m&m road trips: a recipe for disaster

best friends

I’m willing to bet that I have more awful, hilarious road trip stories than just about anyone you know.  Specifically, the road trips I have taken with my best friend (and roommate) Maddie have been world-class hot messes time and time again.  I’ll explain.

1. The time we were mooned: We were minding our own business, making the long drive back from our hometown to college after a break.  As a car approaches in the left hand lane next to us, we notice a commotion inside the car.  They were trying to wave to us!  How friendly and wonderful!  Suddenly–BOOM.  Butt against car window.  Mooned.  We were stunned and as Maddie sped trying to get away from the crazy people, they gunned it and attempted to drive next to us, female passenger’s butt fully exposed.

2.  The time I had to call the cops: A car was driving like a maniac, weaving in and out of traffic and at one point driving between two 18-wheelers on the highway.  I called the police to report him and we watched as the state trooper nabbed the guy a couple of minutes later.  I felt like a hero.  And also like a tattletale.

3. The time we tried to get from Gainesville to I-10 and wound up in Georgia: Maddie was driving.  Assuming she knew the way (we were going home for a break; it’s not like there’s more than one route) as she’d driven it before, I didn’t pay much attention to navigation.  BIG MISTAKE.  Turns out neither of us was watching the signs until I saw a Florida welcome center sign and asked Maddie why we would be passing that.  It wasn’t until we saw the “We’re Glad Georgia’s On Your Mind” sign that we knew of our detour.

4. The time a tire ignited in front of our eyes: We were driving behind an 18-wheeler, headed to the land where dreams come true (also known as Disney).  I saw a spark hit the road in front of us and I complained something like, “Ugh!  How rude!  That trucker flicked his cigarette at us!”  Maddie noted that it looked like there were multiple sparks, actually.  As we watched from literally two car lengths behind, the 18-wheeler’s tire COMBUSTED.  Smoke.  Fire.  Flames.  THE TRUCKER DROVE ON.  It was a solid three more minutes before he realized something was up and pulled over (meanwhile we were doing psycho sign language from the car trying to signal to him that he is on fire).

5. The time we got lost, almost ran out of gas and wound up at a dilapidated gas station: The title on this one speaks for itself, except for the fact that it’s important to note that we were in Orlando (a big city compared to Gainesville) and we were both 18 years old and female (i.e. not good drivers.  I’m sorry but it’s true).  Naturally, we called our parents for help (mainly directions, as our iPhones decided they’d stop working) and both my dad, who finally answered the phone after I called 7 times–he was on a date, and her mom yelled at us for not having an atlas in the car.  It was 2011.  WHO CARRIES AN ATLAS ANYMORE?!  Apparently anyone over 50.

These are just the tip of the iceberg.  There was also another almost-running-out-of-gas incident (we aren’t stupid, I swear), a friend’s tire going flat in the middle of Miami, and me getting…let’s just say, ill…multiple times at various gas stations and truck stops all along I-10.

HOWEVER, for all of these terrible stories of bad luck, poor directional skills and an utter lack of common sense, Maddie and I also have had some really cool things happen to us on our road trips.  It wouldn’t be fair to leave those out completely, so look out for that post coming next!

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blogception

I come to you today in the format of a blog post to tell you about how much I love blogs, and to direct you to a blog where I contributed a feature on blogs I think everyone should be reading.

Got that?  If not, feel free to go back to the beginning and read again.  It’s like that Friends episode where “they don’t know that we know that they know.”  You remember that one?

As I may have said here before, I am an absolute blog fiend and eagerly check Bloglovin’ every day to read the latest and greatest from my favorites.  One of my longtime favorite blogs has always been La Petite Fashionista.  When I saw that Lauren was publishing an online magazine as a part of LPF, I knew I wanted to be a part of it!  After emailing with Lauren, I was on board and contributing my first feature.

The magazine went live last week (view it here) and I’m so happy with not only how my piece of it turned out but how the entire thing looks!  Lauren always does a fantastic job and the wheels are already spinning in my head on what I could write for the next issue.

In this issue, I highlighted some of the style bloggers who I’m crazy about.  I emailed all of the ladies I featured and was so pleasantly surprised to hear back from most of them.  I guess to me, I read a blog with tons of followers and sponsors and honestly consider that blogger a celebrity.  Not normal: seeing a blogger in Nashville at a party and feeling butterflies and anxiety as you approach her like you’re meeting a famous person.  This happened.  

What this showed me, though, was that behind the fancy lenses and beautiful clothing, there is a normal girl who checks her email and is touched by kind words.  And that is awesome.

While we’re on the topic, I love kind words!  Feel free to leave a comment on any of my posts to let me know you’re reading.  🙂  I found out today that a sweet friend (hi Marissa!) had been loyally reading my blog and I had no clue!

today’s brush with fame

It was no different than any other Monday at lunchtime.  I sat at a table in one of my favorite downtown lunch spots.  I was with my boss from my internship and one of our members, who runs a cute eco-friendly clothing store online.

Suddenly, I felt a magnetic force pulling my eyes from my delicious sandwich (not normal: picking a menu item simply because you want to say “hammy sammy”) to the door of the restaurant, mere feet away.  The person standing before my eyes left me so utterly delighted I wanted to squeal.  Jeremy Foley, THE Jeremy Foley, beloved Athletic Director for my beloved Florida Gators, was eating at the same restaurant as me!

Instinctually, I dropped everything and stood from my chair.  I strode over to him and extended my hand.  “Hi, I’m Mallory, and I’m a senior who really loves Florida athletics,” I said.  “I’m Jeremy,” he responded.  He then introduced me to the colleague he was eating lunch with, whose name I don’t even remember as I was too busy internally fangirling.

After a short conversation, in which I told him about my internship, my favorite Gator teams and how much I loved a particular orange and blue argyle sweater that he wears to the men’s basketball games, I decided I should end the conversation and let the man enjoy his lunch.

He said how nice it was to meet me and then–wait for it– said “Call me anytime!”

Day.  Made.  (Who am I kidding?  Month made.)

I feel that I must note here that I didn’t mention anything about our football game against Missouri from this past weekend.  Too soon.

getting dressed: birds of very different feathers

Since most of the blogs I read are fashion-related, it only makes sense for me to share the occasional style post of my own.  Today you are looking at the very different styles of Maddie (my fabulous friend and roommate) and me.

For every preppy outfit I wear, Maddie has a punk one.  For every safe, conservative closet staple I buy, Maddie buys an edgy, trendy piece.  We have totally different styles which makes getting ready together so fun.  Here’s what a typical conversation sounds like as we primp for a night on the town:

Me: “Maddie, do I like too much like I’m going to meet someone’s parents for the first time?”
Maddie: “Yes.  You need heels.  Or you should take off your jacket.”
Me: “I hate heels!  And then I’ll be showing too much skin because I’m already wearing shorts…”
Maddie: “I’m wearing heels, shorts and a tank…”

She tries unsuccessfully for 10 minutes to get me to be more bold in my outfit choice, and then we compromise because I wear what I want but she makes my makeup all glam.  We leave the house.  She looks like she’s ready to paint the town red and I look like I’m leaving the office for happy hour and we’re both fine with that.

On this particular day, I wore a maxi dress from Studio 706 Boutique with a necklace my mom bought for me and a pink studded bag from TJ Maxx.  Maddie’s shorts were thrifted, her crop top and koi fish necklace came from Forever 21, and her plaid shirt came from Target.

FOWOWO: a very real thing

I just wanted to be like any normal student and work out at the stadium with my friend.  But I have what I like to call FOWOWO (pronounced foe-woe-woe)–fear of working out with others.  As someone who thrives on conversation and quality time, this makes no sense.  Shouldn’t turning exercise into a social event make me want to work out?  Evidently not.  I present to you now, a tale of my abnormal life.

Allie texts me to see if I wanted to hang out.  Of course I do!  She then follows up with the suggestion that we work out together.  Panic sets in.  She can’t possibly mean at the stadium, that giant thing that holds almost 90,000 people during football games.  I’ve got one word in my mind: incline.  The stairs on that sucker are like something from Legends of the Hidden Temple on steroids.

During football games, these stairs aren’t a problem for me.  Crowds and foot traffic bother most people, but I love the excuse to take the stairs slowly and pause for breaks as people navigate to their seats.  It keeps me from being embarrassingly winded at the top when I reach my seat in row 85 or some other inevitably high-altitude area.

I digress.  Here’s the thing about Allie: she works out at the stadium regularly.  Like, several times a week.  So as she’s asking me to come with her, questions flood my head.  Will I hold her back? Will I have to stop the workout and sit in shame as she runs circles around me?  Will she laugh at me when I can’t do more than 10 pushups?  (Spoiler alert: I did 30.)

I reluctantly agreed to go with her, but then there was another issue.  What do I wear?  Part of my FOWOWO is the fear that I’ll wear or bring the wrong thing.  For example, I took a ballet strength class once at the gym only to show up and see everyone was barefoot.  I untied my shoes and removed my socks faster than anyone knew was physically possible and still swear I heard a snicker or two.  And of course, I can’t take yoga because I’m afraid they will chastise me for not having those really tight pants.

I decided I’d fake it until I made it.  I slipped on my knee-high socks (yes), shorts and t-shirt and I mentally prepared myself for what was to come.  I tied my nearly-new Nike tennis shoes and patted myself on the back that they were partially neon and therefore slightly trendy, giving me some workout credibility.

I then went to my morning class, after which I made a bad decision.  My stomach was growling and I knew if I didn’t eat, I’d be dying during the workout.  It was about 10:45 a.m. and I was supposed to meet Allie at 11.  I had to make it fast.  A quick survey told me that Einstein Bros. and Starbucks (which serve normal breakfast food) were way too crowded for me to make it on time.  Reluctantly, I walked toward Chick-fil-A.

A small order of fries and a Pepsi later, I was ready to work out!  I made sure to throw away my trash so my fit friend Allie wouldn’t know of my Heavyweights tendencies.  Not normal.

Allie asked me whether I wanted to do a more cardio or Pilates-based workout.  I CAN’T ANSWER THESE TYPES OF QUESTIONS, OK?  I told her we could do whatever she wanted.

About an hour later, very sweaty and already feeling the pain, we were done.  Allie suggested we get Larry’s (you know how I feel about that).  I had survived the workout, grunted a minimal amount in front of my friend, gotten very few judgmental looks from others working out in the stadium and was now going to eat at my favorite place.

I’d say the score sits at Mallory-1, FOWOWO-0.

a beautiful thing called a nap

Naps.  I absolutely love them.  Specifically, I love napping on the small couch in my living room, curled up into a tiny ball with no time in particular that I have to wake up.

Back when I was in high school, my mom would get mad at me for taking a nap before dinner because a) I was grumpy and groggy when she’d wake me up to come set the table and b) I couldn’t sleep well later that night, resulting in my grumpiness and grogginess the next morning when I had to go to school.

Looking back, I guess I can’t blame her for not being fond of my naps.

Now, however–I am a nap MASTER.  It doesn’t matter if I have 20 minutes or 3 hours, I will nap the heck out of an afternoon or evening.

Tuesday, I had 45 minutes before I had to be at a friend’s birthday dinner.  While my roommate Maddie did the responsible thing of actually getting ready for dinner and making herself presentable, I collapsed onto the couch, took a 20 minute power nap and awoke just in time to hop onto my scooter and over to the restaurant.

Then there was yesterday, when I took the most glorious, leisurely, satisfying nap I’ve had in years.  It began sometime around 2 p.m. (I’m not sure, it was whenever my episode of New Girl ended on Hulu and I neglected to start another show) and didn’t end until 5:05 p.m. when my alarm woke me up to get ready for work.

You might be thinking, “That’s not a nap at all, it’s a bear’s period of winter hibernation.”  You are correct.  And this bear, snuggly in my flannel shirt and all, was more than ready to spring off the couch at the end of it.  Not normal: using a weird metaphor where you refer to yourself as a bear and then making a hibernation pun.

The best part of today’s nap was that my upstairs neighbor practiced guitar while I slept.  I didn’t even know that she played guitar, let alone that she knew the most soothing, melodic tunes ever.  But when I woke up and rubbed my eyes and heard a soft strumming, I realized it wasn’t my dream boyfriend serenading me at all, but Carmen in Apt. 3.

I guess the downside to my nap is that it is now 1:47 a.m. as I write this.  Even if I’m not tired now, I still look back fondly on those three hours spent wondrously on my couch and look forward to taking as many of those naps as possible this year before I have to join the “real world” where adults work through the prime nap hours.

she’s so quirky: lists

I spend much of my time making lists.  Not normal: I often spend more of my time writing the list than I do actually accomplishing the tasks.   Whether it’s in my planner (which I open approximately once a week, usually to make a list I’ll never reference again), my cell phone notes (45 lists in there right now) or on the back of a random receipt (which I wind up needing to use to return something), I like to get everything out on paper that I need to accomplish.

“But Mallory,” you might say.  “That’s normal.  Everyone makes lists.  Especially girls.”

why today rocksRight.  But the thing is, I’m not actually a very organized/Type A person.  My room is almost always messy, my purses get out of control and my car…well, let’s just say I could venture on a spontaneous camping trip at any given moment based on the contents of my trunk.

So, it’s sort of funny that my life is always in some form of disarray and yet I sit in the middle of my laundry, surrounded by homework, making a list.

And it isn’t just the list-making that is so quirky–it’s the content of these lists.  Today, for example, I’ve been keeping track of “Why today rocks.”  Note: it’s only 11:30 a.m.  The day will rock much more later.

Other lists I might make include “Packing list for weekend trip” (typically written a month prior to travel; not a single item on this list will be actually packed), “Shows on Netflix that aren’t as good as One Tree Hill” or “Soundtrack of my life: happy edition” (see also: workout edition, road trip edition and the rare study edition).

I thought about writing this post in a dashed or numbered list format, but it seemed like overkill.  I will however, give you some items to put on your to-do list today:

1. Smile at a stranger.  (Don’t be creepy!  Just a nice closed-mouth smirk with friendly eyes.  This can easily turn to a crazy-eyed grin if you aren’t careful.)

2. Write on an old friend’s Facebook.  Because that’s just a sweet thing to do.

3. Make a weird list of your own!  And remember: normal is overrated.

my abnormal obsessions: Larry’s Giant Subs

larrys

In a nondescript, unassuming strip just off University Avenue, there sits a place unlike any other.  Tucked between an overpriced smoothie chain and a mediocre BBQ restaurant, you might never go into this gem unless you’re in the know.

Once you enter, however–I guarantee you’ll be back.  Or maybe you won’t.  But if you do go back, you’ll probably run into me there.

You see, Larry’s is like my second home.  While my love for the food began sometime during sophomore year of college, it wasn’t until this past spring that I became a true Larry’s fangirl.

It was as I sat in Larry’s in May, waiting on a friend, that I began talking to Mike.  Mike is the franchise owner of both Larry’s locations in my city.  I confided in Mike on this day that as often as I had eaten there, I’d only ever tried one sandwich.  I also told him that I couldn’t afford to eat there as often as I’d like.

It was this day that Mike gave me great advice: try the special.  Since then, I’ve tried about 10 of the sandwiches as they were on special and have liked all of them.

The food–although definitely a critical part of the Larry’s experience (and far better than any other sub from any other place)–is just the beginning.  What I really love about Larry’s is the staff.  Mike, Allie, Sarah, Gage, Chris, Miss Pearl…the list goes on. Not normal: knowing nearly the entire staff of a sandwich shop.  

Whether they are making me laugh or listening to a story about my day, the staff at Larry’s treats me like family and they accept my weirdness.  In fact, the first time I really bonded with Allie and Sarah was on Cinco de Mayo as we sang Taylor Swift (loudly) in the restaurant.  Not normal.

Just yesterday, I hung out with Allie and we laughed about how we had become “real friends” as opposed to just customer and employee!  Last night, as she and others had to work 10 p.m. – 5 a.m. (!!!) I took them Krispy Kreme donuts as a little pick-me-up treat.

I think you get it: I love Larry’s.  I love the staff.  I love the food.  I dream of meeting Larry Raikes one day (really, I do) so that I can gush about his products and tell him some of my branding ideas for the company.  Until then, I’ll keep showing up regularly (like, 4 times a week…) and being an unofficial ambassador for the best sandwich shop ever.

tales of my abnormal life: what’s her age again?

There we were, sitting at dinner.  As my friend Alex and I discussed our favorite professor and her adorable daughters, the waitress approached our table.  She introduced herself and before she could even take our drink order, I had stopped her.  My eyes were big as I asked her to repeat her name.  It was just as I suspected.

This waitress shared a name with our favorite professor’s daughter, who happened to have a birthday in a few days.  Not normal: knowing your professor’s child’s birthday. Stunned, I began to explain to her this crazy coincidence but then, I saw the look in Alex’s eyes pleading with me not to unload this entire story on our poor waitress.

I decided I’d cut my monologue short.  Doing so meant that I completely panicked and forgot the age of the child I was discussing.  It went something like this.

Me: “OMG that is the name of our teacher’s daughter!  And we were just talking about her!” (After seeing Alex’s look across the table): “She has a birthday on Thursday and she’s turning three!  Umm, what are your drink specials?!”

As the waitress left to get our drinks, Alex looked at me and said, “Her daughter is definitely turning seven…”

Perfect example of what happens when I try to filter my reaction and act normal.   I wind up turning a seven-year-old into a toddler.  Poor thing.

And I would like to throw it out there that the waitress/child’s name wasn’t something like Ashley or Megan.  It was very uncommon, I swear!

Things like this happen to me just about every day and I’ll share them regularly on this blog.  Like I said to Alex today, I think normal is overrated.