Five on Friday: Why I love my new cell phone

March 21st, 2014 2 comments

Last week, my husband and I got new phones. We were at the point where we had zero choice. Our old phones had reached self-destruct level. And by that I mean, one of us would probably soon be running over the phone with our truck just to feel better after all the frustration it had been causing us. I wouldn’t wish that old phone on my worst enemy. (Even the guy at the store who was trying to get my contacts transferred over was amazed at how crappy my old phone was…)

I walked into the store, determined to get an iPhone. I have my iPad and I love it. I also sometimes feel a little bi-polar going from iOS to Android and back when going from phone to iPad. I’d really grown to love a lot of features provided by iOS and had just decided I was DONE with Android.

Until I walked into the store and spoke with the sale associate. Who after a lot of discussion convinced me to stay with Android. He, too, has an iPad and could totally understand my… not really frustration, but kinda like frustration, that I feel going between the two systems. However, he showed me a lot of features on the new Android operating system (Kit Kat, baby!) as well as with the new version of our old phone (Droid RAZR) that sold me on staying with Android.

So I am new owner of a RAZR MAXX and I’ve officially fallen in love with it. And here arefive reasons why that is…

FoF - CellPhone


1. Camera access ease. This was the thing that sent me over the edge to get the phone. As a photographer, I love capturing images throughout the day. I’ve discovered I’m a very visual person, and as such I am the person snapping a photo of their food or drink if its exceptionally good. The weather, my hair, the dog, the cat or a car passing by me are all potential photo ops. I want a camera that will respond when I want to take a photo. THIS one does. Even if the phone is asleep, I just shake it twice and the  camera launches. No more missed photos due to phone lag and unlocking!

2014-03-21 08.32.41

2. Battery life. My biggest complaint for the last several years is the sheer crappiness of cell phone batteries. Why do I have to carry my charger around 24/7 and hope I can charge it before the day is less than half over!? This new phone… we popped for the one with the larger battery. Check out this battery life to the left…


I JUST plugged my phone in for the first time in 16 hours. This is after multiple photos, tweets, Instagrams, web searching, and phone calls. This is after text messages, jumping on and off various WiFi providers, and tinkering with phone settings through the day.

THIS is what a cell battery should be like.

3. Familiarity. I’ve been using the Android system for… years. I’m familiar with it. In fact I was able to keep my same text tone as my last phone. And the wallpaper is one I used on my first Droid ever. I’m able to keep my calendar widget (which I use daily) and it had saved in the Play Store all the apps I’d ever downloaded, making it super easy to set this new phone up with what I use and need.

2014-03-21 084. Emoticons! I know this is a silly thing to be so excited about, but I am. iOS you can download and install Emojis. Which is fun and all, but us Android users for a long time now only saw little squares where fun hearts and notes and smilies and whatnot showed for iOS users. Now? Now we have emoticons. Amusingly, they are the same but markedly different from the Emojis on iOS. So if I do a peace sign on my phone, it shows up different to someone on an iPhone. But its the same idea, nonetheless. Brilliant.

5. Screencaps. It’s a petty thing, but I have been sorely annoyed at my inability to take screencaps of my phone since my first smartphone. A major fail, in my opinion, was the Android system not making that possible. I’d look at my fellow smartphone users using iPhones with jealousy over that ONE feature. Now? Well now I can take screencaps. And I love it. It’s like Android took all my favorite iOS features, tweaked them to be definitively Android/Google-esque, and gave me everything I could have wanted. And that makes me a happy woman.



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My third Muscle Walk Location

March 18th, 2014 1 comment

It’s no secret that MDA is a cause I support heavily, primarily due to my nephew battling Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. (I talked a lot about that as the 2012 Labor Day Telethon approached.)

I’ve had the honor of walking in three different Muscle Walks, in three different cities. All were amazing and overwhelming.

In 2010, I made the trek to Dallas and Cowboys Stadium for the MDA Stride and Ride (which was what it was called then).

On the Jumbotron

That’s me and my brother and my Dad on the huge jumbotron hanging in the stadium.

 Then in 2012, I participated in Waco’s Muscle Walk on the Baylor Campus.

2012 Waco MDA Muscle Walk

My nephew is such a ladies man!

Then this year I got to be a part of the Music City Muscle Walk, here in Nashville. I’m usually out of town when it is held, but this year I was in town. As a bonus, my husband had a random Saturday off and got to go as well!

It was AMAZING. I gotta admit, it felt a little strange to not have my nephew, brother, niece, sister-in-law and parents there. But I couldn’t stop smiling as my husband told anyone who would listen about our nephew and all he’s accomplished despite fighting Duchenne. I hardly had to say a word the whole day… which was good because events like the Muscle Walk get me and I walk around with a lump in my throat the whole time.

Our Muscle Walk Team!

Our Muscle Walk Team! Fiddle & Steel Guitar Bar representing!

As of the end of the walk, over $97K had been raised. I know during the walks, money does continue to trickle in so I’m sure the FINAL final total will be higher. That’s AMAZING.

There were people everywhere. Our team captain has participated the last four years and she said this was without a doubt the largest walk to date. I think I heard that there were well over 1,000 people walking that day.

 2014 Music City Muscle Walk

I forgot that most teams dress similarly. In Waco, we all wore camouflage. In Dallas we had matching t-shirts. I totally spaced our dressing alike this year. Next year… next year we will have a theme. And it will be awesome. And we will raise even MORE money. And have an even bigger team.

Seriously, though. Wherever you are… look for a Muscle Walk to participate in and be a part of this amazing event. If you’re thinking, “I don’t do walks… I’m not in shape for that!” Our team captain recently had knee surgery, and I’m still limping from a “its not a good story” foot injury. It’s not a race. It’s low physical impact, but huge emotional impact.

Well, actually, it IS high physical impact. The money raised at the Walk has huge physical impact potential for those fighting muscular dystrophy, as a cure is being sought every single day. You don’t have to raise thousands of dollars. You can raise as little as $5 and still participate. Just be there. Just go and see what its about. You’ll leave with a full heart. I promise.

 11/47: 2014 Music City Muscle Walk/

Categories: MDA Tags: , ,

Making it Happen Monday: Stop comparing yourself to others

March 10th, 2014 1 comment


I recently got to hang out with three good friends. One I’ve know since kindergarten, one since fifth grade, and one since college. These are friendships that have lasted years, miles, and many changes and trials in life. I’ve learned from them. I’ve laughed with them. I’m sure there are tears that have been shed as well.

Meet Lindsey, Brandy and Ana…


What you might see here from your viewpoint are three women having a good time together. I see many years of memories and oodles and oodles of success. I caught myself at one point comparing myself to them.

Epic fail. Epic.

See, what you also are looking at there is a journalist and two assistant district attorneys. And then there’s me behind the camera… A fledgling photographer, blogger and bartender. At one point, I sat in silence listening to them talk cases and news reports from the Houston, TX area, and I found myself feeling very much the underachiever. For longer than I care to admit, I had a great big huge pity party. Who was I really kidding? I’m nowhere near as successful as these three women!

I’ll be honest, it wasn’t until the next day that I pulled myself out of it.

I started to remember all the things I have in my “bag of tricks.” I started to remember that my life is pretty unique… and I remembered how a friend once told my husband he’d give his entire savings account to be on the Grand Ole Opry stage one time. I remembered how many amazing, amazing people I’ve met, some backstage the Opry!

I remembered how I head up my alumni club in Nashville. How I’m an active member of an organization that raises money for CASA. I remembered that people love my photography, and I’m only just starting to grow that.

I remembered that I am a damn good bartender (dammit, I am!), and I can just as easily rock a desk job. I have both creative ability as well as logical.

I have an amazing husband, loving family and more friends than I can count.

Success is not measured on some measuring stick that we all have to live up to. I might not be using my journalism degree per se, and I don’t put bad guys in jail. But I’m a successful women in my own right. It’s just different from the other girls.

I admire my friends, and I am so very proud of them!! I can not, though, compare myself to them. It’s not fair to me… nor to them. We are all unique, and it’s in that individuality that we can only strive to be better.

Mathew McConaughey gave an awesome speech when he won the Academy Award for Best Actor this year in which he said the person he chases is himself, 10 years in the future. I loved that. It really fit where my mindset was that night. I can’t chase success based on what others have done. I can only chase success based on what I have done, can do and will do.

Categories: Making it happen Monday Tags: ,

Five on Friday: 2014 Goals Update #2

March 7th, 2014 1 comment

On January 1st, I listed out my goals for 2014. I thought I’d take a moment to see how I’m doing on a few of goals as of the beginning of March.  (See my February update HERE.)

1. Write a letter every month of the year.  I sent my husband a Valentine, since we spent that holiday apart.

 I love you more than...

2. Get my passport. I finally researched how much it will cost, what forms I need, and where I need to go to send off my passport request. Since I believe step one should always be to do your homework, I feel like I took a good step forward!

3. Bookkeeping. Well after two great computer crashes within a month, this got held back a bit. But I finally got my Quicken up and running and rockin’. Now I just gotta figure out my Excel situation so I can get my bill pay spreadsheet back up and running.

4. Photography. Decided I would start a Lent Photo-A-Day. Granted this started in March, but I made my plan on what I was doing. Also, I went to a concert with friends and got some great concert photos! It gave me a great opportunity to tinker with my newest camera, long lens and different lighting. I was pleased with many of the shots I got!

 Jack Ingram @ RodeoHouston

5.Get back to what I weighed at my wedding. Well, I definitely lost weight last month. But by the end of the month, I plateaued. I’ve been holding steady just above my “comfortable” weight. So you know what that means? Its time to up the exercise a bit. I’ll definitely do that this month!

Categories: five on friday, goals Tags: ,

Lent 2014 has begun…

March 5th, 2014 3 comments

Ash Wednesday

 The season of Lent has begun! And call me crazy, but I’m actually excited for it.

Usually this season gets quite lost for me. Between helping my parents with tax season, planning our Aggie Muster, and then other every-day responsibilities… Lent just becomes one thing too many. A couple years ago, I just flat out said I wasn’t giving anything up for Lent. And I’ve often said I’ll do something, and then I don’t even do it on day one.

But this year… this year is different. This year, I’ve made myself a really easy but difficult Lenten promise.

To just do better in general.

Stop finding justification for things that I SHOULD do or not do. As a result my goal is to be healthier. To be more productive. To be kinder. To be more patient.  To be closer to GOD. In a round about way, I really will do everything on my ideas for Lent list… just not to a super strict going to do just one thing perfectly… but try harder on all things.

I know I’ll make my mistakes. I know I’ll fail. But failure doesn’t mean giving up. Failure means you just have to try even harder.

I can do this. I WILL do this. No excuses. No justifications. Just do better.

Oh and do a Lent-long Photo-A-Day. I’m definitely doing that, too.

What have you decided to do?

Categories: lent Tags: ,

Gearing up for Lent

February 27th, 2014 1 comment

Lent ideasI’ve spent a lot of time the last week, contemplating Lent and what to “give up” for it.

Did you know that today is considered “Fat Thursday?” I didn’t until I searched “lent” on Twitter. Which of course sent me to Google. And the only real information I could find on it was from Wikipedia.  According to that page, it is a Polish and German tradition. It’s not to be confused with “Fat Tuesday” but its not all THAT different, as best I could tell. Apparently you’re supposed to eat a lot of donuts today. Which isn’t going to happen for me, despite having a German heritage. But if you partake, rock on and enjoy. Have a cinnamon and sugar covered one for me.

But like I said, I am thinking a lot about Lent and I had a few ideas. Feel free to throw ideas out at me, or take some of these for yourself…

  • Stop eating when I’m full… not when the plate is empty. I used to be GREAT at this back in the day. I need that habit back, and I think a LOT of things would straighten up behind that. I can make a conscious effort to do this through Lent, and hopefully in doing so, turn it into a habit.
  • Give up alcohol. Or at the very least, cut it back dramatically. (I don’t mind a glass of wine here and there, or a beer now and then. But save them for “special occasions” within Lent.)

    116: Maker's

  • Pretend I never found Lactose Intolerance pills. I think some of my sinus issues could be curbed if I cut out milk products for awhile. And I am sure I’d lose at least a few pounds doing so as well. So I am seriously considering cutting out/back my milk product consumption through Lent and see what happens.
  • Photo-A-Day. I’ve skipped doing a Project 365 for this year, but I do miss that challenge of a photo a day. I thought maybe I could up the ante a bit. Four photos every day for Lent. A selfie, the sky/weather, something I am grateful for, and then photographer’s choice. How’s THAT for a challenge to improve some of my skills?  Of course, I can take more than that, but definitely do those four every day.
    Oregon - July 2012
  • No soda.
  • No chocolate.
  • Spend money only on necessities and not on “wants.” (Good thing the new Eli Young Band CD comes out on Fat Tuesday! Oh wait, I could possibly justify that as a necessity. Right? Ha!)
  • Eat out less. Cook at home more.

    120: Fish for dinner

  • Say a rosary at LEAST once a week.
  • Say my prayers every single night of the week… even if it means forcing myself to stay awake to do so.
  • Cut back Facebook time.
  • Take a deep breath and curb the road rage.
  • No procrastinating. (Maybe I can do this one next year…) (Oh I know that’s an old joke, but admit it… you laughed.)
  • Get up earlier.
  • Go to bed earlier.
    261: Wall Lettering
  • Put the cell phone in my purse when at a restaurant instead of on the table.
  • Blog every day. Even if its just the prior day’s photos. (See what I did there? Multitasking.)
  • No cursing. Or at least curse less. Ask myself if the statement REALLY need that extra oomph of point?
  • Exercise more. Don’t just ride the couch all evening. Get up and move around! Even if its just straightening up the room. MOVE.
  • Try new recipes. Healthy recipes.
  • Drink more water.
    Bokeh Fun
  • Cut back on the caffeine.
  • No gossiping.

No, I’m not doing ALL of these. But maybe I can take a bit from here and there on this list. Maybe I should just resolve to “do better” and “make fewer excuses.” No matter what, I want to better myself.

What ideas do you have? What are you planning to do for Lent this year?