July 7, 2011

Throw it in the bag.

Towards the end of my travels, I started fielding a lots-a questions from future NPC traveling consultants (Hellooo out there again--pumped for y'all!). One of the biggest/most repeated?

"Um... How exactly do you pack?"

Ah, yes, dear one. 'Tis an art. An art that includes a 10-lb. shipment home to Mama within month uno. Those Hunter wellies I thought I'd need? Negative ghostrider. You streamline.

For those wondering, I had to type up an entire packing list for the 2011-2012 ADPi LC group. And for those curious, I'm brave enough to post my personal items on the internet. Wow. New low.

Carry-on/"The Office:"

20" Heys piece with 1-liter clear bag with fold-up toothbrush | 3 oz. mini-products (hairspray, toothpaste, lotion, deodorant) | Tide To-Go pen (to whom I owe my solidarity) | bobby pins | Emi-jay ponytail holders | lipgloss | laptop | Hobo wallet | pens | business cards and company stationary | ADPi Ritual Book, ha | passport | Vera Bradley jewelry case | umbrella | the "Emergency Outfit" | camera | a Longchamp bag | Lilly Pulitzer planner | bible/journal/books | iPod | about 20 DVD's | as much candy as they'd let me bounce through TSA with

Suitcase #1/"The Closet:"
3 sports bras | 2 long-sleeved Nike running tops for Yankeeeeeland | 2 running tanks | 2 pairs of Lululemon yoga pants | 2 pairs of Hudson jeans | 1 pair of jeggings | 2 J. Crew tanks for layering | 4-5 J. Crew cardi's to throw over dresses | 2-4 fun tops for under a jacket at work or for going out | 6 t-shirts | 1 Alpha Delta Pi sweatshirt | 1 Patagonia pull-over | 1 pair of high school football sweatpants | 1 pair of pajama boxers | my bikini, duh | 30 pairs of undies. K, that's as personal as I'm gettin' over here | 2 LBD’s | 1 black Urban Outiftters blazer |  7-8 dresses | 4 skirts | North Face rainjacket | Francesca's peacoat | 3 pashminas | gloves/hats/#ihatethenorthfrigid

Suitcase #2/"The bathroom cabinet/laundry room/pantry:"
1 large Kate Spade “Colin Bag” with manicure stuff | q-tips and cotton balls | toothbrush/toothpaste | face lotions | make-up | comb/brushes | 1 Vera Bradley Large Cosmetic Bag with vitamins | any and every medication ever |  band-aids | Airbornne | Crystal Light packets | Starbucks Via packets | infinity supply of gum | 1 pair of black Jessica Simpson stilettos | 1 pair of Private Gallery nude stilettos | 1 pair of Jack Rogers | 1 pair of Tory Burch Revas | 2 pair of Nike running shoes | 1 pair of shower shoes | 1 pair of cute boots | large Zip-Loc bag of laundry supplies | Downy Wrinkle Release | lingere bag | roll of quarters | dryer sheets | 1 resistance band | 2 3-lb. free weights. Yes, I'm crazy.

5 Tips from a Jetsetter:
1. Dryer sheets in your shoes that are going to be right up in your clothes' business for 12 hour travel days.
2. The heavier, the further to THE WHEELS it goes when packing.
3. Roll all clothes so you have room to shop pack better.
4. Give old magazines away at airports unless you think 10-lbs in glossy paper sounds fun. And new friends rule.
5. You'll love yourself more if you travel with baby hairspray, concealer, and lipgloss in your carry-on.

Dang, I'm sorta gonna miss this life.

Just kidding, I get my very first apartment key today after work.

This is how I feel about that: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

July 4, 2011

Let's get outta this town tonight.

Welp, in case you didn't notice it's the Fourth of July
(the most exhilarating holiday next to Christmas).
And where in the South am I tonight?
Oh, just road-trippin' past fireworks and crossing a stateline to my new city and new job.
Not gonna lie--I love MGM, but I'm kinda stoked to bust this little Old South town for a while.
 To call a new place "home."
Atlanta-bound, I am I am.
Since I start at 9 a.m. and all.


But it's ok. The Lord whispers "How COOL is this blessing, child? You're celebrating Me on a quiet night ride--just us--for not only this nation in which I blessed you but also a new job I've given you?"
And I smile back and say, "Baha. I guess that's pretty legit, Jesus."
This is a Fourth for the books. Er, uh, for my journal, at least.

Oh, and I have one more thing to say about starting my job in the morning:

To quote Chris Brown, leggo.

Blog post title: "Get Out of This Town" by Carrie Underwood.

Well she was an American girl, raised on promises.

Before this year, I never dreamed I'd...

live with my 6 best friends in Atlanta's Druid Hills | yell "Go Dawgs" on Milledge Ave. in Athens, Ga. | drive windows-down through Nebraskan cornfields |  stop for Amish carriages in Lancaster County, Pa. | navigate a hot car through Manhattan rush hour | have a post-initiation galavant on the Washington D.C. mall | nom-nom-nom on legit chocolate in Hershey, Pa. | yell "GO NITTANY LIONS" from the 40 yardline at a Penn State game | run through Seattle's misty rain (or hit the dance flo' at a Seattle honky-tonk on Halloween) | stand over the Missouri River with one foot in Iowa and one in Nebraska | sneak into a Yale Law classroom | cheer half-for-Maryland and half-for-FSU at the ACC Championship Game | gaze down at the Rockies | hit up a bar alongside some Hoosiers in Bloomington, Ind. (well, hit up any bar wherever I was when the Auburn Tigers took the field) | soak up Civil War history in Lexington, Va. | slip on snowy sidewalks in Des Moines, Iowa | lick my fingers after a Georgetown Cupcake | spy Churchill Downs, Ky. | join my Gator-lovin' sisters and some frat boys for a mixer in Gainesville, Fla. | worship over a sunrise in Detroit, Mich. | bundle up for a early morning run through UVA and Charlottesville, Va. | get chills at Mount Vernon | honor Virginia Tech's 4/16 memorial | frolic in Knoxville, Tenn.'s Market Square | fall more in love with baseball at Fenway Stadium | make s'mores at an Ohio State Park | vintage shop on South Congress Street | stomp my cowgirl boots to live music in Austin, Tex. | fly over the Grand Canyon | have margaritas in an alumna's cacti-covered Pheonix, Ariz. backyard | do Vegas big with my besties...

It's been a heckuva year! And if possible, America means more to me now than it did a year ago. 

But may we remember, Phil. 3.20, that our citizenship is in heaven with our Father.

And so if we ask to be blessed, and if we thank God to be free,
we caution that "blessing" turned into "guaranteed safety" sometime along
when Budweiser brilliantly decided cover cans in the American flag.
And that notion (not the cans) is wrong.
Because someone and Someone had to die for that.
That safety.
And Christians are never guaranteed safety.
We're guaranteed freedom.
Glorious, full, infinite, grace-soaked, loving f-r-e-e-d-o-m.
And we choose Christ over the American Dream.

It's like one of the most jam-up lines C.S. Lewis penned:
"Safe? Who said anything about being safe? 'Course he isn't safe.
But He's good. He's the King, I tell you."
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Happy Fourth of July from the Stallings family, y'all!
K-dawg and I demonstrating the best water adventure ever next to skiing.

July 2, 2011

If you can fill the unforgiving minute with 60 seconds worth of distance run.

In 3rd grade, my ambitious grandfather presented me a printed copy of it and the promise of a crisp $100 bill if I could memorize it.
(I didn't, but the folded copy still sits in my pink leather The New Adventure Bible circa the 90's bay bay.)
In 7th grade, Mrs. Hargrove assigned recitation of it for a grade.
(Apparantly, dangle an "A" over my head and I'd do anything. This time I memorization happened.)
And now, in honor of this weekend being the last of one of my favorite televised events, and in honor of Sharapova's rockin' white Nike dresses, I give you:

My favorite poem ever.

Because over the Centre Court players' entrance gates at the All England Club is scribed, "If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same." Mrs. Hargrove dropped that fact on my junior high Trinity class and I've never forgotten, though Federer and Nadal reminded me in 2008 with their hot accents in a Wimbledon commerical.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master,
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

My current Most Favorite Female Human Breathing at Wimbledon. via

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
- Rudyard Kipling, 1865-1936

Probs the best advice ever, and it's dang close to biblical wisdom, too. So today: Bring it Nadal. Bring it Sharapova, because you clearly stuck it out in the women's semi-final match. Luh you both.

Okay okay okayyyy. I had too. Awwwww, that's a good engagment shot. via

p.s. Dear Bex, come home. No one will go hit with me and Daddy devotes leisure time to his new left-handed golf project. Courts > driving range.
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