This Right Now

Hello, friends!

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It’s been a hot minute.

Grad school is cray, but guess what?! I graduate in THREE months. I’m currently on a short (but much needed) break, and when I start back up it will be for my last semester. I’ll spare you the that-makes-me-a-little-weepy-because-I-love-my-cohort-SO-MUCH-and-what-the-heck-where-did -the-two-years-go, but really I won’t because there it is. HA.

What else?

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So far this year I’ve traveled to Seattle, Vancouver, DC, Maryland and Marfa, Texas. I somewhat unexpectedly fell in love with West Texas and am already trying to plan a trip back. Think the culture of Mexico/New Mexico but with the hippie/artsy vibes of Austin. I was instantly smitten. I’m lucky my little fam rolls with my whims and was down for a quick weekend trip and, you know, fifteen hours of driving in three days. They’re champs, my people.

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For our Capstone in this last semester, our cohort has been assigned the task of becoming consultants for a local Austin business of our choosing.  It’s quite the undertaking, and I am slightly terrified but mostly excited for how this program is helping to shape my future.

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It’s hard for me to not constantly be asking myself, “What’s next, what’s next, what’s next?!” This is a monumental point in my life, and I’m aware of that. But I’m also aware of the fact that I’ll never be twenty-eight again. My daughter will never be three again. She won’t sing herself to sleep or ask for my help finding snails for too much longer. My husband and I will only celebrate nine years of togetherness, just this one month of this one year. I’ll only be sitting in a classroom, laughing with my cohort fam and sometimes sneaking in boxed wine for one more summer. This is the last bit of time that I’ll take weekly walks through the gorgeous campus that has now become my second home. It’s a special time, this right now. I’m just trying to remind myself to slow down and cherish the heck out of it all.

Now

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It’s a Christmas party at my house, and my husband is putting our daughter to bed. Bryn, in typical Bryn fashion, has been chatting and hamming it up with everybody for the hour and a half prior. I’ve been told more than once this evening that she is definitely my kid. Now she requests that “everybody” come say goodnight to her. One by one my friends pile in, giving Bryn a hug and wishing her sweet dreams.

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It’s one of the many moments that fills my heart this evening.

Later, Lauren and I are speedily walking in place. She and I are in the same MBA cohort, so our shared competitive natures don’t come as a big surprise. A week prior to my party, we had been in a FitBit challenge together. I won by the hair of my chinny chin chin, and I had to log forty (40) miles in five days to do so. So here we are jogging on my floor as our husbands share stories about what it’s like to live with such intense humans. IT’S OBVIOUSLY SO MUCH FUN, by the way.

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And now here I am.

Another grueling semester of grad school down.

I have nearly a month of school freedom, which seems like the most luxurious of Christmas presents. I’ll be using said luxury to read all of the books, drink all of the wine and Netflix binge on all of the Parks and Rec.

Eight months from now, I’ll graduate with my Master’s in Business.

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There’s mixed feelings that come with that statement. They are mostly happy, but still bittersweet. My cohort, who made up a good amount of this Christmas party, has become a second family. Grad school is a crazy, chaotic ride and to be on that rollercoaster together makes for one hell of a bond. We’re around each other so often that we have grown way beyond the point of niceties. We laugh loudly and argue sarcastically and call each other out on our crap. We send cheesy, feel-good group messages and collaboratively complain about our shared woes and get into major FitBit wars. And all of that feels like home to me.

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The future is beckoning so sweetly right now. Upon graduation, I’ll have my master’s paired with over four years experience as a social media director. I’m mulling over the possibilities and I am uncertain but so giddy to see where this next part of my life is going to take me. As I ponder what’s next, the world is feeling a lot like my playground.

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But can I just tell you how much I am going to miss sneaking in an economy sized bottle of  wine and dancing on tables to end a semester? Or group study sessions that turn into late night guffawing and the telling of life stories? Or pre-class happy hours that lead to us rushing and laughing our way to class? Because, yeah. I’m going to miss all of those things a whole lot.

As excited as I am for the next season of my life, I’m not ready for it just yet. For the next eight months, you can find me savoring this place that I belong in right now. It’s a place with lots of dancing, plenty of happy hours, an obnoxious amount of laughter, a bit of competitive jogging and a whole bunch of love.

An Open Letter To My Future Teenage Daughter

This week I was running and listening to streaming music when Taylor Swift’s oldie but goodie “Mean” started playing. For the first time, I felt a wave of satisfaction as the lyrics ran through my head. Years ago it was a song that helped me get through some tough moments, but now it sounded more like a victory tune. There’s a line in the chorus that says,

Someday I’ll be big enough so you can’t hit me, and all you’re ever gonna be is mean.”

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I remember hearing that song when I was nineteen and twenty and thinking, “Someday that will be me. Someday these things that so and so is saying won’t hurt me anymore.” It felt so good listening the other day and realizing, I am there. I am at that place now. Here I am at this point where I feel happy and confident and where I’m even making strides towards successful. The meanies of the universe can’t reach me anymore. But, as I realized this, I also realized that one day my daughter will be a teenager and a young twenty-something. That she will have to deal with the cruelties of the world and the bitter hearts of others and the doubt in herself that both of these things will bring. So I decided to write a letter to my future teenage Bryn. I also decided to share it here because, let’s be real, there’s no way I wouldn’t lose the paper version eleven + years from now. Internet, I’m trusting that you’ll stick around for my daughter’s teens.

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Hey Bryn-Bryn.

I’m sure you’re embarrassed by me at this point in your life, and you probably don’t want to be called Bryn-Bryn either. But I’m writing this when you’re two and a half, so get over it.

I love you and your red curls and your chunky legs and your beautiful, wild, untamable spirit more than anything. I love your big hugs and your toddler smell and even how you line baby dolls in your bed up in a row all creepy and Chucky-like. I wish that I could keep you from the bad things forever. But since I can’t, there are a few things that I really want you to try to take to heart, as best you can. I still have so much learning and growing to do myself, but here is what I know at the ripe old age of twenty-seven that I didn’t as a slightly younger soul.

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First of all, please be kind. There is enough hate in this world, and I want so much for you to be the anti-venom. Don’t call people names. Apologize when you’re wrong. Be open to what others are communicating, especially if they disagree with you. Love on your family, even when we drive you crazy. Give compliments out generously. Tell a cashier that you like their hair. And while we’re at it, because as you know, I do give strange compliments like that, please always embrace your awkwardness. Own it. Be weird and silly and laugh loudly and when you want to.

I need you to know that, like it or not, not everyone is going to like you. That people are going to dislike you for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with you. That sometimes someone will want so badly to make themselves the hero in their own story that they will turn you into their villain, even if you didn’t do anything to deserve this narrative. And sometimes, baby girl, people just aren’t nice. You have to know that these folks are fighting their own battles, and more often than not, you are only caught in their crossfire.

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Listen closely here, boo. You can’t and shouldn’t have to prove yourself to people who only want the abstract of who you are. The concrete version of you is flawed and scarred and imperfect, and this real person is so very beautiful, no matter who takes the time to see it.

And Bryn? You don’t ever have to retaliate in anger, or frustration, or sadness. It took me years to realize that one. Try your best to forgive and move on and to focus on you, not anyone else. Look towards your biggest goals and live your craziest dreams. I promise you, that is the only vindication you will ever need.

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Littlest love, this is important too. I don’t want you to ever let anyone put you into a box. Every now and again someone will try to tell you who you are and what you can and can’t be. They’ll try to say that there’s only one path to self-actualization, but please take note of the word “self” there. It’s up to you to find out what makes you, you. It’s up to you, not a stranger or an online opinion piece or your great Aunt Edna (to be clear, we don’t actually have an Aunt Edna. If we did, I’m sure she’d be lovely.) to learn and decide the paths that will bring you fulfillment and joy. It’s up to you to break down the walls that society has put up for you. It takes small minds to impose their barriers onto others, but you need to know that you are bigger and better than any cage anyone could ever try to squeeze you into. Please don’t ever let the world define you. You redefine the world, baby girl.

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I hate this one, but it’s inevitable that you will have your feelings hurt and your heart broken. I so badly wish that I could protect you from those things, but I can’t and I shouldn’t. You’ll be rejected. You’ll hurt others. You will have to let go of people who mean a lot to you, and though this is healthy, it can also be really, really hard. You are going to feel like you’ve made a mess of things sometimes, and you’ll probably wish for a take-back or two or ten. But I want you to make mistakes, because this is how you will grow. I want you to do things that scare you, because some of the most terrifying things in life can also end up being the most incredible ones.

Brynlee Mae, please don’t let these hurts and heartbreaks turn you cold. The world can be a mean place but it will surprise you with its goodness too. Always search for the good. Fight with everything you have to keep that joyous spirit and loving nature. Fight to keep the sparkle that dances in your blue eyes. Fight against becoming jaded, or pessimistic or unkind, and encourage others to do the same. Encourage others every chance you get. We could all use a little bit more of that.

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Finally, I need you to know that so often, more often than not, you will be your own worst enemy. That the voices in your head, you know, the cruelest ones that tell you the things that others probably think about you? That this will so often be only what you fear about yourself. So please, please, please take the time to be kind to yourself. To forgive yourself. To look at what you’ve done and to be proud. Women are so often told not to be proud. To be modest, and meek and to swat away compliments like flies. Lest we be considered full of ourselves. Boastful. Egotistical. Lest we be considered what men are applauded for being, every single day.

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But Bryn, I don’t want you to ever feel like you have to hide your shine just because the world isn’t ready for it. Shine, baby. Show them everything you’ve got. Be the hero that doesn’t need a villain, or a rescuer or the false reality created by unrealistic expectations. Be your own hero.

I promise you, that is a story that needs to be told and told again.

PS: By the time I give you this letter, I will also have a list of Taylor Swift songs ready to guide you through the trials, tribulations and dance parties of young adulthood. You’re welcome in advance.

PPS: Dad says you’re not allowed to like boys.

Summertime and the Living Is…

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It’s summertime and the living is managerial accounting. And by that I mean, help me, I’m a grad student. This is the first time in my life that I’ve ever taken summer classes, and I’m a little surprised by how much I’m not totally hating it.

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It does help that I get to spend every Tuesday evening with my cohort family, and that our nights are laced with laughter and a list of other shenanigans. Pictured above you can see my gifting British friend Sam his very first jalapeno popper. If you haven’t ever had a jalapeno popper, you should do so immediately. It’s a gutted and halved jalapeno, stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped with bacon. I wrap it with maple bacon because I enjoy the taste of happiness. If you can’t tell by co-bro Samuel’s face, he most definitely approved.

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In between classes and studying, I’ve been able to squeeze in a few summer adventures too. Road-tripping Ireland with my cousins wasn’t too shabby a start. From hiking the Austin 360 Bridge for the first time to spending a poolside and margarita Memorial Day with my fam, the past couple of weeks haven’t sucked either.

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As for work, this month I’ve had the chance to help give away a $33,000 check to Susan G. Komen and to produce and star as Justin Timberlake in a Can’t Stop The Feeling music video parody. Spoiler Alert: I am a terrible JT and can’t dance to save my life. But dude, this social media director had such a blast making a dancing fool of herself.

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It’s summertime and the living might not be easy. But it’s fulfilling, and fun and so full of love. Dare I say those things are much better than easy?

A best friend is like a bra….

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Welcoming my 27th year this month has been magical and has left me feeling so loved and lucky. I had most of my original birthday blog post written and ready to post before I picked my best friend of fifteen years up from the airport this morning. Then she gifted me with a $50 Victoria Secret gift card paired with a sweet note comparing me to the perfect bra. I should note now that she knows I have a tendency for buying bargain everything. I’ve been this way since I was a kid. Even now as a grown-up with a full-time job, I just love the thrill of a good buy. Meg knows I would never buy a fifty dollar bra on my own. I should also note, if it’s not already obvious, that I have very small boobs. So when I recently went into a department store and found a set of bras for a great price with the label ‘large’ and THEY FIT, I knew I had to buy them. I walked out happy and with a slight ego boost from my purchase. When I got home, I finally realized what had just happened. I had bought large CHILDREN’S sized bras. That fit perfectly. Goodbye ego trip. I swallowed my pride and still wear those bras to this day.

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This is where Meg comes in to save the day with the gift card and note comparing me to the ideal bra. I’m going to share that note now, paired with snapshots from my birthday month that make me feel incredibly grateful.

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“Happy Birthday Tina Wina!

I got you this gift card to Victoria’s Secret, not only because I know you’ll never leave the junior’s section for bras on your own, but because I think it’s a befitting gift for you because it represents our friendship in so many ways!

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There’s a cliché expression that a best friend is like a bra– supportive, reliable, all those great things. That describes you. But you are far more complex than that. Plus, we don’t really need much support because we’re such long-standing, proud members of the itty bitty titty committee (althought you took about a 9-month sabbatical during your pregnancy. I forgive you by the way.) So the explanation doesn’t really fit us. In honor of an age of being offended, I take offense that we do not have a cliché bra metaphor that perfectly describes our friendship as women with small breasts. #smallboobsmatter

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So I’ve come up with an explanation that fits your uniqueness and lets us use the bra metaphor.

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You’re like my best bra. Really, my dream bra because, although I’ve found a friend like this in you, I don’t think I’ve found a bra like this. Picture this: I walk into Victoria’s Secret; I’m immediately intimidated by all of the voluptuous ‘Kim K. types’ clearly more fit to be shopping there. I, of course, head straight to the clearance section expecting to find a bra that is under $20, practical, but probably an ugly shade of green. This is worth it because it fits me and makes my boobs appear larger than they are. Suddenly, my eyes are drawn to a 32B bra hanging on the rack. It is glowing among the other 32DD bras that are left over since all the other skinny girls have sucked the sales rack dry. It is bright, it is vibrant, I don’t even have to worry about buying matching panties because it has so many colors it will match with everything I already have (not that I usually match my bra and panties, but if I shop at VS I’m clearly expecting company so maybe I’d step up my game for the night.) I don’t have to change or add a thing about what I already own! I try on the bra and it’s a perfect fit! If my boobs were saggy, it would be supportive, which is comforting to know, but this isn’t the case at 24 so it’s just extremely uplifting! Suddenly my boobs look and feel better than ever before! I’m ready to hit the town and take on any and all adventures; adventures I wouldn’t explore without this bra helping me feel comfortable and my best. It makes me feel more myself than I do with other bras! It’s uplifting, vibrant, exciting and adventurous. And the best thing? It expects hardly anything in return except for a little bit of money, a little fun, (because this is not the type of bra you don’t take advantage of how it makes you feel) and only red wine because it’s just not a white wine type of bra. The wine thing is probably the biggest downfall, but I drink wine most often without a bra on anyway so I don’t care too much.

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LOVE YOU! Thanks for being my best friend for 15 years.

Love,

Meggie Moo.

P.S. Don’t share this on social media though I know you might want to– alongside a picture of the gift card and maybe a TBT picture of us– because someone might get offended that I said #smallboobsmatter and talked about being skinny vs. voluptuous.”

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We decided that sharing to my blog was okay, by the way. I would like to take a brief moment to clarify that Meg is amongst the most unoffensive of people that I know, and that our sense of humor is just clearly very strange.

Also?

This life I share with the people who love me is just the very breast.

Memphis 2015 Highlights

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My main man and I recently took a belated anniversary trip to Memphis, Tennessee.

I feel lucky to have traveled all over with this guy. Seeing the world with one’s favorite person is such a special thing. All of the places I’ve visited with Robby leave me with memories that seem to be dusted with extra magic and bliss.memphis2

Memphis was no exception.

Highlights:

  • Beale Street. I had no idea you could walk Beale Street with drink in hand! Like a smaller Bourbon Street, but with a charm all its own. With margaritas in tow, Robby and I found one enchanting store full of eccentricities and a semi-secretive smoke shop in the back. They offered free condoms in a bowl, which hubs and I giggled about before taking two. Because we’re actually fifteen-year-olds trapped in twenty and thirty something year old bodies.

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  • The eats in Memphis were not only delicious, but also oh-so-fun. One of my favorites was The Beauty Shop, an actual old school beauty shop turned restaurant that Priscilla Presley once frequented. My food was devoured whilst sitting in an old-school bonnet dryer. How neat is that?! I was sold on the novelty alone, but their salmon sandwich and sangria left me swooning.

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Also worth mentioning is the queso and guacamole at Las Delicias (thanks to Memphis pal Rach for taking us here!), donuts at Gibson’s (And also here), the BBQ nachos at Rendezvous, (Thanks to Memphis pal Rach for the recommendation!) breakfast at Bryant’s and fried chicken at Gus’s Fried Chicken (Thanks most people in Memphis for this recommendation!) Robby isn’t a huge fan of fried chicken but said Gus’s was his favorite meal during our visit. The skin is perfectly crispy and just the right amount of seasoned and spicy. I’m salivating while writing this. I have got to cut down on the food porn.

  • Exploring Midtown
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After eating at The Beauty Shop, husband and I meandered the Midtown area. We perused through a quaint bookstore and happened upon the most adorable of coffee shops, where Robby attempted to teach me how to play chess. I say attempted because I was more interested in my delicious brown sugar coffee and quickly got my ass handed to me in the form of checkmate.

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  • We took the country’s tallest free-standing elevator to catch some pretty awesome views of the city. I’ve never been a big fan of elevators, and considering the record-breaking status of this one, I was feeling a little nervous on the ride up. But getting to the top to smooch with these Memphis views? So worth it.

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Chillin’ with cardboard Elvis and our awesome AirBnB host. Traveling just seems all the more authentic when lodging with the locals.

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  • The art and downtown vibes.

They were just my style.

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  • A quick photo taken next to Sun Studio. Downtown trolley rides. Making alcoholic root beer floats at our weekend abode. Listening to live Blues on Beale Street as the air grew colder and we cuddled closer. Walking hand-in-hand, not knowing where exactly we were even heading.
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Having the chance to travel regularly is one of things that makes me feel fortunate. The wonder of exploring new places will always be an absolute favorite of mine. But finding a lifelong someone to hold hands with in new places? That’s my favorite, most fortunate find of all.

(Soon To Be) Walking in Memphis

Tomorrow the husband and I leave on a belated anniversary trip to Memphis, Tennessee.

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 I’m so excited to make new memories and adventures with my favorite adult human being and travel buddy. And to eats lots of BBQ. And to explore Beale Street. AND ALL OF THE EXPLORING ETCETERAS!

In the meantime, here are some photos of the little lady that we’ll be missing for the next few days.

I might be a tiny bit biased, but I’m pretty sure she’s the cutest. She’s got a fiery, outgoing little personality and redheaded ringlets and a husky little voice to match. She’s confident and sassy and loves food and birds and dogs and talking to strangers and wearing shoes. She’s got a laugh that can melt a heart and this dance where she sticks one elbow up in the air and just gets DOWN. I feel incredibly lucky to have her for my own. And that daddy of hers too. I’m pretty giddy to start walking in Memphis with him tomorrow.

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Oh, and we were totally matching bumblebees for Halloween and it was THE BEST EVER.

Cheers, y’all

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Cheers to Oktoberfests and peanut butter stouts and capturing a photo at just the right moment.

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Cheers to wineries on rainy days and moonshine served in communion cups and restaurants with the word ‘bacon’ in them.

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Cheers to fitness classes in which you awkwardly flail your body around and laughter and friendship and being twenty-something.

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Cheers to starting various sentences off with, “My therapist said…..” and realizing what a typical mid-twenty-something that makes you, and being completely okay with that. Cheers to emotional growth and self-awareness and stuff.

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Cheers to chillin’ with MBA cohort classmates and strawberry shortcake ale and learning new things.

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Cheers to family selfies and kisses from a beautiful one-and-a half-year-old and planning a belated anniversary trip with your main man.

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Cheers to life, y’all.

Goals, Changes and L-o-v-e

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I recently took myself on a stand up paddleboard date. It was an ideal moment to reflect and to bask in the sunlight, my thoughts and the peacefulness of the lake. I noted feeling so content and joyful for the place I was at, both in that moment and in life in general. It was the perfect time to take a step back from the new hustle and bustle of my world.

  Being busy is no new thing for me. I’m a mom who works full-time and blogs for money, food or fun on the side. I try my best to keep up with my hobbies, volunteering and social life too. I didn’t have much free time before, and I like it that way. I’m sort of like a puppy or a five-year-old, so too much unstructured free time makes me antsy. Still, I now look at my old self with just a smidge of envy for the bit of free time I once had the chance to waste. But that time I don’t have to waste now? I’m using it in ways that make me the happiest. Though I did have to bargain with myself to write this blog post. If I can get to page five of my rough draft, THEN I can have the privilege of writing a blog.

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I started my MBA program in August, y’all. That’s still a little surreal to type, and it still makes me giddy too.

I realized all at once about a year ago that I missed academically learning, that I missed the feel of sitting in a classroom with fellow students, that I wanted to further my education and that I was missing my alma mater and the beautiful campus on which it resides.

The fact that I’ve started taking on social media clients and that I could thus benefit from deepening my knowledge of the business world only pushed me more to apply for my MBA at Concordia.

And here I am.

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Sitting in a classroom for four hours every Tuesday evening. Sitting with a glass of wine and homework for hours most nights. Having a love hate relationship with stats. Finding things like covariance and the standard deviation of a probability, something that would have sounded like a foreign language to me three months ago and now only sounds like someone trying to speak English to me underwater. I’m getting there. Writing a research paper for Critical Thinking. Cracking jokes and planning happy hours with my already beloved cohort, or as our advisor would put it, “Your family for the next two years.” And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Six years ago I had serious doubts about ever getting my bachelor’s degree. So it feels really, really great to be here right now.

Know what else happened six years ago?

I got hitched to my favorite guy in the world.

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I look at this picture and my first inclination is to say that not much has changed. But that wouldn’t be true.

So much has changed since that picture was taken six years ago.

 We have a home. We’ve made a family. We both have careers that we love. We’ve traveled the world together. I’m a college grad working on my master’s. I know who I am now and I’m beginning to understand what I want too. Robby is the best daddy to our little redhead, and coming home to those two makes my heart overflow with the purest kind of glee. We’ve grown up, we’ve grown older and we’ve done it together. Hand in hand, we’ve built a beautiful life that we can call ours. We’ve worked really hard at it, and every year our love has grown stronger and deeper because of it.

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But what hasn’t changed one bit?

He still makes me laugh, every single day.

Travels Of Summer 2015

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What a joyride summer 2015 has been.

There were wineries in Virginia, beaching the day away in Delaware, and dancing until the wee hours with my best friend in Baltimore. There were bottomless mimosas and Sam Hunt in Louisiana and a cabin and waterfalls for a family retreat in Oklahoma. I’ve brunched in Cleveland, Ohio and made quick pit stops in New York and Pennsylvania. My goal for the year was to visit four new-to-me states, but, by August, Ohio made it five. Road-tripping through states to get to Canada also helped me accomplish the goal of visiting a new-to-me country for 2015.

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Speaking of Canada, Niagara Falls was a majestic and mesmerizing addition to my list of travels.

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This included gorgeous wineries galore and taking a cable car across the Niagara River. And a wagon ride into a maple forest to create maple candy on a stick. And exploring enchanting old town Niagara-on-the-Lake and, of course, being completely enamored by the Falls. Taking two drives to see them both in day and nighttime still wasn’t quite enough time to take in such beauty. I absolutely loved experiencing all of said beauty with my fellow adventurer Shannon.

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Also fun was staying up until after 2 am with my AirB&B host as he made me numerous martinis and we giggled and chatted about boys and love and life. The sweet review he later left me made my heart happy. Always one of my favorite things about traveling is the wonderful people I meet and bond with along the way.

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Following Canada was a mini road-trip to Houston to attend my first Taylor Swift concert. I sometimes wonder how teenagers survived their angst before T-Swift. It was 2007 and I was a senior in high school when one of her first singles, “Teardrops on my Guitar” was released. At the time, I had a case of puppy love on my best dude friend, who was in a relationship. The words to Teardrops just got me, besides the small fact that I didn’t have a guitar to cry on. I still remember the country ballad coming on the radio as he and I were driving somewhere. “I love this song.” I said, my words full of deep, dramatic teenage meaning. When the tune ended, best dude friend, always oblivious, commented, “Yeah, that was pretty good.” Nearly nine years later, Bryant and I are still best pals and still occasionally joke about him missing my Swiftie signals. Tim McGraw and its album accompaniments were the soundtrack to my last year of high school. She has gotten me through many a moment since then with those seemingly mind reading lyrics.

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So seeing Swift perform live with two of my cousins, who can also vouch that she just somehow KNOWS our whole life stories, was a small dream come true. We belted out “Wildest Dreams” on the drive there, whole-heartedly sang along to “Mean”, and danced our asses off to the encore of “Shake it Off.” We held hands and may have even gotten a little teary-eyed – don’t judge, YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW – at an especially moving Swift speech. They were words that I would have loved to tell my twenty-year old self, and they were exactly what my cousin needed to hear on that very evening. So we squeezed our Meagan a little tighter in those moments. Taylor was awesome, but family bonding time is just the very best.

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The summer ended perfectly with a beach trip to Port Aransas with my side of the fam.

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This trip included smores, sunset kisses, sunbathing on our own private beach and Bryn’s first time to dig her toes in the sand. Also included was drinking coffee with balcony views of the ocean, family barbeques, getting tipsy off of sake bombs with the hubs and making sand castles with all three of my little siblings. I’m smiling at the memories as I type.

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Simply put, the past few months have been beautiful and I’m still basking in the excitement and joy of a whirlwind of adventures. Hands down, the best part is all of the people who I get to share such happiness with.

I think I’ll have a lifelong crush on summer 2015.

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“I’m going to tell you right now the things you actually are not. You are not the opinion of somebody who doesn’t know you. You are not ‘damaged goods’ just because you’ve made mistakes in your life. You are not going nowhere just because you haven’t gotten where you want to go yet. Those are the things you actually are not. Now I’m going to tell what you are. You are your own definition of beautiful and worthwhile. That’s what you are.” – T-Swift