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Open letter to my mom’s nurses

To all the nurses who have stood by our side, this is for you.

I can honestly say I didn’t know any nurses on a personal level until having to experience my mom in the hospital. I’ve had a front row seat in watching and admiring their craft. In honor of this week, I have written an open letter to all the nurses who have and continue to care for my mom.

Dear Nurses,

Thank you for being by my mom’s side every single day and trying your very hardest in making her comfortable in any way you can. Thank you for putting your life on the line to provide exceptional care for our mom. I know it’s said to be “just part of your job,” but it’s a job not everyone is willing to fill.

Thank you for putting your life at risk to stand at her bedside while she was an extremely contagious patient for twelve hours at a time, sometimes even longer. We understand how tedious and difficult it is to put and take off full protective gear over and over again. We know how hot, sweaty and unbearable it gets. We watched as you patiently took care of my critically ill mom with continually changing needs. We can only imagine how much that hurts mentally, physically, and emotionally. But, because you are nurses, you deal with it with a smile on our face and carry on.

As nurses, you also took on another a task, not in your job description but one you took on with a whole heart, us the family. With just a look at any of us, you’d almost instantly ask what you could do to help. You helped try to cheer us up when we did not have the strength to do so, and you made us laugh so much that we often forgot about how weak and sad we felt.

You hugged and consoled us when we fell to pieces moments after my mom’s heart stopped and cried tears of joy as you helped bring her back alongside the doctors. Your tears were pure, filled with love and prayer for a family you did not know.

How can we thank you for the many times you would ask about mom’s life and the person she was, taking the time to look at her photos or hear the stories we would tell about her. Or when you offered a sympathetic shoulder and a compassionate hand every time bad news was delivered. The doctor would leave, and you were left behind to answer the lingering questions and explain why these things happen and watch as our world crumbled around us. You stayed, and you endured the confusion and tears and offered relief any way you could. Even if, realistically, you didn’t know what to do.

We can never thank you enough for the warm embraces. Your dedication never wavered no matter if your shift was up or it was a holiday. You didn’t go unnoticed that Christmas day you spent in a tiny ICU room alongside us instead of watching your babies open their presents. “A Christmas miracle” you proclaimed as we cried tears of joy in seeing my mom open her eyes for the first time in months.

You’re overlooked and under-appreciated yet necessary. You’re patient when it’s understandably impracticable to be, and you’re kind when it’s physically impossible to be. So, for all the moments we had with you where those two words were painfully inadequate yet unbelievably necessary. For the moments we as a family neglected in stressful situations and shoved them aside as fear took over and rarely voiced when they should have been…from the bottom of our hearts, Thank you.

Happy National Nurses Week!

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Shes on THE list!

Hi, it’s me again. This time I’m writing to you from Los Angeles, California!

Mom is still in the hospital, and she’s officially waiting on her lungs! As you recall we left Houston and transferred her to UCLA since Texas denied her on their transplant list. (Click here for a refresher)

On April 26th her birthday and Orthodox Good Friday mom was placed on the regional list for a lung transplant!! She was so excited. It’s felt like the longest journey to get to this point. The joy of being placed on the list did quickly come with the constant wonder of how much longer will she have to wait for the perfect set of lungs to come in. 

The reason she isn’t on a national transplant list is because of how delicate lungs are. Since lungs can’t live outside of the body for very long, they need to be nearby for a successful surgery.

She is still on the ECMO machine and oxygen. She is still trying her hardest to do her simple daily tasks to regain her strength. The team at UCLA has also put her on a precaution, which means we all wear masks while in her room to help keep her safe from any germs while the search is on for the perfect set of lungs.

The team at UCLA has been nothing short of amazing. They are incredibly knowledgeable, compassionate, and quick. The team was even kind enough to arrange for some previous patients in somewhat of a similar situation as my mom to come and visit in hopes of giving my mom some hope for the future. We were able to meet Nichole and her daughter Lexi this last week. Nichole, like my mom, was also on ECMO with high antibodies. She received her double lung transplant Jan 2019. She looks AWESOME. Nichole was able to relate to my mom, and Lexi her daughter was able to connect with me. It felt amazing to feel understood. Nichole shared a good amount of tips and tricks with us.

While mom is waiting for her lungs to come in, my dad and brother, have started to wrap up life in Houston. They are moving back “home” to LA very soon. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your support and constant prayers. 

“And now these three remain faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.

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Mama Miriam

I appreciate everyone who has supported my family during this troubling time with patience, prayers, and acts of kindness. Although I will never be or feel ready to accept this harsh reality, I thought it was fair to share what has been going on.

Simple cold like symptoms turned our worlds upside down.

My mom, Miriam, has been very sick since the fall of 2018. What we initially thought was just a common cold turned out to be something much worse. Before the inevitable is asked, yes she did receive her flu shot.

On a Friday morning in early-November, mom was struggling to breathe. My sister, Eliza, RUSHED her to the emergency room. After several tests and x-rays, it was evident that she needed more assistance than the local emergency room could provide so she was quickly transferred to CHI St. Luke’s in Sugar Land, Texas. There she was given antibiotics and placed on heavy doses of oxygen but she was still fighting to breathe.

The fluid build up in my mom’s lungs caused tremendous discomfort and pain which she battled alongside her inability to breathe for 3 days. After aggressive negotiations with the doctors, she was intubated and transferred to the Texas Medical Center (TMC).

Still trying to catch our breath from rushing over to this new hospital, we were greeted by a pulmonologist who told us that mom had been immediately wheeled back to the operating room to get an ECMO placed in her. She had come back positive for flu and double pneumonia. He stated “We are racing against time” the first of many times we would hear that phrase.

With no signs of recovering after what doctors thought a weeks worth of ECMO could help with, she was diagnosed with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, or ARDS, a condition that causes fluid to leak into your lungs, blocking oxygen from traveling to your organs.

Mom was placed under a medically induced coma and paralyzed to prevent her from using too much oxygen and to give her body a break from the constant endeavor of fighting for air. The days grew into weeks which turned into months and continued to grow darker each minute for us as we prayed for some improvement.

Mom did not improve even with all the assistance she was supplied. She flat-lined several times and grew weaker with every attempt of help. Various professionals approached us with their thoughts on her case with very little optimism. The holidays were spent with medical predictions of a 2% chance of recovery. Doctors suggested we call out all immediate family members to say their final goodbyes.

As our family began to arrive, physicians slowly scaled back on her medical assistance. As expected she began to further decline at rapid speed. With the grace of God she survived through the night and would continue to fight for her life. After 45 days in a coma and having been medically paralyzed doctors began the process of waking her from a coma with a goal of confirming that she still had full neurological capacity. By the grace of God, the x-rays taken confirmed that she was still there in mind.

The process of waking her out of the coma was a battle. At first, she had no movement or recognition of anyone. Soon after she was able to recognize our faces and voices which was ground-breaking. Our hope increased alongside her increasing motor functions and after months of heartbreak, we finally seemed to have a glimmer of hope. Heartbreak struck once again, she came down with shingles and a few days later, sepsis shock. Two steps forward and ten steps back. Back into a coma and becoming medically paralyzed. We watched silently with our hearts shattered as mom struggled for her life.

Another miracle, mom pushed through the shingles and sepsis shock only to have her ECMO cannulas begin to bleed out at her neck. “Her body is so weak she just can’t handle another surgery”, we were told. We pushed and begged for the cannulas to be fixed. Our options included the following: watch her bleed to death before our eyes or beg for a surgery she may not survive. A double-sided sword to say the least.

We opted for surgery. Her cannulas were moved and scans showed that every last bit of her lungs were destroyed by the shingles and Sepsis. Mom would undoubtedly need a double lung transplant to survive but would not even be considered unless she checked every box on a long list of requirements. Just as we got a peek of the mountain top we slid back down to the bottom now facing another uphill battle.

One of the top items on mom’s transplant consideration list was getting out of bed and walking for a specified distance, unassisted. To able-bodied individuals, this seems easy but she had been in a coma for months and bed-ridden for even longer. She hadn’t stood up in over 3 and a half months when she began physical therapy to strengthen her muscles.

This was an extremely painful process but mom fought through and eventually was able to stand with a great deal of assistance. In the middle of March of this year, she was finally able to get up and walk with little assistance. Bearing the tremendous pain, she continued to walk regularly for several weeks until eventually, she doubled the minimum walking requirement to be eligible for transplant consideration.

Once she undoubtedly met the physical requirements for transplant consideration, the transplant team needed various tests run to see what type of lungs would be a match for her. Here comes another peek at the mountain top. One of the various tests included an antibody count which basically quantifies a patient’s likelihood of rejecting an outside organ. Mom’s antibody count was so high that it gave her a 100% chance of rejecting a new organ which was a hard stop for her transplant consideration at CHI St. Luke’s in TMC.

We began to desperately reach to the best lung transplant hospitals in the nation attempting to get more information on how we can get her to an institution that would be willing to work with this unique patient and case. At the beginning of April, we got a call from UCLA stating they would be willing to take mom as a patient. It would then take us two weeks of battling transportation who demanded $387,000 upfront for transportation and insurance to come to a doable agreement.

On April 19, 2019, mom was transferred to UCLA and is awaiting further tests in hopes of receiving the care she needs to be added to the transplant list. Hopefully, once she does receive the double lung transplant and new heart valve, she will be required to stay close to UCLA for at least a year in order to be close to her medical team in case of any complications.

This is where we stand now. I will try to post a weekly update on my mom and keep everyone informed.

Many of you have asked how you could help my mom. I am humbled to know so many of you care and would like to help. As I’m sure many of you have assumed. PTO’s have been maxed out, jobs have been left, FMLA has been used and some jobs have been lost. 6 months of having a loved one in ICU collides with the reality of the world, careers, bill, etc.

if you would like to help monetarily below you will find information on how to do so.

PayPal: paypal.me/MiriamMerianos or
MiriamMerianos73@gmail.com
Venmo: @Miriam-Merianos

Gofundme– https://www.gofundme.com/f/mama-miriam

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How to Help Mama Miriam

Again, we appreciate your want in helping our mother during this time.

How will these donations be used: 

  1. Medical bills 
  2. Costs for relocating
  3. Parking fees 

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The Bride’s Checklist

There are certain wedding day essentials no bride should be without. Here are some tips from two past brides on what worked or took up space for them in their wedding day essentials haul. Tag all the special brides in your life.

After months maybe years of planning, it’s almost time for the big day!  The week before your wedding is likely to be a tad hectic with some last-minute tasks to get through. It’s crunch time, and you’re pretty sure you’ve got everything in order….kinda…sorta? Don’t fret! Two Brides come together and give you the scope of what you may want to add to your list or ditch from the list!

Let get to it!

Eleni’s List

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Things I’m so glad I had 

Emergency kit – My wonderful bridesmaids put together the BEST emergency kit. I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things but this was what they had in my emergency bag.

  • Breath Mints
  • mirror
  • tweezers
  • tissues
  • asprin
  • hairspray
  • bobbypins
  • deodrant
  • Fashion tape ( which I used a ton of)
  • band aids
  • SNACKS (my girls know me so well)
  • safety pins

 

Breakfast – My husband had some of the groomsmen pop into my airbnb early in the morning and leave a box of breakfast tacos. I WISH I had a picture but the tacos formed the shape of a heart.

 

Quiet Time – Weddings are BUSY to say the least and we had a huge wedding party. I’ve been a bridesmaid in enough weddings to know that the “getting ready” process for the bride is hectic. I realized very early on that I did not want to get ready with any of my bridesmaids, not because I didn’t want to be around them but because I wanted to peacefully get ready and prepare myself for day to come. I’m so glad I was able to get ready with my sister the first half of the morning and finish the rest with my mom and grandmother. Having just them around was so special. My hair and makeup artist are also my personal friends so it was nice to enjoy them before the wedding started. I met up with my bridesmaids at the church when it was time for pictures.
Things I wish I’d had:
Better Vendors – There are some vendors who I wish we wouldn’t of hired. I wont name shame but replacing them could of made a few things go smoother. Research your vendors and try to see them in action before you hire them.
Things I had but didn’t really need:
Guestbook – Don’t stress about this unless you really need something on your coffee table.
My Phone : I wish I had just turned it off. I only had it while I got ready but it did add to my stress since I was checking on all vendors, etc. My junior bridesmaids had two jobs once they met up with me 1. make sure my purse made it to the reception. 2. take my phone away. This task was PERFECT for two 10 year old twins. I never saw my phone or purse again till the end of the night.
Things I’m so glad I didn’t have:
First look before the wedding – Photographers push HARD on having this done. We stood our ground on waiting to see each other. Worth it.
Speeches – With a wedding party of over 20, 5 parents and 3 grandparents in attendance, we knew there was no way that we could give everyone an opportunity to speak at this wedding without boring the guest. So, the majority of our speeches were given at rehearsal dinner. To us, it made more sense to have intimate speeches with people that actually know the stories and inside jokes. At the wedding we just had our parents speak and koumbara.
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Claire’s List 

My best friend (Kirby) recently married the wonderful Claire Langseth! She truly has became one of my best friends from the moment Kirby introduced us.Thank you, Claire for giving in your input and doing this blog post with me!

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Things I’m so glad I had:

Water: My dad packed a cooler of water and put it in the bridal room for myself and the bridesmaids. You don’t think about drinking water when you’re running around like a chicken with your head cut off, but you should! Keep yourself hydrated so you stay feeling good on your big day.
Band-aids: Obviously, I (stupidly) didn’t break in my beautiful white shoes before the big day because I didn’t want to get them dirty. But those suckers rubbed some nasty blisters on my heels. So band-aids came in handy, and a change of shoes for the reception was also a lifesaver.
24-hour lasting liquid lipstick and gloss: I bought my lipstick before my make-up trial, and I ended up changing my mind on what color I wanted about 7 more times. But I’m so glad I went with a long-lasting liquid lipstick because the color never wore off and when my lips got dry during pictures I just put a little bit of the gloss on. I tried out several different brands (Sephora, CoverGirl, Maybelline) during my quest for the right color and they all worked really well.
Clip-Board: If you don’t have a team of people managing every little detail of your wedding for the entire day, then you may consider printing off all of your relevant info (wedding party and immediate family list with phone numbers, vendor list with phone numbers, schedule, etc.) just so you have all the information someone might need for your wedding easily at hand.
Things I wish I’d had:
Costume tape: This seems like a no-brainer that I just didn’t even think about. But one of the sleeves of my dress would occasionally droop a little, and if I’d had some tape that would have fixed that issue easily.
Snacks: At my wedding we took all of our photos, including wedding party and immediate family, before the ceremony. That put some people waiting around at the chapel for a couple of hours. I wish I had provided some snacks for them. Some people made a run to the store for snacks and drinks, but I wish they hadn’t needed to.
Hangers: During the waiting around before the ceremony, some of the groomsmen got hot and understandably took off their jackets. But those jackets ended up crumpled up in a chair and some of them got pretty wrinkly. I wish I had brought some hangers for the guys to take off their jackets and put them in the coat closet.
Things I had but didn’t really need:
Spare Rings: Everyone told us to have an extra set of cheap rings just in case we forgot our real ones. A week before the wedding (while I still had time to think about all the details) I put together a “Day of Wedding Emergency Package” with all sorts of stuff (bobby pins, mints, hair spray, spare rings, etc.) and I made sure the real rings were in there too. Then I gave the package to my wedding coordinator the night before the wedding and she took care of it from there. So good preparation took care of needing to worry about that.
Decorative sign asking people to turn off their phones: This was unfortunately not effective. Even though I posted a sign about it in the chapel, I printed it on the programs, and the officiant made an announcement about it, people still got out their phones and took pictures during the ceremony.
Things I’m so glad I didn’t have:
My phone: I didn’t have my phone on me at all. It was put in a bag at our hotel room where we went that night. So I was totally cut off from the world and it was wonderful. I got to truly soak in every second of that magical day.

 

 

A mix of fun from both weddings! 

XoXo – Mrs. Kramer & Mrs. Langseth! 

 

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ConGRADulations!

Now, you are a graduate!

YAY! You did it. Yippie! Be proud of your huge accomplishment. Soak in all the newness of being a new grad because the glory days are officially over. Just Kidding.

Be positive, productive and pro-active 

Never get so comfortable that you forget to keep yourself challenged. The famous quote “You’re not tired, you’re uninspired” fits perfectly. Be positive when things don’t go your way but be proactive in getting your goals back in line.

Discover yourself

Now that you have finished undergrad it’s essential to appreciate what you accomplished. Don’t let the tremendous amount of “what now?” questions pressure you into anything. Ignore the pressure to satisfy peoples desires to hear about your grad school goals or your new fantastic job. I am here to tell you in the simplest way possible ignore the pressure and do you.

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Always remember 

You are beautiful.

You are talented.

You are loved.

You are valued.

Never stop learning

Learn from your own mistakes. Don’t become overly critical of yourself or others. Learn to love the unknown. Learn to cultivate your passion. Learn compassion. Learn to accept that you can’t change or control everything. Learn to forgive. Learning is a lifelong journey.

Be open to change 

Many of the best ideas won’t necessarily come from you. Listen deeply to all that is being said in every conversation around you. You may not agree, but there will be plenty of time to share your opinions or not share.

Make connections

You never know who is going to be meaningful to you in the future; nothing is worth cutting someone off completely. Networking isn’t just about meeting as many people as you can, but genuinely building on those relationships. Every person you meet or engage with presents an opportunity.

Because we live in such a small world, it is hard but important not to burn bridges – no matter how tempted you might be (“the devil works hard, but Kris Jenner works harder”) You aren’t going to like everyone, and everyone isn’t going to like you.

But most important please BE PATIENT 

Look to your future with great focus and untapped enthusiasm. Never lose this sense of awe; let it be your compass forward. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to have successes. But overall you’re going to be okay. There will be times when you feel misunderstood, alone, confused, and even unsure always know  I am right by your side! I’ll forever run through the dark unknown just to make sure you have a lit pathway.

Congratulations!

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10 thoughts I have while running

I have made the maniacal decision to run a half marathon in early May. Want a glimpse into my thoughts as I train?

So I’ve been running A TON lately (actually only 2-4 times a week but it feels like I can’t stop running like Forrest) because I have made the maniacal decision to run a half marathon in early May.

My thought was if I committed to this half marathon I’d force myself to run so much I’d end up becoming one of those people who runs to relax. Update: I’m still terrible at running and don’t think it’s relaxing.

Running is such a mental game. Other than mental strength you need no talent nor equipment. Now I’m sure my thoughts will maybe one day change when I get better at running but here’s a glimpse into my thoughts during my runs.

Eleni’s thoughts:

1. What a beautiful day for a run! Cant wait to lace up and get started.

three minutes into the run….

2. This isn’t too bad. Maybe I should pick up my pace.

3. Just kidding, slow it down you eager beaver. This sucks.

4. How long have I been running? oh 7 minutes. Welp. Not even halfway there.

5. Alright, stay focused. What am I going to eat when I get home?

6. I’m running 3 miles so I should probably eat six slices of pizza. No I should have a protein shake.  I should probably eat a salad. Gosh I wish I had tacos at home.

7. Oh look a pupper. Hi dog! You are so cute.  I wonder what Bauer is doing. Why didn’t I bring Bauer. Wow I’m the worst dog parent.

….

Maybe I should go home and get Bauer. Bauer hates running.

8. Oh,  another runner. Should I wave? No, don’t be weird. OMG, SHE waved first! Hello! Yes! We are both runners! Look at us run!

9. Ok. My lungs are about to collapse. I probably went to hard. Check to see how far we have gone. *1.5 miles, DANG IT!!

10.  FINISHED. Wow, I’m a champ. jk I suck. Ugh I should probably run again tomorrow.

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Yaga’s 9th annual chili quest

There are lots of reasons to love a food festival. Whenever there’s one happening in Houston or OKC, Jacob and I, of course always think about going. To start the year right in January, we attended the 9th Annual Yaga Chili fest down in Galveston, TX.

 

We attended the festival with our friends and family (Bauer also participated. The festival is dog-friendly). Although it was a rainy, humid day, we had a blast.

An outdoor food festival in Galveston which each year brings in hundreds of festival contestants. This festival packs the historic Square in Galveston Island, with chili’s of every style imaginable. The festival provides Chili samples, beer, margaritas, and live music

The tickets are super cheap ($10), and you get to taste a ridiculous amount of chili.There is a beer tasting part of the festival as well, but we all picked just to do chili.

 

The chili ranges from TX style (spicy brisket-based chili with NO F*** BEANS) to other “chili” that has beans (i.e., bean soup). The ones with beans were terrible, and the TX style chili was terrific (water’s wet).

 

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Exploring Disneyland in One Day

Vacation to Los Angeles called for a trip to the original Disney Park! We knocked it out in one day. Check out some hints and tips!

Disneyland is the most magical place on earth but it takes a lot of energy to navigate! That being said, a hearty breakfast is essential to your adventure. Whether you’re staying in Anaheim, LA or even San Diego, make sure you don’t waste your time with American staples like Denny’s, IHOP or McDonalds.

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Thanks to the homie, D O double G from the LBC, there’s a wonderful breakfast joint 5 minutes away from the park. Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles is the place to be for a delicious breakfast delicacy! The mixture of sweet and savory is to die for and don’t be afraid to drizzle that sweet sweet syrup all over your chicken!

All of us got the Scoe’s #1 ($13) which comes with 2 waffles and either a chicken breast or chicken thighs. After this meal, you’ll have to tell your phone “it’s still me with a little chicken grease.” This meal is absolutely lights out, the chicken is crisp and flavorful on the outside while retaining magnificent juicy deliciousness on the inside. The chicken alone was the best fried chicken I’ve had outside of the south. The waffle is uniquely fluffy as the batter is custom tailored to Roscoe’s restaurants alone. You will not regret starting your morning in the most magical place on earth with Roscoe’s!

  1. If you’re visiting the park for a special occasion or just really want one, ask for a pin. Main Street City Hall is the place to visit for free special occasion pins! Whether it’s your first time in the park, you’re recently engaged, or somebody is celebrating a birthday, the friendly City Hall cast members will be happy to give you a celebratory button.

2. Use Disneyland websites to locate your favorite characters.If you’re on the hunt for a specific character during your day at the park, use Finding Mickey to determine their whereabouts. We didnt really care to find any characters but this tip is for you planners!

 3. If you ask, Photopass Photographers will snap a picture on your cell phone.Hence the photo below! (Jacob was so excited he couldn’t keep his eyes open)
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4. Visit during nonpeak months for shorter lines and fewer crowds.Overall, Disneyland is pretty busy year round. No matter when you go, you won’t be alone!

If avoiding crowds is your number one goal, these are the least busy times at Disneyland:

  • First full week of January through the middle of February
  • Third Tuesday of February to mid-March (when spring break starts)
  • Mid-April through the third week of May
  • First Tuesday of September to the beginning of October
  • Second week of November

We went on February 6th and it also happens to be their early closing day. We found there to be little to no crowds for most rides. You can also use the free Disneyland app to view wait times.

5. Want to know if Celebs are at the park while you are? Follow DisneylandCeleb on Instagram. Also be on the lookout for the Disney Escorts in plaid vests, a celebrity is usually with them.

6. You can bring food and drinks into the park. Because Disneyland allows guests to bring in their own meals, you can save a lot of money on snacks. We only brought water into the park but spent most of our time trying the must have snacks at Disneyland. Unfortunately all of us were more concerned with eating the snacks rather then taking pictures of them but below you will find a list of  the snacks we had!
  • Dole Whip Float -The Myth. The Legend. The Whip. The Dole Whip. Or in this case, the Dole Whip Float!Dole Whip is a soft serve pineapple flavored frozen treat that you can find at the entrance to Adventureland in front of the Enchanted Tiki room. You can order just the Dole Whip itself or as a float in pineapple juice, complete with a little drink umbrella.
  • Mickey Pretzel – Eliza snagged this bad boy as she waited on us to finish up with Space mountain ( She doesnt do fast rides)
  • Churro!!! – Apparently Disney has unveiled a limited edition rose gold churro. We did not have the rose gold churro. Whatever churro you decide on just know it is always a good choice.

Now that we have scratched the Disney itch it’s safe to say our next visit to California will not include Disneyland but rather visiting Knotts Berry Farm and of course Universal Studios. I (Eleni) have never been to another Disney park so Disney World would have to be my next Disney adventure if that’s what the future vacation holds.

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Disney parks are always magical and our experience was nothing but excellent!

Until next time! BEEP BEEP!!

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Valentina’s BBQ : Passport destination #2 of 50

During the holiday break, the Kramer family was able to make a quick stop into Austin before getting into San Antonio to spend Christmas with the family. We took advantage of our time in Austin with eating as much BBQ as we could intake. Valentina’s was among the stops.

We came to Valentina’s for dinner. So, unfortunately, the whole menu wasn’t available.

What we ordered

Appetizer – Queso ($3.50)

Eleni – Taco : Cerveza Beef Fajita ( $6.00) & Bottled soda ($2.00)

Jacob – Chopped Biscuit Sandwich. ( $8.50) & Topo Chico ($2.00)

Although in pictures it looks like Valentina’s has an indoor seating area it doesn’t. Its a food truck with fancy covered seating. So it is dog-friendly.

The first thing we got was the delicious queso. I might be over exaggerating the impressiveness of said queso because we live in OKC and there’s a void of even decent queso, but it was at least good queso.

Jacob’s meal highlights

I got the Chopped Biscuit Sandwich. This sandwich was tasty! The brisket was juicy, had excellent bark and was extremely flavorful.

The bun was toasted, light and flaky. I poured some of the queso on top of the brisket sandwich and it made it even better.

Overall, this place was decent but I wouldn’t go out of my way to return.

Heim is still my top dog.

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Eleni’s meal highlights

I got the Cerveza Beef taco. Have to say, extremely underwhelmed and unimpressed considering we spent $6 for essentially what was a single street taco

The taco dripped way too much juicy and made an awkward decision of not putting it down on my plate for fear the tortilla would rip of sogginess.

I have to side with the husband and say Heim is still my favorite. I don’t think I’ll ever have an itch to go back to Valentina’s. We give this place a solid 3.

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What is a Greek Orthodox Wedding?

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I’m sure the burning question is there ( because we always get asked) Yes, Jacob converted and is Greek Orthodox. Below is a picture of him after he was baptized. No, he did not get baptized in a kiddie pool like in My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

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So now that that’s out of the way. We are going to share our ceremony pictures! We had a Greek Orthodox wedding at Saint Basil the Great in Houston. We both mutually agree that our favorite part of our WHOLE wedding was the ceremony. Maybe the service was so exceptional because we understood and spent time studying what each process meant. Nonetheless it was perfect.

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The sacrament of marriage in the Eastern Orthodox Church joins two believers into one. Sacrament of Marriage consists of.

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  • The Exchange of Rings
  • The lighting of the Candles
  • The Crowning
  • The Readings from the Bible
  • The Drinking of the Common Cup
  • The Ceremonial Walk
  • Lastly, the Proclamation of Husband & Wife.

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The Rings! 

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The rings are first blessed by the priest and then exchanged between bride & groom. The rings are blessed by the priest, who touches the foreheads of the Bride and Groom three times with them. He does this three times in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, first from the groom to the bride, and then from the bride to the groom. The back and forth movement can be interpreted to mean that the lives of the two are being entwined into one

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The priest then places the rings on the ring fingers of the right hands of the two. It is noteworthy that the right hands are used in the putting on of the rings, since according to all Biblical knowledge we have, it is the right hand of God that blesses; it was to the right hand of the Father that Christ ascended; it is to the right that those who will inherit eternal life will go.The rings are then exchanged three times on the fingers of the bride and groom by the Best Man BUT in our case since our Best Man isnt Greek Orthodox our Maid of Honor( Koumbara) did it. This exchange further expression and witness that the lives of the two are being brought together. The exchange signifies that in married life, the weakness of one partner will be compensated by the strength of the other. Apart, the newly betrothed are incomplete, but together they are made perfect.

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What are wedding candles are how are they used?

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The bride and groom each hold a lighted candle during the service. The candles remind the couple of the light of Christ who is with them throughout the sacrament and their coming life together.

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The wedding candles are usually tapered, white and 18″ – 24″ in height. They are lit by the priest during the service and handed to the couple to hold for part of the service. Our candles were beautifully decorated by my sister with mini olive tree branches. They looked SOOOOO GREEK!

What are stefana (Stéfana)? The Crowning of the Bride and Groom. 

The Crowning is the highlight and focal point of the Sacrament of Holy matrimony. The priest then takes two wedding crowns, or Stefana, and blesses the bride and groom in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and then places the crowns upon their heads

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Stefana are used for The Crowning of the couple. The wedding crowns (Stéfana) are the signs of glory and honor with which God crowns the Bride and Groom during the sacrament. The Bride and Groom are crowned as king and queen of their home, which they will rule with wisdom, justice, and integrity. They represent the couple’s giving of one life totally to the other and through the other to Christ. At the end of the wedding service, the crowns are removed from the couple and the priest prays that God will receive these crowns into His Kingdom. We have ours hanging in our bedroom now in a beautiful box made from Greece ( Thanks Tsounakas Family!)

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After the priest places the Stéfana on the heads of the Bride and Groom, the Koumbara exchanges the crowns three times as witness to the sealing of the union. The crown swapping begins with the koumbaro/a behind the bride and groom – and the koumbaro/a places the crowns three times on the head before the procession around the altar. The bride is at left, the groom at right.
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PLACEMENT #1: The koumbara holds the crowns in his or her hand and crosses his hands, RIGHT hand over the left , and then places the crowns on the heads of the bride and groom.

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Father trying to convince me to do the Our Father prayer in all three languages. We settled on me just doing it in Spanish and he would do it in Greek 🙂

PLACEMENT #2: The koumbara lifts the crowns off the head and then switches the crowns in her hand by uncrossing herhands, RIGHT hand back over the left and then around under the left hand. The arms end up crossed and the same crown goes back onto the brides head, and the same crown back onto the groom’s head.
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PLACEMENT #3: For the third switch, the koumbaro will move his right hand back under the right and then around over again the left hand.
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The order is specific and symbolic – the right hand leads over the left on the first switch/placement – just as the right hand leads with all religious ceremonies. Generally the crowns are interchangeable or identical. If the crowns are specific for the bride and groom, then the groom’s crown starts on the bride and the bride’s crown starts on the groom. That way after the exchange, they are resting groom’s crown on the groom’s head and bride’s crown on the bride’s head. They wear the crowns this way for the remainder of the ceremony and as they circle the altar.
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  • The Readings from the Bible

The reading is done after the Crowning. The designated reading from the scriptures is from the Epistle of St. Paul to the Ephesians where Paul talks of love and respect.

  • The Drinking of the Common Cup

The Orthodox Wedding tradition ceremony has a ritual of the drinking of the common cup. On the altar table is a wine decanter with wine and a common cup. After the priest reads Bible passages, the priest pours the wine into the single cup and the bride and groom take three sips of wine from the shared cup.

The ritual of the common cup is based on the wedding of Cana of Galilee, where Jesus turned water into wine. Just as wine was drunk at the wedding in Cana, the Bride and Groom share a common cup of unconsecrated wine, symbolizing the sharing of all that life will bring. The cup represents life and symbolizes they will share everything. Their sorrows will be divided in half and their joy will be doubled.

Here is a picture of us drinking from the common cup:

  • The Ceremonial Walk

The priest lead us, hands joined, in a circle around the holy table as we took our first steps as husband and wife. (Disclaimer – Jacob and I were legally married a year before our orthodox wedding, but this just felt like we officially became Husband and Wife!)

The circling around the table signifies the promise of the husband and wife to preserve their marriage bond until death parts them. The ceremony is concluded with the priest invoking God’s blessings and removing the crowns.

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  • Lastly, the Proclamation of Husband & Wife.

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OMG you made it to the end! Give yourself a long pat on the back!!

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DIY Bridesmaids Bouquet

I (Eleni) like real flowers as much as the next person BUT I love the ability to reuse things. Although these flowers were a SAVE money wise, I had a few more useful ideas for these beauties

  1. They sat on the sweetheart table
  2. My bridesmaids can keep their bouquets as keepsakes

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Difficulty:✂

Materials: You are welcome to use any flower combo you wish. I used the following

  • Mini Olive Leaf Bundle Bush ( $9.99)
  • Eucalyptus Bush ( $18.99)
  • White & Cream Peony Bush ($11.99)
  • Gold Ribbon (3.99)

Tools:

  • Hot Glue Gun

I bought my flower bunches from Hobby Lobby. The flowers were 50% off the average price that week. I also used a 40% coupon, that was applied to my ribbon.

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My overall total was under $25 for six bouquets & one center piece ( I used left over flowers for a wreath project).

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Instructions: 
1. Prepare stems by cutting into useable pieces. Use your wire cutters and and trim off  all the excess leaves, leaving only one or two close to the flower. After you have your single stem flower wire and tape stems as necessary. This allows you to extend the length of a flower easily.

2. Choose 2-4 flowers to start the base of your bouquet. I started with one stem of lamb’s ear, a couple olive steams and a stem of white Peony .

3. Wrap your bouquet in floral tape, starting at the top and traveling down the stem bunch. This will give your bouquet a little added support.

4.Cut a piece of ribbon about a yard long and put a dot of hot glue on the back of the stems and wrap the ribbon around the stems. Pin with hot glue gun and voila you have yourself a fake flower  bouquet.

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15 First Dance Songs

we are sharing our wedding photos along with some tips. First up is our first dance.

As much as we’d love to bombard you with all our wedding photos, we figured it would be nice to add some tips, advice and show what we did.

Our first dance was an easy pick. We wanted something classic and timeless. We picked “At Last” by Etta James (but there is a Beyonce version as well).The #1 rule is to keep things personal. It doesn’t matter if your first dance song is unique, popular, old, new, slow, fast, or anything else. All that matters is that you and your fiancé think it’s the right one for you. Have fun picking!

Here are some songs that landed on our list and hopefully help you with picking the first dance!

1. “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” Elvis Presley
Lyrics you’ll love: “Like a river flows surely to the sea/Darling so it goes/some things are meant to be”

2.”Better Together” by Jack Johnson
This song is entirely sweet with a soft but playful acoustic melody. Probably a more underrated first dance song, but a favorite!

3. “The Way You Look Tonight” – Frank Sinatra
Lyrics you’ll love: “Some day, when I’m awfully low / When the world is cold / I will feel a glow just thinking of you / And the way you look tonight / Yes, you’re lovely, with your smile so warm.”

4. “L-O-V-E,” Nat King Cole
Lyrics you’ll love: “Love is all that I can give to you/Love is more than just a game for two/Two in love can make it.”

5. “Thinking Out Loud” – Ed Sheeran
Lyrics you’ll love: When your legs don’t work like they used to before / And I can’t sweep you off of your feet / Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love? / Will your eyes still smile from?

6. “Make You Feel My Love” – Adele
Adele’s voice just asks to be sung as a first dance!

7. “All My Life” by K-Ci & JoJo
A classic. Cant go wrong with this song.

8. “You and I (Nobody in the World)” by John Legend
This song was ALMOST our first dance! We love this song.

9. ” Ordinary People” by John Legend
Jacob’s favorite song. This was another song that almost made it on our dance floor. We love this song because it’s so real and shows love isn’t perfect.

10. “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran
Reasonably new song and just a perfect love song.

11. ” With You I Am” by Cody Johnson
Lyrics you’ll love: ” Who’s that guy with a big ole smile as wide as the Rio Grande. … Same ole boy but a whole lot better whenever you holding my hand. I used to poke fun at them punch drunk lovers.”

12. “Die a Happy Man” by Thomas Rhett
Personal favorite. Kinda slow but so romantic!

13. “God Gave Me You” by Blake Shelton
Lyrics you’ll love: ” ‘Cause God gave me you for the ups and downs
God gave me you for the days of doubt.For when I think I’ve lost my way.”

14. “My Best Friend” by Tim McGraw
Lyrics you’ll love: “You’re more than a lover.There could never be another.To make me feel the way you do Oh we just get closer.”

15.” You’re Still The One” by Shania Twain
This one has to be a classic! Who doesn’t love singing this song on the top of their lungs!!

Have any to add to the list? Comment in the post to help those planning brides.

Featured

IKEA lack shelf hack

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Oh Ikea, how I love and hate thee.  Although these shelves are functional and aesthetically pretty, my main concern is how they slant away from the wall. Unhappy with this I wanted a way to make them “new” and much more functional.

Lets get down to the how to and what you need

Difficulty:✂

Materials:

Tools:

  • Level
  • Stud finder
  • Drill
  • Hot Glue gun

Once you put the shelf in place, drill the drywall anchors in.  The drywall anchors create a very tight and secure grip onto the drywall which makes the compressed tensile strength of the drywall the weakest point. Unless the shelf is pulled very forcibly from the wall, the heavy duty drywall anchor should be able to support more weight than other types of fasteners when used with shelving brackets.

At this point you should be done and ready for the personal touches. I like to test the “im done” theory by adding weight to the shelf just so I’m sure its in tack before I put my tools away.

After you fasten the leather straps you can hot glue the thumb tacks onto the straps as a personal touch.

Ok now this ikea shelf should really done and styling can happen. (I’ve changed the styling to these shelves since this post, the OG pictures have a rushed set up)

Featured

Colorado Bachelorette Party

#Elenibachshitcrazy 

What do friends, adventure, and LOTS of food have in common? They were all very integral parts of my bachelorette weekend getaway, of course! I’m so excited to share the details from our time in Denver, Colorado.

It was the perfectly planned trip to Colorado, including whitewater rafting and an ongoing list of local restaurants, I couldn’t wait to get off the airplane and get this party started but the moment I got onto Denver land a headache creeped in, nausea kicked into high gear and all I could worry about was finding the nearest trashcan. That’s the curse of altitude sickness, my friends. Upon landing I sat near a trash can till my sister figured her way out of riding the shuttle for the 6th time.

All 7 of us stayed in the Santa Fe Arts District of Denver in a spacious townhouse and used Turo for the first time. I’d have to say; I will forever use Turo as a rental car in new cities. Not only is it a third of the cost compared to renting a vehicle, but it was also a cheaper option and way of getting around for a big group. (shameless plug: Click HERE to use my Turo code, and we both win!) Uber was only used once when we went out and bounced around Denver nightlife. (My uber code gives you $20: elenim105ue )

My Koumbara (more on what that is, is for another post) had a bag of goodies waiting for me at our Airbnb. I was SO excited to get this party started.

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My Koumbara put together welcome kits for the girls which included – Inflatable drink holders which varied from pink flamingos to unicorns, cookies shaped in the form of butts, sunscreen, silicone wine glasses, Tylenol, and candy! My sorority little had fun Drake-themed shirts ready for all the ladies to put on ( thanks, Little)

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Girls just wanna have fun!

MOH booked us an appointment for much-needed spa time which OF COURSE included champagne. Allowing me to open the bottle was the first mistake of the weekend. Next on the agenda was an outdoorsy activity. Whats a Colorado trip without some outdoor fun?? We decided to go on the 1/3 day trip option for white water rafting, so we could enjoy the rest of the evening in the city. White water rafting was a BLAST! We did learn that

  1. The water is COLD (even in July) so don’t wear cotton
  2. The gear STINKS so mentally prepare yourself
  3. You forget about the stench and coldness because the ride is so much fun!!

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Couldn’t forget a bachelorette touch with my bride one piece swimsuit!

Denver Night life

My outfit of choice was a bodycon white off the shoulder ruffle dress.
I’m not a huge fan of sashes so my MOH gifted me a “BRIDE” headband to wear for the weekend. I accessorized with a clutch handbag with Mrs. on the front of it.

My bridesmaids hosted a lingerie shower for me at our Airbnb before we went out for dinner. My MOH decorated the kitchen/ dining area in celebration and had a drink and snack station going for us while we enjoyed their surprise shower for me.

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The girls and I chose to go to  Ophelia’s that night for the atmosphere. It was 90’s night, and we all enjoyed singing at the top of our lungs while enjoying our dinner. We then walked over to a few clubs and bars down broadway street before calling it a night!

Here are some of the local restauanrts we went ate at : 

Little Mans ice cream: I would say is a staple spot to visit. Little Mans also has the cutest shirts avaiable for purchase! Parking may be hard to find especially during the weekend. We went on a Sunday, and the plaza had a huge dog event going on, luckily all of us are dog lovers so this made the super long line bearable.

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My Brother’s Bar: Denver’s oldest Saloon. They have GREAT comfort food!

Jelly Cafe: Jelly’s breakfast is fantastic, reasonably priced and comes with the cutest atmosphere to enjoy it in. Side note – Jelly’s doughnuts are to die for so save room!

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The Original Pancake House: FYI the Denver omelet is HUGE, so dont order that if youre looking for a light meal before white water rafting.

Sassafras American Eatery: Not ashamed to admit  fried pickles were ordered three times….

Melita’s Greek Cafe & Market: Quick, delicious deli with the sweetest staff. Great for customers looking for a quick bite during lunch.

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Special thanks to my bridesmaids who helped to make my bachelorette getaway so special!!!

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Check out the fresh pedicure chanclas.

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Featured

Reasons for Doing TX BBQ CHALLENGE

The Yeti and Texas Monthly BBQ Challenge consists of a Top 50 Listing of the BEST TX BBQ joints. The Republic is well known for its Brisket, Beer and assorted sides that will take your mouth to FLAVORTOWN BABY. Jacob first saw this challenge thanks to Houston Sports Radio Legend, AJ Hoffman, who decided to take on the challenge in early 2017. Inspired by one of the co-hosts of the Greatest Show in the History of the Known Universe, The Blitz (catch them on 97.5 AM in Houston 4-7pm weekdays), Jacob decided that he and Eleni needed to stop by a few of the places that were on their way back to OKC from Houston.

Soooo how does one participate, sign up and or win??? Easy! Go to any of the top 50 BBQ restaurants as listed and ask for a passport. After ordering, ask to have a sticker to stick on your passport to complete and mark off a location in your passport.

Although the prizes are limited there are so many chances to win even a small prixe by trying their smaller challenges. The following identifies the prizes available upon successful completion of the challenges identified in the BBQ Passport:

Challenge 1:  YETI Tundra 45 (ARV: $349.99); 500 available prizes.

Challenge 2:  Half-Gallon Rambler Jug (ARV: $99.99); 500 available prizes.(Challenge Completed)

Challenge 3:  Customized 18-oz. YETI Rambler Bottle (ARV: $39.99); 1000 available prizes.

Challenge 4:  30-oz. Rambler Tumbler (ARV: $29.99); 1000 available prizes.

Challenge 5:  YETI TANK 45 (ARV: $199.99); 500 available prizes.

Challenge 6:  Hopper Two 30 (ARV: $349.99); 500 available prizes.

Challenge 7:  YETI Hat (ARV: $19.99); 2000 available prizes.

Challenge 8:  Rambler Colster (ARV: $24.99); 1000 available prizes.

Challenge 9:  36-oz. Rambler Bottle (ARV: $49.99); 1000 available prizes.

Challenge 10:  YETI T-Shirt (ARV: $24.99); 2000 available prizes.

SO WHAT PRIZES ARE YOU GOING TO WIN??!! Follow us and see where we go and how deep into the challenge we get.

¡Oye Chica! July

¡Hola!

I’ve been MIA and thought the best way to come back is with a good catch up session or as I like to call it chisme (Cheese – meh).

What the heck is chisme? chismosa?  chismeando?

 

Chisme is a Spanish word for ‘gossip’ but I like to think of it as a story worth telling to all your friends. Chisme is looked down upon and used as an insult towards women. The last thing anyone wants to be called is a chismosa. But at one point or another we are all chismosos: we want to know who did what, who said what and what happened to who. So embrace the title, Chismosas. Let’s get to it!

If We Were Chismeando, I would wish you a Kalo mina! For those asking what the heck that means, it literally means good month. «Καλό μήνα» (Kalo Mina). It’s Greek way of wishing friends and family a good month ahead.

If We Were Chismeando, I would tell you I have been all over the place this month.In order to understand the mix, you’d need one part stressed from moving, one part busy with cool work projects, two parts excited for my husband to get back from Sargent training. (So proud of him!)

If We Were Chismeando, I would tell you I was able to pay my car off in full! YAY!!!!!! (This was also a New Years resolution of mine)

If We Were Chismeando, I would tell you all about the fun I’ve had showing my little brother around OKC. We’ve been zip lining, white water rafting, movie hopping, college visiting and yoga-ing (I know that’s not a word. Whatever.)


If We Were Chismeando, I would tell you I signed up for another half marathon and I better get to training.  I ran my very first half marathon this past May in Waco. (the Silos half marathon). It was a blast. I obviously liked it so much I signed up for another.

If We Were Chismeando, I would tell you I watched all of Grace and Frankie on Netflix and LOVED it.

If We Were Chismeando, I would tell you all about my favorite podcasts. I don’t remember what I did before podcasts came into my life. Actually I do: I listened to the same 16 songs on repeat. These days, I listen to podcasts when I’m getting ready in the morning, when I’m in my office, and when I’m doing house chores. My current favorites are

  • Locatora Radio – A radiophonic novel hosted by Diosa and Mala also known as “Las Mamis of Myth & Bullshit” I recommend this podcast to all my Latinas out there. You wont be disappointed.
  • The Read – This will forever be on my monthly roundups so get use to seeing it on the list. I LOVE this show. Thanks to my bestie Zilde who introduced me to this podcast back in 2014
  • Nothing Much happens – This podcast is perfect for helping you fall asleep. The narrators voice is so soothing. It essentially is a bedtime story for adults.
  • 30 for 30 – Bikrahm Yoga Series. I was obsessed with Bikrahm yoga my sophomore year of college. Obsessed to the point where I would take two classes a day. When I saw this title I just HAD to hear everything they had to say about Bikrahm. Let me just say…… I was shocked to hear about what goes on behind the brand. I stumbled upon this podcasts as I contemplated picking up Bikrahm again, needless to say I am going to stick with hot yoga in the meantime.

If We Were Chismeando, I would tell you I read Tuesdays with Morrie and absolutely loved it. I packed it up and sent it to my sister. I love sending her books I like so she can enjoy them as well.

If We Were Chismeando, I would stop to catch my breath and have you fill me in on your chisme! What are your current favorites, recommendations and thoughts. Fill me in!

Besitos – Eleni

Soccer. Futbol. Football. The World’s Game

I’m Kirbin and I’m from Houston. I have a great fiancé. Dog dad. Oil & Gas chap. Brunch partaker. Netflix frequenter. Terrible dancer. Excel connoisseur. Expert on the misspelling of connoisseur. Tottenham Hotspur supporter. I hope you like my stuff. If you don’t, that’s like your opinion…

Soccer: Stop Kicking It To The Curb…

Soccer. Futbol. Football. The World’s Game. The sport that your high school football team’s kicker played during the off season. The sport that thinks it’s acceptable to tie when, in reality, drawing is like “kissin’ yer sister!” It is the sport and frenzy you don’t understand. The sport that causes people from ages 0 to 90 and from all walks of life to stumble into a bar at 6:30AM on a Saturday to watch Watford take on Huddersfield Town with a dozen people who for just two hours on a weekend feel like lifelong friends and people who understand your plight and frustrations. You may think that you would never be this person. You may say that you don’t think soccer is for you, but I was once in your shoes. Now I find myself in the crowd of 6:30AM sleepy-eyed, pint sipping futbol faithful. I deck myself out in my team’s gear and proceed to be captivated by a game being played thousands of miles away from the bustling streets of Houston, Texas. In this article, I won’t bore you with every rule of the game, I will simply tell you my thoughts on it and perhaps how to go about trying to get into it. And with the (USA-less) World Cup approaching, there is no better time to get on the tidal wave that is the game of draws, the game of hairstyles, the game of mega contracts, and the game of glory.

Bright(on) and Early

My morning viewing attire usually goes as follows:

  • The scarf – It’s one of the first things you will notice about soccer fans. The scarf is one of the most common ways fans represent the club they support.
  • The socks, hat, & Nike sweat pants – While these don’t always make an appearance at the same time (for sake of me looking too over the top), it’s always nice to add some comfort for my viewing.
  • The beer – Okay, I would be lying if I told you that having a pint or stein of a unique beer at 7:00AM wasn’t surprisingly relaxing. From Denmark, America, Ireland, Germany, the United Kingdom, and many others, there is always a good pint to be shared with your new best friends. Drink responsibly though as soccer games tend to last a little less than two hours and no one wants to start their day a complete mess… well, depending on the final score…
  • The jersey – This was what held me accountable to really getting into the game and challenging myself to learn more about it. I spent ~$100 on a Tottenham Hotspur jersey and felt that at the least, I was on the hook to go watch a few games. I am normally against grown adults wearing jerseys with grown adults on their back, so I went with a jersey that had no name on the back. Wear it with pride!
  • To start you on this we need to establish some rules:
    1. To make this exercise worthwhile, you have to commit 100%. Not partial. Not almost. You must 100% yourself to this.
    2. Keep an open mind.
    3. Keep an open mind.
    4. Do your research. Learn about some of the clubs and players.
    5. Don’t be afraid to cheer like you have won the lottery and be disappointed as if you’ve been forced to never eat Whataburger again.
    6. In reference to number five, if you do numbers 1-4 you will find that number 5 comes natural.
    7. For the sake of this article, I will refer to American Football as “football” and World Football as “soccer” … Practice with me… Houston Texans: Football. Houston Dynamo: Soccer.
  • What is the World Cup? That’s like the *insert major sporting event*, right?Wrong. It’s bigger than any championship deciding event in all sports. Don’t believe me? Go look at the amount of money and viewership associated with a World Cup. The World Cup is an event that is held every 4 years for various segments of representation for a country’s national team. There are World Cups for men and women from a very young age all the way through being on the “senior” team. The senior team is the team that consists of all the mega stars that you will see on your television this summer in Russia and next year for the women in France. Quick note: While the US Men’s National Team (USMNT) is about as disappointing as the series finale of The Sopranos, the US Women’s National Team are taking no prisoners in their pursuit of what is hopefully their second consecutive World Cup win and fourth in history. The World Cup is more than just soccer. There are political, cultural, religious, and sporting differences that make each game so much more interesting. The World Cup will feature teams that have players who hate each other during their club season, but must now find a way to compete together on the world’s biggest sporting stage. The opposite occurs in which players who mesh so well for their clubs must now face off against each other knowing that four years of bragging rights are up for grabs. I could write a separate post about the implications of the USMNT wetting the bed in their pursuit of a World Cup berth, but I will focus on what I think is the most important about their colossal failing: national unity. When a nation has a team in a World Cup they no longer care that one player plays for a team they hate, those fans aren’t the same faith as one another, or the people at that table support a politician the other table despises… No, those people are cheering for the ________ National Team and for the next ~90 minutes, so is everyone The World Cup is a chance to get sucked into the drama, the emotion, the passion, and (my personal favorite) the gut-wrenching stakes with each penalty, tackle, goal, save, and shot on goal.
  • The World Cup consists of 32 teams from various soccer federations around the world. At a draw held months before, they are divided into 8 groups of 4 and play each other over 3 games to find the top 2 teams in each group. There are many levels of tiebreakers should the group need a determining rule, but that will overwhelm even a knowledgeable fan. Once the 16 teams are found they advance through the World Cup tournament in traditional bracket elimination style with an additional game for 3rd place at stake. The World Cup will start on June 14, 2018 and run through July 15, 2018.
  • Now before you exit out of this blog (if you haven’t already), just hang tight. Your cat videos, Facebook stalking, and passive aggressive sub-tweet bewilderment can wait for you to be enlightened. I want to explain a little bit of how a guy who loathed soccer growing up grew to love it as well as talking some sense into the common gripes by Americans about soccer.
  • Me (In relation to soccer)I didn’t grow up a fan. I never played soccer as a kid. I was/am the pudgy kiddo, so running around chasing a little checkered ball in the hopes of maybe scoring 1 goal was what I was convinced was hell on earth. I grew up in the steroid (ALLEGEDLY) era of baseball where big plays and large score tallies where the norm. I grew up a Rockets fan so I was accustomed to a fast-paced scoring frequency. I grew up in Big 12 territory so whether it was Texas, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, or Baylor it was common to see a team score 7 or 8 times in a game. I am an alumnus of the University of Houston which has often had prolific offenses that set records with an arm tied behind their back and Case Keenum steering the ship like a man who couldn’t care less about the other team’s feelings. I used to cheer for the Texans… okay, not a lot to ramble on about in terms of visually appealing performance… moving on. The point is that I, like you, probably didn’t grow up giving two hoots about the Merseyside Derby or the political undertones of Real Madrid v Barcelona. In fact, less than a year ago I was quoted as saying “soccer is the dumbest sport ever” and my loving fiancé never lets me forget it. I had many grievances with the game and the soccer community, but alas, I folded and have never been happier. I won’t bore you with the details, but last year I just felt like I didn’t connect or care about the NFL game. This had nothing to do with the protesting or the hot button topics that surrounded the NFL, I just found that my caring about the team I supported was so artificial and hollow that I was tired of investing money and emotion into the game. This happened before the nation was captivated and enraged at seemingly anything and everything occurring before, during, and after the game that had nothing to do with football. I felt disconnected. In addition, I had a great Rockets team to cheer for, season tickets to the University of Houston football team, and a future World Champion Houston Astros team all within 15 minutes of my apartment… but I wanted more. I decided to do something that 8-year-old, 17-year-old, and 5 minutes ago old me thought was completely insane: I was going to become a Premier League fan. While I had no true attachment to a team or even region of England, I decided to try something different. I studied up on the clubs, tried to understand their style of play, the impact they had on their neighborhoods, and even the chants they sing after a few pints. I will write another article about that another time, but suffice to say… I am very glad I made the decision to fully invest in becoming a soccer/Tottenham Hotspur fan.
  • The reason I decided to tell you a lot about my sporting background is to let you know that even someone with the most unlikely of backgrounds can become a psychotic, early rising, rumor mill trolling, song parody chanting, mild-mannered hooligan.

kirby

Here you see me with Steve Nash, future Hall of Fame NBA point guard cheering for our beloved Tottenham Hotspur Football Club a few months back in Houston. The game is huge and wide reaching… you never know who you will run into!

“Well, you see, soccer is cool except the fact that…”

  • “They flop around and fake injuries! Man, there’s this video on YouTube where this guy didn’t even get touched…” – Sure, that is annoying. In fact, it is probably one of the biggest turnoffs for the average American fan trying to get into soccer. Any behavior that is seemingly unnecessary that detracts from play and could potentially have consequences are never fun. But if you look at the major sports in America you will find similar behavior.
    • Football – Special Teams players flailing on the ground in hopes of getting a personal foul. QBs milking being hurt in the hopes of getting a roughing the passer call. Wide receivers claiming pass interference when they know it wasn’t even close as well as defensive backs doing the same.
    • Baseball – The sport known for unwritten rules and senseless whining over actions as small as flipping a bat or looking the wrong way at a pitcher. Nothing like watching a grown man with an Oakleys tan named Randy fight a beer bellied late 30’s pitcher named Brett because of a mean look. These actions lead to suspensions and injuries as well look silly.
    • Basketball – Flopping. Watch any given NBA game. The end.

So, yes, it is annoying, but momentum shifts, play restarts, and the potential of riling up a player to force them to truly misbehave are all strategic advantages that are a part of the game. If that bothers you, then surely you would love to watch your favorite NBA players make court angels on the floor after being looked at the wrong way and dropping to the ground.

 

  • “THEY TIE?! HOW CAN YOU BE OKAY WITH A TIE?! THIS IS AMERICA AND WE LIKE TO WIN!” – Okay, okay, okay… I get it. Sports and anything that has a winner should be played with the intention of crushing the soul of your opponent and all the things related to it. BUT, in soccer you don’t always need to crush the soul out of your opponent to get a favorable outcome. This is because soccer standings don’t simply go off wins and losses. Before you say, “THIS IS AMERICA AND WE LIKE TO WIN!”, keep in mind that the most American sport of all, college football, has an unofficially similar viewpoint on this topic. If Alabama only beats a small school by 3 points, it is far less impressive than it is impressive for them to win by 49. Points matter. Luckily, in soccer, points have a quantitative and set impact. Points for an away team count more, you are awarded points by winning on the road, and if your league ends in a tie then goal differential can be used. Sometimes when a team ties it helps to preserve their spot or simply weather out a poor showing by the team above them. Every score has a strategic meaning, therefore every chance and score matter. All the US Men’s National Team needed to do was draw to Trinidad & Tobago to qualify for the World Cup, but instead they lost and were knocked out of qualification. The games are so dramatic that watching a 90-minute draw is still entertaining.

 

  • “They are such Divas! They have their hair done and look like they’re on a date rather than playing a game!” – Okay, if you really think about it how is this any different than athletes who make sure to the perfect jewelry, pair of cleats, or the abundance of sweatbands for a game? Any different than athletes putting statements on their eye tape or medical wraps? How is this different than NBA stars being looked at as athletes and fashion icons (Russell Westbrook…)? There is a multibillion dollar business dedicated to marketing and promoting the opportunity to look like athletes on the field of play… Soccer is no different. Just because a player has their hair done or a headband, this is no different than any other sport’s athlete making sure they look “good” on the field. Also, regarding players being overly dramatic… Wide Receivers. And as athletes will often say, “If you look good, you play good…”

 

  • “It is SO European… THIS IS AMERICA!” – If you are saying this (about anything), you are far more European than you want to believe. I have heard this said in bars and by people who would be horrified to see that European influence is prevalent in nearly every aspect of American society.

 

  • “THE DAMN OFFSIDES RULE IS SO STUPID! WHAT THE HELL IS THAT ABOUT?!” – This damn rule. I completely understand the outrage. This rule has joined the ranks of taxes, Florida-Georgia Line, Galleria traffic, and humidity as something I can’t control, but I loathe with the power of one million Owen Wilson “Wow”s. I can describe this to you like I am a rulebook or I can describe it in the way that it will make you irate so that you will hopefully be emotionally prepped to deal with it. Let’s set the stage… you are all in on World Cup and decide that you are going to cheer for a team. You go to your favorite place to watch this team and the mood is, as the kids would say, LIT. Your team is deadlocked 1-1 in a must win game to advance to the round of 16 and time is winding down. Your team’s opponent is already through to the next round so for them this game is a necessary evil on the road to the knockouts. Your team is in extra time and are almost to the Final Time whistle. Suddenly, a challenge for the ball occurs at midfield and your team emerges with possession. The bar you are at begins a slow roar as if it is mimicking a harrier jet about to propel into the skies. Time is running out. The midfielder pulls his leg back and launches a pass so tactical you would think NASA had planned its launch and trajectory. The bar is screaming and beer is already starting to erupt out of pint glasses. The striker is past the defender and fires a shot so hard the net has a hole burned in it. Your team did it. The bar is so loud and all you can think is how soccer is the next big thing in America, you witnessed a great sports moment, and your soccer pool at work is going to be so mad because you picked a 2-1 victory for your new-found love. But then… you hear groans, shouts of rage, sailor language, grown man tears, sadness… The striker was offsides and the goal is void. As if it never happened… like Brad and Jenn, only to be discussed with sadness and the thought of what could have been. Your team draws and is no longer advancing on the path of glory. But why? Well, that’s because of the offsides rule. It simply is in place to prevent goal tending. Football has it so that an offensive player can’t get an unfair advancement towards a score. Baseball has a similar belief by making players tag up before running. Basketball limits the time you can spend in the paint. The problem with soccer is that because the scores are so few and far between there is a great deal of frustration when a ruling that comes down to inches and is done purely by human eye is made it can affect so much.

 

The World Cup

As mentioned before, this tournament is truly amazing simply because for at least 90 minutes entire nations can put differences, religion, status, politics, and even preference of Van Halen front-men aside to cheer for one common outcome: winning. So, who are the teams in this tournament that separates the best from the rest? I’ll break them into the groups they will play in and compete against for advancement into the knockout rounds.

  • Group A
    • Russia (Host country automatically qualifies)
    • Saudi Arabia
    • Egypt
    • Uruguay
  • Group B
    • Portugal
    • Spain
    • Morocco
    • Iran
  • Group C
    • France
    • Australia
    • Peru
    • Denmark
  • Group D
    • Argentina
    • Iceland
    • Croatia
    • Nigeria
  • Group E
    • Brazil
    • Switzerland
    • Costa Rica
    • Serbia
  • Group F
    • Germany
    • Mexico
    • Sweden
    • South Korea
  • Group G
    • Belgium
    • Panama
    • Tunisia
    • England
  • Group H
    • Poland
    • Senegal
    • Colombia
    • Japan

Let’s smoothly ignore the glaring omission of soccer powerhouses Italy and the Netherlands. Let’s also pretend that the United States was already booked for a tournament and couldn’t make it this year… This is set to be an incredibly exciting World Cup.

“You know, I really think I am going to cheer for *insert nation not named USA* this year!”

GREAT! I am glad you have decided to dedicate a few hours to drinking happy hour priced drinks with all the local soccer vets and newbies in your town. You arrive in some shorts, a Comfort Colors frocket from that formal you got kicked out of 5 years ago, and your Astros cap. You are ready to sports. This is it. This is the moment you get to pretend as if this game determines your life outcome, as if you will remember this moment forever, and finally you can become one with the groups of longtime of soccer fans that suspiciously consist of a lot of folks who were high school libertarians before that was cool. But wait… who are you going to cheer for? As mentioned previously, the USMNT is far too busy being lackluster to attend this tournament so who will you cheer for? Russia? That could get you put in front of a special review board these days! England? Uhm, okay, taxation without representation. Senegal? Where is that? Iceland? They have a soccer team? Germany? You might end up at a German bar and gain 37 pounds worth of beer and bratwursts after one game… and do you have to wear lederhosen?  There are so many choices! But, this is where I can lead you to whis- water… but, I can’t make you drink. Because the USMNT failed to qualify this year you are left as a free agent. One of the few times it isn’t shameful to openly support another nation and not be viewed as Benedict Arnold. While there are many, here are some methods you can employ to find your team to support:

  • Where do most of your ancestors come from? For me it’s Great Britain and Norway. Norway didn’t qualify this year so that left me to lean towards England. My favorite team is based out of North London and I know about the players on England’s team. It was a natural choice with the USMNT on a soul/goal searching quest that will have them watching from their couch.
  • Who do you think will win? Let’s say you want to be a front-runner and ensure that you can be vested in watching all the way through the end. I mean, you did buy that $100 jersey so you might as well wear it as often as possible. Maybe you just really have a newfound passion for Brazil?! Good luck not sounding like an idiot saying things in Portuguese to impress the patrons.
  • Who has the best uniforms? I don’t really think is the move, but to each their own.
  • You want to seem globally savvy? I am clearly not taking this route as supporting England is like having a 200-tap bar and ordering a Coors, BUT what if you perhaps wanted to seem very cultured and hip? Maybe throw some love towards Iceland (they have a great World Cup story) or Serbia? You will automatically gain the respect of the neighborhood hooligans as they assume you can locate Serbia on a map.
  • How can I maximize my Cristiano Ronaldo viewing? Just support Portugal. I believe there are contractual minimums for how many times they must show his abs. But in all seriousness, perhaps there’s a player you have heard a ton about and you would like to see what all the hype is. The World Cup is star studded so whether its Messi, Ronaldo, Kane, Salah, Neymar, De Bruyne, or Pogba… there is never a better time to watch true greatness compete against each other.

Let’s face it, there are plenty of ways to get involved! But if you are new to all of this as I was, allow me to give you some resources to help make this new hobby much more rewarding.

  • Men In Blazers podcast – This is my favorite podcast. Hosted by Roger Bennett and Michael Davies, The pod focuses on the previous week in the English Premier League, MLS, and big global soccer stories. The show uses obscure references, early on-set balding, humor, a love of meat pies, and (in the case of Roger) self-loathing and shame that is linked directly to Everton’s performance on the pitch. It will take some episodes to fully grasp all of it, but I highly encourage you to give a try. And to answer a question for those of you that listen in… GFOP stands for Great Friend of the Pod.
  • The Total Soccer Showpodcast – Hosted by Daryl Grove and Taylor Rockwell, this show is home to a ton of user submitted questions about the nuances and aspects of the game that some people don’t know. These two experts have great chemistry and if you have a soccer question, the odds are that they have answered it.
  • FIFA – Get the game. It will consume your life, but it is so worth it. It is one of the best game series of all time. People who don’t like soccer still love FIFA. This will help you see the teams, understand some of the business, see the rules in action, and mindlessly play until you grind your thumbs down to stumps. Also, for the record, my fiancé does not endorse this suggestion.
  • Houston Dynamo – Look, it is cheaper than sin to go see an MLS game compared to most professional sporting events. Just go see the environment for yourself!
  • Breakfast/Brunch – I get it. It’s early and you are still half asleep, but find the local establishment that shows soccer games early in the AM and go check one out. In Houston, there are plenty of great ones (see my top choice below), but find a place that has a decent breakfast and a nice mimosa pitcher and watch the games with people who are screaming and cheering like maniacs. And look… if you hate it… at least you have started your day drinking incredibly early and hopefully had some eggs and bacon to establish a base.
  • The FIFA website – A great source for news and updates for the ongoing events throughout the soccer world. It can definitely help people new to the game get a better insight to the sheer magnitude of the game as well as how it all flows from a business, structure, and rules of play standpoint.

“ARE YOU DONE YET?!”

Almost… If you are in the Houston area I highly encourage you to visit The Phoenix on Westheimer (1915 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77098). The food is great, the atmosphere is excellent, the staff is wonderful, and the owner truly cares about his employees. This is my favorite bar in Houston simply because it feels like my neighborhood pub. The owner is great about accommodating any fan’s desire to watch his/her team play. Whether it’s a packed house at 9PM or a quiet 7AM game, this local eatery treats its patrons like all food service businesses should. You will find me here for almost every Tottenham game and this is where I will be for the World Cup. Not paid to say it, but I feel very strongly about this place and think you will love it… assuming you enjoy smiling and fun.

jkhkjhkjhk

That’s that… if you have any questions at all, please feel free to reach out to me on Instagram @kirbinw! See you at the Phoenix and hope to see you for World Cup! If you wanna just meet up for a drink to watch a game, let me know! I’m down for anything except Arsenal!

Guest Writer: How to Fill your time when you’re a Single Adult

There is this thing that happens when you are an unmarried 26 year-old guy.  All your friends have paired off with their significant others. It’s not a bad thing, and you’re really happy for all your friends (at least the ones whose wives/husbands you like). But they call less and less. Though every once in a while your lost friends will call. (My response to this call is always, “Is your wife out of town?” Usually, the answer is “Yes” or “No, she just wanted a girl’s night.”) With their newfound night of freedom, your friends have gracefully decided to pull you down out of the attic and dust you off just to see what you’re up to. Now you feel obligated to break any plans you already have because you haven’t seen them in three months. This is being single in your later 20’s. If this sounds like you, please keep reading. If not, screw you and your happy marriage.

Mitch with dog

For those of you continuing to read, I’m with you. Every one of my college friends is either married or engaged (bastards). There is no more texting my buddies on a Friday to hang out. Everything must be planned out a week or more in advance. Usually, I send out a group text to my friends that says something along the lines of, “Poker night at my place on Saturday at 8p. Everyone bring a 6-pack of some good beer.”

Here are the average responses that I get:

  • “I’m down but can we start at like 6? I have to get to bed early to teach Sunday School tomorrow”
  • “Sorry, man, Ellen and I are going to ‘Paint your Art out’ next Saturday.”
  • “I can come, but can I bring Lauren?”
  • “Let’s do it! I can’t bring beer though, I’m on Whole30.”

Ideally, my responses would look like this respectively. “No” – “That’s dumb” – “Hell no” – “What the hell is wrong with you.” But instead, I text back, “Some other time” which we all know means that we will never again have a poker night. Gone are the days of staying up and drinking with my buddies. If we do get together, I’m home by 10. I have so much time on my hands that I don’t know what to do with. While everyone is off tackling their “Honey-do Lists,” I have nothing but an endless abyss of time that could drive me crazy if I stared in too long. I could just sit on the couch and watch Netflix, but I don’t want to waste away and do nothing. I want to be active. I have found solace in hobbies. I have become the hobby king, not by willing myself to be but due to necessity to escape boredom. So here I will discuss potential hobbies that can possibly appeal to guys in my particular place in life.

Crossfit

Pros

  • You will look great
  • You’ll feel great
  • Good team-oriented atmosphere

Cons

  • You will be required to refer to crossfit in every conversation you have ever
  • They charge like $150 a month
  • Back pain

Attractive to the opposite sex? I mean, the results are, but just don’t mention you do crossfit

Crossfit is one of those things that people either love or love to hate. I’ve tried it, and I’ve got to admit, it’s not my thing. But I will say that I am jealous of the results that I’ve seen in some people I know that do it. You show up, you stretch, you get the W.O.D. (workout of the day), pick up and put down heavy things, vomit, and repeat the next day. People there are typically nice and welcoming, and they are good encouragers. But I left my high school football mentality in high school (1st team all-district), and I really don’t want to revisit that exercise atmosphere. But the people who do crossfit swear by it, and I respect them for their commitment to their craft.

Picking up a Musical Instrument

Pros

  • Exhibiting creativity in a way you might not have before
  • Start-up costs are fairly low
  • Learning a music is great if you don’t know anything about it

Cons

  • It takes so long to be any good
  • Blisters early on

Attractive to the opposite sex? Only for piano and guitar

If you play an instrument other than a tambourine or a triangle, you have my respect. The time it takes to get good at playing an instrument is extensive. I used to think that music was all relative, but now I apologize for my ignorance. I picked up guitar in November of 2015 just to try it. I fell in love with it. I’m still terrible, but I’m good enough now to play Wonderwall (the song that requires least amount of guitar knowledge in order to get laid). Learning music was challenging because it was a whole different language that I had no prior experience in. I just looked on Facebook Marketplace for pianos and guitars. You can easily get a beginner instrument for under $50. Playing an instrument is pretty rewarding, and it’s one that will make the girls swoon if you can play some crappy country songs. On the other hand, you forfeit that benefit if you pick up an oboe, trombone, or any other orchestral instrument, but in consolation, you still have my respect.

Hiking

Pros

  • Nature is beautiful
  • Great exercise
  • Virtually free

Cons

  • You can only hike the same places for so long before you have to travel
  • The smell of deet
  • Dangerous animals

Attractive to the opposite sex?  Yes, if that person also likes hiking.

What isn’t there to love about getting out in the woods, smelling the fresh air, and connecting with nature? I’ll tell you what: bees, snakes, bears, poison ivy, etc. I’m joking. I will go for a hike every once in a while so that when I start dating a girl that loves the outdoors (super attractive, ladies), I can have something to talk about. While there isn’t much in the way of hiking here in Oklahoma, there are still great parks that offer fun and scenic trails all over. On a date, it’s a great place to learn a lot about the person you’re dating – Do they avoid the muddy trails? Are they afraid of bugs? Or are they even having fun? Going for a hike is great for the body, mind, and soul. Hiking is great to do by yourself too. As an extravert, it’s nice to get out and interact with nature without being distracted by another person. Just call someone to let them know where you are going before you do. You don’t want to lose an arm like that dude in 127 hours.

Gaming

Pros

  • Super fun
  • Great way to connect with friends
  • Growing marketplace

Cons

  • 12 year-olds insulting your mother
  • High start-up costs
  • Addicting

Attractive to the opposite sex?  Not at all

In the last 10 years online gaming has skyrocketed. Why not jump on the bandwagon? I have many friends (married and unmarried) that spend an extensive amount of time gaming. I even have a Discord account that lets me interact with my buddies as they play. I’m surprised that I really enjoy watching them play too. But, alas, the world still looks down on gamers as cellar-dwellars. That’s possibly because for some gamers, their online presence replaces their social lives. To get into gaming, you have to drop upwards of $400 – $500 easily. I’ve never really been a video game guy, heck the newest platform I have is a Nintendo 64, but I understand the appeal. Many of you are probably already deep in the gaming world. That’s great! Your hand-eye coordination is probably off the charts, and I bet you have had some cool conversations with other gamers around the world. But I think the benefits my stop there. I hold gaming in the same realm as Netflix. It’s almost pure entertainment.

Woodworking

Pros

  • Great life skill
  • Rewarding to build something with your hands
  • Creative outlet

Cons

  • High start-up costs
  • People always asking you to build things
  • Occasional trip to the ER
  • It’s actual work

Attractive to the opposite sex?  100%

Pardon me if I’m biased towards this one, but woodworking is my passion. I took woodshop in high school and loved it. When I got some disposable income after college, I began assembling my shop. You take some wood and make it into something else. It’s great. I will say, I have had to get stitches twice (in the same month, in the same finger), but that was due to sharp chisels plowing through my finger. Yes, to have a fully furnished shop will set you back more than other hobby, but I would start out small and grab a circular saw, a drill, and some screws to build some easy projects to ease yourself in. Watch out for your fingers and watch lots of YouTube videos to learn. The downside is that once you get good, people come out of the woodwork (one bad pun, sue me) to ask you to build them something. For me, the answer is almost always “no,” this is my hobby, not my job, and I will charge you more for a kitchen table than for you to get on to craigslist and buy a table from a kid selling one for drug money.

Volunteering

Pros

  • Great way to give back to the community
  • Rewarding to help others

Cons

  • Contingent on where you volunteer

Attractive to the opposite sex?  Who doesn’t love those who help others?

There is no nobler hobby than to give up your time for others. Go to a food bank, help out at the animal shelter, or work with high school kids. I can’t say enough in favor of volunteering. I have found my place with a non-profit ministry called Young Life. All I do is hang out with high school kids and be consistent in their lives. I have a group of junior boys that I’ve (for lack of better word) mentored since they were freshman. It’s great most of the time until I just want to pop their little heads off. But spending time with them and inviting them into my life has been my most rewarding experience. They make stupid sex jokes and actively try to get under my skin, but I love those little hooligans. Above all others, this hobby is the one I would recommend most. Volunteering can bring a deeper purpose to your life that wasn’t there previously. Go out and help someone.

Hiking

There you have it. That’s my breakdown of some hobbies to fill your free time. But don’t let my analysis sway you into something you don’t enjoy. That’s what hobbies are all about. You’re single and in your 20’s. Nobody loves you. Might as well do something you love.

About the author: 

Mitch is a 26 year-old guy living in Oklahoma City. He works for an electronics distribution company as a data analyst. He received he undergrad degree in Marketing and Management at Oklahoma State University and his MBA at Oklahoma City University. He is stunningly handsome and extremely charming. When he is not working, you can find him trying to deal with his commitment issues.

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