2017 Resolutions

I was hesitant to publically show my 2017 resolutions this year as I have a few lofty goals and a couple of scary ones. It’d be easier to skip them if I didn’t flaunt them which is exactly why I’m sharing them. You guys get to hold me accountable. Yay!?

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Here they are:

  • Run a full marathon (see “lofty goals”)
  • Visit three new-to-me states, one new-to-me country
  • Graduate with my MBA
  • Take a solo trip (I have fond memories experimenting with the starts of solo travel. In 2013, I flew to Detroit to film a commercial and met up with the production team upon arrival. Last year I drove to New Orleans solo to meet up with friends and flew companionless to Ireland to then adventure with cousins. I’ve found all of these unaccompanied moments both meditative and thrilling. I’m keeping my options open here. Maybe I’ll have a weekend away in a sleepy little Texas town. Maybe I’ll fly to new lands. Either way, I’m excited for this one.)
  • Get a tattoo (see “scary goals”; I have one tattoo. I’ve wanted a second for years. My one big irrational fear is needles and I was a huge baby when getting tatted at eighteen. Like, the tattoo artist kind of hated me. But at this point I’ve given birth to an actual baby so I figure that process must be scarier and I can handle this. Eh?)
  • Record books read (Every year, I devour so many delicious words and recollect very few of them. I hate that! I started on this goal slightly early, by creating a Goodreads account in late December.)
  • Blog 1+ times weekly, post to Instagram 3+ weekly
  • Vlog Resolution Progress Report (I want to have some way of keeping up with these goals, and I’ve also been wanting to start vlogging. Thought I might as well combine the two! This is another lofty objective for me as I have a record of being terrible at keeping up with video blogs. Wish me luck!)

I’m doing my best to get off to a good start with said goals.

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I recorded my first book read of the year, The Girl With All The Gifts. I’m no sci-fi or fantasy fan, and usually shy away from books in either genre. But I found this zombie book for 50 cents at a little bookstore in Brenham, Texas and thought I’d give it a go. Y’all, I surprised myself with how much I adored this one. I originally gave it four stars but when I found myself still thinking about it days later, I went back and changed it to five.

Tomorrow, I fly to Seattle and Washington will mark my first new-to-me state of the year. This has been on my travel list for years, and I’m eager to start exploring with one of my best gal pals.

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It’s January and I’m already feeling the butterflies that travel and good books and new things bring my way. So I’d say 2017 is off to a pretty swell start.

A best friend is like a bra….

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Welcoming my 27th year this month has been magical and has left me feeling so loved and lucky. I had most of my original birthday blog post written and ready to post before I picked my best friend of fifteen years up from the airport this morning. Then she gifted me with a $50 Victoria Secret gift card paired with a sweet note comparing me to the perfect bra. I should note now that she knows I have a tendency for buying bargain everything. I’ve been this way since I was a kid. Even now as a grown-up with a full-time job, I just love the thrill of a good buy. Meg knows I would never buy a fifty dollar bra on my own. I should also note, if it’s not already obvious, that I have very small boobs. So when I recently went into a department store and found a set of bras for a great price with the label ‘large’ and THEY FIT, I knew I had to buy them. I walked out happy and with a slight ego boost from my purchase. When I got home, I finally realized what had just happened. I had bought large CHILDREN’S sized bras. That fit perfectly. Goodbye ego trip. I swallowed my pride and still wear those bras to this day.

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This is where Meg comes in to save the day with the gift card and note comparing me to the ideal bra. I’m going to share that note now, paired with snapshots from my birthday month that make me feel incredibly grateful.

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“Happy Birthday Tina Wina!

I got you this gift card to Victoria’s Secret, not only because I know you’ll never leave the junior’s section for bras on your own, but because I think it’s a befitting gift for you because it represents our friendship in so many ways!

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There’s a cliché expression that a best friend is like a bra– supportive, reliable, all those great things. That describes you. But you are far more complex than that. Plus, we don’t really need much support because we’re such long-standing, proud members of the itty bitty titty committee (althought you took about a 9-month sabbatical during your pregnancy. I forgive you by the way.) So the explanation doesn’t really fit us. In honor of an age of being offended, I take offense that we do not have a cliché bra metaphor that perfectly describes our friendship as women with small breasts. #smallboobsmatter

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So I’ve come up with an explanation that fits your uniqueness and lets us use the bra metaphor.

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You’re like my best bra. Really, my dream bra because, although I’ve found a friend like this in you, I don’t think I’ve found a bra like this. Picture this: I walk into Victoria’s Secret; I’m immediately intimidated by all of the voluptuous ‘Kim K. types’ clearly more fit to be shopping there. I, of course, head straight to the clearance section expecting to find a bra that is under $20, practical, but probably an ugly shade of green. This is worth it because it fits me and makes my boobs appear larger than they are. Suddenly, my eyes are drawn to a 32B bra hanging on the rack. It is glowing among the other 32DD bras that are left over since all the other skinny girls have sucked the sales rack dry. It is bright, it is vibrant, I don’t even have to worry about buying matching panties because it has so many colors it will match with everything I already have (not that I usually match my bra and panties, but if I shop at VS I’m clearly expecting company so maybe I’d step up my game for the night.) I don’t have to change or add a thing about what I already own! I try on the bra and it’s a perfect fit! If my boobs were saggy, it would be supportive, which is comforting to know, but this isn’t the case at 24 so it’s just extremely uplifting! Suddenly my boobs look and feel better than ever before! I’m ready to hit the town and take on any and all adventures; adventures I wouldn’t explore without this bra helping me feel comfortable and my best. It makes me feel more myself than I do with other bras! It’s uplifting, vibrant, exciting and adventurous. And the best thing? It expects hardly anything in return except for a little bit of money, a little fun, (because this is not the type of bra you don’t take advantage of how it makes you feel) and only red wine because it’s just not a white wine type of bra. The wine thing is probably the biggest downfall, but I drink wine most often without a bra on anyway so I don’t care too much.

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LOVE YOU! Thanks for being my best friend for 15 years.

Love,

Meggie Moo.

P.S. Don’t share this on social media though I know you might want to– alongside a picture of the gift card and maybe a TBT picture of us– because someone might get offended that I said #smallboobsmatter and talked about being skinny vs. voluptuous.”

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We decided that sharing to my blog was okay, by the way. I would like to take a brief moment to clarify that Meg is amongst the most unoffensive of people that I know, and that our sense of humor is just clearly very strange.

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This life I share with the people who love me is just the very breast.

Sipping Wine Out Of Styrofoam Cups

We had taken an empty classroom and turned it into our last minute study break room.

And we’re sipping wine out of Styrofoam cups.

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The atmosphere was light and celebratory. I brought the bottle of vino as a “prop” for my group’s regression analysis. We had chosen wine scores and prices as our topic. Weeks ago I had jokingly asked the professor if this would be an appropriate research topic for stats. Turns out, it was.

When our stats prof walked into our study room to find us all mingling, I asked her if she’d like a glass of wine. Our cohort was in chuckles as she politely and amusedly declined.

Tuesday night I completed my first semester of grad school.

I was sick and miserably attempting not to cough up an entire lung throughout presentations and four hours of class.

And yet, I’m still smiling with memories of the evening.

It may have been presentation night, but we kind of made it into our own little party.

Sam shared cookies from the cafeteria, offering them up in that delightful English accent of his.

In the 45 minutes we had to spare between classes, part of the crew made a fast food run. Jake delivered vanilla milkshakes to Tracy and I upon his return.

Much of the evening was spent in laughter. And cohort inside jokes. And impromptu second presentations filled with more laughter. Did I mention wine and vanilla milkshakes?

Finals are over and now I’m getting a month long break from how and with whom I’ll be spending roughly the next 1.75 years of my life.

I’m giddy looking at the stack of non-school related books I’ll finally get to binge read and thinking about the family-filled holiday memories that I’ll be able to completely devote myself to making.

Still, I’m already just a bit sad for the day I’ll graduate with my MBA.

Because I know I’ll be looking back, thinking of nights like this. When we sat around laughing, drinking wine out of Styrofoam cups.

Best Friendship And State Hopping, 2015

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I spent the end of June and the beginning of July in the best of ways — Exploring and traveling with my best friend. We danced the night away in downtown Baltimore, were beach bums for two days in gorgeous Bethany Beach, Delaware and went winery-hopping in lovely little towns of Virginia. Small world as it is, another close friend of mine recently moved from Texas to Virginia. Last summer, Hannah, Meg and I were exploring wineries in Texas. It seemed that we were picking up where we left off, sharing hugs and wine and adventures in just a slightly different location.

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Let me backtrack to the year 2001 and explain to you my long-term love for Meg Tucker. She and I have been best friends for fourteen years. We met when she was nine and I was twelve. I had walked around the block with my dog every day for months, praying for a best friend to move into the very house she eventually moved into. I was brokenhearted when I found out she was a measly nine-year-old with a crush on my little brother to boot. Luckily she let go of the infatuation when she heard him tattle on me, and I quickly decided to let go of the age difference. The instant connection we’ve always shared has led us to believe that we are friend soul-mates. Always, we’ve had a lot of qualities in common and a lot definitely not in common. Current examples: She’s very single and I’m very not. I love to travel and she often prefers a staycation. I jump into things and she takes her time. We both have an intense love for people, new experiences and open-mindedness. She’s an ENFJ and I’m an ENFP. Our extreme similarities mixed with our striking differences sometimes make us want to momentarily kill the other, often quickly followed by the next moment when we’re trying to catch our breath from the fits of laughter. We continuously learn from one another and are both more accepting and understanding because of it. I find it liberating that she’s one of the few people that I can freely snap at, and comforting that she knows things about me that I haven’t ever told her.

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Briefly back to 2015 now. In between all of our travels, we made our way to Ellicott City, Maryland to BBQ with Meg’s fam. Every time I so much as step inside their doors, I am swept away by a sense of complete comfort and nostalgia. Here is where I spent two weeks after graduating high school, and have come back to often ever since. This is the house I slept in after eighteen-year-old me got my belly button pierced for the first time; Where Mrs. Tucker fretted over what my parents would do to her when I got back to Texas. It’s where Meg woke me up early one morning by jumping on me and I, still half asleep, asked her the now infamous question: “Do you think I am an insect that you can squash beneath your grasp!?” Where Meg’s little brother once played guitar for us after my flight back home was cancelled, and where I giddily spent one more night basking in the glow of my second family. In a world where everything changes, the Tucker residence has been a constant of mine for so long. Where laughter, drinks and good conversation are always shared, where Mrs. Tucker provides the best of home-cooked meals, where Mr. Tucker will always make bad jokes, and where I am affectionately and always referred to as “Tina.”

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My evening this time around was spent just like I imagined – Drinking margaritas on the back patio, being in stitches over silly but treasured memories and staying up late chatting with Meg’s mama as Meggie snoozed on the blow-up mattress.

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Reminiscing on my week spent state-hopping with my childhood and forever best gal pal has left me with a plethora of new memories and happy feels. When I think of Baltimore, I think of partying until the wee hours of the morning, followed by sleeping on someone’s floor for four hours, as if I was still a twenty-one year old lad. When I think Bethany Beach, I think of a good summer read and mangoritas. I think of an exquisite creamy crab soup at a little patio café, near the beach and on a gloriously perfect day. I think of getting unexpectedly drenched by the waves, shrieking and giggling and frantically trying to save all of our belongings. When I think Virginia, I think of scenic drives, great wine and even better friendships. I think of rooftop bars and heartfelt, honest conversations. And when I think of Ellicott City, Maryland? I think of my northern home.

A Weekend Of Laughter

I can still feel the remnants of the glow leftover from an incredible weekend.

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On Saturday I kissed the hubs and baby goodbye for the day and made the hour and a half drive to San Antonio. A very best friend of mine was in town and staying with another mutual best friend of ours, and I was giddy to see them both.

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The remainder of the weekend was spent in laughter. So much laughter. I am fortunate enough to laugh often, but I can’t remember the last time I laughed quite this much. We laughed playing ridiculous games and drinking beer and whilst lying on the other. We laughed so much that there were tears and the inability to breathe properly and the assumption that we may be hoarse the next day.

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We laughed sharing stories and confessions and sushi at midnight. We laughed recounting memories and creating new inside jokes. We laughed as I kicked my feet wildly in the air in a pathetic attempt to get up after knocking a beer bottle over, and we laughed when Kirsten’s husband wrapped up my life in one sentence by telling me, “You’ve got the hustle, just not the coordination.” We laughed loudly and wildly until 4 am, about everything and absolutely nothing at all.

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I tried to get a few decent pictures to help remember such a perfect weekend, but most every time I tried we were in complete hysterics. Looking over these pictures together, we were in fits of giggles once more over how terrible we looked in most of them. How lucky I feel to have captured on camera the genuine, unruly joy of best friendship. How happy I am to call such a best friendship my own.

What A Wonderful World: New Orleans 2014

I had such an incredible time road-tripping and vacationing in New Orleans with three of my favorite girls.

Wandering the Jackson Square and French Quarter areas was both a quaint and charming adventure.

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Partying on Bourbon Street and collecting bead necklaces without ever having to expose boobies was a blast and a half.

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Staying in a renovated coffee house turned boutique hotel was magical.

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Visiting the Voodoo Museum was equally creepy and entrancing.

Gobbling beignets at Café Du Monde and scarfing down catfish and red beans and rice at Mother’s proved that these famous eats most definitely live up to their names.

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The history and culture of this city is absolutely mesmerizing, and I found myself completely enchanted throughout the duration of our trip.

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But more than anything, I just loved being with three of the lady loves of my life.

I met both Rachel and Hannah while practicing for a college play years back. They tell me that they often discussed their feelings for me before we officially all hung out. “That Christina girl. She’s bad ass.”, is probably my favorite quote that has been recounted. One day after rehearsals, they invited me for ice cream. And from that moment, ’twas love.

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I met Kristin through Hannah and we immediately just clicked. Of the four of us, we are the two married ladies of the group, though this is only the beginning of the long list of things we have in comment. For instance. We’re also both extremely non-confrontational and unaggressive slow walking girls. This quickly became a running joke (no pun intended) throughout the trip as both of us followed around the other two to their destinations of choice. (All top-notch destinations, I might add.) As we lagged behind the rest of our group, we bonded further. I texted my very closest friend and told her I almost already considered this girl one of my best friends. This isn’t something that I text lightly. Years ago, I was the girl who wanted to be everyone’s friend and often choose quantity over quality. I still love talking and learning from most anyone and everyone, but am much more choosy about who I let into my close circle of friends. I am 25 now, after all. I crave stimulating conversations and meaningful bonding moments right along with the giggly inside jokes and chats about sex, dammit. When I later told Kristin about previously mentioned text, she excitedly confessed that she had been thinking the same exact thing about me, but didn’t want to sound creepy. I am almost always the first to be creepy. I am okay with this.

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So despite all of the lovely New Orleans moments, my favorites are a little bit more personal. Dancing around our hotel room and later canoodling with Hannah. Sharing a bed and Cajun fries with Rachel. Eating Ihop at 4am with Kristin, and getting lost but laughing the entire time we circled our way back to the hotel. Buying matching cat pajamas with three of the best gals I’ve ever had the chance to know.

On our last night in New Orleans, we went into a bar and were seated directly behind a marvelous jazz band. As we swayed along to the music and enjoyed our close-up view, the band began singing “What a Wonderful World.” Surrounded by my lovely ladies and soaking in the beauty and essence of New Orleans, I simply couldn’t have agreed with those lyrics more.

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“I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.”