Don’t Call it a Comeback

Just as you started to miss me! You didn’t think I would be gone forever, did you?

It has been exactly three months since I have blogged. And it was a three month hiatus I think I really needed. My last post before my extended blogging vacation has actually been described by some as my funniest ever (and by some, I mean my mom and dad). While I was proud of that post, its not really indicative of my true mindset at the time. I was ten days away from my move-in at JMU, and I had honestly never been more terrified in my entire life.

Those of you who me know how unhappy I was at USC. And sometimes I’m a little too polite about my experience there. Quite frankly, it sucked. So transferring was an obvious, and easy, decision, but it was terrifying nonetheless. What scared the absolute crap out of me, was the idea that I may not be happy at JMU. In my typical dramatic fashion, I viewed JMU as my last chance at a happy college experience. Transferring to a third school would be an extreme burden on myself and my family; so JMU was pretty much the end of the line. If I hated it, I would just have to suck it up and be unhappy for the next three years. And that absolutely terrified me.

Everything was perfect in Richmond. I had just had the best summer in my short yet awesome nineteen years. Part of me just wanted to stay in Richmond forever. I was happy, I was comfortable and familiar with my surroundings, I had plenty of friends… Why change? A life spent forever at home would not be such a bad thing, right?

However, I am lucky enough to have parents who love me enough to let me go. They knew how important it was for me to find myself, to find my place. I did go Harrisonburg, and through a lot of tears, I went on my way.

Three months later, I can honestly say that transferring to JMU was the best decision I have ever made. It hasn’t always been easy; I’ve found that transfer students are stuck in a terribly awkward position. You are not a freshman. You are not part of a large, starry-eyed group who is experiencing college for the very first time. Yet, you are not an upperclassmen. You do not understand the school, at all. And when you hang around real upperclassmen, they easily pick up on your cluelessness and assume that you are a freshmen. But you aren’t. Instead, you are left alone to figure out this big, new scary place by yourself. Luckily for me, I have found a big group of fellow transfer friends. And slowly but surely, we have figured JMU out. Almost.

I have pretty much just jumped right into everything. I am a newly initiated member of Alpha Sigma Tau, I have written a few articles for the school newspaper, I have gone to every home football game, I tutor middle school students, and I have a babysitting job. So hopefully now you understand why I haven’t written in three months.

I still miss my family, but I am only two hours away now and its much easier. Tucker and my family come to Harrisonburg all the time, and I have done a good job balancing my life at home and my new life here.

I have made so many new friends, I have become very involved, and when I walk around campus, I feel like I belong here. And thats something I honestly couldn’t say at USC. I am very, very happy.

So now that I am finally getting settled in, I hope to begin writing on a regular basis again. I have a lot on my mind, and have had a lot of ideas the past three months, so you should be expecting a long, crazed rant soon. I actually have not told a single person at JMU that I have a blog. So if this your first time reading this, you’re probably surprised. When I first meet someone, I’m usually pretty quiet and reserved. It takes me a while to open up. But when I do, I never shut up. Ever. My blog is pretty representative of that. To my old readers, thank you for sticking with me! I’m glad you didn’t forget about me 🙂

Until next time…

xoxo Katie

P.S. To those of you who have asked, yes I totally copied the “xoxo” from Gossip Girl.

Ruff.

I think this world would be a much better place if we all lived like a puppy.

I don’t mean that we should all walk around naked, pee on every street corner, and greet each other with a good butt sniff.

I mean that we need to live life with an outlook of a dog.

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Gibby, age 8

Dogs don’t really do much in their days. They eat, sleep, and play. They live a simple life, but they certainly don’t act like it. Every meal is met with extreme enthusiasm and excitement. Dogs eat kibble, every day, but they act like they are being served a filet mignon complete with béarnaise sauce. When a dog is taken on a walk, they make the most of every step. They walk with a spring in their step the whole way, just happy to have been taken on a walk in the first place. Dogs love to nap. They find the comfiest spot in the house, and enjoy a nice sleep. Dogs really have a fine appreciation for the simpler things in life. It doesn’t take much to please them. Just some kibble, water, a good stick, and a nice place to sleep. Maybe a walk or two.

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Dolly, age 1

Dog’s treat their owners with a genuine, overwhelming love. When their owner comes home from a long day of work, a dog reacts with such an extreme excitement. There will be lots of licks, jumps, barks, and love. They have this uncanny ability to make their owners feel appreciated… loved… and special. Dogs don’t care about race, gender, sexuality, wealth, size, or shape… If you love a dog, they will love you back. Simple as that.

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The Wood Dogs

Dogs know that their time on Earth is short. They know that one day, their lives here will be over and it will time for them to move on. They take advantage of each day of their short lives. Above all, dogs know how to live. When they want to have fun, they pick up a ball. When they want to relax, they take a good nap. They stay close to one’s they love, and always remind them of that love. I’ve never had a dog pass away, but I hear that when their last day comes, they know that its time. And they are ready for it. Because they know they have lived a happy life.

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Gibby, Dolly, and Will

We are so busy trying to figure out the many problems of the world. But I think we can learn a lot from our dogs. Maybe they’ve got it all figured out. Perhaps there isn’t some big, complicated reason as to why we are here. When it comes down to it, maybe life is just about happiness & love. Dogs live a lot shorter than we do, and maybe its because they figure that out so much sooner. So next time you’re down, or feeling like life is just too much, think about your dog. Their life is short, simple, and somewhat boring; but their tail is still wagging 🙂

xoxo Katie Lou (& Gibby & Dolly too)

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Detective Katie

I apologize for the corny and somewhat boring title of this post, but at this time of excitement I couldn’t think of anything better. Today, I accomplished something remarkable, if I do say so myself.

ImageFirst off, I’ll just say that the family trip to Chicago was awesome. We had an awesome time and I am still absolutely in love with that city. It was a really, really fun trip. If you read my previous post about my love of wrestling, then you may remember that the reason I started watching wrestling is because I constantly had CM Punk’s entrance song stuck in my head. Since then, CM Punk has become one of my favorite wrestlers. He was born, raised, and still living in Chicago, Illinois. When we began the trip, I mentioned that maybe we would see him while we were in town. It was almost more of a joke, the wrestlers are constantly traveling around the world, we figured there was no way he was in Chicago. Lo and behold, he tweeted that he was in fact in Chicago that weekend. My brother and I thought that was pretty cool, but again knew there was no way we would see him. In a city with a population of 2,714,856 people, not including the hundreds of thousands of tourists that roll in, we figured there was absolutely no chance that we would see that one man.

Nonetheless, when we embarked on our tourist activities Saturday morning, we joked about Imageaccomplishing our “mission” and I jokingly instructed everyone to keep an eye out for CM Punk. But I mean, we took a freaking speedboat tour of the Chicago River. A man who has lived in Chicago his whole life will certainly not spend his Saturday afternoon doing that. Even still, I rehearsed in my head what I would say on the off chance that we saw him. We didn’t. And I wasn’t disappointed by that, because I knew the chances of that happening were less than 1%.

This morning, Will checked his WWE app to see where Monday Night Raw was being filmed tomorrow. We then knew that at some point that day, if not already, CM Punk would be departing Chicago for Austin, Texas. Our less than 1% chance was now completely gone. Again, I wasn’t really that upset by this because my brain knew it wouldn’t happen. I was a little disappointed because my heart got all excited for nothing…

At approximately 5:00 PM CST at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport I texted Tucker…

Hahaha we never saw CM Punk 😦

At approximately 5:19 PM CST I read the following tweet from CM Punk…

If I were to tell y’all that I’m delayed because, “we are looking for another crew member”. Which airline would you guess I am on?

That was when my newfound, supreme detective skills came into action. I went into full on CSI mode and considered all of my clues thus far…

  • I knew that CM Punk was still in Chicago.
  • I knew that CM Punk was flying to Austin.
  • I knew that CM Punk’s flight was delayed due to a wait for a crew member.
  • I knew that he was flying on United Airlines, because that is the main airline at O’Hare, and he complains about them all the time

That was all I needed to know. I rushed to that board that displays all flights, terminals, and statuses. There was only one flight to Austin. It was United. It was delayed. They were “awaiting crew.” It was in terminal F1C. Suddenly, something I had joked about all weekend became extremely serious as I knew the exact location of CM Punk, former WWE champion and one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. In this moment I had conflicting emotions. I felt like a bit of a creeper, a little stalkerish. But I knew that this opportunity would never present itself again. I knew that this was a once in a life time chance… And thus, Will and left terminal B11 in a dead sprint headed straight for terminal F1C. (I figured hey, he put all of his damn flight information on Twitter. It’s not stalkerish. Maybe a little but its his own fault.)

At approximately 5:40 PM CST, we arrived at terminal F1C in Chicago O’Hare International Airport. It was absolutely packed with people clearly pissed off about their delayed. We walked through the whole thing, and my hope really started to diminish. I figured I had missed something, read something wrong… maybe he gets to sit in some kind of elite passenger lounge… And then, there he was. I turned to my left in CM Punk, the man who made me become a WWE addict was sitting on floor of Chicago O’Hare International Airport, five feet away from me.

I haven’t been so nervous since…. Well honestly I can’t think of a time I had been so nervous. This was something we had talked about for so long and I had put so much work into getting to terminal F1C. I was not going back to B11 without having spoken to CM Punk. There was just one problem. He was wearing Beats headphones. Anyone who has worn Beats before knows that Dr. Dre was not kidding around, they are damn good headphones and you can’t hear anything but your music. I walked right up to him and back about fifteen times because I was so scared. I was at a loss. I didn’t want to tap him on the shoulder, because I thought that seemed a bit creepy and I didn’t want to startle him. I didn’t want to crouch down next to him because again, creepy.

I finally decided to just say “excuse me,” and hope that he could hear me. I said it once, about five people looked up and not one of them was him. I said it again, he looked up with a face of pure confusion that scared the living hell out of me. For a minute everything froze. Then I decided to crouch down next to him because I didn’t want to make a scene and I didn’t want him to crane his neck (I was very thoughtful towards his overall well-being, or at least I thought so). In a moment like this, I had always pictured myself saying something smooth, unforgettable, and different than every other fan. But instead, after about thirty five “umms” I stuttered through the most cliche fan saying ever.

We’re, like, really big fans of yours.

He smiled. I was encouraged.

We saw your flight was delayed on Twitter… We just wanted to come say hi…

He laughed. Again, I was encouraged.

You’re, like, the reason I watch wrestling.

He responded with…

I appreciate that. What’s your name?

We met, shook hands, took a quick picture, thanked him, and left. It took about thirty seconds because, again, I really just didn’t want to bother him. The picture was pretty much just a crappy selfie, he couldn’t stand because of an injury, and my hands were so shaky that I’m amazed that was able to take a picture even this clear. Nonetheless, I will cherish it forever.

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Seriously, is that not the coolest story you haver ever heard? I mean how crazy is it, that after talking about it all weekend, it ACTUALLY FREAKING HAPPENED. I feel like a character in a corny family vacation comedy. Plus, I am super impressed with my investigative skills. I also feel like a detective for the Chicago PD. I’m thinking about ditching this whole writing thing and pursuing a career as a detective who hunts down America’s Most Wanted. Kidding, I’ll keep the blog. I’m sure you all will love to hear my stories about tracking down criminals. OR MAYBE I could combine the two and write mystery novels. My first could be this story, this post is so freaking long it could already stand on its own as a novel.

In all seriousness, the whole thing was pretty awesome. CM Punk was very nice and I really appreciate that he took the time to talk to us. I can now scratch “Meet a WWE Champion” off of my bucket list. Pretty cool 🙂

If you made it this far, thanks for sticking through, I hope you enjoyed 🙂

xoxo Katie

Katecations.

Hello everyone! I wanted to write today, but I wasn’t feeling very inspired. Luckily for me, I follow The Daily Post! Everyday they post a daily prompt to help motivate stuck bloggers, like myself. So I am honored and excited to be participating in my first daily prompt.

What’s your favorite part about visiting a new place — the food? The architecture? The people watching?

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My dad and I at the Cubs game

This is a fitting prompt because this weekend my family and I are taking a trip to Chicago, Illinois. This will not be my first trip to Chicago. My Dad and I went last year to spend some quality time together before I went off to South Carolina. We spent our time in Chicago visiting places signature to the town and doing “Chicagoan” things. We went to a Cubs game, ate deep-dish pizza, went to the Navy Pier, and shopped on the Magnificent Mile. We don’t have a ton planned for this weekend yet, but I know we are planning to take a speedboat tour of Lake Michigan.

So, when I think back to the initial question: “What’s your favorite part about visiting a new place?” I guess my answer would have to be, getting immersed in that place’s culture. Even if I’m only there for a few days, I like to hit all the “must-see” attractions.

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Bahamas trip #1 back in 2008

I guess everybody likes to do that when they travel. But, oh well. I really like to travel. The only bad thing about being a teacher one day is that it I will never get to travel for my job… I will pretty much just stay in the classroom at all times. One of my dreams in love is to fill my passport up with stamps from all over the world. So far, I have three stamps from the Bahamas, but that’s it. I do hope to see the world one day, if I get the opportunity to.

I love traveling so, so much. I love every part of it. I love packing. I love being in an airport. I love the little bag of airplane pretzels and the drinks with the cool looking ice. I love staying in a hotel and having my bed made for me. Oh, I just love every part of traveling. I love it so much, that my dream job has always been to have my own show on the Travel Channel. I have always pictured myself hosting a show titled something along the lines of Around the World with Katie or something more intense like Katie Wood: Abroad or maybe something quirky like Katecations. In my show, each episode would have a different travel destination, and everything I do in said place would be filmed! Then viewers would watch and not only learn about my featured destinations, but also become super jealous of my totally awesome career.

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Bahamas trip #3 in 2012. This could be such a good advertisement for “Katecations.”

This a dream that I think and talk about way too much. But seriously, how awesome would that be? You get to travel to all of these amazing places, immerse yourself in the culture and get PAID for it? It really doesn’t get much better than that. My dad always tells me that the job would much harder than I think, because I would have to do a great deal of research and the trips would not be enjoyable because I would be working. But honestly, I don’t care how much research and work I would have to do if I got to go to, say, Australia. Why else would I go to Australia, anyway? No way I will ever go there with a teacher’s salary. I would research for ten years if I got to go to Australia (maybe not that long, but you get my point).

So if there are many Travel Channel execs out there reading this, please consider adding Katecations to your lineup. It may be a totally unoriginal and already done idea, but you would be making a young woman’s dream come true. I will do endless amounts of research for you.

Well, I guess I really got sidetracked from the original prompt. But hey, at least I wrote. And now I am inspired to take a Flip camera to Chicago this weekend and personally film Katecations: Chicago Edition.

I promise to remember you all when I become a Travel Channel icon 😉

xoxo Katie Lou

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Post Vacation Blues

What is it about vacation that makes us as human beings so happy? Is it the all day relaxation? Is it the lack of worries or stress? Is it all the unhealthy eating that we don’t feel guilty about? Well, whatever the reason may be, vacation is certainly one of the most wonderful things in life. Perhaps that’s why you feel so freaking depressed when its all over.

The aforementioned luxuries are no more and it is back to the world of routines, schedules, and normalcy. Now we are obliged to actually get up and accomplish something with our days. We must go back to work, because two weeks off  was already pushing it. We now feel pressure to eat healthy and workout; things that are magically forgotten while on vacation.

That is what I am suffering from right now. I just feel like a big blob with motivation to do absolutely nothing. Its nice to be home after two weeks away, but I’m not completely happy about it. While I am not looking forward to returning to my daily routine, I am mostly just sad that vacation is over. I had such an amazing time with my family and Tucker, I am just really sad for it to be done. It went by way too fast, and the summer is going by even faster, which scares me.

But I still have over a month until my summer is over, so I won’t get too upset. But until I’m over my post vacation blues, I’ll just feel sorry for myself and constantly look over these pictures, the best from the vacation!

Not much to say today, but I hope you all are enjoying your summers! Until next time…

xoxo Katie Lou

It Was Only Inevitable

Those of you whom are close to me were probably just waiting for this to happen. Just wondering when I would mention my biggest obsession. It’s time for me to reveal one of my favorite things in life: World Wrestling Entertainment otherwise known as WWE. 

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My brother, Will, and I at WWE Smackdown

Some of you may be surprised, most people are. I am certainly not your stereotypical WWE fan. I am totally a girly girl. My favorite color is pink, I always wear bows in my hair, I love wearing dresses, and I spend way too much time worrying about my hair and makeup. But yes, I am a WWE fan; a diehard fan. Last night, I attended my third WWE show in one year. Yes, my third in only one year! And all three of them were freaking awesome.

My dad has watched WWE his entire life, so it was always on in our house. I never used to watch it; but every Monday night when I would be doing my homework at the kitchen table, my dad had RAW on, and I slowly got wrapped up into the story lines. Plus, I always had CM Punk’s entrance song stuck in my head, so that was more motivation for me to watch; and I had someone to cheer for! Last December, the WWE came to Columbia to do a show at the USC basketball stadium. Students could get tickets dirt cheap, so I figured, why not? I bought my $12 ticket and went to the show. Best 12 dollars I have ever spent. I was absolutely enthralled, and I have been obsessed ever since.

Being a WWE fan is the thing I get made fun of the most for. And there is one thing that myself and every WWE fan gets all the freaking time that annoys me to no end!

You know its not real, right?

OF COURSE I KNOW IT’S NOT REAL YOU DUMBASS. This is the biggest misconception about the WWE. People think fans view it as an athletic event. People actually think that the fans show up to the show believing they are witnessing real fights and they are all being duped because the fights are staged. Really only a tiny percentage of fans believe the fights are real- mostly children. WWE is just like any normal TV show. The wrestlers are all actors playing a character, there are story lines and conflicts, and the actual wrestling matches advance those stories. Just like any TV show. When somebody says that they love CSI, you don’t say to them, “Oh, you know that those crimes are fake, right? Like those people didn’t actually die. It’s fake.” NO of course you wouldn’t, thats ridiculous! You shouldn’t do it for WWE, either.

I get why people don’t completely understand it, though. There is nothing like it on TV, it is completely unique. It’s not just a show, its an experience. For one, every episode is taped in front of a live audience. But as a member of the audience, you become an integral part of the show. The writers rely on the audience to cheer for certain wrestlers and boo for others. If the audience doesn’t react as planned, the whole idea is shot. All of the plot lines are influenced by the fans’ reactions, and that is something pretty awesome about WWE.

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Tucker and I at WWE Raw

I used to be really embarrassed by my love of WWE. I never talked about it to anyone outside of my family. But when it comes down to it, watching WWE makes me genuinely happy. I enjoy watching it and it makes my life a little bit better. Its something I can bond over with my dad, brother, and boyfriend. Why would I let anyone ruin that for me?

I think that’s really what makes the WWE so cool. When I was at the show in Hampton, VA last night, everyone around me was just so happy to be there. When the “bad guys” came out we were angry, and even more so if they won. So excited to see our favorite wrestler enter the ring. Sad to see the heroes fall. It brings out such raw human emotion in people. Seeing the kids at the show was especially cool. You can see the pure joy on their faces! The WWE gives them confidence, makes them feel like they are a part of something. And I think that’s what makes the WWE so special; every fan gets to be a part of something huge.

Yesterday’s show was my brother’s first WWE event. Will is normally a pretty shy kid, and he gets more nervous in situations with lots and lots of people. As we were leaving the loud, crowded arena, Will spotted one of his favorite wrestlers on the stage, Titus O’Neil. O’Neil also happened to play for Will’s favorite college football team, the University of Florida (he went by Thaddeus Bullard back then). O’Neil was doing a meet and greet on the stage, and Will was dying with excitement. He just had to go get a closer look. So as the security guards were pushing people out of the arena, shy little Will somehow snuck by the guards and made it to the stage. With absolutely no shyness, he yelled, “Hey Titus! Go Gators!” And Mr. O’Neil responded with a vibrant thumbs up 🙂 Will came sprinting back with the biggest smile on his face, more excited than I had ever seen him. The moment was absolutely priceless, something I will cherish forever. And I’m so thankful the WWE was able to give it to me.

xoxo Katie

P.S. To any WWE fans reading this, LET’S GO CENA!

🙂

Old & New Experiences

On Saturday, Tucker & I left Cape Carteret and headed up the coast to Nags Head, North Carolina. As I have mentioned before, my parents own a beach house here, so we will be spending this week with my family. We always come to Nags Head this time of year to celebrate 4th of July. However this year I was with Tucker’s family on 4th of July, which was weird. Don’t get me wrong, I mean I had a lot of fun and Tucker’s family was great, but it was my first time being away from my family on the 4th.

Its hard for me to be away from my family, we have always been extremely close. But being in new surroundings with new people is certainly not a bad thing, hard as it sometimes may be. In Cape Carteret I was exposed to lots of new things that I probably never would have experienced on my own. For instance, prior to last year’s Cape Carteret trip, the only boat I had ever been on was a cruise ship. But now, I have been all kinds of skiffs and dinghies and whatever else… I may not understand any of it but HEY- at least I’ve had some boating experience now, and I learn more every year. Boating is a really cool thing that I’m happy Tucker introduced me to! Oh, and water sports! Tucker loves all kinds of water sports. He sails, water-skis, and surfs… I can only really tube but hey, at least I’m learning, right? By next year I’ll be fully standing on skis for miles… Or maybe I should aim for first just trying the water skis 😉

ImageAlso, last week Tucker’s family and I took a trip to Cape Lookout, where I witnessed one of the coolest things I have ever seen! Wild horses! I had never seen horses in their natural habitat before, and it was breathtaking. Plus, I had no idea that horses could swim, is that like a known thing?

ImageWell I certainly had no clue, but now I have witnessed it with my own two eyes. The horses crossed the water right in front of our ferry! It was beautiful. Now I know it seems rather insignificant of thing, but it was an amazing sight to see, and a memory I will cherish forever. Its all something I never would have experienced had I been in Nags Head. It was sad not be with my family on July 4th, but I guess part of growing up is getting out there on your own and making your own adventures. And I certainly had a few adventures in Cape Carteret!

I’ve found that one of the hardest parts of growing up is balancing those new adventures with family traditions. Tucker and I have a good system for the July 4th celebration: one week with his family in Cape Carteret and one with mine in Nags Head. Now its time for the Wood Nags Head week, where I’ll be a little more in my element. We don’t really delve into much boating or water sports here, just a lot beaching. So I’ll have a lot of time to catch up on my reading and tanning 🙂

It’s so nice to be with my family again, but I had a lot of fun last week too, and I’m glad to have gained those new experiences. Not to be cheesy but I think learning to balance those old and new experiences really is an important part of growing up. And hey who knows? Maybe I can incorporate some of my new experiences into my time here in Nags Head. I’ve had the strong desire to try paddle boarding, I’m sure the water sports expert could help me out!

I’m looking forward to a nice week, and I’ll be sure to write about any new adventures 🙂

xoxo Katie Lou

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