Leap of Faith

I’ve always loved the saying “With great risk comes great reward,” because I fully believe it to be true.  You’ve got to make sacrifices to live the life you want, to get the life you want, or to keep the life you want.  These sacrifices don’t have to be huge or life-altering, but they do have to prove to the universe that you’re willing to give up a few things for even greater things.

In late June, I was offered an incredible position at Vanderbilt University, a position that I wanted, and a position I knew I couldn’t turn down.  I’d had my eyes on living in Nashville for about three years.  The music, the food, the people, all of those characteristics made me fall in love with the city.  Well, that and the fact that it has this small-town vibe, something I am very much used to, and something that I will always love about any city.

Saying goodbye to Texas was hard.  Texas is home, always will be.  I think the hardest part was saying goodbye to my family, especially listening to my dad continue to tell my dog farewell to avoid actually telling me goodbye.  Watching him wait for my Jeep to clear his line of vision made me extremely emotional, a lot more emotional than I thought I would get.  As I sat at the STOP sign down the road from my childhood home, I couldn’t help but think of my mom and what her reaction and opinion on all of this would be.  My mom was an avid believer in stepping out of your comfort zone and taking risks in life, because after all, you only live once.  Yesterday marked four years since telling her goodbye, and the void of missing her is still very prominent.  It will probably be that way forever.  It’s a hard thing to accept, but necessary nonetheless.

I hope that my journey in Nashville will be good to me, and I’m ready for it.  I know that I have an incredible support system in my friends and family, and especially from up above.  Had I not taken this leap of faith, I know I would’ve continued to think “what if?” for the rest of my life, and I absolutely could not take that chance.

Because in the end, the only chances you regret are the chances you never took.

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My last Texas sunrise for a while.

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This was about 12 hours of driving in, and at this point, my dogs and Loki (my cat) were getting so antsy to get out of the Jeep.

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No bed just yet (air mattresses are actually pretty comfortable), but my babies and my mama’s Bible are all I need to feel at home.

Virginia, I love you.

I went to Virginia Beach last week for my residency (PhD requirement) and didn’t expect to fall in love. The beach, the school, the trees; everything about that city was beautiful.

God is great. 

Kylie Cosmetics Holiday Collection Products:

I am such a huge fan of Kylie Jenner’s makeup products.  I have more Lip Kits and singles than I could possibly need (shameful, I know), but I really cannot hype her products enough.  The formula has improved so much since her initial launch, and the colors of every individual piece of makeup are SO pigmented, that the smallest amount goes a very long way.  More bang for your buck!  Most importantly, Kylie Cosmetics products are NOT tested on animals!

The Kylie Cosmetics Holiday Collection launched last week, and I made sure to snag my spot in line online (yes, that’s a thing) to snag a few of the items that I’d had my eye on since her product reveal a few days ago.

  • Let It Glow Ultra Glow
  • Snow Cute metallic lipstick
  • You’re Perfect perfecting powder

Thankfully, I was able to grab all the products before they sold out!  As usual, the packaging for the products was just as cute as the makeup itself.  Icy blue boxing with metallic, glittering snowflakes adorned the box of the perfecting powder, and shining snowflakes laminated the Ultra Glow.  Very festive!

The perfecting powder, for those of you who like to “bake” your makeup, would be best put on before adding your translucent powder.  It’s a very beige, neutral tone, and with proper blending can go on pretty invisibly.  I use it under my eyes, on my nose and right in the middle of my forehead to add a brightening effect.

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The Ultra Glow does EXACTLY what its name says….that baby GLOWS.

 

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Finally, the Snow Cute lipstick!  This was my favorite product out of the items I ordered.

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The lipstick itself is extremely shiny, but despite its glittering effect, the formula is very, very creamy.  I used the Coconut liner, Bare lip single combo right before adding Snow Cute on top of it for a bit of a shimmer.  Perfect for the holidays.

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I definitely recommend this collection for anybody who wants to add a little glitter to their holiday season!

 

Another Solo Adventure

I should really rename my blog “The Girl That Travels Alone,” because that’s exactly what I do; and I absolutely love it. You see, when you invite people places (especially places that require air travel), there’s complaints about money, where to hang out, where to eat, what to do, blah blah blah. When you go alone, you can literally explore and do anything you want to. No restrictions.

My latest adventure took me to a place I have been dying to see for a very long time; Music City, USA; Nashville, Tennessee.

I don’t really know what it was about Nashville that grabbed my attention and kept it.  Maybe it was my love for the series of the same name, or the fact that I love Dierks Bentley and Luke Bryan that made me want to go there, I just know that I wanted to see the city firsthand.

My flight took off at 6 A.M., I always do that to myself. Whenever I purchase my plane tickets I always assume that an early start time will be no problem.  “It saves me $100 dollars, so I’m getting this vampire hour flight.” Well, the day came to take off and I spent my entire night drinking coffee for fear that I’d oversleep and miss my plane.

DAY ONE:

I arrived in Nashville on two hours of sleep and ounces and ounces of coffee.  Funny thing is that I was actually incredibly awake.  There were people playing guitar in airport coffee shops at 10:00 A.M. It was definitely living up to its Music City name at that point.

I sat in an empty part of the airport to charge my phone for a while because I’ll be damned if I wasn’t going to have a fully charged phone.  After my phone charges a bit, I went to the bathroom to change my outfit.  I took off my Cowboys hoodie and put on  my favorite Dierks Bentley t-shirt, got Starbucks and took an Uber to the most famous street in the city….BROADWAY.

At this point in the day it was already 11:30 A.M., so I figured the restaurants (and bars) HAD to be open.  I definitely was not wrong.  I stepped out of that car and started walking around like I knew where I was going.  It was AWESOME.  At one point I was interviewed by a few Hankook Tire eomployees about tire quality and baseball (lol). Look for that on Facebook if you care!

I had one mission though….VISITING LUKE’S 32 BRIDGE.  That was my goal. My eye was on the prize.  I made my way further down Broadway and it reminded me a lot of Bourbon Street in New Orleans.  Alcohol, loud music, and an unpleasant smell of excessive alcohol consumption in some spots.

Jason Aldean’s restaurant was one of the first things I saw when I crossed the street.  It was pretty awesome.

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BUT NOT WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR.

I kept walking for a few more blocks and there she was in all her glory!

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I sat at the bar and listened to the performer for a few minutes.  Funny thing is that I actually knew who the performer was (thanks Instagram), so it was neat to meet him in person.  I ordered pizza (of course), and a Luke’s Old Fashioned.  IT. WAS. FANTASTIC.

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I became the tourist photographer on top of that roof because there were so many people up there trying to take selfies that came out horribly (they were all drunk, to be honest).  It was hilarious.

After spending some time at Luke’s with the performer (who sang an AMAZING version of several Sam Hunt songs), I took a right on Broadway and kept walking then BOOM!  My boys!

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FGL House is massive!

I didn’t want to spend my entire afternoon drinking, though, so I took a walk to the Bridgestone Arena….home of the PREDS, BABY!  I was like a kid on Christmas walking around that place!  I was a little bummed because I wanted a throwback Mike Fisher jersey and there were none available; not even in the clearance section.  😦

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I really don’t think I’d been THAT happy to see any sports-affiliated building since I saw Eminem and Rihanna at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.  It was incredible.

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I started getting really tired at that point, keep in mind I was on two hours of sleep and a lot of alcohol.  I walked back down Broadway with a drunk dude who kept telling me he loved me.  It was HILARIOUS. I wanted to make sure he found the group of people he managed to get away from.  We found them, thankfully.  That guy was lost in the sauce.

I had a few minutes to kill before being picked up by my Uber driver, so I walked inside an old record store.  They had a really old picture of Johnny Cash on the window so I went in to ask if it was for sale (it wasn’t).  Anyway, I started walking to the back because I saw something sparkly, AND THEY HAD ONE OF LORETTA LYNN’S FREAKIN’ GOWNS.

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I MEAN WHAT?!

My first day in Nashville was incredible.

DAY TWO:

I woke up with a massive headache….not because I was hungover, but because the pillow in my room WAS AWFUL.  Also, thinking about where I stayed now is making me crack up because that hotel was NOT SAFE.  I only booked it because I got a deal on Orbitz.  Let’s just say that every Uber driver told me I was in “crackhead alley” LOLOLOLOLOL.

Y’all know I wasn’t about to leave Nashville without checking out the Country Music Hall of Fame, so that’s what my focus was for the afternoon.

Shoutout to my amazing Uber driver that afternoon.  He was a veteran who was born and raised in Nashville.  His stories about his time in the military were so heartfelt and detailed.  He also LOVES being an Uber driver.  He was telling me about a time he picked up Luke Bryan’s assistant form the airport lol. God bless that man.

He dropped me off right in front of the museum, we shook hands and he gave me his personal number should I ever need him while in Nashville.  An angel.

I really wanted to check out the American Currents exhibit because it’s temporary, and the clothing featured in that particular area is STUNNING.  Florida Georgia Line’s ridiculously extravagant shoes, Chris Stapleton’s various hats, Eric Church’s jackets, Keith Urban’s Predators jersey….I needed to see it all.

The first thing I saw was Taylor Swift’s education room.  Her outfit from the Look What You Made Me Do video was on display.  I kept thinking that her boots could pay for the rest of my Ph.D., but also “DAMN SHE’S TALL!”

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I look up to Carrie Underwood a LOT for many reasons.  She’s stayed true to her roots, she is NOT afraid to talk about her faith, she always thanks God for her blessings, AND SHE IS A VEGETARIAN.  When I saw the dress she wore for her Opry induction, I cried.  Lame, yeah, but whatever.

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The American Currents exhibit was as extravagant as I assumed it would be. SO. MUCH. SPARKLE.

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Of course y’all saw this picture of me with Luke’s pants HAHAHA.  Funniest thing, I was wearing a Selena shirt that day (obviously) and a man kept following me around the exhibit saying “ANYTHING FOR SELENAS!” over and over again.  It was funny the first few times, but it got so creepy after the fourth or fifth time.  I wound up hiding from him in the gift shop for like ten minutes. Ah!

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Keith Urban wore this jersey a few years ago when the Predators were fighting for the Stanley Cup.  It was the best part of that exhibit.  LOOK AT IT!

I was able to check another thing off my Bucket List that afternoon. ✅

Considering I was in Nashville for SPOOKY SEASON, I wanted to do something scary.  I went to the movies to see my boy Michael Myers (Halloween), but it was still a bit early, so I looked up the scariest haunted house attractions in Tennessee.  Low and behold, there was a haunt in Madison a short drive away!  Your girl was there!

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It was so much fun, and I actually jumped a few times!  It’s damn near impossible to scare me sometimes, so I was really appreciative that this haunt was able to give me a fright.  It was awesome.

I had another great Uber driver that night.  She was an older lady who told me that I was too young to be out on my own.  She kept going on about how I had the best manners and I told her it’s because I was from Texas.  She laughed and said a prayer for me.  I loved her.

DAY THREE:

The culmination of my trip was my third day there because I had a ticket to see Alabama at the Opry.  I was stoked!  I bought my ticket about two weeks before the show, so my seat wasn’t the best, and I was prepared to need to squint my eyes when I got up there.  However, when I got to the ticket counter, the girl told me that they’d upgraded my seat to the FLOOR.  WHAT?!  I freaked OUT!  I was so excited and ready to have the TIME OF MY LIFE.

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Chase Bryant was one of the performers who opened the show.  I have no idea who he is but he was so handsome!

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That night at the Opry was St. Jude Night.  Proceeds from the show went directly to St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital.  It was very special.  I’m so grateful for it.

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Needless to say, I had the time of my life in Nashville.  It genuinely changed my life in the best way.  I think this trip made me realize even more that I shouldn’t be afraid to take chances in life.  I’m not usually apprehensive about things at all, but this just solidified my belief that I really don’t need to be afraid about….anything.

I can’t wait to get back there. 

 

 

My Momma:

August 9, 2018 marks the three-year anniversary of my momma being gone. She passed away due to complications from pancreatic cancer; a disease that blindsided all of us. I remember asking myself “Where the hell is the pancreas? Is it even important?” right after her diagnosis. Clueless would be an understatement for how my siblings and I (and my mom) went into this battle.

A few months after she passed, a few of us participated in the Purple Stride Walk for pancreatic cancer. It was wonderful to be surrounded by survivors and others who have lost somebody so important to them. A support system is so greatly needed when you’re going through something like that. I’ll admit, we’ve slacked a bit in terms of raising awareness about donations, and I don’t want that to happen again this year, or the year after that, or the year after that. We owe it to my mom to fight for something that will live on for her.

If any of you have been affected by pancreatic cancer, you know how horrible this disease is. You may also know that the survival rate is only 5 percent. Horrifying statistics and an unfortunate and unfair injustice for those affected.

If you have anything to spare, $5, $10, whatever, please donate. The goal is to increase survival rates by 2020. NOBODY DESERVES TO FEEL LIKE THEIR LIVES HAVE A TIME STAMP AFTER THIS DIAGNOSIS.

We call ourselves “Albie’s Avengers.” That’s exactly what we are. 💜

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We have to keep fighting. We have to persevere.

Thank you.

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