Let the Good Times Roll

6.28.2012

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I-10 and I have shared quite a bit of quality time together recently. Two weekends ago, I was strolling along Bourbon Street and sipping on hand grenades (otherwise known as a liquid Jolly Rancher...in the worst way possible) in New Orleans. I even managed to squeeze in almost every creole fare by ordering a sampler of jambalaya, gumbo, red beans & rice and crawfish etouffee.

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And this past weekend, I made a twenty-four hour trip to Houston for the One Direction concert with some girlfriends. We're completely aware that we surpassed the average age demographic for the British boy band about the same time all our friends got their braces off. However, we embraced being full-on crazed teen boy band fans by reveling in the fact that this was our last year as teenagers. We were all nearly front row, and I think my ears are still ringing. On an attempt to stalk them at their hotel post-concert, we caught sight of their tour bus and followed them until we realized going home at 1am was probably best; after all, we gotta play hard to get.

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And in between all that, I've been able to enjoy the company of these lovely ladies and a very special lady...

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by the name of Emily. Indeed, Emily has arrived happy and healthy with a head full of hair (brunette like her mommy, daddy and brother's) and nails that could be taken to the salon. This is the first niece/nephew I've met on the day of their birth and it was quite a treat.

So, within the last week, I've gone from being 21 in New Orleans to posing like a 14-year-old at a concert to nestling a baby only a few hours old in my arms. I-10 and I will meet again this weekend as I make my trek home--for good this time.


A, B, C. 1, 2, 3.

6.23.2012

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My newest niece, Emily Elizabeth, was due this Tuesday but has decided she needs a little extra time to cook in the oven. I went over to my sister's last night and her nursery is ready for her arrival, complete with a handcrafted quatrefoil coral rug, a very own mommy original painting above the crib, calming grey walls, and the clothing display you see in the above photo. This will be my third niece/nephew to be born in seven months, and there's still one to come in August. Quinn, Evan, Emily, and Alexander are going to make quite the quartet. So, that's what's on my mind this weekend. Hope you all are enjoying yours and staying cool.


I cry and stuff.

6.21.2012

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Every Thursday, my Instagram feed is taken over by kiddie Kodak moments. Friday's eve is Throwback Thursday in the Insta world where users upload a picture from their past, be it from twelve months or twelve years ago. In honor of this day, I pulled up this letter I wrote to my oldest brother while I was at camp for the first (and last) time. I was extremely homesick, if the letter didn't spell that out clearly enough. I slept in my mom and dad's bed for most of my childhood. The thought of staying home alone was terrifying until I was a teenager. And, at my first sleepover, I walked home from the neighbor's house at three in the morning. Needless to say, I was a homebody and not cut out for sleep away camp.

Anyway, the note made me laugh for a few reasons -- the chicken scratch handwriting, its brevity, and my no sugar-coating way of revealing my misery. Though having more free time this summer makes my pangs of homesickness slightly stronger, I'm happy to report I'm mostly over the syndrome. Happy Throwback Thurs!

Bring Back the Bows

6.20.2012


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Intense careers in both gymnastics and cheerleading have played big parts in my past. I have such fond memories of my days spent on balance beams and doing billions of backbends across the gym floor. However, the thought of squeezing my body into one of my old crushed velvet multi-colored leotards makes my stomach turn. And then there were the matching scrunchies and lots and lots of those little "clippies" that ended up making a home out of my hair for that era of my life. Leotards evolved into cheer uniforms, each of which took half an army to get on and off. It's safe to say I've since never put any of these items back on. However, one of my favorite gym/football field accessories, the hair bow, is making a come back. So, let's explore the evolution of the hair bow, shall we?

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Many a Southern little girl's mom will tie her daughter's head back with bows of all shapes, patterns and sizes. Some of them practically exceed the size of the child's head!

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{ceci and ana}
In elementary and even middle school, it was hard to let go of this hair accessory. I can recall cutting grosgrain ribbon from my mom's wrapping closet to have something to jazz up my pony tail holder.

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As cheerleaders, bows were a staple of our daily uniforms. These bows were far from ordinary as each was adorned with sequins, polka dots, or even our names monogrammed along the side.

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And now, it seems as though this trend is resurfacing and catching on among all ages. Yes, even grown-ups are letting childhood nostalgia take over and donning the bow. I can't say I'd sport this look on a regular basis, but there's something summery and cute about a loose ribbon draping sunkissed beach waves for a relaxed look.

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But, don't be misled; even with all this bow business, I don't think I'll ever jump onto the bow made out of hair bandwagon, made famous by hotel heiress Paris Hilton and later Lady Gaga.


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I'm partial to anything I can wear that makes me reminiscent of my childhood wardrobe. My mom always dressed me in sun hats, smocked dresses, and overalls. While I don't pine for a pair of overalls, well, ever, I do miss the bows, braids, and the itty bitty sizes on the tags! 

A Little Old Place...

6.15.2012

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My summer residency, just a few blocks west of Hardin House, finally feels like home now.

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{seven of the ten Loveshack residents}
There are ten Kappas under one roof which makes for a lot of Bachelorette watching, iPod blaring, and hair blow-drying--nothing that any Hardin girl is unaccustomed too, though. We've designated the name "Loveshack" to our summer home. 

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{my big kat and my fellow molls}
The cross-pollination of grades has made the experience so unique and fun.

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{as you can see, our sorority-spirited decor is anything but subtle}
But, for this weekend, the Loveshack will be mostly vacant, as most of us are NOLA-bound! I'll be crossing off one of my five things on my summer to-do list this weekend as I get on board for the Fiji New Orleans trip. I'm sure there will be plenty to report but when I get back, but for now, happy US Open watching this Father's day weekend! 

& Joy Be With You All

6.13.2012

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Spotting old friends sporadically in the past week that I've been back in Austin, walks on Town Lake at dusk overlooking the sun-kissed buildings, the song "Give Me Love" by Ed Sheeran, fresh foods with friends like the mix-your-own guacamole at Zocalo, receiving a thoughtful email from an international B.O.D. follower, indulging in girly guilty pleasures like The Bachelorette and old episodes of Friends, and seeing that little bundle of joy make the cutest table centerpiece there ever was.



These are the things that have made me happy this week. I hope tidbits of joy have wedged its way into all of your weeks, too. 


茉莉花 the Globetrotter

6.11.2012

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A good amount of my friends have ventured over the Atlantic to explore France, Spain or one of the neighboring European countries. And in recent years, trips to Africa have become more common, with several of my friend's families spending their summers on safaris or doing missionary work. That being said, very few people I know have made their way across the Pacific, at least past Hawaii. I can't say it's on the top of my travel to-do list, but there is an element of intrigue about this country with densely populated cities, the practically cryptic language, its rich history, and tradition-driven society. As part of Mollie fulfilling her minor in Chinese at SMU, she chose to spend two months of her summer in China, traveling part of the time with her boyfriend, Simon, and his family and part of the time with the school program. She hasn't been there but a few days, yet it's already made quite the impact. I hope she doesn't mind my using her email on her globetrotting experience thus far as blog material. I can't resist; my Austin adventures aren't nearly as exciting/interesting as hers!

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{mollie at simon's memorial graduation}
She experienced one of the worst traveling tragedies there is--the airline lost one of her bags. And to boot, it was packed with all her shoes and cosmetics. It's one thing when your bag is lost on a domestic flight, where the likelihood of a Macy's or at least a Target is high. But, over there, they don't make shoes larger than a size seven due to the foot-binding custom, so, for now, she's stuck with the Converse she boarded the plane with. She's making the most of it, but I sure would feel even farther from home without my Almay Make-up Pads and shampoo. Other than that minor glitch, she reported lots of staring natives, people swarming to take pictures with her, the heavily polluted air, no AC, no English, and the heavy emphasis on hospitality towards guests.

So, while my sister just left behind her culture shock, Mo Li (her Chinese name) is just now beginning her adventure. I cannot wait to hear about the rest of her stay and am selfishly hoping the time flies by while she's gone!

Home Again, Home Again

6.10.2012

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I spent the last week in three cities--Pittsburgh, Houston and now Austin. All this packing and unpacking, moving in and moving out, and re-settling has taken away time from BOD, but I should be back in action for good now. First things first is to document my trip with my parents to greet Carolyn, Art, Elsie, and baby V in Pittsburgh!

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My mom, dad and I were greeted by lots of precipitation as we arrived in Pittsburgh. We explored the neighborhood that Carolyn and Art would soon call home on our way to a lovely (but claustrophobic) dinner at a local Italian favorite, Girasole.

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{elsie cuddling up to the baby Alexander in the belly}
The next morning, we awoke early as we were eager to see our Austrian expats. We met them at their new apartment and didn't waste a minute before we started stocking it with the essentials--paper towels, bathing products, sheets, and of course some treats for Elsie who made her first (and likely last) overseas flight.

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Several Target trips were involved which served as the perfect occasion for the girls to bond over towel and plate options as the boys obediently followed with the cart. You could see the twinkle in Carolyn's eyes as we made our way down each aisle and she was finally in a land of English labels, endless options, and much more reasonable pricetags.

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We managed to squeeze in a lot more "tourist-y" things than I expected.

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We visited the gorgeous Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh, where Art will be researching.

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Serving as the main library at the university, it stands 42 stories tall, making it the second tallest education building in the world. It undoubtedly puts the PCL to shame.

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Many of the classrooms are themed with a nationality.

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The Austrian room, coincidentally, was one of the most beautiful and ornate, reflecting the elegance of the Baroque period in the 18th century.

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At least they'll have a little piece of their first home right here in the heart of Pittsburgh.

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We perused through the shops in Shadyside, the neighborhood adjacent to theirs, Squirrel Hill. It hosted a number of stores Carolyn had long been without like Banana Republic, J. Crew, Lulu Lemon, and even an Apple store.

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After an early dinner, Carolyn and Art were jaded from traveling and suffering from jet lag. My parents and I weren't nearly as wiped, so we looked to the concierge to point us to a fun place for a weekend night in Pitt. He led us to a brewery/church. Yes, you read that correctly--a beer hall set in the confines of an old worship center. It was not your conventional cocktail experience to say the least.

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On Sunday, we visited what would likely be their new parish, and then took in what is acclaimed to be one of the best city views in the world at the Duquesne Incline.

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Our waitress at Church Brew Works recommended we visit the National Aviary if birds suit our fancy.

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It was definitely worth checking out. We saw nearly extinct species, had a snow owl fly right over our heads, and I even gave cash to a parrot.

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For our last dinner, celebrating their long awaited homecoming and new baby Alexander coming in August, we went to Meat + Potatoes, a new restaurant and hot spot downtown. We realized its popularity after calling on Friday with the only weekend openings being past 10pm. We feasted on duck, porkbelly mac'n'cheese, wedge salads, pork chops, and strawberry shortcake.

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I can distinctly remember saying farewell to Carolyn and Art, newlyweds at the time, as they embarked on their European adventure, and thinking to myself, "I'll be going into my second year of college before they move back; that seems like an eternity from now." And before I knew it, we're here. They're still a flight away, but at least they're on the right continent now. I'll miss telling people I have one sibling in Europe, but I'm willing to pay that price to have her home for Christmas and other family affairs. In case you haven't heard it enough, we're so glad to have you all back. Now for everyone's favorite question: what will be the next phase of Life in Graz now that y'all are Pittsburghers?