Roses, Ramblings and Life Right Now

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It was the day after Valentine’s Day, and I decided to buy myself roses.

I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentine’s. I’m a Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas (don’t make me pick one, they’re a package deal.) kind of human, and all other holidays following just don’t seem to sparkle quite as much.

My husband is not a writer but is definitely the hopeless romantic of the two of us, and will spend prolonged amounts of time trying to find the Hallmark card to perfectly suit our love.

Still, the day after Robby drove across town to acquire my very favorite cupcakes and brought home said perfect Hallmark card, I found myself discovering the pure joy that is Amazon Grocery.  Seriously, how can one say no to two dozen roses for $13.99 plus $10 off your first order? This is not at all a sponsored post, just me saying I will gift myself practically free roses any dang day of the year.

I haven’t blogged in roughly ten thousand days, so it may seem odd that I am coming on here to tell you that I bought myself roses about a month ago. It just felt nice. I like buying myself flowers. I like taking myself on dates. I like traveling alone. It’s all so liberating, and the older I get the more I thrive on feeling liberated.

But let me tell you other things too.

I spent the first few days of February in Los Angeles, sipping on rosé sangria, strolling the Santa Monica pier and looking at things I could barely afford to touch on Rodeo Drive. It was a trip full of laughter and girl talk and late night prank calls on my husband, because I am a mature adult. On our last night there, we finished happy hour and realized we were in walking distance to Venice Beach. With the wind in our hair and a slight chill in the air, we made it just in time to watch the sun set on the rolling waves. Life is magic sometimes.

Robby just turned 37 a few weeks ago. He’s old but also my favorite human and I love him a lot. A marriage goes through so many seasons, and we’re fortunate in that most of ours have been happy ones. But this one that we’re in right now? It’s one of the best so far. I mean, the guy still makes me googly eyed on a regular basis. Last week we shared an impromptu slow dance in the dining room to the the song we had our first dance to over ten years ago. I can’t type that without smiling. Eye roll, vomit, repeat, am I right?

For reference – I’ve loved him a lot since he was 25, at which time I was 19 and thought 25 was incredibly ancient. I turn 31 next month. GOOD GOLLY.

What else? I spent 2019 traveling to new places like Quebec City and Guatemala and Jamaica, and also learning to fight for myself in ways that felt both uncomfortable and empowering. I am still learning how to feel okay being uncomfortable. And to be honest, I feel uncomfortable almost every day. Because I’m challenging myself in new ways almost every day. In learning that discomfort and growth are oftentimes congruous, it’s something that I’m getting better at every day too.

And that’s put me in a really great place for 2020.

Traveling is still something that’s so important to me and always will be, and I’m giddy about my upcoming adventures both big and small. But there are other things on my horizon too. And no, that’s not another baby. Not yet. And, world? Honey? I love you, but it’s none of your business when “yet” ends for me. It baffles me that I was considered young to have a baby at 25, but now at 30 the world feels equally happy to inform me of my ticking clock. Ladies, that means we have maybe a five year window in which society deems it ideal for us to have our babies. Gross, right?

Soap box aside, I have big plans both travel and non-travel related for this new decade.

My twenties were so good to me, but thirty has treated me nicely in ways that I didn’t even begin to think about prior. In old people ways, if you will. A recently paid off car note. A growing savings account. A career that both rewards and challenges the hell out of me. A loud list of things that I plan to do in the next decade.

I want to buy a new house in an adorable town square and speak Spanish fluently and write a book. I want to take a solo trip to Europe and go on a road-trip to Utah and take my husband on a skydiving date. I want to run more races and read more books and love on my humans every chance that I get. I’ve got all of this and a whole lot more on this list, and that makes me smile.

Because I trust myself. That was something I learned to do in my twenties. To want something and go after it until I have it. But speaking loudly about these dreams and goals before I actually have all of them, and feeling confident enough in myself to do that? That’s thirty talking. And damn, I really love the way that she sounds.

Life with Subtitles

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It’s summertime and the living is easy and worthy of subtitles. Here’s what’s up:

1. The Big Cojones

Did y’all know I was in a dodgeball league? No? Because I totally was, and it was awesome. Our season just ended, but the memories and friendships I’ve made from playing on the Big Cojones have not. Side note — I did not name our team.

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2. Pool party at the Dell Diamond

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I kick-started these sizzling months by partaking in a pool party at a baseball game with one of my dodgeball lady loves. A pool party at a baseball game! How fun is life!?

3. DJ Dash. 5k?

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My first summer run was an interesting experience. It was the first 5k I’ve ran that, uh, wasn’t actually a 5k. Being a bit of a running enthusiast, I asked where the timer was upon crossing the finish line. A kind sir informed me that they didn’t have one, and also because of our crazy Texas weather and muddy conditions, it had to be cut to only two miles anyway. And here I was thinking I ran the fastest 3.1 miles of my life. WHATEVER.

4. That Chinese kid

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I’m going to stay with one of my best gal pals in San Antonio this weekend. My best (Vietnamese) dude friend of nearly ten years (Gah, that makes me feel so old. We were just exchanging notes in high-school the other day, I swear it.) also lives in SA, so I asked if he wanted hang out. This somehow turned into him overanalyzing how my family feels about him. I am not aware of them thinking any of these things, but he made me laugh just the same. I’ve told other friends I’m contemplating starting a “Sh#* that Bryant says” domain.

5. Cheese Style

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Also amusing is when you text your dear husband a grocery store parody of T-Swift’s ‘Style’ and he has not even the smallest inkling of what you might be doing.

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6. Excuse me sir, I need your hat.

Because sometimes at a brewery it’s necessary to borrow a cowboy hat for a good photo op.

7. Getting feisty with a floating elephantpooljune

I highly enjoy spending time at the pool with my baby, a best friend and a child’s floating device that I may or may not have been passionately smooching once a margarita entered my system. (Luckily my child was napping at this point so she didn’t witness such atrocities against her elephant.)

8. All in a day’s work

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I like when freelance work leads me to the 28th floor of a building in the heart of downtown Austin.

9. That face.

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It’s the one I’m lucky enough to wake up to every morning.

10. These two

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They are just the very best.

Hot Air Ballooning And Other Grand Adventures

“I have found adventure in flying, in world travel, in business, and even close at hand….Adventure is a state of mind- and spirit.”  – Jaqueline Cochran

You know what’s awesome?

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Hot air ballooning is awesome.

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You guys, what an insanely incredible experience this was. From getting up at the crack of dawn to watch a gorgeous sunrise in the park to soaring in the sky in the early morning light, every moment spent with Austin Aeronauts left me humbled and wonderstruck. At one point, our pilot had us nearly touching a lake, as the city was waking up around us and the reflection of the balloon shone in the water below. I’ve always known this world was lovely, but seeing it from high above right as the day began made me fall head over heels in love all over again. I will always be incredibly thankful and humbled to be given opportunities like this one as an event blogger.

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Oh, you know what else is awesome?

Being alive.

Life, in general, is just this really beautiful thing that I am ever so grateful for.

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Our little lady just turned one, though I don’t really see how that is even remotely possible. We were just welcoming her to the world the other day, I swear it. Though time is the sneakiest, I couldn’t be more proud of that vibrant and cheerful little redhead girl of ours. She is a small wonder that looks just like her daddy, a blue-eyed ball of light who is as curious and infatuated by the world as her mama. She is walking and babbling and stealing our hearts on the daily, and the joy that fills our house is a force to be reckoned with. As I type, I can hear my husband chatting with Bryn in the other room, and my heart is just as full as it could possibly be.

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Another awesome thing— Tomorrow the husband and I leave for Atlanta, Georgia, a new-to-me city and state that I absolutely cannot wait to explore. With my favorite travel buddy by my side and plenty of plans in tow, an abundance of magic is sure to be had.

If life is what you make it, I plan on making this life one big, grand adventure. So far, so good.

Pst—Atlanta, here we come!

Mishaps, Surprises And A Half Marathon

The past week and a half has been crazy, busy, stressful and packed full of sweet surprises and blissful reminders.

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My daughter ate deodorant (Poison Control assured me she’d be just fine), my relatively new, usually perfect car refused to start, my debit card somehow got demagnetized and I accidentally hit on and probably terrified an attractive man. Let me explain that last part. Husband and I were walking out of date night at Punch Bowl Social and had just acquired some new photo-booth photos. I waved the new photos in front of my husband’s face and said “Lookit how cute we are!” Except it wasn’t my husband. Robby had politely opened the door for some folks and I was waving photos in front of a cute, probably terrified stranger. We both nervously laughed as I mumbled an explanation, and proceeded to quickly find our respective parties. Both myself and my respective actual husband proceeded to laugh at me a lot.

Now onto the sweet surprises and blissful reminders.

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My best dude friend randomly texted one evening last week asking if it was too late for dinner. He lives in San Antonio, but was in town for an interview the next day. I couldn’t help but smile at his typical impromptu plans. It was wonderful sharing unplanned drinks, stories and laughs with one of my favorite people of nearly nine years.

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On Saturday, a gal pal and I made a mini road-trip to San Marcos to run Moe’s Better Half Marathon. The weather was cold, wet and windy, but I was giddy to run my third half and join Becca as she popped her half marathon cherry. This was also my first half to run with a friend, and despite the fact that we were running in icy rain, I loved most every second of it. Never has 13.1 miles gone by so fast as when I was chatting, giggling and maybe even once peeing in a bush with my lovely friend. After we crossed the finish line, we rewarded our accomplishment with an incredible brunch at downtown San Marcos’ Root Cellar Cafe. The restaurant was cozy and quaint, the presentation was gorgeous and the meal absolutely scrumptious. I was double fistin’ with coffee and mimosas. Paradise. It was exactly the brunch destination I envisioned treating myself to after an especially long morning run. It definitely didn’t hurt that the company was also pretty excellent.

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As part of my adventure of the day today, I visited the specialty beer store that is Hamrick’s Market. I was thinking the cashier looked familiar and was trying to place him when he asked, “Did you used to work at Target?” I remembered then. Jacob and his best friend were two of my favorite, most entertaining customers. As he was updating me on his life Mr. Jacob told me that he and his pal were about to become roommates. With amusement in his tone he added, “But it’s not like that.” Apparently I had once assumed him and his pal were lovers. I was tickled that, after five years, he not only remembered me but also my word vomit.

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Mishaps aside, life has been giving me butterflies lately. I am infatuated with the love, the joys, the opportunities and the exciting possibilities that are filling my days.

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I think it should be noted that, on the two different occasions that my car wouldn’t start, two people I hadn’t known five minutes prior helped to jump-start my vehicle. A reminder to never underestimate the kindness of strangers. A reminder that there is beauty to even the moments in which things go wrong. A gentle nudge to remember the rest of these perfect moments, in which everything goes so very right.

Life And Vacation and Run-On Sentences

Quick life updates. Prepare for many choppy, run-on sentences. 

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HI! So I learned how to be a flying acrobat a couple of months ago. I also had the chance to pose for a photo-shoot with a photographer whose work has been shown in TIME magazine and stuff. I’m still event blogging and working as a social media representative, and still smitten with both of these gigs. Last weekend I ran a 5k in a beautiful vineyard, and was given a glass of wine as soon as I crossed the finish line. Life is so fun.

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Baby girl is almost six months old and is a complete daddy’s girl and it’s the most adorable thing ever. I am in love with their bond and watching her grow and kissing her fat little cheeks. She cracked up laughing as I repeatedly said the word “Ouch” in a high-pitched voice last week, and it was just the greatest thing ever. She is a happy, beautiful little baby and I am so very grateful that she is ours.

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Tomorrow my husband and I leave for our five year anniversary trip. We’re going to Vegas, and I’m also hoping to cross Utah off of my state bucket list. I usually try to avoid visiting a state I’ve already visited in the relatively recent past, but Nevada has Vegas and Vegas has really cheesy vow renewals. Nevada also has pretty mountains and holds memories from our earliest years of marriage. And for our five year renewal, all of that just sounds oh-so-perfect to me.

I am aware that I’m actually leaving out many life updates but I have to finish packing and I’m sleepy and excited and I have to pee and YAY.

Because..

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Because there are so many adventures to be had, y’all. Also because I believe in shameless blog promoting at a social media conference. (And yes, my handwriting really is that bad.)

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Because lounging by the pool is better with books and a Slurpee. And because I am indeed reading both The Summer of Naked Swim Parties and Brain Rules for Baby. Because life is better with variety?

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Because I swear she looks a little bit more like her daddy every day.

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Because being an event blogger is awesome and leads to lovely new experiences like learning how to captain a dinghy sailboat. Thanks for the informative lesson and perfect Saturday excursion, Austin Sailboat Rentals!

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Because attending Facebook Fit for work means being on the clock whilst eating yummy food, meeting wonderful people and learning new internet things. And also posing with my new thumbs-up ‘Like’ sign on a stick.

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Because best friends are the best.

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Because my best friends also make pretty awesome aunties to Baby Bryn.

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Because, okay, I just had to post one more picture of this chunky little baby of mine.

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Because being alive is spectacular, and I think it’s important to keep a running record of that.

Sharing My Sneeze

I’ve heard time and again that the first two weeks with a newborn is the most challenging. To my surprise, the past two weeks have been fine. Fun, even. Dare I say it, the past two weeks have even been blissful.

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After a pretty ideal 8+ months of pregnancy, the last few weeks were a little tough for me. I read somewhere that we as humans are much better at adjusting to life changes than we assume that we will be, but that the uncertainty of situations is what can really bring a person down. This uncertainty was throwing me for a loop. I was scared of labor, scared of being a new mom, scared of my life changing so drastically. Being a natural born worrier, I decided to peruse message boards to better prepare myself for what was to come. If there was one lesson I later learned from this, it was to never peruse message boards in order to ‘prepare’ myself for anything ever again. Horror stories are abundant. I was half expecting to have a 72 hour labor, a baby who cried for 12 hours daily and to never leave the house or sleep or eat or exercise or shower or brush my teeth ever again. I would be a stinky, sleep-deprived, emotional mess and also my husband would probably hate me.

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So it came as a pleasant surprise when I had an extremely fast and mostly pain-free labor (The epidural is my new soul mate), a mellow and very sleepy baby, and a husband and extended support system so wonderful that getting some ‘me time’ has not once been an issue. I’ve read a whole book (One for grown-ups!) since Bryn was born. I take long walks with that beautiful and happy baby of mine every night. Robby and I take shifts at night, so we both end up getting at least five hours of sleep, though I usually end up with closer to seven. I don’t exactly consider this sleep deprivation. I have upcoming races and photo-shoots and media events and other adventures planned, just like I always have. Heck, I even took two showers yesterday. (Those long walks do make me stinky.)

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But it’s so much more than just having unexpected down time. I have never felt so inspired, nor has my life and heart felt so full. I definitely felt inspiration and a fullness of life before, but now it seems my world is overflowing with the stuff. Bryn has brought more joy and magic to my life than I even knew was possible. That I could help create someone so absolutely perfect is amazing to me. I feel the need to skip and dance and write cheesy poetry, just because she exists. How come these mommy message boards don’t focus on all of these warm fuzzies and long cuddles and the desire to kiss someone’s soft little cheeks all day long?

I’m also really proud. I’m proud of my daughter, and how quickly she’s adjusted from womb to world. I’m proud of my husband and I for figuring out this parenting thing together, and for being patient and kind to one another as we learn. I’m proud of my body and what it’s capable of. Sure, it’s nice being 5 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight. But much more than that, I am amazed at its ability to bounce back after labor. After delivering an eight-pound baby, I truly feel that I can do anything. Nobody told me how empowering giving birth would be.

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Best of all, I feel like I’m falling in love all over again. With my daughter, and also with my husband in his new role as the daddy of our girl. Robby’s mom was in town for a couple of days, so two nights ago we went on our first date night since Bryn was born. We laughed and flirted and had long conversations about Star Wars and how weird and unintentionally incestuous it was that Luke Skywalker kissed his sister twice. I felt giddy and silly and almost like a teenager again. Can you have a crush on your husband? Because if you can, I totally do.

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Shortly after bringing Brynlee home, we heard her sneeze for the first time. I had always assumed that sneezing patterns were learned and not inherited, but after hearing hers for the first time, I knew this assumption was wrong even before researching it. Picture Minnie Mouse or a bunny rabbit quickly coughing five times in a row, and that is probably the closest thing to my sneeze. I often get amused comments on it, as it’s this weird trait about me that has always been very uniquely Christina. But now it’s not. Miss Brynlee sneezes just like me. I gave her my sneeze, and that makes me so incredibly happy.

I don’t write this post to brag about having the world’s best baby or husband or life. I have been so blessed, but I know Miss Bryn will have her good days and bad, just like we all do. I write this because I want to remember all of this joy, and all of the other new feelings that accompanied the beginning of Brynlee’s life. I write this because I would have loved to find something like this while Googling when I was pregnant. I write this because I wish someone would have told me that it was possible for my uncertainty to turn into such an indescribable glee. Of course I know that there will eventually be challenging moments along with the blissful ones. All of the most beautiful things in life are this way. But how could I not be on top of the world, being able to love and hold and look into the eyes of this little person who shares my sneeze?

25 Things I’m Glad I Did Before Turning 25

In light of my recently hitting the quarter-century mark, I thought I’d make a post dedicated to twenty-five of the things I’m happy to have had the chance to do before turning 25. The hardest part about writing this post was compressing the list to only twenty-five things, which I suppose is a pretty great complaint to have. I just feel so blessed to have been able to live as big and fully as I have thus far, and I absolutely can’t wait to find out what’s next. Since most of this list was completed in the past five years, I’m also giddy to see what accomplishments can be made and adventures shall be had before reaching thirty years of age. But for now, I’m pretty proud to be where I’m at and to have done what I have with my first twenty-five. So without further ado and in no particular order (Prego brain ain’t got time for that), here’s 25 things I’m so glad to have done before 25:

1. Hosted my own on-campus radio show

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2. Bungee Jumped

3. Parasailed

4. Crowd-surfed

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5. Tied the knot with my very favorite person, adventure buddy and partner-in-crime.

6.  Volunteered frequently

7.  Became a home-owner

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8. Met Willie Nelson. And Chandler Riggs. (aka Carl of “The Walking Dead”) And the former White Power Ranger.

9. Went Fly-Boarding

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10. Ziplined

11. Ran a half marathon

12. Filmed a commercial for a name brand company

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13. Had that same company (U By Kotex) fly me first class to Detroit, where I would have some of the most incredibly surreal times of my life while also filming for a piece shown at concerts all over the US

14. Swam at a nude lake. Nude.

15. Drank Coronas in Mexico

16. Strolled the beaches of Puerto Rico

17. Saw the view from the top of the Eiffel Towervenice2

18. Viewed Italy from a romantic gondola ride in Venice

19. Ran a race for a good cause–In my underwear.

20. Self-published a short story

21. Wrote an article that was published in my local newspapergradday

22. Interned for the American Red Cross

23. Graduated college Cum Laude

24. Fell in love with my job as a social media representative

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25. Made a baby–when I was ready.

It blows my mind that my mom had a seven-year-old (me!) and a four-year-old at the age I’ll be having my first. The older I get, the more grateful I am for all of the sacrifices my parents made to give me the opportunity to live such a beautiful and wonderful life. And now I can’t wait to continue living that life with my own little lady and that sweet dude of mine by my side.

Happiness and Hula-Hooping

My heart and life feel very full. Just some of what’s contributing to said fullness lately:

  • Getting the opportunity to cover an ACL Live taping of one of my favorite country music artists for the event blog.

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  • And bringing the little brother along as my plus one! And a photo booth! Is it obvious who the more normal of the two of us is? Hint: It’s not me.

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  • Catching up with some of my favorite homies:

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  • My sweet friend Becca surprising me with early baby gifts:

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It’s still a little strange to me that I get to dress up my own little person in just a few months.

  • Speaking of which, that soon to be tiny person is kicking around right now. She’s a very active little thing.
  • Nearing 6 months pregnant and still having the featured video spot on the U By Kotex site. It’s a little funny.

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  • Finding a long lost ornament from my first married Christmas with hubby. Dated 2009. Now we’ll soon be sharing Christmas 2013 together, and with a baby on the way. Time is so sneaky. But also kind of beautiful sometimes. I have to smile thinking about all of the memories we’ve made and ways that we’ve grown in between these Christmases.
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  • Travel planning
  • Adventure planning
  • Goal accomplishing
  • Having my first job with benefits

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  • Getting paid to take pictures and talk to people
  • Slowly becoming a little less clueless about cars. Ahem. This is a Mustang, guys! stangme

I took my first hula-hooping dance class last weekend. We learned synchronized hula-hooping moves to the song “Santa Baby.” This was awesome. Trying new things just never gets old.

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I’m a happy hula-hooper, y’all.

A Life of Adventure

Being an event blogger has definitely provided me with some pretty amazing opportunities and fun times. This past weekend was no exception. Last Sunday, I had the chance to attend and cover my first red carpet event for the family Christmas movie, Angels Sing. I even got to bring the hubby as my plus one, and we both enjoyed the private screening of the cheesy but adorable holiday flick. Beforehand, as I soaked in the experience of covering my first red carpet event, I giddily snapped pictures of the cast of Angels Sing. The last cast member to walk through was Willie Nelson himself. Y’all, I met Willie Nelson!!!! I’m about to do a happy dance just writing this down. Can I say it one more time? Yes? Willie Nelson! I met him!!! I am pleased to report that he was as sweet (and sober!) as a kindhearted grandpa. And he’s looking mighty good for 80 years old! Lookit:willieandi3angelssing6angelssing7angelssing5

I posted the Willie picture on Facebook and a friend noted that, ‘baby technically was there to meet Willie Nelson. He/she is meeting stars so early!’ I had to smile at this. Little bean was also technically there when I explored the beaches of Puerto Rico and the mountains of Colorado. Tiny one came along for the ride as I jogged a 5k, and will come along for more before the year’s end. Small fry has joined their soon-to-be dad and I for a couple of outings on our boat. He/she was in utero for one of my modeling photo-shoots, and very early on, even went indoor skydiving with me. Boudreaux-to-be had just started growing when I was given up-close-and-personal seats to a Bruno Mar’s concert, and that same night, watched myself talk to the audience on a giant teleprompter.

I told friend that I was doing my best to prepare baby for a life of adventure.