For the Love of Local Adventures

I worried when I first became pregnant that I would no longer be able to travel as much as I wanted to. I’m learning that most of my anxieties turn out to be unwarranted ones. Not only have I been able to travel frequently both while pregnant and with a little one, but I’ve also found a new love for adventuring locally. Whether five hundred or five miles down the road, I feel blissful as long as I’m in a new place with a good book and the smell of morning coffee. Add some nightly wine and a loved one or two or four into the mix and then the world just sparkles with magic.

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This past weekend was spent just miles down the road in the little city of Lago Vista. My grandparents live here, so I’m fairly familiar with the area. It took a quaint resort and my mother-in-law’s fresh eyes to allow me to truly see how beautiful this hilly, green, deer-residing town really is. Add to this a heartbreakingly gorgeous read, plenty of coffee and wine, a morning walk to the lake, thrift-shop hunting and a surplus of happy family moments, and much enchantment ensued.weekend1babyloveweekend9

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Vegas Highlights 2014

Vegas Highlights 2014:

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  • Exploring the mountains of Nevada/Vegas outskirts with pumpkin beer in tow. Oh, the festive, happy feelings.
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  • Drinking coffee and rum+pineapple from the balcony of our breathtaking mountain resort.

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  • Our first night in the mountains: Picking up some homemade bread pudding from the resort’s restaurant, and coming back to our room to find that my husband had moved some furniture around to make room for dessert. “I made us a table.” he said. It was the best bread pudding of my life, shared with the dude who still gives me warm fuzzies after five years of marriage.

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  • Doing the Vegas strip thing with the hubby, round two. (Round one was our first wedding anniversary, 2010)
  • vegasvoucherWinning a hundred bucks on a Walking Dead slot machine. I NEVER win anything and have deemed myself unlucky when it comes to similar games of chance, so this was a big deal for me. I hate gambling just a teensy bit less now.

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  • Renewing our vows at a Little White Wedding Chapel (professional pictures of this coming soon!), which was immediately followed by attending a nearby happy hour, still dressed in our wedding dress and tuxedo. After happy hour, we went to a local grocery store to grab beer and liquor for the mountains. We got a few stares, some questions, a handful of verbal congratulations and one in the form of a car honk and wave. The whole experience was silly and cheesy and lovely, and most of all, it was just so very us.

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vegas12I’m giddy to spend the rest of my life exploring the world and creating cheesy memories, makeshift tables and endless adventures with my lifetime crush. And I am forever grateful for that one tipsy night in a garage at a stranger’s party. It’s led to this big, beautiful, goofy love that I’ve found in Robby Boudreaux. A lingering glance that would eventually turn into countless stories and laughter, a redheaded baby girl, exploring the world hand-in-hand, a pumpkin beer shared in the mountains. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

What I Want Her To See

My baby girl is three and a half months old and already, she is becoming accustomed to her mom’s shenanigans.

When I was pregnant with her, I traveled to Puerto Rico, Colorado, Mississippi, Milan, Florence and Venice. I went indoor skydiving when she was only a bean in my tummy. I ran a handful of 5ks, covered a red carpet event, met Willie Nelson, posed for photo shoots, dived into my first post-college career and self-published a short story.

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She was with me for all of these things, and that was incredibly special to me. Now that she’s here, I still love being able to take her along on adventures with me, but I also know that she can’t come along for all of them.

She wouldn’t have been able to soar through the sky with me as I went hang-gliding, nor could she have been my plus one as I covered an Ed Sheeran performance for my event blog. She can’t really come with me to food tastings, and she can’t tag along when I attend a social media conference for work tomorrow. It wouldn’t really be appropriate for her to join in on every excursion I have with friends, and she probably wouldn’t have been nearly as amused as I was, had I brought her along to shower under a waterfall with me.

This weekend, my girlfriends and I will be road tripping it to another state, and Brynlee will be spending this time at home with her amazing daddy.

Since Bryn has been born, my whole entire world has been overflowing with joy, more joy than I ever even knew was possible. She smiles and I turn to goo. She laughs and my heart melts. I watch her with my husband and I feel as if happiness is seeping out of my ears. I made my favorite little person with the help of my very best friend. I look into her eyes and I can see that she is mine. It is the absolute best thing I’ve ever had the chance to experience.

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And yet, I still feel so capable of living my own life to its fullest. I heard recently that moms who work full time today spend more time with their kids than women who were stay-at-home moms decades ago. I find that admirable and selfless in many ways, but I also know that this isn’t the way in which I will raise Bryn. This is partly because I don’t feel that my daughter’s existence makes mine disappear. I am still here, as are my dreams, desires, loves and passions. Also partly because I have a sweet mommy who watches Baby Bryn while I’m at work and a loving husband who whole-heartedly wants to share responsibilities 50/50 with me as a parent. I am a little shocked by how rare said sharing still is in our day and age. But more than anything else, it’s because there is so much I hope my daughter will learn from watching how I try my best to live life.

I hope that she will always be open-minded and accepting, and that she’ll realize that everyone finds their happiness in different ways.

I hope she will see that marriage, despite the statistics, can work out. That actually, it can do so much more than just work out. That it can be beautiful, fulfilling and most of all, so much fun. I hope that she won’t settle when it comes to love, that she will only be with someone who is able to give her as much joy as she saw her parents give each other.

And more than anything, I hope she will see me living my life and be inspired to live her own. That she will have confidence to follow her passions, the courage to go after her biggest, craziest dreams and the desire to make a mark on her little piece of the universe. What I want her to know is that this world is hers for the taking, if only she has the eagerness to go out and take it. What I hope she notices is my hunger for life, and that this will make her appetite grow wild too. What I want her to see is me, the person who loves her more than anything, showing her how to fall in love with the life she lives.

Soaring Through The Clouds, And Other Life Things

What a completely incredible past couple of weeks it has been.

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I spent two weekends in a row with my crazy, wonderful family. This includes my girl cousin whom I grew up with, vicariously living our grown up lives through Barbie dolls. Now we are grown up, and our two baby girls, only five months apart, have started smiling at the other. It probably won’t be long until they’re playing make believe together too. And that is kind of beautiful.

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I showered in a waterfall. It was exhilarating and laugh-inducing and it also kept trying to take my bikini bottoms off. Which, of course, made it even more exhilarating and laugh-inducing.

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My best friend of thirteen years (more than half of our lives!) came to visit from Virginia, and we spent our time adventuring together. Whether this be tubing the river, brunching with mimosas, watching the sun set on the lake, hiking the Austin greenery or road-tripping our way to winery tastings, every moment spent with her was an absolutely lovely one. Meg mentioned that, at one time in her life, she held every guy she dated up to the standard of her friendship with me. Then she realized she could never date a dude who was like me. I tend to be the free-spirited to her grounded, the insanity to her stability, the jumping into things to her thinking things through. We balance the other out, and it is ideal in that it would only ever work healthily in a friendship scenario. And though we would probably eventually murder the other as lesbian lovers, she is and always will be my female soulmate.

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Speaking of being free-spirited and slightly insane, I checked off a pretty exciting bucket list item by going hang gliding for the first time. I was literally soaring through the clouds, y’all. It was breathtaking and stunning and scary too. But then, I think all of the very best things in life are often this way. Whether it be raising a child or almost running full force into a tree branch while floating the river or loving people with your whole, fragile heart that could very easily be broken, all of the beautiful stuff tends to be just a little bit terrifying. Because, yes, soaring through the clouds can take some courage. But once you’re up there, you won’t want to come back down.

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An Unexpected Adventure

A couple of weekends ago, my husband and I were heading out of town for a race that I had registered to run. Robby’s parents were watching Miss Bryn at our house for the day and I had my jogging shoes ready. We were good to go. Except that when we got there, the race was over. The event coordinators had messed up on the online times, and though I got my money back (and a bunch of other freebies too), I was still a little bit bummed. But that didn’t last long. My husband, always one to make me quickly find a bright side, suggested we drink the free beer we’d been offered and walk down to the nearby river.

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So we did. And we held hands and laughed and ate free BBQ and shared warm conversation. We sat side by side with our Miller Lites, and found bliss in the comfort that comes from simply being next to the other after all of these years. On the way back, we found ourselves a quaint little winery and chit-chatted with their cheerful and animated staff.

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It was a day of perfect, unexpected adventures spent with the person I feel so very lucky to permanently hang out with.

And there isn’t a scheduled plan in the world that I would trade that for.

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.

“Why Not?”–Mississippi Road Trip 2014

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If you know me, you probably know that one of my absolute favorite things to do is to travel, and that I try to do so on a pretty regular basis. It doesn’t matter where to or how long I’m gone; Just the promise of new places, scenery and adventures is enough to make me excitedly pack my bags. So I am always a little perplexed when someone will ask me why I am going somewhere. Of course, no one really ever asks me why I’ve chosen to go to places such as San Diego, New York, or Venice. When I plan for travels like this, I’ll often hear remarks like, “Lucky.” or “I’m so jealous!” But tell someone you’re going somewhere like Oklahoma or Arkansas? Blank stares and crickets and, “Why? What’s over there?” This confuses me. Why wouldn’t I want to see and explore every inch of this earth that I possibly can? I don’t know what’s over there, and that exact fact is the very beauty of it all. Some of my fondest memories are of my husband and I road tripping to the previously mentioned states, staying up late, lodging at quaint bed and breakfasts and exploring cute little towns. I’ve found that some of the world’s best treasures are hidden in the places that no one ever really thinks to look. That there is loveliness to be found anywhere and everywhere, if eyes and mind remain wide open. That there is so much joy and wonder in learning to wanderlust over the path less traveled. And that there’s a whole lot to be missed out on in this big, beautiful world when the question Why?” is posed in place of “Why not?”

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Lucky for me, I have great friends who share my same mentality and love of adventure. Last weekend and just in time for my eighth month of pregnancy (Baby is already quite the little traveler even before birth.), Becca and I road tripped it up to the new-to-me city and state of Natchez, Mississippi. It was such an enchanting mini-vacation. The long drive was filled with great conversation, fun pit-stops and plenty of laughter. Once there, we relaxed at an adorable bed-and-breakfast, ate cake from a nearby bakery whilst laying in bed, explored an eerie never-to-be-completed Civil War time’s mansion, took a historic tour around Natchez in a horse-drawn carriage, chowed down on our first alligator cheesecake and watched a gorgeous sunset at Bluff Park. So much magic beginning with two little words. Why not?

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Things I like a lot

Some things I like a lot lately:

  • I only ever post to Instagram for work, but I do have my own account just to stalk my friend’s accounts sometimes. There’s a couple of things I love about the below post from buddy Becca.beccains

1. Being referred to as her “adventurous pregnant friend.”

2. Having fun, wonderful people in my life who say yes to the whims of their adventurous pregnant friend.

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  • For Valentine’s Day, I requested Krispy Kremes instead of chocolates. Prego craving. Husband came home with flowers, a dozen donuts and a big box of chocolates. He sure knows how to woo a pregnant person.

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We decided to avoid the crowds this year and opted for a night in with a heart-shaped pizza. Please note my sexy socks and sweater. Such sexiness would probably be frowned upon in a restaurant setting anyway.

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  • Farmer’s market and catching up with long lost friend Emily. And buying homemade strawberry jam. Drool.

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  • Chili-fest with the husband. We got to judge our favorites while enjoying a beautiful, Texas day and eating endless cornbread and chili. Yum, y’all.

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  • I’m 8 months pregnant! Ah!! Can’t believe how soon we’ll be holding our own little person in our arms. I’m nervous and excited and terrified and giddy and about a thousand other feelings all mixed together. But mostly I just really can’t wait to meet her.

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  • My latest food tasting for the event blog was at my local SmashBurger. Usually at tastings, I’ll be given smaller dishes of each meal to try, and still leave completely stuffed. Well. At this ‘tasting’, I was given five (FIVE!) whole burgers, four full orders of fries and two mouthwatering milkshakes. I brought my husband home a multitude of leftovers, and still almost exploded from the massive amount of deliciousness experienced. AND I got invited to the kitchen to smash my own SmashBurger with special burger molds. Needless to say, they now have a fan for life here. Currently salivating thinking about their Truffle Mushroom Swiss burger and Salted Caramel Milkshake. And also the other billion things I ate.
  •  Below is work friend Peter.

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He’s really good at unique compliments.

Work friend Peter: “You’re still not showing very much. It must be your faerie blood.”

Followed by this post dedicated to me:

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According to Peter, I’m a social media genius with faerie blood. I like the world according to Peter.

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  • A couple of nights ago, I was feeling little lady kick a bunch. I was voicing my annoyance to Robby that I couldn’t view my whole stomach to see where she was kicking. He left the room momentarily, reappearing with a mirror so I could get a full view of the tummy. Every time I look at this picture that I quickly snapped of that moment, my heart melts a little.

I like love this life a lot.

All Of The Adventures

It’s been such a wonderful past seven days. I love all of the adventures.

Last Saturday, I ran my 6th race of the year and final 5k until 2014. (January, that is.) It was a beautiful day for a colorful run. And getting bombarded with pink bombs while jogging is exciting.

Before and after color run:

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Later that day, my friend Becca and I found a random tree on the side of the road to giddily decorate. I jog past said tree on my daily runs, and it’s pretty neat to constantly see this tiny piece of holiday cheer we were able to mark on the world.

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What happens when a girl coworker and I decide to take a quick potty break from a work ceremony taking place in a youth center:

We get pictures with Santa. Duh.

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And hold hands with giant toy soldiers

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And sit in the middle of a bowling lane whilst appearing to partake in yoga with a ball and pin.

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All in a day’s work, y’all.

I recently signed up for a new volunteer opportunity that I’ve been excitedly anticipating for a couple of weeks now. I love adding unique experiences to my life list, and when they’re for a good cause that just adds to the loveliness of it all. And now I can officially say I have been a volunteer holiday bell-ringer for The Salvation Army! A girlfriend and I bonded and rang our bells whilst greeting and chatting with strangers this Friday. It was a perfect reminder of how awesome people are and how much goodness there is all around. In a small donation, a genuine thank-you, a shared laugh, a quick but kind conversation, or even just a simple smile. We’ve just got to keep our bells a-ringing for it.

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Christmas+Husband+Adventure=YAY!

Three of my favorite things in this world are adventures, my husband and Christmas. So combining all three into one fun-filled day basically turns me into an overly excited five-year old. hubstractor Yesterday, Robby and I made a mini road-trip out to Elgin, Texas to cut down a tree at their Christmas tree farm. Did I mention I also love mini road-trips? Because guys, I really do. We listened to Christmas music on the way there. Ahem. I also love Christmas music. And when we got there, a llama and Jenny the donkey (who, as a sign warned, was especially likely to bite) greeted us at the entrance and from there we received a tractor ride to go pick out our tree and y’all, I loved that too. At one point hubby reminded me to stop (I suck at stopping) to just enjoy the scenery, which was absolutely gorgeous. The air was chilly and the sun was setting on hundreds of trees and I was standing next to my handsome fellow and life felt really pretty perfect. After roaming the farm for some time, we finally agreed on our tree, which husband proceeded to cut down with the wonderfully giant saw the tractor dudes lent us. And THEN I picked out ornaments at the cute little gift shop and we made our way to a quaint Elgin café to eat scrumptious chicken fried chicken and the biggest slice of cherry cheesecake my eyes ever did see. All of this spent with my very favorite boy in the world and our little girl in my belly, who thoughtfully waited until the ride home to begin kicking my bladder. A magical, festive, adventurous day indeed.

Before our little trip, husband made pancakes. Fuel for the road, y’know?

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“Caution- Animals May Bite- Especially jenny the Donkey”

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Tractor ride!

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I maybe liked holding this saw a little too much.

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 Things I know: Life is good, that cheesecake is large and Jenny the Donkey is the animal voted most likely to bite at our local tree farm.