Friday, April 18, 2014

It's still me.

Oh hi, remember me? I know I look a little bit different, but I promise I'm still the same blog.

Ok, now that I'm done pretending like I am literally my blog, let's get to the important stuff - HAPPY FRIGGEN FRIDAY!

one. As I mentioned (because you can't see for yourself), things look a bit different around here. I got this grand idea to have Erin redesign my blog a few weeks ago because a) I love her and b) I was getting sick of the current design and even though I can do it myself, I know the BARE minimum and she knows it all. Duh.

I sent her these two pins and she went to pretty design town.

I'd say she did a pretty amazing job with bringing my ideas to life. And really, is there anything better than gold glitter? I believe it's gonna be awhile before I argue otherwise. Call me in 10 years.

If you're in the market for any sort of design assistance, make sure to contact Erin. She's as sweet as can be, will change up your design 1872 times if necessary (she put up with me!) and just make it the easiest process all around. Love that girl.

two. Today, at 3:30 (let's be serious, 3:15), starts my 4 day weekend. Tomorrow we have a wedding down in Fredericksburg for my dear friend and former roommate, Katie. We get to day drink, eat chicken & waffles and dance outside all before 2pm, so I can't say anything other than I CAN'T WAIT.

Sunday, my mom, dad & I (JC has to work :( ) are headed up to New York City for a mini vacation! I may have a mentioned a time or two before, but one of the perks of my jobs includes free hotel rooms at a handful of properties around the country. The Millenium Hilton in the Financial District of NYC is one of them, but it's extremely hard to get rooms at my employee rate. I managed to find 2 rooms for this coming Sunday-Tuesday like 6 months ago and Sunday happens to be my mom's birthday, so it worked out pretty perfectly. Not to mention, the weather is supposed to be pretty decent, so another I CAN'T WAIT.

And I've already scheduled posts for Monday AND Tuesday, so don't think I'll be absent next week :) Come on back now, ya hear?

three. Last month, when I made my March goals and decided that I was going to make it to week 6 of my 10k training app (yes, she's talking about this again), Steph decided that if I made it there, she would send me a present. Obviously I decided the same for Steph.

March came and went and we were successful! I got my present yesterday (a couple day's late because we never check our mail or walk through the front door where packages are left). Steph is THE best. All the packaging was mint, on top of including our wedding theme. I foresee this bag holding lots of wedding goodies in the coming months.

four. Almonds. Can we talk about them for a second? I've loved almonds for quite some time now. I love salted almonds, cinnamon sugar almonds, vanilla roast almonds...I love 'em all.

Except. Except I don't love natural almonds. I learned that fact earlier this week.

You see, I was trying to be all clean and healthy, so I grabbed some raw almonds from the store the other day. Holy grossness. I'm still eating 10/day because my friend Michelle says that's good for you, but it's most definitely one snack I look forward to finishing.

five. As I've mentioned a billion and one times over the last 8+ months, I have thoroughly enjoyed planning our wedding. I legit get a little sad when there comes a lull in planning. I will most definitely never be the girl who's happy when the wedding is over because that means no more planning. I never want it to end.

Well, just yesterday my cousin texted me to tell me that she has until the end of the day today to decide if she wants to officially be a wedding planner for a Black Tie Baltimore wedding on New Year's Eve with a $40k budget. I immediately told her to do it and I'd help her, free of charge.

NYE is probably my least favorite holiday - one of those that just gets built up so much that it's impossible to live up to the hype (I was in bed by 10 last year). So why not do something incredibly awesome with the potential to do even more awesome stuff like that in the future?!

I would absolutely LOVE to be a wedding planner, so I think this is the perfect first step and I obviously told Katie to say yes without any hesitation. Stay tuned.

Now you guys go have yourselves amazing weekends. I'll see you all back here on Monday, right?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I never thought I'd....

Every day, I have a routine. Click through all of the blogs in my favorites and see what they are up to that day.

One of the blogs on that list is Juliette's blog - The Other Juliette. Girlfriend is hilarious. I particularly love her inner monologues. She writes just like [I imagine] she would talk and it works perfectly.

Well, the other day she did a post about things she never thought she'd do. Then, she went all genius on us and turned it into a link-up. So here I am, playing along - I've never been one to pass up a free blogging idea.

The Other Juliette

I never thought I'd...go this long in life without having a puppy in my house.

I never thought I' someplace home other than Fredericksburg.

I never thought I' the man of my dreams (seriously, it was touch & go there for awhile).

I never thought I'd...own a home before the age of 30.

I never thought I'd...go to bed before 9pm on a regular basis.

I never thought I'd...not be able to sleep past 8am.

I never thought I'd...text people I've never met in real life (Hi Kym & Steph!)

I never thought I'd...stick with a workout & healthy eating regimen for over 3 months.

I never thought I' with a boy before I got engaged (oops - but it was worth it).

I never thought I'd...find a job I love (even though it drives me crazy & I'm ready for something new - at this company).

I never thought I'd...make it to week 8 of my 10k training app.

I never thought I'd...spend 4 hours of my Friday night baking for someone's baby shower, only to never get a thank you from said preggo. (yes, I'm bitter)

I never thought I'd...enjoy sitting on my couch more often than going to the bar (oh to be a grown up).

I never thought I' this long...or ever.

Focker out.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

This would be my last chosen meal.

As I mentioned earlier this week, we had a second tasting for the final menu for the wedding. I should use "we" loosely, considering my lovely fiance wasn't in attendance. He trusted me to make the edits necessary and there was no way he wanted to be involved with the decisions after like whether we wanted spoons on the tables or not. Guys have it so easy....

I originally asked for this tasting because at our first tasting, they didn't give us anything we asked for. I won't bore you with that story again - you can read it here, if you missed it the first time.

When we walked in on Saturday, I expected to only get the items that we hadn't tried yet, but to my surprise, we got everything!

First up was the Crispy Shrimp with Pickled Ginger Black Sesame Aioli. This was one that was included in the first tasting and had JC & I hooked immediately. It's similar to a Bang Bang Shrimp, but less spicy. It's really perfection.

Next up was my second favorite menu item - Black Truffle Mac & Cheese. There seriously isn't another macaroni and cheese I've ever tried that's better than this (sorry, dad!). It's so creamy and has so many different flavors. I couldn't wait to dive right in, so unfortunately I don't have pictures of this one, but just know it's AH-mazing.

Then it was time to start trying the things we hadn't yet tried. The first item was something I was a little hesitant about - Virginia Ham Biscuits with Pimento Cheese. Don't get me wrong - I love a good country ham biscuit, but I've never tried pimento cheese, so I was a little concerned. However, I was pleasantly surprised.

The biscuit wasn't your typical biscuit - it was super thin, but still flakey and gave you just enough biscuit flavor and crunch without overpowering the rest of the dish. The country ham was as salty as can be and the pimento cheese gave it just enough flavor to take away from the saltiness of the ham. It was a perfect combination of flavors. Once again - was too excited to snap a picture.

Next on the list was an item that I've been dying to try since the very first time another caterer suggested it to me - Chicken & Waffle Skewer. We tried this at a previous caterer, but I wasn't impressed. It was basically a piece of chicken covered in waffle batter, fried (picture a mini corn dog) with some weird mustard syrup on top.

Our caterer had never done this before, so one time when I was browsing Pinterest, I came across exactly what I pictured when I heard chicken & waffle skewer. I immediately sent it to our caterer to give them an idea.

They listened and they listened well.

They were absolutely delicious. I had one note, which was more syrup because you couldn't taste it at all, but otherwise they were fantastic. The chicken had the perfect amount of saltiness to go with the sweetness of the waffle. YUM.

Shortly after that we got to try the fried chicken by itself. This too did not disappoint. Not a thing I would change about it.

It wasn't super heavy like most fried chickens that I've had in the past, which is nice because I would prefer our guests not fall asleep after they eat dinner.

Following the chicken was the perfect compliment to it - mashed potatoes. So good! They had the perfect flavor and when we add in the toppings bar, it'll be even better!

Next up was the one veggie on the menu - green beans. When I picture green beans to go along side a southern meal, I picture cut green beans with maybe bacon or ham cooked with them. What we got were french style green beans and honestly, the one item that had no flavor whatsoever.

This was one of the points in the tasting where I was happy we did a second one because I was able to edit it to our liking. I use the term "our" lightly considering I don't think I've ever seen JC eat a vegetable - except for lettuce in a salad.

Last, but not least (in  JC's eyes) was the beef brisket. Prior to starting the tasting, our caterer asked what kind of BBQ sauce we wanted - I said as long as it wasn't vinegar based and was on the side, I didn't care.

The brisket came out with what appeared to be ketchup on top - it reminded me of meat loaf. I asked and she said she didn't think it was ketchup, so I tasted. Yep, most definitely ketchup with a kick - you could see the red pepper flakes. No thank you.

And if I'm saying no thank you to ketchup, you know it's not working. The brisket was good, but because it was covered in ketchup, it was hard to really get a taste for just the brisket. But I'm confident it will be perfect once it's sliced up sans weird ketchup sauce with BBQ sauce on the side. My guy will be happy and that's what matters!

I cannot say enough how thankful I am that we had this second tasting. I'm now 100% confident that our meal is going to be amazing on our wedding day. I can honestly say that if I ever get to choose my "last meal" this would be it (with a Peanut Butter & Chocolate Milkshake on the side).

I'm equally excited for all our guests to get to eat this delicious food! And everyone around me that day better prepare for me to ask for a tray of each app to be delivered to me wherever I am during cocktail hour. Don't say I didn't warn you (because clearly they all read this little old blog).

Anyone else ever had caterer issues or surprises when it comes to the food? How'd you deal?

Love Always Nancy J

Wedding Wednesday

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Twitter Trending Topics.

A couple weeks ago I was doing my usually scan down through the most recent tweets I'd missed and I stumbled across one from Kay promoting her blog post from that day. I was immediately intrigued because the tweet said her blog post was blogging prompts that she wanted others to use. Um hi, my brain has a really hard time coming up with blog posts, this was meant for me (even if it wasn't).

I clicked on over and started copying/pasting the different prompts that I thought I could work with in drafts. And so it begins....

This particular prompt tells you to discuss worldwide Twitter trends, but I cannot figure out how to get it off of Washington DC trends, so that's just what I'm going to have to focus on. Please keep in mind - this post was written on Friday, April 11th.

1. Kathleen Sebelius: who? Google, some help please? Oh, she's the US Secretary of Health & Human Services. No wonder I don't know who she is. I hate politics.

Well she was the governor of Kansas. I hope she made that state a bit better than what I remember at the ripe old age of 3. It was a snoozefest. I lived in a college town (Go K-State! - I really don't care) and I could tell you how to get anywhere in that town at 3 years old. Oh and I lost my hamster in that state - I wonder if Petunia is still running around Manhattan (The Little Apple)?

2. #NationalSiblingsDay: do NOT even get me started. When's #NationalOnlyChildDay or #NationalIHadToPretendMyDogsWereMySiblingsGrowingUpDay?

3. #musicthatdontmatch: I think I'm too old for this. Is this like putting Demi Lavota with John Denver? That doesn't really match.

4. Spring Break: Oh this one I'm definitely too old for. Why doesn't the real world give you a Spring Break? Remember back in the day when you would count down the days until MTV's Spring Break? Those were the days....and then I found 29 things you probably forgot about MTV spring break 2000 on Buzzfeed.

5. Tidal Basin: ha, this is funnny. Earlier today (last Friday) I was emailing with Steph and she was basically demanding that I go see the Cherry Blossoms when I'm in DC this weekend (I've lived an hour from DC for the past 20+ years and never seen them in person). She specifically asked me to go to the Tidal Basin. But you see, Tidal Basin in prime Cherry Blossom season means a lot more people than I ever want to deal with at one time.

I will say, I had every intention of going to the Tidal Basin on Sunday, but it took a bit longer to get into the city than I thought, so by the time we got in, we only had enough time for food and then when the game was over, I was over being in the city. So here's a pretty picture you can pretend I took.

6. Starbucks: I heard recently that Starbucks is introducing wine at their cafes. Is that true? Is that why this is trending? It's almost 80 degrees today, so I can't imagine many people are rushing to Starbucks for an caramel salted brownie batter skinny whole milk latte (do you sense I never go to the 'bux?).

7. #masnNationals: GO NATS! I love Nats Park. If you're ever in DC around baseball season, you should go. But wait to buy tickets - then, on the day before or even the day of, go on Stubhub, buy the cheapest ticket possible and then when you get in the park, just go to the Red Porch and watch the game from the bar in the outfield. There's nothing better. Oh and don't go in July/August. It's a sauna and it sucks.

8. Miley Cyrus: #shocker she's trending. I wonder what she did this time? At this point, is anything shocking anymore? I think not. Homegirl has ran the gamete of shocking acts....I wonder if it's possible there's anything left? Nevermind. Don't answer that because I'm positive she'll find something else.

9. Colbert: I would gather that this is due to the recent announcement that Stephen Colbert is taking over for David Letterman in 2015. Anyone else surprised at how quickly they came to this decision? I mean it took like a year to replace Regis with Michael Strahan. Not to mention, everyone acted like this announcement was a shock, but they had chosen a replacement within a week? Something's fishy.

But in regards to this announcement in general, I have no opinion. I don't watch Letterman or Colbert, although I've heard that it's gonna be weird because Colbert only does a character...he's never actually been himself on his show.

10. #Scandal: just another reason I need to jump on the bandwagon here. Except I started Parenthood like 2 months ago and I'm still not past like episode 2 of the second season, so I don't foresee Scandal being inserted into the picture anytime soon.

Well that was fun. Maybe I'll do this again. Anyone got any great comments regarding the above? What's trending in your area?! Any region I should pretend I'm from because the trends are way cooler?

PS - I'm guest posting over at Going the Distance while my sweet blogging friend, Jenn is off enjoying her fantastic honeymoon! Go pretend to care, why don't ya?

Monday, April 14, 2014

My Summer loving heart was happy this weekend.

You know what's worse than any old Monday? A Monday after a weekend that doesn't even feel like it happened.

That was my weekend. Non-freaking-stop.

Quite some time ago, I agreed to make cookies for a girl I work with's baby shower. That was this past Saturday, so Friday night I spent a good majority of the night on my feet baking. So fun.

Saturday I woke up bright and early. No shocker there.

I had a day full of wedding fun planned with my mom and Grandma. The emphasis on fun was left back at home….my Grandma seems to think that every decision we make for our wedding is to hurt other people's feelings and obviously everyone else's feelings are more important than ours on our wedding day. But I won't get into all of that because it'll just fire me up again. Thankfully, I didn't allow her comments to ruin the wedding events of the day.

Our first stop was the caterer where we were trying everything on the menu that JC & I didn't try the first go around. To my surprise, we also got to retry the things on the menu that we had already tried - aka our favorites. I'll go into much more detail about this trip on Wedding Wednesday - that way I don't bore my non-wedding fans on a Monday. Mondays are hard enough. I know.

But long story short, I'm SO excited about eating all this food again in 5 months. This restaurant really knows what they are doing. I am happy we did do a second tasting though because there were edits that I made on Saturday that I wouldn't have been able to make otherwise and I would have been left a little disappointed on September 27th. Here's a little teaser of what's to come…

After we tasted all the food, we headed to meet my wedding planner and go over rentals - think linens, china, etc.

Holy moly, I don't think anyone can ever prepare you for the amount of decisions you have to make when planning a wedding. At one point I was trying to decided whether I wanted spoons at the tables even though spoons weren't needed. I finally said, there's no chance I'm going to look at pictures of the table settings and think "the spoons are missing" and nixed them all together. Thank goodness I'm a pretty decisive person. If you're indecisive, I highly recommend you leave that part to someone else because you will drive yourself insane. And everything is ten times harder if you pick mint as one of your main colors - do you know how many shades of "mint" there are?!

Thankfully, the rental company has the perfect color for the linens.

After all those decisions were made, we headed to the bakery where we did a cake tasting a few months back, just for cupcakes. It was my Grandma's birthday on Saturday and although the last thing she deserved was a cupcake, I had been craving a carrot cake cupcake since the last time we were there, so we didn't forego this part of the plan.

I ended up getting a cookie dough cupcake and a carrot cake cupcake. Holy yumminess. Gimme all of them for the rest of my life.

We finally headed home after our sugar high and I went straight to my cousin's/MOH's house for wine and girl talk.

Sunday came more non-stop activity.

While I was waiting for my dad to get to my house, I spent some time outside taking in more of the amazing weather we had this weekend. Seriously. Not even noon and I was sitting in the sun, sweating my summer loving heart out (and it's still Spring!).

Excuse that one crazy hair - he's excited about the sunshine too.
My dad's birthday was April 2nd and he's always wanted to go to a hockey game, so I bought him tickets to the CAPS last game of the season. Unfortunately the CAPS no longer had a chance for the playoffs, but they'd been playing well lately, so our fingers were crossed for a good game.

Good game was not what we got. The only goals that were scored were in the shootout, 3 periods and 1 overtime later. And 2 out of the 3 of those goals were by the visiting team. Aka we lost. But I got to use my fancy camera and got some amazing pictures - considering we were in the upper level nosebleeds - you'd never know it with the zoom I've got!

Despite the loss, it was a fun day and I'm glad I got to spend a day with my dad. It's very rare that just the two of us get together, so that alone was well worth it!

Needless to say, the last thing I wanted to do when I woke up this morning was go to work before sunrise, but such is life. Maybe one weekend I'll write a blog post on a Monday morning about winning the lottery. Who am I kidding? I'm pretty sure you'll never see another blog post from me if I ever win the lottery…..#iaintgonnalietoya

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Friday, April 11, 2014

High fiving Friday.

Friday, Friday, FRIDAY! Happy Friday! I will say, this week went by pretty darn fast. I won't complain about that on bit, but I will ask that this weekend not do the same. #kthanksbye

Except, not bye. We have some high fiving to do over here. Duh.

one. Yesterday, my boss and I went to one of our supplier's offices for an event they were having. Initially we weren't too excited about it - mainly because we weren't really sure what was going to be going on. We were pleasantly surprised when we walked in and their office has a lounge with a fully stocked bar. Hello, most amazing company ever. Are you hiring? Having a glass of wine at 12pm on a Thursday ain't so bad.

two. Last night JC got home super late - well, late for someone who went to work at 2am. He got home at 6, we realized we had no food, so we immediately went out for dinner. I suggested bdubs (buffalo wild wings) since it was close and I had already screwed up my healthy eating, so why not continue?

When we walked in, there were easily 15 servers standing at the front which was a little overwhelming. We walked past them, found a table in the bar and assumed we'd be helped shortly since there were so many there that clearly didn't have anything to do. We thought wrong.

After a few minutes of sitting there, someone stopped and asked if we'd be helped. We said no and he said "I'll be right back". Hm. Ok. Is that your idea of "help"? A few minutes later he came back, dropped off menus and walked away again. Hi, I'm thirsty. It was another 10 minutes of watching people walk past us, stare at us, talk about the fact that no one had helped us before we had to walk right on out of there. SO FRUSTRATING. I really wanted my grilled chicken wrap.

I've been a server. It's not that hard. Sure you get busy, but ask someone to help you. Lord knows there were enough people standing around doing nothing that could have gotten us something to drink at the very least....

three. Tomorrow I'm heading back down to Charlottesville for some wedding fun! First stop is with the caterer. If you all recall, we didn't have the best experience with this caterer, but we chose them in the end because the food was all very good and the second place wasn't.

Since we didn't try the majority of the food that would be on our final menu and we are not a fan of surprises when it comes to food, I requested a second tasting of all the things we hadn't already tasted. The lady had the nerve to try and charge me $20/person for it. Um hi, we're giving you $8000 in 5 months, I think you can manage to give us a complimentary second tasting. She finally realized how ridiculous that was and agreed. I'm sure I'll have a recap on Wednesday - fingers crossed she's got her polite pants on tomorrow.

four. My iPhone is starting to hate me. We're nearing the year mark in our relationship and like a typical guy, he's trying to pull away. I guess things are getting too serious with me, him and drop7.

When we got back to the office yesterday, he only had 10% battery left. So I walked in, immediately went to plug him in only to notice that he now suddenly had 13% battery. Not very long after that, we headed home, so I unplugged him to see 18%. Within the 2 minute walk to the car, not turning my phone on, I lost 7% battery. I then proceeded to turn my phone off and back on again and suddenly he gained 5%.

I swear, it's like he knew when I got home there would be a new stranger in our house - JC had a Samsung Galaxy S arriving. We're still not sure how to feel about this change of events in our life. I'm really not a fan of the green bubbles over the blue when I text people. Stay tuned. #lifeishard

five. My dad's birthday was a couple weeks ago. He always talks about wanting to go to a hockey game because he's never been, so I decided to get him Capitals tickets for this coming Sunday. When I got them, JC told me that they still had a chance at the playoffs and maybe that would be the deciding game - how exciting would that be?! I learned last night that they now have nothing to play for - CAN'T WAIT.

Just kidding - I'm still excited to spend quality time with my dad. It's rare we do anything just the two of us. The Caps have still been playing pretty great these last couple of games, despite this turn in events, so hopefully they'll continue to do the same on Sunday.

Alright you fabulous people - I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and are going to have weather as amazing as we are. I think Winter has finally gone back into her hole. I hope it's deep and she gets lost on her way back out at the end of this year.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Everyone's not going to like me.

As we're growing up, we're always told be nice to people. It's something I think is extremely important. You never know what someone's going through, why they are acting the way that they are, etc.

I'm someone who's very shy. Shyness tends to come off as being snobby a lot of the times. Let me tell you, it sucks. There's nothing worse than feeling like the smallest person in the room because you don't know anyone and you're uncomfortable talking to people you don't know, only for them to think that you're being rude or stuck up.

I try to remember this in all situations. Although, I will admit, sometimes I have those same thoughts about people who are quiet. I always have to step back and say, but maybe they're just like you. But of course, because I'm shy, we'll never strike up a conversation for me to get to know if that is the case. It's such a catch 22.

On the same token, I don't believe that being nice means that you're friends with everyone in the room. It means being cordial when someone talks to you. It means not being rude - directly or indirectly.

I'm not one to be fake. I have a really hard time with it. However, I'm not going to be mean to anyone I encounter. I just don't have that kind of personality. But what I do have is the understanding that not everyone is going to mesh. We are all different. We all have different personalities, goals, morals and ideas about life.

If you put two people in a room than don't agree on any of the above, then it's likely that those two people will never be friends. There is nothing wrong with that.

Not everyone is going to like me and I'm not going to like everyone I meet. It's a fact of life. A fact of life that I have no problem accepting.

Do I like when someone doesn't like me? Of course not. But if I have done nothing wrong and they just don't like me because we are two completely different people, the feeling is likely mutual and in turn I'm 100% ok with that.

I stand by the fact that I don't need a million friends. I prefer a close core group of friends who I can trust with anything and everything I ever tell them. I don't need 50 people to show up to my birthday party or 300 people at my wedding. It's just not who I am.

And don't get me wrong, I'm not saying there is anything wrong with being one of those people. Go for it! It's just not my style. That probably has a lot to do with what I said above - I'm quiet.

I like my alone time. I don't mind spending my weekend on the couch watching TV with JC or even by myself. I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything by not being at the bar mingling with 20 different people every weekend.

I've had a couple instances lately where I've encountered someone I don't mesh with. These are people I've known for quite some time. However, they are people that I clearly am very different than. And they are people who like to harp on the fact that we don't get along.

I can't comprehend it. I can't imagine these people have gotten along with every other person they've ever met in life. That's just not possible, no matter who you are. So why is it that because we don't get along, it's the biggest disaster since the Titanic? It's not.

You have your friends. I have mine. Even if those friends overlap, it doesn't mean that the two of us will ever be friends. Although I have many similarities with my best friends, we are all very different. And in turn, that means that my differences from them may be the differences that you don't agree with.

Maybe you're loud and you can't handle someone who's quiet.

Maybe I think "speaking your mind" comes off as rude 99% of the time, but that's what you choose to do.

We're different. It's what makes up the entire universe's population. If we were all the same, nothing would work. Our differences are what make this world keep on keepin' on.

And trust me when I say this - that world that's keepin' on, it's not going to stop because the next person you meet isn't your favorite person. I promise.

So for everyone out there who has ever encountered someone that they just don't mesh with - remember that it's ok. But also remember that even though you don't get along, it's not ok to be mean to anyone. It's not ok to talk badly about people behind their back (we're all guilty of this - I'm trying daily to work on this myself). It's not ok to cuss people out because you don't like how they acted the last time you saw them.

What is ok is appreciating each other for their differences and understanding that in a world full of 7 billion people, it's impossible for them all to like you...and vice versa.