Sunday, April 13, 2014

Grand Prairie Dragon Boat Festival - Houston Heat Takes Home Gold!

This Spring I joined the Houston Heat Dragon Boat Club and this past weekend was my first competition in Grand Prairie, Texas.

The weeks and days leading up to it I was nervous, for many reasons. I've never been a part of a competitive team before. I've never in my life paddled. What if I make a rookie mistake and cause our team to lose? I don't know how to swim, what if I fall in the water and drown? What if there is an alligator, crocodile, shark, or something with really big teeth that will kill me?!  I've never in my life traveled alone with out either my parents, or husband. How was I going to handle that? My first time traveling without my parents, but with Mychael (nearly 10 years ago), I cried my eyes out when the sun set and it hit me that I was hundreds of miles away from home.

I'm happy to report, I handled it quite well. Many thanks to the two girls who encouraged me to try out dragon boating. Linda, and Yumi. These girls had me laughing during our whole trip!

Morning Selfie
Our fellow team member, Luis (left) had a Houston Heat team sign made at this year's Houston Rodeo. Love it so much! We all just had to take a photo with it! 

The city of Grand Prairie was very welcoming to us. To the point that the entry line was backed up because the attendant made conversation with every person coming through the gates. =)

Mayor Ron Jensen during opening ceremonies. 

There was a lot of downtime between the races. Some people took naps, ate from the local vendors, I just enjoyed watching the races and taking in my first event.

Team roster:

The winds were strong in Grand Prairie and the first boat that went into the water, flipped. Cue me getting a little nervous. But not to worry, these events are always well planned out. There were boats to pull people out of the water if need be, and of course all experienced members went to help the paddlers out of the water and bring the boat back to shore.

The one thing I've learned very quickly is that the dragon boating community is very welcoming, and helpful. It doesn't matter what team you're on, or what city you represent everyone is willing to offer advice, help, and give pats.

After this, the location was moved about a quarter mile away to less choppy waters.

Photo by: Linda

In the qualifying race our team's time was 1:03:04! Yay, the fastest time!

Our team likes to take lots of photos, and I think Yumi thought I was sleeping, but I caught her!

Photo by: Yumi

Final times for each division. During this race, I pulled my paddle out of the water. During our power up I nearly slid off my seat. If I would have come back in the race I was confident I would not be on pace, the last thing I wanted to do was mess up a team mate. During our practices the coaches told me it is much better to pull your paddle out of the water and allow the team to carry you, than to go back in when you're not ready. So I used my best judgement and we won!!! 

And, just for fun, the event leaders threw in a 1,000m meter race. All the competitive teams were combined and randomly selected for each boat. Once I took my seat I thought about asking if I could sit this race out. I've never paddled that distance, even though it was just for fun I didn't want to mess up or not be able to complete the distance. I took a deep breath, and told myself I could do it. I followed the lead of my team mate in front of me and pushed through when I was tired. It was a great feeling after we were done to know I pushed myself. A personal growth moment. I was on the 6th boat with Coach Jeff, we came in 2nd!

Happy to be a part of the team that brought home the very first Gold Medal from the Grand Prairie Dragon Boat Festival.

After the races and closing ceremonies were over they fed us! 

Photo by: Linda

Delicious BBQ from Dickey's Barbecue Pit. The meat was tender, beans delicious, and potatoes made my belly happy. There was a lot more food, but they had veggies. Me and veggies = no. Ha!

We received this great thermal bag with lots of goodies inside.

Free Sandwich from Dickey's Barbecue Pit, $5 Awards Card to spend at Applebee's, FREE Chick-fil-A nuggets, $10 off accessories at Longhorn Harley-Davidson, Buy One, Get One FREE coupon for Grand Prairie Airhogs baseball tickets, Coupon for Go Loco Street Tacos and Burritos, Cash voucher for opening a new account at Texas Trust Credit Union, FREE VIP Coupon Book for the Grand Prairie Premium Outlets, Coupon for Ripley's Believe It or Not, Discount for Christian Brothers Automotive, and a Community Guide. It looks like Mychael and I could be set up for a weekend stay in Grand Prairie! I love playing tourist in our own state.

I'm glad to have my first event behind me. I know what to expect next time, and am confident I'll continue to grow with my team.

A special thanks to my team mates and coaches who have offered great constructive criticism and words of encouragement.

Heat It Up!!!! 

Helpful Links for Houston Heat Dragon Boat Club: 
Facebook   |     Give it a try     |     Join     |     Sponsor 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Table for One - McDonald's Mmm

Whether I am out window shopping or sitting at a table for one, I try to ensure I get out of the office at least once a week. Especially with the local Houston weather starting to warm up a bit.

Some of my friends think I am crazy to dine all by my lonesome. But for me, I feel it is necessary. I've always been an introvert, but disguised myself as an extrovert. As I have gotten older I've become even more of an introvert and disguising myself is hard.

Earlier this week I left the office with no plan at all. And due to poor planning over the weekend mixed in with "I don't feel like leaving the house" grocery shopping didn't happen. Which meant I had no food to pack for our lunches.

I found myself parked at a McDonald's near my office. Sure, I could have picked a healthier establishment. But, MCDONALD'S! I refuse to ever let myself be afraid of food. Although I want to make sure I keep my body as healthy as I possibly can, I know that having McDonald's once every 6 months (if even) isn't going to throw me into a heart attack. So I ordered my No. 3, no onions, with a lemonade and enjoyed every single bite!

When I grab a table for one I will read, enjoy my own thoughts, or usually most establishments have a TV so I'll watch whatever they may have on. Sports Center was on, I love sports! They had a mock Houston Texans draft and were talking about UCFs quarter back, NOT Johnny Man-Douchebag of the Aggies. I was excited!

I've learned to keep my eyes and ears open, always. Which, sometimes... I wish I could just turn that off. I soon realized that at the table next to me there was a girl crying, hysterically, to her friend. I tried to keep my attention on the TV but my heart broke for her when I realized she was talking about a boy. All I could hear was "I didn't want him to see me cry, so I called you." "I asked him, what am I supposed to tell my friends" "It's my birthday" "He apologized but, that just isn't going to work this time" "I feel so stupid crying" .

I used to be someone that was never really phased with emotions. I, somewhat, miss that person. I could feel my own eyes start to tear up. I wished that I could have gone over to her and give her a huge hug. Tell her that there is a really amazing guy out there waiting for her. But, I think that may have been creepy.

The friends left, crying girl was finally calm. And no Johnny Man-Douchebag came across the TV. So, I finished my meal and headed back into my cage. I mean, office.

Do you ever dine out alone?
Have you ever just wanted to reach out and hug a complete stranger, in hopes that it would brighten their day?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

European Wax Center To The Rescue!

Ok ladies. So, I know not all our faces are perfect. Usually a little eyebrow waxing or plucking is needed to clean up our faces, yes?

I've had my eyebrows waxed since I was about 13 years old. I can thank my aunt for taking me, I had a serious unibrow. I don't even flinch when I have them done now.

Enter a little TMI. I had changed birth control a couple years ago, I suddenly noticed that my upper lip hair started to get a little darker, and chin hair was getting a little longer. I am way, way to young for that to start happening! Anywho, I had it waxed and got off that birth control. Then, against my better judgement I got back on it. I stopped it again recently, but I noticed some hair on my face that I just didn't like.

Now, sometimes when I can't make it in to have my eyebrows waxed and upper lip waxed I'll throw a little Nair on my face and temporarily take care of it myself.

This past weekend I had this bright idea I would take care of some additional hair on my face. With Nair. I should be fine, right?

I wanted to remove hair along my jaw line. I naturally have very dark hair, as dark as you can get without it being black. So once I wiped the Nair off my face, the hair was gone... yes. BUT you could see a HUGE and I mean HUGE color difference between my jaw bone, hairline/sideburns and my cheeks. My husband even noticed!

It was horrible. I had to run a couple errands and I was so embarrassed. Even more so because I had my hair pulled back into a pony tail.

I am so so thankful for the European Wax Center (many thanks for being open on Sundays - life saver!) I quickly scheduled an appointment before we had to go to a Superbowl party. I went ahead and scheduled for a full face, because I just needed them to fix my face! My waxer was Christina. Oh my god she was amazing and she didn't make me feel like a goof. She assured me the hair I was so paranoid about was just peach fuzz. (why wasn't she sitting on my shoulder when I had the grand idea to Nair it off?) She fixed my face, reshaped my eyebrows for me (I was tired of the shape I had before) and I went along my merry way. So so thankful!

I've always thought about waxing my face, but I was always advised against it by family and friends. I love it so far. I feel like makeup goes on much smoother and my face looks and feels so much cleaner!

I don't know if I will continue to wax my entire face, it kind of comes at a hefty $50 something bucks with the tip, but we will see. 

Have you ever had your full face waxed? What was your experience?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

"A Facebook Invite Isn't A Real Invite"

My daily commute is about 100 miles round trip. Which means, I have a lot of time in my car to myself. I've listened to audiobooks, and I've listened to my favorite CDs on repeat. But most of the time I switch back and forth between the local radio stations. Usually country and pop. Sometimes the morning shows have interesting topics.

One morning this past December the crew of HOT95.7 was talking about event invites on Facebook. Most of them do not consider a Facebook invite a true invite to an event. They felt like it was a way to avoid hurt feelings. You send a Facebook invite, but then actually call / text those who you really want to come.

I actually disagree with this. Or maybe it's because when I create Facebook invites for an event I typically only send it to about 10 people in our friend circle. So I'm very specific with who I am clicking.

I feel like in this day and age a Facebook invite should be sufficient for anything other than, perhaps a wedding or huge anniversary party.

I have a handful of events I am planning this year & I've debated on how I wanted to invite people. Do I want to do Facebook events? Send out cute invitations? Make it formal with an RSVP card? Then I got curious to know what my peers thought. So I took it to Twitter and Facebook.

The gist of it. Most people actually do not consider a Facebook invite a real invite. I was a little shocked about that.

Now, if an event has hundreds of people invited, odds are I'm not going to attend anyway. That's just too many people and usually a waste of my time to attend. I'm not one to try and compete for the host's attention.

So this year, I may just be sending more snail mail invites out to our friends. Which could be a whole lot of fun to pick out / design (most likely have someone design) some great invitations!

What are your thoughts? Do you consider a FB invite a REAL invite?

Monday, October 28, 2013

October 28th.

I can't believe it was two years ago today that I woke up to a nearly lifeless, Marco. My worst fear was coming true. The day I had dreaded, the day I had made myself believe would never come...was here. As we were on our way to the emergency room with you I knew that I wouldn't be coming back home with you, but I wished so hard that the vet would have different news for me.

As I sit here thinking back I can feel the lump in my throat forming and the heaviness fall upon my heart. Marco was such a special kitty to me. I thought I loved cats before & was an advocate for felines. His Feline Diabetes diagnoses made my feelings even stronger. Through him and his treatment I learned so much more about feline care, behavior, diet, and about the hearts of people.

I would plan our days to ensure that we were home in time to ensure he didn't miss his shot time, not even by a minute. I would do those nights of setting my alarm in one hour intervals all over again in a heartbeat. Thankfully those were few and far in between.

Marco, you and your Mom took a piece of my heart that will never grow back. I hope that y'all are across the rainbow bridge as healthy as ever.

You can read about our furkids here.