Summer Slipping By

Summertime feels endless at the very start and right about 4th of July I start realizing it’s slipping away. My schedule starts filling up, the work emails start coming in with dates for August and the impending start to the new years starts looming. New starts, new beginning, they can be fun for sure, it’s just the saying goodbye to the downtime I’ve grown accustomed to that’s hard.

The last couple of weeks have been packed with summer classes and it’s been so much fun, tiring, but fun! Switching to more lecture based courses has pulled me off moving more and at the first that seemed to give my body a good rest it needed. After a while I noticed I wasn’t moving much at all, personally or at work. This last year I had to change it up because my hip flexors were seriously suffering. At one point I couldn’t even butterfly and if you’re a dancer, you know that’s bad. Things aren’t 100% back to normal yet but they’re getting there. I’m trying to re-up my PT exercises and teaching the last couple weeks has given me a good opportunity to just move.

My brain tends to focus on the big project coming next and I often forget to enjoy the moments that I have left. The to-do’s start infiltrating the brain and before long I’m more consumed with an urgent feeling of “it has to be done now!” Ever get that feeling? It’s a lot of pent up anxiety waiting to just explode and I really don’t want to end a lovely summer that. Nope, no one does. Little by little I’m working through the list and I’ve given myself the next two weeks to really focus on work so that I can be fully present and enjoy my upcoming trip to NYC (Insert squealing here)!

So, ladies and gents, time to buckle down and get some schtuff done and get to enjoying this summer before it all slips away!

Happy Tuesday, y’all!

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Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July, y’all!

I’m proud to be an American and celebrate this country I live in! There are many, many things that we’re still working through in this country and will continue to work through for some time. However, I feel very lucky to live in a place where I am free and when I think of all those freedoms, gifts that were given to me by men and women who sacrificed so much, I feel all the the more thankful. That’s what today means to me; Celebrating what freedoms we have, remembering those who fought to bring those to us, the future generations, and the thinking of those who will come after us and inherit this land.

As you cruise around the lake, grill up the burgers and watch the fireworks bursting in air, remember that these freedoms were not free and raise a toast of thanks for all we have! We have work to do but today we celebrate!

“We’re blessed with the opportunity to stand for something - for liberty and freedom and fairness. And these are things worth fighting for, worth devoting our lives to."

(Ronald Reagan)


I believe in America because we have great dreams, and because we have the opportunity to make those dreams come true.”

(Wendell Willkie)


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Adventure Day: Pawhuska Trip #2

Weather in Oklahoma these days is no joke. We’ve had over a week’s worth of warnings, terrible storms, tornadoes, the works. In short, it’s been the pits and I’m hoping Mother Nature decides to take a break here real soon.

I planned a trip to Pawhuska to go back to Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile store the day after my birthday. We went through a downpour on the way up but ended up having a gorgeous day after all the rain passed. I made Pyro Man take me last year for the first time ever and I think I’m going to make this a yearly trip. It’s the perfect combination of things for me, things for him and we get to enjoy four hours of just us on a round trip drive together. Not to brag, but we travel pretty well together and I’m super grateful for that.

Food at the Mercantile is still amazing. No photos this time as we were both famished and ready to chow down, but I highly recommend the Chicken Fried Steak and their Ranch Hand Sandwich. I’ve got to try making this one at home, it was delicious! Pyro Man also requested we try PW’s Ranch Dressing at home, that stuff is not your everyday ranch at all! He also kept talking about their $0.25 sweet tea and must have had a gallon while we were there.

Definitely fueled up on caffeine and good food, we (read: I) shopped for some goodies before we headed over to try Charlie’s Sweet Shop. The Maple Pancake ice cream really does taste like pancakes, but I highly recommend the Huckleberry flavor. Superb and perfect for for summer.

We finally got to go on a tour of the Lodge which I have been wanting to do forever and ever amen! It’s not open all the time so I was thrilled we were able to plan a trip on one of those lucky days. The whole place is wide open for all to walk through and see. Open a drawer, any drawer and see all the props, tools, labels and whatnot. The pantry is a dream come true and I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I found her back room full of all sorts of gorgeous plates, bowls, dishes and more. In short, I was kid in a candy shop.

So that part of the trip is fun for Pyro Man, but not as fun as the second half of our day, snagging for spoonbill. If you’re not familiar, I definitely wasn’t until a couple years ago, spoonbill or paddlefish are these massive fish, part of the catfish family, with giant bills that can get to be about 100 pounds. They don’t take bait so you have to snag them, there’s a whole technique to getting the hook to snag on. Yes, you can keep them through a tagging process and eat them. No, we haven’t done that, just catch and release for us. Not being much of a fisherwoman myself, Pryo Man filled me in on all the details, the rules, the tagging process as well as the release rules. Let me tell you, there’s so many things to know so if you think you want to just run out there and try this or that your husband might want to, read up on your states website to find out all the regulations first.

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We headed out to Kaw Lake, Pyro Man’s preferred spot to snag and changed into some fishing clothes. I forgot my tennis shoes and had to wear his. With my hat, his camo jacket and shoes, I looked like a bad doppleganger of my husband but better that than getting my good outfit all fishy. It turned out to be a perfect day to be on the water. All the rain had made the lake rise and the fish super active. Since then I’m sure the lake is overflowing.

We caught several and yes, I partook for a bit learning how to snag and reel. Pyro Man would help cast and when he got a hold of one he let me reel in to know what it felt like. I got a little 10 pounder and that sucker was pretty hard for me so I can only imagine how much more difficult a larger one would be. The last fish Pyro Man snagged is a crazy story. He got caught on some line and when he tried to reel it in he felt a giant tug and knew there was a fish on there. Get this, he reeled in an 80 pounder by snagging on a line that was still attached to the fish! How crazy is that?!

Had to end on that one because I just don’t think it gets better than that. Another two hours back home, crime podcasts playing and we were home. Days like that are always a joy because we’re both able to partake in things that interest us. I feel really lucky that my adventure loving husband wants to explore things that light me up and that he enjoys teaching me about the things that make him happy. Is there a better win-win out there? I don’t think.

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Top Notch Summer List

First day of Summer might not actually hit until late June, but for me, it’s totally summertime, baby! I always have a summer list going of things I want to do over the break. Every year it’s a bit different but I always have staples like bake a pie, see a summer box office hit, spend some days reading for fun, watch a fireworks show and don’t forget about a good ol’ ice cream date.

I started making summer bucket lists after a few summers felt lost with work and catch-up to-do’s. Summer has always felt like a season of freedom but this crazy list lady sometimes needs a list to help her embrace that freedom with a few ideas waiting in the wings. Thus the bucket lists were born! I’ve got my personal one written but I played around writing some of my favorites on a simple list for anyone else who wants to join.

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The best part of this list and that it’s just a jump off point. Want to road trip but can’t go states away? Just the next town over might have the best donut shop ever! Go see a baseball game if you’re not into coffee shops or heck, a great bar might fit your feel better. Doesn’t matter. The point of a list is to give yourself some ideas of fun things to do that really encapsulates summer time and now’s the time to really think how you want to spend hazy crazy days of summer!

What’s on your summer bucket list?

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Happy Birthday to Me!

It’s my birthday today!

I don’t you about you, but I’m feeling…thirty two!

OK, so I stole a little T-Swift and changed it up a bit. I think that song had just hit it’s peak when Big Sister turned 32 and I called her up to sing my updated version. Now it’s my turn to hum it all day long. I might hum it all year long, we’ll see.

But yes, I’m 32 years old and I couldn’t be happier about it. I have enjoyed my thirties so much so far and I think they’re only going to keep getting better! I’ve got a full day of me things to do starting with cycle, a full body massage, dinner with my man and plans for a celebratory glass of wine. I can’t think of anything better.

Oh wait, yes I can!

A Saturday trip to Pawhuska to visit Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile store, a lunch date at her restaurant, a tour of the Lodge where all the magic happens, and final stop to eat at her newest business, Charlie’s Sweet Shop. It’s my Oklahoma version of Disney World and lucky duck me, it’s happening tomorrow. I. Can’t. Wait.

Happy birthday to me! It’s going to be a good day, y’all!

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May Showers Bring...May Updates?

I’m back, y’all! I have made it through this busy spring semester and came out the other side relatively unscathed! I’m feeling footloose and fancy free now! Well, not entirely. I went in to work twice this week and did a few work to-do’s the last couple of days so, you know. If it helps me feel on top of things then we’re all good.

When the new year started I knew I wanted to build this little space online, as many bloggers or aspiring bloggers hope to do, but I also wanted to find a better balance in my personal and work life. When it came down to it, what I really needed to do was take care of business first. That looked a little different because I started with resting at home so I was ready for go the next day, refreshed and ready to work. When I was at work, it was head down, getting things done, no time to waste and when I got home, it was all about unwinding. I needed a different cycle to the day and that meant stepping away from blog dreams more often than I wanted. I can say though it really did make for a better semester for me so maybe it all balances out in the end.

Life, right? A constant flow of back & forth, focus here then over there to find the right rhythm for the day. I feel like that’s the new catch phrase—it’s not longer “balance” but “rhythm,” which is kind of a beautiful way of speaking to the cadence of your day. Finding that rhythm of life…which makes me think of Sweet Charity. Anyone else?

Okie doke!

So, my Pyro Man has one more day of finals before he’s out for the summer. I’m so proud of all his hard work and I cannot wait for him to enjoy a well deserved break this summer. One more semester and I’ll have an electrical engineer in the house officially! While he’s been spending the last few nights studying, I’ve picked back up my crochet project from last year and I’m 1/3 of the way done. These little granny squares are taking me way longer than I thought but I honestly am so motivated to finish this afghan, it doesn’t matter how long they take. This blanket is going to be completed this summer! Pictures to follow, of course.

That’s life as of right now, folks. A little calm before the storm of summer classes comes along and I’m totally fine with enjoying this resting period. Maybe these May showers will bring about a few more posts this month, too. We shall see!

Happy Thursday, y’all!

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Favorites Right Now

It’s finally Spring! Ever since the snow thawed I’ve been dying for more warmer weather. Not that we’ve had a ton of snow, but we’ve had a ton of cold weather and I’m ready for some sunshine! Happily, that’s what Mother Nature is gracing us with these days.

OK, so now that’s it’s officially spring, here’s all I’ve been loving these lately that’s put me in a perfect spring mood!

Sweet Ice Tea

My man makes the best sweet tea and we’ve been brewing a fresh batch every couple of days in this pitcher by Pioneer Woman . I use her recipe for lemonade, too, and you can bet I’ll be making a ton this summer! Glasses to match only make the tea that much sweater!

White Tennis Shoes

I’ve been eyeing these white slip-on tennis shoes from Rothy’s, but those just don’t fit the budget right now. I do have some cute slip on’s I picked up from Target last year, these are a close second. And if you’re looking for something in between, these Keds will do the trick. They’re great to throw on with jeans or comfy to wear with a long maxi.

Bombas Socks

OK, no joke, these ultra low no-show socks have changed my shoe life! My great slip on’s I just told you about, well, they used to rub the back of my heels until I got these golden socks! .They have a little sticky on the inside heel part to keep them from slipping. They feel great, don’t fall off, and best part, they actually don’t show! Win-win-win!

Jean Jacket & Scarves

Well, we’re no totally out of the winter weather yet, spring officially arrives March 20th, but I know we’re still going to have some cool breezes until about late April. Cue the jean jacket, warm enough to block the wind, cool enough to layer over some white jeans or capris. I love my oversized one (got on a heck of deal this fall) and my shorter one from Marshalls still comes in handy (see a well made one here). A decent priced one from Old Navy or even Target if you’re on a budget.

Until we start hitting the higher digits, I’m still wearing scarves, dang it! Love, love this one and it’s spring green color! This one reminds me of the Gal Meets Glam ones.

Curvy Jeans

I tried shopping for some jeans at Madewell recently because I was in desperate need of a new pair, but after seeing the price tag, I just couldn’t pull the trigger. In any case, I popped next door to LOFT and found these babies, aka the best jeans on a budget! They fit well, don’t fall down and my booty looks aces in them. Seriously. Last note, LOFT always has sales so you should be able to get a good price for them.

Happy spring, y’all!

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Podcast Roundup

Ever since I discovered podcasts four years ago, I can’t seem to get enough of them. I’m constantly playing them in the car on my way to and from work, Pyro Man and I have used them on road trips and they’re great if you need something other than tunes on a long walk.

Last roundup I had lots of true crime, and it’s still a favorite, but I’ve got a few inspirational ones, too. Let’s get to it!

Podcast Roundup

Over My Dead Body

If you’re looking for the next podcast, dig into this one! So freaking interesting! I enjoy a good true crime and this one is laid out in six perfect chapters for the listener. Essentially the story lays out a perfect marriage, nasty divorce, a murder (shocker) and the unraveling of family drama. Get in, get hooked.

*PS - They also did “Dirty John,” which was made into a TV series. Also an excellent listen!

RISE Podcast

Julie-come-lately, I found Rachel Hollis last spring when her book came out. Tons of ads started showing up on Facebook for Girl, Wash Your Face and friends were posting her quotes constantly. I found her podcast first and really enjoyed her message and how she put it all out there. I liked her interviews and how she seemed to really connect with each interviewer. Yes, if you listen constantly then you’ll realize it’s the same message over again, but honestly, maybe it’s a message you need to hear over again.

Favorite episodes: #79, How to Find Your Calling with Lewis Howes, #75 Daily Habits that Change the Game with Brendon Burchard, #73 How to Gain Control of Your Money with Rachel Cruze, #61 Lewis Howes Interview, #58 The Lie - I Am Not Enough

Cultivate Your Life with Lara Casey

A friend recommended Lara Casey’s book, Make It Happen, several years ago and I found a lady who’s whole mission was to help you figure out how to make your goals happen through planning and following faith. I. was. hooked. First of all, I love planning. It’s a weird thing I learned from my mother and her trusty blue book, aka the Bible. If your plans did not get written down in Mom’s blue book, it didn’t exist. Our family lives ran off that calendar and I couldn’t wait to be old enough to have a beautiful planner of my own. Fast forward to college, I went to an incredible place that really nurtured that love of planning to a whole other level. Truly. So, finding someone who’s mission has been to help women dig into goals, learn to plan them out and tackle them with grace, I knew I had found someone I could get behind. I had listened to all her interviews I could find on Apple Podcast and was thrilled when she announced she was starting her own show. Her podcast is new so there aren’t too many episodes out there yet, but I enjoy the message she sends out and how she incorporates her family into it all.

The Daily

I’ve mentioned this one before but it’s still my favorite quick and easy 20 minute news source. I’ll use iHeartRadio to stream NPR in the morning while getting ready and follow up with “The Daily”. It’s New York Times sponsored, they bring you straight facts, usually focused on one central concept and they end the show with something you need to know for that day. In essence, if you’re looking for a snippet of information on something pertinent for the day, this is it!

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That’s what I’ve been soaking up a lot lately! A little mystery, a little news, and a lot of personal growth because, hey, it just keeps me trying to be a better human every day!

Happy listening, y’all!

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Spring Break Tunes

Hey-o! It’s March which means it’s officially Spring Break season! I’ve got one more week of classes and then I’ve got a few days off, whoop whoop!

Spring Break just screams “road trip!” to me. Maybe that’s because we used to pack it up and head to Lubbock to see family every spring break. It just feels like the right thing to do; roll the windows down, get a bunch of snacks, a fountain coke maybe and crank up the tunes!

In honor of this road trippin’ season, heres a playlist of some of my more well played songs from the last couple months!

Enjoy, y’all!

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Wonderfully You

Hey y’all. How ya doing? Hanging in there?

It’s March tomorrow, can you believe it? The month has flown by and I’ve been taking my time enjoying those quieter moments to just relax, let my brain veg for a moment. I wouldn’t exactly call it finding inner peace or stilling myself so much as just trying to figure out what is rest, what does that look like and how the heck do you keep yourself from bingeing all the Netflix shows or falling down the Instagram rabbit hole during rest.

I set up timers on my phone a few weeks ago so that I don’t spend more than an hour on social media a day. You guys. I did not realize how much time I was spending picking up my phone for a quick scroll here and there or how much time I took after work just mindlessly scrolling!

I also shut down all apps for downtime at 10:00 every night. Essentially I make sure the essentials are available (weather, clock, messages and phone), but everything else is off limits until 7:00 am. I was trying to make changes so the last thing I do at night and the first things I do in the morning have nothing to do with social media.

So far it’s been pretty helpful for me. You can try it, too, under "general settings and the tab “screen time.” Try it! I’m also attempting no-screen-time-Sunday’s…a challenge to be continued.

Social media can be great, a real tool to connect people, update on information quickly, spread a little joy even. I found myself falling into a not so good pattern. Too much time on the apps, too much time wasted, a need to check for…nothing really, and an overall dissatisfaction in general with myself. The highlight reels are so true and even I post only the good stuff. It’s what I want to put into the world, happy things. I posted a couple weeks ago about practicing patience and I realized in order to do a better job of that, to find satisfaction and gratefulness in my heart, I needed to separate myself from those apps. I’m ashamed to say it’s not been easy, but I’m definitely trying to break the habit or at least control the amount of time I’m on there and be more conscious when I am.

By setting timers to shut things down, I’m helping my brain to focus on things I want to do more, like reading. I actually just finished Misty Copeland’s book, Life in Motion, and loved it! I know, I’m late to the party, it came out in 2014, but I still found her story fascinating, her career amazing, and her words inspirational. You know what’s crazy is a year after she wrote this book she was announced as principal dancer at American Ballet Theatre. Dreams really do come true, baby! Truly though, read her story and you’ll see it came with a lot of work and a lot of support.

Misty’s story delved into everything about her journey including the doubts she had in her career. Doubts are like seeds, they creep into the back of your mind, plant themselves and they can grow if you don’t weed them out. Even after weeding, you might find a couple seeds are still there and they grow back. If you don’t pull those suckers out by the root, or even weed at all, those doubts can take over your mind like an overgrown backyard. It seemed that when faced with those thoughts Misty embraced them, entertained them even, and moved forward without ever actually falling prey to them because she knew her purpose on this earth was meant for more. Giving up was not an option.

The last chapter really spoke to Misty’s great understanding of herself, finding out who she was in life, in ballet, and fully immersing herself in that. I find that so inspirational, to really watch people embrace themselves. They just are who they are, for better or worse. They live and act in their truth without being in your face telling you who they are. They don’t need to because they’re just being themselves; their actions speak to that.

Also, how many times can a person use “they,” “their, “ and “they’re” in a sentence? Praise the holy Grammar Gods that my English teachers, including my mama, made dang sure I knew the difference!

Some of my favorite role models, choreographers, and characters are just like that: Gene Kelley, Scarlet O’Hara, Bob Fosse, Ree Drummond (aka Pioneer Woman), Brenda Lee Johnson (of The Closer), and Dolly Parton. I know, it’s a random list.

I’m drawn to them because they’re fascinating to me and all they did was live their best lives, follow their path and their dreams. I’m sure each were faced with an opportunity to doubt who they were, but something told them not to. Ultimately when you know yourself you just are yourself, right? That fundamental “why” drives your actions.

I mentioned earlier my need to shut off social media (I promise this long post is all connected). In a lot of ways I felt like I kept seeing the same things online over and over again. Things that I once found so creatively inspiring became stale. Influencers using the same inflection, selling the same products, using the same presets, styles, and looks. Choreography videos of the same nature, not all, but many, and poses of the same kind. I like what I like but I began to realize that it all felt the same, nothing felt original or rather the better word for it, authentic. I started to feel stale .What was I on here for if I’m not getting inspired? Then it hit me, why the heck do I need to be on here to be inspired at all? Shouldn’t my own creativity be enough to fuel me to be, well…me?

So maybe I need to remember what I like, who I am, follow my why. If I step away from everything that’s packaged the same way, if I take a moment to delve deep into my own self, spend a little more time tapping into my own thoughts and creativity, maybe I could get a little more comfortable with who I am or at the very least, remember who that girl is before I was inundated with constant pictures of perfect. Had I forgotten what it was like to follow my gut?

Maybe I would actually take a step towards doing things that bring me real joy. Maybe I would actually feel a little less unsure of my song choices, movement choices, less lost on what to post, what to write because I’d actually be following my gut, numbers and followers be damned. Maybe I would actually spend more time working rather than “getting inspired” scrolling through the same content over again. Why couldn’t I produce the fresh content I’m craving? Be it in class, choreography, in my blog or heck, in my own life.

I suppose I’ve been on a thought train for a while about embracing oneself more, conforming less to what gets the most likes, and remembering that being yourself really is the only way to go for a fulfilled life. Following that heartbeat, following that drive the propels you forward is the only way to find a sense of self satisfaction. I know I could not live my life without dance even if means I didn’t end up on the Great White Way. I know I will always write even if it’s just a handful of people who read it or even just my mother. That’s being true to me, following what fuels me regardless of what it brings.

Misty Copeland’s book may have been about her journey to where she is today and if you’re wondering how these thoughts all intersect, remember she is in the ballet world, a world that demands perfection. Artistry is abound, your own mark and style is required to make you stand out and yet, there are rules to making it to the top, requirements that demand time, energy, and perfection. Doesn’t that sound like social media today? Be yourself, but if you want to be well received, well liked, these are the things that will get you there. A constant battle between excelling at the basics, but leave your mark as only you can. It’s the same as demonstrating a tendu or taking a picture of your coffee, the use of épaulement or the way in which you shot the pic can grab the attention of the viewer.

It’s all relative I suppose. I took away many things from Misty’s book, how her path truly lead her to where she is today, all the people that helped her along the way, and how all it took was one teacher just noticing her abilities and someone else offering her the opportunity. My goodness, it’s remarkable. At the heart of it, she had to be true in what she wanted, following that desire many times over even if it meant going against the wishes of others. Misty’s story really is a good reminder that becoming who you are is a journey and that you need only look inside to fully embrace wonderfully unique and original you. So maybe get off the apps and start following your gut more, remember who you are away from the influence of constant perfection.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes of all time…

Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.

- Judy Garland

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