On Standing Still

Summer Holiday Memories | Freckled Italian

Before we moved to California, Rob and I made the drive down to Litchfield Beach in South Carolina to spend two Memorial Day weekends with my best friend Tina, her husband Michael, and a group of their friends--sometimes small, sometimes larger, but always so fun.

We've only done it twice, but every time spring and Daylight Savings rolls around I think about that little yellow house and the gorgeous screened-in patio where we'd all sit with margaritas and chips and queso dip and watermelon, playing cards and catching up and laughing for hours. Tina and I would always wake up early every morning and walk on the beach with cups of coffee, before heading back to the house to start breakfast while everyone else began to wake up.

Even when we're on vacation--whether in South Carolina or Sonoma--it's always the quiet moments with Tina that I treasure the most: walking through the grocery store together for bacon and eggs and kebab ingredients; going to barre together; making a pot of coffee in the morning before taking a walk. They remind me of what it might be like to live in the same place and not have to plan out our time together the way we have for so many years.

Tina and Michael came to visit us in California right after we moved in 2016, and again just a few weeks ago to meet Sophie. Once again there were those everyday things--getting Thai takeout on a Thursday night and a couple of gel manicures on a Saturday morning. It always simultaneously makes me feel happy and sad--thankful for my friendships that have withstood time and distance, and bittersweet nostalgia coupled with dreams of a life all in one city--where you live close enough to each other that they can stop in for coffee on a Sunday morning, or any other made-up scenario that I catch myself daydreaming about when California feels especially far from Richmond or Charlotte. My friend Corri and I used to never actually make plans on Sundays but somehow always end up in my backyard with our dogs and a bottle of wine. I miss that.

I was test driving a car yesterday and mentioned that we were from Virginia but had moved from North Carolina, and further down the road when he brought up front-wheel vs. four-wheel drive, I found myself talking about Minnesota. The salesman looked at me with surprise as he said "You sure have lived a lot of places!" It reminded me that so much of my life so far has been framed by a narrative that's fragmented into here and there and back then and one day. I've always had trouble standing still--focusing on being content with the present and not looking back longingly or charging forward aggressively. 

But now there's Sophie, and for once, I savor every single moment. Whether it's a smile or a nap or a snuggle, she changes so much and so fast that I constantly catch myself saying "I can't wait until she...well I can wait, I'm just excited for her to" laugh or crawl or sleep through the night. I pulled back into the dealership where Rob was pushing our daughter around in the stroller and realized that my whole life was standing there on that sidewalk.

I still dream of being able to drive to see my mom on the weekend, or having a Sunday night takeout and Game of Thrones tradition with our friends back east, of going to Target with my friend Paige and our kids, story time at the library, snacks on her kitchen island as the babies play.

But for now, where we are is just right. 

Eight Years

Eight Years | Freckled Italian

March is so close that I feel it every day in the chilly morning air, as dew drops settle on the cherry blossom branches right outside my bedroom window, whispering brr brr brr but promising a warm afternoon that always forces me to slip out of the sweater I wear over my tank top and let my bare arms soak up the rays of sunlight on my drive home from the barre studio.

No matter where I am, this time of year always brings me right back to spring in Farmville, Virginia; where I was a junior in college, spending more and more time with a guy named Rob Peterson. My roommates and I shared clothes and sometimes fought over stupid shit but we loved each other and listened to a healthy mix of Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, and Taylor Swift; and Fearless was the soundtrack to any drive. I'd hop in my car and drive with the windows down from my apartment, across High Street and onto Back Hampden-Sydney road with the windows down. Once or twice a week I'd actually run those 6 miles, Love Story blaring in my headphones even though ol' Taylor obviously never very closely read Romeo and Juliet

My roommates and I were super young and never wore enough sunscreen and got burnt at baseball games; we drank too much almost every weekend and got tattoos in Richmond and sometimes drove 45 minutes to eat burritos from Chipotle. We read and studied and watched movies in bed together and never wore pants in our apartment; and we had our boyfriends over for weekend sleepovers where we'd make big, family-style breakfasts of pancakes and scrambled eggs to sustain multiple hours of Guitar Hero. 

It's crazy to me that Rob and I have been together for eight years now. Crazy in part because it's so significant--almost a decade!--but also because before he was in my life, he wasn't. One day I was getting ready for a Halloween party with the girls and without even knowing it, my life would never be the same. Just a few months later he's bringing me coffee in the library as I'm finishing up a poetry paper before spring break because he's my boyfriend and that's the kind of thing your college boyfriend does; and then a few years later he's standing in front of all our friends and family as I'm walking toward him in a wedding dress.

Time flies, so when spring comes around I like to slow down and really savor my nostalgia. I drink iced coffee and read poems from my Norton Anthology of American Literature and play the same four or five songs on repeat. I never want to forget that magical time--being only 20 years old, living with my best friends, reading non-stop, running really fast, wearing sundresses every weekend, and first getting to know the guy who ended up being my husband.

It's a love story, baby just say yes.

Viva Las Vegas

Viva Las Vegas | Freckled Italian

I'm on my way to Las Vegas this morning! I'm so excited to get there and spend some time with a few of my best girlfriends (we'll miss you, Shawna). Raquel is one of my oldest friends, and I met Caroline in 2006 when we were both freshman at Longwood University. The funnest (is that still not a word or are we all going with it?) part is that all three of us were roommates for most of college--Caroline and I for three years (and Raquel joined us for the last two).

Our plans for the next few days are as follows:

  • Drybar champagne + blowouts
  • Sparkly dresses
  • A limo ride to the Hoover Dam (that's real, we're doing it)
  • Britney Spears (NBD...just kidding, VERY BIG DEAL)
  • Hot tubbing
  • Laughing until we can't breathe or speak

We're bringing our guys along, too; and we rented a big house just off of the strip, so it should be really fun. Feel free to follow along on Snapchat (flynnmd) and Instagram! (Side note: I'm really into Instagram Stories these days.) I'll be back tomorrow with some Friday Favorites for your weekend.


Photo by Carrie Michelle Photography.

A Charlotte Baby Shower

A Charlotte Baby Shower | Freckled Italian

We got back from North Carolina this afternoon, but before too much time passes I wanted to share a few snapshots of my friend Paige's baby shower that I helped co-host in Charlotte last month. It was my first trip back since we made the move out west and it was so fun to have my girlfriends together to celebrate Paige's sweet baby boy, who will be making his debut in February!

Baby Shower Gold Letter Balloons | Freckled Italian
A Charlotte Baby Shower | Freckled Italian
A Charlotte Baby Shower | Freckled Italian

My friends at Minted were kind enough to supply the invitations for us, and Paige picked out this gorgeous watercolor wreath design that ended up matching her baby shower flower crown perfectly. I love a good flower crown as much as the next girl, but I have seriously never seen anyone pull one off quite as beautifully as Paige did.

Minted Baby Shower Invitations | Freckled Italian

It's really good to be home after a long stay for the holidays, but I'm pretty excited to plan a spring visit to kiss that baby! We love you, Paige; and I can't wait to meet you, Baby G!

Memorial Day in South Carolina

  Some weekend photos from  my Instagram feed.

Last year we spent Memorial Day weekend in South Carolina with our friends Tina and Michael, and this year we were lucky enough to do the same. Both times, Rob and I have come home completely relaxed, well-rested, and sore from laughing for three straight days. This year there were ten of us at the beach house, and it was a weekend packed with sunny mornings on the water followed by rainy afternoons of endless games of cards, homemade piΓ±a coladas, bottomless chips and queso from the grocery store, and our beach tradition of a Saturday early bird hibachi dinner at a Japanese steak house, which had us back at the house well before 6 PM for more cards (and queso). 

I really haven't been to the beach with anyone but Tina in some time--I wrote this post in 2014 after her Dewey Beach bachelorette, when my parents were breaking up and I was wondering what family trips might look and feel like after a divorce. I hadn't thought much about trips with friends before that point--maybe because we hadn't done too many of them, but Tina and Michael's house in Richmond has always been a place that felt a lot more like a second home than a place to spend a weekend away, so until we started vacationing together I hadn't really given any of it a second thought. Regardless, it's been such a gift these past few years to get away and relax with some of your favorite people.

I have always been blessed with friends who feel more like family, and multiple times over the past few days--as her husband and mine stood under the porch grilling burgers together or while Tina and I chopped fruit over glasses of wine and reheated cheese dip and wiped down the coffee pot before heading the the beach to catch whatever sun was left in the forecast--I was once again overwhelmed with gratitude for these rituals we've put in place as we've grown up. And I'm already looking forward to the next long weekend.

I hope you had a beautiful holiday, wherever you were.