About Christina Does It All

Doing it all, One blog at a time

Adventurers-In-Crime

What started out as my first media event of 2015 quickly turned into a night of adventure.

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My gal pal Emily joined as my plus one to the downtown opening of Lucky’s Puccias. This is the second Lucky’s but their first restaurant, the first being a popular trailer eatery. Instead of looking at my email I unwittingly just put the address into my phone, which took us to the trailer location. After walking around for a bit and doing a little asking around (and checking my email), we realized the new restaurant was all the way on the other side of 5th street. Oops. These mishaps are a common occurrence when you’re friends with me, but if you’re game, lovely things can come from them too. I make sure to always find friends who are game for my mishaps.

So we walked and talked and laughed our way to the other end of 5th street.

 We dined on deliciously cheesy pizza and drank tasty wine and were very merry.

Upon leaving, we quickly decided to take advantage of our walk back by visiting a couple of other bars along our route.

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Right across the street was Donn’s Depot. At first glance, you wouldn’t know that this joint was anything more than a seedy dive bar. I’m a little ashamed to admit that, this being my first time here, this was what I originally thought. But looks aren’t always what they seem and luckily I have to pee a lot, as the lady’s loo shows the true beauty of this Donn’s. After starting a curious conversation with a fellow bathroom goer, I found out that I was drinking in a very old train. What is now a room to potty was once the caboose. Em and I proceeded to have a grand time exploring and climbing on the nooks and crannies of this spectacular urination area.  I’m not at all surprised that Esquire Magazine named this bar one of the top in the country. It has the most magical bathroom I’ve ever had the honor of tinkling in.

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We ended the night at Kung Fu Saloon, showing off our skills of giant Jenga game-playing while simultaneously showing up the dudes playing across from us. Not to brag, but we’re like, really good at stacking blocks.

What started as an evening of Italian food and wine ended with super-sized games and a magical caboose bathroom. I adore the variety of this weird, wonderful city of mine.

Em and I lost touch for a while at the most similar points in our lives. She was engaged and I was married but childless, and for whatever unintentional reasons we drifted apart. Now she’s single and I’m married with a baby, and we’re closer than we’ve ever been. Life has a funny way of  bringing together those who were meant to be adventurers-in-crime.

‘See You Tomorrow.’

“But just because I’ll forget it some tomorrow doesn’t mean that I didn’t live every second of it today. I will forget today, but that doesn’t mean that today didn’t matter.” – Still Alice

During my last year of undergrad, one of my favorite professors gave out an interesting assignment. She challenged us to volunteer somewhere that made us very uncomfortable. Admitting that she probably wouldn’t know if we were lying, she was trusting us to leave our comfort zones on our own accord. This is something I try to challenge myself to do on a regular basis. I’ve always believed that leaving the places I feel the safest will encourage me to be a stronger and more open-minded individual. If it’s at all possible to feel comfortable leaving a comfort zone, I do. So I knew that to truly fulfill this assignment, I would not only have to get out of my comfort zone, but also skip, jump and fly over it.

Of all the scary things in my life that I’ve done, walking in to volunteer at Cedar Ridge Alzheimer’s Center for the first time was amongst the most terrifying. It was not the people that scared me, but a disease so ferocious in its ability to completely take over a human mind. That first day, I hand-fed a grown woman while a resident on the other side of the room continuously moaned in what sounded like complete misery. I honestly felt that I might pass out. So taken aback by what I saw as such an overwhelming sadness, I felt my body reacting physically. I could not wait to get out of there that day.

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It didn’t take much time until my required volunteer hours were completed, but then a funny thing happened. I began seeing less of the disease and more of the person behind it. Sometimes it was simply a smile or a sparkle in the eye. Other times it was a witty comment, small talk or reading a short bio outside of a resident’s door. What I had at first failed to acknowledge was that this disease was only a small chapter of the residents’ lives. In previous chapters there were careers, hobbies, families, passions, accomplishments and lives well lived. Dementia was only a small part of their stories. I began researching and reading about Alzheimer’s to have a better understanding of what those at Cedar Ridge were going through. And I kept going back.

It’d be a lie to say that I don’t still have to mentally prepare myself for hard moments. Residents often feel lost, or are searching for someone, or become upset because they want to go to a home that they don’t realize is no longer theirs. During my last visit, a woman I was chatting with asked me to read something for her because I had a “better brain.” I would imagine that the rare moments of lucidity are the most difficult part for those in later stages of Alzheimer’s. But in the midst of this constant confusion and heartbreak, there is also joy. I fair and square lost more than one game of dominoes to a sweet old soul. Cookies and warm conversation have been shared with a group of lovely ladies. I’ve read magazines, watched movies and listened to live music with some truly great company. One charming gentleman wandered around in search for his family, but still managed to smile and flirt whenever he passed my way. Amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles be damned, it only took a bit of searching to see the beautiful hearts and terrific personalities I was surrounded by at Cedar Ridge.

After learning of my pregnancy, I went back to Cedar Ridge once more before realizing that I should take a break. Usually a person with a firm grip on emotions, my hormones were now causing me to cry at the drop of a hat. Knowing what both I and the residents could and couldn’t handle, I waited.

I went back for the first time last weekend. In the past, I’ve always wondered how much good I was really doing. Even if I was able to help in some miniscule way, wouldn’t it only be forgotten soon after? Did my being there for such a short time really help anyone at all? I wasn’t sure. As I was saying my goodbyes last Saturday, one woman stopped me with her words. “Don’t go.” she said, the kindest smile on her face. We embraced as she went to kiss my cheeks. And then, “See you tomorrow.”

I told her I would see her soon, and then I left. Maybe she forgot about me as soon as I walked out the door. But in those few moments, we were both able to make a positive mark in the other’s life. If only for a short time, we shared smiles and caused happiness. I knew that I would not see her the next day, and she might not have any recollection of telling me that she would. Still, we had today. And that was enough.

Visiting the Virginias, January 2015

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Already 2015 is proving to be wild and wonderful.

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I have a New Year’s resolution of visiting four new-to-me states this year. Within two days of 2015, I had accomplished half of this goal by exploring both of the gorgeous Virginias. This also meant getting lost with the best friend on a road trip, which is an unintentional ritual for us. We can’t recall a time we’ve visited the other without getting at least slightly lost. This time our plan was to leave Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia and head back to Meg’s home in Arlington, Virginia. Despite living in the days of GPS, we managed to end up an hour and a half off route in another Virginian town. I’ve also had the pleasure of being lost in Austin, Baltimore, D.C., New York and Pittsburgh with this girl. It is an endless adventure with the two of us.

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In between West Virginia and getting lost, we found the most spectacular winery I’ve ever been to. (Coming from a wine-o, this says a lot.) Maggie Malick Wine Caves is a winery, cave and hill all rolled into one. I sipped on wine and then climbed to the top of the winery. And then rolled down the winery and got mud all over my new clothes. Because what else are you supposed  to do when you find a winery-cave-hill?! I mean, YORDAWHO. (You only roll down a winery hill once.)

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We made it back to Meg’s apartment in time to get spruced up for a night out on the town with a Redcoat for a haunted pub tour of Alexandria, Virginia. Usually these tours have upwards of 30 people, but on this particular night it was just me and my best friend. This just made our night exploring this eccentric and historic town all the more enchanting. I can almost still feel the chill in the air as I peeked through the window of a restaurant George Washington himself once dined, and where ghosts may or may not presently haunt. It was pure spooky magic creeping in on that dinner party, y’all. Afterward, we made our way back to our favorite bar of the night to talk to strangers and drink delicious chocolate porter. Our bartender charmed us with conversation and free drinks–including one scrumptiously bold cup of coffee for me upon request– and we left that night in a cab, feeling tipsy and giddy and giggly and incredibly alive.

The next day we had an absolutely divine brunch at Chadwick’s–a place so magical that we ventured there by first walking down a cobblestone street— and then made our way to D.C. to gaze at monuments and memorials.

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Here we are just casually chillin’ with Abe.

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Meg and her beau were smooching and being adorable so I decided to much less adorably kiss the air.

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My last morning in Virginia was spent on Meg’s apartment roof, a charming experience made complete with coffee and a lovely view of Arlington and D.C. If it was possible to fall even more in love with Virginia, I did in those moments.

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One of my favorite pictures of my trip was taken by Meg’s boyfriend, shortly after I had flown in from Austin. Meggie and I were just laughing and talking as we walked down the streets of Arlington together. Of our fourteen years of best friendship, nine of these have been spent traveling to see the other. I don’t know if a photo can completely capture the childish and weightless joy we always feel upon reuniting, but I do think that this one did a pretty decent job.

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I’m hoping that she and I will be lucky enough to get lost exploring the world together for as long as we both shall live.

New Year’s On A Plane

I like to start off every January with a bang. I feel like it sets the tone for the rest of the year.

I especially like to start off new years on a plane. I began purposely doing this at the start of 2013, when I visited my best friend in Pittsburgh. By the end of that year, I had filmed a commercial, was payed to travel first class to Detroit and play dress up with my own wardrobe artist (to this day on my top 5 list of favorite states), fell in love with my first and current post-college career, traveled to a slew of places including Puerto Rico and Mexico, graduated college and began doing things like fly-boarding, ziplining and indoor skydiving for free as an event blogger. Robby and I also learned we were expecting our very own little person, Miss Brynlee Mae Boudreaux.

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In January of 2014, my husband and I spent a week of storybook romance in Italy. We got lost in the rain in Venice, ate the best pasta of my life in Milan and walked 463 steps to the top of the Duomo in Florence. I look back on that magical week with my favorite guy and, nearly a year later, still get starry-eyed with the dreamy memories.

The rest of 2014 definitely followed suit. I soared through the clouds hang-gliding for the first time. I took two road-trips with girlfriends, one to the new-to-me Mississippi and another to party in New Orleans. I smile thinking about how much happiness and laughter overfilled my car on those weekends. Robby and I celebrated five wonderful years of marriage by renewing our vows at a little chapel in Las Vegas. Right after this we headed to a happy hour and the grocery store, still decked out in wedding dress and tuxedo. The whole thing felt like something straight out of a romantic comedy, which is appropriate, as such a storyline more or less sums up our life together. Playful and full of silly, fun, overwhelming love. I took a mini-shower under a waterfall and helped give away a car and modeled for one of my favorite photo-shoots to date. In my usual awkward fashion, I learned how to be a flying acrobat while flailing around on a trapeze. I finished my second half marathon and ran 5ks which also involved drinking wine, eating food and meeting a celebrity. Event blogging gave me the opportunity to eat and drink and attend fun things, and I even experienced getting paid to do this while freelance social media repping for a popular Austin restaurant. Best of all, my husband and I said our first hellos to our gorgeous, red-headed baby girl. Now she is this chubby, happy, vivacious almost 9-month-old and she is simply the best adventure I’ve ever had.

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2013 and 2014 have been the two favorite years of my life. I’ve lived so big and beautifully and can’t believe all that I’ve that the chance to experience in such a short amount of time. More than anything, I am overtaken and humbled by all of the love and joy that surrounds me. I truly feel like I have everything. The best of every world. There must be something to this starting off the new year with travels.

I’m one-upping myself for 2015. I love starting off January–the start of a new year–on a plane, but this is the first time I’ll be starting New Year’s on a plane. This being, um, in a little over a day. I’ll be visiting my best friend in Virginia, a first for me. Her living up north in small states is great for my see-all-of-the-states goal. But mostly, I am just excited to see her face and go on new adventures with my favorite lady of nearly fourteen years.

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It’s hard to explain in words how happy I feel right now, in this very moment. I am sitting next to my husband, sharing lovely small-talk and laughing about our little nothings. My little girl is sleeping in the next room and the fire Robby made is keeping me toasty on this chilly night. Tomorrow, we’ll spend a cozy evening with new neighbor friends for New Year’s and early the next morning, I’ll be on a plane heading to new things and my best gal pal.

2015 is already off to a flying start.

A Weekend Of Laughter

I can still feel the remnants of the glow leftover from an incredible weekend.

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On Saturday I kissed the hubs and baby goodbye for the day and made the hour and a half drive to San Antonio. A very best friend of mine was in town and staying with another mutual best friend of ours, and I was giddy to see them both.

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The remainder of the weekend was spent in laughter. So much laughter. I am fortunate enough to laugh often, but I can’t remember the last time I laughed quite this much. We laughed playing ridiculous games and drinking beer and whilst lying on the other. We laughed so much that there were tears and the inability to breathe properly and the assumption that we may be hoarse the next day.

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We laughed sharing stories and confessions and sushi at midnight. We laughed recounting memories and creating new inside jokes. We laughed as I kicked my feet wildly in the air in a pathetic attempt to get up after knocking a beer bottle over, and we laughed when Kirsten’s husband wrapped up my life in one sentence by telling me, “You’ve got the hustle, just not the coordination.” We laughed loudly and wildly until 4 am, about everything and absolutely nothing at all.

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I tried to get a few decent pictures to help remember such a perfect weekend, but most every time I tried we were in complete hysterics. Looking over these pictures together, we were in fits of giggles once more over how terrible we looked in most of them. How lucky I feel to have captured on camera the genuine, unruly joy of best friendship. How happy I am to call such a best friendship my own.

December Magic

December is magic.

Because,

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Pretty lights and date nights and I love him.

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Festive mannequins

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Friends and wine on the lake and more pretty lights

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Work is also play and my job gifted me with a GoPro to work and play with.

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Being an event blogger means I get to do fun things like cover a Broadway musical. (Unintentionally matching with gal pal is also fun)

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New neighbour friends who bring over Christmas treats to couple’s game night

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Drinking while shopping is grand. (The fake plants did a great job of camouflaging my raspberry champagne goodness)

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Robe chillin’ with my main girl. (Um. Also, do you see all of the lovely lights back there?)

December is always one of my favorite months as the perfect combination of friends and family and festivities give me all of the happy feelings. And let’s not forget all of the pretty lights.

Feeling Strong and Stuff

The past couple of months have gone by in a haze of craziness, a little bit of stressfulness and a whole lot of happiness.

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Where to start?

In October, I ran my second half marathon and partied in a museum.

I renewed vows with my husband of five years at a cheesy little chapel in Vegas and drank pumpkin beer up in the mountains of Nevada.

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On top of my full time job, I freelanced as a social media rep for a Mexican restaurant branch and got my first (literal) taste of what it’s like to be paid to eat things and attend fun food events. At one of these events a complete stranger all but made out with my cheek and at another I watched a real life jimador harvest an agave plant. It’s all about those new experiences, y’all.

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I spent Halloween dressing my daughter up like a pumpkin and later having a fabulous time at a work friend’s place. When I asked this friend if I could bring a gal pal along to his party his response went something like, “Yes! The less gay men, the better. Well, not the less gay men, but the more other people with all of us gay men, the better.” The people in my life are the greatest.

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In November, I organized a group for and ran Race for the Cure with work buddies. I also had the opportunity to help give away a car to a very happy and deserving family. It still sometimes baffles me that I get paid to do stuff like this.

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I’m in a good place to start 2015. Professionally, I am learning and growing. Socially, I am surrounded by lovely people that I am pretty fond of. I’ve found a good balance between mommy-hood and my adventures and goals, and I feel fulfilled within all of these roles. I ran 13.1 miles after having a baby six months prior, and unlike my first half marathon, I didn’t throw up or even feel like barfing at the end. I felt awesome and strong. I’m proud of that.

I hope it isn’t too vain of me to say that I’m feeling just a little bit like superwoman this year. Because I’m feeling just a little bit like superwoman this year.