She Made the Dean's List!


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I'd be willing to guess that I've been to more weddings than the average 20-year-old, and within the next month, I'll have added two to my tally.

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As you all well know, my best friend is Mary Elizabeth Taylor (or Merl, as most of us know and love her), and this past weekend her sister Kathryn tied the knot.

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I was lucky enough to attend and every detail, from the bridemaid's bouquets to the comfort food buffets, was just as beautiful as the blushing bride herself.

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I felt like an even bigger part of the big day as I got to proudly proclaim this statement piece at the entryway my own sister's work, as you've seen here and here before.

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The atmosphere of wedding bliss inevitably stirred up sentimentality about my own brother's wedding less than a month away.

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My last sibling got married not long after I received a license to drive, so my maturing since then coupled with the significant portion of my life I've shared with Andy, has made this event particularly emotional.

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While I was in town for the last week of break, my mom let me have a hand in planning the rehearsal dinner, like picking the blush and copper invitations customized with another one of Erin's artistic talents, calligraphy.

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Meanwhile, I assisted with hosting duties for the couples shower for Andy and Kirby just before my departure.

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It was a full on fiesta filled with family and friends and the perfect farewell until we all meet again for the big day on the quickly approaching and so very appropriate Valentine's weekend.

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Congratulations again to the new Mr. & Mrs. Dean; counting down the days, Andy & Kirb!

Moments of Brilliance


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This past year I crossed a fairly major threshold. No longer was I getting my bearings in college. Rather I began the countdown to the end. Only three semesters remain before I embark on my next adventure and conversations amongst friends, peers and parents certainly don't let you forget that.

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This brings me back to the book I referred to in my last post. Spooner writes, "And what do you do?" We're defined in America by what we do, for better or for worse." It's true. In French class, we discussed how talk of one's livelihood is not only not popular like it is here in the states, but it's practically frowned upon in their culture.

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Though a hefty portion of his advice concerns business and financial matters, valuable life lessons are also scattered throughout. Just reading the short adage at the end of each letter is enough to satisfy your daily words of wisdom craving, but I've pulled together the dozen thoughts I found personally stirring.

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Life is hard, punctuated by moments of brilliance.

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All life is relationships.

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the most incredible things in life aren't plucked from novels. They're true.

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Love is extremely important. It need not be just married love, but love in as many of its forms as you can find.

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life is mostly not pure--it is fuzzy--you'll need flexibility.

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All of us, particularly when we're young, need life around us.

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the dangerous hours, three to four in the morning. That's when our anxieties seem to pour in, no matter what our age

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I believe that the ideal life has two elements to it: (1) You should love where you show up for work each day, whatever you do, and
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(2) You should have someone you love who meets you at home every evening...greeting you with an enormous smile as if to [them], you are the most important person in the world.

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have one really good purse; you cannot have what looks to be an expensive suit or dress coupled with a cheap-looking purse (*from his wife)

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the best friends go deep

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It's people who make life extraordinary. Not things.

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Lose yourself in real life, not the virtual one.

The overarching theme is obvious, but we can never be reminded enough--it's the intangible things in life that bring us the most happiness and fulfillment. So maybe I'll take a nod from the French and enjoy the present for what it is, and take myself out of the post-grad hot seat for the time being, knowing that the future will fall into place if I surround myself with life and love.

Note to Self


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A handwritten letter--like precious jewels, traveling, an excellent four-course meal or mountainscape views--is one of the finest things in life. I wrote one today and it was therapeutic. I received one recently and it was incredibly heartwarming. I gave one to my grandmother for her 85th birthday and she was gushing of graciousness.

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Being on both the sending and receiving end has reminded me how much I adore the intrinsic beauty found in a handwritten letter, a notion that was reiterated in a book I read cover-to-cover tonight, No One Ever Told Us That by John Spooner.

"I know it's old-fashioned, but I love letters. I love to write them and receive them. I enjoy the quality of the stationary and the hardness of fine card stock. And, as in many things in life, I enjoy the anticipation; what's in the note or letter? And I think more weight is given in something handwritten. Often, the real letters are saved as a memory of something special. People never forget simple acts of kindness, done in a very personal and old-fashioned way. E-mails and texting don't grab you by the heart in quite the same way."

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He displays this love through his collection of 59 letters to his two grandchildren which offer both practical and endearing advice for people "on the cusp of becoming something scary: grown-ups." Stumbling on this book this weekend not long after stocking up on fresh stationary for the new year re-inspired me to make the time necessary to put pen to paper. Have a good Monday!

New Me, Myself & I


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New year, new me. That phrase is one of many that has been exhausted from excessive use. It has died and been buried, only to rise again into the realm of phrases strictly used sarcastically, a place that "you only live once", "sucks to suck", and "sorry for partying" also call home.

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But hey, I kinda like it. I like how--in four simple words--it embodies the idea of a blank slate. Of course, a date doesn't necessarily define a new you but there's certainly no better time to try.

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My take on the "new year, new me" philosophy was inspired by my recent trip to South Texas.  I've become pretty accustomed to my daily activities, rarely stepping outside of my comfort zone unless you count a venture to a trendy Austin restaurant on the East side, which I don't.

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{photo courtesy of William Duncan}
My trip to William's deer lease in Carrizo Springs, however, does qualify. He promised I'd get a deer and I could only hope and pray I'd be able to deliver when it came time to pull the trigger.

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I shot not only one but two bucks and, simply put, I liked it.  Most exciting of all was being able to relate--on some level--to the passion that he and his brothers have grown for this classic Texan sport.

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It allowed me to experience a part of the culture in my own backyard that I hadn't yet been exposed to, making me appreciate where I come from.

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{the Rio Grande river}
So, in that way, I indulged the me that is a Texan this weekend. And I intend to do that with every me in 2014.

 photo IMG_8044_zps6587bbed.jpgI'm a student, a daughter, a best friend, a Catholic, a blogger, a sister, a girlfriend, an aunt and I want to let each of those identities have the proper attention and betterment they deserve. If reinventing yourself sounds daunting, that's because it is. Instead, address each individual part and you should come to find that the new year will bring new yous.

Happy New Year from the huntress herself,