As 2011 wraps up, I decided to take some time to recount some of my favorite moments from this year.

First, Dragon Con 2011.  For those of you not in the know, Dragon Con is a four day mutli-media Pop culture convention held in Atlanta every year over Labor Day weekend. There’s an emphasis on Science Fiction and Fantasy at the Con, and it is an awesome opportunity to see some amazing costumes and participate in panels with various authors, artists, and actors in the genre. While I enjoyed so much of this year’s Con, my favorite part was dinner on Friday night.  I had dinner with my friends Stephen and Emmet, Emmet’s wife Sharon, and their friend Mary. I’ve known Stephen and Emmet since my freshman year of high school. Stephen and I reconnected in person years ago, when we both moved to Atlanta. Emmet and I found each other on Facebook a few years ago. His wife and I friended each other, too, but this dinner was my first chance to meet her in person.  Another patron at the restaurant took this picture of us:

What I love about this picture is that first, it captures a great time. Second, we’re all proudly flying our geek flags. I’m in a Merlotte’s Waitress costume from True Blood. Stephen and Emmet are in nerd t-shirts. Sharon and Mary have the remnants of their costumes.    It was just so fun to discover after all these years how much we still do have in common.

It felt like I’ve known Sharon and Mary for years, and it was like no time had passed between Stephen, Emmet, and me.  I love meeting new people, but sometimes it is especially nice to reconnect with people from the past. This dinner was definitely one of 2011’s stand out moments for me.


This was also the year I was blessed with a couple of great travel opportunities.  My friend Ana and I planned a relatively impromptu Girls’ trip to Barcelona, Spain.  Ana’s brother, Jean-Paul from Cooking Keeps Me Sane , had a culinary internship over the summer at a hotel in Barcelona. Ana’s husband suggested Ana and I go over and visit Jean-Paul while he was there. Of course, we said YES!

Barcelona is an amazing city, with architecture dating back to Roman times, and so much good food and drink. We had a magnificent time. Aside from the crazy foot swelling I experienced, it was a great trip. We got to see a phenomenal Flamenco show. But the hands-down highlight of the trip for me was my motorcycle side car tour of the city, through BrightSide Side Car Tours. Seriously. If you visit Barcelona, this is a MUST DO.  A really great way to see and learn about the city, and something a bit out of the ordinary.




Four days after getting home from Barcelona, I was on the road again. This time, it was with my friend Stephen on a road trip to Nashville to see U2 play at Vanderbilt University.

I love U2, and on this last leg of the tour, this was as close to Atlanta as they were coming. Stephen is also a huge fan, so we packed up and made a weekend of it. We toured around the city, ate breakfast at a nationally famous breakfast spot, and of course enjoyed the show. We had great seats- front row, just past the front claw, on Adam’s side of the stage. This was the third 360 concert I attended, the first two being in 2009 in Dublin and Atlanta.    Just when I think I can’t top a prior U2 show, they do something that makes it not just the same old concert.


This time, it was the opportunity to meet some virtual friends in person. I know Lori Jo (@EdgeFest) through Twitter, and she and some friends and Stephen and I met the night before the concert to hear a great U2 cover band called UZoo.  At the concert itself, aside from seeing it from Adam’s side for the first time, I finally got to hear All I Want Is You live when Bono invited a blind man, self taught on the guitar, to join the band on stage after the encore to play the song for his wife. Amazing. Spine-tingling. Seriously. I got goose bumps. And, earlier in the show, the band performed The Wanderer, which they wrote for Johnny Cash and which he recorded for their Zooropa- we were in Nashville, after all.

Just a couple of weeks after the U2 show, there was another epic event.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 hit the theaters.  If you recall, I said my goodbyes to Harry and friends here but seeing the midnight opening with several friends who also adore Harry was another highlight of my year, and I hope something I remember for a very long time. Some of my friends came in costume. We all lined up at the theater hours before the show, playing games and socializing.  It was such a sense of camaraderie. Fans were united for this one event and just happy to be  a part of the experience. Although I was crazy tired the next day, it was completely worth it to have this experience.



And finally, the last of my very favorite moments from 2011.  My friend Michelle’s wedding.  Michelle and Jaimie had a whirlwind courtship and were engaged only a few months after they reconnected at their high school reunion. But for a number of reasons, they had to wait over a year to hold the wedding.  Michelle is one fo my closest friends. Aside from just being happy for her getting married, the wedding allowed a group of us to be together to celebrate with Michelle and Jaimie.   Everyone deserves as much happiness and Michelle and Jaimie have found, and the group of girlfriends who gathered to celebrate the occasion.

So there you are. A few of the highlights from 2011. And I can’t wait for 2012.