2013 Recap and Hi, 2014.

It’s hard for me to believe that everything that’s happened in 2013 has, in fact, only happened to me in one year. It blows my mind that I’ve had the chance to experience all of these things in a lifetime, much less 365 days. Where to start?

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I ran a race in my underwear for a good cause, was published in my university magazine (twice!) and modeled for multiple photo-shoots. I’ve had beautiful and memory-filled travels to Pittsburgh, Louisiana (twice!), Mexico, New Mexico, Arizona, Detroit, Puerto Rico and Colorado. I took part in a giant scavenger hunt in downtown Austin where I would climb atop a Willie Nelson statue, not knowing that later that year I would actually meet Willie Nelson himself.

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I celebrated my 24th birthday surrounded by amazing friends, had an absolute blast with my hubby on our first ever cruise and fell in love with my social media internship for the American Red Cross.

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Becoming an event blogger gave me the chance to take part in some pretty incredible adventures: I ziplined across one of the world’s longest ziplines, ate and drank at multiple media events, attempted to stand-up paddleboard, nervously tried my hands at beekeeping, was given a breathtaking helicopter tour of downtown Austin and went indoor skydiving, just to name some of the events I was able to cover. I am forever grateful to all of the businesses who allowed me to try out these endeavors not only free of charge, but who almost always allowed me to invite a friend to join in on the fun as well. This year has definitely reiterated something I’ve known for quite some time: Austin and its people are awesome.

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Perhaps my favorite event to cover was flyboarding– A water sport that propelled me out of the water and into the air in a jet-pack like fashion. This was scary and exhilarating and doubly awesome because I had a giant camera crew filming it all. In May, I was cast in an online commercial for U By Kotex. A film crew filmed a week in my life, and a couple of months later would fly me first class to Detroit to film for a piece shown in concerts all over the United States. Soon after, they would send me to one of these concerts to watch myself talk to the audience on a humungous teleprompter. It’s impossible for me to properly put into words how completely amazing all of this was, but I can say it definitely made for some of the best moments of my entire life. I’ll never forget the feeling of having a film crew take over my entire house, or filming on a stage that famous singers perform on, or playing dress up with my very own makeup and wardrobe artist, or falling in love with Detroit as I was given the inside tour by some pretty terrific people, or being handed a check, glancing at the number and trying extremely hard to act cool and not squeal out loud. You know those really great dreams you sometimes have, and it always kind of sucks to wake up and realize, “Damn, that wasn’t real.” ? This whole experience was a lot like that for me. Except it was real.

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In August, I became a first-generation college graduate and celebrated this with my fabulous support system, and by September I was hired on as the Social Media Representative for all five locations of Leif Johnson Ford. I’m now getting paychecks to blog, take pictures and talk to people– and I’m still a little amazed that I’m getting paid to do the things that I already like to do for fun.

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What else? I make this recap already knowing that I won’t be able to recall every detail that made up such a monumental year for me. My husband and I bought a boat, which he completely renovated and that has already provided us with plenty of good times and pretty Austin sunsets. I made my first down payment on a shiny new car, met the White Power Ranger of my childhood, ran six races, sought out new volunteering opportunities and covered my first ever red carpet event.

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In October, the dude and I celebrated four wonderful years of marriage in the gorgeous Denver, Colorado. Oh, yes. And we found out that we’re expecting our baby girl to arrive in April 2014.

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My head is still spinning from this year, which has been both the craziest and best of my life so far. But seeing as we’ll be meeting Miss Brynlee Mae in just a few months, I already go into this one knowing that 2013 has some pretty intense competition. Just….Jeeze. Wow. Gosh. Pretty words start failing me when my feelings for all of these experiences can’t be summed up eloquently enough. I am so very thankful for this magical, insane, breathtaking, beautiful whirlwind of a year…. and I cannot wait to see what the next 365 days has in store for me (us!)

So hi, 2014. You have a lot to live up to, but I have some belly kicking movements and a couple of plane tickets that are telling me you’re off to a really good start.

Commercial & Concert Promo 2013

Guys! Remember when I told y’all that the U By Kotex crew thought my life was cool and followed me around to film a week in my world? And that I’d have an online commercial to show for this soon? Well, friends, here’s that commercial! Eeeee! :

I’m a total goofball, I know.

As I also mentioned a bit ago, the U By Kotex peeps really loved my silly self and sent me to Detroit to film for the second time–This time to film for a pre-show promo at Bruno Mars’ and American Idol tours. They were even amazing enough to send me to one of these concerts with extra tickets and very up-close-and-personal seats. I brought my husband and two girlfriends along and we had an absolute blast dancing the night away to Ellie Goulding and Bruno Mars. (Girlfriends and I were absolutely smitten with Bruno and his sexy Michael-Jackson-esque moves by the end of the concert.)

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It was also pretty darn neat and incredibly surreal to watch myself, pre-show, playing on a mega-screen at the concert. And amusing to watch people around us as they begin to notice why my group was taking pictures of and freaking out over said mega-screen. One teenage girl looked at the screen, then looked back to me, then looked back at the screen. (And repeat.) In awe, she eventually asked, “Is that you?!!?” When I responded yes and explained what it was for, her response was an adorable, “That is sooooo cool.” Hubby and friend seated next to me proceeded to tell me that I was famous, and then we all continued dancing, singing and laughing the night away.

Who knew that going to an audition on a whim would lead to all of this incredibleness? It’s been an awesome reminder to always follow two cheesy rules: Never don’t try and always do you. Who knows, maybe you’ll even end up sponsoring feminine products on a mega-screen for a pop-star’s concert.

Surreal, But Real. (Demo Diaries, 2013)

I have this really crazy, amazing, unreal story to tell y’all. Except here’s the thing–As unreal as it still seems, it’s all very true. And it’s happening to me. I don’t know where else to start this post but from the beginning. So here goes.

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Back in May, I received a message from a cameraman on the site that I use to schedule photo-shoots for my modeling hobby. He said that he’d love for me to come out and audition for a commercial. I then read over the details and found that they were looking for someone “Outgoing, authentic, confident, charismatic”, “Very likeable”, “Willing to take the camera crew and viewers into her personal life and share information about her life and style.” and, oh yeah, “Someone who other girls would like to be.” Oh, you know. Only a little intimidating. Gulp. But the pay was more than great, the location happened to be right by my university and I was wrapping up the last bit of my finals. I was leaving for a cruise in the next couple of days and was working that afternoon but had a little bit of free time to spare. I thought about it and then I thought, “Why not!?” So I went in for the audition. I walked into a crisp, corporate building, went up an elevator and was escorted by an assistant into a room with bright lights, two dudes and a camera. I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t nervous. But the guys were so friendly and genuinely sweet that I felt myself almost immediately calm down. After a few basic questions, they asked me about my hobbies. If I was to pick a question to be asked in an interview, that would probably be it. I’m all about my hobbies, y’all. So I ramble on (I was still a little nervous and my rambling becomes pretty intense when I’m nervous) about my hobbies, probably glowing a little as I talk about my most recent endeavors as an event blogger. The guys are smiling and I feel giddy with adrenaline. Before I know it, the audition is over. But before I leave, Travis (cameraman who emailed me) told me, “I think you’re our favorite of everyone we’ve interviewed so far. And we really don’t just say that to everyone.” As the assistant walked me out, she smiled as she let me know, “They really haven’t said that to anyone else.” If I wasn’t glowing yet, I know I was by that point.

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I found out in Louisiana, the day I got back from my cruise, that the production team also saw me as a favorite and that I had been cast in the commercial.

A few days later, I was meeting up with part of this team to go over details and sign the contract.

A day after that, I had the U By Kotex film crew begin following me around for a week in my life, filming for an online commercial entitled “Demo Diaries.”  They recorded me as I event blogged (I was trying out a new water sport that week, so it worked out pretty perfectly), hosted my on-campus radio show, went out with a friend, ordered a drink from a coffee shop (Everyone seemed a little stunned as we walked into a small-town coffee shop with a full camera crew. A barista proceeded to ask me if I was famous.), BBQ’d with my hubby, and even as I did laundry and vacuumed (Travis informed me that I didn’t seem real if they were just filming me doing cool things like flyboarding and hosting a radio show. I am very real, I swear it! Thus the everyday life things. Ha.)  

It was an incredible, surreal, insane, whirlwind of a week that I will never ever forget. I worked with an absolutely fabulous crew and cannot even describe how blessed I feel to be given such a crazy, wonderful opportunity. I’m tempted to say it’s a once-in-a-lifetime sort of thing, but apparently that’s not quite the case.

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I was going to wait for a couple more weeks, when the commercial aired, to let y’all know about all of this craziness. But then I got a call from the production team, asking me how I felt about doing a second commercial. Oh, and how would I feel about them flying me to Detroit to do so? Um, what!?…Huh!?…Impromptu vacation!?.. Filming another commercial!?…Yes,yes,yes!!! (That was basically my thought process within the phone conversation.) Long story short, and to condense the shock and excitement that I feel into a short amount of words, I will be flying to Detroit tomorrow night. The pay will be just as much or more than my previous commercial, which is crazy to me because I would probably pay to have an experience like this. Thursday I’ll have a wardrobe fitting. Friday I’ll be filming all day in the new-to-me city of Detroit. My heart started beating faster just typing the previous sentence down. I still can’t quite believe all of this is happening. I’m completely stunned, but in the best way possible. I’m dazed and grateful and thrilled. I’m trying to wrap my head around the fact that as surreal as this all is, it is still real. So, uh, because I’m apparently not dreaming, I still have a bag that I need to finish packing?! Stay tuned for part two, y’all. Detroit, here I come!