Thursday, July 30, 2009

Rear in Gear

I'm a pro at posed pictures. My friends know good and well that I always want to be on the left (my good side) and I will without-fail put a hand on my hip.

What I don't like are candid photos. Rarely do I like how candid shots of me turn out. While my friends say "I like that one!" I'm probably saying "I look like that?! How do I delete this?"

I saw a recent picture of LC from The Hills the other day and realized I have not watched that show in years. She looks awesome! I did watch the first two seasons and here's what happened: after watching themselves on camera from season one, the girls on the cast all figured out how much make-up to wear and they all lost weight. There was less slouching and more trips to the trainer that Whitney ended up dating or somesuch.

Someone taught LC my move. 

Also- did anyone see Katherine Heigl in The Ugly Truth

She looks amazing. MK tried on a purple dress similar to a khaki one worn by Katherine in the movie that had a silver zipper all the way down the back. It was deemed too sexy for her work wardrobe but for real, I need to get me one of those.

Or maybe just the rockin' bod to wear it.

After seeing candid photos from AG's wedding, you know what I did? I bought a trainer. Yep- bought one. Even got him a little cage to sleep in.

No really, I rented/booked/whatevered a personal trainer for twice weekly sessions over the next six months. I have been working out half-heartedly with admirable procrastination, and I even did well with a Pilates instructor and boot camp for a time, but now things are serious. The last time I had a trainer was the summer before college and it made a noticeable difference in my appearance. I have by no means let myself go since college, but when you've seen yourself look better and it's tangible to get back into those jeans, then it's time to commit.

At this rate I'll have a beach-ready body right in time for sweater season. 

In two decades I've lost a total of 789 pounds. I should be hanging from a charm bracelet.
-Erma Bombeck 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Visiting Nashville

Spent the weekend in lovely Nashville, Tennessee this weekend with two of my dear friends from childhood. I picked up MK from her office near the airport on Friday afternoon, decided that she is the best looking and best dressed person in her building after watching people file in and out while waiting on her, and we hopped on an afternoon flight.

MK lived down the street from me growing up, but RW was literally my next-door neighbor. I distinctly remember launching into her backyard from my trampoline and hearing the occasional rock hit my bedroom window when there was adventure to be had or walks to be taken.

So anyway, RW ended up in Nashville because she finished college there, and in the two years she has lived there, I had not been to visit. So you can guess how often I was asked when I was coming: as many as could be crammed into phone conversations filling the past two years.

RW has gone down a different career path than most everyone I know and I'm so proud of her: she's the personal assistant to a country music artist. RW has a scrapbook of her job. You should know your job is unconventional when you have a scrapbook full of passes to the Grammy's and pictures from music venues all over the country. MK and I were joking about what would be included if we made scrapbooks of our jobs: office supplies, snarky interoffice emails, fax transmittal sheets, employee review forms and FedEx labels.

We got to see a lot of the city, eat (a lot of) good food, shop and catch up on RW's dating life. Something we have always given her a hard time about is that she has this undefined "type" that she is looking for in a guy. There are a lot of intangibles to be dealt with, but basically it's a combination of ruggedly handsome, mysterious, infuriating (in a passionate way), politically conservative, plays the guitar, wears white v-neck t-shirts, etc. She would never to admit it, but other than the infuriating part and playing guitar this is actually a good description of her dad.

Over dinner at a trendy little restaurant in the downtown area on Friday night she caught me up on a trip she had taken with a friend to New York, (a gift from a well-known sports agent she had met whose assistant sounded an awful lot like Lloyd from Entourage), and a guy she had been out with recently (who, confirmed via Facebook, was very cute in a way only Southern boys can be), but rejected saying there was "no spark, nothing there".

MK said it best at dinner that night:

"You think you know someone, then they move to Tennessee, start rejecting perfectly good men and drinking red wine."

The two men RW was most attracted to over the weekend were:

1. Gerard Butler in The Ugly Truth. He is a crass meathead for 99% of the movie.
2. A guy MK pointed out Sunday during lunch at a small restaurant in Franklin, TN, who RW identified as the ex-boyfriend of Miley Cyrus, who is incidentally also an underwear model, as confirmed by a Google Images search on my iPhone while he was about 20 feet away.

We also got to go to the famous Grand Ole Opry Saturday night, where we saw short performances by a number of blue-grass bands and singers, followed by Clay Walker and Carrie Underwood. If you've never seen her, you would be impressed... the girl has got some serious lungs.

Sunday was spent sleeping in, drinking coffee and doing more of the same from the rest of the weekend that we so enjoyed. We all have such varying personalities but somehow, after all these years, we can do very little or very much and always remain vastly entertained by each other.

There are people whom one loves immediately and forever. Even to know they are alive in the world with one is quite enough.
-Nancy Spain

Friday, July 24, 2009


A most peculiar thing is happening.

My brother, who is in Austin wrapping up his college career at UT, is coming home for the weekend. While talking on the phone the other day, he found out that I will be gone this weekend; leaving for Nashville with MK today to visit our friend RW. He was disappointed (understandably so), but the primary reason for it was because- brace yourself...

He wants my family to meet the girl he is dating.

Hell has frozen over, pigs have flown, and one of us is finally introducing a significant other to our parents.

For all of our differences, my brother and I both take seriously the introduction of a boyfriend/girlfriend to our parents. Discounting high school because we were living under their roof, I cannot remember another time when when one of us has given someone that distinction.

This isn't my parents' fault. My parents are welcoming, nice people, though I think my Dad could be classified as intimidating or formidable to someone meeting him for the first time.

I'm disappointed because I'm his older sister and only sibling, therefore it is my job to give any girl worth his time a piece of my time as well. The one weekend I have gone out of town in I-don't-know-how-long for something other than a wedding or work and he's introducing a girl to my family. So typical. All I have seen of this girl is Facebook profile photo, and all I know of her are the cursory replies my brother gives when I ask him questions. The only other girls I think my parents have met would have been Texas/OU weekend dates, and that was more of a group setting where they were just taking a bunch of college kids to dinner.

I think about it and if I were this girl, I would be most worried about my approval- that of the older sister. Maybe it's a good thing, for her sake, that I am not in Dallas this weekend after all. If she's around any longer, I'm sure we will get to meet sooner or later. Oh, and by the way? All of the little brother plus one talk resulted in my mother nonchalantly handing me two books in the genre of dating.

If anyone would be getting the eye-roll from me this weekend, I'm doubting it would be my brother's guest.

Pam Byrnes: Greg honey, how are you doing?
Greg Focker: Oh great, considering I desecrated your Grandma's remains, found out you were engaged and had your father ask me to milk him.
-Meet the Parents, 2000

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Red Pen

You know what makes me completely uncomfortable? I am talking uncontrollably squeamish, not just a compulsive-small-talk-until-the-elevator-reaches-the-next-floor kind of uncomfortable.
It is unbearable for me to watch someone as they read something written by me. 

The beauty of having blog is that I write alone, post my musings or B.S., whichever is the order of the day, then I just leave it there and whatever happens next is up to the world. You read it if you want to and I go on with my life, having cleared my thoughts and memories like Dumbledore with his Pensieve
Since there is mixed company and I have real-life friends who have are blog-loyalists, occasionally one of them will check it in my presence. It's almost like watching a car accident- you don't want to look, but you do, you want to make sure everything is okay, followed by: Are they laughing? Is there a spelling or grammatical error that is glaringly obvious? Shouldn't they be done reading by now? Are they faking a reaction because I'm sitting right here? 
And worst of all: What if they hate it?

I was in a situation at work recently, after having worked on a project, where I had to literally sit across from someone as they poured over every word I had written. I didn't know how uncomfortable I was watching someone read my work until I realized that I could not follow my instinct to get up and leave or hide behind a filing cabinet until they were done. I cringed, trying to gauge a reaction and pretended to find my legal pad fascinating as I waited for a response. Like watching a crucial at-bat, a putt in sudden death or a game-changing field goal, I didn't want to look for fear that doing so would ruin everything. If there is any part of me that likes facing confrontation, I still haven't found it yet. 

The experience was good for me, the response to my work was positive, and made me think that if I desire to write more seriously or professionally, I need to get used to some editing. Just don't make me watch, okay?

There is but one art, to omit. 
-Robert Louis Stevenson

Monday, July 20, 2009


Here are just a few photos taken AG's wedding weekend... 

The priest may not betray us, but we were 20 minutes late to the rehearsal after going to the wrong church, convinced we were early. 

August 15th, 2009- these two are next!

RM + his GF. (I know, don't you love that dress?) 

AG + her cousin

AG + my gin and tonic and I

Bridal luncheon

Soon (and I mean soon)-to-be mama.


BF and I

KR and peonies

Remember, to let her into your heart... 
-The Beatles, "Hey Jude"

Friday, July 17, 2009

Calendar Space

First and foremost, it's my dear friend MK's birthday today.

We had a party that was "not her birthday party" according to her last night, but today is her real 24th. I feel like you probably all know her life story by now because she appears in many installments here at The Manhattan Transfer. She and I are different on so many levels and even both went to opposing Big XII schools, but have remained friends through the good, the bad and middle school. She makes me try new things and see new perspectives and experience life in a deeper, more meaningful way.

While lounging with she and ND on her bed after said party last night, RM busted in with the grandiose idea of going out all night and taking ND to the airport at 4 a.m. for her 6:15 a.m. flight back to her home in Hawaii. We did no such thing, but promised we would go out for a celebratory drink tonight.

Even when we were younger, MK would always point out that though she was among the last to claim her driver's license and was unable to vote until months after the rest of us, she always had the foresight to point out that once we got into some later years, she would have the upper hand.

She was right. My body, at the ripe age of 24 years and six-plus months was not about to get out of that bed and go party last night. The only thing I was capable of that point was shuffling to my car to go home and get into my own bed.

Months ago, when my summer calendar starting to fill up with work trips and wedding events, I intentionally kept this weekend open.

Knowing myself, I knew I would need a break at this point in the summer, and I do. I get to spend the weekend in Dallas with no commitments. No travel required, no weddings, no showers, no parties, no family events, nothing. I hope to accomplish a few things around the house, sleep and sleep s'more, see the newest Harry Potter movie for the second time, go to the gym with renewed purpose, succeed in not spending money on things I don't need and grocery shop since I haven't gotten to cook this week.

See how I slipped Harry Potter in there? Just trying to keep my priorities in check.

There is more to life than increasing its speed.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wedding Weekend

I have said it before and I'll say it again: my friends make the most beautiful brides.

AG tied the knot over the weekend, and barring one 20-minute long best man speech at the rehearsal, I think everything went according to plan.

The rehearsal dinner could have been a reception itself, it was beautifully done by the groom's family. His friends were rife with funny stories about him from army and West Point days- New York, Korea, Germany, Iraq... and Ft. Worth, where he grew up. My friends have been quick with the age-related jokes since AG started dating him (he is, after all, 6+ years older than all of us) and I think the toasts showed that they have lived a lot more of life than we have. The groom's father gave a toast welcoming everyone, thanking them for coming in for the wedding and recognizing all the men in the room who have fought to protect our country and our freedoms. I/everyone may have teared up a bit.

The best man's speech at the rehearsal dinner, as I alluded to, was a whopping 20 minutes long. 20. Minutes. They should have served popcorn and dimmed the lights. It was a three-part monologue that incorporated a cuban-inspired fedora, America's founding fathers and even AG's aunt, the matchmaker.

Saturday morning we returned from the bridal luncheon to the cottage where all the girls in the wedding were staying, and startled a bird that had somehow invited his way into our cottage. MK's first question was "what kind of bird is it?" I think I responded with "WHO CARES?!"

MK and I were the first ones inside, followed minutes later by SR, KR and AV, so we we gave them the FYI about the visitor when they walked in. KR threw it a piece of banana bread and watched it carefully for a reaction, thinking it was possibly dead, since who in the world would pass up banana bread? Meanwhile SR found a maintenance worker, we'll call her Helga, who came in to the cottage, got the bird riled up, causing it to fly around the living area and threatened to attack one of us.

Pandemonium ensued.

KR had skirted into one of the bedrooms and watched as the rest of us, paralyzed by fear, screamed like 14-year-olds at a Jonas Brothers concert while Helga chased down the bird. It landed on the fireplace and she picked it up with her bare hands, pretended to throw it at SR and cackled before carrying it outside. All in a days' work. We were all out of breath and once heart rates slowed down we laughed to the point of tears. One of the biggest concerns immediately following was whether or not the bowl of peanut M&Ms had been compromised by the flight of the bird. We made the executive decision that they were fine, and carried on with the hours of "getting ready" that are built into wedding weekends.
If technology ever comes back into my life in full-force, you'll get to see my cute pink dress and stylish up-do worn that evening. I warned that it would probably start falling the second that it started getting "a little bit louder now" during "Shout", but it held up surprisingly well.
Getting to the church, KR and MK took off running from my car in bridesmaids dresses and heels, not wanting to risk extra exposure in the 106 degree heat and yelling "every man for himself!" on their way into the church.

He and she said "I do" at 7 p.m., AG became AS, rings were exchanged and dinner and dancing ensued.

My parents were in attendance at this blessed event- I had about four minutes of non-whirlwind to sit and chat with them at the reception, and while walking them out through the foyer to the valet, stopped dead in my tracks when I heard an Usher song start playing, did an about-face and flocked back to the dance floor with my friends. The DJ was great, and my friends and I hardly sat down the entire night. Correction: we sat down long enough to eat what we garnered from the mashed potato bar.

I typically forget to bring a bathing suit but remembered this of all weekends, and as fate would have it, the cottage we stayed in was right next to the adjoining country club's pool. I was all for a post-midnight dip, so at around 1 a.m. AV, ND and I headed out to the pool.

We floated and chatted- conversations after weddings are always interesting- and I made the observation that AG became the first of our friends to meet and marry someone post-college. I was actually wrong, because KB did it too, but most all couple friends of mine who got together in college are either married, engaged or broke up around graduation. I know two more college couples getting married this fall, but after those two weddings we might actually be seeing a lull in matrimonial activity for a while.

The morning after the wedding I found a trail of clothes, starting with my ruffly pink dress, ending in my heels and making a detour to the bathroom to find my bathing suit. They may not have shot glasses at wedding receptions, but when did that ever stop my friends from doing anything?

Don't answer that.

We were watching TV Sunday morning, eating cinnamon rolls, strawberries, M&M's and Oreos (there was fruit, lay off), and as luck would have it, we heard another bird coming down the chimney. My friends recoiled at the noise and I moved the grate in front of the fireplace so that it was flush against the opening. Sure enough, an bird identical to the one from Saturday dropped down into the fireplace, which was quickly renamed the petting zoo, and watched him for a while until he escaped and had to be ushered outside with paper plates by KR's sister.

Birds don't eat cinnamon rolls either, in case you were wondering.

My wish for you
Is that this life becomes
All that you want it to
Your dreams stay big
Your worries stay small
You never need to carry more than you can hold.
And while you're out there getting where you getting to
I hope you know somebody love you
And wants the same things to
Yeah this, is my wish...

-Rascal Flatts, "My Wish"

Friday, July 10, 2009

It's That Time Again

My friends AG and SR will be getting married a month apart from each other this summer.

AG gets married tomorrow; SR in August.

For something as difficult as working full-time and planning your own wedding seems to be on its own, they have also been busy planning parties for and helping each other.

They grew up in the same suburban town, went to elementary, middle and high school together, both went to Texas A&M and were in the same sorority (with me), and both relocated to Dallas after graduation. They have lived together over the past few months, in an apartment that, the last time I visited, was full of wedding magazines, Lean Cuisine meals, had an elliptical machine in the middle of the living area and a copy of the book The Act of Marriage sitting haphazardly on a coffee table. I've never read it, though obviously I gather what it is about and can laugh and get goobed-out NOW, but apparently it is required reading for Christian couples. Just maybe not something you want your guests flipping through over coffee.

For all of the similarities they have from being friends so many years, their weddings will still take place in our hometown, but at different venues, with different guests and different styles that come with the personality of each bride.

At their dual bachelorette party, we joked with AG that it was also her "going away" party. She's only moving to Ft. Worth, which in all actuality is about 45 minutes from Dallas, it just feels far.

There is a picture of AG and I from the fourth grade, which is the team photo of our Boys & Girls Club basketball team, which I think we would both burn if it didn't have so much sentimental value. I would safely bet that it was the first picture of hundreds we ever took together.

I remember hearing about WS, her fiance, when they started dating. They didn't know each other at all and basically dated as friends, in the beginning. While visiting me in New York only a few months into the relationship, I recall her vaguely asking KR, AV and I how many drinks was appropriate to have on a first date. We all responded with probably one, on a first date, and she nodded, then came back with: "so three beers was too many?"

I have countless stories of her. Countless. I am so happy for her because she deserves every good thing that has come her way.

It's both strange and wonderful that today is here. Strange that we spent roadtrips to and from Destin, Florida making predictions on the sort of men each other would marry and the qualities they would possess. I would give anything to find that list. Wonderful that regardless of anything she put on paper, she found the real life version.

Happy wedding, dear friend.

Today I met the boy I'm gonna marry
The boy whose life and dreams and love I wanna share...
-Darlene Love, "(Today I Met) The Boy I'm Gonna Marry"

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Enjoying As Of Late

When you get accustomed to doing something, it becomes part of your routine, and before you know it you've developed a full-blown habit.

After my two weeks with Lack of Internet, I have found that I am really a habitual blogger. And I like it. I like that I set aside time and energy to get my thoughts together and form them into something people read. I have never been the best at keeping a journal, but for some reason blogging has some quality that has kept me going for nearly two years and two blogs now.

This isn't a farewell, by the way. I'm not going anywhere!

The following are excerpts from books, movies, or things I have come across that have inspired me, made me laugh, think or otherwise impacted me in the past week:

I remember receiving a letter from the American publisher Harper Collins that said that: "reading The Alchemist was like getting up at dawn and seeing the sun rise while the rest of the world still slept." I went outside, looked up at the sky, and thought to myself: "So, the book is going to be published in English!" At the same time, I was struggling to establish myself as a writer and to follow my path despite all the voices telling me it was impossible.
-Introduction to The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

^ Side-note: One of my old professors taught me to always read introductions, dedication pages and the like, instead of skipping over them to get to page one. So much is explained or can be inferred from these pages.

You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.
-Acts 2:28

The next morning I awaken to the sight of Zoe in her lavender polka-dot nightgown, standing on her tiptoes with her nose and palms pressed against my bedroom window. I study her earnest profile and the way a patch of her hair is spiked with static electricity.
I finally break her concentration and say, "What's so interesting out there, Zoe?"
She turns, runs over to the bed, and says, "It's snowing, Aunt Claudia!"
"Really?" I say.
"Yeah! Come look," she says.
I follow her over to the window, remembering how thrilling snowfalls were as a child. Now snow simply signals inconvenience, particularly in a city that quickly turns into a dirty, slushy, slow-moving mess. But I forget all of this as I look outside with my niece. I even feel a twinge of disappointment when I see only a few scattered flurries and no accumulation on the ground.
"It doesn't look like it's going to stick," I say. "Just your standard November tease."
"If it sticks, can we go sledding in the park?" Zoe asks.
"Sure," I say, as I think of how emotions seem so magnified when you're a child. Joy is more all-encompassing, disappointments more crushing, hope more palpable.

-Baby Proof, by Emily Giffen

Rebecca: (thinking to herself) Rebecca, you just got a credit card bill of $900, you do not need a scarf.
Mannequin: Then again, who needs a scarf? Wrap some old jeans around your neck, that'll keep you warm. That's what your mother would do.
Rebecca: You're right! She would!
Mannequin: The point about this scarf is that it would become part of a definition of your- of your psyche. Do you see what I mean?
Rebecca: No no no I do, keep talking!
Mannequin: I would make your eyes look bigger.
Rebecca: It would make my haircut look more expensive.
Mannequin: You would wear it with everything.
Rebecca: It would be an investment.
Mannequin: You would walk into that Allette interview confident...
Rebecca: Confident!
Mannequin: And poised...
Rebecca: Poised!
Mannequin: The Girl in the Green Scarf.
-Confessions of a Shopaholic, the movie

In summer, the song sings itself.
-William Carlos Williams