December 31, 2012

Here's To New Beginnings. 2013 Please Be Good To Me.

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I have a sweet treat for you!
Ashley from the The Sweet Ashley Life has a few tips to make 2013 the best year yet!
+Find an awesome outfit to rock on NYE. 
This doesn't mean you have to wear a gown and have your hair did. It means finding an awesome outfit to wear either at home or out with your friends. Once you lock down the outfit and feel like your best, you'll have a great time no matter what.
+Skip the silly resolutions.
Don't kill yourself over losing 10 pounds or swearing off sweets. Just start the year fresh and alter your attitude to live a better life for the whole year. Yes, having long term goals like saving for a house or finally getting a new car are totally acceptable. BUT you know how you make those silly resolutions that end up being forgotten within a week or two? In my mind those are about as useful as those $5 dirty santa gifts you end up with. Nobody really needs them, so just skip them this year. 
 
+Do things that push your limits. 
Personally, the things that are the hardest to do in life are usually always the most rewarding. I know that life is scary at times, but if you have just a little bit of courage you can achieve SO MUCH.

+Travel! 
If you're anything like Kym or I, you have friends and family (and even significant others) that live away from you. Make a plan to go see them! Go see friends, go new places with friends, or just GO. Planning trips out ahead of time makes it so much easier for us to stick with the plan, but spontaneous trips are tons of fun too. Taking a trip gets you out of your regular routine and is a wonderful way to make memories!

+Have parties. 
Yes, the boy and I are out of college and have real jobs, but that doesn't stop us from having parties with our friends. Sometimes they are even themed parties. Hello Halloween costume party and ice cream party girl nights. We even make an event out of getting people together for The Walking Dead on Sunday nights. It's so much fun to let loose with your friends, and again, it's an awesome way to make memories! Do you see a trend here?

+Lastly, make sure you're doing what makes you happy. 
Whether it's your job, your workout plan, or your favorite hobbies. Make sure you're making an effort to have fun and enjoy your life. Although we are looking forward to next year, remember that this life is the only one you get---make it count!

 -------
What are you going to do to make 2013 the best year yet?
I'm sending good vibes your way for 2013!

"Before we pop the champagne and celebrate the New Year, stop and reflect on the year that has gone by. Remember both our triumphs and our missteps, our promises made and broken. The times we opened ourselves up to great adventures or closed ourself down for fear of getting hurt. Cause that's what New Year's is all about, getting another chance. The chance to forgive, to do better, to do more, to give more, to love more. And to stop worrying about 'what if' and start embracing what will be. So when that ball drops at midnight, and it will drop, let's remember to be nice to each other, kind to each other. And not just tonight, but all year long ... Sometimes it feels like there are so many things we can't control, earthquakes, floods, reality shows. But it's important to remember the things we can, like forgiveness, second chances, fresh starts. Because the one thing that turns the world from a lonely place to a beautiful place, is love. Love in any of its forms. Love gives us hope, hope for the New Year. That's New Year's Eve to me. Hope, and a great party." 
- New Years Eve

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December 28, 2012

My Fox is a Fox.

Do you believe that everything happens for a reason?

Or...do we create the reason after everything has happened?

I mean, you never really understand the "reasoning" behind why something happened until later...after you've been affected by it, after you've dealt with it, and after you've learned from it....right?

It's the simple theory of cause and effect.
When you're affected by something, you change.

So, is there ever really a reason?
Or do we create the "reason" as a coping mechanism,
to comfort ourselves, and to translate it into a "lessons learned"...
when meanwhile, all that's happened is we've changed the way we look at ourselves
and the way we look at the situation...

Do you get what I'm saying?

I don't know why I had to get so serious to inform you that TJ signed yesterday.

It's just, I've been thinking about this a lot lately.

Where we seriously put through the ringer for the past 3 months on purpose,
with this opportunity always sitting in the shadows?

Because we made the conscious decisions for TJ to sign with each team...
We choose to put ourselves into certain locations and situations....

So was this always meant to be?

Or is it all just random chance?

Whatever it is...it's weird.

And in other weird news, my Fox is a Fox.


. 1 . 2 . 3 . 4 .
Auf Geht's Fox und Fuchse!
Buckle up folks, Travel Babbles is going back to Germany!

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December 19, 2012

The Fifteen Faces Of A Bride

I've been sorting through 900+ wedding photos over the past few days, 
trying to organize and piece together a nice album and video montage. 
 
A few of the pictures have stuck out to me because our photographer captured the many emotions that I experienced on our wedding day, as well as some of the many faces that I make on a daily basis.
 
And because I have nothing else to offer you today in terms of a blog post, I hope that you enjoy looking at some photos of me looking like a complete dingdong.
 
The Fifteen Faces Of A Bride
 
The "There Better Be More Where This Came From" Bride

The "You All Totally Just Saw My Boobs" Bride

The "These Girls Keep Poking My Butt" Bride

The "I'm So Nervous I'm Going To Pee" Bride

The "I Laugh When I'm Nervous" Bride

The "You're Stuck With Me Now, Sucker" Bride

The "Duck Face" Bride

The "Why The Hell Did We Pick Such A Long First Dance Song" Bride

 The "I Cannot Believe She's Telling This College Story" Bride

The "Oh Great, How Am I Going To Explain This One Later" Bride

 The "Great. Now He Needs Some Water and I'm Laughing Again" Bride

 The "Thank God You Fixed That Situation" Bride

The "Of Course I Still Love You, You Asshole" Bride

The "We're Married But I Don't Trust You To Not Slam That Cake In My Face" Bride
 

The "It's Very Painful To Try And Look Sexy" Bride

What's the ending to that quote, "If you can't laugh at yourself....."??
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December 17, 2012

I Didn't Know Them, But I'll Never Forget Them.

For once, I am without many words. 
 
My heart is broken for the poor babies, the heroic teachers, 
the families, and the community of Sandy Hook, CT.
 
My heart is also broken for our world.

Living an hour and a half away from this tragedy...it's all just sitting too close to home.

My mind keeps thinking - What if this happened at my brothers school?
And what is stopping something like this from happening here?

Quite frankly...nothing is stopping it from happening.

While watching the news, I listened to a pastor tell us "to not live in fear."

How can we not?

The world is a scary place right now.

We are not safe at the movie theatre, the mall, school...or even church.

I'm not sure if we'll ever wrap our minds around "why" this happened. Why these sweet babies were taken too soon, why their little fingers won't be opening Christmas presents this year -- or why these mothers, wives, sisters, cousins, nieces and granddaughters won't be 'ringing in the New Year with their families. 
 
Now that the children and their teachers have a name and a face, not just a number ... it's become all too raw and all too real... my heart is grieving, but I strangely find a sense of peace in knowing that the innocent children are playing together at God's feet, and that their loving teachers are continuing to care for them in the safest classroom of all.
 
One thing that I have noticed in regards to this tragedy,
is that the Sandy Hook community is strong in faith. 
 
Last night while watching the two hour interfaith vigil, I realized that as a community, as a country, as a world...we're coming together to pray. 
 
Words are failing us and feelings are overwhelming us, and we're turning to prayer...
because it's the only thing that we know how to do right now...but it's also the very same thing that many of us have forgotten how to do.

Perhaps in addition to focusing on gun control and mental stability issues, 
we need to focus on restoring religion, or at least faith, back into our lives.
 
I don't really know...but I think it's a start....my start anyway.


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December 14, 2012

Can We Pretend That Airplanes In The Night Sky Are Like Shooting Stars...

I shared a special moment with my little brother Anthony last night.

We bundled up in jackets and boots 
and we stood in the middle of our backyard to marvel at the meteor shower. 

Anthony had never seen a shooting star before, 
and each time a star shot across the sky it was truly a magical moment. 

Prior to last nights meteor shower, 
I can't even tell you the last time that I actually took a moment to look up at the stars.

In short, it was amazing...it was beautiful....and that giant crystal clear sky covered in thousands of twinkling diamonds made me feel very small and insignificant - it quickly gave me a sense of reality and reminded me that there is so much out there.

I began to think - "How many other people all throughout the world are looking at the same exact star that I am, as it falls from the sky?" The thought captivated me, and I was enveloped completely in the moment, allowing all of the crazy things that life has thrown me lately to disappear so that I could fully focus on the beauty that was taking place above me. 

"Woah! Did you see that one?!" Anthony would say.

And I did.

The silence of the night filled with me such a sense of clarity and peace, and the shrills of my brother every few moments when a star burst from the sky filled my heart with incredible excitement and happiness.

Right before we turned to walk inside, a star exploded from the sky 
and it was by far the most beautiful falling star of them all.

It's glowing tail lasted about ten seconds longer than the rest of the stars that fell before it.

Anthony exclaimed, "Wow! That one must have been good luck!"

Let's hope so.


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December 12, 2012

And I Quote....


That's an interesting thought, huh?
 Here is a short list of some of my favorite quotes:

If you stumble, make it a part of the dance.

At the end of the day, you can focus on what's tearing you apart 
or you can focus on what's holding you together.

You have enemies? Good. That means that you stood up for something in your life.

Do what you feel in your heart to be right. You'll be criticized for it anyway.

What a wonderful thought it is 
that some of the best days of our lives haven't happened yet.

And God help you if you are an ugly girl, 'course too pretty is also your doom,
'cause everyone harbors a secret hatred for the prettiest girl in the room.

If you want to fly, you need to drop the shit that weighs you down.

Most of the things that you worry about never happen.

The word listen contains the same letters as silent.

I love the feeling of being anonymous in a city that I've never been before.

Turn your face towards the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.

Do you have a favorite quote?
Leave one (or a few!) in the comment box below.


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December 10, 2012

It's A Hockey Player Eat Hockey Player Hockey World.

I would be lying if I said that our decision to leave Texas was a difficult one. We were notified by TJs agent on Thursday at 7:30am, and the deal was done by 3pm.

TJs flight to Germany was booked, we packed the UHAUL, drove 30 hours straight to Massachusetts, and I dropped TJ off at Boston Logan for an 8:40pm flight last night.

It happened quickly and we were more than okay with that. As I said, this was an easy decision for us. I understand though, that this isn't easy for everyone else to understand, so I would like to clarify a few things:

We did not move to Texas in October to "buy time" and my "overpaid, underachieving" husband was not there simply to "collect a paycheck until someone got sick of eating schnitzel," as some hateful folks have speculated about TJ's decision.

I can assure you that we would never pack all of our possessions into the back of a UHAUL for the second time in one month if we were "buying time." TJ would have flown down to Texas by himself and roomed with a teammate, and I would have waited in Massachusetts within the comforts of home.

To be quite honest, we were actually thankful to be back in Texas - considering the state of the professional hockey world right now, TJ was lucky to have a job.

But the fact of the matter is this: It's a hockey player eat hockey player hockey world.

As easy as it was for us to make our decision, it would have been just as easy for the team to decide that they wanted to release TJ and bring in a replacement ... we just learned that lesson the hard way two months ago, remember?

Oftentimes, many fans forget that hockey is a business.

They take it personally when a player makes the decision that TJ just made - How dare he leave his team, teammates, and fans behind, right?

Well, riddle me this:

If you received a job offer to further your career with an organization that would not only provide you with the appropriate tools necessary to perform your job to the best of your abilities, but could also provide you with stability and career advancement opportunities - would you think first about your fellow co-workers and how your departure would affect them (knowing all the while that you probably wouldn't be on their list of considerations if the roles were reversed), or would you focus on what is best for your family and your future?

Our decision came down to this:

With each game that TJ played in Texas, it became more and more obvious that if we did not get out of the situation that we were in, this hockey season would be his last. Even in logging 40 minutes a night, TJ was being held back from playing to his fullest potential, and the role that was being forced upon him was not what was best for him as an individual.

It may appear that he wasn't putting forth his best effort, but it is important for those hiding behind their computers or who have never actually played hockey themselves, to understand that every team is different, every season.

Sometimes you put forth everything you have and it just isn't enough. Sometimes you are willing to put forth everything you have and you aren't given the opportunity you deserve. Sometimes you put forth everything you have and it goes unnoticed.

It is rare that a professional hockey player can get away without putting forth that effort, especially during a lockout when jobs are scarce.

Any player would be a fool not to work his ass off right now to keep his job.

TJ has always taken hockey seriously. His heart is always in it. I can assure you of that.

One major factor that many spectators forget is that while this is just a sport for them, just a game - hockey is TJ's livelihood. It's not just a Friday or Saturday night game for him - the hockey game that you attend is actually his career. It's how he provides for us, it's how we pay our bills...it's how he makes our world go 'round.

And on top of that, TJ's career has a shelf life.

He only has a short window of time in which he can do the things that he wants to do hockey-wise. If you had, maybe one more shot, at doing something that you wanted to do ... wouldn't you take it without looking back? I would. And that's what TJ has done.

There aren't too many things that I understand about hockey, but one thing that I do know for sure is that when it's time for TJ to retire, he will do everything that he can to ensure that the decision is on his terms. Retirement is not something that is going to be forced upon him because he couldn't find a job due to the fact that he played for a team that refused him of the opportunity to produce.

I fully understand that what I just wrote is a bold statement - but I stand firmly behind it. Contrary to any "insider information" that one might receive as a fan, unless you are back in that locker room with your own set of eyes and ears, you have no idea what truly goes on in there...it wasn't the ideal situation for TJ, and I'm just going to leave this paragraph at that.

Now, with all of the above mentioned being said ... the move that TJ made to jump ship and go to Germany is a ballsy one.

For those of you who can't read Deutsch, TJ is actually on a tryout for the team in Germany. He only has four games to prove himself, and come December 27th the team will either sign him or send him packing.

In the meantime - I ask those of you who love and support us, and those who understand why this move was necessary for us, to please keep us in your prayers.

(And for a great read on the major differences between North American and European hockey and why I prefer one over the other, read and follow one of my best friends blogs HERE.)

While it's a very scary and unstable moment in our lives right now ... we also haven't been this excited about hockey in a very long time. Simply put, the opportunity for TJ to be given a chance to show what he is capable of contributing to a team, as well as the chance to experience life in Germany again is worth the risk involved.
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December 7, 2012

Ready, Set, GO...


Sorry I have been MIA this week... 

I'll try to be a better blogger next week, after I am settled at home in Massachusetts. 

P.S.
How many times do you have to move in one year 
to qualify to be able to put "Professional Mover" on your resume?

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December 3, 2012

Mrs. Bitchy McBitch.

I've been accused of being a lot of things in my life,
and being too positive is not one of those things.

When I look at a glass of water, it's half empty. That's just who I am.

I'm going to be real with you all - I've been a pessimistic little bitch this past week.
Seriously, I've dubbed myself Mrs. Bitchy McBitch.

PMS coupled with financial stress and things that I can't publish onto the interwebs 
have left me angry, teary eyed and mean these past few days.

I've been told that the first year of marriage is the hardest. 

But I never believed the people who said it - I just thought that they were Negative Nancy's who should have thought twice before getting married. 

And now, five months in, I am finding that this year has been especially hard for us. 

Not us in terms of our marriage - our relationship has been strengthened on so many levels due to the trials and tribulations that we've faced  together - but the cards that we've been dealt have been awful, and the cards that we have picked ourselves have all been Jokers....and lately, I'm having a very difficult time keeping my poker face on.

Why is it so easy to let negative thoughts consume us?

For Example:
Last night I dropped a container of strawberries on to the floor and my first reaction was 
"OF COURSE THE FUCKING STRAWBERRIES WOULD FALL ON THE FLOOR."

For a split second it felt natural that the strawberries would do that, like they jumped out on purpose or something. 

But what really happened is that my phone buzzed and when I went to reach for it my forearm knocked the container over.

Luckily, while sitting on the floor picking white dog hairs off my brand new juicy strawberries (come on, you don't abide by the five minute second rule?), I had a breakthrough ... a small voice inside my head whispered the quote and reminded me:

If you don't like something, change it. 
If you can't change it, change your attitude.

And then, just like that, I found the strength to get my act together, 
and my six goals for December were born:

1. Force myself to work out at least four times a week. I've gained ten pounds since this time last year and I have the ability to do something about it, so I am. 

2. Appreciate the holiday. I often find myself half coherent during most conversations because I'm replying to emails or finishing something work related on my phone. Remember when Christmas was magical? I'm really looking forward to creating traditions with TJ and being fully in the moment this year...without my phone.

3. Pay off $500 in credit card debt. After celebrating our wedding in July, the debt that we have accrued is disgusting. I'm on a mission this month to not spend one extra penny besides what is deemed absolutely necessary, and instead start hacking away at our bills.

4. Cut sugar and processed foods out of my diet. It will be interesting to see how my mood changes without chemicals and crap floating around in my body.

5. Read. I downloaded three books to my Kindle last week and haven't made the time to start reading one. I need to create the time necessary to focus on a more productive means of feeding my brain besides reading what's going on on Facebook and Twitter.

6. Create an action plan for my Twenty Wishes.

*************

They say to "play with the hand that you've been dealt", so I'm going to try to make it work, instead of letting it work me. I've realized that I can't change the situation that I am in right now, but I do have the power to change my attitude - and I hope that in focusing on my mind, body and soul this month I'll enter the New Year with a happy heart, fully committed to make 2013 the best year yet.

Who's with me?

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November 30, 2012

The Brutal Blogger

Hi, my name is Kym and I've turned into a Brutal Blogger.

In my mind, and in conversation, I tell people that I love being a blogger because of
the support, the community and the friendships that I have formed with people all over the world.

But in reality, many of those said friendships were formed two years ago when I first started writing...back when I didn't care about the numbers or the "followers" that I had...back when I actually took the time to truly get to know other bloggers and the people who stopped by Travel Babbles each day. 

The fact of the matter is: Even though I interact with many of you - some of you even on a daily basis - I feel like I don't really know anything more about many of you other than your Twitter handles, your GFC pictures, or how cute your dog or child is.

So today, this post isn't about me, it's about you. And I want to know:


1. What is your name?
2. Where can I find you online? (Blog, Twitter, etc.)
3. Where do you live?
4. What are your interests?
5. What do you do for work/what are you studying in school?
6. Do we have anything in common?
7. Tell me something silly about yourself.
8. What is the last book that you read?
9. Where do you see yourself in five years?
10. What are you looking forward to this week?

If you're a lurker, it's time to de-lurk. If you've never left a comment here before, please do - I'm really looking forward to getting to know more about the people who come here, and I'll be replying to each of you individually so please make sure that your email address is attached :)

Have a great weekend!!

P.S. Did you enter the Group Giveaway? It ends on Monday! 

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November 29, 2012

Are You Having A No Good, Awful, Very Bad Day? Good, I Am Too.

45 Life Lessons, Plus 5 To Grow On.
Written By: Regina Brett

*************

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.


3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.


4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.


5. Pay off your credit cards every month.


6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.


7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.


8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.


9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.


10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.


11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.


12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.


13. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.


14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.


15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.


16. Life is too short for long pity parties. Get busy living, or get busy dying.


17. You can get through anything if you stay put in today.


18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.


19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.


20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.


21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. 
Today is special.

22. Overprepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.


24. The most important sex organ is the brain.


25. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.


26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: "In five years, will this matter?"


27. Always choose life.


28. Forgive everyone everything.


29. What other people think of you is none of your business.


30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.


31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.


32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.


33. Believe in miracles.


34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.


35. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.


36. Growing old beats the alternative - dying young.


37. Your children get only one childhood. Make it memorable.


38. Read the Psalms. They cover every human emotion.


39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.


40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.


41. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.


42. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.


43. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.


44. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.


45. The best is yet to come.


46. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.


47. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.


48. If you don't ask, you don't get.


49. Yield.


50. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.



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November 28, 2012

Food Porn.

TJ and I didn't actually get to eat our Thanksgiving meal until Sunday because he was road tripping, so I was looking forward to this meal alllllllll weekend.

Texas Roadhouse Rolls - This recipe yields 30 rolls, which I did NOT need hanging around the apartment because I have zero self control, so I divided everything by 4 and ended up with eight rolls.

My favorite food on Thanksgiving is Green Bean Casserole, however I married someone who is "allergic" (cough, cough, bullshit, cough, cough) to mushrooms and onions, so plain green beans it was.

I'm going to share with you some slightly embarrassing information: I had to Google how to make mashed potatoes for two. Don't judge me, I've always relied on the boxed kind! The verdict? I'm never making those flakes again. I followed this recipe and doctored it up with sour cream, a little bacon and some shredded cheddar cheese. Perfect.

The puppies on the right are what I like to call Stuffing Balls. They look fancier than stuffing in a bowl, don't they? I make Stovetop according to the directions, form the mixture into balls and pop them in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

If you've never had Jalapeno Creamed Corn you MUST make this recipe. It's simple and incredibly delicious. I promise that it's not hot like a jalapeno - in fact, one person who commented in the original recipe said that her young children love this corn. I found pre-sliced jalapenos in the pickle/olive aisle - one heaping tablespoon was enough - and I cut the recipe in half which was more than enough for the two of us, plus leftovers.

I challenged myself to make cranberry sauce (mmm hi, it's cranberries, sugar and water), but I doctored it up a little bit as seen in this recipe. I cut the recipe in half and added a half teaspoon of ginger along with a few shakes of cinnamon. Even in cutting the recipe in half, it yields a LOT of cranberry sauce (if you're only cooking for two), but I've been adding the sauce to my oatmeal in the morning and it's sooo good!

I like stuffing my turkey with orange, onion and lemon. I chose to make a Brown Sugar and Mustard glaze as seen on Martha Stewart. Meh, I won't be doing that again.


The Apple Crisp recipe that I used is appropriate for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, or a late night snack...trust me, we've tried it for all :) I followed the apple recipe exactly as it is, but for the oatmeal crumble I used 2 cups of flour and 2 cups of oats. It's delish.

What is your favorite dish on Thanksgiving?

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