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?

newmexico

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.

eventblog

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.

aquafly

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.

graduation

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.

Healthy Jelly

(A couple of my favorite blogging friends are nutritious food bloggers. I’m wondering if this misleading title has lured them in. Evil laugh goes here.)

I received these sweet words from a blogging friend on my last post:

“you honestly have always inspired me to take advantage of the blessings i have been given and live my best life. so glad you are still living yours.”

This meant a lot to me, because when I first started reading Caitlin’s blog, I remember thinking her life was the coolest and felt a little pang of envy.  She was, and as far as I know still is, a food blogger who gets to cover lots of awesome, local events. I remember thinking something like, “That is so cool. She is so cool. I want to do that.”

jellyy

(Picture Credit: areyouaniceguy.com)

So I did.

I started looking into Austin event blogging stuff and eventually found a site that I applied to be a blogger for. I was accepted as part of the SeeSaw Austin crew, and for nearly a year now I’ve been able to do fun things like indoor skydive and go to media tastings and meet Willie Nelson.

I’ve never really understood people who act like jealousy is such a bad, evil thing. It can be, definitely. I think the absolute worst thing is to be the type of person who sits with their envy. Who is envious but does absolutely nothing about it. That sort of jealousy can, and will, swallow and consume and poison a person until they are bitter, angry and really no fun at all to be around.

The thing is that we all get jealous, and anyone who says they don’t is a liar, liar, pants on fire. It’s a natural, unavoidable human emotion. And it’s not really the most pleasant feeling either. But I think that, if used correctly and alongside plenty of hard work, it can be a powerful and even healthy life tool.

For me anyway, envy has always signified that I’m unhappy about something in my own life that probably needs changing. Many years ago, when I would look longingly on the adventures of others, I realized I needed more life experiences of my own. So I started saving most of my money and time for travels and other exciting shenanigans. When I was envious of uber-healthy looking people, I realized I was unhappy about my own body weight and image. So I lost 40+ pounds, started modeling, ran a half marathon and otherwise became obsessed with exercise. (So much so that I still jog nearly every day at almost 5 months pregnant—with doctor’s permission, I swear!) When I felt a little green about those who were passionate about and loved their job, I studied a crap-ton, built a resume I was proud of, graduated college and found a job to love and be passionate about. And when I looked at Miss Caitlin’s blog and thought to myself, “She is so awesome, oh my gosh, why am I not doing these awesome things too?” I stalked and researched and applied around until I too was doing these things I found to be so awesome. Crazy as it may sound, immediately acting on my jealousy has always resulted in me being a better, happier and more confident version of myself.

So I say, don’t let envy consume you. Let it inspire you. Allow it to better you. Overcome the icky feelings by doing something about them. If it’s worth a tinker’s dam, work really damn hard until you have what it is that made you jealous in the first place. If you want something someone else has, don’t sit around on your booty, idly wanting want they have. (Unless, of course, you’re wanting someone else’s significant other. In that case, I do suggest sitting idly. Or taking up a new hobby! Stamp-collecting, perhaps?) Don’t hate them for having something you don’t. By golly, go and get it and love them for motivating you to be someone you weren’t before. Because jealousy is only a bad thing if you don’t do one gosh darn thing about it, y’all.