Thursday, June 30, 2011

Memory #21: Fun Nights with Craig

My mom used to be in bowling leagues on night a week and I spent that evening out on the town with Craig.  Some of my favorite times were going to Spaceport (this super cool arcade on campus that looked like a spaceship from outside) and playing hours of air hockey, eating pizza at Garcia's (which used to have the best thick slices around) and a seeing a movie at the Coed theatre. I got to stay up late and play for hours.  It was so much fun!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Memory #22: Moon Shoes

One of the funniest things I remember was the Christmas that I got Nickelodeon Moon Shoes.  They were these awesome purple platform shoes with giant rubber bands running through them.  Once you got them strapped to your feet it really felt like you could bounce to the moon.  I managed to convince my 80+ year old Grandma Jenkins to wear the moon-shoes around the house for awhile.  Getting her to even stand up in them was a challenge, but trying to help her bounce around the house, nearly tumbling with each step and scaring our pets into a barking/hissing frenzy, was absolutely hilarious!

One of my other favorite Nickelodeon toys.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Memory #23: First Summer with Bob

Hahaha, look at that guy!

Summertime is my favorite time of year and as a result a lot of my favorite things happen during the summer.  The first summer I spent with Bob is one of my favorites.  We reconnected at the beginning of August, at the end of the summer, but there was still lots of fun to be had.  We enjoyed cookouts with friends, taking long walks on hot summer nights, getting ice cream, swinging in the park, sipping iced tea, long chats, opening car doors, gazing into each other’s eyes, staying up way too late – being like love sick school kids.  We even adopted the name "county fair couple"... apparently we were a little over the top from time to time. :)  That was a really great summer! 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Memory #24: Limo Cruising with AP

My Aunt Patti used to come visit Champaign-Urbana it seemed like once a summer when I was young.  We always had a great time together and one particular visit stands out.  She had lots of friends still living in town and one of them owned a limo company.  One day A.P. pulled up in my driveway in a flashy white limo - a total Pretty Woman moment.  We got to drive all around town including to Windsor Swim Club so I could brag to my friends.  I felt like a celebrity.  It was great!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Memory #25: Michele & Libby Take Toronto

I have lots of favorite memories with my friend Michele, but my most favorite has to be the "Michele and Libby take Niagara Falls & Toronto" trip.  When I was still living in NYC, Michele and I were always dreaming up awesome trips that we should take.  One afternoon while I was working away in my tiny cube in Midtown Manhattan, to my surprise and delight Michele called me out of the blue with a proposal.  "Libby, I'm buying a ticket to NYC for this weekend.  Where are we going?" is what she said.  My ears perked up and my mind got to work.  After some stealthy Google searching we had booked a hotel at Niagara Falls and in Toronto and had a $10/day rental car to get us there.
Michele arrived a couple of days later and we headed to LaGuardia to pick up our car and be on our way.  The sense of liberation with a last minute trip is invigorating and thrilling and we were both so excited.  Neither of us had been to either place and had no idea what to expect.  Highlights of our trip included our little lovers hotel :) near the falls, leaning over the edge as far as we could without falling, stopping at the border crossing into Canada and nervously telling the border guard that we were bringing cameras, ipods, fruit and snacks into the country (she was intimidating), eating like queens in Toronto, shopping and stumbling through the evening nightlife.  We drove through a horrendous thunderstorm on the winding roads of upstate New York and were relieved that we had somehow survived the ordeal.
It was a great trip with a great friend and fine example of the exciting spontaneity of youth.  Great memory!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Memory #26: Learning to Drive the Mustang

When I turned 14, my Grandma Jenkins gave me her 1966 Mustang that she had purchased, as she liked to say, right off the showroom floor.  She was so proud of that car.  I remember spending summers with her "garage sale-ing" and people would walk up to her and ask how much she wanted for the car.  Without hesitation, and with a giant smile spreading across her face, she'd say, "it's not for sale."  She loved that.
When I got my learners permit Grandma and my mom decided to take me out and teach me how to drive the Mustang.  With my mom in the back seat and Grandma in the front we headed out.  Things were going OK despite the sticky clutch and I was actually getting the hang of the 3 speeds on the floor.  We pulled up to an intersection with a 4-way stop and we happened to be on an incline.  Three other cars pull up at the same time.  I tried waiting for them to go, but it was my turn and they weren't budging.  While Grandma was calmly giving me instructions on how to avoid killing the engine (again) my mom was in the back seat anxiously shouting for me to go.  As I was rolling backwards down the hill another car was pulling up right behind us and next thing I know everyone in the car is shouting, including me!  Struggling to get going I ended up flooring it and peeling out of the stop through the intersection as my mom is in hysterics, I'm terrified for all of our lives and Grandma was laughing so hard I thought she might pee her pants.  After realizing we'd survived, the three of us had a good hard laugh.  That was so much fun.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Memory #27: Grandma's Cookies

I went to college at the University of Illinois.  Because I grew up in Champaign-Urbana, Campustown had always been in my backyard and a part of my life.  While I loved that, I also wanted to have the "away from home experience."  So, my freshman year I decided to live in the dorms.  I was assigned to the "Six Pack" (now Ikenberry Commons) and ended up meeting some great friends there.  For the first semester I managed to resist the temptation to go home to Urbana for free laundry and I made my first trip home over Thanksgiving break.  A lot of people thought it was weird that I wouldn't go home for home cooked meals and free laundry, but I stuck to my guns (that changed second semester :).
One of my favorite things that first year living in the dorms was when my Grandma Nelson would send me a shoebox full of her homemade chocolate chip cookies.  On visits I would always sneak cookies from the box she kept in her freezer at home in Florida, so when a box would arrive at my dorm it was an extra special treat.  Getting mail alone was fun, but when those cookies arrived not only was my tummy happy, but my spirits were lifted as I got to share them with my roommates and neighbors.  I'm pretty sure I made a lot of friends that first year just because of those cookies.  Remembering that now brings a giant smile to my face.

Grandma Jenkins, Me, Grandma Nelson on my high school graduation

In Florida celebrating my Grandma's birthday

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Memory #28: The Honeymoon

My honeymoon was a blast.  Pretty much the best, most laid back and relaxing vacation I've ever had.  And, the best part was that I got to go with my favorite person, Bob.  I imagine that honeymoons rank pretty high on every body's list, but for me this was a combination of my love to travel and spending quality time with my main squeeze.  Here are some photos of our 10 day adventure in Saint Lucia.

We were on our honeymoon for my 29th birthday and we spent that afternoon zip-lining through the rain forest.  One line ran across the very top of the forest canopy and we were sailing so fast over all of the trees.  You could even see the rain coming down.  It was awesome!  AND, I love that my hubby and I can be adventurous together (him more so than me, probably).

We stayed at two different resorts in St. Lucia.  One of them was open air and had no "4th wall" which means that we were wide open to the elements.  While I did not dig the minimal amount of bugs we had, I did enjoy this view from our 2nd floor bedroom. 

Now those are two happy campers, don't you think? :)

We arrived on the island just in time to catch the last day of Carnivale.  What a spectacle that was! 

More zip lining!

Climbing through the rain forest canopy. 

Island smiles.

We played chess - on a set made for giants.  I think I won. :)

An amazing view from one of the resorts. They were beautiful.

Happy at sunset.

One day we took a boat trip around the island.  It was incredible.  From eating with the locals to jumping off of cliffs, we really got to do it all.

We had fun in the hot sulfur springs.  They were stinky!

A small seaside village where there was a great bakery.

One of the two famous Piton mountains is in the background.  Our second resort was sandwiched right in between the two of them.

OK, total cheese factor, but how sweet is a waterfall on your honeymoon?!

Bob is definitely way braver than me.  He climbed up this giant rock about 50-100 feet up in the air just to jump off into the ocean.  It was crazy!

A few from a road trip around the island.

Oh man, did we eat well on our trip.  The local flavor was delicious and we certainly indulged.

This is the living room on the first floor of our open air room.  In the right corner you can see our little pool.  If you stepped off of the deck you'd go tumbling right down the side of the mountain.  It was incredible.

Our bedroom on the second floor.  That net saved my life from the most giant moth I have ever seen in my entire life.  Seriously, I think it would have eaten my leg off if it weren't for the net.  Waking up to the sun rise each morning was a dream.

Another amazing view.

Enjoying a glass of champagne in our pool.  One of those moments where you're thinking "pinch me."

The view from the bathroom.  I loved how green everything was on the island.

Evening cocktails look a whole lot different up here.

Touring the island with our friend Tod, we got to see a lot of "off the beaten path" type of things.  There's a cow on some land overlooking the ocean.

We toured an old plantation on the island that had been around for hundreds of years.  This building hosts yoga retreats from time to time.  Sign me up please!

More of the beautiful landscape.

You can't see the entire building, but this was a really cool old windmill.

We made a new friend.  This little guy (who's about 80 years old) loved Bob.

At a lookout point on the south side of the island overlooking Vieux Fort.

In case one waterfall wasn't enough... We hiked to this stunning waterfall.  The man who lives on this property has gorgeous grounds with great trails and of course this beauty.

Chilling in our living room.

This was the best beach we visited.  Sandwiched between the Pitons, the water was so clear and the sand was so soft.  This was a wonderful day.

We even scored some shade!

Mmmm, did I mention that we ate well?

There are so many great things to remember about our honeymoon!  It truly was a once in a lifetime trip and I'm so glad I got to experience it with Bob.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Memory #29: 40 Under 40

40 Under 40 Award

Work is always something I've taken pretty seriously (hopefully not too seriously) and coming into my current role as Marketing & Sales Director for the Champaign County Convention and Visitors Bureau was a great step for me.  Who knew after hopping between NYC and Champaign-Urbana that I would end up selling my hometown as a visitor destination?  I certainly wouldn't have guessed it, but now I couldn't be more thrilled.  Along with that came an award from Central Illinois Business Magazine in 2010 for the top "40 Under 40" in business.  This was an incredibly proud moment for me and it was such an honor to be recognized for a lot of hard work.  Craig and Bob came to celebrate the day with me and it was such a fun time!  What a great memory...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Top 30 Memories: #30: Getting Tucked In

One month from today I will turn the big 3-0.  It's hard to believe that milestone is already here!  In celebration, I'm going to recount a list of top 30 memories from my last 30 years.  They are in no particular order and hopefully I don't have any obvious omissions.

Memory #1:
One of my favorite things as a kid was my "getting tucked in" ritual with my mom.  Nice and clean after a bath, I would hop into my Peter Rabbit sheets and lay stiff as a board with my arms straight at my sides.  My mom would proceed to tuck the covers in a tightly around me as possible and say I looked like a mummy.  Then I would quietly ask her to "kiss my face all over."  She would start at my forehead and go from cheek to cheek, eyelid to eyelid and all around my face until my eyes could hardly open anymore. Without fail, it always put me right to sleep.

Happy Birthday, Winston, You Poor Little Pup

Don't you love puppy yawns?

Today is Winston's 1st birthday.  This sweet puppy has brought so much love and fun times into our lives since we met him.  He really is a cool little dude.  Husband and I had planned to celebrate with a trip to the dog park so he could romp around with his friends followed by an evening filled with delicious doggy treats.  Sadly, our poor little guy hurt himself the other day and the dog park is out of the question.
On Sunday, after several minutes of trying to attack a fly on the opposite side of the screen, Winston jumped high into the air, tongue out wagging and so close to slurping the fly right up, landed on his side with a thud on the deck and immediately started yelping.  :(  My heart was breaking for him not knowing where he was hurt or how to help.
Yesterday, a visit to Winston's doctor revealed a fractured bone in his ankle.  We brought him home with a soft cast that goes all the way up to his hip.  Poor guy!  He's got 4-8 weeks of nearly immobile recovery ahead of him.
We'll be collecting well wishes for Winston and keeping him full of treats to keep his spirits up.  And, today wishing him lots of love on his birthday!

The day we picked Winston out from the Humane Society.

Boy, was he playful!

That face gets me every time.

He was soooo little and soooo cute.

Such a sweet little dude.

Tailgating with dad.

Happy Birthday, Buddy!
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