Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Most Memorable St. Patrick's Day

So since I feel on the verge of coming down with a full-blown something awful, I decided to stay in tonight, have a beer or two, and reminisce about my favorite St. Patrick's Day so far. And lucky for you, I decided to take you along for the ride! So hop on board the Memory Express! First (and only) stop: 2007. (Okay, that sounded really lame and stupid and I promise never to evoke a fictional train ride ever again.)

For St. Patrick's Day 2007, my friend Jenna and I decided to go to Savannah on a whim. And when I mean, "on a whim," I'm not exaggerating. We were hanging out at her place the Wednesday before the holiday weekend, talking about places we'd eventually like to visit and going halvsies on a shack in Honduras in which we would spend the rest of our days (you think I'm kidding), when she mentioned she'd like to go to the St. Patrick's Day celebration in Savannah. At that point in our lives we were pretty disgruntled--I had just graduated college that December and was working a crappy temp job while applying for public relations jobs, and she was in her last semester of college and extremely stressed out. So when she mentioned going to Savannah for St. Patrick's Day on that Wednesday, we both looked at each other and said, in effect, "Screw life! Let's go!"

Now you may or may not know this, but Savannah is an extremely small host to one of the largest St. Patrick's Day celebrations in the U.S. Needless to say, hotels book up months in advance, so the chances of us, having decided to trek up there only the Wednesday before the big celebration, finding a hotel were slim to none. But talk about the luck of the Irish being on our side: we scored a hotel room online at an Econo Lodge just over the bridge from Savannah in South Carolina. That following Friday, we loaded up the Burgundy Bitch (my 2006 Ford Focus) with luggage, snacks (which we delved into five minutes after we hit the road--you think I'm kidding) and CDs and drove up to Savannah to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

Now I won't bore you with the day-by-day details of the trip, but trust me--it was a blast. We hit up multiple bars, witnessed minors getting arrested outside of one of the squares (pure entertainment), fended off a rude Danish boy who kept asking to see my breasts, battled some sort of weird stomach bug (well, Jenna did), and shared a shuttle ride back to the hotel with members of a rugby team who invited us to Waffle House, where they bought us breakfast (random, I know). We also cured our hangover munchies the next day with food from Paula Deen's restaurant, The Lady and Sons, where I'm pretty sure Jenna was about to have a heart attack from pure excitement. (In response to the restaurant's gift shop clerk telling her that the cookbook she was buying was autographed, Jenna exclaimed, "Oh my gosh I love Paula Deen, I watch the Food Network all the time!" Just like that, in an overjoyed run-on sentence. You think I'm kidding.)
Jenna and I at The Lady and Sons

Talk about a memorable St. Patrick's Day weekend, and by far one of my favorites. I hope to one day go back (with Jenna, of course), but in the meantime I think I'll raise a glass to good times, friendship, and St. Patrick himself. Cheers, my dears, and I hope you all have a very fun (and safe!) St. Patrick's Day.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

More Links!

Well, actually, it's just one link, and I'm shamelessly whoring myself out. Wait, that didn't sound, I'm shamelessly marketing myself. There. That sounds better.

I got a freelance writing gig reviewing coffee shops for the Tampa Bay Examiner. I'm pretty stoked, as I feel like I'm finally getting some sort of writing career off the ground. And I have an excuse to drink lots and lots of coffee. Sure, my heart will probably explode from all that caffeine before the year is out, but just think of the exposure my writing will get! I think it's worth it. ;-)

Anywho, check out my page here. So far I've got two articles under my belt, one about Indigo Coffee, the other about NOLA Cafe. Holla!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Links! Links!

I've come across some interesting opportunities and information recently, and I thought, who better to share this with than the three people who read this blog? Without further ado...

1. Remember my friend Meagan? The one who purchased the gorgeous yellow citrine solitaire necklace from Tiffany's during her trip to New York? Even if you didn't read the post, you can still infer from the previous sentence that she has great taste, right? Well, due to recent weight loss and a looming cross country move later on this year, she has been forced to clean out her closet and sell some clothes she can't wear anymore. YOU, however, can benefit from this, as she's posted an open Facebook note showcasing what she's selling. And she has some NICE stuff--Ann Taylor pants, Cache tops, a Saks Dress--girlfriend doesn't play when it comes to fashion. Her contact info as well as pricing and sizes are all in the note, so if you want to do a little shopping but don't want to drop a lot of dough, check it out . Everything is in excellent condition as well.

2. My friend Jenna recently started reviewing restaurants for the San Francisco Examiner. She's taken her passion for food and dining out and has made it a hobby, and you would be remiss if you didn't visit her page and read her stuff. Even if you don't live anywhere near San Francisco, you should still check out her articles because she's cool and a talented writer. And leave a comment or seven.


Found this on the blog, LeVar Burton is God:

I hope this amused you as much as it did me because I've read this thing about four times today and have laughed EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Technologically Savvy?

Every time I tell this story it gets a laugh, so I figured I'd share it here. Plus, I'm in the mood for some writin' and this is the only thing I can think of to write about.

My family didn't install an internet connection to the home computer until the spring of 2000. My father was staunch in his refusal to go viral, and do you wanna know his reason? It was because he thought the internet was a passing fad. He didn't think it would impact our lives that much. But during the spring of 2000, when he saw that the internet wasn't going to go away any time soon, he broke down and bought a brand spankin' new HP desktop and had a dial-up connection installed a few days later. (Prior to that, our basic computing needs were met by a hand-me-down computer circa the mid- to late-nineties given to us by a cousin.) The VB household was officially connected.

At this point, you might be scratching your head, wondering why the hell I'm even telling you this. And there's also a slight chance you might be comparing my family to the Clampetts. Whatever. But I haven't told you where my dad works, for therein lies the humor.

He works in the IT department at FDLE.

Needless to say, nobody in my family is an early adopter of technology.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Oh the Irony...

When I was in the fourth grade, I told my teacher that I wanted to be a teacher someday. I forget the exact context in which I made this announcement, but if I had to guess, I'd say we were having a class discussion about what we wanted to be when we grew up. Anyway, my teacher was understandably supportive, and in the days after I told her of my future career choice, she would talk with me about teaching. It was almost as if she were planning to take me under her wing and mentor me, cultivating me into a future educator. Well, shortly thereafter I read Ramona Forever and decided to be a writer. And the next time my teacher tried to talk to me about teaching, I resolutely informed her that I wanted to write for a living. I wanted to be an author. She seemed a little disappointed, and I held on to that dream until...well, I'm still holding onto it, actually. But here's the thing: until that happens, I need a day job that's worthwhile. One that's fulfilling and one that I enjoy doing because let's face it: it might take years to become published. And it might not happen at all. And I don't want to go through life doing jobs I hate, just passing the time until something better comes along. Because what if it doesn't? If I've learned anything in my 26 years here on Earth, it's that sometimes things don't always go according to plan. Take, for instance, my pathway to becoming a full-time writer:

1. High School: get involved with the yearbook and newspaper and get acquainted with journalism

2. College: go to Tallahassee Community College and get my general education courses out of the way, then transfer to the University of South Florida and major in magazine journalism

3. After graduating: get a job at a magazine and write a novel on the side and send it to publishers and literary agents

4. Some unknown point in the future after step #3: get published and quit magazine job to tour and write books full-time.

Simple enough, right? Well, none of that happened. I did get involved with the newspaper and yearbook in high school, but I ended up going to North Florida Community College for my first two years. I did transfer to USF and declare a major in magazine journalism, but switched to public relations when a professor told me that magazine writers were free-lancers. Years after I graduated, I applied for PR position after PR position with no success while working full-time as a staff assistant where I currently work, and questioning whether or not I really wanted to get into the field at all (I don't). So, after coming to dead end after dead end but not wanting to be at my current job any longer, what did I decide to do?

I decided to teach.

That's right! I went back to the career choice I made when I was in the fourth grade. I applied for (and received) my certification to teach grades 6-12 journalism, and am now working on re-vamping my resume and applying for teaching jobs. My goal is to get into the state school system by this fall.

Painfully ironic, isn't it? Of course, I still hold onto that dream of publishing at least one book. But if that never happens, if the only people who read what I write are those who stop by my blogs and friends and family, I think I could still be happy and fulfilled with teaching as a day job.

Here's to new beginnings and being "schooled" by life.