Friday, December 20, 2013

greetings and celebrations.

Merry Christmas Friends!  (And Happy Holidays, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Festivus too!)

Whatever you're in to, I suspect many of you have visions of 2-week vacations dancing in your heads already, and if so, I am extremely jealous, as I will be working next week.  Fingers crossed for lots of baked goodies around the newsroom and no breaking news.  

Sadly, I haven't attended a single holiday party this season, but things have been quite festive around here - very festive, in fact, in the ways with which I am most familiar - baby showers and weddings.

First, Kyle's Baby Shower -


"Festive" doesn't even begin to describe the wonder of this party.  I wish I could take credit for it, but besides just a few miscellaneous contributions, most of the heavy (and fancy) lifting of her shower came courtesy of her mom and sister.  Those two created a Winter Wonderland that would make even Kimye jealous.  It was truly spectacular and a genuinely fun time celebrating Kyle, Greg and Baby G (coming January 2014).

My biggest contribution was a video - 21 minutes of family and friends talking about what kind of parents Greg and Kyle are going to be - understood if you don't know them, this will probably not be at all interesting to you.  However, if you're getting ready to have a baby or thinking about getting pregnant - scroll through to the "advice" section of the video where things get real, fast.

Last weekend, Jacob's super fun (and beautiful) sister Amy got married in Charleston.  Obviously I'm quite seasoned when it comes to weddings, but after participating in three days of non-stop wedding activity I'm afraid I might be out of practice.  I texted my girlfriends the Monday after it was over, "Now I understand why people get married in their twenties - because wedding festivities for a 30+-year old is brutal."

Much to my delight, Amy's wedding photographer was none other than my blog crush Olivia - it was wonderful to catch up with her and hear about all of the wonderful things she's been up to.  For a full update, head over to her blog, but safe to say she's on her way to becoming a famous photographer.

I can't wait to see her pictures of Amy - but here are some of mine as your preview of the shenanigans.

And obviously let's not forget the most important celebration of all - no offense Kyle and Amy - but my niece Katherine Gray is one month old.  While still doing very little but eating, pooping and sleeping, she still manages to impress us all by simply existing.  


So . . .no boozy tacky Christmas sweater parties over here (aren't those so passe anyway?), but December has been busy.  I cannot help but feel the spirit of Christmas when surrounded by the people that I love and care for in the midst of the biggest celebrations of their lives.  

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas - Stay safe, make smart choices, be nice, and choose love.  

I'll be back before the New Year to share all the highlights and low lights of 2013.  

Thursday, December 12, 2013

stupid crap.

I was at my friend Lisa's house last weekend when she said to me, "When are you going to start doing new things again and writing about it?"

My ears started to perk up at her interest in the blog, as she continued her thought.

"I need an excuse to do stupid crap."

I laughed, and then quickly scanned my memories of all of the shenanigans Lisa and I have participated in over the years - both for the blog and also those NSFB.  Though I'd prefer to think of them as adventures, life-changing moments, lasting memories made, I guess "stupid crap" applies to most, if not all, of them.

"We definitely don't need an excuse to do stupid crap," I reminded her.  After all, I was doing stupid crap long before I started this blog, and I'll continue doing stupid crap long after the blog goes away.

But she's right.  The frequency of my doing new things and writing about them has leveled off considerably since I turned 30.  My health and sanity have depended on my accepting the normal of my everyday life and finding wonder in that, but I still crave adventure, spontenaitey and travel. 

Back in October, a last minute trip to New York to spend some time with (and surprise) friends I hadn't seen in a while beckoned, and I gave in.  Sometimes listening to that devilish voice inside your head that keeps taunting you, "Just do it! Just book the ticket!" is a very good thing. 

And in three short days, I managed to fit in a great deal of stupid crap:

1. Smorgasburg - Brooklyn's answer to food trucks, featuring dozens of vendors serving delicious and eclectic food "to go."  Duck dumplings, Pork Spring Rolls, that Ramen burger you keep hearing about everywhere - they have it all and it's all delicious, and by New York's standards, relatively inexpensive.    

Plus, it's the best place to mingle about hispters in their natural habitat -- there were plaid shirts, ironic mustaches, and Buddy Holly glasses as far as the eye could see.
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2. A stroll through Brooklyn, while indulging in, hands down, the best ice cream sandwich I've ever had.  It almost cured my sadness over Georgia losing to Vanderbilt, which I watched unfold on my Twitter feed.


3. A walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.


4. A going away surprise Italian dinner executed perfectly for my friend Laura, followed by bar dancing (with a Reserved section sign as a prop). 


5. An original Banksy, one block from Lauren's house. 


As of yesterday, I'm headed back to New York for the New Year.  If that's stupid crap, well then, bring it on. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

fool in love.

This is the time of year for thankfulness - and I suppose a post about all of which I am thankful would be appropriate. 

But this is instead an apology post - an enormous, "I'm sorry," and an admittance that "I have unfairly judged you, and I was wrong."

From my closest Facebook friends to bloggers I don't know but read regularly, I have been rolling my eyes at all of your nauseating "look at my cute kids!" behavior since I can remember.  I've scoffed at your willingness to abandon all civilized decorum and intelligent conversation in favor of complete goofiness and baby talk.  I've vowed that if ever I loved a child enough to thaw my cold, black heart, that I'd never become one of you. 

But now that I, as of a week ago, joined the ranks of crazy, psycho, completely obsessed aunts everywhere, I finally get where you have been coming from.

Now I understand why parents feel the need to update social media hourly with pictures and status updates highlighting every single accomplishment or movement their child makes. 

I understand that why after having 19 of them, the Duggars are still counting children.

I even understand why people steal babies  Wait. What? Just kidding on that - don't steal anyone's baby.  No matter how cute. 

But no doubt babies - especially nieces like mine - are the greatest things that ever happened.  Ever.

See what I mean?


I expected to love her - she's family; but I didn't expect to love her so much, so fast.  I also didn't expect when the time came to leave her, that it would physically hurt.  Maybe it was PMS, or that I was so overcome with joy over her arrival and watching my brother in his new role as a doting father, but I actually cried.  Like real tears. 

Unfortunately for me, but likely VERY fortunate for you, I live several hours and too many miles away from this little nugget, or else I might have to rename this blog, "The Gray Project."

Clearly I need to get a life, but if you have five minutes, you must watch this video I made to highlight her first week of awesomeness.

WARNING: You might die of cuteness overload and it will probably cause you to do the "ugly cry."

BabyGray from Stephanie Gallman on Vimeo.

The Gallmans have much to be thankful for this year.

Wishing all you turkeys a very happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving holiday! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

magnificent views.

What Mt. Rainier failed to give us in scenic views, Yakima Valley made up for.  Jacob and I headed there - the "Palm Springs of Washington" - to get a taste of Washington state's version of wine country. 


I knew from the online research we'd done before we got there that a Yakima wine tour wasn't going to be like the movie Sideways or at all like the few California wineries I'd been to.  To start, there weren't a lot of accommodations.  Or restaurants.   

Luckily Jacob found Candace - a nice, older hippie with a guest room (complete with a compost toilet) behind her garage she rents out through  When we got there and asked Candace where we could find somewhere to eat, she recommended a sports bar that was across the street from a Target, and our suspicions were confirmed: Yakima "wine country" is more like Yakima "farm country."  No fancy limo tours, no decked out tasting rooms - we instead sampled wines in winemakers' basements and garages. 


It was rustic, and not exactly the wine-tasting experience I'd hoped for - but that didn't stop us from eagerly sampling and eventually buying 10 bottles of wine from the wineries we visited.  Since we returned to Atlanta to enjoy our souvenirs, however, we've been less than impressed without purchases, asking each other more than once, "What were we thinking when we bought this?  Were we drunk?" 

We have to believe our taste buds were playing tricks on us, or we were caught up in a vacation moment, or, more simply, that it's quite difficult to look the actual farmer/winemaker in the face after he's given you a taste of his product and decline his offer to buy it. 

The wines aren't bad - most are just sweeter than we're used to, and not really our favorite.  It was part of the experience, but for our next wine tasting tour, we've vowed to be a bit more selective.  (The sparkling rose from Treveri Cellars is amazing, though - we're looking into buying a case.)  

But the views - especially from Candace's property - were magnificent, and they, along with a birthday dinner at Gasperetti's,  capped off an awesome week in the Pacific Northwest.


Speaking of magnificent views - check out this perfect little baby.  This is my niece, Katherine "Gray" - born Monday, November 19th at 5:55pm.  To say that I'm obsessed would be an understatement. 

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Much more on this nugget to come . . . Have a great weekend!

Friday, November 15, 2013

sunshine and rain.

Holy November.

I hate that I'm about to be one of these people who says things like, "Can you believe it's (blank)?" But seriously, Can you believe it's November? Can you believe Thanksgiving is two weeks away? Can you believe it's going to be Christmas soon? Can you believe it's almost 2014?

I really can't. There is so much going on.

Two of my friends Lauren and Trish have added babies (welcome Bain and Matthew) to the end of the year madness, and I’m also in the throes of helping plan another shower for a third baby due after the first of the year. New babies mean home visits (with homemade lasagna dinners) and hospital visits – good fun chaos, but chaos nonetheless.

Just when things had started to settle, and I was ready to throw all of my attention to Gallman Baby Watch 2013 (whose due date is TODAY), I found myself again last weekend driving back to South Carolina for a hospital visit of a much different variety.

This time for my dad who spent five nights to be treated for an irregular heartbeat. He’s fine – and “broke loose” (his words) from the hospital on Tuesday – but his stay has stirred up a lot of emotions in me I haven’t really known what to do with. I’ve been anxious and distracted and have had little desire to write.  And because sometimes the universe is cruel - not writing has led me to feel more anxious and distracted.


So, short story long - I'm baaaaaack to finally tell you about the end of my trip to Washington State. You know, that trip I took in SEPTEMBER?!

When we left Seattle, it looked like this:


(Side note: I've developed a "thing" for lighthouses lately.  I'm not sure why, but lighthouses and bridges light my amateur photographer fire.  Perhaps it's because where there are lighthouses and bridges, there is water.  And I love water.)

We congratulated ourselves before we left on our good luck/good planning that the day we were driving out of town for our hiking adventure to Mt. Rainier National Park was expected to be the best weather day of our trip.  Two and a half hours later, we arrived at Mt. Rainier prepared to bask in the glory of Washington's picturesque active volcano and the lush landscape that surrounds it. 


Instead, we saw this:


The rainy and cold weather created treacherous driving conditions that took years off of Jacob's life and he had a white-knuckle grip on the steering wheel throughout the entirety of the drive.   

We managed to stop a few times to hike and see some cool stuff, but I can say confidently that despite having been to Mt. Rainier, I've never actually seen Mt. Rainier.  

I remained optimistic that the sun would eventually shine, and it did . . .and the pay off was lovely. 


A better, more profound and more creative writer than I might tell you how the less-than-desirable weather was merely a metaphor - they'd write that in order to truly appreciate the glory of the sun's glow, we must first drive through the rain.

But that would be disingenuous.

I don't need cloudy days and zero visibility to help me appreciate the sun - and I definitely don't need unexpected, scary trips to the hospital to remind me how precious life is. 

Because if it were up to me, all hospital visits would be to see new babies and all road trips to national parks would happen when the sun was out.

Here's to a weekend with a little more sunshine, a little less rain, and fingers crossed - Baby Gallman's arrival.  It's good to be back.    

Thursday, October 31, 2013

happy, happy day.

So much HAPPINESS today.

Obviously - last night's Red Sox victory has put me in a fantastic mood.  I love this team of bearded wonders and what they were able to accomplish for a city that has been through so much.  I echo the sentiments of Boston's Mayor Thomas Menino - going from, "worst to first" feels pretty awesome, as does winning the World Series at Fenway Park for the first time since 1918.


More importantly, it's my dad's birthday.  I'm not sure if he'd want me to tell you how old he is, so I won't, but be sure that age is definitely just a number to him.  He's still living large and dressing like Bagger Vance.   Happy Birthday to one of the best guys I know!


Oh and it's also Halloween, otherwise known as the best day on Facebook ever for pictures of cute kids in costume, hilarious pranks like the ones in this video . . .,

 . . . and tonight's Phish show!  Every time the band plays on Halloween, they cover another band's album in its entirety.  You may remember a few years ago when I dressed up like a strawberry and saw them cover the Rolling Stones' Exile on Main Street.  The trip, the show remains one of my most favorite music memories.  


Well, tonight they're playing in Atlantic City - and the speculation over what the Halloween costume will be is running rampant on social media and blogosphere. 

Among the contenders - Bob Marley's Catch a Fire, Michael Jackson's Thriller, Led Zeppelin's Physical Graffiti, and Huey Lewis and the News' Sports


I'm obviously not in Atlantic City, but I will be enjoying the music via the livestream (aka "Couch Tour"), possibly wearing this bunny mask.  


And, finally, ranked Alpha Omicron Pi at the University of Georgia the #3 hottest sorority in the SEC and even though it's been more than a decade since my friends and I were in college, I'm pretty sure we had something to do with it.  

Enjoy your day - have a SAFE and Happy Halloween! 

Friday, October 25, 2013

feeling glad despite feeling bad.

I wasn't planning on blogging today - because I have been in a bad-mood, anxiety-ridden funk this week.  I'm not sure why - I have no reason to be . . .especially since I have so much to be happy about:

The Red Sox, of whom I have over the last 4 years developed an unexplained allegiance, are playing in the World Series. 


The team is sporting beards, too, of which I'm also a huge fan.


Pearl Jam came out with a new album this week, and Fox has been playing the band's music throughout the World Series broadcasts.  Here's more on why baseball fans get to hear Eddie Vedder's sweet voice between innings.


Red Sox baseball?  Beards?  Pearl Jam?  There is so much good in the world.  

And, Kate Middleton at Prince George's christening is completely stunning in Alexander McQueen.  Just when I think she can't look more classy, more beautiful, she outdoes herself.

Also, this adorable "Dancer Goes Rogue" video, which I'm pretty sure is the best thing I've seen in a while.  I love this girl, who much like myself, marches to the beat of her own drummer.

So many things to be happy about - all these things and there is absolutely no way that Georgia can lose this weekend.  

TGIABW - Thank Goodness it's a Bye Week!  Happy Weekend.