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.

Twenty-Fourth Summer

This summer has been an incredible one, to say the least. I’d even go so far to say that it’s been amongst the best of my life. The last summer I remember being filled with as much magic was my eighteenth. After a sheltered childhood and graduating from a small, private school, I was full of enormous curiosity and ready to live as fully as I possibly could. Within a couple of short months, I traveled to London, Paris, New York, Colorado and Maryland. My very first plane ride was to Europe, in fact. That summer I got my bellybutton pierced and drank beer by a river on a starlit night and walked through the bustling streets of New York City and made smores by a campfire in the mountains and climbed up a windy staircase to make my way to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I wanted life, and I got it– And a small dose of its wonder, beauty and sadness too. I will always look back fondly on those months, and that innocent and wide-eyed girl getting her first little taste of this big ‘ole world. summerstuff Fast-forward six years later. Though I’ve lost much of the innocence and naivety of eighteen, I’ve managed to keep in tact that wide-eyed fascination and zest for life and living it. Within the past few months, I’ve had the chance to travel to Progreso, Cozumel, Louisiana, New Mexico, Arizona, Michigan and Puerto Rico. I’ve sand-sledded down the gorgeous White Sands, drank martinis at a bicycle shop, bowled at the oldest bowling alley in the US, visited a lovely island in between Detroit and Canada, feasted on delicious brunches in New Orleans and Tucson, cruised to Mexico with my hubby, and enjoyed the beautiful beach of San Juan with one of my favorite girls. Being an event blogger has given me the opportunity to try adventures like ziplining, flyboarding, indoor skydiving, paddle-boarding, helicopter touring and beekeeping. I’ve even been able to make art (I use that term loosely, considering my lack of skills in that area.) at a bar and chow down for media events at restaurants like the delicious Uncle Julio’s.eventblogging Bits of this summer still seem like a really crazy, extraordinary dream to me. After auditioning on a whim, I was cast for a role in a national commercial. I then had a film crew follow me around for a week in my life. A month and a half later, this same crew liked me enough to send me to Detroit to film a piece that was later played at American Idol and Bruno Mars’ tours. This amazing whirlwind consisted of flying first class for the first time, filming on a theatre that rock stars perform on, playing dress up with my own makeup and wardrobe artist, looking over pictures of myself in a conference meeting whilst drinking wine and being shown around the city of Detroit by an absolutely fabulous crew. A couple of months later, I was sent to a concert with awesome seats and the chance to watch myself talking to the crowd on a mega-screen.

In August, I graduated college with honors and thus became a first-generation college graduate. My big and crazy tribe celebrated the day with me and had me feeling all kinds of loved, blessed and accomplished.

boatyay My husband and I even bought a boat. The floors were gutted and the engine didn’t run properly when Robby brought it home. After putting in countless hours and an immeasurable amount of energy, my dude had our boat fixed up and running. He’s pretty great, that boy. Now I have the perfect outlet for little weekend getaways made up of pretty sunsets, crashing waves and my handsome husband.

Oh, and I met the former White Power Ranger. Yeah.

To sum it all up, My twenty-fourth summer has been an unforgettably enchanting one. I’ve experienced so much, seen so many dreams come true and have lived really, really big. If my eighteenth summer was the time I took my first small taste of the world, I’d say that the summer of twenty-four will be remembered as the time I took a really large, intoxicating bite. And oh, was it delicious.