The Perfect Oreo Cookie

Today marks the one year anniversary of the day I met my sister Dee. I’ve been seeing it in my calendar coming up and I was so excited to write about her. This woman is so strong. She empowers me, laughs with me, takes silly photos with me, and she inspires many.

You see, Dee and I met when I was at a low point in my life. I reached out to my local mom group to see who would do karaoke with me and she immediately replied. Within a week we got together. Bless her heart, she hurt her knee the day we were supposed to meet and she STILL came to hang out with me. Legit her knee has been a messed our whole relationship. I can’t wait for March 11th when she can finally properly dance when Nick has his first show at Blue. She insists she can teach me how to dance, if that happens miracles can come true.

I wish I could find the right words to express the love I have for her. Words simply don’t do her justice. She is there for me when I need to vent, has my back if anyone would even dare mess with me, and we joke I am the vanilla to her latte.

I lost my sister almost three years ago and I have had a hole in my heart ever since. That hole will never be filled and my sister can not be replaced but Dee has brought such light and love to my life it’s like my sister looked down on me and saw my sorrow and brought me and Dee together. For that I am grateful.

I know you’re all already familiar with her, I’ve spoken about her on my blog a few times and if any of you follow me on Facebook and look through my pictures you would see a whole year of us. I look forward to a lifetime of pictures. I can’t wait for Blue to open back up so we can get our spot at the bar and I can drink my water and her her blue motorcycle and we can sing and dance and we have also started Livestreaming our nights out so expect to see some karaoke on our Facebook and Instagrams. If you’re looking for fitness inspiration or need a virtual wellness coach she is your girl. For sure check her out on YouTube and Instagram this woman is AMAZING. She will transform your body in no time.

So sis, if you’re reading this I hope you know you mean the world to me. You’re my rock, my inspiration, my sister, and my best friend. I’m yours for as long as you will have me. Happy Anniversary.

The DJ Nixxx Experience

Let me start by saying I am at a really good place in my life. I’m happy, I’m as emotionally and physically healthy as I can get, and I have an abundance of friends and family who love and support me.

Nick Varraso is the reason why.

“How can one person be responsible for your happiness and well-being Julie?” You may ask. Sit with me as I tell you the tale of how one man changed my life.

It all started back in March of last year. I already told you the story of why I go out every night. Well if it wasn’t for Nick, I wouldn’t and I would be terribly depressed, agoraphobic, and socially awkward.

To rehash, one day last year I was desperate for friends. I made a post on Facebook and asked if anyone would be so kind as to go to karaoke with me. I searched up on Google and saw that DJ Nixxx has a weekly show at the Blue Olive Lounge in Fort Mill. For anyone who has ever known me, you know karaoke is my thing. It had been YEARS since I sang but it fell on a Wednesday night which was perfect for me because everyone would be asleep and I could break my week up so I decided to check it out.

My first time there I met my friend Randa. We just talked, I didn’t sing. My second time there I met my sister Dee and I was absolutely terrified to sing but this guy who made nice with me brought Nick over to me to introduce us and Nick, without ever knowing me, grabbed my chin and said “I believe in you.”

He’s said that to me countless times since.

So I sang. It was at that moment something reawakened in me.

As the weeks went by I became more and more brave and I sang my old karaoke favorites and slowly introduced new ones. I started making friends and came out of the shell I had built around myself. Dee became my sister and I met a handful of amazing people and we became a karaoke crew who were loyal to Nick and Nick alone. I refuse to go to any other show, Nick is my man.

I mentioned before that Blue Olive closed and relocated (and it’s reopening again soon. Can’t wait!) and I was lost in the wind. I had JUST begun to find myself. Before Nick, I couldn’t even talk to my neighbor. Once you get up in front of a crowd of people and sing? You can do anything.

In speaking with Nick he mentioned he has a show once per month at Empire Pizza in Rock Hill, SC and he bartends there on Mondays. Of course I knew about Empire, that’s where I get my pizza. I just didn’t think of it as a bar to hang out at. Boy was I wrong about that. Pretty sure that’s obvious by now, amirite?

I ventured down that way and what happened next changed my life – I met the rest of my family. Nick indirectly gave me Dee back at Blue. Nick also gave me Dex, Chris, Fabian, Tatiana, Tuck, and countless others. If I did a shout out to every friend I now have y’all would stop reading so just know if you’re reading this I’m thinking of how grateful I am to have you in my life.

Nick is the most genuine, attentive, considerate, complimentary, and loving friend. We talk every day. He DOES believe in me. He loves me. He praises me in every way a person can be praised. He knows everything about me, is there in a heartbeat when I need him, and is at the center of my social life.

Nick and I have a bond that will last a lifetime, of that I am sure. If you live in the Charlotte, North Carolina or Fort Mill/Rock Hill South Carolina area keep track of him on his Facebook or Instagram pages. If you want to be added to MY group of best friends join me at Empire every third Thursday of the month or hang out with me EVERY Wednesday at the Blue Olive Lounge in Fort Mill. It’s going to be reopening soon and that’s where I’ll be.

You guys, I am SO CONFIDENT now. I sing like eight times in a night on slow nights. I can’t listen to the radio without wondering if I’m hearing a song I can sing at karaoke. I am social, I have friends, I have family. I have a sister, I have a brother, I have THE BEST friends. Not discounting the friends and family I have in NY, it’s just wonderful to have family by my side nightly, you know?

So thank you, Nick. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for Dee, thank you for Dex, thank you for YOU. May your business prosper and have me end up a geriatric karaoke groupie because for as long as you are a host, I will be your number one fan. I love you! You’re the one person Dex can’t cut! Believe that!

The Beauty of Britney Beards

Pause. Time out. I’m taking a break from telling stories to highlight one of the most important people in my life.

Britney Beards.

You see, I had to work to get this friendship. His real name is Chris but his karaoke name is Britney Beards.

Every night when I first started going to Empire I found him to be one of the most interesting souls I have ever seen. I wanted to be his friend. Problem was, HE WOULDN’T TALK TO ME.

Who doesn’t talk to me? THAT GUY.

I would be chilling outside on a picnic table and he would appear out of thin air and would stand and smoke a cigarette. I would smile and say hello. I would try to catch his eye or find a way to start a conversation but as quickly as I would think of something to open with he would be gone.

This went on for a looooong time.

Then karaoke happened.

I think we all need to take a moment to give Nick the credit he deserves for bringing people together. He is going to be my next post.

So I’m at karaoke and Chris somehow ends up in the seat across from me. The beauty of karaoke is it brings all walks of people together for the common good, to see who has the balls to get up in front of a crowd and sing their ass off.

I’m a good singer, Chris is a GREAT singer (later on I would learn he is a professional karaoke host.) We would take our turns singing songs and congratulate each other on a job well done. We started to chit chat and bond and he was funny and smart and everything I knew he would be. It was the end of the night when I decided I was going to force him to be my friend. I was so sly about it too. I said “Damn it Chris, you’re going to be my friend. From now on when you see me you have to sit with me.” and he said “Okay!”

I have such a way with words.

From that moment on we have spent every evening together. He is THE BEST. Truly one of the funniest people I have ever met. He finds the best memes, starts incredibly awkward and uncomfortable conversations on purpose (and then would walk away while the entire group had a meltdown. Fucking Lucas and the ass shaving, I’ll never forgive Chris for that one, it lasted about a month), and is a master masseuse.

In the months since I have brought Chris out of his Empire shell (I take credit. One day Chris was doing what he does best and someone said “Where did you even come from?” and he was like “Julie!”) he has become a key part to everyone’s night. He has this thing he does where he can pop every knuckle in your hand (I hate it, everyone else loves it), if you have a headache or sore back (or elbow like Dex) he will massage it, if you need a laugh he will pull up a meme that will make you forget your worries, and on the days it’s too cold for me to sit outside he will stay inside with me even though all the rest of our heathen friends are outside smoking.

Men don’t mind that he gives them kisses on the cheek and makes awkward sexual comments to push the boundaries, women want his magic fingers. He always compliments me even though he isn’t the type of person who feels comfortable complimenting people. He knows how I crave attention so he always takes the time to find something positive about me and will give a compliment in the sweetest way, sometimes I even get a high five. It makes my night.

He tortures Grayson, helps Crystal when she has a migraine, has cured MANY headaches for me, has gotten me through some rough times, and keeps me warm on the days I try to brave the elements on the patio (he puts off a ton of body heat and often gives me his jacket.)

When I sat down to write this I thought it would be more eloquent and dramatic so forgive me if I am not doing this man justice. He is one of the best friends I have ever had, has become an integral part of everyone’s night at Empire, and the first question my husband asks before a night he goes out is “Will Chris be there?” because a night out just isn’t a night out if Chris isn’t there to enjoy it with you.

Buddy, I don’t know if you’re going to read this (you will, I’m going to make you) or what you will think of it (I have an idea, “Aww! My Julie!”) but I wanted the world to know they are missing out on the kindest, most unique, hilarious, delightful person they would ever be so lucky to meet. Thanks for being you. I love you, appreciate you, and miss you on the days you’re not there. You’re mine for life.