Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Life Well Lived - Vol 4

It's that time again! If this is your first time seeing a Life Well Lived post, click here to see where it all started.

I met a local celebrity - at my Bachelorette party!
This may not seem like a very big deal to most, but it was a huge deal to me. This is Brendan Higgins. He was one of the morning anchors for the local NBC morning news for several years, and I watched him every morning. And I kind of adored him. He was hilariously witty and never took himself to seriously - a rarity in news. When my group of girl friends and I went out for my Bachelorette party, we walked into this particular bar and I saw him almost immediately...and I'm fairly certain I started freaking out. He was SO nice. My friend went over and asked if he could spare a moment to meet a fan, at her Bachelorette party. He seemed just as excited to meet me! I told him I watched him every morning while getting ready for work, and he must have thanked me 10 times. Then he endured some pictures, and even bought me a drink! Sadly, he left the show shortly after and my mornings just aren't the same.

I have had a recipe published on a food website/blog.
This is a personal biggie. It is a dream of mine to be a writer - in any sense - and blogging sort of feeds that. When I was asked if I would be interested in putting some of my recipes on the food blog Taco Sense, I was so flattered, and jumped at the chance. I only hope that I have more opportunities, with Taco Sense, and others in the future.

I have adopted rescue animals.

I grew up in a house full of animals. At one point, our house was lovingly donned "Anne's Arc". (My Mom is Anne.) We had just about every pet you can think of. We started with hamsters and fish, then bunnies, cats, dogs, guinea pigs, rats, a snake and lizards. Most of our pets were rescue animals. We even fostered bunnies and guinea pigs for many years, so at any given time we might have had 15+ critters under our roof. As a kid, I LOVED being the house with all the animals. But the best part, to me, was the pride I felt when I would talk about how we "rescued" them. With the exception of the fish, a couple of hamsters, the snake and the lizards, all of our pets were rescue animals. That desire to rescue didn't fade as I entered adulthood. When Ryan and I moved into a new apartment in 2008, we adopted Chloe (though we always joke she actually adopted US) and then we adopted Cooper early last year. The hard part for me was always choosing just ONE. When I go to an animal shelter, I usually leave in tears. I'm a bleeding heart, and I really turn to mush around animals. I have to really fight myself to not bring them all home! Adopting and rescuing my precious furbabies has made my life very well lived.

Friday, June 17, 2011



We have a love/hate relationship.

Let's start with what I love.

Flip flops, pool time, iced coffee, sun-kissed skin. (Thank you iPhone, for always being around when I need to snap a random picture.) Pink nail polish (and lip gloss), linen pants, cook-outs, my birthday. Potato salad, key lime pie, and its the only time of year that I actually want beer.

That's a lot of love for Summer. What horrible thing could possibly move this seemingly perfect relationship into Love/Hate status? And I do mean HATE. Well, let's just rearrange those four letters.

Have you guessed it yet? (Remember I live in Texas.)


Today is June 17th. Today's high is 102*.

NOT okay. Let's work on that, shall we Summer? Until then, I will anxiously await your cooler cousin, Fall.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Life Well Lived - Vol 3 (Friendship Edition)

As I was sorting through pictures, trying to spark memories for a Life Well Lived post, I found myself smiling a lot, thinking about how great my friends are.

And then it hit me.

One of the very BEST things in my life, one of the things that makes my Life the MOST Well Lived, is just that - FRIENDSHIP. So, I decided to devote an entire LWL post to that. Prepare for MushFest 2011.
I have known many of my best friends for more than half my life.

Ryan is included in that statement, since we met in middle school. That is one of the bonuses of living on one place your entire life. The picture on the left is of me with Kim at her 13th birthday party. We met in 6th grade. The picture on the right is me (and my AWESOME silk shirt) with Brittany in 5th grade. We met in 4th. And yes, I am crazy tall...I think I am still that much taller than Britt, haha. All of the girls in my bridal party, I have known since at least middle school, and that is awesome in my book. My best friends have definitely earned the "best" title. They accept me for who I am, and love me anyway. They are flexible when things come up, like marital commitments. They know me completely...and I think that is something that comes with 15+ years of friendship.

My cousin and I are close, not just as family, but as friends.

My relationship with my cousin Katie is a special one. I have lots of cousins, and I love all of them very much, but the bond that Katie and I share is different. The first picture in the series above is in my office, and I can't tell you how many people have said "Wow, you and your sister look so much alike!" or "Is that your sister?" My response is always "She might as well be!" Katie and I are only about 18 months apart so naturally we were instant playmates. My Mom will even tell you that I named ALL of my babydolls "Baby Katie" for years. Haha! As Katie and I grew up, we spent a ton of time together, and after she moved out of Texas, we visited as often as we could. We were always pretty close, but it wasn't until we both entered adulthood that our status went from "Cousins" to "Cousins AND Friends". We are so much alike that its scary! Today, we are the closest we've ever been, and I cannot express how much that relationship means to me.

I have formed new friendships that I believe will stand the test of time.

I absolutely realize how cheesy that sounds...but it's the truth. 2011 has been an amazing year for friendships. The picture on the left is me with Lindsay (and Teddy!). If you are a "regular" around here, you've seen her name a lot lately. And with good reason. This girl is amazing. Our growing friendship brings so much joy into my life, and I thank my lucky stars that after knowing each other for at least 5 years (ish?) we are finally walking down a path that has brought us closer. The picture on the right is me with Mandy. Another name you see a lot. Mandy makes me laugh like few others can. She is also one of my greatest motivators. Mandy and I just "click"...and there is something about her that makes me spill my deepest, darkest secrets - and still feel confident they will be safe.

FRIENDSHIP makes my Life Well Lived.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Musical Musings

Music is a really integral part of my life. It always has been. For as far back as my memory goes, I've been involved in some type of music. Children's choir at church starting at age 4. Musical theater and voice lessons starting at age 8. Middle school choir, followed by high school regular choir, show choir and drama. Community theater (for a few years) after high school. I even sang with a band for a year or so. Recently, I have not been involved in music first hand, but it is just as important to me now as it ever was. But I digress. This isn't about me, because these days it seems the musical impact is more from OTHER people's music than my own. This morning while driving to work, one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite singer/songwriters came on my iPod. It's one of those songs I get lost in. Like, the songwriter was hanging out in my soul when he wrote it. So, I've decided to share it.

Metal & Wood - by Tyrone Wells (Click to Listen)

Take all the metal and wood
Used in the waging of war
And teach the men who make those weapons
To build shelter for the poor

Take all the money we spend
On the way that we appear
Find the ones who die of hunger
And help them live another year

Before we fade away
Let's make a better day
This world will keep on turning
After we are gone, long gone

There was a forest I loved
Where the air was fresh and clean
We took the forest for a factory
So we could build some more machines

When I was young I learned to sing
And music blossomed in my soul
We took the music from the schools
And left the darkest, gaping hole

Where will our children be?
If they don't learn to see?
Millions of voices falling silent til' they're gone

When we were young
All the world was new
But soon we found
The childhood fairy tales were never true
And how the story ends
Depends on you
And me

Where will our children be?
If they don't learn to see?
Millions of voices falling silent til they're gone

Before we fade away
Let's make a better day
This world will keep on turning
After we are gone
After you are gone
After I am gone, long gone

Seriously, I got goosebumps just typing out the lyrics. And while all of it speaks of things that are in my heart, there is one part that makes me think. "Take all the money we spend, On the way that we appear, Find the ones who die of hunger, And help them live another year". I DO spend money on material things, and I'm not saying we shouldn't. I will always buy make-up, clothing and things of the like, but maybe I don't need to buy quite so much of it. Maybe that extra could be better used...

This may end up being a reoccurring post type. After all, my closest friends will tell you that my favorite thing to do in this world is to share music. It only makes sense for it to show up on my blog. :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Full of Thoughts

Do you ever have days when you just feel "thoughtful"? I don't mean in the traditional sense of "oh that was thoughtful of you", but more when you are full of thoughts. That seems to be me today. I fall into a state of being full of thoughts every so often, and suddenly everything seems to happen with purpose and a deeper meaning. Like the stars align in the exact moment that your heart is the most open. I might be losing some of you right now...I'll get to the point.

I was looking through some .doc files at work today, looking for a form for something or another and I came across something I'd saved several months ago and had forgotten about. For some reason, (thank you aligning stars) I chose today to open it, and today is when I really let the words sink in. It kind of reminded me of my post from years ago about things I've learned. (Which I said I'd expand on and never did. Oops.) There are several things that really stood out to me, so I put them in bold. I hope you will all find a few that stand out to you, too.

I Believe... That just because two people argue, doesn't mean they don't love each other.
And just because they don't argue, doesn't mean they do love each other.

I Believe...That we don't have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I Believe...That no matter how good a friend is, they're going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I Believe... That you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I Believe...That it's usually takes a long time to become the person you want to be.

I Believe...That you should always leave loved ones with loving words.
It may be the last time you see them.

I Believe...That you can keep going long after you think you can't.

I Believe...That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I Believe...That either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I Believe...That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I Believe....That with your best friends, you can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

I Believe....That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you're down will be the ones to help you get back up.

I Believe...That sometimes when you're angry you have the right to be angry,
But that doesn't give you the right to be cruel.

I Believe....That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you've had and what you've learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you've celebrated.

I Believe....That it isn't always enough to be forgiven by others.
Sometimes, you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I Believe...That no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn't stop for your grief.

I Believe....That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are,
we are responsible for whom we become.

I Believe...That you shouldn't be so eager to find out a secret.
It could change your life forever.

I Believe....Two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.

I Believe...That your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don't even know you.

I Believe....That even when you think you have no more to give, and a friend cries out to you - you will find the strength to help.

I Believe...That the people you care about most in life are often taken from you too soon.

I Believe...The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything;
They just make the most of everything they have.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Life Well Lived - Vol 2

Since starting this segment last week, I've had fun clicking through pictures as I make my list of things that I feel have made my Life Well Lived. As I started making this list, I also realized that, while I often feel behind in a lot of ways, I've also done some pretty neat things in my life. I know if you are just viewing my blog for the first time, these posts may seem like humble brags, but if you will revert back to my first post on the subject, Kelsey's words so perfectly explain what it's all about.

I have touched the Stanley Cup.

This is me, with my Dad, Frankie and Mom in 1999 after the Dallas Stars won The Stanley Cup. We were season ticket holders so after the big win, they contacted everyone who held tickets to offer this once in a lifetime opportunity...and my parents jumped on it. I will be honest, this day is kind a blur for me now. I was SO overwhelmed with excitement...and anxiety that I might run into Jamie Langenbrunner, Mike Modano or my "hockey boyfriend" Niko Kapanen*. (I didn't. Though I DID meet both Langenbrunner and Modano at later dates.) I also remember being afraid to actually TOUCH the Cup. As you can see, my hand is just kind of hanging out inches away. Frankie didn't share those fears, obviously. ;)

*In an effort to calm my jealous husband's nerves, "hockey boyfriend" does not mean he was actually my boyfriend. I just had a giant crush on him.

My Mom & I started an American Idol tradition.

If you read my blog regularly, you already know all about my LOVE for American Idol. Well, my Mom shares that love. We also love the American Idol Tour concerts...and this year will be the 5th year we've gone. I debated making a collage from all the American Idol concerts we've been to together but we didn't take pictures together a couple of the years, so instead, I went my favorite which was from Season 8. As you can see from our t-shirts, Mom was all about Danny Gokey ("Gokey Gang") and I was all about Matt Giraud ("The Matt Pack"). We are hardcore, haha. It's a really fun "thing" that we have together, and we are both already counting down the days until July 20th for this season's!

I stood in the locker of my favorite college basketball player.

Frankie and I were raised in a household that revolved around two sports and college basketball. Both my parent's went to University's that were (at least at one point) known for their basketball teams. Well, my Dad won us over with our love for baseball (and his hometown team, the Chicago Cubs) but my Mom won the college basketball battle with her alma matter, The University of Kentucky. Frankie and I were bleeding blue from a very young age, and I will openly admit that as a pre-teen, I cared just as much about how cute the players were as I did about the game itself. But the end of my teens and into my early twenties I developed a deeper love for the actual game, but always latched on to certain players. And of all the players to wear a Wildcat jersey, Chuck Hayes takes the proverbial cake for me. SO when my Mom and Uncle got us a tour of Rupp Arena, this moment captured above was very, VERY well lived.

Are you sharing what makes YOUR Life Well Lived? 'Cause you should. :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Life Well Lived - Vol 1

My good friend and fellow blogger, OperaWife, has recently started posting in a series called "Life Well Lived", brought to us by Kelsey, every Wednesday. I was inspired after reading both of their posts, so I am jumping on the band wagon.

Kelsey describes it like this:

For me, thinking about the things that I've experienced and being joyful for those moments, means more than reaching into a future that I can't control.

LOVE!!! Reading this gave me chills. It brought my soul to life as I looked back (with Mandy's ["OperaWife"] help) and realized that my life HAS been well lived! So, without further ado...

1. I sang "Texas Moon" with Stoney LaRue.

This gets first billing, because honestly, short of my wedding day, this was the best night of my life. In 2005, before Stoney LaRue's velvety pipes had ever touched the radio, we became friends. And this night, with the urging of my Mom and some of my friends, Stoney pulled me up to the mic and I sang my heart out.

2. I donated my hair to Locks of Love...twice.

I donated 10 inches, the minimum donation. And it was traumatic for me, haha. Ryan will tell you I cried...hard. He is right. But, I quickly got over it and remembered that it was for such a good cause.

You all know the story on this journey. :)

3. I bought the car I always wanted.
No, I did not accidentally post a picture of Jetta. That right there, that's the car I started lusting after as a pre-teen. I used to have posters of Jettas in my bedroom, so when the time came to take out my first car loan...I knew it was VDub or bust. And I love my little car, who I have lovingly named Ophelia.

I will post a few things that have made my Life Well Lived every Wednesday, and I hope YOU will too. And when you do, email Kelsey ( and let her know!