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.

Five Exciting Things

Five Exciting Things:

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1. My first maternity photo-shoot! I had a blast and was honored when my very talented photographer said I was “a joy to work with” on his page. Thanks to the amazing Dave Blake Photography! maternityshoot3

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2. Thus far this year, I’ve completed two 5ks. At the Foam Glow, my friend Becca and I danced in a pool of foam produced by a giant foam machine and were shot with a bountiful amount of colored dye. At Ranger’s Resolution Run, I took a picture with a giant sandwich. Running is only part of the reason I love organized races so very much.foamglow

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3. I held a baby python the other day. That was fun.

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4. I published my first short story! It was a goal of mine for 2013 and I actually got this up on Amazon Kindle a few months back. I went into a coffee shop one day with absolutely no idea what I was going to write about, but started typing. What eventually came from that was a fictitious story that questioned very real societal conventions. I’ve noticed that there are these different pockets of society, and each one of them seems to tell us that there’s only one way to be happy. And so all of us, in one way or another, are dealing with giving in or not giving into these norms when really what we should be worried about is finding joy wherever we’re at. I am of the humble opinion that there’s many different ways and lifestyles to happiness, and thus my twelve-page short story entitled “Don’t We All” came to be. But not without adding in more of my curiosity-sparkers like love and life and letting go and stuff. It’s definitely not perfect, but it’s mine and I’m very proud of that. (If you want to buy it to read on your electronic device, just click here!)

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5. My husband and I leave for ITALY tomorrow morning!!! Ahhhh!! It still hasn’t really sunk in quite yet that such a huge dream of mine is about to come true. Italy. The land of my ancestors and romance and breathtaking architecture and art and all of the CARBS! I’m going there. Tomorrow. And as usual, I need to stop blogging and finish packing. Arrivederci, y’all!

The White Power Ranger, Puerto Rico & Other Exciting Life Things

So I’m definitely pretty behind on life updates. For the first time in my life, I have a good amount of savings and have been able to take the month of August off (with a little babysitting here and there, just because I love those kiddos) to relax a little. Relaxing for me means constantly doing lots of things that I enjoy a bunch. I’ll have to make a blog soon to play catch-up on this last, fun-filled month….but for now, I thought I’d share just a few of the exciting things going on this past and present week.

1. I’M GOING TO PUERTO RICO TOMORROW! A close friend and I were recently having a girl’s night together at my house when we realized that we both had days off in the same week. We decided right then and there to buy plane tickets together. I’ve heard it’s a rather beautiful place and am eagerly anticipating reaping the rewards of a delightfully spontaneous purchase. fburg

2. Husband and I spent this last weekend enjoying a little, romantic getaway in the quaint town of Fredericksburg, Texas. We have fun together, him and I.

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3.  I went to my very first voice and movement class on Wednesday! Acting has been a closet passion of mine for quite some time. Filming a couple of commercials this summer has taken this love of mine out of hiding and reawakened a desire I had almost forgotten existed. Also, I got cookies and flavored coffee at said class. Awakening passions and free treats—A good combo.

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My latest event blogging adventure was indoor skydiving with iFLY Austin. Oh my goodness, I had an absolute blast. Really too, because the enormous fans are so powerful that they sent me blasting up through the air tunnel. Each person gets two 2 minute turns, and on the second turn the instructor took hold of my suit handles and flew me, spinning all the way to the top. My breath was taken away in the best way possible. It was just a thrillingly unique experience that I know I’ll never forget. (But if I fell on my head and forgot my whole life or something, I have a DVD and pictures to help me remember.) I can’t thank iFLY enough for their generosity, great staff and for giving me the chance to fly.

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As if flying in a wind tunnel wasn’t great enough, I also met my very first crush at iFLY yesterday. Remember Tommy from the Power Rangers? The Red Ranger who later became the White Ranger and was in love with Kimberly, the Pink Ranger? Yeah, apparently he’s a regular at iFLY. ( Jason David Frank is his real name, if you’re curious.) I almost had a happy heart-attack getting a picture with him. Before the photo was snapped, I informed him, in the tone of a little schoolgirl, “I used to be obsessed….” and then awkwardly trailed off because I didn’t want to end the sentence with, “With you when I was five because you were the White Power Ranger.” But really, y’all. I met my kindergarten crush before indoor skydiving for the first time yesterday. Life is pretty perfect.

Type to y’all after Puerto Rico! Happy squeal goes here.

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.

Detroit, Part 2

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If you follow my blog, you probably know by now that I was cast as myself in a U by Kotex commercial in May. You may also know that, less than two months later, I was flown to Detroit on an all-expenses paid trip to film a second commercial. It’s been completely nuts. But the best kind of nuts. (Hee. Hee. Nuts. A male anatomy euphemism to describe a feminine care commercial I took part in. I really amuse myself sometimes.) Er….I digress. Here are the details I haven’t quite got around to sharing yet (With pictures! And captions!):

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(Above: View of Detroit after crawling out of an apartment window)

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(Above: Arguably the coolest brewery ever, as one gets to drink their beer next to all of the brewing machinery.)

In the first set of commercials, there were five of us who were cast in “Demo Diaries.” Each of us got our own 2-3 minute online commercial. Because my product is the only one that hasn’t been released yet, I’ve been able to to watch the rest of the Demo Diaries before mine airs. Let me tell y’all, I was completely floored by the talent, beauty and personality that my fellow U by Kotex girls possess. I still feel honored and a bit awestruck that I got to be amongst this group. Now take that feeling and multiply it times about a kabazillion when I found out that I was the only one asked to join the production team in Detroit. Here’s the thing—I’m a confident girl, but realistically so. I know where I stand. I’m attractive, but not drop-dead gorgeous. Due to my years of homeschooling, I have this perma-awkward thing going on, but I’ve managed to usually pass this off as more cute than creepy. I’m goofy and outgoing and I’m kind to people, which I think makes me generally likable. So though I was pretty surprised when I found out I got cast in the first commercial, I wasn’t flabbergasted (That is such a fun word.) But it definitely blew me away to figure out that the production team considered me the favorite of this group of lovely, gifted young women. Still….what is that saying? About not looking a gift horse in the mouth? Yeah, I wasn’t about to do that.

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(Above: Parts of the amazing film crew/ production team/ makeup/ wardrobe artists)

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(Above: Party at a bicycle/watch making shop)

So I went to Detroit and had one of those weekends that made me feel like I was dreaming, or in a movie, or something. As a rather long side note, I must note that I was extremely taken by this city. It’s now on my top five, and maybe even top three of places that I’ve traveled to. I know it’s not in the best of spots right now, but I’ve always had a thing for the underdog. I loved that nearly everyone I talked to in Detroit was actually from Detroit, and how proud they were of that fact. (I think I appreciated this even more, being one of the rare Austinities that is actually from Austin.) And it wasn’t that they didn’t know any better or didn’t travel frequently. It was just that they saw, and luckily shared with me, the beauty and uniqueness of their city. I loved seeing a run-down, vacant building next to a small strip of renovated, classy ones. I loved going to a sleek, upscale restaurant in the middle of a poor neighborhood. It wasn’t at all depressing to me, but rather hopeful and inspiring. I’ve never before seen a city with so much potential. I fell in love, and I fell hard.

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(Above: So much yum FOOD! And pretty coffee! And The oldest bowling alley in the US)

Okay. Long side note over. Where was I?…..

As I’ve mentioned, I flew first class and stayed at the MGM Grand and filmed on-stage at the Fillmore and was shown around the city by a production team that wouldn’t let me pay for anything. (Special thanks goes to Ed, who gave me an incredibly authentic tour of Detroit and didn’t once complain when I made him stop for multiple potty breaks.) I played dress up with a makeup and wardrobe artist and sat in on a meeting where everyone looked over pictures of me in different outfits. (So weird.) As I haven’t yet mentioned, the second commercial I was filming isn’t exactly a commercial. It’s actually a set of video clips that are going to be played on gigantic screens at the Bruno Mars and American Idol tours.They’re meant to be both a form of advertisement and a way to entertain the crowd pre-show. When I told my best friend about this, she told me my life had come full circle. I’d agree. See, when I was a young teenager, I was absolutely obsessed with American Idol. Obsessed is actually quite an understatement. I frequently fantasized about being a judge and convinced myself I was going to marry Ryan Seacrest. (The production team found that bit especially humorous) I once had a serious argument with previous mentioned best friend about which one of us liked Paula Abdul more. No, Really. I have journal entries about such things. Funny how sometimes the past really does meet, or at least interact with your present. Crazy how former dreams can occasionally come to fruition in your present life. It is both amusing and insane to find out that, 10 years later, I am going to be featured on mega-screens at the American Idol tour. So fourteen-year-old me, this may be a bit belated, but this one’s for you. Here is proof that sometimes those big, far-fetched, seemingly unrealistic type of dreams that filled your notebook really can come true. Sincerely, your twenty-four-year-old self and your menstrual cycle. 

Event Blogging Adventures

So being an event blogger is neat. 

It’s a pretty sweet gig– This going on adventures, exploring my city, talking to wonderful people, eating delectable food and trying all sorts of new things in exchange for a review. I seriously feel like somebody has plopped me into the middle of a really great dream and said, “Here. Go Crazy.” So I do. 

-Paddle-Boarding with my main squeeze, courtesy SUP ATX.  A new, exciting experience spent on the lovely Lake Austin with my favorite boy. I should probably also mention the fact that the extremely patient general manager, Dale, gave me a mini-lesson in which I consistently paddled incorrectly and confused my left and right hand. He might have laughed at me. I might have blushed. This is all whilst my husband, also a first time paddle-boarder, is doing circles around me. Psh. But I eventually got the hang of it and paddled along, sometimes taking a break to stick my feet in the water, or feel the sun on my skin or to just gaze at my beautiful view of downtown Austin. The perfect way to spend a summer morning.

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Pole-Conditioning class at Inner Diva Studios. It was a laughter, sweat and endorphin filled work-out. I love when exercise is so fun that you nearly forget how much pain you’re in, and this was definitely one of those times. I was even able to bring a guest, aka my friend Hannah, with me and we both ached for days after. (Cue John Mellencamp’s “Hurt So Good”) I can’t wait to go back.

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Five-course meal, thanks to Spin Modern Thai Cuisine. It was love from first sight….and  bite….and sip, y’all. The perfect mix of sweet, salty and spice in every gorgeously presented taste left my mouth (and nostrils…and eyes) completely smitten. Pictured below is Thai Basil Mint Sangria, Tuna with Lychee, Tiger Cry (Spicy, beefy deliciousness) and Coconut Panna Cotta. Not pictured is Sweet Corn Taro Tempura, which is basically lightly fried sex, y’all.

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Media Dinner for the new opening of the Austin famous P.Terry’s. I’m a little ashamed to admit that this was my first time eating here. Okay, really ashamed. Boy, have I been missing out. Mouth-watering, all-natural burgers, fresh-cut fries, and I even got to meet (the very sweet) Patrick Terry himself. Fun and Yum. FunYum. That should definitely be a word. I would use it frequently.

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Thanks to all of the businesses that treated me to such wonderful experiences. I’m truly honored and amazed that I get to be a part of your piece of Austin. Full reviews on all four coming to SeeSaw Austin very soon!