Five on Friday

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It’s Friday guys – can I get a hand raise? This week hasn’t even been that hectic but this will be the first weekend since September 29th – October 1st that I have a “free” weekend and I’m really excited about that. Listen – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it doesn’t take much to get me excited!

Five on Friday

Having said that – here are five things that I’m pretty excited about on this Friday!

One. 55 Days to Disney World – I may have failed to mention…but my family will be starting 2018 in the most magical way possible…at Disney World! Earlier this year my sister and I joked about going to Disney World and that joke morphed into an actual trip! We’ll be spending the first full week of January in the happiest place on Earth and I can’t wait. I also can’t believe we are down to only 55 days before we go – so exciting!

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Two. Thor: Ragnarok – I am finally seeing Ragnarok tomorrow night with my friend Jennie and her son, Jimmy and I cannot wait! The film has been getting excellent reviews, I love all things Marvel Cinematic Universe and I’ve always loved the more fantastical elements of the world that Thor is set in. Plus – this movie features two of my favorite tall and skinny British men: Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch…and of course, Chris Hemsworth!

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Three. Perfectly Posh Holiday Products – Tis the season and Perfectly Posh is all about celebrating this special time of year! Posh has released four holiday products with two more upcoming and so far, I’m in love with each and every one (not a shock, right?) The Nice Ice Skin Stick is made from shea and essential oils with vanilla, peppermint and glitter; perfect for highlighting holiday looks! Love You Snow Much O2 Bubbling Face Mask has a crisp mint scent and licorice root moisturizes and brightens! Snow and Tell Brightening Facial Moisturizer reduces the appearance of fine lines and brightens skin! The Holly Jolly chunk has a pomegranate, citrus and pine scent combined with mango butter for a clean that will make you feel all the holiday warm fuzzies!

And still to come later this month? Warm Welcome Big Fat Yummy Hand Creme and Kissletoe Lip Gloss! I love the holiday season so much and I love all of these new Perfectly Posh products! If you’d like to get some for yourself, feel free to check out my page at http://NatalieSummerlin.po.sh/ and get in the holiday spirit!

Four. One Week till Sister Time – My younger sister will be arriving next Friday for nine days of fun, family and general sibling mischief. We’ve already got lots of fun things on the calendar for the week of Thanksgiving and I’m especially excited since last year our family was on opposite sides of the United States on Thanksgiving. And of course, I always love spending time with my little sis!

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Five. Decorating for Christmas – That’s right, I know it’s not even Thanksgiving yet but I couldn’t care less. I love all things Christmas and I think that sometimes you need more than a month to celebrate. So I’ll be putting up some Christmas decorations this weekend because…hey – I just love all things Christmas, so why not?

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So – my weekend is filled with all things Marvel and Merry Christmas, perhaps with a side of Netflix, a fire in the fireplace and snuggling with my puppy! I hope everyone has a lovely weekend and I’ll see you back here another day!

Mississippi is Hot…And Other Obvious Things 

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Well – Tuesday afternoon is finding me happy to be sitting at my desk in Northern Virginia, watching the rain fall outside – happy to be back in Virginia after a weekend spent in my longtime former home state of Mississippi. The trip still feels like a whirlwind when I think about it…from the moment we arrived it seemed we were hopping from here to there doing all manner of things and trying to see family and friends in the short time we had.

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Pedicures with my cousin and some of her wedding party.

My mom, dad and I flew into Atlanta and met up with my sister before hopping into a rental car to drive the four and half hours to central Mississippi where a large portion of the family lives. We arrived in Meridian around 7:00 and met up with my Aunt and cousin (the bride to be) at a nail salon for pedicures and it was oh so nice to finally be out of the car…for just a little while. After a much needed pedicure, we drove on to my grandmother’s (henceforth referenced as Nanny) house for some homemade vegetable soup and visiting before falling into bed exhausted.

We slept in on Friday morning – this would be the ONLY morning that would happen – and my sweet Nanny made us breakfast before we headed out and about for the day…snapping pictures in front of the trees my grandparents had planted in their yard; one for each grandchild, somehow the only three that survived were mine, my sister’s and my cousin Jodi’s… My younger sister had a hair appointment at 11:00 and so we passed the time while she got a trim and then had lunch at Mugshots; a burger joint that is pretty much a Mississippi institution, the original Mugshots was in my college town of Hattiesburg.

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Lunch at Mugshots – drinking sweet tea, of course!

We also did a little shopping at the Atrium, a local “store” of sorts that has numerous stalls with everything from antiques to boutique style clothing and handmade items. Lindsey and I (of course) picked up a couple clothing items before printing a picture at Walgreens and grabbing some kids clothing for friends at a boutique called Purdy Kids.

We met up with friends at San Marcos – a Mexican restaurant that was one of our favorite while we lived in Mississippi and had a rather loud and delicious dinner, catching up and sharing stories. There is very little I miss about Mississippi; which might seem harsh, but the people gathered around the table on Friday night…those people are what I DO miss.

Saturday morning we were up and at ’em to go meet my Dad’s side of the family for breakfast at IHOP…we were even able to gaze into the giant sinkhole that opened in the IHOP parking lot over a year ago. It’s still not filled in and so after stuffing myself with Cinnistack Pancakes, I wandered over and gazed into the depths of the sinkhole…yikes!

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My Dad’s family – two siblings, a sister in law and a great Aunt.

After finishing breakfast, we stopped at Wal-Mart (what trip doesn’t require some sort of visit to Wal-Mart?!?) for cold medicine (the dramatic change in temperature did not sit well with my throat/nose/head…) and then popped in to visit my Great Uncle & Great Aunt. The visit was shorter than we’d intended…but we noticed that the back tire of our rental car was losing pressure and after close inspection, my Dad found a sharp piece of metal embedded in the tire. We quickly found a tire shop to patch the tire; we were going to need those wheels to get us to the wedding…and Jackson…and back to Atlanta…

Blessedly, we found a tire shop and within 15 minutes, the tire was patched. I was so glad to have a couple hours to relax and let the medication I’d taken kick in – I’d started to feel pretty rough, but the DayQuil went to work and that feeling passed. In the early afternoon, my sister and I began getting ready for the wedding (my parents and Nanny had already left)…and I made the mistake of curling my hair. I forgot Mississippi is where anything besides straight hair goes to die…and all my curling was for naught. Oh well. We set out for the middle of Alabama with our tag-along McKenna…

Once we arrived at the wedding, although we hadn’t officially been asked to be a part of the wedding…my cousin’s wedding coordinator put my sister and I to work; I handed out programs and my sister encouraged guests to sign the couple’s picture. While standing outside I came to the realization that Mississippi is SO much warmer than I remembered. It was an uncomfortable realization and the humidity hung over the wedding like a blanket… You guys – it is SO HUMID in Mississippi. So humid. I have obviously managed to put the intense humidity away in my mind but the reality came back with smothering clarity.

The wedding was lovely and could not have been more perfectly tailored to my cousin Jodi and her new husband Michael. Jodi looked beautiful and every aspect of the ceremony was a reflection of the two of them and the start of their life together – it was perfect for the two of them.

After the wedding ended, everyone snapped pictures and then the reception began in earnest. Jodi and Michael shared their first dance, cut the cakes and then encouraged everyone to join them on the dance floor… Not too many people seemed interested in coming out on the dance floor; everyone did the Cupid Shuffle and then almost everyone left the dance floor, I kept on dancing and happened to look up to see that the only six people on the dance floor were myself, my sister, my cousins Jodi and Colton and their parents, Beth and Neil. The six of us were basically doing our own performance…

I should mention – my parents “won” the dance portion for the couple who had been married longest. At 35 years and counting, they ended up being the couple still out on the floor with Jodi and Michael… Later in the evening, after the bride and groom had departed and we were riding home, my Nanny offered up that she was so tickled to see all her grand kids on the dance floor. She also said she had not doubt we’d all be out on the dance floor because we all had rhythm…and we’d gotten that rhythm from her! Once we returned home, we changed all the clocks but the extra hour didn’t matter – I could not keep my eyes open and once I took NyQuil, all bets were really off.

Sunday morning we were up even earlier to join my Nanny for church – the church that I attended for most of my life. If was so nice to see the faces of sweet people I grew up knowing; but it was also nice to once again have confirmation that moving to Virginia was the right choice for me. The heat in Mississippi hasn’t changed much and some people are just the same as that humid and oppressive Mississippi weather. A few years ago I would have been crushed by that visit to a familiar place and the familiar attitudes of certain people – but no longer. I can say with certainty that returning to a place you once called “home” is not always easy but it is often eye opening.

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Lindsey and I with our “sister” McKenna – she may belong to friends but then again…friends are the family you choose and so…she’s our little sister.

We drove to Jackson on Sunday afternoon to meet up with a new family friend for lunch at Biaggi’s (yahoo for Italian food) and when I was done having lunch, I excused myself and ran over to Barnes and Noble to catch up with my sweet friend Kristen; I finally got to meet not just her husband but her sweet daughter too! After the morning, spending time with Kristen reinforced to me that true friends are such a gift and certain situations will enlighten you to just who those friends are. I’m abundantly blessed in that department and felt so lucky that my sweet friend made time in her busy life to spend time with me!

We may or may not have taken a million pictures…but seriously…how can you not?

We drove back to the big city of Meridian and picked up pizza on the way to my Nanny’s house, where we were joined by friends and family for a little more visiting. We chatted over pizza and leftover wedding cake, laughed until we were in tears and soaked up each other’s company. It was a really nice way to spend our last night of the whirlwind weekend.

Monday morning saw us up at our earliest yet to make the drive back to Atlanta to return the rental car and catch our flights home. We arrived in Atlanta with plenty of time to spare and had a late lunch together at PF Chang’s – my fortune cookie said “travel and adventure will feed your soul”…and I think that’s a pretty fantastic fortune.

We wandered through the faux forest setting between concourses and then we parted ways for a couple weeks (Thanksgiving is coming y’all…). I enjoyed our flight not much at all – and honestly – it wasn’t even that bad, but I just was not feeling it and so when we finally landed (slammed onto the ground) in DC, I was thrilled. A short ride to pick up our car, a quick drive home and I was reunited with my sweet pup once more!

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This whole bone is for me?!?

Mississippi is much the same as it was when I left it – this trip was my first return to Mississippi since March of 2016 and it’s been even longer than that since I was in the town I grew up in. I love “my people” in Mississippi…but Virginia has thoroughly stolen my heart and I love even more the life I have built for myself here.

It’s a special kind of blessing and curse to have people you love spread across the country. What a gift to know that in other states there are people that love you and are thinking of you…even if the curse of it all is that you don’t get to see those people as often as you’d like.

October Amusements

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Just like that – there are only two months (less than two months now) left in 2017. How in the world does time pass so quickly?

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Books I Couldn’t Put Down

Modern Real Estate Practice/Virginia Real Estate Practice & Law – Honestly; I couldn’t put these down because I had to study them all month long! It certainly wasn’t anything especially riveting but I guess if you want to sell houses, you also have to know about appurtenances, easements, leases, liens…and the list goes on and on…

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin – The third book in the A Song of Ice & Fire series; I’m over halfway done with my reread…and this book was always my favorite of the five that have been published so far…

A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin – The fourth book in the A Song of Ice & Fire series; working my way through the reread and this book is; if I remember, my least favorite. That might be different this time around…

Books on the Shelf

I still have a whole bookshelf of books that need to be read…and here I am, over here re-reading things that I’ve already read more than once! Honestly; with all the real estate related reading this month, the only other thing I read was the chapter or two of A Song of Ice & Fire before bed at night. October wasn’t really the month for starting new books…then again, it seems like the past few months haven’t really been the time to start new books.

Must See TV

Outlander – The one show I made sure not to miss all month long was Outlander; it’s too good to miss. October finally saw Jamie and Claire reunited (hallelujah) and let’s be honest; the adventures are always better when they’re together. The show still has a good month and half and six episodes to go; I can’t wait to watch more of the story unfold!

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I am still playing catch up on both This Is Us and Scandal; of course two of the few shows I watch come on each week on Tuesday and Thursday night and so the episodes have really piled up! I’ll be honest, I don’t have as much This Is Us to catch up on as I do Scandal…I haven’t even started the final season of Scandal yet! Oops!

Movies of the Month

I finally went to the movies! Not to see any of the movies on my list…but hey – I went to the movies!

Victoria and Abdul – This movie somehow missed my list but tells the true story of Queen Victoria and Abdul Karim; an Indian man brought to the UK to serve at the Queen’s Jubilee celebration. Abdul caught the attention of the Queen and the two formed a close friendship that was looked down on by almost all the members of the Queen’s household. The story of Victoria and Abdul’s friendship only came to light in 2010 and the film is intriguing, touching and at times even heart-breaking. Definitely worth catching!

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Tasty Treats

Well…October was my birthday month, so of course there was some cake! I went out twice at Regions 117; both were celebratory meals, at the start of the month I celebrated my birthday and at the end of the month I celebrated passing my real estate test(s). I was introduced to Roger’s Chocolates and its a good thing I don’t live in Canada because access to that chocolate would become a real hazard… And of course, you can never skip out on Starbuck’s seasonal drinks – I love the Maple Pecan Latte; especially chilled!

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Dirty John – A podcast that I devoured while riding to and from the office and class each week; it tells the true crime story of John Meehan and Debra Newell. It’s intriguing and addicting and I found myself taking the longer route home more than once to catch just a few more minutes of the podcast. If you’re interest in checking it out, it’s called Dirty John and is on iTunes. You can also read the LA Time write up (and listen to the podcast) here: http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-me-dirty-john/

Beyond that, I was just listening to classical/soundtrack music throughout the day at work. Nothing too varied, ha-ha!

What I’m Looking Forward To

Visiting Mississippi – The whole family is Mississippi bound for a long weekend at the beginning of November; I think if I remember correctly, I haven’t been to Mississippi since March of 2016. It will be good to see my sweet Nanny and catch up with friends and family that I haven’t seen in a while. My little sister will be there too (of course) and I always love time spent with my sister!

A Week with the Little Sister (and family) – My younger sister will be home for a week and then some for Thanksgiving and…as I mentioned above, I do love being able to spend time with my sister. We always manage to have fun when we are together whether we are doing something or nothing at all.

Tea – While my sister is home, one of the somethings that we will be doing is going to tea at one of our favorite places: The Coach and Horses Tea Room! This little tea room is located in a historic house and they serve the best, handmade and homemade scones, salads and soups and a veritable tea feast…and their list of teas is outstanding! Just thinking about our visit makes my mouth water!

Thanksgiving – What’s not to love about Thanksgiving? Spending time with family, sleeping in and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, cooking and eating delicious food…I cannot wait for Thanksgiving to arrive again!

Weekends – As silly and stupid as this may sound…I’m so excited to have my weekends back! Granted; in my typical fashion, I already have plans for the first three weekends of the month but I’m most excited because the plans don’t involve sitting in a classroom!

Oh yeah…and one other thing that’s ever so slightly important…and is something I look forward to all year, every year…but I really ramp up the excitement as soon as November 1st arrives…

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Only 52 days until Christmas!

Watson Wednesday 

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Watson was a lion for Halloween – meant to be the matching House Sigil for my Cersei Lannister costume. However, my little lion isn’t very fierce and didn’t really like his costume very much…so he only wore it a couple times, ha-ha!

Boo Y’all!

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It’s Halloween and so I thought I’d do a spooky little Q&A on this creepy holiday!

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  1. Favorite Horror or Halloween-themed song – Thriller! Nothing better than that!
  2. Name something you wouldn’t want to run into in a dark forest or in an abandoned building – I wouldn’t want to run into anything or anyone in a dark forest or abandoned building…that’s why I generally avoid dark forests and abandoned buildings…ha-ha!
  3. Favorite Halloween movie – It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown Image result for it's the great pumpkin charlie brown
  4. Favorite Horror Monster or Villain – Dracula!
  5. If you were dared to spend the night in a “haunted house”, would you do it – Never in a million years…I mean; at least, not by myself. I don’t know…
  6. Do you ever see figures in your peripheral vision – Sure…don’t we all?
  7. Do you prefer thrillers or gore – Thrillers…I don’t do all that blood and guts
  8. Do you get scared easily – Oh yes. I’m a pretty big pansy…it doesn’t take much to freak me out!
  9. Have you ever played Bloody Mary – Only once and I won’t do it again because it creeped me out!
  10. If you could only wear one Halloween costume for the rest of your life, what would it be – Hmmm…something comfortable but timeless…I’m not sure…
  11. Would you ever go to a graveyard at night – No, I don’t think I would…Image result for graveyard
  12. In a zombie apocalypse, what is your weapon of choice – I feel like a bow & arrow would be the best option..or some kind of gun. A knife really requires you to be much too close…
  13. Would you rather go to a Halloween party or trick-or-treating – Can’t I just do both?
  14. You’re in a Horror movie…are you the last one alive, the first to die, the comic relief, the skeptic, the smart one or the killer – As much as I’d like to be the last one alive, I’d probably be the comic relief and I’d end up dead well before the movie ended…Image result for horror movie
  15. Do you have to watch something sweet after watching something scary – Not normally…I just go to bed; it’s not usually that big of a deal.
  16. Favorite scary movie – Crimson PeakImage result for crimson peak
  17. Favorite scary book – The Ruins
  18. How old were you when you saw your first horror movie – Well into my teenage years; no one in my family is really that interested in horror movies and so I think I probably watched Scream at a sleepover when I was in high school…
  19. First Halloween costume – My first Halloween I was only three weeks old…so apparently I went as myself; ha-ha! My first actual costume was a little clown and I won first place in the costume contest & made the front page of the paper!
  20. What are you going to be for Halloween this year – Cersei Lannister

Happy Halloween y’all!

 

 

 

The Last Weekend of October

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Well – what do you know? The month of October is practically gone and I feel like it passed way too quickly… Granted; when I look back on the past month, it also seems like it was long. How does that work exactly?

There is no way to sort out how time moves both fast and slow… My weekend started early; our office closed up at 3:00 and I was home by 3:30, where I found my dog being an absolute bum out in the sunshine. He didn’t even have the energy (or desire, ha-ha) to get up off his furry bum to come say hello to me – he was much too happy to be lying in the sunshine to be bothered with me.

I’d love to say my Friday night was riveting and exciting – but it definitely wasn’t. The luxury of getting off work early meant I could immediately hop on the elliptical and so I got my exercise out of the way and then joined my dog on the deck to start the night’s real work: studying! I read and reviewed a few chapters on the deck before it got too chilly and then I took a break to have supper.

I spent most of the rest of the evening poring over my National and Virginia real estate books and reviewing my completed quizzes in hopes that anything that hadn’t already taken root inside my head would latch on, ha-ha! Watson was sort of moral support…if you call sleeping on and off in his bed in the corner of the living room being supportive!

Saturday morning, I was up before 7:00…even though I didn’t have to be. I know it was nerves because Saturday was the day I had to take the “big” tests at the end of my month long real estate course. All the Tuesday and Thursday nights and Saturdays spent sitting in the Blue Ridge Association of Realtors office while the sun was shining and people were out doing Autumnal things; it was all coming to the grand finale. I was a bit panicky all week leading up to the test and came close to having a full on meltdown when our instructor introduced math problems the Tuesday before the big test on Saturday…

For this reason – my parents were kind enough to literally lay hands on me and pray before I headed out the door on Saturday morning. Well…my Mom laid her hand on my head and my Dad kept shifting and wiggling around so much that he ended up pulling my hair and elbowing me…ha-ha!

The class was meant to be a review for the AM portion and testing for the PM portion – and although the instructor asked that we not pose questions as he tried to rapidly review all twenty-two chapters in the National book and then go over ALL of the Virginia book as well. I ordered Rapid Pick-Up from Panera to be ready at 12:05…and well…the road to hell is paved with good intentions, you know? The review (impeded by one person who continued to ask questions…) didn’t end until 1:15 and by then; happily my parents had rescued my food from Panera and met me in the parking lot to have lunch…and for me to have a mild panic attack.

I ate my broccoli cheddar soup and tried to get it together enough to be calm…and I returned to take my test; not entirely that much calmer, but with a sort of “just do it” attitude. I was the first person to complete both of my tests and while a part of me was surprised by that…another part wasn’t. As long as I can remember, when taking tests I’d choose the answer that seemed most accurate and then later I’d come back and change it – second guessing myself and usually getting the answer wrong – when that answer I first chose was the right answer.

I told myself I’d choose the first answer and stick with it – no going back. You see…in all five quizzes leading up to these tests, I’d done that very thing and missed answers. So, I just started taking that test and didn’t look back…and thank goodness I did! I finished the tests, went around the corner and passed them off to my instructor and within three minutes or so – three of the longest and most nerve-wracking minutes of my life – he told me I’d passed both tests! I had to try pretty hard not to scream because I was so excited but I thanked my instructor, accepted the handout for questions best to ask when looking for a broker to work with and the instructor confirmed he’d send my certificate to me in the mail.

I cried on the way home – happy tears, of course – and called my parents and younger sister to share the good news. The rest of the evening was fairly relaxed. I got in my exercise and watched Hocus Pocus while eating my supper and rounded out the night with a few innings of the World Series. It was amazing though because it felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders – no studying to do (for now at least) – and the knowledge that all of my time and studying had paid off!

Sunday morning I slept in and it was glorious…sleeping in is always glorious though, right? After lazily sipping coffee, I joined my parents for church at Virginia Hills Church and then we had a celebratory brunch at Regions 117. I cannot stress enough how much I enjoy the food and the environment at Regions 117, every single time I eat there the food is absolutely delicious and Sunday was no exception! We shared an order of Apple Cider Donuts and I had the French Toast with Blueberries and Cream Sauce – which was to die for!

It poured all day Sunday…so after church and brunch, I settled in to watch Outlander and then went to the movies. I mean; what else are you supposed to do when it’s raining outside? Victoria and Abdul was the movie of choice and it was so very good! After some evening exercise and delicious vegetable beef soup for supper, I watched the newest episode of Poldark before turning in for the night.

The weekend seems like it flew by – but almost all weekend feels that way; at least to me. This week is a three day work week before an extended weekend in Mississippi for my cousin’s wedding and catching up with old friends. I can’t believe by the time this week is halfway over, it will be November!

This year is flying by and the holiday season is knocking at the door. As fast as I feel like this year has gone, I have no doubt that the rest of the year will speed by ever faster because it seems like once November, Thanksgiving and all things Christmas arrive…time absolutely flies!