Hello there! It’s been a while. Sorry yall, I got busy!
After a two year hiatus from the blog & a couple requests to bring it back, I figured it was time to update yall what I’ve been up to.
Well, let’s see… I moved across the country, got engaged, got a new job, got my car stolen, bought a new car, got a dog, had an epic bachelorette party, and last but not least, I got married!!!
It’s crazy to think that my last blog post was when I was living with my sister in Morganfield, KY during the heart of the Covid 19 pandemic. Looking back at that time, if you would have told me how my life was going to soon unfold, I wouldn’t have believed you. There were a lot of twists & turns but somehow everything found a way of coming together how it should!
Before I take a look down memory lane, let’s start with the present.
My husband Ben & I live in Walnut Creek, CA, a suburban city right outside of San Francisco. It’s a cute town, great weather, just a little bigger than Owensboro, but about 10x more expensive (sigh). I still haven’t gotten used to that, but I can’t complain too much, because the location is pretty incredible. We’re about 30 mins from San Francisco, 45 mins from Napa Valley wine country, two hours from Big Sur & three hours from Lake Tahoe.
We have a one year old Mini Australian Shepherd named Willow. Ben works for the Coast Guard and I work for Meta, aka Facebook and Instagram. Alright, now that you’re caught up, let’s look back at how I got here!
Moving to California
For those who don’t know Ben & I are middle school sweethearts. We started dating way back in 8th grade, dated long distance as I was at Duke and he was in NY at the Merchant Marine Academy, went our separate ways for a bit after college, then the pandemic slowly brought us back together. He was planning to enter into the Coast Guard & I was working remotely so we both moved back to Kentucky temporarily & long story short ended up back together. I knew then we were going to get married eventually, so I decided to follow him wherever he got stationed.
He got a list of 10 potential locations ranging from San Francisco to Detroit to Puerto Rico. Me being me, made a full PowerPoint presentation ranking the locations from 1-10 and comparing the pros & cons of each place. SF made it to the top thanks to negotiation skills and my compelling pros list (“Job Market, Beach, Cool, Fun”). I sold Ben on the idea & we ended up getting San Francisco! Let’s Go!
Cross Country Road Trip
Now I just had to find a way to get there. I was subleasing an AirBnb at the time in Owensboro & all I had to my name was my clothes, a laptop & a car, no furniture. So I decided to pack everything I own in my Toyota Highlander aka Ole Bess & convince my mom to take a 10 day cross-country road trip with me. It took some convincing, but with a little negotiation per usual, she caved. I picked her up in Atlanta & we took off in February 2021 with Ole Bess FULLY loaded down. You couldn’t even open the trunk or everything would fall out. There was absolutely no room, except justtt enough space for a jumbo Peanut Butter pretzels jar within reaching distance which came in CLUTCH. We even managed to fit a disassembled office chair. Excessive? Probably, but I still use it to this day so it was totally worth it.
We went from Atlanta to Dallas, Albuquerque, Flagstaff, AZ, the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park in Utah, Las Vegas, Carmel, Ca and San Francisco. 3,000 miles, 10 states, 8 bang energies & 2 tubs of Peanut Butter Pretzels later, we made it to Cali safely. It was truly a trip of a lifetime & if you ever have a chance to take a cross-country road trip, I highly encourage you do it!
While I was expecting an engagement within a year of being in California, Ben had other things in mind. The FIRST weekend of living in California, he popped the question. Here’s how it went down. We decided to stay in and cook a fancy steak dinner and eat on the back porch.
He said we should get dressed up, which was the first suspect move, because that’s totally unlike him. “Ehh no, I’m good” was my response as I cooked in my t-shirt, leggings & slippers. He insisted I change, so I finally caved and went to swap the t-shirt for a sweater (but kept the leggings & slippers of course). When I came back from changing, I looked out the kitchen window & noticed a table set up outside with a white table cloth, champagne & a vase of white roses. Hmm….suspect move #2.
I always said when we got engaged all I cared about was having white roses, so that’s when I knew. We went outside, he popped the question, I blacked out a little bit, said yes & the rest is history! It was then I finally agreed to change out of the slippers for a post engagement selfie.
Got a New Job
When I moved to Cali, I knew I was officially done with basketball. It took me 2+ years to come to terms with it, but I had given it all I had and it was out of my control at that point. As much as I wanted to make it to the WNBA, I had to listen to my body and it was obvious it was time to finally throw in the towel. After 6 knee surgeries and 1 back surgery, my body just couldn't handle the rigors of basketball anymore. While it was a tough decision to swallow, it was 100% the right call, and I’ve finally accepted it & been able to embrace new passions in my life.
Prior to making the move I was doing some freelance marketing work for a handful of clients aka my “side gigs”. However, I knew that wasn’t sustainable & was actively looking for full-time roles in the Bay Area. I was deep in the interview process with two awesome roles & was banking on landing at least one of them by the time I settled in San Francisco. Well, that didn’t go as planned.
I was a finalist for both & got turned down by…both. It was a huge blow to my ego, but I’ve dealt with quite a bit of adversity throughout my life so I knew the process by now. If you first don’t succeed, keep your head up and try again. So that’s what I did. After a couple months of no luck, out of the blue, a good friend of mine sent me a job description for a Sports Partnerships Role at Facebook. It sounded too good to be true… and after an intensive interview process, I got the job! I couldn’t believe it.
I came in working with pro sports teams across the NBA, WNBA, NFL and MLB but recently shifted to a new role focusing solely on NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) and College Athletes. In this role, I get to educate & empower student-athletes how to maximize NIL across Facebook & Instagram to build their brands, monetize and find success after sports, all while working with cool people and traveling to universities & events across the country speaking to athletes, coaches & athletic departments! I couldn’t have made up a more perfect role for me if I tried. I absolutely love it & feel so lucky to be in the position I am.
Car Stolen, Bought a New Car
They say getting your car broken into is a right of passage in California. Well… no one warned me about getting your car stolen! After just a few months of living in Cali, I went on a hike, parked my car at a trailhead and when I came back I thought…”Dude, where’s my car?!”. Now I’ve been known to forget where I parked from time to time, but wasn’t the case - someone actually jacked my car… #RIPOleBess
After weeks pass, I went through a lengthy insurance claim process and ended up getting way more out of Ole Bess than I was expecting, score! I took that right to the dealership & ended up buying a brand new Subaru Forester Sport, aka Suzy.
Fun fact - about 1.5 months after Ole Bess was stolen, the police found her abandoned on the side of the road a few cities away. Thankfully, I had already gone through the claim process & bought my new car - so she was my insurance company’s problem now. As sad as I was to say goodbye to Ole Bess, it ended up working out great!
Got a Dog
So I’ve never considered myself a “dog person”. Now I’ve had dogs growing up my whole life, but I’ve just never been the type of person dying to have my own dog. Well, Ben is. He’s obsessed and essentially begged so much to get a dog that I eventually caved because I was tired of listening to the begging.
Enter Willow, our now 1 yr. old Mini Australian Shepherd that I’m absolutely obsessed with, oops. While I was hesitant at first, I’ve now fully embraced my status as an obsessed dog mom (ODM) to the point of me launching Willow’s personal Instagram page (@willowbean_theaussie - go check it out!). I blame my mom for this. She’s been an ODM for years with our jack russell terriers growing up, so she must have passed this on to me genetically. Oh well, Willow is the best.
Epic Bachelorette Party
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas amirite? Nope, It gets written about in the blog! So, funny story. The original plan was to go to New Orleans, but...Hurricane Ida had other things in mind. Literally two weeks before we were suppose to go, Hurricane Ida hits, devastating New Orleans and our long awaited trip to the Big Easy. So what do you do when life gives you lemons? Take a group vote & pivot your 11 woman crew to Las Vegas with one weeks notice!
Somehow, I get myself into unreal situations from time to time. For example, I was once on stage with Lil Nas X & Billy Ray Cyrus at a VMA after party, I've snuck into Michael Jordan's birthday party, I've finagled my way to floor seats at a Garth Brooks concert, etc. Idk how it happens... but it did again in Vegas.
It was suppose to be a casual pool day. We all had matching cheetah bathing suits (casual) and I was excited to just float in the lazy river all day with a drink in hand. Well, a couple of my friends went to inquire about the Day Club (Wet Republic) at our hotel and the next thing you know we're at a VIP table at arms length from Steve Aoiki.
Sure, I've heard the name, but I'm not into EDM music or the boujee Vegas scene so I was a little hesitant about committing to the idea of blaring music, massive crowds & champagne showers - like I said I'm more of a lazy river gal. BUT, thanks to my friends finesse, we ended up in the best seats in the house with waiters on hand delivering us anything we wanted, including a $98 chicken strips platter (best chicken strips I've ever had). By the end of the day, I was repping Steve Aoki tank top....
I can honestly say it was one of the most fun weekends of my life.
Last not but least, I got MARRIED! And what a wedding it was. Now, I also don’t consider myself a “wedding person". I’ve always said that the only things I care about when it comes to my wedding is getting married in a church & having a live band and open bar at the reception, that’s it. Well… I can confidently say that changed during the intensive 9 months of me planning every detail of my wedding from the donut bar to the disco ball suspended over the dance floor. I was 100% not a bridezilla, I’ll own that. BUT did I have an expansive Pinterest Board, 100+ saved IG wedding posts & one too many wedding planning google docs? Yes I did. But hey it paid off, because the wedding was absolutely epic.
It was an actual marathon. Complete with an afternoon wedding, evening reception AND after party. The wedding was beautiful, held at the cathedral in our hometown. The wedding reception was amazing held at a Bourbon Distillery with an 8-piece funk band and 300 of our closest friends & family. And the after party… the after party was UNREAL held at a local brewery with an epic bluegrass band called Scythian.
Ben and I first discovered Scythian at an annual Bluegrass Fest (ROMP) held in Owensboro every year. They’re a high energy Irish/Bluegrass band we’ve kept up with over the years and one night when deep in my wedding plan, I said… “What if we got Scythian to play? That would be epic.” When I get an idea in my head, I’m all in. A few instagram dm’s later, we made it happen and I’m so glad we did. It was truly one for the books.
And that’s it! For the most part… Hopefully yall find this entertaining. If so, I’ll do my best to keep this up more regularly!