Tag Archives: Love

Saying “YES!” (Right after “ARE YOU SERIOUS?!”)

Nick really blew me away with his proposal. When I say I had no idea, I really mean it. In fact, when we were walking down to our gondola boat ride, with a wine bottle and glasses in hand, I said to him, “You know, people probably think you’re going to propose to me! HAHA!”

I’m sure I made him a little nervous with that one, but that’s how blissfully unaware I was. I had been making him nervous all day saying things like “maybe we shouldn’t dress up this much” and “I am in such a bad mood because I don’t like how my nails turned out.” I get a little dramatic sometimes…

We got on the boat and our gondolier drove us around the lake at Hilton Lake Las Vegas. He pointed out Celine Dion’s house and Nick later mentioned he thought that might be the moment the gondolier would drop our “message in a bottle” in the water.

At some point during the ride, we found ourselves in a little cove and were talking about how beautiful everything was when the gondolier pointed out something floating in the water. I can only imagine that Nick’s heart started beating pretty hard at this point. I still had no idea.

“Let’s go see what it is!” I said ignorantly. “Oh my gosh. There’s a message in it! This is crazy!!”

I am also a little gullible sometimes…

Las Vegas Wedding Photos

Nick got the bottle out of the water and handed it to me. When I saw the silver string wrapped around it, I knew something was happening. This wasn’t an ordinary message floating in a bottle in the middle of the lake after all…

I opened the letter to find a simple, sweet message from Nick asking me to marry him. He got down on one knee and I said “Are you serious?!” a few times before finally saying “Yes!” (He later admitted his knees got weak when I didn’t say ‘yes’ right away. Girlfriend was shocked, okay?!)

Las Vegas Wedding Photos

Being a girl in my early twenties (wink), I told him we had to take a picture of all these happenings! That’s when he pointed out that he had already taken care of that. (See below.)

Las Vegas Wedding Photos

I was OBVIOUSLY impressed. He had a photographer hiding on land! I started rambling, as I do sometimes, and telling him I couldn’t wait to tell my parents and how I wished they weren’t on a plane flying back to Indiana from Las Vegas right now.

Nick bit his tongue. We took some photos with the photographer and then went back to land to eat and celebrate at Sunset and Vine.

Las Vegas Wedding Photos

When we walked around to our table, my heart exploded. My parents were still there! We had dropped them off at the airport earlier, but they actually just rented a car and came out to the lake for the festivities. Nick’s parents had chocolate covered strawberries and champagne sent to our table. We Facetimed with them and squealed in our delight. Okay, that was just me.

It was absolute perfection. Nick LaGrange deserves major accolades for his preparation and execution. February 15, 2015 is a day that will be hard to top. Let’s see if June 3, 2016 can give it a run for its money.

Las Vegas Wedding Photos


Photos by M Place Productions



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Creating a Show-Up, Not Give-Up Kinda Life

Fitness matters. It matters more than calories in, calories out. It matters more than a number on a scale. It even matters more than getting a six pack by June (and, yes, that has recently been a hashtag on my Insta).

Since moving to Las Vegas two months ago, there has hardly been a day that I haven’t sweat or pushed myself beyond what I thought my physical limits were. And while I have seen significant and welcome changes to my physique, the real change has been mental.

I’m learning that pain and struggle are surmountable, that challenge isn’t a bad word and that if you keep showing up, it does get easier. It becomes your lifestyle to keep showing up.

I had a meeting with a commercial agent today that didn’t go very well. She told me that she had no room for me, she wouldn’t book me and that I looked much older than my picture. Folks, that hurt. I most definitely had a moment of “can I handle this?” going through my head.

But then I went on a run tonight. And let me express how much I am intimidated by running. I don’t think I’m built for it and I kind of, sort of hate it, but I know I’ve got to show up and challenge myself in that area.

During the run I thought to myself, “This is why I workout. If you just keep going, despite being uncomfortable, despite the pain, despite feeling like giving up, you’re eventually to get what you want.”

Okay, so I didn’t think EXACTLY that. But it was something like that, interjected with thoughts about my burning calves, tight chest and the stupidity I felt for running right after downing some pork chops and quinoa.

The point it is, I can’t let someone’s opinion stop me from doing what I love to do and I can’t let a little burn in my calves stop me from finishing the run. Every day that I get up and push myself physically a little further than I’ve been before, I’m also creating a mental toughness that will feed the rest of my life.

Get up and get out there. Though I do suggest you start sweating doing something you love, not something you kind of, sort of hate. 😉


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SCREEECH. STOP! Don’t ask that question.

February is the time when a lot of us, single or taken, start to reflect on the idea of love. I don’t write about it a lot here because I consider myself FAR from an expert. It’s taken me a long time to get to a place where I accept love from other people without questioning or doubting it.

But tis the season! And so I’d like to impart a single piece of relationship advice that I’ve learned recently. It’s one that I think applies to any deep connection, but especially those of the romantic sort. It goes something like this:

Don’t ask your partner trick questions. And if you’re asked the questions- never, EVER answer them.

You know what I’m talking about. Those questions or comments that you KNOW you won’t like the answer to OR you actually already know the answer! Maybe it’s about how attractive another person is, digging a little too deep in the “Ex Files” or forcing your partner to answer the infamous “Can you tell I’ve gained weight right here in this very spot? Look. Look harder. Can’t you see the little bit of fat there? Can’t you see how tight my jeans are??”

I mean, seriously? How are those questions supposed to be answered? If he (or she, just using the two sexes for ease of writing) replies, “Yes, honey, you do look huge. I can definitely see what you’re talking about,” well, hell, you’re crying and mad for days. If he says, “Nope. don’t see a thing. You look exactly the same,” you’re upset he isn’t being honest with you.There is no right answer.

The only good choice is refusing to indulge yourself in this way.

It’s just not fair to either of you. Love doesn’t set traps. Now, when I find myself setting my partner up for failure, I take a moment and decide what I’m really trying to do. Do I have both our interests at heart?

We’ve all got to take responsibility for our feelings. We can’t blame our partners when we know we’ve put them in a lose/lose situation. If you have a habit of starting conversations that you know aren’t fruitful, I challenge you to give them up for a day or two and see what happens to your relationship.

Happy Valentine Month! Keep on lovin’.

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“I’m Not Okay With This” and other scary sayings.



Growing up, I was always the little girl who stood up for herself. Whenever my group of friends would get in fights in elementary school, I was the one who said, “That isn’t what happened! This isn’t right!” or other 3rd grade musings that would inevitably make some portion of the group of little ladies angry with me. I didn’t understand this. It didn’t make sense! Why was I in trouble for simply stating the truth? Why did I become the bad guy for pointing out what was happening?

Because I like having people like me, I learned over the years to soften my expressions. I started saying things that pleased people instead of ruffling their feathers. Sure, sure, I still maintained a loud mouth about so many issues (i.e. marriage equality, C’MON), but when it came to standing up for myself, stating my worth when I was being taken advantage of, I just stopped doing it.

Do I mind if you pay me less than what we agreed to? No, no, perfectly fine! Can I stay later to work even though I really need to go right now? OF COURSE! Anything you need. My time has no value at all. Oh, you’re canceling our plans for the third time in a row? Yah, let’s meet up next week! Cancel again if you want, I really like it!

And, so on.

It becomes even harder to stand up for ourselves when the other person has something we want; whether it be friendship, love, a job, or the big one- approval. Do we risk saying “I’m not okay with this” even if it gets a negative reaction? What if we are totally honest and they rip the thing we want from our grasp? Is it worth it? My answer is: HELL YES.

We are treated the way we allow ourselves to be treated. If we allow someone to take advantage of us from the start, it becomes the norm. This doesn’t mean he or she is a bad person, we’ve all taken advantage of someone from time to time, it just means they don’t know any better. They don’t understand your rules because they aren’t you. Every time you speak up, you create a rule. That way, everyone involved understands when a line has been crossed and issues can be cleared away much more quickly.

And if by chance you lose the thing you want by owning your worth, my guess is, you’re better off any way. Eventually you’ll find the person or thing you need by being 100% your authentic self.

I guess little Shayla was on to something. Since it’s Halloween and all, I’m going to the cauldron to call up my 3rd grade self. She knew what was up.

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An Ode to The City

There’s nothing I can say about New York City that hasn’t already been said. She’s been the hero and the martyr, the protagonist and antagonist of so many stories. Millions of people have walked her streets and marveled at her beauty, her complexity and her resilience. Millions of lives have been touched, challenged and strengthened, my own included. I may be a minuscule thread of the fabric that has made up this city, but that doesn’t lessen the impact it has had on my life. There’s no place like New York.

There’s this idea that New Yorkers are rude, uncaring and unaffected. Nothing could be further from the truth. Those that make the pilgrimage to New York are some of the most caring, inspiring, open and vulnerable people that exist. They lay their lives out to the city and say “mold me, take me, make of me what you will”. They walk shoulder to shoulder with others that are saying the same thing. They wake up every day and venture out their doors, not knowing what they’ll see or what might happen. Every day is a lifetime of its own. I could not be more proud to say that I was one of those people for four years. I carry each year like a treasure, holding it close to my chest, remembering the lessons that it engraved into my heart.

NYC will continue to overcome and prosper because of the people living there. They represent our country well, pursuing dreams with fervor, making great use of the freedom we are so lucky to have. Believe this: these people are being challenged on a daily basis. Those that stick it out, that stay and strive, are nothing if they are not fighters.  I want to say thank you to New York, my friends living there, and those that are securing our freedom to pursue our dreams in this country. I carry you with me, no matter where I am.

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In Honor of Our Pepa

pepaTom Campbell, who many of us called “Pepa”, was in every definition of the word a “jokster”. He never found an occasion that didn’t call for a joke and he never met a stranger that didn’t soon become his audience. As a grandchild, I had the special opportunity to see him through innocent eyes. I’ll remember days at the river camp, floating on the pontoon and playing in Mema and Pepa’s vegetable garden. I’ll remember his nickname for me- “Petunia”- and the begrudging look I gave him every time I heard it. I’ll remember his endless piggy banks, homemade popcorn and the way Pepa always smelled like Spearmint Gum (which every grandkid remembers stealing from the counter where he always kept it).

I think if there was one lesson that Pepa would want to pass on to me it would be this: Lighten up a little. Take life less seriously. Laugh. Laugh more. Tell a joke. Make a stranger a friend. And, for goodness sake, eat that piece of pie. At least with me, Pepa wasn’t a man for much serious conversation, but every once in awhile, he’d surprise you. Like a few months ago, when he said that marrying Mema was the best decision he’d ever made and that he didn’t think he would’ve made it without her.

Today is a hard day. We are saying goodbye to Pepa in his physical form, but I know we’ll see him again. We’ll see him when we look at Jerry’s face or when we see Mike smile. We’ll certainly know he’s there when we see Dirk proudly watching his own grandchildren play.  We’ll hear him when we hear Karen giggle and we’ll feel him when we get a hug from Sheila. And, I think, we’ll see his spirit when we look into Sherri’s kind, kind eyes. And, of course, he’s left behind dozens of grandchildren and great grandchildren to continue his shenanigans.

Today, as we say goodbye to our Pepa, I’m going to do my best to honor him by adding a little more humor to my life. We love you, Pepa, and we’ll miss you.

Click here to hear the song the song I recorded for Pepa. “Someday We’ll Look Back” written by Merle Haggard.

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June 6, 2013 · 4:56 pm

Accept Uncertainty!

Do you ever get that feeling? You know the one. You wake up and all of a sudden there’s something heavy in your heart. You can’t focus. There is just something wrong. You are worried about something. 

Most likely that something is nothing more than uncertainty. What will happen with my career? Can what I love be taken from me? Am I enough? The defining factor here being that NOTHING has gone wrong, but we’re spending entire lifetimes worrying about it!

The best way to move past this feeling is to surrender to it. Yup, I said it. You gotta give in! You don’t know what’s going to happen next month or next year, but you can search for the goodness in what you know now. What makes you feel good when you think about it? What delicious things are you absolutely sure about? When we learn to deeply accept that we can’t control the outcome, we are freed. We are free to enjoy what we have and the mystery of life that is unfolding before us. It’s exciting, isn’t it?? What will happen tomorrow? Who will you meet? You have so much life to live! When we stop viewing life as something we need to figure out and instead begin to appreciate the journey, the weight is lifted.

I choose today to focus on TODAY! I am going to live in my happiness and choose thoughts that make me feel fabulous. Will you?

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