A (Belated) Review on an (Incredible) 2015

I’ve been meaning to write about my 2015 for a couple of weeks now. You know, pre-2016. Oops.

I’ve been wanting to write about what a big year it was for me. About the goals and steps that were made.

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About jumping into Texas’ largest underwater cave at Jacob’s Well and about new volunteer opportunities, like helping to get ladies wardrobe-ready for job interviews at Dress for Success.

About joining my first dodgeball team and enthusiastically being an uncoordinated thrower and dodger of balls.

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Also about hot-air ballooning for the first time and half-marathon running for the third time and travels galore.

About visiting five new-to-me-states; West Virginia, Virginia, Georgia, Ohio and Delaware, and a new to me country; Canada. There were also repeat visit to Louisiana, Oklahoma and Tennessee.

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The memories made on these trips were ones filled with friends, family and my lover boy. They were full of late nights and laughter. There were beaches and a Louisianan treehouse and historical monuments and a giant Ferris wheel and a summertime BBQ with my second family. There were also local road-trips and a Taylor Swift concert and an enchanting Port Aransas trip with my clan. There was a magical night with the best friend spent haunted pub-crawling near DC, and there was taking the world’s tallest free-standing elevator to see some lovely views of Memphis with the husband. There was the majesty of Niagara Falls and smaller falls too. I found unexpected beauty in random places (like Medicine Park, Oklahoma) and pretty places to share smooches with my favorite guy (like Jackson Street Bridge in Atlanta.) There was a road-trip to Lafayette with my little brother and a delightful brunch in Cincinnati with my cousin. Simply put, it was a year of such spectacular adventures.

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2015 was also the first year that I was able to successfully step away from side-blogs and to begin taking on assignments and events for my own. It was such an awesome feeling to take some chances and see a dream like that come true.

Twenty-fifteen was also the first time that I started seeing a therapist. I’m open about my opinion that everyone should go to therapy, but this was the first year that I finally made the leap and went myself.  Being brave in many ways has become almost second-nature to me. Hang-gliding and bungee jumping and parasailing? Sure! Traveling to Italy at seven months pregnant? No problem! But emotional courage? Talking about feelings and being vulnerable? That’s where I can be a real scaredy-cat. The leap was a tough one, but it was also a magnificent one. The self-growth and awareness I have gained so far from this process has been humbling and life-changing.

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There are a couple of other things about 2015 that really stand out to me.

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Starting my MBA program is definitely one of them. Doing grad school while working full time and having a little one has been sometimes challenging, but more than anything, it has been incredibly rewarding. And it has also been so very fun. Last Tuesday was the start of our cohort’s second semester. We got out early and a group of us made our way to a nearby Mexican restaurant for margaritas and queso. I broke out my newly acquired selfie stick and we spent the night laughing, sharing stories and making fun of each other. After five months and one completed semester that we all survived together, it really does feel like we’ve made our own little family. And I am treasuring the heck out of this time and these people in my life.

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Work was also a big part of my year.

I’ve been smitten with my job as a social media rep from the start, but 2015 is the year that I felt I really delved into my role and found a new confidence in my career.

I love having a position that gives me so much freedom and flexibility, but being bestowed with more responsibility in 2015 was a special thing too. I was asked to help plan the annual holiday party for hundreds of team members and had a speaking part in a television ad for Race for the Cure. Working for a company that does so much to give back to the community feels good, and being able to take such an active role in it all feels like an honor.

In between all of this goodness was my favorite part of 2015 – Cuddling with and loving on my little family. They made my year the brightest it could possibly be.

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Simply put, 2015 was a year of beautiful things, both big and small. It was a collection of both ordinary and extraordinary moments, and I’m so thankful for every single one of them. Though, in all of its amplitude, 2015 taught me a big lesson on the small things too. It showed me that sometimes those seemingly ordinary moments are the most extraordinary ones of them all.

That’s Twenty-Six Talkin’

The past two weekends have been absolutely wonderful. They’ve been full of late nights, dancing, slumber parties, out-of-town friends, nonstop laughter and downtown shenanigans stretching into the wee hours of the morning. These past two weekends have also been a reminder that I’m not exactly twenty-one anymore. I can’t remember the last time I’ve partied every night of the weekend for TWO weekends in a row. How did I do it?! IT’S EXHAUSTING. I texted my best friend to happily complain that SXSW and spring break were killing me. “That’s 26 talkin’.” she responded. Ain’t that the truth.

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I turn twenty-six in a week, y’all.

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And I feel like I’m in a pretty good place to start another year of my life.

I’m currently flirting with the idea of getting my master’s. Then again, I might just continue focusing on my growing career. I’m keeping my options open, and that is an adventure in itself. I’ve recently taken on a new part-time social media client and am now looking over resumes to hire an intern to work below me. It’s a little surreal and very exciting.

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Not being certain of what’s next is part of all of the excitement. I know I could change my mind on this one, but as of right now, I don’t plan on having another little one until I’m about thirty. I personally hate the phrase “getting it out of the way.” I know everyone’s reasons are understandably different, but I just don’t want to get anything out of the way. I want to savor every minute of it just being Robby, Bryn and me. I want to enjoy each and every moment of her growing up, and to allow her to have a good amount of time where she is our only one. On a more selfish note, I am also enjoying the good amount of flexibility and freedom I still have with just one kiddo. Brynlee is a cheerful and easygoing baby, and she has a pretty fantastic daddy. The three of us have a routine and rhythm down that is perfect for us, and I just love everything exactly the way it is right now. While other people seem to do amazing at doing the two-under-two thing, the thought alone nearly gives me hives. I love having what I see as the complete luxury of not having my children back-to-back. I don’t feel rushed for a thing, and for a girl as restless as I, that feels almost like an extravagance.

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I know that the days have a funny way of sneaking up on a person, but right now thirty still seems so deliciously far away. The next four years stretch out in front of me, and they are beckoning me with the options, uncertainties and dreams that they hold. They are full of plans of adventures and treehouses and exploring lands both real and imaginary with Bryn and her handsome daddy. I’m delighted to not know exactly what is coming next and to be toying with so many different schemes and possibilities. I love my late nights out, but I’m growing preferential to early nights in with my lovely little tribe. I love what I do and the direction life is taking me, and I adore the people that make up my world. I’m just having so much fun, and fun is such a beautiful thing.

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I’m not twenty-one anymore, and that is definitely okay. I don’t really miss the experience of regularly throwing up in toilets.

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Twenty-six is talking, and it sounds so very sweet.

Mishaps, Surprises And A Half Marathon

The past week and a half has been crazy, busy, stressful and packed full of sweet surprises and blissful reminders.

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My daughter ate deodorant (Poison Control assured me she’d be just fine), my relatively new, usually perfect car refused to start, my debit card somehow got demagnetized and I accidentally hit on and probably terrified an attractive man. Let me explain that last part. Husband and I were walking out of date night at Punch Bowl Social and had just acquired some new photo-booth photos. I waved the new photos in front of my husband’s face and said “Lookit how cute we are!” Except it wasn’t my husband. Robby had politely opened the door for some folks and I was waving photos in front of a cute, probably terrified stranger. We both nervously laughed as I mumbled an explanation, and proceeded to quickly find our respective parties. Both myself and my respective actual husband proceeded to laugh at me a lot.

Now onto the sweet surprises and blissful reminders.

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My best dude friend randomly texted one evening last week asking if it was too late for dinner. He lives in San Antonio, but was in town for an interview the next day. I couldn’t help but smile at his typical impromptu plans. It was wonderful sharing unplanned drinks, stories and laughs with one of my favorite people of nearly nine years.

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On Saturday, a gal pal and I made a mini road-trip to San Marcos to run Moe’s Better Half Marathon. The weather was cold, wet and windy, but I was giddy to run my third half and join Becca as she popped her half marathon cherry. This was also my first half to run with a friend, and despite the fact that we were running in icy rain, I loved most every second of it. Never has 13.1 miles gone by so fast as when I was chatting, giggling and maybe even once peeing in a bush with my lovely friend. After we crossed the finish line, we rewarded our accomplishment with an incredible brunch at downtown San Marcos’ Root Cellar Cafe. The restaurant was cozy and quaint, the presentation was gorgeous and the meal absolutely scrumptious. I was double fistin’ with coffee and mimosas. Paradise. It was exactly the brunch destination I envisioned treating myself to after an especially long morning run. It definitely didn’t hurt that the company was also pretty excellent.

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As part of my adventure of the day today, I visited the specialty beer store that is Hamrick’s Market. I was thinking the cashier looked familiar and was trying to place him when he asked, “Did you used to work at Target?” I remembered then. Jacob and his best friend were two of my favorite, most entertaining customers. As he was updating me on his life Mr. Jacob told me that he and his pal were about to become roommates. With amusement in his tone he added, “But it’s not like that.” Apparently I had once assumed him and his pal were lovers. I was tickled that, after five years, he not only remembered me but also my word vomit.

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Mishaps aside, life has been giving me butterflies lately. I am infatuated with the love, the joys, the opportunities and the exciting possibilities that are filling my days.

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I think it should be noted that, on the two different occasions that my car wouldn’t start, two people I hadn’t known five minutes prior helped to jump-start my vehicle. A reminder to never underestimate the kindness of strangers. A reminder that there is beauty to even the moments in which things go wrong. A gentle nudge to remember the rest of these perfect moments, in which everything goes so very right.

Anything for Adventure

I am smitten with 2015.

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It’s only February, and already the year has been completely packed full of magic.

I’ve brunched in Arlington, Virginia and toured monuments in D.C. with my best friend of thirteen years. I’ve dined–and met the famous PIEMAN– in Round Top, Texas with my handsome hubby at Royer’s Café.

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I’ve sipped wine with gal pals in the adorable town of Georgetown, Texas and near an extinct volcano at Pilot’s Knob Vineyard in Bertram. That particular night was spent with my Rachel face and her sweet mama, drinking a delicious red and watching the sunset with a scenic view. It was one of those gorgeous, flawless evenings that I know I will keep with me for a very long time.

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I’ve gotten puppy kisses and happy feelings whilst volunteer dog-walking at my local animal shelter, and good conversation with great people while volunteering at my nearby Alzheimer’s Center.

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Covering media events has given me the chance to do things like drink wine while trying on fancy-shmancy jewelry, drink more wine in a cooking supply store and eat plenty of delicious food.

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Running my first 10k of the year gave me the opportunity to eat complimentary donut holes once crossing the finish line. I do it all for the chocolate glazed, yo.

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My little lady is 10 months old now, and she is this outgoing, silly, happy, vivacious bubble of fun. She is a redheaded, blue-eyed version of her daddy, and has us constantly laughing with her antics and sweet personality. Watching her grow has been and continues to be this beautiful, wonderful, wild journey. And raising her with my best friend gives me copious amounts of joy on a daily basis.

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This past weekend I had a photo shoot in downtown Austin with one of my favorite photographers. Being navigationally challenged, I got lost trying to meet up with Dave and he had to find me. While shooting, I simultaneously explored new nooks and crannies of my beautiful city. And at the end of the shoot, I had wedged myself into a tiny little nook and cranny in an alleyway by a dumpster to get a good shot. Anything for adventure, y’all.

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After the shoot, I sat myself down with a good book, a notebook and a delicious cocktail at Halycon Coffee Lounge. Reading and writing in a coffee shop with a tasty, boozy drink felt a little bit like paradise.

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A little over a week ago, I started a project called Adventure Of The Day. I’m challenging myself to try a new escapade every single day, and am chronicling it all at adventureofthedayatx. I can’t tell you how inspirational and invigorating this self-made challenge has already been. Within a week’s time, I was given a spontaneous inside tour of a tea trailer, purchased plane tickets, made a quick jog down to the area of a cave preserve, and climbed to the top of a staircase to get a lovely view of Buda, Texas. Today I tried lavender hot cocoa for the first time, ate a truffle made with six different peppers and took a selfie with a barista. It’s the perfect excuse to do something great even on Mondays. Every morning brings with it the knowledge that something delightful -and often unplanned- will be happening in the very near future. Though I’ve made a career as a social media representative, I’ve been slow to the Instagram game in my personal life and have only occasionally posted on my first handle. Now I find myself giddily anticipating plans and excitedly wondering what my next new experience to post will be.

And I just can’t wait to see what adventures will be awaiting me in the next twenty-four hours. And the twenty-four hours after that. And the….okay, you get it. ADVENTURES AWAIT!

Happy Birthday, You.

He loves Star Wars and The Goonies, but Back to the Future is his favorite. Parts 1, 2, and 3.

He is silly, and incredibly selfless and his big smile never stops turning my heart to goo.

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(Ice-skating, January 2015)

I married him at 20 and I married him again renewing vows at 25. I hope to marry him again, and again, and again.

Our daughter can’t fully understand yet how very lucky she is to have him, but I know that she will. He would hang the moon for that little girl, and watching them together is nothing short of breathtaking.

Today he turns thirty-two. He was my age when we first locked eyes at a party in 2008. That first night was spent bantering and juicing a cantaloupe. The first thing we ever had together was fun.

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(My heart melts for the billionth time, February 2015)

Nearly seven years together, and still he showers me with affection, kisses and surprise candy bars. Still he never fails to tell me how much he loves me or to let me know he thinks I’m, in his words, “ravishing.” Still my safest place to rest is nuzzled right next to him. Still, one of the greatest things we share is so much fun.

Happy 32nd to the man who has proven to me that love really can be all it’s cracked up to be. You’re my Han Solo, my ancient pirate treasure, and my DeLorean, all rolled into one.

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What started out as my first media event of 2015 quickly turned into a night of adventure.

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My gal pal Emily joined as my plus one to the downtown opening of Lucky’s Puccias. This is the second Lucky’s but their first restaurant, the first being a popular trailer eatery. Instead of looking at my email I unwittingly just put the address into my phone, which took us to the trailer location. After walking around for a bit and doing a little asking around (and checking my email), we realized the new restaurant was all the way on the other side of 5th street. Oops. These mishaps are a common occurrence when you’re friends with me, but if you’re game, lovely things can come from them too. I make sure to always find friends who are game for my mishaps.

So we walked and talked and laughed our way to the other end of 5th street.

 We dined on deliciously cheesy pizza and drank tasty wine and were very merry.

Upon leaving, we quickly decided to take advantage of our walk back by visiting a couple of other bars along our route.

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Right across the street was Donn’s Depot. At first glance, you wouldn’t know that this joint was anything more than a seedy dive bar. I’m a little ashamed to admit that, this being my first time here, this was what I originally thought. But looks aren’t always what they seem and luckily I have to pee a lot, as the lady’s loo shows the true beauty of this Donn’s. After starting a curious conversation with a fellow bathroom goer, I found out that I was drinking in a very old train. What is now a room to potty was once the caboose. Em and I proceeded to have a grand time exploring and climbing on the nooks and crannies of this spectacular urination area.  I’m not at all surprised that Esquire Magazine named this bar one of the top in the country. It has the most magical bathroom I’ve ever had the honor of tinkling in.

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We ended the night at Kung Fu Saloon, showing off our skills of giant Jenga game-playing while simultaneously showing up the dudes playing across from us. Not to brag, but we’re like, really good at stacking blocks.

What started as an evening of Italian food and wine ended with super-sized games and a magical caboose bathroom. I adore the variety of this weird, wonderful city of mine.

Em and I lost touch for a while at the most similar points in our lives. She was engaged and I was married but childless, and for whatever unintentional reasons we drifted apart. Now she’s single and I’m married with a baby, and we’re closer than we’ve ever been. Life has a funny way of  bringing together those who were meant to be adventurers-in-crime.

New Year’s On A Plane

I like to start off every January with a bang. I feel like it sets the tone for the rest of the year.

I especially like to start off new years on a plane. I began purposely doing this at the start of 2013, when I visited my best friend in Pittsburgh. By the end of that year, I had filmed a commercial, was payed to travel first class to Detroit and play dress up with my own wardrobe artist (to this day on my top 5 list of favorite states), fell in love with my first and current post-college career, traveled to a slew of places including Puerto Rico and Mexico, graduated college and began doing things like fly-boarding, ziplining and indoor skydiving for free as an event blogger. Robby and I also learned we were expecting our very own little person, Miss Brynlee Mae Boudreaux.

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In January of 2014, my husband and I spent a week of storybook romance in Italy. We got lost in the rain in Venice, ate the best pasta of my life in Milan and walked 463 steps to the top of the Duomo in Florence. I look back on that magical week with my favorite guy and, nearly a year later, still get starry-eyed with the dreamy memories.

The rest of 2014 definitely followed suit. I soared through the clouds hang-gliding for the first time. I took two road-trips with girlfriends, one to the new-to-me Mississippi and another to party in New Orleans. I smile thinking about how much happiness and laughter overfilled my car on those weekends. Robby and I celebrated five wonderful years of marriage by renewing our vows at a little chapel in Las Vegas. Right after this we headed to a happy hour and the grocery store, still decked out in wedding dress and tuxedo. The whole thing felt like something straight out of a romantic comedy, which is appropriate, as such a storyline more or less sums up our life together. Playful and full of silly, fun, overwhelming love. I took a mini-shower under a waterfall and helped give away a car and modeled for one of my favorite photo-shoots to date. In my usual awkward fashion, I learned how to be a flying acrobat while flailing around on a trapeze. I finished my second half marathon and ran 5ks which also involved drinking wine, eating food and meeting a celebrity. Event blogging gave me the opportunity to eat and drink and attend fun things, and I even experienced getting paid to do this while freelance social media repping for a popular Austin restaurant. Best of all, my husband and I said our first hellos to our gorgeous, red-headed baby girl. Now she is this chubby, happy, vivacious almost 9-month-old and she is simply the best adventure I’ve ever had.

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2013 and 2014 have been the two favorite years of my life. I’ve lived so big and beautifully and can’t believe all that I’ve that the chance to experience in such a short amount of time. More than anything, I am overtaken and humbled by all of the love and joy that surrounds me. I truly feel like I have everything. The best of every world. There must be something to this starting off the new year with travels.

I’m one-upping myself for 2015. I love starting off January–the start of a new year–on a plane, but this is the first time I’ll be starting New Year’s on a plane. This being, um, in a little over a day. I’ll be visiting my best friend in Virginia, a first for me. Her living up north in small states is great for my see-all-of-the-states goal. But mostly, I am just excited to see her face and go on new adventures with my favorite lady of nearly fourteen years.

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It’s hard to explain in words how happy I feel right now, in this very moment. I am sitting next to my husband, sharing lovely small-talk and laughing about our little nothings. My little girl is sleeping in the next room and the fire Robby made is keeping me toasty on this chilly night. Tomorrow, we’ll spend a cozy evening with new neighbor friends for New Year’s and early the next morning, I’ll be on a plane heading to new things and my best gal pal.

2015 is already off to a flying start.