BFF Spotlight: Tim Orr

Hellllooooooo????? Anyone out there?? I know it’s been eons since I’ve written last, so I hope you haven’t forgotten about me! I’m here!!!

There’s nothing like the promise of a new blogger on the block to make me realize what a craptastic blogger I’ve been lately! It isn’t that I don’t still love it or want to do it, just life is busy, busy, busy! I need to make it a goal to write at least twice a month next year! I was on a roll before!

I have a billion things to write about! When I was deciding what I should write about first, I realized that it should be something y’all would want to read about! And what’s more enticing than holidays and best friends?? So Imma tell you about how both of those things came together to form one white trash, relaxing, amazing, fun-filled Thanksgiving!

I will start off by introducing you to one of my best friends, Tim Orr. Tim and I have only actually know each other for about 2 years. I knew the moment I met him that we would be friends forever.

IMG_0035_2

It was mid-February 2012. My boyfriend had just broken up with me a week or so before. For Christmas and my birthday (January 21st. Mark your calendars!), my dad got me a gift card to Coach (the handbag store. Lookit, Tim! I’m using handbag instead of purse almost 100% of the time! Ain’t you proud of me?!?). In an attempt to move on past the ex, I started a blog, got lots of mani/pedis, and began searching for the perfect Coach handbag to compliment my new, boyfriend-free life. I had finally found the one I wanted, but being that I don’t do “patient” well, instead of ordering online, I went to the Easton Coach store to purchase my one, true love. 

Once I was in the store, this adorably chic, toothpick of a man approached me. 

“Hi! Is there anything special you’re shopping for?”

“Actually yes! Do you have the Mini Willis purse in pink (this was before I knew better. It is a HANDBAG.) in stock?”

“We are actually all out of that one in our store, but I can search for it at another store for you!”

“Aww man! Yeah, okay, that works too!”

This character of a man led me to the counter where he began typing away on the computer.

“Well, it doesn’t seem that any of our Ohio stores have it either. Let me see where I can get one…”

I was becoming more and more frustrated. Didn’t he know that I was going through an awful breakup and needed retail therapy like…YESTERDAY?!? This purse would be the only thing that would truly love me and be loyal to be FOREVER. I needed it NOW.

“Oh! There’s one in Vegas! And who doesn’t love Vegas?!”

“Yay! Perfect! Can you call them and reserve it??”

“I have to do it through the computer.”

“Ok! Here’s my credit card, my social security, the promise of my first born….just get me that purse.”

And he did. That day, Tim became my savior and my soon-to-be best friend.

At then end of my transaction, I looked up at him and said, “You seem pretty fabulous. We should probably be best friends.”

Without skipping a beat, he responded, “I was just thinking the same thing!!”

And that was that!

Well…not exactly. We didn’t exchange phone numbers and I didn’t know his last name, so I was going to have to a little more shadier to really pull Tim into my life.

I went home that night and regaled my roommate Kelly with the story of our encounter. She was not nearly as excited about our new friend as I was.

“Kelly, I think I’m gonna call the Coach store back and ask if he wants to hang out with me and be my best friend for real!”

And that’s exactly what I did. For about a week or so, I called the Coach store almost daily to see if Tim was working and invite him to hang out.

“Hey! It’s a sunshiny day and I’m headed to Union to have dinner and drinks with some friends you should join!”

There were a few of these invites before he finally caved and met my friend Rachel and me for some drinks. It was a Thursday. I don’t remember the exact date, but I know it was a Thursday because Thursday is Long Island night at Union and I distinctly remember having one too many (this would become a reoccurring theme in our friendship).

After that evening, we spent more and more time together, eventually spending almost every weekend together. Tim quickly rose to the top of my “In Case of Emergency” List (“emergency” was loosely translated on many occasions…). I called Tim when boys were mean. He fed me pizza and turned on RuPaul’s Drag Race. He called me when work sucked. I fed him liquor and turned on Glee. We went on bike rides. We oiled up and fried at the pool (Summer 2012: Best. Tan. Ever.). 

I think after only 2 months of these shenanigans I knew that Tim would be a forever best friend.

Our first photo together! ComFest, June 2012

Our first photo together! ComFest, June 2012

Fast-Forward 2 years!!!

This past May, Tim moved to Chicago! The tragedy!!! But not even 350 some miles can interrupt our friendship! 

When Tim moved, he became the Assistant Manager of Coach on Michigan Avenue!!! (here Boo, lemme brush that dust off your shoulder…) Because of his impressive job, he was unable to come home to Columbus for Thanksgiving. Well. I was NOT about to let him spend the holiday alone, so I drove my skinny ass out there a few days before the holiday. 

Now, it should be noted that Tim has a lovely, but not ideal for a large Thanksgiving dinner, studio apartment. We knew months before that we would not be celebrating in the traditional way. We would keep it simple. The important part was that we would be together on Thanksgiving.

As it is almost every year ( 😉 ), Thanksgiving was on a Thursday. I drove up the Tuesday evening before. Tim had to work Wednesday. I would use my time in the city alone to get our Thanksgiving fixin’s. Had we been home, in Columbus, this would have been no big deal. Hop in the car, drive to the grocery, pick up the food and come home. Well. I wasn’t in CBus any more! I was in THE WINDY CITY! This meant that I would have to take the bus to the grocery and back! One of my least favorite things in being lost. Ever since I started driving, it has given me great anxiety. 

Flash Back to 2001. I had just gotten my driver’s license. Cell phones were just becoming something that everyone had. My parents bought me one in case of emergencies.

“DAAAAAAAAD!!!! I don’t know where I am! I am trying to get home from the mall! (Mind you, this mall was approximately 8 miles from home. I know. I should be embarrassed.) Where am I?? I don’t know! Wait! There’s a sign! Holy crap Dad, I’m in Grovetucky (This was really Grove City. We had given it this silly nickname!)!!! 

….10 minutes later…

DAAAAAAAAD!!!! Now I’m lost somewhere on OSU’s campus! Ugh! It’s all one-way streets!!! HELP!!!!

Back to 2013…

So the idea of getting on a bus (something I never have to do at home) and making sure said bus was going the right direction, was scaring the piss out of me. But I did it! I have to give some credit to Amee here:

“You’re not lost… you haven’t even left the apartment yet! Sheesh! I can’t believe I’m giving you a pep talk for this. Big sis says SACK UP!”

So I did. I sacked up, got on the right bus and made it to the grocery.

…3 hours later (I dillydallied around the apartment for awhile…)

“AHHHH! HOLY F!#K I DID IT! Ha! I made it to the grocery!”

Now I had a small added challenge of not over shopping, considering I had to carry everything home on the bus!! But I did it! I made it back with our dinner! HUZZAH!!!!

Now, I know you are dying to know what our dinner consisted of!!! We had a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken, microwaveable steamed veggies, pre-made mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie! Imma stop here. As much as our dinner was certainly was a little poor man’s/white trash, the pumpkin pie was LEGIT!!!! My one job every year for Thanksgiving is pumpkin pie. For the past 3 or 4 years, I have made my pies from an actual pumpkin! I did it again this year. I took the pre-made pumpkin stuff and crust and simply had to bake the pie. So there. Our dinner wasn’t completely a sham!

TAAA DAAA! Dinner!!!

TAAA DAAA! Dinner!!!

Our Thanksgiving was wonderful. Simple and wonderful. We had spent the night before dancing until 4am and there wasn’t going to be the smell of turkey cooking to wake me, so needless to say, it was necessary to set an alarm for the morning. I was NOT going to miss the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade!! I woke up and had watched the parade and proceeding dog show when Tim finally joined me on the couch. And that is where we stayed. All day. We did not shower, change clothes….it was amazing! Maybe a little stinky, but it was just what we both needed; a day filled with nothing but relaxing.

An earlier trip this summer to Chicago with Amee!

An earlier trip this summer to Chicago with Amee!

…………

Amee's Top Gun themed, cancer-free party with the A-Squad, including Amanda and Allie!

Amee’s Top Gun themed, cancer-free party with the A-Squad, including Amanda and Allie!

I’m not sure exactly why my heart reached out to Tim so strongly and so quickly. But I am glad it did. He has filled my life with laughter (hot yoga in tutus!), music (no one does Britney like Tim!), and love (how many best friend bracelets have we gone through?? 3?!?).  In my life, I have learned that you can’t help who you love, for better or for worse, and when it comes to my dear, sweet Timberly, “My loneliness is killing me, I must confess I still believe, when I’m not with you I lose my mind….

HIT ME BABY ONE MORE TIME!”

Typical Sillyness

Typical Sillyness

Ta-Ta to Tim in Tutus! Tim's final hot yoga class before moving to Chicago!

Ta-Ta to Tim in Tutus! Tim’s final hot yoga class before moving to Chicago!

My birthday present to Tim this year - BFF bracelets with the coordinates of where we first met - The Coach Store!

My birthday present to Tim this year – BFF bracelets with the coordinates of where we first met – The Coach Store!

A typical weekend out with My Boo!

A typical weekend out with My Boo!

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Throwback Thursday, 10.31.13

Halloweeeeeeeen Edition!

Happy Halloween!!

Halloween has ALWAYS been a source of delight for me. I love the idea of being someone else, even for just a few hours. And free candy?? “The first 10 years of my life, I think the only clear thought I had was GET. CANDY.” I even went Trick-or-Treating well into my high school years! My senior year of high school, my girlfriends and I were finally able to have a thought beyond gorging on candy – we went around the neighborhood collecting cans of food for the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. People were quite surprised to see 1. Grown teenagers still trick-or-treating and 2. Grown teenagers not begging for candy! Many people were so impressed that they insisted we took candy along with their canned goods!

What is it though, that gets people so excited to be someone else for a night? For me, I love that once a year (okay, a few times a year), I get to throw on a costume and don the personality of someone else for a little while. Some wonder if maybe Halloween gives us the opportunity to be who we really want to be…

Costumes have included:

-Little piggy (1987)

– Ballerina (1989)

– Hippy (1994-ish)

– A Deal or No Deal Girl (2006)

– Paris Hilton Jailbird (2007)

– Amy Winehouse (2008)

– Glampire (2009)

– and this year…Cruella de Ville!

So who do you really want to be this year?

1987 Piggy with Dad

1987 Piggy with Dad

1989 Ballerina with Mom & Dad

1989 Ballerina with Mom & Dad

2007 Deal or No Deal Girls with my Best Friends at Ohio University

2007 Deal or No Deal Girls with my Best Friends at Ohio University

2007 Paris Hilton Jailbird with Britta, my then roommate

2007 Paris Hilton Jailbird with Britta, my then roommate

2008 Am WInehouse, complete with beehive hair, missing tooth, accurate tattoos and syringe for drugs! I'm most proud of this one!

2008 Amy Winehouse, complete with beehive hair, missing tooth, accurate tattoos and syringe for drugs! I’m most proud of this one!

2009 Glampire

2009 Glampire

This year's Cruella de Ville with my dear friend, Jonathan

This year’s Cruella de Ville with my dear friend, Jonathan

BFF Spotlight: Amee BellWanzo

You probably feel like I’m a bad girlfriend. On again and off again, very unreliable! Well, I apologize! Don’t give up on me now! I know, I know, I keep saying “I’M BAAAACK!!” and then I disappear from the blogosphere for another month and you move on to a younger, hotter blogger with bigger boobs. Well, jerks, life is crazy and, unfortunately, blogging keeps getting pushed to the side. To give you an idea of what has been keeping me from you, here’s a portion of my “Ugh….I have so much shit to do!” List:

  • Finish masters (CHECK!)
    • This included 86 (EIGHTY-FREAKING-SIX!!!) pages of writing over the past 3 months.
  • Grade student essays
    • Each of my seniors is writing 14 “chapters” about their life for a scrapbook project. 14 chapters, at ~2 pages each, times ~50 kids = a lifetime of grading.
    • Also. Please try to imagine the quality of the majority of these essays. I’ve definitely shot myself in the foot over this one.
  • Workout
    • So I’m running the half marathon on May 4th. 13.1 beautiful miles. (Yeah, it’s not so beautiful once you hit mile 8.) Training for this means running. A lot of running. I can run about 6 miles in an hour. So, as you can imagine, this takes a lot of time!
    • Hot Yoga, to stretch my running muscles and calm my brain, twice a week.
    • Other training exercises like biking and weightlifting.
  • Bible Study
    • One night a week, I meet up with folks from my church and remind myself the real reason why and how I’m able to do anything in my life.
  • Alternative Fashion Mob (AFM)
    • I can’t say no to Amee BellWanzo. Plus, the AFM is pretty damn cool and I’d be a fool not to be involved from the beginning.
    • I am now the Mob’s website manager and social media mistress. This job not only requires time on the computer, but there are badass social events, fundraisers and planning meetings involved.
  • Work.
    • Yeah, I still have to do that everyday.
    • (at least until I meet and marry a prince.)
  • Social life
    • I’d go crazy if it weren’t for my friends! I need to spend time with them to keep myself grounded. Plus, they’re each remarkable in their own ways, and I don’t want to miss out on their badassery.
    • Also, I’m a catch! So every once in awhile, I go out with a gentleman caller!

So there. Now you have an idea of the things (some awesome and some required) keeping me from you. It’s certainly not because I don’t want to write anymore! In fact, once such gentleman caller described art as “something you have to do and it pains you not to do it.” In which case, this blog has become my art. It truly has tormented me not being able to create more hours in the day or function on less sleep in order to write. It really feels cathartic to be back here writing.

Anyways! Back to the topic at hand!

Am I the only one, or do you have a best friend (or 6) that has become more like a sibling than a friend? Growing up as an only child, many of my closest friends became more like siblings to me. We saw each other everyday, spent hours of time together, loved the hell out of each other, and engaged in the nastiest of fights. As I have grown up, the fighting part has subsided, thank goodness!

One such of these friends is Amee BellWanzo. I met her about 5 years ago through a mutual friend. I didn’t know much about her, but because we had mutual friends, we both kept showing up at the same places at the same time. I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but one thing led to another and I was addicted to her.

Amee’s love of life is contagious. It didn’t take me long to discover why I wanted her in my life and after you read this, you’re gonna be Facebook stalking and requesting her friendship in no time.

This was the first night I met Amee in August 2008. Some things never change.

This was the first night I met Amee in August 2008.
Some things never change.

First of all, and most badass, Amee is a breast cancer survivor. (We actually just had a party celebrating her 5-year anniversary of being cancer free! She is now out of “The Danger Zone” for remission, so of course the party was Top Gun themed!) My mom passed away from cancer 2 years ago, so Amee’s survival is all the more important to me. I already lost one of the most important people in my life to the cancer bitch, I won’t let it happen again. Not on my watch!

We've got Goose, Iceman (me!), Maverick, Charlie and...Evel Knievel!

We’ve got Goose, Iceman (me!), Maverick, Charlie and…Evel Knievel!

Amee ridin' right out of the Danger Zone!

Amee ridin’ right out of the Danger Zone!

Because Amee knows firsthand what it’s like to live with and survive cancer, she has created an organization focused on supporting people going through cancer: Columbus Rocks the Cure. For the past 4 summers, Amee has organized a large handful of local CBus bands who all come together for one night to raise money to support cancer fighters. The bands play for free and local companies donate their wares and gift cards as raffle items. All of the money raised (yeah. 100-freaking-percent) goes towards buying wigs (girl can’t have no cheap weave!) and gas cards (some patients drive upwards of 100 miles each week to get to a hospital for their treatments) for current cancer patients. This is an amazing and fun event my friends and I look forward to every year.

Sometimes, you just need an F-Bomb

Sometimes, you just need an F-Bomb

Columbus Rocks the Cure 2012 Bands: Black Eyed Betty, Millur Boyette, Fresh Wreckage & The Girls

Columbus Rocks the Cure 2012 Bands: Black Eyed Betty, Millur Boyette, Fresh Wreckage & The Girls

Last year, Amee added a fashion twist to Columbus Rocks the Cure and we now have Columbus Rocks the Cure Rock & Roll Fashion Show! This is a night of music and fashion mixed together! Four bands shred it while models strut their stuff rocking designs created by local artists inspired by the music. And once again, 100% of the profits “support local cancer warriors, right here, right now in the Columbus area.”

This year’s show is Saturday, May 11th, 8pm at Ace of Cups! Click here to buy tickets!

Columbus Rocks the Cure Rock & Roll Fashion Show

Columbus Rocks the Cure Rock & Roll Fashion Show

So I mentioned that Amee organizes Columbus Rocks the Cure and Columbus Rocks the Cure Rock & Roll Fashion Show, where a bunch of awesome bands play. Well, one of said bands is Black Eyed Betty; lead singer, Amee BellWanzo! RIGHT?!? She’s a legit rockstar! Black Eyed Betty (BEB or Betty) is a punk metal/hard rock band fronted by Amee, flanked by twins Kevin and Keith (bass & guitar), and backed by T-Bart on drums. Betty can be found just about every weekend playing somewhere in CBus, from a local bar, to Columbus Rocks the Cure to ComFest to for the first time ever this year, Red, White & Boom (Columbus’ 4th of July Extravaganza)! Their music is catchy, well-written and super fun to dance and jump around to. I was privileged enough to travel with them on a 4-stop mini tour this past summer and act as roadie/groupie/merch girl. I was definitely living the rock ‘n roll lifestyle vicariously through Betty!

Amee rockin' with Betty!

Amee rockin’ with Betty!

We had A LOT of down time/photo ops in the car.

We had A LOT of down time/photo ops in the car.

As if that wasn’t enough to keep her busy, Amee has recently ganged up with a horde of Columbus fashion advocates (designers, stylists, fanatics, etc.) to create the Alternative Fashion Mob (AFM).

The AFM “believes that fashion is for everyone. It should be accessible to all people, regardless of age, shape, sex or economic status. Our celebration of Columbus fashion invites all members of our community – especially the fashion-forward, creatively focused, and community-minded – to participate and embrace as we showcase, nurture, and enjoy our local design talent. You’ll see us around Columbus at events, fundraisers, pop-up boutiques, and at the mother of all fashion fests, Alternative Fashion Week. A portion of all money raised will be donated to worthwhile charities, while the remainder will be used to fund the Columbus Fashion Incubator. The goal of the Incubator is to (eventually) provide retail and studio space, marketing and business resources, opportunities, and connections for up-and-coming local designers.”

The AFM has already hosted a handful of events around the city to help raise funds for our Alternative Fashion Week in June. Wait…I just said “our.” Yup. I have joined the horde and become an AFMobster. My duties include maintaining our social networks and updating the AFM website. I am so proud to be working alongside people who are overflowing with passion for what they do. Just like Amee’s joy for life, their passion is contagious. After my first AFM meeting, I was ready to quit my job and become a fulltime mobster. I have always liked fashion and tried to exude my own style, but that was about as involved as I got with the art form. I am now proud to be associated with a passionate group of people looking to shake things up a bit around this city.

AFM

Click here for a glimpse of upcoming AFM events!

Beyond being involved in a million organizations, Amee is, simply put, one of my best friends. She has been my accomplice on summers full of misadventures (an excerpt from this past summer: “We walked half a mile in the wrong direction towards the Jazz & Ribs Fest. We waited in line for 30 minutes for ribs and then bailed. We ordered a family size bucket of fried veggies and ate 10% of it. A homeless woman asked us for money, and when we said we had no cash but offered her our veggies, she turned her nose up at them, and I said, ‘Beggars can’t be choosers!’ We went to the wrong house for Olde Towne East Roving and yet were welcomed into the party, as strangers, for a drink. At the gay bar, we were mistaken for either sisters or lovers.”). She has patiently listened to me prattle on about a special guy one day and bemoan the end of the relationship the next. Sure, she will tell me when I’m being especially bitchy, but she’s also the first person to applaud my accomplishments. I know that whether we are sitting on the couch judging Project Runway, dancing at the local gay bar, or boozin’ it up with cowboys, my life is better with her in it. My relationship with Amee has most certainly developed from acquaintance, to follower, to sidekick and has found solid ground at sister. I mean, her husband Chris once said that I am the younger, taller version of Amee…and she taught me how to sneak a flask into just about anywhere. If that’s not the mark of an amazing big sister (I promised I wouldn’t call her “older.”), I’m truly not sure what is.

Misadventures

"Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down."  ~Oprah Winfrey

“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” ~Oprah Winfrey

Pecha Kucha!

God bless you!

Nooooo…Pecha Kucha is not the sound you make when you sneeze and fart at the same time. Pecha Kucha (pronounced puh-cha kuh-cha) is “a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images.” It is actually Japanese for “chit chat.” The idea is for local folks to share what they are doing around town, what’s important to them, or anything that might be of interest to other locals in a quick, yet informational format. Anyone can present from a 5-year-old talking about her art, to a 69-year-old showing photos og her elaborate wedding cake decorations. Pecha Kucha originated in Tokyo in 2003 and has become in international project spanning 500 cities around the world. Columbus’ Pecha Kucha Night was formed 6 years ago.

Thursday night, I got to experience Pecha Kucha Columbus #24. I had heard about this event this past summer, but was not able to attend. Plus, I wasn’t really sure what to expect and just wasn’t sold on the idea. I was drawn to Thursday night’s event because one of my best friends, Amee BellWanzo was presenting with her fashion entourage. Because Amee has been such a significant part of my life over the past…uhh….6ish years, I try to support all the crazy, awesome things she does. (I also support her because these things are ALWAYS super fun and she inspires the shit out of me for a bazillion reasons…but those reason are for another post!) So, even though I was little wary because I had no clue what to expect, I headed over to the Columbus Gateway Film Center and waited to be amazed.

I walked in and was immediately overcome by the fact that this place was packed. The movie theater lobby had about 50 chairs setup that were all filled with happy butts and probably about 50 more people were standing, surrounding the seating area. Above us, the bar/balcony area was also filled to the brim. Not only were people overlooking the balcony, but about 8 people had set up cameras to video-record the event. I was with a few other friends, all of us new to Pecha Kucha. Before we were able to figure out what to do with ourselves, we spotted Amee & Co. in line for adult beverages. phew! Nothing like a little booze to help you figure out where you belong! Oh! And doughnuts. Doughnuts help everyone feel at ease and the doughnuts made by Destination Doughnuts were flipping AMAZING. After a vodka soda and Blackberry Sage doughnut (that’s a normal combination, right?!), Amee 7 Co. had to leave to get organized and my entourage was left to fend for ourselves. At this point, we discovered that you could watch the presentations in ANY of the movie theaters! So, seriously, this place was packed! We decided that it would be cooler to see the presentations live and in-person, so we found a comfortable column and perched ourselves against it. I eventually gave in and sat on the ground.

{And then the fun began.}

First up was “thoughtful comedian,” Zachariah Baird. He spoke about why comedy is funny made us all laugh a decent amount.

{writer’s note: I can’t remember everyone, so if someone gets left out, I am eternally sorry!}

Then came photographer, connectrovert and Yenta, Rachel Joy Baransi. Rachel spoke about her life goal to become a Yenta, or matchmaker. She explained that there are Introverts, Extroverts, and Connectroverts. Connectroverts are the people who bring other people together. She gave tips and tricks of how to bring two of your friends together if you think they would make a successful/interesting/adorable romantic match. Needless to say, I have found her on Facebook and expressed a serious interest in her developing Yenta skills.

Geologist Kelly Barrett talked about why rocks ROCK and what it actually means to be a geologist. Her presentation was quite punny!

Ryan Hoke is a host at Speak Easy, “the city’s premier night for live storytelling!” He told us about why storytelling is important and how to tell better stories. Speak Easy definitely sounds interesting and will be something I check out in the near future. I imagine you can meet a lot of very interesting people through something like that!

Local comic book creator Max Ink spoke about how he fell in love with comics (it all started with Star Wars, surprisingly!) and why he began writing them. He has recently expanded the story line of his female protagonist, Blink and was promoting her graphic novels. One of the coolest parts of his stories is that they’re set in Columbus! Flipping through his graphic novels gives readers a nice taste of our amazing city. Max gave out free mini books as a teaser to the real thing!

Clay Lowe is a Ohio State film professor and photographer for WOSU. Clay shared Then & Now photos of the Short North. The comparisons were beautiful and it was incredibly interesting to see how far our city has come over the years. His projet has been turned into a video you can watch here. It’s a good 28 minutes long, so I haven’t had a chance to watch it, but I definitely will be. Not only did Clay show his photos, but he introduced a new troupe of photographers that will be documenting The Short North now.

One of my favorite presenters of the night was Sarah Storer. She writes a blog, The Naked Redhead (sorry boys, not porn!) as a way to “soul puke.” I haven’t gotten to read much of it yet, but I plan on taking a week and doing nothing soaking up Red’s soul puke (mmm!!!!). Her presentation Thursday night focused on how to survive a breakup. Having recently survived a breakup myself, I felt like she was speaking to my soul. Sarah was right on the money and hilarious at the same time. You can see a video of her presentation right…..HERE! I highly recommend taking the 7 minutes and 20 seconds to watch it. Sarah seems like the type of person I should be friends with, so I am excited to learn a bit about her.

But my most favoriteist (yeah…look it up. I know. I’m a teacher.) presentation of the night was by Amee, Kelli Martin & Annette Klaus of Columbus’ Alternative Fashion Mob. The Alternative Fashion Mob preaches that fashion should be “accessible to all people, regardless of age, shape, sex or economic status” and is made up of “a collection of fashion designers, industry professionals, and couture enthusiasts who are dedicated to furthering the fashion industry in Columbus.” I am particularly excited about this because I am always redefining my look and would love to be able to do that on a budget while supporting local Columbus artists. Ok, and yeah…I got to model a few times (here and here and here) for designer Kelli Martin! Seriously though, the Alternative Fashion Mob entourage are amazing people with a brilliant vision and I can’t wait to see where it goes. Part of Pecha Kucha is making connections. Apparently Max Ink (the comic book guy) approached The Alternative Fashion Mob about connecting comics and fashion. Max said his favorite part of drawing a female character is deciding what she gets to wear. How cool could that be?!? Fashion meets graphic novel, CBus style??!

Pecha Kucha was an evening of inspiration and learning. I am inspired to really grow this blog and see what it can be. Maybe someday I will be like the fabulous, gorgeous and brilliant Sarah Storer. Maybe someday I’ll be like Ryan Hoke and have have some intriguing stories to tell (okay, that time is now, but I need to learn to TELL my stories!). Years and years from now, I hope to have CDs full of old pictures (Auntie A, what’s a CD? iPhone?? What’s that??) to compare to wherever our beautiful city ends up. But most f all, when someday comes, I hope to have followed my inspirations and never lived a life of “What if??” I learned from Pecha Kucha that our city is full of people supporting dreams and inspirations.

Some photos from Pecha Kucha #24:

Host Johnny DiLoretto (and a FULL house!)

Host Johnny DiLoretto (and a FULL house!)

WOSU Photographer Clay Lowe

WOSU Photographer Clay Lowe

Copies of Max Ink's mini books!

Copies of Max Ink’s mini books!

A few of Sarah's witty slides. Following her Breakup Survival Steps leads to Ryan Reynolds. Thank God I'm on the "Pie" step.

A few of Sarah’s witty slides. Following her Breakup Survival Steps leads to Ryan Gosling. Thank God I’m on the “Pie” step.

The Fantastic Alternative Fashion Mob! {psstt...that's Amanda & I on the slide in the bottom righthand corner!}

The Fantastic Alternative Fashion Mob! {psstt…that’s Amanda & I on the slide in the bottom righthand corner!}

Glammin’ the Place Up a Bit!

TAAA DAAA!!

As you may have noticed a few days ago, Ending Up Here got a fancy new header! My “brand” is developing! It all started because my dear friend Victoria popped on by here only to notice that {GASP!} my header was typed in Scriptina font. Apparently, and unbeknownst to me, Scriptina has gone the way of “Bleeding Cowboys, Papyrus, and, dare {she} say, Comic Sans” !!!!!! I had no idea that one of my favorite fonts had become such a cliché! I had somehow become the person my friends and I used to make fun of in college! I always loved Scriptina because it was sweet and elegant in a simple way. But even so, I don’t want to be viewed as tacky! So a change was desperately needed.

Victoria graciously offered up her amazing design skills and in exactly 3.9 seconds, whipped me up the sparkly new header you see above! This is something my blog needs (and deserves!), but don’t have the ability or creative skills needed to create it myself. For me to create something like that would not only take forever, but might not happen at all, because I would never come up with something so clever!

When I saw Victoria’s work, I knew what had to be done. I had to become a brand. And since Barbie is already taken, I’m expanding and developing the Ending Up Here brand! I now have a logo and, as of yesterday, business cards on the way!

Once the business cards are in, I will begin working on my book! Just kidding…but I am excited to see where this whole thing ends up (here! haha, get it…Ending Up Here…oh, nevermind.)

Want some glitz & glamour for your site or to see more of Victoria’s brilliant design skills? Check out her portfolio HERE!

Reverse Mullet Business Card - Business in the front...

Reverse Mullet Business Card – Business in the front…

 

...Party in the Back!

…Party in the Back!

 

 

Thanks, Allie!

As I have mentioned before, many of my fabulous friends are taking their thoughts, opinions and ideas and making them public through blogging. I love this for many reasons, one of which being that I get to be inspired by them on an almost daily basis. Well, they do inspire me daily, but this is just a cherry on the Inspiration Pie (I prefer pie to cake, I have recently discovered!).

One of these said friends, Allie, has started a fashion blog, Two Way Mirror, with her quirky husband, Joe. If you haven’t checked it out yet, the gist is that she models amazing outfits and writes why she likes them, where she got them, etc. Then, Joe adds in his 2 cents along with a few humorous quips, usually referencing the 90s or his complete cluelessness regarding women’s fashion.

As far as my fashion sense goes, I have some, but it’s kinda all over the place…actually I think that’s kind of “my thing.” I can’t tell you how many times a girlfriend has said to me, “I could never pull this off, but Ashley, you totally could!” Well, needless to say, I have been trying to add some new tricks to my fashion box, so last weekend, I took Allie shopping. Or she took me shopping. Either way, we were shopping! The goal was to find an inexpensive pair of brown riding boots like the ones she posted about here. There is one GIANT reason that I don’t already own a pair of boots like this, even though they’ve been trendy for about a year now…THEY’RE FLAT!!!!

Okay. Flat footed, I stand (proudly!) at a statuesque (I’m so humble) 5’10”. A few years ago, I decided that it just wasn’t fair that only the short girls should get to wear the sexy stilettos and I’m stuck in flats just because I’m already a head taller than everyone else. I came to this decision because I was in Bakers shoe store (this store would come to be my credit card’s archenemy!) looking for a pair of simple black heels to go with a New Year’s Eve dress, I believe. Well, the pair I fell in love with (and still wear!) were black suede with a 5.5″ heel. Yup. When I step into these ladies, I hover at 6’3″, baby! And that was the start of my obsession with giant heels.

So for me to even consider buying a pair of flat shoes is an exercise in spontaneity. After about an hour of traversing the aisles of DSW, I spied the perfect pair of brown, FLAT riding boots. They were simple, but had just enough flair to not be boring, and were in the clearance rack! Huzzah!

TaaDaaa!!!

TaaDaaa!!!

From shoes, we continued on into the makeup world and Allie showed me things no woman has ever shown me before! But that’s for another post 😉

I woke up this morning feelin’ like P. Diddy…wait, no. I never wake up feeling like P. Diddy. But I DID wake up feeling like I wanted to add some pizazz to my usually casual Friday ensemble. So I thought to myself, WWAW…What Would Allie Wear? and pulled together a pair of skinny jeans from Express, a button-down white shirt, also from Express, a black short sleeve sweater from The Limited and a a necklace (not sure of its origins…I’ve had it FOREVER!). My biggest challenge in this outfit actually was the necklace, which is odd for me because my friends usually come to me for jewelry advice! I think I need bigger pieces to go with more simple outfits. I added my own “Ashley Flair” with some bangles and a tiger ring.

So here it is, my Allie-Inspired outfit!

TaaDaaaaaa (again)!!!!

TaaDaaaaaa (again)!!!! {click to see me bigger!}

So thank you to the beautiful and inspiring Allie for making just a little bit fancier on this frigid Friday!

Iron Chef: BellWanZo Style

Last night, I was fortunate enough to gather with friends and do what we do best…EAT! But not only were we eating, we did that other thing we do best…COMPETE! My friends love a good, friendly competition — even if the reward is simply bragging rights!

I attended, for the first time, the annual Iron Chef Cookoff at Casa BellWanzo. I’m not quite sure why I haven’t gone before, but I will never miss this event again! The proceedings are as follows:

  • Chefs show up at 4 o’clock for the secret ingredient reveal.
  • Chefs have from 4 o’clock until 7 o’clock to shop, prepare, cook, plate and clean their dishes.
  • at 7 o’clock, judges (aka ME!) begin devouring the food and rate it based on:
    • Taste
    • Original/clever use of the secret ingredient
    • The scale is 1-5, 5 being the highest, you just had a food-gasm in your mouth and 1 being you wouldn’t feed it to a really sad, helpless, starving puppy. (aww…that vision just made me really sad!)

I was also fortunate enough to be escorted by the lovely and oh-so-lively Brianne. Bri also writes a fabulous blog and has inspired me in so many ways for this here lil ole blog! She did a brilliant job of documenting who-made-what and moment by moment happenings. As a tiny thank you to her for her unending inspiration, I am going to politely point you to her blog for details on this foodie extravaganza! Consider it a co-blog entry. She did a lot of the writing and I took photos!

So to read the play-by-play of Iron Chef 2013, please click here! (and while you’re there, peruse around a bit! She has lots of fun things to see!)

(plus, you may notice I didn’t reveal the secret ingredient! You’ll have to go to Positively Bri to find out what it was!)

And to see a photo gallery of the people and food I got to soak up last night,

please clickity-click here!

That’s It, I Quit. I’m Moving On…

…to a new career! Screw teaching! Imma gonna be a professional model!

Just kidding….but it would be kinda fun, huh? But I did play hooky from school today to model for the fabulous Kelli Martin. You may recognize Kelli’s name or face from the 5th season of Project Runway. She lives in Columbus and designs fierce clothes. I met her about 2 years ago when we were being photographed for an article in 614 magazine. Since then, we bump into each other every now and again. Most recently, I got the fabulous opportunity to model for her in a fashion show Columbus’ Independent Fest this past September. Two days ago, she messaged me and a handful of other girls wanting to know if we would be available to model for a last-minute photo shoot. I figured that since my students were in a place where if I were gone a day, they’d be okay, and considering that day I was cussed out by 2 of them, I could finagle something. To be honest though, even considering those factors, I still had a twinge of guilt inside. But then I decided, Y’know, you’re only young once, your responsibilities are limited…might as well get your kicks while you’re still young enough to get ’em! So I told Kelli I would be there.

Today was spent downing large amounts of caffeine, cigarettes and 2 M&Ms – the model diet. Just kidding! But there really was a good amount of caffeine! I had my hair done by the talented stylists and makeup applied by Jeffrey Steele at Cut N Blow Salon on N. High St. From the salon, we went to a warehouse on W. Rich St (the ware house also houses The Dinin’ Hall) and got into our dresses and did some final touch-ups. I got to work with 3 other girls that have obviously done this quite a bit more than me, but I had fun nonetheless and I think Kelli is happy with the final product. Our inspiration for this shoot was to become kind of broken dolls. Kelli told us to pose like we were broken and “If it feels awkward, then you’re doing it right!” Well, for me, everything about modeling feels awkward, so I suppose this was the shoot for me! One of the great things about Kelli’s designs is that they aren’t focused on perfection. She didn’t care that my nail polish was chipped and my dress had threads hanging from it. I feel like she mixes elegance with dishevelment. And it works perfectly.

So next time you’re on an AirTran flight, make sure to check out GO Magazine for a familiar face! Until then, we were told the article will also be published online (the March issue).

Although I am not, nor will I ever be, a professional model, it was fun to get away from my normal routine and do something unique. When I get older, it will be awesome to look back on my life and say, “Oh yeah, I did some modeling in my 20s!” And as one of my co-workers said, “Your life is so full of fun!”

Click here for a few sneak peeks from the shoot today!

I was totally, unashamedly, nerding out over Kelli's Mood bag! She said it's the one she actually got on the show! #fanmoment!

I was totally, unashamedly, nerding out over Kelli’s Mood bag! She said it’s the one she actually got on the show! #fanmoment!

I’m Gonna Make You Sweat!

Last night was my dear friend and athletic trainer, Alexander’s birthday spectacular! I say “athletic trainer” because not only do my friends and I hit up his hot yoga classes twice a week, but we recently got month passes to his gym and have been getting our asses kicked in everything from kickboxing to spinning to dancing. He has been a major, if not the biggest, influence on my recent fitness obsession. Well, Alex’s birthday celebration consisted of a hot yoga class. But not just regular, heart pumping sweat glands in overdrive hot yoga class. Oh no. This class had blacklights and glow bracelets! We yoga-ed in the dark, which made it super badass. I can’t remember how many times Alex looked around and in his cheerful voice exclaimed, “That’s badass!” So you know it had to be.

Click here to check out a video of last night’s shenanigans! (Can you see me? 😉 )

This time last year, I was going almost weekly to a different hot yoga called Bikram yoga. Bikram yoga was super challenging for me because the room was 115°, there was no talking, and you went through a series of 26 poses (2 times each). I really enjoyed it because it was something that I had to do on my own, my own body and my own will power. But ever since starting Alexander’s class, I haven’t been back to Bikram. Alexander’s class is different every time (wanna work on your obliques? Sure! Wanna stretch out your running legs? No problem!), ~8 of my friends share in the 2 times/week workout with me, and we’re allowed to talk! Not only to we talk, but we joke and enjoy each other’s presence. After all, at the end of each yoga session, we say “Namaste,” which means “The good in me recognizes all of the good in you.” How can we truly appreciate each other’s goodness if we’re working out in silence?!?

(and in all honesty, all the end of each yoga session, we close with “Namaste Mothaf#*kas!” Click here for that inspiration! I’m telling you, it’s an amazing class. Let me know if you live in the Columbus area and would like to join us!)

Thanks to Alexander and the amazing crew of fitness fanatics I have befriended along the way, I am in the best shape of my life and am surrounded by people that daily push me to challenge myself mentally and physically. And if it means looking like this and having Madonna-Man Arms (thanks, Mike :P), I think I’ll keep it up. 😉

My Body of Workout

Birthday Extravaganza!

Now, before y’all start throwing birthday well wishes out there all willy-nilly, I should preface this by saying that my birthday isn’t actually for another week, on January 21st! I will be out-of-town this weekend on a little Girl’s Trip, so my party came early, pre-actual-birthday this year.

I have found that no matter what goes awry  in my life, I am always surrounded by beautiful people. I don’t mean people who are beautiful on the outside (that just happens to be a coincidence! I swear!). I mean people who have beautiful souls. People that are not only striving to consistently better themselves, but people who lift me up to become the best version of myself possible. I figure at this point, I’m iAsh 7.0. Hah!

My friends are the kind of people who:

♥ May disappear for a while, but really come around when they sense that they are needed or wanted.

♥ Will respond to a 2am phone call or text (I think I need to thank every one of my friends for this!).

♥ Know my obnoxious, loud-mouthed, inappropriate side and love me nonetheless.

♥ Know my ugly, self-loathing, stubborn side and every time, remind me that 1) I still need to work on my crazy 😉 and 2) I’m being ridiculous.

♥ Tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear.

♥ Bring out things in me that I never knew existed (a passion for working out, most recently!)

♥ Support my crazy endeavors! (blogging, running a half marathon, becoming a teacher…)

♥ No matter what we are doing, create a plethora of fun.

♥ Accept the whole of me, and not just the pink, sparkly, shiny parts.

This is obviously just the tip of the friend iceberg, but these are the points that stand out to me at first review.

Once a year, I use my birthday as an excuse to attempt to gather all the people I love so dearly in one place and celebrate life and love. This past weekend was said celebration! I got to spend Friday night with a few close girlfriends gabbing, eating, drinking and just being girls. Saturday-day was spent with one of my best friends, Kristen, on Operation Sole Sister (she and I buy each other a pair of shoes each year for our birthday/Christmas gift). Saturday night was when almost everyone gathered at a local bar to party! That night happened so fast and was filled with such joy, that I didn’t truly get a chance to revel in it. Now that I have had a chance to pause and reflect, I feel so blessed to think of all the folks that came out, not just for me, but for a celebration of friendship. There were friends that I’ve had for almost 10 years and friends that I have had for just under a year. No matter the length of the relationship, I know that these people have filled my life with abundant happiness and purpose. I believe that God put us on this earth to love one another, and I am surrounded by so many beautiful illustrations of that every day.

Sparkle, Glitter & Shine! It's birthday time! (Click me to enlarge!)

Sparkle, Glitter & Shine! It’s birthday time! (Click me to enlarge!)