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Listening to Shame: Brene Brown TED 2012

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You probably know I’m a huge Brené Brown fan, and her recent TED talk is absolutely stunning. Nothing I can say will impact you more than taking 20 minutes to watch this:

“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.”

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Christmas at The Paramount

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I have the coolest friends in the world – we were gifted spare tickets to the Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis Christmas Show at the Paramount Theatre this weekend, and did we have a blast! We got all dressed up, were greeted by the most adorable elderly ticket-takers in bow ties, and waited for the show in the Marquee Lounge.

I wish I’d gotten a picture of their kids, dressed as elves, dancing just off stage left, certain that no one could see them. There is really nothing cuter than a dancing 8-year-old who thinks she’s alone.

We are definitely in the holiday spirit! And to share it with you, here there are doing “Santa Baby”:

I took this photo of the gorgeous ceiling of the Paramount:

Adventures in (Lizard) Skincare

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My daily beauty regimen is pretty lazy – often including hand soap, summer sunscreen, and whatever free samples came with my latest attempt to be nice at a Mary Kay party. So when I got a coupon for a free mini-facial in my gift bag at a recent event, I decided 31 is definitely old enough to graduate to appropriate skin care and made an appointment.

The esthetician was nice enough to give me a 2-week sample of something that has turned my face into lizard skin. Now, as easy as it is to blame the cream, I have to take some of the credit. I remembered as I was applying it on night #2 that it was an every-other-night cream. Ahh, what’s one day? I thought. Turns out, one day = lizard skin.

I look exactly like that summer where I traded SPF for baby oil (which is probably why I needed this appointment in the first place) and/or a few of the halloween costumes I saw last week. Once again, attempts at beautification are really hidden opportunity for humility.

photo credit 

Hey, guess what?

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Scott and I have been married an entire year. And it’s still awesome. He’s still patient and humors me when I’m crazy (he can tell I’m trying to rein it in – that’s love, right?). I am still the luckiest girl in the world. He still calls me “the best birthday present ever.”

Did I ever tell you about how we met on his birthday? Because I typed it up the other day to update a friend who I hadn’t seen in AGES (Hi Nicole!) and since I went to all that trouble, I thought I’d tell you too. It’s such a good story.

It’s March of 2008. I had a business trip to San Diego and I decided to fly out early (Friday morning) and have a little vacation. It was my first solo vacation, no big deal, I always make friends, right? Wrong. In a city of tourists, everyone was completely focused on their friends. Two days later, I’d spoken only to waiters.

I was so starved for conversation that I’d spent Saturday morning at the San Diego zoo talking to kids about how cool the animals are. That afternoon I was back at my hotel, reading a book by the pool. When a nice group started to make even a hint of conversation, I was up and in their circle in no time. Turns out, they were in town for a girlfriend’s 30th birthday party. So naturally I invited myself. )Gracefully, of course!)

The party was great, but it was also very “L.A.” –  all decked out in fancy clothes and very cool. I was having fun, but wasn’t sure if this was my crowd. But wait! This guy walks in looking straight out of J.Crew – complete with sexy architect glasses. And then he came right up to us. It was Mr. Magic, and it turns out, he actually is an architect. He apologized for being late, but since that day was his birthday too, he had been out for dinner with his parents & brother. (Have you heard of your “lucky” or “golden” birthday – that day was his: Mar. 29th, and his 29th birthday).

When he found out I was from Dallas, he said, “Oh, I’m visiting there next month!” I asked if he had any friends or family there, but he said no, he was coming to see a building. He’s an architect, and his favorite is the guy who built the Kimball Art Museum. So he already had a ticket to visit me even before we met – how’s that for fate?

Not an hour later, after taking my business card and having a great chat, he said he was going to leave, could he call me tomorrow? It was probably about 10pm and I was bummed – I was sure he had a date or something.

But not only did he call the next day, the next three nights he took me out for these fantastic dates (the first was at the oldest dive bar in San Diego – he said he wanted to set the bar low) including a walk under the twinkling lights of Balboa Park. Years later we’d picnic under those lights and laugh about that evening. So I went back to Dallas, but we visited each other 7 times in 6 months. On Labor Day weekend I packed up a UHaul, he flew to Dallas, and we he drove to San Diego.

And that’s the magical Magic story! Pretty good, no? I’ve told it a thousand times, but this was the first time I’ve written it down and I just had to share.

Happy 1st Anniversary, Mr. Magic. You live up to your name every day.

Hello from BlogHer!

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I really can’t believe I’m here. Over there on the left, that’s Gretchen Rubin, author of the NY Times Bestseller The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. My very first post includes the line, “Gretchen, if you ever read this, my sincere thanks.” I got to tell her in person, which made my day.
On my right is Brene Brown, the author of The Gifts of Imperfection: Letting Go of Who We Think We Should Be and Embracing Who We Are and I Thought It Was Just Me.

Also, watch this: and this:

I’m having an amazing time. Search my twitter for #blogher11 for all the wonderful tips I’m getting here – amazing!

Recent Revelations

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It’s an odd feeling to discover (admit?) something new about yourself – aren’t we supposed to know more about ourselves than we do about anyone else? Here are some things I’ve recently uncovered or owned up to:

  • I love meetings. If I could have a job where all I did was go to meetings and solve problems and collaborate, I would be one happy camper
  • I love brussels sprouts. If you’d asked me even a year ago about my eating habits, I’d have told you that I’ll try anything once, except bugs, and that I hate brussels sprouts. Turns out, I only hate boiled, stinky, squishy brussels sprouts – quarter and fry them up with a squirt of lemon juice and a dab of aioli like they do at El Arbol and I will happily eat them until I turn green
  • Same with eggplant – I have, on occasion, composed a song to the lovely melanzane as Scott cooks up his delightful version of moussaka. Matter of fact, I just had an entire eggplant for lunch. Yum!
  • I don’t really want to be a writer. I’m an avid reader, and everyone assumes they go hand in hand. I don’t mind writing and it comes fairly easily, but I’m finding myself turning away projects that have me stuck in front of the computer instead of out talking to people. I’ve had chapter one of a book and a ‘working title’ on my desk for months now, and I can’t seem to motivate myself to get it done! Also, my blogs all seem to be taking the form of lists lately, for the same reason.

Speaking of reading, I’m back on a reading kick lately. I got my Austin library card and when I was trying to decide what I wanted to read I remembered how much I loved Fall of Giants over the holidays and typed “historical fiction” in the library catalog. As a result, I just finished The Jane Austen Book Club and I’m 600+ pages into re-reading Pillars of the Earth. Downstairs I also have Gamestorming; Tina Fey’s new book, BossypantsBlack SheepMy Name is Mary SutterBecoming Jane Eyre & Dragonfly in Amber. I am SO glad this is a long weekend, because I think I’m going to spend a good part of it with a book or two (or three!).

And this weekend we do have some plans that don’t involve bookmarks and paper cuts – we’re headed to Spicewood (about 45 minutes outside of Austin) tomorrow to attend one of my most-anticipated events of the year, the Alford’s Annual Spicewood Crawfish Boil. One of the best things I took away from my time at Texas A&M is my lifelong friend Marie, who is one of those people that connects everyone around her a tight-knit group of friends. All my best friends from my years in Dallas stem from this lovely lady.

One of these friends, Andrea, has a set of parents that everyone wants to adopt for their own, and every year they throw the best party and invite everyone they know. In addition to games of poker, cornhole, dominoes and “find the 2”, a plethora of dogs and horses, there’s enough enough food and drink for an army. This is the first year since 2008 that I’ve been able to go, and I CAN’T WAIT! Since I last saw this group all together we’ve had seen three weddings and two new babies, and I’m so excited to catch up with the gang.

Good Stuff I Haven’t Told You About

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Life is good. Really, really, really good. We’ve settled in Austin, have great new neighbors, each landed some new clients, and are happily exploring a new fantastic place.

And I haven’t told you about it at all, have I? Sorry about that. Sometimes I’m just too busy enjoying life to describe it. Some of the best stuff:

  • Finding out my closest friend from when I last lived in Austin, Jess, lives 5 houses down from us
  • Riding our bikes to Alamo Drafthouse (Tron and Bridesmaids were both awesome)
  • Fresh-roasted coffee and a rainbow of veggies at the HOPE Farmers Market
  • Winning pub trivia as 1/4 of team Magic Casebeer (our real last names, no joke)
  • Being married half a year (!)
  • Hosting a rocking housewarming/ Cinco de Mustache party on our rooftop deck
  • Having one of our younger party guests, (age 4) bring me a pink crown to wear
  • Enjoying the Austin sunshine and getting a tan line where my wedding bands go
  • Finally having a washer and dryer in my house that doesn’t need quarters
  • Woohoo! Dishwasher (enough said!)
  • Yay, microwave (who knew appliances could make me so happy??)
  • Lots of my very favorite yoga class at Sunstone Yoga (yay, Water class!)
  • A visit to my alma mater, Texas A&M to see my cousin Erin become a vet

And lots more! That I’ll probably get around to telling you in another month, at the rate I’ve been blogging… Promise to be back here more often!