family first

Two Meatballs: Hips Don’t Lie!

Sooooo, right after we worked out with Sandra, we  enjoyed a lovely little Whole Foods breakfast date! Starting the day off riggggggggghhhhhht! #getitrightgetittight #ohsarathathair


Then,  I skidaddled home, hopped in the shower, packed, scooped up my sweet dad and we headed to the Beard home away from home….the beaaaaaaaaach!!!!!!! First we stopped at Trader Joe’s to stock up on healthy food!  #homerunnumbertwofortheday Nothing makes me happier than being at the beach with my family. I have been really unable to disconnect my brain from learning my new job at work and my constantly growing to do lists.  My mind races at a thousand miles per hour lately, so quiet is very hard to come by and sleeping has become a thing of the past! #manic I am really striving to create balance in my life.  I am trying to learn how to be organized and how to prioritize and my ultimate goal this year is to find a way to keep my energy a little more even. And  I don’t know, try to smile when I talk so I don’t sound like a fucking bitch when I’m overwhelmed.  I have also been feeling so guilty and frustrated with myself over gaining weight and not really being able to get my mind back in the health game. I crept all the way up to 291.8. This is what I’ve felt like since I got pneumonia in January.


Which then made me feel like this!


Which made me feel like this!


What is happening.  This is happening fast.  Am I going all the way back to the beginning.  I can’t make it to 300.  Why am I flirting with danger!?!?!?!? I am a huge believer in fake it till you make it.  But I was never really making it and I was just eating terribly and not working out that much and hoping for a miracle that wasn’t going to come before each weigh in!  It is extraordinarily hard to fake it when you are naked behind a chalk board and your weight is clearly printed on it.  The cost was beginning to add up and fast.  So I had a lot of eggs riding on this long weekend at the beach.  Last year when we came down we did amazing as you’ll remember from such posts as Two Meatballs: Memorial HEyyyyyyy #gahImfunny!  We cooked and worked out as a family every single day and I ended up losing weight.  I was so scared last year because it was my first vacation without drinking, smoking and trying not to eat every fried piece of seafood on the island.


We had so much fun and even though I’ve been in a really bad place lately I thought this would be the perfect restart.  After all we started the day off right; right?!  My dad and I have a tradition of driving to the beach together!  It used to be because we both worked Saturdays but now it’s because we both have the most flexible schedules in the fam!  I love this guy so much! WE love talking about everything and singing Led Zeppelin.  We got to the beach in the blink of an eye…because of my overly aggressive driving skills 😉 #movebitchgetoutthawayyyy and guess what the first thing we did was!? EEEEAAAAATTTTTT!  And we DID NOT make good decisions.  We shared chicken and shrimp nachos and a patty melt with fries and ranch….dammit! #firstfailoftheday  Then we checked in, got our keys and hauled our stuff up to Summer Winds!  We immediately got our bathing suits on and hit the beach!


Look at that view.  I could feel myself instantly relax and start breathing.


One win, one fail! #nipple

Then, Aunt Deb and Uncle Steve…you remember, my moms sister who is married to my dads brother #notincest invited us out to dinner!  A hell of a storm had erupted so we scurried to the car and went to The Crab Shack on the sound side.  Another terrible decision was made…softshell crab sandwich with fries and ranch!  #faileo The conversation was great.  I was completely distracted by the dark clouds rolling over the sound.  I love looking at everything and people watching.  It was nice to catch up.  Then as we were leaving it seemed like a great idea to go to DAIRY QUEEN! Holy shit, all hell has broken lose!  It was mediocre at best and I had the worst heart burn that kept me up half the night.  #servesyarightdummy Day two, we made bacon and eggs for breakfast…starting out right!  Then we hit the beach for the better part of the day.  We snacked on popcorn and pistachios #goodnotgreat and waited for mom to arrive!  She got there and we were so excited! We ended up going back to the Crab Shack bc the traffic was getting nutty.  This night I enjoyed the Scallop Burger….with fries and ranch.  Yikes.  Again, it was great and the conversation was great but my decision making capabilities were not.  Ok Day Three has to start better.  I woke up and dad and I did some circuit training…


First great decision! Then, mom and I went and got coffee at our favorite place 4J’s!


Instead of a latte, I got a black iced coffee! Great decisions number 2!  Then dad made bacon and I made eggs!  Great decision number three!


Thennnnn, Kelly showed up and we hit the beach hard! #marathontanning #tanwars #finally


Then we took a break and cooked a super healthy lunch as a family!


Yummmmm!!!!  Murdering healthy decisions!  We grilled all ready marinated pork tenderloin, roasted asparagus with panchetta,  roasted broccoli and had a carrot broccoli, cabbage slaw with a yogurt chive dip from trader joes!  Feeling so much better already.  Then we did what we do best.  We told stories, sat around and talked and died laughing!


#stevvvvvv #brothsquirts #alwayspoopstories

I actually went back on the beach with everyone until it got dark!


I usually stay in bc I’m Irish.  Then me, mom, Kelly and dad made a simple dinner of sausage, eggs, sweet potato fries with sriacha ketchup and some leftover pork!


It was so good and super easy.  Then Kelly and I stayed up all night talking!  Oh how I love the rare alone time I get with my did. #hikelly Bedtime!  The next morning the girls got coffee…dad cooked bacon, mom made eggs and we hit the beach…late start today but what a gorgeous day!


We stayed out until the late afternoon and ended up just having an early dinner of flank steak, roasted sweet potatoes, roasted cauliflower with garlic and lemon, and a squash, zucchini, onion dish that my sister makes that I swear tastes like mac and cheese…and a salad that Deb brought over!


I got wayyyyy too much sun so I was freezing after dinner and being blinded by the sun…gotta be resourceful when you aren’t at home am i right ladies?!


And honestly, can you smell me!?  I love being filthy at the beach and never showering and never putting on makeup and pickling myself with seawater!!!!  For dessert my sister makes her own Larabars and they are deeeeeeeee-licious.  These tasted like blueberry donuts!  Oh my gahhhhhh, who are we!?  So healthy!  The trip was a blast and by the end a healthy success!  The day my sister arrived we made a family pact.  We are all going to lose 10 pounds by our next family beach vacation which is the last week of June!  We all weighed, wrote down our numbers and are going to report every Saturday morning our progress until we get to the deadline!  I love another level of accountability!  I also love doing things with my family and we all do so much better when we are all on the same page.  We all also came to the conclusion that we alllllllll feel so much better when we cook, eat healthy and work out!  Imagine that!?  Why is it so hard to remember!?  Any who….we left with a great plan for June…we even started planning menus!  I love my family so much!


Monday morning we left bright and early and Kelly and I went grocery shopping so that we could have a Memorial Day Cookout and a great way to prepare some healthy meals to start the work week out right!  What’s more American than a Mexican fiesta!  And another excuse to hang out. #seperationanxiety


We grilled carne asada, spicy chicken, jalapeno sausage and pineapple.  Then we roasted sweet potato chips and had guacamole, pan roasted corn and green chilis with cumin, and caramelized peppers and onions!  Dad kept saying…it’s the perfect combination…I love everything on my plate! Kelly and I still had not showered!




Honestly you guys, the bottoms of my feet were jet black #dirtybird #overit We even got to play with the kids!



Overall, what an amazing and much needed break from Raleigh, time with my precious family and finally recommitting to my new life.  It is so hard not to beat yourself up for gaining weight.  But it has also given me time to reflect.  My life really has changed.  It’s been over a year and I am still down from when I started this weight loss adventure.  No matter what ups and downs we’ve had we still work out with Sandra and we are still committed to the change and our end result.  I thought to myself the other day, how many times are you going to restart this.  And I had a moment of clarity and answered myself with…as many times as it takes.  There is no time line on this journey.  My hope is that I find myself back at a place where there are more good days than bad, and that I find ways to be active all the time.  I love cooking.  I love goals.  I love my other meatball. I love my family and all of you who read our story.  This is going to happen.  Crossed out last line.  This is happening!  You know I love a before and after…so here are some last year to this year pics.  It’s only about a 10-15 pound difference but it makes me feel better!



I can really see the difference in my face from last year!



And while I was at the beach, Facebook showed me a memory from 4 years before!  That difference feels huge!



Progress!  It feels great to be moving in the right direction and for the scale to be going back down.  For the first time since January, I can’t wait for weigh in! Xoxo



Two Meatballs: Bulls, Balls and Bikini’s!

This weather!!! The outfits just get cuter!


And the activities just get more fun…this weekend was the opener at my sisters pool!It is heaven….and also a reminder that even though I’m back on track… I have really let myself go!


This bathing suit looked a lot better when I bought it, but that is just motivation to remember where I really want to go!  This weekend was the opener at my sisters pool and it was soooo fun!  I went hard on the activity points.  I love the water, no matter how cold, but you guys…it wasn’t even that bad! And these nuggies are so fun to play with!


Look at all the calories we burned!



We had so much fun and wore ourselves out…we all got out for adult swim! #ohchildhoodmemories



We had some snacks!



I will admit, I indulged in a cronut…it was interesting but I was not a fan #notworthit

We even had time for some selfies!



After 3 hours baking in the sun, it was time to hide in the shadows as I was already burnt to a crisp!  We went back to Kellys house to have a super yummy and healthy cookout!  I snuggled with Chase. #ibroughtmydishpremade


And proceeded to pass the fuck out while everyone else worked hard #yikessorryguys Then dinner was served! Immmmmm Yummmmmm!


Chase wanted LOTS of alone time tonight!


All of the sudden it was late and bedtime. The next morning I got ready for more family time…Kelly, Chase and Wyatt were coming to get me to meet my salon to watch a Durham Bulls game!



It was so disgustingly hot!



I love spending time with my work family outside of the salon.


And I got to meet Taylors sweet baby!!!!


Look at that angel!  Look at all the fun was had! Getting to spend time with my actual family was just icing on the cake #donteatitsara



This was all the meatballs a couple of years ago!


We really have changed!!!!


It was soooooo hot and we were all burnt from yesterday that we bounced very quickly! And spent the rest of the afternoon watching Matilda…my all time favorite book/movie!


Then they took me home and we got so tickled bc I shared with the kids that my ultimate 33rd birthday fantasy is to have a massive food fight.  I’m talking full scale, no holds barred food motherfucking fight! And we got so tickled bc Kelly would ruin it by obsessing over the mess and we got so detailed on how to execute it and then we all lost our shit!


You guys, it was the living funnest weekend.  I managed to work out, eat healthier than I have been  in a long time and see all of my families.  Now I can’t wait for Memorial Day fun!  I’m feeling so much better and in such a better place. I really want to feel proud again and see and feel the actual progress of hard work. I want to remember how hard this is and that it takes commitment. I love to feel proud and I feel so relieved to want to get healthy again.  I got worried there for a second that I was going to see 300 again.  If you guys have been reading the blog for awhile, you know that 3’s have been my enemy that haunted my weight loss journey in the past.  I would get stuck right at 30 pounds lost and then gain it all back and more.  Then I got stuck right above 300 pounds and just couldn’t  get below it.  Then I blew it out of the fucking water, got down to 250 and the pressure of losing 90 pounds literally crushed me. It feels so nice to want this again.  I’m back baby.  I love y’all!

Two Meatballs: Post Dramatic Stress!!!

What a weekend/beginning of the week!  (*Disclaimer, this is a long post but I promise it isn’t all just a picture dump…shit goes down a couple of paragraphs down. #spoileralert)

My head is spinning and my bed is calling me like a siren. But all for good reason!  Saturday morning I got up early to celebrate this little cutie turning 5! Isn’t he the sweetest!


One sour, one sweet!  We went to Chuck E Cheese and had the living funnest/semi active time!


Chasey Poo’s sweet friends showed up to celebrate…what is cuter than 5 year olds!?


They won a millionty tickets and got little prizes!


Presents time!


Then a super healthy Beard family lunch at B.Good #newleaf


When Wyatt turned 6, I started a hotel birthday sleepover tradition.  This year Chase was finally ready to join the fun, sooooo on to the main event!  This is the text I got from Mom the day before!


Chase is the sweetest little nugget!  We pulled up to the Renaissance in North Hills and checked in.  He was so excited about the room!


We did everything you’re not supposed to!  We played ball in the house, spoiled our dinner with candy and soda, jumped on the bed, did messy experiments and climbed in the shower!


We even explore North Hills in our pjs and ate room service in bed!



Chase!!!!  Happy birthday my little puppy.  Mo loves you oh so much.  the next morning I woke up at 5 and started packing up.  My early riser slept in and I had to wake him up at 630 to drop him off at home.  As I walked out he told his mom, It was the best day.  Still crying!  Then it was off to my house to get ready for the weigh in shoot!  Jenny picked me up at 8!


We rode to Cara Dempsey’s house and walked in to such a thoughtful scene!


We spent the next hour and a half trying to look pretty and skinnier than we feel!


These are my favorite pics!  We even got a little exercise in!


Then it was off to a LBP sponsored brunch that we won at work with our Samuel Cole fammy!


Jenny and I split the Andouille Sausage meal and the Shrimp and Grits!


While Dempsey edited our photos!  She did such an amazing job!  Thank you Cara!!!!  Xoxo


Love you guys so much! #worklife #gratefuleveryday


Then Jenny and I left to go write the post.  The photos ended up taking 4.5 hours to upload!!!!  UGH!!!! I had not planned this into my over scheduled Sunday!  They finally uploaded and at 730 the post was finished! #shew!  Then I went into work to get my end of month numbers ready and finish my portion of reported numbers for the salon meeting.  I left there around 930 and finished some chores and passed out early.  6am came and I got up and got ready for my favorite class of the year! Color Bootcamp.  This class has evolved so much over the years and i think this year Carolyn and I totally nailed the format and content and our support educators Jenny, Alley and Natalie all nailed their hands on parts!!!  We went hard all day with Consultations, Formulations and Foiling day 1.  The day came to an end at 6!


It’s so fun to really drive home the concept that the conversation is the relationship…that the consultation is the conversation and that the consultation is everything.  Color can be so simple if you know how to communicate!  Ok, so I left work, grabbed a salad, got home and checked on the blog to see if any last minute changes needed to happen before our 8pm posting.  You guys…at 651 pm I found out that my computer ate the blog.  Like all that was left was the title, a few sentences and 6 pictures….out of like 120!  It took me 15 minutes of obsessively refreshing my computer to accept the sad fact that it was indeed gone.  I tried to stay calm bc freaking out does nothing.  I started frantically rewriting it….trying to remember all my comedic gems and hilarious hashtags…sweating balls.  I couldn’t get in touch with Jenny, so I stalked Brandon and begged someone to call me.  Jenny called, I explained the situation and she rewrote her part. time check 740!  I couldn’t seem to get myself unwound…I was jacked with adrenaline #jackbauerstyle All of the sudden it was 8,  time to post, promote, tell Roseanne and Susan Sarandon how we were doing (they did not care this month haha) and finally it felt over.  But this unfortunate mishap led me to lots of realizations.  I am not good at asking for help.  I feel like I should be able to do it all myself.  I make decisions without consulting others. I am particular and like things my way.  I can be intimidating.  I get overburdened bc I keep a very full plate and inevitably something goes off plan and then I get extremely overwhelmed and lose my ability to prioritize and I start cutting out important things.  I feel guilty and selfish taking time away from my commitments to take care of myself.  The gym and grocery store and the cleanliness of my house are the first casualties.  I become exhausted, I gain weight, I start to not feel so great about myself, I become anxious and my keyed up energy affects everyone around me.  I become so desperate to mark something…ANYTHING off my list that I start distractedly doing things that are not up to snuff.  I become resentful.  Zebra cakes and negativity seem like they are going comfort me.  I never sleep…I become manic.  Really really manic.  I came home from posting the weigh in blog and immediately I burst in to tears.  I needed  a release. Anyone who is reading this who can’t really relate  would think, that seems like kind of an extreme reaction to botched technology and a lost post.  But, it’s not about the fucking post.  It’s that I haven’t learned yet that the conversation is the relationship.  Its funny how the class you are teaching is the class that you need the most. Oh fate! I don’t have to be an island.  That those around me would gladly help me as I gladly help them.  That I deserve to be a priority in my own life.  That I need to ask for what I need and if I don’t, then I can’t resent anyone but myself.  So, the next morning came early and another day of bootcamp was on the horizon.  Jenny and I had a great talk.  I was finally honest and asked for help  and told her that I don’t love doing the weigh in posts alone.  Everything that we do it more fun together.  I also learned that I am very controlling sometimes and the impression that I have been giving is that I like it a  certain way and that it is my way of the highway.  I love knowing that because this is OUR blog and I don’t want to let my controlling ways and personal aesthetic to overrule our ability to collaborate and the SHARED vision that we had when we started two meatballs.  It is so important to me that this is a joint venture that is FUN with my very best friend.  Ohhhhhh, the conversation is the relationship.  I love opening up and seeing someone else’s perspective, bc perception is reality.  Despite the overwhelming schedule this was such a fantastic weekend/monday/tuesday and a lot of that had to do with the large amount of time that Jenny and I got to spend together. We’ve been disconnected lately. I mean look how fun day 2 of bootcamp was!


When I look back, I realize that I have to speak up more (who would have thought?!) and not keep piling on.  I also need to be more upfront and honest when I need help.  And lastly I need to always take care of myself first before I try and help the world, otherwise I’m no good.  Thank you to everyone who puts up with my mania.  I really am trying everyday to learn lessons and evolve into a better person who doesn’t poison the well with my chaotic energy.  And to everyone reading, you are worth making yourself a priority.  You don’t have to do anything alone.  You also don’t have to be a martyr.  Lessons learned…now time to implement them.  Love you all.  Now it’s time to sleeeeeeeeeep and take a deep breath as I’ve been holding it the entire time I was writing this and reliving the past few days.  In through the nose out through the mouth.  I have so many things to be grateful for and most of them involve the people who I’m blessed enough to have in my life. Burden officially lifted.

Two Meatballs: The Epic Life of Janet Apple!

This story begins in Greensboro, NC. Janet Apple was born on April 9th, 1934 as Janette Lee Cockman.  She quickly changed her name to Janet, bc Janette was too high falutin’.


She grew up the oldest girl of 5 children and she had a hard life.  Growing up in the Great Depression and during the war really shaped her, generally her family didn’t have two pennies to rub together.  She grew up in a world where children were seen and not heard and she was put to work at a very young age helping to raise her siblings, cooking and cleaning since her mother worked odd hours at The Mill.  But to hear her tell it, it always sounded like such an adventure.


Every Saturday she would take her sister Nan Nan and two younger brothers Bobby and Dewey to the movie theater and they would literally stay the entire day.  They would save up their money and buy penny candy and watch cartoons, the news and whatever the new feature was.  She loved the movies.  Her and her siblings moved around a lot but they always had each other. This is where her strong devotion to family began. They loved to play outside with the neighborhood kids…kids with names like Bert and Wimpy.  Janet was forced to drop out of school in the 8th grade after developing the whooping cough.  She always wanted to be a reporter.


At 18 she met Bob Apple…the love of her life.  And after dating for a couple of weeks they drove down to South Carolina where they eloped.  Bob was a hot headed truck driver who would do anything to help anyone and who loved to laugh and loved her dearly…he called her Jane (until Aunt Jane came along)  Janet was a doting wife, going any lengths to make him happy.


Soon, they started their own family.  First was Debbie (grandma always spelled it Debby), then my mom Anna, then Marty (Kristina’s dad) and then David.


Each kid was 18 months apart.  Janet encouraged lots of playing outside and I think bc of the way children weren’t valued in her day, she did everything in her power to make her children feel special, loved and secure.  She was the ultimate self discovery mom.  She really let her kids explore and grow into their own…all while keeping a very watchful eye. Listening to her talk about her kids and grandkids was my grandma at her best.  No one loved family like this woman did.  The Apple family started out in Greensboro, then moved to Roanoke Rapids (a year they all still curse) and then finally settled in Little Washington, NC.


As the kids started marrying off and having kids of their own,  the best mom in the world became the best Grandma in the world.  And our ultra close knit family grew and grew!


After the kids were grown, Gigi worked in an elementary school cafeteria and she washed dishes….she loved this job.  Are you sensing a theme here!?  This woman was as grateful as they come.  She always had a smile unless you were trying to mess with her family and then she would threaten all kinds of things.  She is hands down the most pleasantly patient and wonderful human….and y’all, she was funny as hell, and she knew it!  Kelly, Kristina and I would all take turns going down and spending part of the summer with my grandparents…either apart or all together.

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These will continue to rank at the top of the Why My Childhood Was So Fucking Awesome list.  One of the best things about Grandma Apple is that she would play with us….and I mean really play, which btw is all that kids want in this world…for someone to listen to them and to really play!  She would lay on the floor and play dolls, draw, she would build us a fort under the dining room table, we would clear out everything that was going bad in the fridge and make “mud” pies (they were comprised of sand and crab apples!), she would make cities in the backyard and we would dig out a space for an aluminum pie tin and fill that tin with water and blue food coloring for the pool,


we played dominoes and Old Maid and war and we climbed trees and went for walks and spent countless hours at the park across the street, we explored every single graveyard Little Washington had to offer, we would explore everything, we would lay in the hammock, play in the bird bath, sleep on the back porch, eat everything in sight, play in whatever camper, rv, tent or elcomino they had at the moment, we played with grandpa’s Sears truck, circled our Christmas wishlist in her Sears catalogue, helped make tea in the awesome pitcher with old ads on it, we had our own sippie cups and tiny forks and spoons, we painted those stained glass looking window hangers, we sang,  she read to us, and she told us so many stories.  We were never treated as less because we were children.  She would let us sit on the porch and listen to hours of stories with the grown ups.  She would let us help cook. If we wanted to try coffee…so be it!  Kristina and I wanted to learn how to play the piano, so she bought a book with the notes labeled and then bought alphabet stickers and labeled the keys!  We would spend hours, the three of us on that piano bench learning to play and singing Bicycle Built for Two.  There was lots of singing and music and talking and joking. Everyone mattered. She always had Juicy Fruit gum in her purse…she called it Juicy Poot.  She was a gassy bird and her trumpet farts kept us all in stitches.   She would braid our hair and put giant puffy yarn balls in them and call them Grandma Plaits.


She gave the best little back rubs besides my own mom.  Her hands were cold and her fingernails were long. She had a ring on every finger. We always got to sleep in bed, out on the porch or on theL shaped couch with her.  Nothing was off limits.  We could play with anything…she let me pretend to shave when I was little, we could play with all of her hair accessories, and outfits and jewelry and shoes.  We could explore her encyclopedias.  She rarely ever said no unless she was afraid we were going to get hurt. We stomped in puddles and played in the rain.  We got to help do anything she was doing and for her being with us was a pleasure and not a chore and as a kid you can really feel that!  Grandma and Grandpa even surprised Kristina and myself with a trip to Disney! They taunted us for months, our only clue was that it was bigger than a breadbox!  They had it written on the calendar under sticky notes and captured both of our reactions as we tore it off!



We had  the best time!



The car trip down and back and all the motels and pools…it was epic.  And again, she really let us do what we wanted.  We literally spent 10 hours in a motel pool!  So fun!  As we got older, we still wanted to come and visit.



This was their living room in the house on Nicholson Street.  So many fond memories here! But for me, it always boiled down to the stories.  I wanted to know everything and she would always oblige! She was the perfect story teller.  She was so engaging. She loved recounting every single detail and like I said, she was so damn funny.  I hung on her every word and she welcomed questions, conversations and debates.  We spent so many hours solving the worlds problems.  She reminded me over and over again how boring the world would be if everyone was like me…I still don’t agree with this one winky face!  But it always came back to her overarching life lesson of, family first…we do anything for our family.  If someone needs help we help them, no questions asked….and conversely if someone crosses our family we descend upon them like a thousand vultures…or at least we talk like we would! #allbarknobite I always loved this.  It gave me a grand sense of community and loyalty and a purpose.  That’s another thing about Gigi, she loved a purpose. We were always close but after I moved in for hair school, we became the very best of friends.





Living with someone bonds you in a way that is indescribable! At this point they had moved to Wilson.  My grandpa’s health was starting to decline and Little Washington was just too far from the fam.  I am so thankful that I got to spend a year with Bob and Janet….in a one bedroom home!!!  It was a hilarious time.  She loved having a purpose…a reason to get up in the morning she would say.  She spoiled me rotten and I loved every minute of it.  We resumed our back porch chats.


We really got to know each other even better.  We transitioned from grandmother, granddaughter to super best buddies.  We made each other laugh, we liked a lot of the same things. We watched King of the Hill and the Clay Aiken season of American Idol.  This sweet angel made a journal and she wrote in it every day that I lived there!


More memories…more things for me to cherish and a little more history!  She was a great letter writer and she spared no detail!  And you always got a drawing.


I am so thankful for the letters and pictures and videos.  Then she lost my sweet grandpa.  This was a dark little time.  They celebrated 50 plus years together.  She would always say, I went from my fathers house to my husbands house.  She spent the night with me shortly after and asked a million questions on what it was like to be single and live alone.  I tried to comfort her in any way that I could and share as much information as I had. She felt like she had lost her purpose and I was worried about her for awhile.  She didn’t want to be happy or laugh for awhile bc it felt like a betrayal to my grandpa.  But we made it through.  From this point on we were the single girls in the family…which meant lots of bunking up and roomate-ing it up on every single family outing and vacation.  I not so secretly loved this.  A chance to snuggle up again and talk all night long…um yes please! On one of these nights down at the beach on Thanksgiving she told me she was ready to date again. And /i said well what are you looking for. She said someone to drive me to the store and to Raleigh and maybe to Cherokee…so I said, so you want a driver?! And she said, yeah that’s it! Hahahahaha We would giggle all night and then she would terrifyingly sleep talk…more like sleep scream! When I think about her being gone, initially I did what most people do in that situation and I leaned into regret.  Why didn’t I call her back on Monday, why didn’t I visit more!? But then I thought, no way dude.  Every single person in my family cherished this woman every single day of our lives and we will continue to honor her for all the days of our lives.  We all had the pleasure of spending an inordinate amount of time together since family comes first with the Apples.  Looking back there are no regrets…just the fondest memories.  Then she became a Great Grandma or Gigi as we called her…and the traditions continued!



It was so cool watching more people that you love fall in love with a woman that you covet! She is so charming, everything about her draws you in and this charm works on everyone.  The memories are abundant.  She taught us so many wonderful lessons, but mostly I think she taught us all how to love without limits and laugh more than you cry.  I will always think of her sitting with her legs out even though there was no ottoman, with her legal pad and clip board, her word searches, her survival kit, her spit jar, and the tv guide from the newspaper.  In my mind she will always be sitting next to a basket of a million balls of yarn, on some form of a plaid couch with an afghan. I will always think of her Lumina van.  I hear her laugh every time I close my eyes.  I laugh every time I think of the time that she bought a size 14 bikini at a yard sale #ew for the beach (she was maybe a size 8 at best) and at age 76 was going to wear that ill fitting, gappy in all the wrong crotches piece of shit to the beach for our family vacation! #intervention  She was kind and compassionate and she cared so deeply.  She was brave and fearless when it came to protecting her pack.  Kristina, Kelly and I were floating in the Pamlico Sound when a Man of War jellyfish #deadly came swimming towards us and Grandma Apple single handedly drug the three of us up on to the dock by a rope!  But my favorite moment of all time would have to be when Me, Kelly and Kristina were at her house making Christmas candy and she came around the corner with a newspaper clipping of a Victoria Secret guide to bra fitting.  She asked who would help her and I volunteered.  She handed me a measuring tape and ripped her shirt and bra off and those sweet granny ninnys unfolded to the ground.  We got so tickled at trying to measure her snoopy nose boobs, I told her she needed to pick them up from her waist and we all lost it to the point that she peed her pants, ran into the bathroom and streaked back to her room like a New Years baby!  I don’t know if I have ever laughed harder.  I loved how much my dad loved her, you always hear of guys hating their mother in laws but my dad cherished this woman.  She always tried to sneak in a serious conversation but she was so hilariously transparent.  Every time I watch the Big Bang Theory I know she will be with me.  This week I turned it on to PBS and they were begging’ for money as she called it and I knew she was here. I still don’t really want to accept that she is gone, but writing this and knowing that the other zillion members of my family are still around makes things a lot easier.  I will miss and celebrate Janet Apple for the rest of my life. She outlived most of her family and lots of her friends and even though she was the picture of health, I suppose her want to be with the ones that she loved took over.  And you have to respect that.  She lived every single day, so I know that she had no regrets and like I said yesterday she will live on in all of us.  Thank you for indulging me in this piece to honor the late, great Janet Apple.  You would have loved her and please believe, she would have loved you dearly. Bye Shug-er.



No you hang up!



Bye sweet friend, until we meet again.


Two Meatballs: How Do You Grieve…Well With Food, Family and Old Home Videos of Course!

First off I just want to say…F you February.  You have been so challenging and unyielding and quite frankly, I could’t be looking more forward to Spring or at the very least March.  Now, having said that to my sweet mother, she reminded me that February also brought my sister birthday, a fun trip to NYC with my bester and bestie and a year without drinking.  I do so love perspective, so thanks so much mom!  But I’m not here today to be grateful…I’m here to bitch and moan and cry and comfort myself with food and tell you everything.  As you know I’ve been sick with the never ending story of pneumonia…that has caused me to miss lots of work and go on a round of steroids that has made me the Chris Farley in the Gap Girls sketch on SNL…”LAY OFF ME, I’M STARVING!” Then, on Wednesday, to quote my cousin Kristina….I got the call that I’ve been dreading my entire life.  Sweet Grandma Apple passed….completely unexpectedly. She was the picture of health…other than severe auth-a-ritus as she called it.  But Wednesday was her day to meet my Grandpa and so many other loved ones I know were waiting for her. Disbelief was my first go to.  She was the baddest bitch around and I was convinced that she would never die.  Then I was so  angry.  That she could pass without any of us getting a chance to say goodbye.  I knew that was a selfish path, but it was consuming me.  That sneaky little snake up and left without a word.  Then it occurred to me that that is exactly what that little angel would have wanted.  She would have absolutely hated for people to visit her in the hospital, she never wanted people to make a fuss over her and the last thing on earth she would have wanted was for people to worry about her.  That single thought brought me so much comfort, I can’t even explain it.  But that thought didnt come to me until 2:30 am the day that it happened, so I chose lots of different things to comfort myself leading up to that moment of zen.  This is how the day went down.  I was at work when I got the call.  I knew right away when they told me that my sister was on the phone that something was wrong with my Grandma, but I had no idea how quickly it would all transpire.  I completely fell apart.  I had alread talked to Kelly, so I called the rest of my people, Krisitna, Katie and Jenny.  I was a wreck.  I knew I had two clients left to go and I knew that everyone outside of the office could hear my squallin’.  Let me just say that I am so thankful for all of the wonderful people that are in my life.  My work family came to the rescue and helped me with my last clients.  My clients let me fall apart and have a very human moment.  I left in a puddle, a daze and drove straight to my house as the snow started pouring down.  I finally got in touch with my sweet mother, my most important person, and well lets just say that was one of the hardest conversations I’ve ever had.  As sad as I felt, I couldn’t imagine losing my mother and I was devastated for her.  But as she always is, she was so strong. I packed a bag, called Kristina back so that we could cry some more. Then I headed to Starbucks for a million cake pops and drove straight to my sisters for a sleepover.


Sometimes I really want to process my feelings alone, but this was not that time.  My sister is so special to me and I could’t think of anywhere I would rather be than with her and those sweet nuggets!  This was 1000 percent the right choice. There is nothing more comforting that being with little ones when you are sad.  My sister and I cried and hugged and the boys were so sweet.  We all ate cake pops and snuggled.  We talked about what it meant to be gone, how it was ok if you hadn’t cried yet…it didn’t mean that you loved her any less, we did a round table about our favorite things about Gigi, we laughed which she would have loved, we took phone calls and cried some more, I neeeeeded chex mix and my sister sweetly obliged!  We ate and snuggled and watched the snow and cuddled and watched 3 Ninjas #heylyndsay #tumtum #shingshing When Katie called I totally lost it.  Wyatt said, I have never seen you cry before and he hugged me and patted my arm and was so flipping sweet.



Emotional roller coaster is a thing.  But I think it was good for the kids to see us talk about everything and to know its ok to cry and be sad and even when things are sad, that it is totally ok to laugh.  This woman had a life that was worth celebrating. I am a public processor #imablogger So I took to social media to honor this sweet Apple!  And y’all were so sweet to my family!


Tomorrow will be dedicated to her life.  We were all exhausted.  Those sweet boys asked to sleep with me and so we snuggled it up all night which was a total blessing.  It’s hard to be crushingly sad when two wiggly, warm bodies are adorably lying next to you.


I didn’t sleep a wink.  I laid in bed all night crying and laughing and yelling at her in my mind.  Little known fact, I find it very comforting to talk to all my relatives, even those that have passed.  I kept telling her how much I loved her and that I hope she was ok and that it didn’t hurt.  I told her that I knew she was so happy to be with Grandpa, Nan Nan, Uncle Bobby, Uncle Frank, Jane, Brian, and all of her family and friends that had passed before.  Then I proceeded to tell her how much I hated it.  And that is when a total sense of calm came over me and I realized that she had gone the exact way that she would have wanted and that that was truly a gift.  Then I started mentally writing tomorrows blog…trying to remember every thing we ever did together…what she taught me…how she’ll never really be gone bc she is all around us.  I see her in Wyatt’s face, Chase’s charm, Kristina’s hands and freckles, my mother’s strength in tough times, her kindness and nurturing nature with children, my love of storytelling and history and costume jewelry, my sisters contagious laugh, Uncle Marty’s sense of humor, Uncle David’s loyalty, Aunt Deborah’s generosity and all of our family first spirit.  How can you be gone if you’re all around. This really lightened the mood.  In the morning after some more snuggling…





I came home and dove straight into purpose!  I was asked to gather pictures for a slide show and for the funeral home…I love a purpose!  So I spent the rest of the day doing that and posting videos of Grandma.  Knowing that I can hear her laugh anytime I want makes things easier.  I was wondering if this euphoria would last at the funeral or if I would totally unhinge.  One thing I knew for sure was that I was comfort eating life a champ…nothing was off limits…paleo be damned!  So all of the sudden, it was here.


Jenny and I were supposed to be doing the half way there event for Fleet Feet Ton of Fun, but they so graciously understood.  So instead, Two Meatballs went to a funeral.


She drove me to Wilson, we stopped at McDonald’s to pee and weren’t even tempted #thankkgoodness


I gave her a little tour of the place that I lived for a year in hair school which ended up at Grandma’s house.


We didn’t go in, it didn’t feel right and to be honest this was a lottttt  more emotional than I had anticipated! Now it was off to the funeral home.


We had a celebration of life for this amazing woman.  There were pictures and slide shows everywhere


….and the most gorgeous flowers you have ever seen (Sammie Cole for life)…


But more that all of that…there were so many familiar and friendly faces.  I love a space in which to grieve and celebrate with loved ones.  I think it brings everyone together, it makes everything a little less sad and it reconfirms for me that Grandma Apple taught us so well that our family will just become closer in her absence and never grow apart.  You taught us well Gigi.  The service was beautiful, her preacher clearly loved her.  My uncles paster’s wife and their son sang two songs, Amazing Grace (Janet Apple’s favorite) being one and I lost it a little.  But I found myself laughing more than I had at any other funeral.  She was funny and that is what people remember!  I sat in between my nephews and found it so sweet, comforting and heartbreaking watching Wyatt dab his sweet eyes.  As always Kristina’s children provided comedic relief with sweet cooing and nosies #nayyyyyyyyy And I don’t know about you but I felt her there with every fiber of my being.


We shared memories and stories and as always had a little time for fun…just like Gigi would have wanted.



Then it was off to her church for a lunch and reception!


And don’t worry you guys….I ate all of my feelings here too! What can I say, I like a challenge…March I’m coming for you plus ten pounds of comfort!


The kids and I explored the church…I loved the distraction!  But we also had some serious talks about how Grandma will always be with us and we can talk to her at anytime.  On this journey I found my name on a prayer board…that sweet angel had asked them to pray for me since I still had pneumonia last week.  Ugh…tears!!!!


It was so great to see everyone!  Is that weird to say!?  I know that it is under sad circumstances but I think it is so beautiful to be able to come together as family and friends and cherish the time we had with the coolest lady around.  What is more comforting then going from soul crushing crying to hysterical laughter in the same beat!? #snakes I have really found my place in this family.  I will carry on the archiver tradition.  I will find the picture and videos and I will write our story.  I will capture these moments so that even if someone has to leave us, we will always have these memories and I will continue to send all my love and hugs and snuggles to everyone who wants or needs it…and even those who don’t #sometimesitsaboutme  Thank you from the bottom of my heart to every person who has reached out and showed up in the terrible time.  You have no idea the comfort your words have brought my sweet, grieving family.  We are so lucky to have you all in our lives. And we are so lucky to have each other.  And even though she would have hated the fuss, I think she loved her send off. #noyouhangup


I’ve cried throughout this entire post, but that is how it works, you cry until the tears are gone…and then you cry some more.  But I know that the smiles and laughter will always be waiting right behind it…I can hear her laughing now!  Bye bye for now Gigi.


Two Meatballs: Fort Macon-Me Crazy!!!

Did you guys know that I love the beach!?!  And my family?!? Annnd adventures!?!  #duh Gahhhhh, I really needed this vacation.  For the first time ever, I took 2 weeks off of work with my family and rented a little getaway at our favorite place in Salter Path, NC.  I love going to the beach in the fall and especially with these fun people!!!  Look at this happy bunch…


But what do you do when there is a three day gully washer and super overcast skies in paradise!?


After lots of coffee trips to our favorite spot, 4J’s we decided that the cabin fever had taken over. #igot99problemsandtheyareallrain


Unfortunately for most of the rainy days we ate constantly #ohnotheweighin and hibernated…but on this magical day we had a brilliant idea and knew we had to get out of the house, the Beards trekked it out to Fort Macon…the living funnest historically rich favorite pastime of ours!


This was literally the first moment that we got here…let the fun begin…am I right ladies!?



There is sooo much to explore here!!!  Obvi the kids love it buuuuut I would go out on a limb here and say that the grown ups are just as excited!


We learned all about how food was rationed and what the mess hall looked like…


We pretended to be in jail…


Tried to shove Wyatt and Kelly in the oven #familytradition…



Wind sprints down an enticingly long hallway #activitypoints #burningoffIcecream


More exploration…


Seeing how the soldiers slept firsthand…


A little more jackassing around for good measure #kelandiaresittinginaclamshellbutyoucanttellatallllll…


Can you tell that we like having a good time!?!  My family is my world!!!  This next group of pics is why I’m sooo in love with them.  Bring on the historical re-enactment in a museum gift shop…



Kelly and I trying so hard to look solemn…I just can’t do it!!! #notnailingit #laughingismyfavorite



Then we found some family photo opportunities!!!





What a fun day!!!  You guys should for sure go to Fort Macon if you find yourself on the coast!  I love you guys!!!  Miss you!



Two Meatballs: We ahhhh Fam-a-leeeee!!!

I feel like I haven’t seen my family as much lately #busybusygirl and I was in desperate need to reconnect. #ilovemyfamily So over the past week…I have been datin’ it up with the dam fam.  First up… a pre bedtime snuggle and story session with the little bunnies…


I cannot get enough of these kids.  They are soooo fun and sooooo funny and I want to smash their faces in with my crushing amount of love.  The feeling you get when two little ones want to hear every story that you have and want 5 more minutes and then 5 more more minutes…ugh I just can’t handle it!!!  #cohabitate

Next up…a rare solo date with my mom!  My dad was in the hospital for a procedure…all went well…and look how presh!?



He needed rest and we needed dinner…so we went to a Beard family favorite…Winston’s or Winnies as we all refer to it!  It was so nice to be together and we even grabbed coffees and sat on her backporch talking for hours #myfavoritethingonearth after dinner was over. #cantgetenoughofmytwinny


Thennnnn, Kelly and I went to Poole’s for dinner…have I told you guys that I know the chef?! #jkwinkyface #likeerrryday Much like Jenny, Kelly had met, but didn’t really remember meeting Zan, so it was a sweet little do over!  And ohhh emmmm geeeeee you guys the food was amaze.  I was soooo not paleo tonight!!!


We had lobster cakes and they sent out a proscuitto and melon thing….both soooo yummy!


Then we had an eggplant puree with tomatoes and balsamic and this yummy cheese on a baquette…ugh sooo good #whatcanttheydo


Thennnnnn, we ordered the pork loin and corn and mushroom dish and Zan sent out a salmon…everything just kept getting better.  And then I joined the rest of the free world and become utterly obsessed with Poole’s mac and cheese.  When my clients find out I’m dating someone from Poole’s the first thing they do is graphically…almost pornographically describe the orgasm that is the mac.  So I had  to see what all the fuss was about…and they were oh so right.#duhmyclientsareamazing Ps I don’t give a shit about mac…but as you probably already know since I was the last person on earth to try it…it’s the fuckin heat. #annnndhecancook #babymac


We were stuffed!!!  And honestly I just looooove being with my sister!!!  She is hilarious and so fun and supportive!!!  Zan popped out for a second bc they were slammmmmmed while we were there and they got to have a sweet litlle nice to meet you again moment. #whatsnottolovefromeitheroneofthem  We joyfully ate our weight in delsihy food and were stuffffed.


Then it was on to the gym with my parents #beastmode, lunch at Big Burger Daddy #ihadthesaladthankyouforasking annnnd coffee at a new place in Seaboard Station called Brew…fun yum  and yum!!! Ummmm, Brew is my new obsesh.  I ordered my usual, very boring iced black coffee.  Annnnnd they said I had options!!!  Yay, I love options!!!!  I could either have a traditional pour over orrrrr I could try this nitrogen infusion cold brew coffee….option 2 please! And it was sooooo great! #illbeback #youshouldgo



Then the next morning we had family gym time again!!!



Which resulted in a little segment I like to call….am I getting taller!?!?


You guyssss…I have been 5’3 since 5th grade!!!  But lately Jenny has been telling me that I have height dysmorphia and so my dad busted out a yard stick and I AM 5’4!!!!!!  I have been feeling soooo tall and there is a reason…look at what an amazon I am in this picture!!!


Then it was n to a big family dinner at the Beard’s second home…The Ale House!!!


#kellythereissomethinginyourhair #lookatchase’smuscles #itstooloudduringfootballseason

Then we went back to Kelly’s bc the boys wanted to show off their bike and scooter skills…


Then we started grown up selfies…


Then Wyatt tried to photobomb us…and he fell in a hole and took Nana down…


Holy shit you guys….we have never laughed harder…I love my family…


So grateful for these fun, funny people.  I couldn’t love my family any more if you paid me!!! #gratefulerrrryday

Two Meatballs: Did You Guys Know That I Have a Sister Or That I’m Dating The Cutest Guy!?

Bahahahahahahaha jk times a million!!!  Of course you know these things bc I never shut up about them!!!!  So my sweet sis…you guys she is the living best!!!  I am soooo thankful to have her in my life…everyone should be this lucky!!!  I was still feeling super ick from my no air trauma Saturday morning and this little cutie showed up at my house with some Starbucks!!!  And we decided to gallivant all around town.  Since I told her that I felt not so hot she came in jorts and a crappy t-shirt and for once in my life I had options for her to wear!!!  #progress So we played a little game I like to call…two sisters…one shirt!


Then I tried on her t-shirt #fail!!!


She settled on the Mouse tank which it turns out that this tank looked good with everything #whoknew and I rocked my #Meatballnation tank (thanks Kristen)!!!  Get yours today !


Then, we hopped into the car and headed to Torrid…coffees in hand!


All of my clothes were getting a little baggy so it was time to shop!!!  First we decided to try on jumpsuits #failparttwo! #dumpinthepants


#oooooph!  Then I tried on some jorts myself and honestly they were so rednecky and trashtastic I couldn’t commit to a pic! I know its hard to believe based on the hideous pics that we put on here but this one was shameful! #ijudgedmyself But I had a revelation that I went down a size!  These were 22’s and they were HUGENORMOUS!


Then we tried EVERYTHING on!!!! #ilivefortwinning


I joyfully spent some money reinvesting into my wardrobe!  Then we hopped down to DSW!


One win…one intentional fail!!!!  Then it was off to lunch at super yummy super healthy Neomonde’s where we ran into one of my first client’s ever, Johanna and her friend who had just come from a bike ride!!!  I love this girl!



We both got the living yummiest, no guilt lunches and sat outside soaking up all this great weather!!! I had the chicken and steak kabob platter with fatush and corn salad!!!


Then we went to Forever 21…bc who do we think we are!? #youbitchesareinyour30’s


One set of wins, one set of fails!!! And then I found these adorable shorts!!!


Mama’s got a new workout outfit!!!! I wore them later in the week and honestly…look how cute! #walkofnoshame

We could literally paint fences together and we would have fun!!!! Sooo, we spent the whole day together and ate super healthy and got tons of walking exercise and lets be honest…nothing gets you sweatier than trying on clothes!!! #goodforeachother #bestdecisions Then we put on our new shoes…


And hoofed (did you see what I did there) to Chilli’s for Uncle Marty’s birthday!!!! Look at this sweet family!


I can’t really make a good decision at Chilli’s so we came and enjoyed the company and celebration and a heaping glass of water and then met up with my little meatball for actual dinner! Nothing makes me happier than all of my friends and family getting along! We went to Winston’s and had the yummiest salads!!! I’m going to leave this night here and Jenny is going to write about her Mommy’s Night Out on tomorrows post!!! #thefunnestdontmissout


Soooooo…onto that cute guy I’m seeing…have I mentioned him yet!?!! #duhhhhh We had the funnest Sunday Funday!  We had brunch at Beasley’s Chicken and Honey.  You guys are not going to believe this but he knew like errrrryone there. #popular  #solikeable!  Brunch was so yummy I forgot to take pics…have you guys been to Beasley’s!?!  You should go…so goooood….I had The Silver Plate which was scrambled eggs, bacon and home fries…he had something that looked amazing with cornbread, eggs, collards and gravy!  And his sweet friend at the restaurant sent out the living best churros…I only had two bites #guiltypleasure Then we walked to the history museum and learned sooooo much.


#beardinoutwithblackbeard #heytheresoldier

Then we walked around the Capitol #itwastreeemendous and perused the shelves at Barnes and Nobles #americangirldollmagazine watched a lot of Law and Order SVU, he made a yummy little dinner of chicken fajitas #annnnndhecancook and topped the night off with Inglorious Basterds my all time fav movie…


So in a nutshell…best weekend ever!  Tune in tomorrow and see what Jenny has to say about all the places we went Saturday night!!!! #youragoodgirl  We love y’all!




Two Meatballs: An Afternoon with Grandma Apple


I have written about her before, but for those of you who haven’t met Grandma Apple…she really is epic! Tuesday I wrote all about me and Kristina’s adventures in Little Washington with the Apples but did you know that both Kristina and I  lived with our grandparents while we went to hair school…both in one bedroom houses…for a year…and LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF IT! My grandpa was still alive at this time and we had the living best time! Grandma would help me study for my test with flash cards but the answers were Medulla, Mandible or some other long, complicated nail disease.  I would say the answer and she would say..I have nooooo idea!!! hahahahahha She packed me a lunch everyday and would ironed my scrubs.  She even hemmed my pajama pants while I was sleeping bc she thought they were too long…#wherestheflood! She also insisted on doing my laundry and after three bleach washings I had all crotchless panties! #thanksgrandma


Last week out of the blue grandma called me which she never does and I happened to be next to my phone and answered it.  She has the cutest, sweetest voice and I got my gift of gab from her.  At first I was worried bc I knew she had had a violent stomach virus the week before and like I said she literally never calls!  I said how ya been and she said you know I’ve been better which was hilarious.  Then she said why don’t you come see me and bring me some tacos!!!  I nearly fell out…you just had the worst stomach virus the world has ever seen and you want MEXICAN FOOD?! Farttttttt….but I would do anything for this woman.  We have such an awesome connection and we always have.


So I road tripped it to Wilson where she now lives and walked in…two crunchy taco supremes in tow…to see this…


Janet Apple is COMPLETELY obsessed with The Big Bang Theory and more importantly Sheldon Cooper…banzinga!  But no really she has their tv schedule memorized.  I almost wet myself.  She told me all about how a buddy from church rigged their Secret Santa so he could give her this…she is soooo loved.  So onto lunch…


Look how happy!!!  She is the most pleasant human ON EARTH!  One thing to know about The Apple residence is that you have to bring your own food if you want to eat healthy! They have literally always had the cupboards , fridge, candy jar and freezer stocked with complete shit…which was super exciting as a kid but a slippery slope for this meatball!  So I came prepared with those spicy ass chicken legs from last week…


And this to save my life…


But here is a glimpse into her processed food world…


There is always a candy jar full of treats!  Grandma lives for peanuts, chocolate covered cherries, a “come” of ice cream, popcorn, saltines and milk, Hershey’s miniatures and peanut butter bread. I gained at least 20 lbs living with her…she used to make a pan of biscuits with every meal and we had a standing beer and pizza night!  She definitely feeds you with love…and high fructose corn syrup!  Anyway, I was not tempted in the least. Grandma Apple has always been concerned with my weight and used to find adorable little ways of putting us in the same boat so that we could “get healthy together” even though she is the tiniest human.  She is sooooo sweet.  So today when I walked in she said…how much have you lost and I said 42!!!  To which she responded…I want it to be 100! Hahahahahaha me too girl. I have always loved going to this woman’s house and not just for the endless buffet of terrible snacks!  She has such an appreciation for history.  She is a great story teller and archiver…there are one million picture scattered around her house of the family that she loves soooo much!


And on top of that 1000 photo albums!!!  Which is my personal heaven!!! There are crafts from loved ones…mostly my mom all around. The apple memorabilia is abundant.  When I was little I spent a week at my grandparents and when I came home I told my dad…grandma taught me how to spell my last name…I was only 3 or 4 so he said ok lets hear it.  I said A-P-P-L-E.  My grandma thought it was the funniest thing…bc my last name is Beard!!!


She has all my favorite books and games from childhood and being at her house is the living embodiment of childhood!  She would always let us play with everything and I certainly got my love of chintzy, colorful jewelry from this lovely lady…


I know that when I see her I will get some Grandma lectures and we will solve all the worlds problems.  I could talk to her for days on her swing and rocking chairs on the back porch.  She cracks me up, she is so bright and positive and fiercely loyal to her family. She had a flaming red puff ball of hair while I was growing up and I longed to be a redhead as well much to my own mothers dismay!  I idolized my grandma and I still do to this day.  We have been roommates at her house and every year at the beach and over the years we’ve become close friends…she trusts my advice and she knows I would do anything to help out. We’ve been through some tough times…Grandpa Apple passing, her sister losing her battle to cancer, Buddy Cat having to be put down and so much more but family heals all and  we’ve  been through so many more good times…so many family vacations, making little cities in the back yard, helping out with chores, graduations, sleeping on the back porch, going to the waterfront, laying out on the dock on the Pamlico Sound, singing MC Hammer with Kris on road trips, dancing to Iggy Azelia on the way to the beach, Unto These Hills and KOA campgrounds, watching PBS while they beg for money, watching family guy and king of the hill together, graduations, weddings, making Christmas candy with Kelly and Kris, 100,00 Heath Bar Blizzards from Dairy Queen, playing in the kitchen at the elementary school where she worked…but I know that the best is still to come!

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We used to watch 60 Minutes together every Sunday and during the intro when they say I’m Leslie Stall, I’m Ed Bradley, I’m Morley Safer…she would always say…annnnnnd I’m Janet Apple and then make the ticking clock noise!!!  This is one of the trillion reasons that I want to spend every waking minute with this sweet baby angel.  How lucky can one girl be!?!?  Grandma…you are the living best and I love you soooooooo much…no you hang up…no you hang up! #bestroomieever  #snnnnnnakes  #mush #oodlesofnoodles #heathblizzards #dominoesthegamenotthepizza #afghans #searscatalogue #rotaryphones #harlequins #paintbynumber #backporch #lifelessons #grandmaplaits #seemmelike #spitjar #badboysbadboyswhatchagonnado #Yankees #wheresmybelt #loveyoutoobob


Love you GiGi!


Two Meatballs: Will Cook For Labor!

You guyyys?!  Little inside scoop on me…I am not handy! I have great ideas and I’m a good worker but the inner workings of the executions are lost on me. I am also co-dependent.  I feel very capable but I just think all things are more fun when you do them together…am I right ladies!? (hello TWO meatballs!)  Being single, vertically challenged, overweight and without a ladder of my very own makes even simple tasks like changing a lightbulb for instance DIFFICULT! So what’s a single gal to do…sweetly ask for the help of her family and friends!!!  Lately I have been receiving soooo much help and just support in general and I couldn’t appreciate it more!  I’ve been hooked on HGTV for awhile and needed a summer makeover at casa del Beard.  If you saw my house you would say…yep that looks about right.  It is chock full of neon pink bathrooms with dead doll chandeliers, tons of quirky art and one hundred thousand million pictures. BUUUUUUUUT there were some areas that were lacking.  I think bc of my continual hangover that lasted all weekend every weekend from my former life…there were just a lot of things on my list to do that never got ta done.  Well with a clear head and my new budgeting skills this girl went out and bought a grill, patio furniture and gave my prison inspired bedroom a much needed facelift.  Home Depot, Target and Home Comfort are my new looooves. So I called in the troops and offered a barter system of food for labor and they oh so sweetly agreed!


Who is cuter than these two!?



Oh wait…maybe this little shark!


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This was our oh so helpful buddy Doug at Home Depot who I think would rather be gored by a bull than take this picture!

Obvi I needed help and a wayyyyy bigger car than Jane Honda.  My parents are total life savers.  Now time to assemble this mess!!! Sidebar…I was helping not just snapping 1000 photos!  Thank goodness my family likes the camera!


It wasn’t the easiest project but the end result was totes worth it…I can live outdoors now!!!!



On to my sad sack of a bedroom.  I repainted awhile back and I wanted everything gray…I went full 50 shades…but then because of my intrinsic laziness and before mentioned challenges when it comes to projects…i never hung any of my artwork back up …and I chose a gray bedspread…and I felt super bummmmmed every single time I looked around!  It so did not feel homey to me…time for change!

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Ugh….sooooo much better!!!!  Now I just love waking up in that beautiful room every morning!


On to the grill  which was assembled minus the propane tank which I had to call my buddy and old roommate Matt over to help me bc it made a terrible…I’m gonna describe it as explosive…like impending death sound when I attempted to hook it up!  He seemed to have no trouble at all…thanks Matttttt!


Loving this outdoor lifestyle now and grilling will open up so many more cooking options so that i wont get bored and my child like mind can stay entertained! Which brings me to my next segment called…how do you repay all these acts of kindness!?  With healthy delicious food made with your love and appreciation…ding ding ding! So I invited my family over on Sunday to thank them and show off my new grillin skillz (yeah I did a z…what).  So what’s on the menu today???

Chimichurri Ribeyes, Garlic Roasted Green Beans, Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Butter Roasted Corn on the Cob!!!!  Holy yum balls this was sooo good!


Here are the recipes:

Chimichurri Marinade:

1/2 cup red wine vinegar

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 cups fresh cilantro chopped

1 cup fresh parsley chopped

4 cloves of garlic minced

1tsp sea salt

combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until blended.

Pour 80% of this over your steaks…we had 6 ribeyes in a glass cooking dish and cover and let marinate for at least an hour.  Take steaks out of the fridge 45 minutes before cooking to let get to room temp.  Turn grill onto medium high heat and cook for 3-4 minutes per side depending on your preference.  yum yum yum


Then I preheated the oven to 450 degrees…where is the degrees symbol on a laptop!? hmmm….i digress.  Take the husks and silky stuff off your corn, butter it and wrap individually in tin foil then place on a baking pan and roast for 30 minutes.  Then toss your green beans with EVOO and garlic salt, place on a foil lined pan and place them in the oven next to the corn.  Then slice 3 medium sweet potatoes and toss with sesame oil, sea salt and black pepper and place directly onto a baking sheet that you have sprayed with coconut oil and throw those bad boys into the oven as well!  My house smelled like HEAVEN.


Reserve the last 20%…see there is the percent sign but I still don’t know where the degrees button is!?..of the chimichurri sauce for dipping that yummy steak and everything else in and blam…lunch is served!


I cannot explain to you what a total 180….where is that god forsaken degrees button!?!?!?… this is for me.  I used to only be responsible for showing up at gatherings bc it was common knowledge that I could NOOOOOOT cook.  At most I could be trusted with bringing a soda…maybe a store bought dessert.  I’m def the baby of the family.  And I know that this post sounds like I am helpless damsel in distress but really I’m just a lover of great company…I just want to spend endless amounts of time together! And I want to pay back the years of never contributing food to the family cause.  And look at those faces…this was yumo!  After lunch the kids were full of Urkle entertainment and we enjoyed the new outdoor options at Mo’s house (that’s me you guys)..


Chase is really good at going potty solo but just has no idea where those pants are supposed to go’s too high or too low…and Wyatt is always down to entertain.  He will kill me one day for these pics!


Those hiney’s…those wedgies…I love these kids…they are so fun and soooooo funny!  I hope that you try out these recipes and love them as much as we did.  Have the living best day!  Love you all…and thank you again to all my family and friends who help me out allll the time!  PS JENNY I MISS YOU COME HOME!!!!