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Blating: The Real Reason You Should Blog

photo photo33_zpseaeb32c7.jpgMuch thanks to Betsy’s momma for snapping a picture of us! Can you tell how windy it was? Quite a blustery day, hmm?

So here’s the deal about blogging. I learned awhile back that you’re not really a blogger (oh boy, I’m going to hear it for this, I know already) until you’ve made blogger friends. This is a community. And an incredible one at that! I’m convinced that it’s easier to find close friends that you can really, really relate to out here in the blogosphere because you’re transcending geographic boundaries, skipping the whole “we know each other from this school or that activity” stuff, and jump straight into it. I mean, we sort of throw our lives out there by blogging, so of course we’re likely to (hopefully) come across like minded friends. Right?

Right.

Enter blates. I love a good blate. Betsy and I have blated on a few occasions, actually. And then Kate was in town for the weekend and I kind of pestered her into finding a few hours to meet up. Leading us to Sunday’s blustery adventure on Wisconsin Avenue at the National Cathedral. So much fun. So much wind. We could’ve flown kites if we had been smart enough to think ahead. But, instead we ate cupcakes. Which is equally as fun, is it not?

The thing about blates that makes me sad is that they are always too short. And then we’re back to reality, in our own little homes and our own little jobs and behind our own, likely to be halfway broken (or is that just me?) computers blogging. Oh, blogging. There seems to be a lot of talk around these blogs of ours filled with declarations of the “I’m no longer blogging every day” and the “I’m changing my sponsorships” sorts. I never declared any of that stuff to you all.

I do think that I owe you my own sort of declaration post about how becoming a full-time blogger for a business has made me revisit my use of this space. But, it would end in the same “ehhh, I’m not posting every day” statements and the “well, sponsorships are way too time consuming and I need a life” ideas. And that sounds like a broken record when added to the rest of the conversations running around these good ol’ blogs. Plus, if you’ve been loyal enough to stick with me through the last few months, you already know I’m not posting nearly as often, and that my sidebar looks a little different.

So, instead, let’s focus back on this whole blating thing. I’ve mentioned before how I never went into blogging to make friends and it sort of just happened. And I love it. This blogging thing is magical. And I’m so happy to call Betsy and Kate my real life friends.

We spend so many hours shaping up these web addresses of ours to reflect who we are, what we care about, what makes us tick, and how we want the world to view us. It would be a huge shame if we didn’t really, truly connect with each other at the end of the day. On the other side of that computer screen will always be another human with feelings and interests and families and all of that stuff that we, too, care about.

So blate. Go out there and meet up. Friends, I’m serious. This is the best part of blogging. Promise.

Eastern Market

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So now for a post that should have been posted weeks ago because it’s really old news by now, but I’m secretly hoping you don’t care and you will find it mildly interesting anyway. So on with it then.

I had this fabulous weekend last month when the husband went down to Richmond for “bro-bro weekend” or something like that. From what I’ve gathered, him and his besties painted each other’s nails, watched Say Yes to the Dress, and polished off one too many bottles of champagne. Oh, wait, that was what I was doing in his absence. Alone. Gosh, I’m such a loner. And it doesn’t really bother me.

So every time Alex goes away for a “bro-bro weekend” with his bad, extroverted self, I try my hardest to spend 48+ hours completely alone. But he makes fun of me for this and says “don’t you have friends?” and other sad things so this time I made a particularly gallant effort to turn myself into a social butterfly. Amongst these plans included a Sunday adventure to Eastern Market with this super cool chick I used to work with and now I don’t and it’s just really a sad, pathetic situation. I miss you, Brooke. 

A word on Eastern Market: I don’t get the fuss. Sorry. Union Market is way cooler folks. IMO, at least. Plus, I picked up this gorgeous bouquet of flowers that promptly died. And, for the record, I have flowers from Wegman’s scattered about my house that I bought five days ago now. They are alive.

Eh. I suppose my Eastern Market adventure was alright if I could ever forget my 12 hour bouquet….

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Union Market DC

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People always think of the fishmongers when Pike’s Place Market’s brought up in conversation  The way they toss these giant seamonsters over tourists heads, soaked in melted ice and fresh for the eating. But Pike’s Place Market has so much more and goes on for block after block. There’s something about that public market, perhaps it’s the chowder and the chili and the smell of coffee. But I think there’s something else, too.

I’ve been searching for a bit of Pike’s Place here at home for awhile now. Sure, we have our farmer’s markets and our Amish markets, but they can’t replace a public market. There’s Eastern Market, certainly, but I had a feeling DC might have more. Betsy suggested we meet up this weekend at Union Market and I was so glad we did.

Think of a mysterious, white hanger in the middle of the concrete jungle and there you’ve found Union Market. Oyster bar straight from the Chesapeake Bay? It’s there. Adorable homegoods shop that smells just like Anthropologie (and is priced the same, too)? It’s there. Local creamery with yummy ice cream? It’s there. Smoked salmon? It’s in my belly (next to the raspberry ice cream). Wine tasting? It’s there. Beer tasting? It’s there, too. Olives and oils and olive oils. Flowers. Soaps. Produce and meat. It’s all there.

It’s so busy, too. Maybe a little too busy for my hatred of crowds, but I think I liked it. Really, I did. It was a hustling crowd. That sort of energy you get when it’s the first gorgeous Saturday of the year and there’s nowhere else you’d rather be than in a bustling public market with hundreds of your closest strangers.

It makes me feel all sorts of important inside.

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My Blate With Betsy

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I almost feel rude calling it just a blate. Goodness. Let’s call it what it is. On Saturday I spent the afternoon with an awesome, new friend.

I think I’ve mentioned this before. I didn’t ever expect, nor particularly care, to foster friendships through blogging. Maybe I was too egocentric? I don’t know. I kind of didn’t think much past the whole “I need an outlet to write” part of the plan. But I’ve “met” (and really met) some amazing friends in blogland. And now… well, regardless of how much I love using this as an outlet to write, it’s really all of you that make it worth my time each day. 

My blate with Betsy was far too short. In fact, we probably could’ve had an old school sleepover (complete with the pj’s and face masks and all) and still it would’ve been too short. Isn’t that how it is with friends, though? It’s always a bummer when the time’s up.

So Alex and I do this part time job (that really is cooler and way more fun than our full time jobs) where we select teachers to join an alternative route program to teach in DC. We interview on Saturdays and it leaves us in DC for the rest of the day or evening. Usually we just call it a date and hit up our usual (Matchbox…. go there now). But recently it dawned on me that Betsy and I probably have enough in common to keep the conversation going well past the socially appropriate length of a Disqus feed. So we set ourselves up a little blate!

We met over at Union Market, which is probably the best hidden gem I’ve (errr, Betsy) found in DC this far. We ate awesome food, devoured some local ice cream, and caught up on life. You know, the important stuff. Alex was there, too. He held his own. Poor kid, stuck with two bloggers all afternoon. Whatever, I told him he could drive himself home. But Betsy’s everything you would expect from her blog and then some. You know, the kind of friend you meet and think, why haven’t we met sooner? And, oh, Jon sounds pretty awesome, too!

This is where you realize that this post is more of a tease than a recap. I figured if I tried to fit Union Market in with Betsy in one post, I couldn’t do both justice.

After dropping Betsy back off at home, I had this major aha moment on the beltway realizing that this is all so silly. We live less than thirty minutes from each other (well, maybe not in rush hour), and at a certain point you have to realize that the whole reason we’re here, building friendships and putting in all of this time, is because it is the real deal. We might not ever meet, or if we do, it’s possibly no more than a few times or maybe even once if we’re lucky. So what? Some of the conversations I’ve had through blogging I wouldn’t dare begin with the majority of my “real life” friends. And the connections, visions, beliefs… all of this stuff on how we see the world, well, if we’re going to leave it at “oh, this blogger thinks the same as me”… hello? I would die to have all of you as my next door neighbors!

I guess what I’m getting at in a ridiculously roundabout way is that Betsy and I practically are neighbors. And that certainly won’t be the last time we meet up. But next time, I’m not calling it a blate.

I’ll just be meeting up with one of my friends.

Election Day: A Blate

Excuse me while I brag. This year I had the best election day in the history of my adult life. And it had nothing to do with politics. It did, however, have everything to do with this fabulous friend of mine.

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That’s right. I went on a blate. Well, a double blate? I don’t know what you’d claim it to be. Whatever you name it, it was simply this: two friends meeting for the first time halfway between their homes, husbands in tow, for a fabulous lunch and a stroll around a historical estate. Or, in fewer words: Alex and I met Kristin and her husband at Keswick Hall.

You see, they have been going to Keswick for years and one of the first things she mentioned to me when we met through blogging is that Alex and I simply must go visit. It was something under the lines of "What? You call Charlottesville your second home but you’ve never been to KESWICK?" So, kill two birds with one stone, why don’t I?

And it was wonderful. We dined on a harvest fair fit for royalty. We ordered hot chocolate and my husband drank his weight in water. We smiled and laughed. We played billiards. No, wait, that was our husbands. We played indoors-manual-mode on our cameras. And we got to know one another. In person, that is. And, oh, I have some fabulous news for the blogging world….

Everything you imagine Kristin to be… she’s that times one hundred. This girl is the real deal. I am so happy to call her a friend (in real life, yay!) and her husband is just as genuine and amazing as she is. If you don’t follow her blog already, you need to. She’s my go-to for everything from recipes to housekeeping tips to simply just wanting to read an awesome blog post. So enjoy this photo set from our election day out.

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Now, this week’s recap:

The Sunday Currently

The First Annual Blog-iversary Giveaway (you have until Sunday to enter!!!)

A Blogiversary (some thoughts)

Blue Ridge Blues

Love Notes: Precious Time

Thanksgiving: A Lifestyle Blogger Link-Up (announced)

And my favorite posts on the blog-o-sphere this week:

Babies and Marriage

Beauty and Grace in the City (Sheila is truly an awesome photographer! Plus, I’m a sucker for ballet photography.)