A Farewell Toast to the Holidays

I realize it’s long overdue, but I’d like to take a moment to remember the holidays (and the pictures I never shared…)

my attempt at garland + beautiful wreath from Christmas Magic

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Gifts passed from one friend to the other – I guess best friends think alike?
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My amazing sister’s amazing gift wrap – can you believe she actually handmade paper snowflakes for everyone’s gift tags?

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Holiday pups.
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Christmas morning. Nothing is more endearing then the dishevelment and coffee shared between family awaiting unopened presents.
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Then back to home for a farewell New Year’s toast to all the green and red glow.

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Then finally the moment was upon us. And the tree was disassembled and in its place a giant gaping sad little empty cheerless hole. That required some immediate redecorating.

Behold:

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MY 600-lb. Life

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In an earlier post maybe a year or so ago, I admitted one of the least flattering things about myself – the fact that I sometimes like to watch shows about obesity, and in particular Newhaven Obesity Clinic (which ironically is in my hometown of Houston), because it makes me feel a little better. Like “hey, I just ate 5 cookies today but at least I didn’t XYZ.”

Well, I’m getting my just desserts (pun intended) because apparently, me and 597-pound Zsalynn from San Antonio share all the same vices.

me: (shouting towards the kitchen at my husband from the couch)  She’s buying Blue Bell!

me: Oh God, she’s eating Shipley’s Donuts!!!

a: You sound like you’re watching 9-11 unfold.

Maybe I am.

Photo credit: Dave Whitley

Everything, Everywhere, All At Once

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Whew.

It’s been a hellofa who-knows-how-many weeks since I last actually WROTE something on here. (So much for that good streak where I was posting several times a week…)

Dear Pen Pals,

Since we last wrote, I’ve been working hard, and meeting lots of new people. I’ve also driven lots of new places, like Munday, TX, population 1,300 (coincidentally ON a Monday, which made my geeky heart supremely happy).

A brief aside on small towns – it seems that in all my years of living in Texas, driving all over Texas, watching Hope Floats and Friday Night Lights every time it comes on TV, and visiting Richmond/Rosenberg for some antiquing, I’d never really allowed myself to internalize what living in a small town is really like. Having about six hours of alone time on country roads to contemplate it, I can tell you the idea is both terrifying and strangely comforting.

There’s a definite charm to each I’ve visited, and the people I’ve met have all been so wonderful, it makes me think I could really do it. Then of course the city girl in me tries to imagine a world without easy access to Anthropologie and non-smoking bars that offer champagne cocktails and charcuterie plates and the panic sets in.

The lingering question in my mind is this – without easy access to such things, how exactly do people in smaller towns define “Keeping Up With the Joneses.” In Houston, this meant luxury cars, brunches served on Arthur Court and the latest Tori flats. I imagine it means something quite different here, but I am more than a little curious to learn what, in an anthropological sort of way.

Other things that happened: two big scares – one major and one minor.

Minor – Our landlords told us they were planning to put our perfect rental house on the market at the beginning of March. Having painted no less than three rooms, hung curtain rods and pictures, and just about carved my name into a tree in the backyard (don’t worry, Kristi, I didn’t), my mourning period was considerable, and consisted of taking an eight-hour nap one Saturday, waking to shed many tears while wandering around the house reveling in its perfection then going to Realtor.com and weeping over the unaffordability of anything similar and currently on the market.

(Sidenote -this scare also prompted me to finish this long-stalled project, which I reveal soon in a future post!)

Major – My best friend in the entire world, whom I’ve known since birth (our moms were friends and pregnant together – I’ve known her longer than my own sisters!), was HIT BY A CAR while jogging one morning and spent the past week in the ICU with a broken pelvis, leg, sternum, etc., etc., more unimaginable awfulness, etc.  My heart still aches that I can’t be with her in Houston, but I can’t stop sending up prayers of thanksgiving that she is alive and getting better little by little each day.

And then there are all the other things.

Like stalking Ree Drummond aka Pioneer Woman as part of my duties for serving on the auction committee for this year’s Cattle Baron’s Ball (shout out to Kendra Scott for donating to such a wonderful cause!!!!) and Junior League starting back up for the New Year,  and deciding to take my Etsy store into the brick-and-mortar realm by teaming up with my friend Vanessa and sharing space at Alley Cat Vintage Mercantile.

Oh, and I also just found out I’ll be making my very first ever LIVE TV appearance next Wednesday for my job. So there’s that. (Holy introverted, band nerd panic attack.)

I also have less than a week to find a wedding present for a friend, a costume for an “Around the World” theme party, and a red dress for the American Heart Association’s Heart of a Woman brunch.

Yep, I think that about sums it up.

Who have I become?

(Answer: A person with a two-paged, single-spaced “To Do” list that includes both work and personal agenda items. At least I can cross off writing this blog post, right? haha)

Graduating.

Enough time has passed that I feel (somewhat) more comfortable in admitting how much of a green, hot mess I was when I first graduated college.

I suppose to everyone who was not me, this is not so much a revelation.

I was awkward, I was timid, and I was terrified of making cold calls. (God bless you, Susan.) I hadn’t yet developed a taste for coffee. As someone new to the office environment, you stand out a little like a lost puppy (which is exactly how I felt at my college internship, as I attempted to write witty Domino’s Pizza commercials and mostly avoid my creative director).

The difference between starting your very first job out of college and one a little later on in your career has a lot to do with your initial reaction to being hired:

At 22: I went out and bought Public Relations for Dummies and developed an unhealthy dependence on off-brand Pepto, despite the fact I could now afford my own rent. (And in theory, the name-brand pink stuff.)

At 28: I went out and bought purple pens to match the signature color of the organization.

What I learned in between? To just jump in. Both feet, same time on that merry-go-round. Be confident in yourself, fast to volunteer, but slow to speak. Do a lot of listening while sitting up straight. (Speak softly and carry a big purse.)

Remember that you are far from the most insightful person in the room, and prepare to learn the dynamics of your environment before asserting yourself into it. Be confident that you have something unique to offer, but if you don’t offer it in the right way, it will not be received with the proper acknowledgement.

I simply can not believe how different it is this go-around. Sure, it’s new, it can be overwhelming, but it’s just as exciting as starting my first job, in a totally different way.

I love getting to know my new teammates. I can’t wait to meet the volunteers I will work with. I can’t wait to start helping them, and take away their stress.  I can’t wait to help them with the tough things and see them take pride in what they’ve accomplished.

My new job is a Thanksgiving feast of possibility, and I am so eager to dive in.

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