinner... I think they were in St. Augustine. Toby was pumped and they were together again!

Toby called me two nights ago to tell me that he wanted to marry my best friend. I woke Patrick up crying and jumping up and down. I'm pretty sure keeping that a secret was the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I cried (good tears), every time I thought about it.  He got on one knee and she said yes!  I honestly cannot think of a better match for either of them. Congrats you guys, Patrick and I love you both forever!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Orleans Continued (#acnola)

Day two in New Orleans was probably more eventful than day one. We started the day out on Decatur street near Café du Monde which has famous beignets and Café au lait. YUM! We had a few mimosas at an outdoor restaurant and listened to the jazz band play. I think October is probably the best time to go anywhere in the south because the weather is just amazing. We made our way to Montrel's which was pretty famous for their crawfish, which we ordered three pounds of. In addition to the alligator crab cakes and crawfish bisque. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. 

By the time we finished at Montrel's it was time to roll on over to the Blues & BBQ Festival, only we stumbled upon another festival in the process -  the Louisiana Seafood Festival! How could it get any more amazing than that. We decided to walk the few miles to the Blues & BBQ Festival and I'm glad we did, because the music was amazing, the food was delightful and we met some very interesting people. 

Lafayette Square is where the next festival was held, smokey BBQ was all you could smell so as you can imagine it was heaven. Within the first ten minutes or so, we were approached by two big guys asking us how we were enjoying our trip so far.  Being the social butterflies that Caitlin and I are, we automatically chat them up, take pictures with them, etc. Right as we were moving on and telling them it was nice meeting them, we find out that they are both on parole from the federal penitentiary otherwise known as Agnola. Oh, it gets better. One for murder and one for being the self-proclaimed "most notorious drug dealer in the entire state of Louisiana." Now, these things really don't happen to normal people. Now I'll tell you the best part. We all exchanged phone numbers. Keep in mind, this was before we found out they were on parole. We leave a while later after listening to Keb' Mo' and make our way to the next place, a gumbo bar. Alligator gumbo is probably the tastiest thing that's ever been in my mouth, right along with oysters. I really love seafood. 

We leave the next morning and Toby calls us stating that one of the dudes we met from the festival (the one convicted of murder) has called him 14, yes, 14 times within an hour and a half. We don't think anything of it. Caitlin and I get back to my house in Florida and both have missed calls from the other one, whose numbers were programmed into our phones! What a mess. I then had to explain to Patrick why I had a paroled convict calling me, that's another story! In retrospect, exchanging phone numbers probably wasn't the best idea, but it's a good laugh now. I can't wait to go back, I seriously love that city! Once again, most of these photos are in order. If you have Instagram and want to look at the entire album, including Caitlin's pictures you can search #acnola. <3

The random cat that jumped on my lap at a Mississippi BBQ joint. It was startling because he didn't have a tail.

Monday, October 15, 2012

New Orleans!

I think it's best to split this post up into two different days, there are a ton of pictures but they're mostly in order.

We spent the first day eating amazing food and walking around Bourbon street.  A friend recommended a restaurant called Boucherie. I have never tasted anything like this in my life! It was soul and southern food but with a fusion twist. The head chef and the owner are good friends with my neighbor so naturally most everything was "compliments of the chef."  I tried "boudin," which was probably the most phenomenal thing that I've ever eaten. Duck liver and pork - who would've guessed. Caitlin and Toby both ordered the brisket and I ordered mojo duck breast. HEAVEN. I could literally talk about the food the entire post.

After dinner we made our way to Bourbon, smelled just like I remembered. Like vomit and horse poo, but it's always so fun. The last time I was in New Orleans was July of last year for a bachelorette party and we were only there for one night. There's so much more to do during the day which is what I'll post photos of tomorrow. Seafood festival, blues and BBQ festival, street performers, you name it!

For now,  day one.

The most hilarious shot of our trip. Why was I standing like that? Did I have to pee?

Friday, June 08, 2012

"you're my best friend, and i love you"

I want to tell CAITLIN JOHNSON how much I miss her! She is seriously my ride or die. She has been there through everything and will continue to be there through everything. She is the only person (besides Patrick) who knows everything about me and vice versa. It's amazing to have a friendship like ours.  For the past eight years we have been told by several people that they have never seen a friendship like ours. Caitlin has dealt with some serious bullshit with me and has been there for me every single time Patrick deployed.
They say that living with your best friend will either make or break your friendship, and from the beginning, it MADE ours. I'm not sure where Caitlin and I would be if we hadn't lived together for two years.  Not to mention, we worked together at Mellow Mushroom and spend every moment together outside of work or school together. We just understood each other, we were the friends that could give a look and completely understand what the other was thinking.  Our senior year of high school we sat next to each other in Photo Journalism with a teacher who did not like us at all, but the feeling was mutual.  The entirety of the class we would look for apartments in Jacksonville, completely disregarding whatever she would talk about.  At that point we were getting ready to go to college and live on our own so we were pretty excited.  We were also part of the Spanish Honor Society, I was Vice President and she was President.
We lived with a girl named Shelley in our freshmen year of college who we were skeptical about at first but sort of liked her. Overall though, no matter how much we liked anybody else, it was always us before them. We lived in a one bedroom nasty cinder-block dorm room that probably had parasites, with one bathroom mind you. Every time I went pee I took lysol wipes with me, okay, I might be exaggerating.  All of us had different class schedules so I was the only one up for the 7:00AM statistics class blow drying my hair. Both of us had early classes though, and Shelley had the classes that started at like 4:00PM so whenever she came in super late with her boyfriend, we would make sure to make lots of noise and crinkle the cereal box really loud in the morning. One time we found (WRAPPED) condoms on our Mini-Wheats box and were permanently scarred, never ate Mini-Wheats in that dorm room again. You would only understand why we were scarred if you had lived there.  During our time in X-106 or whatever our room number was, we got locked in a convenient store during a tornado warning, we woke up to a robbery attempt (yes, robbery attempt). We were pretty sure the dudes had a gun from the sound of the knock on the door. Pretty scary stuff! Hmm, we would always hit the gym really hard and stop at the store on the way home to buy Oreos and Twix.  We smoked in the dorm room and had a party between the two of us when Shelley moved out. We both suffered a break-up, mine and then hers. Not to mention all the other crap... Flooding, etc.
Summer came and of course we were together pretty much 24/7. My parents were in Germany so we had the huge house and the outdoor kitchen to ourselves, all of which entailed swimming, smoking, cooking and partying. We spend every Wednesday surfing at St. Augustine beach and eating lunch at Oasis. Every night was spent working at Mellow making that cash flow, it was perfect. Surfing, work, friendship. School started back up again in late August and at that point we had two other roommates that we went to high school with. Luckily, the apartment was two bedroom so they shared a loft and we shared a room.  At that point, Caitlin stopped working at Mellow and starting predominately preforming, I was still working at Mellow. We lived together for that year and were pretty frustrated with the living situation with the other girls. If I remember correctly, someone started tying to grill on our porch but the grill caught on fire, and then everyone in the apartment was penalized for it regardless if they had anything to do with it.  Also that semester, a good friend of ours joined the Navy and we basically lost touch with him. NATE, if you happen to ever read this, we miss you.  A few months later we both moved out, she moved into an apartment with a couple girls and I moved into a condo closer to where I worked which was at the NEW Mellow Mushroom at Jax Beach. It was pretty foreign not living with my best friend who knew my mannerisms and who knew my schedule. My new roommate wasn't used to having me come home at one or two in the morning after getting off of work.  Her roommates were interesting, Vegan and drug addict that would basically shoot up in the bathroom. It was a pretty crazy time in our lives. I'm pretty sure at that point I declared my major as communications and wanted to be a news anchor and to be honest with you she never changed her major..... I changed mine five times. We would get together at my place once a week or so for dinner and every Tuesday we had date night which was usually a movie. One time we saw the Madea movie twice. Nobody will ever understand our love for Madea, nobody, not even our men!
During that time is when I met my love. Also during that time she was breaking up with Toby and contemplating getting back with him, so basically she was still with Toby? I'm not sure, I don't really count their breakup. I love them. I will never forget the day that they met! I see it so clearly. I actually used to work with Toby at the YMCA and at a mutual friend's going-away-party for the Navy, is where they met. It was a toga party and Caitlin was sitting on Toby's lap and I'm fairly certain they were singing Across the Universe. Love at first sight! Also that night, my toga had fallen off in the parking lot and Caitlin had to drive my car home. Toby had long hair that I hated, I'm not sure how Caitlin felt about it, although she's mentioned a few times that she likes "hair-cut Toby," I too, like hair cut Toby.
Circa 2005?
The night Caitlin and Toby met!
This is pre haircut Toby.
Zoolander and Voguing
Patrick and I did the long-distance back and forth thing for a while and as soon as he finished his first deployment I decided I couldn't live without him so we thought it was best that I moved out to the panhandle. It was pretty heartbreaking knowing that I would be five hours away from my bestie. The funny thing is, it feels like moving out of the apartment kind of prepared us to live without each other. I talk to Caitlin every single day. I have known friendships before, but I have never known a best friendship like I have with Caitlin. They say friendship isn't about being inseparable, it's about being separated and nothing changes, and that's exactly how it is with me and Caitlin. We're pretty much down to a science... We see each other and we (generally) commence with vodka or sangria.  This is the shortest possible version of me and Caitlin, and the shortest it will ever be because I am certain our friendship will be forever! I love you Mary Caitlin and thank you for being there for me through everything. <3 I'm about to go a little picture crazy!
Schoolhouse Beach in CA
Exhausted after our flight.
Foppiano Vineyards

Foppiano Vineyards in California July 2011
Hop Kiln Winery, my all time FAVORITE wine is from here.

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