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"don't cry. you'll ruin
your spray tan."

these were the words spoken to me by my best friend yesterday as i attempted to compose myself to hug her goodbye. well, to hug her "see you soon" to be exact. friendships like ours know no goodbyes. even after six months of us physically living on two different sides of the country, yesterday we both confessed that we feel like we haven't lost one bit of each other. those of you who know me are very familiar with my repetetive stories about my best friend sara. even those of you who don't know me very well have probably still heard me bring up her name in conversation.
today, i'd like to explain why.
as i squinted my eyes and let them fill with tears--but not actually streak down my brand new mystic tan--i choked out to sara my reasoning behind the heartbreak of being so far away from her.
"it took me twenty two years to find you, and having you so close by my side for only three years just isn't enough."
granted, i AM the one who packed my bags and moved to california--which makes you think that i would easily accept the consequences. however, just because i chose to follow my dreams, doesn't mean i'm not having trouble accepting the fact that it came along with being far away from the people i love most. i don't regret being in california because i know it's something i was truly meant to do. for as long as i can remember--i mean, i literally can't ever remember a time in my life when i didn't feel drawn to california--i've longed for the west coast.
would i want to look back on my life thirty years from now and think that i didn't accomplish something i've wanted to do my entire life? absolutely not. but i am struggling with some of the things that have come along with it.

but what do you expect?
i grew up in the same place for over twenty years. and by same place, i mean: same street. same house. same room. same town. raleigh is my home base in every way possible. not only did i go through all of school (elementary-college) here, but even after college i remained in raleigh where all of my comfort zones were at arms reach. so really, how can i expect that after just six months in a brand new city all the way across the country i'm going to be fully adjusted?

imagine eating the exact same cereal for twenty five years and then one day waking up and having grape nuts.
you'd be a little off too.

but this post isn't about me.
a few paragraphs up, you may have been wondering to yourself: what did you mean by "it took you twenty two years to find sara?" well, let me begin with a quote that is very close to my heart and sums up my entire story.

"you only meet your once-in-a-lifetime friend, once in a lifetime." ~charlie brown

here's what i have learned in my twenty five years: people will always come in and out of your life. you will have acquintances. you will have friends. you will have best friends. and very rarely--in my opinion, once in a lifetime--you will meet someone who you know was brought into your life entirely on purpose. the kind of person you instantly connect to before even meeting face to face. the kind of person who you are absolutely certain that if the circumstances of your life and theirs were completely different, you still would have somehow been brought together. in my opinion, these people can come in all different forms. mine came in the form of a best friend.
and this one happens to be very special.

i know what you're thinking sar. "really fanny, this picture?" but it sums up a big part of your personality that i wanted to share with everybody today. one of the things i've always admired most about sara is her connection with her hometown roots. sara is a born and bred southern girl through and through. she says "mama" and points out which crop is tobacco when we pass by a farm, but it's more than that. there's something so genuine and wonderful about sara's southern charm. seeing her in the comfort of her south carolina home and in the arms of her incredible parents reminds me of all the reasons she's the person that she is today. this past weekend, i got to do exactly that. most people think of a visit to the myrtle beach area as a wild get-away where you'll hit all the tourist attractions and leave with a sunburn. when i cross over that south carolina border, little river is a place i call a second home. a place where we spend our saturday mornings watching ghost whisperer marathons on lifetime and our afternoons eating plates of homemade spaghetti that even mario batali would be jealous of.
if you're lucky enough to spend a day with the mclamb family, you're lucky enough.

"he's just a big teddy bear with dull claws"
is the first description sara ever gave me of her dad. 
i'll never forget the first time i met mack mclamb. seeing as how he despised the three hour distance between him and the baby--yes, that's sara's nickname--sara thought it would be a brilliant idea to set up a dinner where we surprised him with her presence. this occasion would also just happen to be the first time i was introduced to not just him, but to sara's mom as well. after only a few weeks of knowing sara and instantly becoming close friends, i had already heard countless tales of her amazing parents. she spoke so highly of them that the butterflies in my stomach must have thought i was having dinner with the clintons.
we walked into the restaurant and around the corner, and there he was. standing there with his mouth wide open and eyebrows raised was a man wearing one of the most confused expressions i have ever seen. i don't believe he even got out a full sentence before i saw the tears start to form in the corners of his eyes. he was too baffled to speak for the first ten minutes of our meal. that was, until the waitress came by and asked for our order and he shouted to her,
"i'll take the oyster roast!"

...we were at a barbeque restaurant.

it was that meal at sticky fingers in wilmington, north carolina where i first fell in love with sara's family. i don't think i understood a single word through the thick little river accent that came out of her dad's mouth, but i knew from the second i saw him that mack mclamb was a giant heart wearing sneakers with no socks.

skip to three years later.

his daughter has just landed her first--and very prestigious--job out of college as editor-in-chief of a local newspaper. after the typical "well HELLO!" and "when you moving back from callee-for-nia?!" i received from him just two steps into the door--he sits me down at the kitchen table and hands me a yellowed, wrinkled newspaper. although this crumped six-page journal looks like it's been saved from 1952, it's actually the three week old first edition of sara's newspaper that she produced. as i welled up with pride--pretending i hadn't just seen it two hours before--i watched mack out of the corner of my eye as he read sara's autobiographical article along with me. it wasn't even three minutes before sara nudged me and whispered, 
"my dad's crying."
it's not only wonderful to be around sara's dad because of his compassionate nature and warm heart, but he's the kind of entertainment that not even the most brilliant comedian could dream up. whether he's shouting "do WHAT?!" at a waiter who mumbled the specials, wagging his finger at their cat dusty and demanding "what you doing there luccer?! oh. that's not luccer", or standing up from the table last sunday at noon after devouring a waffle and saying "thanks for dinner"--that man can unintentionally keep the entire house laughing for hours.

"he would steal pennies off a dead man's eyes!"
is one of the many expressions spoken by winona mclamb that makes me reconsider everything i've ever known about the human language.
although mack is the proud owner of the occasional word i can't make out through his deep southern drawl, it's sara's mom who continuously adds volumes to my mental dictionary. the southern phrases i learn over a plateful of paula deen-style potato wedges in that house could fill a book. however, it's not just laughter we've shared in that kitchen. 
if i had a dollar for every heartfelt conversation i've had with sara and her mom around that big dining room table, i'd probably have enough money to buy myself another plane ticket back to raleigh. of course i enjoy the beach days, the nights at molly darcy's, and the occasional lunches at thai season--but some of the warmest memories i have from my hundreds of trips to little river include those after-dinner talks.

sara has always been the kind of person who tells her mom everything. i mean every detail from little to big. she confides in her like a best friend, and after a few rounds of sitting around that table with the two of them, i understood why. there's something so comforting about opening up to winona. maybe it's her motherly nature, or possibly her thirty plus years as a respected nurse where people are constantly seeking her advice and guidance. she'll ask me one simple question like "sara said you started a new job. how's it going?" and next thing i know i've poured out my heart and told her half of my life story. countless hours have passed as the three of us have sat at that table pointing out the stray cats drinking out of the pool and talking about everything under the sun.
like clockwork, the time comes when winona will grab her diet pepsi, stand up, and head for the laundry room. as sara calls out,
"winona! where ya goin?!"
she'll shout back something about taking clothes out of the dryer--but i know that she's just taking off to give us some time together. 
the irony is that sara and i will immediately put our plates in the sink, grab our ben and jerry's out of the fridge, follow her into the next room and force her to watch a movie with us.

because my time in little river is always limited, every second that i get to spend with this family is important to me. if sara and her mom and i aren't sitting around the table chatting and finishing off the pitcher of homemade sweet tea, we're lounging in the living room picking on martha stewart and waiting for the next hallmark movie to come on. winona may shout at one of the cats for jumping on a table, but if you turn down the volume of the heartfelt romantic comedy we're watching, you'll hear her sniffing and holding in tears.

if you've ever read anything that sara has written about herself, she never fails to credit her parents for the type of woman she is today. my entire life i was blessed with two extraordinary parents of my own and a sarah to hold onto. how lucky am i that my fortune was literally doubled a few years back. it was over three years ago when i fell into sara's life and walked into the arms of her family, and these three never fail to make me feel at home. whether i'm leaning against the kitchen counter watching sara and her mom search through the cabinets that they swear "eat all their tupperware lids", or watching matlock with sara's dad at a volume level so loud dinosaurs could hear it--i can't help but smile when i'm inside that house. i can always count on a bowl full of potatoes, a new kitchen gardget on the counter, andy griffith on the tv, and a southern living recipe in the oven. these memories on mineola avenue will always hold a piece of my heart, and spread a smile across my face every time i see a plate of spaghetti.
although the bond between sara and i knows no distance, it doesn't make me miss her or these special weekends any less. lucky for us, we have a whole lifetime of weekends to look forward to. that's the beauty of once-in-a-lifetime friends. no matter how long it takes you to find them, you know that once you do, you can't imagine your life without them. even when circumstances pull you in different directions, you're never really "without" them.

you're always just a text,

a phonecall,

a plane ride,

or two hours and forty five minutes away.

i will always come back for you.


from hollywood,
to raleighwood.

i had my last spicy orange chicken delivery from little china...

my last yogurtland...

and then i did some packing...

and came back to the "right" side of the world :)

morning #1:
in my opinion, there's nothing better than to wake up to a mug full of coffee and a dad who asks what you'd like for breakfast.
is it just me, or does food always taste better when someone else makes it for you?

and yes.
yes, i did bring my hot sauce with me.

night #1:
i do not apologize for the following picture, or for anyone who witnessed this live.

i decided that since my time at home is pretty short, i would try to throw a little get-together to gather up all of my good friends. luckily i went to high school and college in the same town so it's not difficult to round up my crew. it was an awesome night getting elbow deep in wing sauce, and catching up with familiar faces over a few beers.
as i drove home, i couldn't help but wonder (carrie bradshaw moment)...

what time does cookout close on a wednesday?

needless to say:

great barbeque--but mostly importantly in my opinion: hushpuppies literally don't exist in california. you never realize all the small things you're going miss when you move out of your neck of the woods until you're sitting on your couch in hollywood on a saturday morning thinking how epic a cookout tray and a huge sweet tea would be. 

other things i miss seeing every day that don't exist in california:

i know what you're thinking.
obviously there are japanese places in every corner of every strip mall in los angeles, but there is nothing...and i mean akari in downtown raleigh. the best friend and i discovered this little gem after two failed sunday attempts at a meal there. yes, they are closed sundays. after cursing this odd hole-in-the-wall asian express joint, we finally gave it another shot and happened to walk in on a weekday. as we browsed the menu and saw most of the expected items: noodles, teriyaki chicken, sushi, etc--we got our sauce cups, napkins, plastic forks and knives and sat down at a table.
the meal began.
i'm pretty sure not one word was exchanged between us as we gobbled down our chicken yakisoba noodles (me) and sesame chicken with rice (sara). i don't remember exactly what words were spoken at the end of that lunch, but i DO remember the look of sheer happiness on both of our faces as we stumbled out to my 4runner in a japanese-inspired food coma. with so many generic noodle places and their half-assed attempts at the classic ginger and white sauces, it was truly something special to find one that was on a level all of its own. turns out the owner used to work at kanki and happened to have some of their recipe secrets up his sleeve. not only is the food quality and flavor outstanding, but the prices are low, and it happened to be around the corner from where we lived at the time. let me sum this up for you in one very simple sentence:
one time, sara and i ate akari for lunch--and dinner--in the same day.

so you can see why this big box of noodles brought such a smile to my face.

and if that wasn't enough to put me in a great mood,
seeing geese shopping in cary certainly was.

i'm trying to soak up every minute here because i feel like there are so very few. stepping off of the plane and into the raleigh air tuesday night was an entire whirlwind of exciting and familiar emotions. how lucky am i that i get to have that entire experience all over again tomorrow morning. in just twelve short hours, i'll be headed two hours and forty five minutes down south to another place that gives me that same rush of excitement and holds a piece of my heart.

and mostly importantly,
i get to be greeted by this face:

and this one:

it doesn't get much better than that.

and on a final note...
you know the expression "nothing in life is ever free?"

i <3 you raleigh.


"after all, things change, so do cities, people come into your life and they go. but it's comforting to know that the ones you love are always in your heart... and if you're very lucky, a plane ride away”
~sex & the city

there's no place like home,
there's no place like home...

3 days <3

i'm baaaaaaaack.

here is what i have learned:
when you have no jobs, you have time to do things like hike and make funny videos. when you have TWO jobs and one friend in town, you have no idea where your tennis shoes are and the closest you get to a computer is checking facebook on your phone.
my apologies for the long blog absence. today is finally a day off of work, and i decided that since i'll already be sitting on my ass all day...

might as well catch everybody up to speed!
oh, and make a frittata.

first and foremost, the new job is going pretty well--despite the ridiculous back problems that come from standing for eight hours tagging and hanging clothes. on the positive side, i really have learned a lot just from two weeks of work. i've learned that zippers on women's jeans are usually shorter than zippers on men's jeans. i've learned that the collar of a men's t-shirt is usually shaped differently than the collar of a women's t-shirt.
i've also learned that the tagging gun is very sharp.
to sum it all up:


rad outfit:

desire to have any interest in fashion:

as for the restaurant job (blue palms brewhouse) i've only had two short training shifts and one very slow day, but i'm enjoying it so far. the highlight of my very first shift there yesterday was accidentally stepping on this right before walking through the door.

as for this past week, i had a very special visitor.

no, no, no. not them.

my good buddy john--who has been one of my closest friends since ten years old--came all the way from boston to see me! we hardly ever get to see each other, so having him here with me was amazing. how did we spend our few days together, you ask?
eating everything in sight.

let's begin.

sushi from shintaro.
i went with my personal fav: the shintaro roll (shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, avocado, crab, and cucumber wrapped in soy paper)

i also tried out their spicy tuna on crispy rice with jalapeno.

other than the amazing food and the fact that i ate my entire seaweed salad via chopsticks (a gigantic personal victory), the best part of the meal was the company. not only did i have john there across the table sipping miso soup, but our friend abbie (who we went to lower/middle/part of high school with) drove all the way from palm springs to join us.

how cool is it to eat dinner with people that you've known for fifteen years?

burgers from the counter in west hollywood.
of course i built my own greek-inspired burger: multigrain bun, turkey burger, roasted red pepper feta, tomatoes, coleslaw, and spicy pepperocini peppers.

john built himself a california-inspired burger: toasted hamburger bun, beef burger, bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, pickles, grilled peppered onions, and roasted garlic aoili.

for those of you who have ever been to the counter, you know you can't pass up their "fifty-fifty." part sweet potato fries, part crispy onions rings and three sauces: ranch, bbq, and horseradish.

step one:
see below picture.

step two:
scroll up two pictures and see the damage that john and i did to this little appetizer.
...BEFORE our burgers even came out.

the blu jam cafe in west hollywood is one of my mom's personal favorites. their pea soup really is incredible--and i don't even like peas. i had never been there for breakfast but had always heard really great things. one of my favorite parts of this meal was the fancy contraption my delicious earl grey tea came in.

my order: the toscana scramble. eggs scrambled with homemade pesto, cherry tomatoes, fennel turkey sausage, and goat cheese.
the ridiculously fresh fruit, rosemary toast, and fresh squeezed orange/grapefruit juice really made this a truly kickass meal.
well, that and the fact that we got an awesome outdoor table--perfect for people watching on melrose.

and of course...

yogurtland gave birth to a new customer.

on a scale of 1-10, how much did john enjoy his yogurt?
...we went back two days later.
you do the math.

on a smoggy-turned-sunshiney day in santa monica, what exactly does one do after dominating an entire plate of hot wings and a couple of beers?

order a salad.

and fried pickles.

after making some unhealthy--yet completely necessary--lunch choices, john decided it was time for a little fruit.

no really.
he found a tiny clementine on the ground that had fallen off of someones tree.
...and he ate it.

i know you're all wondering what kind of crazy shenanigans we got into for st. patrick's day on thursday.
sadly, i was scheduled for a FULL friday of work (at both jobs) and john had a 7 AM flight to catch, so we decided against any craziness.
the rest of hollywood, on the other hand, partied like rockstars.
apparently we need more than one irish pub.

don't worry, we still participated in the outfits.

all in all, john's trip here was an absolute blast. we may have missed out on the worldwide rager for st. patty's day--but i think that two trips to yogurtland and seeing kourtney kardashian in beverly hills made the trip a success.

cheers brother.

and what better way to end this blog...
than with a picture of elvis and michael jackson walking off into the sunset...

as MJ picks his wedgie.