Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Good Girl Watches: Slumdog Millionaire

I LOVE movies. I have already established my affiinity for Tween flicks but really, I don't discriminate. In fact, it's a running joke that I happen to like everything which, consequently, prevents me from giving a trusted movie critique. However, I am here to tell you that I saw an amazing movie today, Slumdog Millionaire. True to form, we have picked back up our Sunday morning tradition of matinee movies. Kate and I (with coffee in hand) met up with our guy friends at 11am sharp to get some seats.

Slumdog is an independent film about a young man from the slums of India that goes on the famous gameshow "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" and wins, only to be later accused of cheating. The movie goes on to chronicle every question and how it relates to events in his life, thus allowing him to correctly answer every question. I know that my summary can't really do it justice, but the cinematography and story are incredible. A definite must-see. I believe that it's in limited release right now but it's perfect for a date night!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Twilight, You're Breakin' My Heart

Twilight, I’m over you. This coming from an avid reader that is almost finished with the third book…what is happening? Let’s face it, I don’t really mean that. But right now it’s all I can do to escape the hysteria. There is nothing that I do, read, or watch that hasn’t had some sort of Twilight trickle-down affect. Nothing is above reproach, Twilight cereal, vampire cookies, wearable fangs – you name it, they’ve got it. I have already established my love for all things Tween; however, I pride myself on not having the personality for all out hysteria. For example, someone I know (Alyssa) tends to have the compulsive desire to meet, date, stalk, and marry any working celebrity that she finds attractive. She is very open about her condition, even explaining that when Titanic hit the theaters almost ten years ago (we’re old) she was one of the ones that fell into the Leo love-trap. So you can only imagine her devotion to the newest Twilight craze. Admittedly, it’s an attractive group of youngsters that are playing these characters, but still…there are limits. Can we not just read the books, buy a ticket and watch the movie? Must we really stampede them at the mall? Call me apathetic but I’m sorry, I can’t take it anymore.

This is exactly the reason why I fought the Potter battle. Grown men dressed up as wizards outside of Barnes & Noble, I’ll pass. I hate to get analytical about this, but our society tends to take something and completely beat the love out of it. My friends and I had this discussion after watching Brad Pitt on Oprah a few days ago. One of the girls described it as a “giant love fest” and I wholeheartedly agree. She was starry eyed and he was overly complimentary, which makes for a typical celebrity interview. However, our discussion centered around the fact that a. Oprah managed to Skype in the world’s most annoying fan that knew every tattoo on Brad’s body, but b. when asked if he could have one day of anonymity what he would do, he simply answered that he would take down his gates and fences, say hi to his neighbors, let his kids play outside and maybe grill. Basically, he would be “normal.” Now listen, my apathy for celebrities is slim at best but this is kind of sad. This is a guy who is sitting there saying this knowing that he’ll really never get that. Of course our discussion turned to the fact that this was a “meet in the middle” situation between Brad and the media. It is arguable that he sought this kind of fame out and was then met the rest of the way by the media. Do you think he ever expected a life like this? Probably not, but this is what he has. For better or for worse, his family will probably never know a life without cameras, media scrutiny, multiple houses, millions of dollars and lack of privacy. I don’t know, it just put a lot into perspective as to what kind of life I am living. Sometimes it's nice to be reminded that things are better than we think.

Anyway, just a little thought for a boring Friday. Of course I’m still on "Team Twilight." I might wait out the weekend and catch the movie during the weekday but I shall remain devoted.

Vampire Love,


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Kenny Ortega, I love you.

Email chains. Gotta love em. Everyone has their "group." Oftentimes it's your closest friends, but other times you can be a part of a truly great email chain that has no real core. However, my most loyal email chain involves a very set group of people with a range of daily interests. One day I'll get an uplifting verse, the next day I'll get an inappropriate joke. You just never really know.

Well today I received the lyrics to "Seize The Day," a popular number from the hit movie Newsies. Not only does this movie happen to be one of my all time favorites, but it was directed by none other than Kenny Ortega. I am telling you, this guy is my hero. If you do not know anything about Mr. Ortega, then I will enlighten you. Not only did he discover Zac Efron, but he has been responsible for some of my all-time favorite movies: Dirty Dancing, High School Musical(s), Pretty In Pink, etc. I swear, had he dabbled in Grease or Dreamgirls, I would officially have to quit my job and stalk him. Thank goodness that won't be necessary. Anyway, here are a few clips of classic Ortega delight to brighten your day...I know that they have brought great joy to mine!

Newsies - "Seize The Day"

High School Musical 3 - "The Boys Are Back"

Ortega Update: After an extensive look into his biography, I have also found out that he will be responsible for bringing Footloose to Broadway in 2010 - who's in?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


In his first post-Election Day interview, President Bush was asked several questions about his Presidency. The interview covered regrets, proudest moments and what the future holds for soon-to-be former President Bush.

CNN: So, after all of this, what is next for you?

Bush: I'll probably get back and take a deep breath. I haven't had much time to really settle down and figure out what life's going be like after this. I know I'm going be in Texas. No doubt I'm heading straight home. I miss Texas. I love Texas. I've got lots of friends in Texas. I will probably write a book...And other than that, I'm not quite sure yet.

God bless Texas.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Farewell Friend

For those of you that don't know, my friend Robbie has been in New York for the past 6 months. Posing under the cover of "here for business," what he was really meant was "here for the party." From the second he wheeled off of the plane in June we have had a whirlwind of fun. Some of it I have shared with you other things are better left unsaid, but one thing is for sure, we have never tired of a good time. Some of you might know Robbie as the lovable OU homecoming king, but I have had the pleasure of knowing Robbie as one of the greatest friends you can ask for. There is absolutely nothing that Robbie wouldn't do for his family and friends and at times when I feel like I have asked him to go to the moon and back, he answers with such loyalty that you realize he's one of kind.

He quickly became a staple at my office and all the girls would ask, "so is Robbie coming for lunch today?" I swear...he can make friends with anyone. Whether it was the chocolate high heels that lured him or the conversations about celebrities and finances (according to girls) we'll never know...but he sure did love him some gossip. In fact, one of my favorite memories of Robbie came one night when he decided that he was going to write a screenplay and he decided who he would cast to play each and every one of us. To this day, when something outrageous happens he loves to say, "ohh that will be great in the movie." I firsthand witnessed Robbie come to the City and take full advantage of all that it would have to offer him, both professionally and personally. I would like to think that NYC saved Ol Rob in really great ways and I'm excited to see what all it brings for him in Dallas. To our friends in Texas, I thought I'd supply you with a few Robbisms that will aid in your time together:

- if you're ever in need of a subject line for an email to Robbie, the go-to is always "Why so serious?"
- a honey pot will always cheer him up
- in the event of, "One Word Robbie" just let him ride it out, he always comes back
- soup/salad/breadsticks @ Olive Garden for a nice therapy session
- find a roof in Dallas, it solves everything
- if in doubt, play "Disturbia"
- Need a concert/play/show buddy? Robbie's your guy.
- his favorite adjective is always "tiny"
- he loves a good one-day sale at Macy's

For Rob's last weekend, we decided to have an old fashioned tourist night complete with the Christmas Spectacular show at Radio City Music Hall followed by a memorable 2 hour dinner at Olive Garden at Times Square. The company was perfect, the mood was light, and our memories were set. It only confirmed what I've known for a long time, that NY just won't be the same without our friend.

In all seriousness, I hope that each and every one of you get the chance to meet Robbie. I can guarantee that upon introduction you will meet a guy that makes you feel welcome and loved. My prayer for Robbie is that he will continue becoming the man that he wants to be, all the while being the fun guy that we all know and love. I predict nothing short of greatness.

Miss you, friend!

See once in a while when it's good
It'll feel like it should
And they're all still around
And you're still safe and sound
And you don't miss a thing
'til you cry when you're driving away in the dark.

Singing stop this train I want to get off and go home again
I can't take this speed it's moving in
I know I can't
Cause now I see I'll never stop this train
~John Mayer "Stop This Train"

Post-Week Recap

I'm baaaack! Sorry for the has been a busy week and a half! Since my last post I have celebrated Landrie's birthday, enjoyed Halloween, took a quick trip to Austin for Race for the Cure, voted, went to the So You Think You Can Dance show, stopped by Lucky Shops annual event, started the xmas season in style with the Rockettes Christmas spectacular and said farewell to Robbie:(

Like they always say, it's the best of times and the worst of times!

First thing's first - The birthday girl celebrates with banana cake, Pocahontas and Queen B from Gossip Girl

Next up - Surprise trip to Austin

So for the 4th annual Race for the Cure in Austin, Team Zsa Zsa pulled out all of the stops. With the highest attendance yet, my sister and Mom wanted to make it a wonderful experience for every person involved. My Mom had been on cloud 9 for weeks leading up to the weekend and had begged for my brother and I to attend. Telling her that I couldn't take off days or afford a plane ticket, I left her with the fact that I just couldn't make it this year. So the week before, I scoped out flights on (it's great), found a reasonably priced flight and booked it. I called Taylor, convinced him to come, brought Tiffany in the loop and locked everything into place. The surprise on Saturday went on without a hitch and she was beside herself when she saw us. It was completely worth it. That night we celebrated with a cookout at Tiffany and Dave's new house where she played the perfect host, even though UT lost the dreadful game to the Raiders...which we're still not talking about. All in all, team Zsa Zsa was complete with cute t-shirts and a personalized banner (thanks to Courtney and Brett) which we will be using next year and that leaves me with the highest hopes for Team Zsa Zsa 2009!

My partner in crime in his flashy tee

Last stop - So You Think You Can Dance Tour & Lucky Shops

So this has been an action packed week, both for myself and for the country. I wish that a new president was the highest priority on my list, but how could I have fit that into my week o' fun? Don't worry, I enjoyed a vanilla cupcake complete with a screen printed picture of Obama, compliments of Mama O. Don't tell me that I'm not political.

Sorry for the marathon blog, I promise to be better about posting. For now I have to go dust off my Mariah Carey Christmas cd...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Goodbye Fall

A few pictures from our trip to the Pocono Mountains...

"Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile."~William Cullen Bryant

Monday, October 27, 2008

"That happened."

All I can say about this past weekend is, "that happened."

I have been so fortunate to work with girls that I can confide in and laugh with. We have made an art of daily chat sessions that involve funny office stories, guy drama and everything in between. So this past weekend, we had our annual event in San Francisco. All I can say is that it has still left me in a haze. I kid you not, there are dark circles under my eyes, my diet has been nothing short of erratic and my speech has started to slur. What started out as a weekend getaway mixed with some work duties turned into full-fledged slave trade that involved us as the worker bees. In the blink of an eye, Landrie sunk her dreams of the sea lions, Kate put away the idea of Ashbury street and I decided that Full House would have to wait.

We left Friday and headed westbound on Virgin America Flight 15 in a morning fog and never seemed to fully recover. We landed, scarfed down a quick In-N-Out burger, got our weekend itineraries and headed to the hotel. I knew before we left NY that I would be assisting Nate Berkus in all of his adorable glory, Landrie was assisting Suze Orman, and Kate was part of the main stage crew that involved none other than the musical styling of Martin Luther (Jimi Hendrix from Across The Universe). Needless to say, we were warned, prepped, and ready to go. I met with Nate for dress rehearsal on Friday night and we had a fun and casual exchange:

Nate: "Where are you from?"
Me: " you hear an accent?"
Nate: "No, I just knew you had to be from the South [smile & wink]"

...I knew it was going to be a great day.

We planned to meet at 7:45am sharp, put him in hair and makeup before the press line and then get the day started. Sure enough, he was true to form even early in the morning. He asked me, "are you sure you can't see my zit?!" Me, "No, I promise you can't see anything...don't worry anyway, all the ladies will be looking at your McDreamy hair." Yep, that happened. Needless to say, we spent the day trekking from press, to seminar, to book signing, to meet and greet, until the day finally came to a close. When it was all said and done, I put him in a town car, got a kiss on the cheek and waved goodbye. Looking back, it was such a fun experience and one that I'll never forget. That night we were rewarded with cocktails, dinner and a night out. It was a great end to a successful day - new friends, crazy stories, and lots of new material.

Sunday morning Landrie and I decided to take Nate's suggestion and head to his favorite brunch place before everyone else woke up. We munched on famous pancakes, hash browns and coffee - what more could a girl ask for? We then headed to fisherman's wharf in search of sea lions, saltwater taffy and new sunglasses. After ending our trip on a high note, we then headed back East to our world of celebrity-less living and 9 to 5 work days.

IDK my bff Nate

O You! 2008

Night out with the girls

Animal Style

Hey there little buddy

California Dreamers

Our new shades...

Friday, October 17, 2008


My friends and I used to send around these little questionnaires. We would have so much fun seeing who would respond and how well we knew each other. Back then, my answers would never have a clear favorite and would reveal just how indecisive I really am. Luckily, I feel like I have made some serious strides in that department, so I thought it'd be fun to share some of my answers with you. Enjoy!

Nicknames: K-Rog, Keta, KR, Kris

How many family members do you have? Technically 5. Six including Dave and eight including the Gyllenhaals:)

What time do you wake up in the morning? 7:45am - ish

Gold or Silver? Gold

What was the last film you saw at the movies? Nick & Nora's Infinite Playlist

Favorite TV show? I seriously can't decide - Gossip Girl, brothers & sisters, So You Think You Can Dance, The Office OR Top Chef

What do you have for breakfast? usually cereal (I like to mix a few)

Who would you hate to be left in a room with? Madonna. Literally terrifying.

Can you touch your nose with your tongue? yes

What inspires you? Survivors

What's your middle name? Nicole

Beach, City or Country? city to live, beach to visit

Summer or Winter? Summer all the way

Favorite Ice Cream flavor? Blue Bell birthday cake ice cream. But a "honey pot" (coffee ice cream, honey and salted peanuts) comes in a close second.

Buttered, plain or salted popcorn? buttered

Favorite color? pink

Favorite car? old vw convertible bugs

Favorite sandwich filling? chicken salad from the Kitchen door, preferably poolside with Z and Embug

What characteristics do you despise? dishonesty. Oh AND, I hate it when people tell you that they don't like something about your outfit while you're wearing it. I mean, really?

Favorite flower? pink peonies. "Every girl likes flowers, Gary." - name that movie

If you had a big win in the lottery, how long would you wait to tell people? about 4 seconds

Fizzy or still water as a drink? Neither - Diet Dr. Pepper please.

What color is your bathroom? ugh...white walls with black and white tile (think beetlejuice)

How many keys are on your key ring? three

Where would you like to retire? on the lake in Austin, TX

Can you juggle? No. But you know who can? My main man, Patrick Dempsey.

Favorite meal? splitting brunch with Alyssa at Penelope

Favorite holiday? Christmas. Love, love, love it.

Favorite accessory? Oh gosh - shoes. Definitely shoes. But wait, a good bag....yes, yes a good bag. Wait, good earrings. Definitely earrings. You know what...that's a "can't answer" question. Sorry.

Favorite day of the week? Saturday

Red or white wine? Red

What did you do for your last birthday? I went to have margaritas and Mexican food with my New York friends!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

God's Country

Also known as...Texas. For those of you that know me (you all do), you might know that I have not shied away from the fact that I think Texas is the best. Not only do I think it is the most superior state, I also lean towards the idea that it has the most wonderful people. Moving to New York not only solidified my bias, but it has also instilled a deeply-rooted love for Texas that I will never take for granted.

This past week I found myself in a sort of funk. Nothing earth shattering, but the kind of funk that could only be fixed by:

a) family
b) friends
c) queso
d) all of the above

Not only was it TX* v. ou weekend (my favorite sporting event), but it happened to be a weekend where my family AND friends would be conveniently located in the same zip code. This does not happen often, and when it does, I am left incredibly jealous. So imagine my excitement when my parents informed me (on Thursday afternoon no less) that they would not only be going to Dallas, but they would also be attending the Red Rival Rivalry WITH an extra ticket. Plus, the added bonus of seeing my newly engaged best friend AND fried food** from the State Fair were too much for this girl to handle. Can you say...

"Sold to the highest bidder!"

I kid you not, I jumped on the horn, scrambled around and found myself on a 9:35pm flight out of NYC. My nervous system was shot and Lord knows what I had managed to pack, but I was going. I emailed Kever, asked her to pick me up at midnight and the deal was done. I will admit, the fear of losing my job did cross my mind, but there was no turning back. The next morning I woke up, grabbed a cup of coffee, read the paper, and never looked back. I can honestly tell you that a good dose of God's country was all this girl needed. Friends, fun and healthy competition restored me back to health and put me at ease.

Peace, love & Texas.

*Please note, I am a proud A&M graduate and would not consider myself a traitor in any way. However, having been raised a longhorn my whole life has led me to a devotion that I could never give up. Thanks and Gig 'Em

**Also note, the calories were not in vain: 1.5 Fletcher's corn dogs, funnel cake, corn on the cob (2), diet dr. pepper, fried oreos and fried snickers.

How sweet it is...

Salt, Bride & Eggs

Red Rival Rivalry 2008




Thursday, October 2, 2008

Debates, Cakes & Hot Plates

It doesn't matter if you're in New York or New Guinea, you are hearing about this Presidential election. If you are like me and happen to be in one of the most liberal cities in the United States, it is safe to say that you are getting bombarded with electoral-driven messages. Whether you are to "Choose or Lose" or "Vote or Die," the one sentiment is get yourself out there and vote. So tonight, we did what any group of 20-somethings do, we ordered Thai, grabbed some wine and watched with anticipation as Biden and Palin went at it. Half of the group lurved Obama and half were praying that Palin wouldn't buckle under the pressure.

After watching both debates, it has become abundantly clear that this race is becoming one of the most popular political spectacles that anyone has ever experienced - regardless of your party affiliation. First, there was the new, young Senator on the scene from Chicago. Then, there was the experienced POW that has served in the US Senate for nearly 30 years. However, it wasn't until the Governor from Alaska jumped into the mix that things really started to get interesting. Whether it's her bold claims, proximity to Russia, Midwestern accent, or her fancy up dos - people officially have Palin fever. Some of the funnier elements of the Palin mania are Tina Fey's uncanny skits as the VP candidate. It doesn't matter what side of the party you stand's just completely funny.

Either way, it will be fun to see how this election shapes up. Hope to see everyone at the polls!

Who doesn't like a political baked good? (Thanks Rob)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Four Loves

Please run, don't walk, to your nearest Barnes & Noble to grab this book. It's by this little known theologian/author out there named C.S. Lewis - ever heard of him?


For years now, I have heard of people being transformed by the writing and thinking of Lewis. I have even tried to pick up several of his books a few times and felt that his ideas were a little too lofty for my wandering mind to grasp. However, I decided that I was going to do it. I went to the bookstore one random evening this summer, picked out a book that I was unfamiliar with, and got started. Here's what I learned - that he has a gift for articulating the Christian perspective. Now, I know what you're thinking. And believe me, I know that I'm not onto something groundbreaking here...I mean, people have studied and revered him for almost a century now. But there is just something so exciting about a personal relationship with Christ that goes deeper. One day you can hardly fight through a chapter of a book and then the next day you can't put it down. Just like everything in life, it's all about timing. The words that spoke to me today will not be the words that will speak to me next year and so on. The book is broken up into four chapters and I won't even pretend to summarize it, but I will tell you that it has an amazing perspective on how we view love and where Christ falls into place.

The chapter that that I felt most connected with was the chapter on Friendship. Lewis outlines it perfectly, there is no better portrait of a true friend than God. It was such a fresh perspective for me to realize that some of Christ's most loyal and intimate relationships occured through this kind of spiritual bond. Anyway, I encourage you to check it out - it's a great read with lots of wonderful quotes.

The preceding pages have, I hope, made clear why to me at least it seems no wonder if our ancestors regarded Friendship as something that raised us above humanity. This love, free from instinct, free from all duties but those which love has freely assume, almost wholly free from jealousy, and free without qualification from the need to be needed, is eminently spiritual. It is sort of love one can imagine between angels. Have we here found a natural love which is Love itself?

~C.S. Lewis

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Fried Food & Fall

Fall is here. It's time to bust out the jeans (along with the deep lunges to actually make them fit!), wrap around your scarf and head out to a street fair. In the past few weeks, we have ventured to several street fairs in an attempt to pledge allegiance to the Texas State Fair that we are missing.

*Sidnote: Alyssa has never actually been to the State fair. Not normal Vest family, not normal.*

Moving on...

If you know anything about me, you know that I love a corndog with the best of them. There is just something about a normally fattening food item being dipped into a deep fryer that makes my heart melt. Unfortunately, corn dogs are a little bit more of a rarity in the Northeast which luckily limits my consumption. Oh AND, don't even get me started on the lack of regular mustard up here. Let's just say that I have been known to carry around small packets of non-spicy mustard in my purse - no shame people, no shame. Here are a few pics of us in all of our glory:

Whoa. We're excited...

Apartment 2D at our finest

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Superbowl

So a joke started between my sister and I several years ago at our church Christmas spectacular. As we filed in with the rest of the Christmas crowd we noticed our music minister sitting onstage beaming with holiday pride. As the show started and the choir sang there was the man in all of his glory. His voice bellowed, his motions were strong and the sweat on his brow all portrayed a man enjoying the finest triumph of his life. As we sat there, we joked that he was truly living "his superbowl." We cracked ourelves up so much that we have since kept the joke going.

Here are a few shining examples:

We put Mom in a Brighton store and there you have it...her superbowl. Give Tiffany a camera and Rookie, you guessed it - superbowl.

As for me, give me a runway and eight models and there you have it, my superbowl. I am here to tell you that I finally lived my dream. When one of the girls in my community group asked if any of us would be interested in attending a fashion show during fashion week, I practically lept at the chance. Not only was this one of my all-time dreams, but I never thought I'd actually get the chance. She informed us that it was a Sunday show featuring an up-and-coming Dallas desinger...say no more, I was sold. Luckily, Stephanie was coming into town and we figured this would be right up her alley, so we dolled up and headed out. It came complete with a red carpet, swag bag and old Project Runway cast-offs! Please enjoy our photo shoot:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

No Air Tour

I have put off writing this blog for sometime for fear of admission that summer really is over. Well folks, it seems like the time has come...the 2008 No Air Tour has commenced. We have packed up the white jeans, laid rest to our charge cards, mourned the loss of summer Fridays and returned to regular programming. You see, the genesis of our summer 'tour' came from the idea that Alyssa, Robbie and I would be embarking on several adventures that would take us from city to city (sometimes literally) as we discovered the highs and lows of an NYC summer. Sometimes we'd have a sell-out show in Central Park with hundreds of our fellow New Yorkers, other times it would the three of us boarding the Long Island Rail Road for a day o' fun at Long Beach. Regardless of how our tour was spent, I can guarantee that we were having the best of times.

Tour Stops

The Hamptons (sans Robbie, but it feels like he was there)
Texas - Dallas, Austin, Odessa, Boerne, McKinney
Long Beach
Weehawken, New Jersey - several dates
American Idol Concert
Colbie Caillat/John Mayer Concert - Jones Beach
Counting Crows/Maroon 5 Concert (sans Me)
2008 US Open
Fashion Rocks
Sheep's Meadow

While our dates were numbered, the set lists were packed. We played our best hits and entertained the masses. New groupies entered the mix leaving us no choice but to "give the people what they want." For those of you that participated in our debut, we thank you. To those of you that missed out, we can only hope that we will rock you even harder next year.

Thank you and goodnight!

Hello Summer:

Welcome Friends!

Just a day at the beach

Wedding Crashers

The US Open baby

Our Final Stop

"Tell me how I'm supposed to breathe with no air..." ~ Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

True Friends

They just make everything more fun:

AssylaLeigh (11:59:43 AM): hell, i'd rollerblade in a duck costume for that...

No context needed, just a little vignette from our online discussions.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Beauty in the Silence

"Preach the Gospel always -- if necessary, use words."

~ St. Francis Assisi

The Good Girl Watches: 2008 Olympics

Can we say, obsessed much? I am not going to even pretend that I have not anticipated this all summer. If you know me at all, you will have heard me say "Is no one else as excited as I am?!" or "so when are we having the Olympics party?!" Quite frankly, my suspense has bothered everyone. Maybe it's my unconcious dream of being an Olympic athlete. Or maybe, I am just so full of patriotism that I can't help but watch the tired athlete at the end of his/her race stand there and admire a flag that represents so much to them. It is hard to believe that my heart can be so full FOR them, when only they know what they have put into it.

I think that more than anything, I enjoy the background stories of the athletes. Was their family supportive? Were they naturally gifted, or did they have to overcome certain obstacles? Either way, it is always moving. Just for a second, you are able to step into their world and realize that this is something that they have worked for their entire life. A four-year competition that means more to them than any medal could signify. For most of us, we wish we were capable of loving something that much. The outpouring of love and support that these people receive is so touching, that it seems like it is one person reaching a goal for many. You have Michael Phelps, who not only achieved the unthinkable, but he did it for his family and his country. After every race, there his sweet family stood with tears in their eyes, proving that this was far more than the performance, this was a triumph.

I recently heard that the Olympics are important, in that, they are one of the last cultural representations of global communication that bind us in a positive way. As I thought about this, I realize how true it is. Every four years, we are able to come together under the blanket of competition and be together. In that moment, we are relevant, we are competitors, and we are friends. The touch at the end of the buzzer, the strength through the race, the perserverance in the face of defeat, are nothing short of inspiring. I know that I've enjoyed watching it, and can only hope that my training will pay off and I'll finally get that gold for the gymnastics all-around that I've been chasing...

...just kidding.

2008 Olympics Highlights:

Phelps Phever

Men's 400 IM Relay

Nastia Liukin's Gold Medal Performance for the Women's Gymnastics All-Around

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sin City

So the time came for my last ‘hoorah’ of the summer. That ‘little’ brother of mine finally turned the big 2-1, so it was time for the Rogers’ to take the leap and head West. We have had long-standing plans of commemorating this monumental occasion with a trip to Sin City. I really don’t think any of us knew what to expect, considering our limited knowledge of Vegas consited of celeb sitings in US Weekly. True to form, there she was in all of her dessert glory. You had your shiny bulbs, palm trees, smoky casinos, old timers, buffets, elaborate swimming pools, round-the-clock beverage service, and many other Vegas notables.

The trip began with a wild Continental flight, complete with rowdy Jersey boys, overly-excited flight attendants, and a partridge in a pear tree. I arrived in Las Vegas, met up with my sister and her husband, spotted Vanilla Ice (yes, this really happened…), hopped in a cab and then hit the town. Oh Vegas, you haven’t changed a bit. Sure there were a few shiny, new hotels, but everything else seemed standard. Since it’s such a rare occasion that we all travel together, we enjoyed every minute of our long weekend. Although you won’t understand all of the Griswold moments, complete with your very own Clark (aka Steve-O), I thought I’d share a few of the highlights:

- Jersey Frat party on Continental Flight 268
- Making eye contact with Vanilla Ice, no less than 10 minutes upon arrival
- The Pina Coladas at NY,NY
- Feeling left out for not having a tattoo
- Finding out that Vegas queso is not the same as Texas queso
- Alfred the waiter
- Playing Catchphrase in my parent’s room:

Dad’s clue: “OK! Shot in the back of the head….”
1st Guess: “Lincoln?”
[shakes head no]
2nd Guess: “JFK?”
Dad: “No, his son…”
Answer: JFK Jr.

- Turning Dad’s clue into a week-long joke
- Taylor finding Mario and Luigi on the strip
- Winning $33 dollars on a slot machine, only to lose $45 later
- Jersey Boys
- “she’s a raaaaaaag doll”
- The 2008 Olympics
- reserving pool chairs two hours in advance
- 2 hour photo shoot at the Venetian, complete with a tripod
- Dad then losing the tripod, only to buy a non-refundable tripod, only to retrieve the original tripod
- Saturday spa day with the girls
- overheating in the steam room/saying that it felt like a "gas chamber"
- then overheating in the dry room
- having Tim the masseuse
- The Bellagio water show
- Wayne Brady Improv show
- “Nice Vans Spicoli”
- Big Red the Outback waiter
- the 8-month pregnant cocktail waitress
- riding the rollercoaster at NY,NY

Needless to say, the trip was a success. We all had a great time trying to win a few bucks and hopefully the birthday boy felt special. Until next time, Vegas will wait patiently with the likes of Midwest elderly couples, overeager 20-somethings, NASCAR fans and young families just looking for a good time.

First night out:

The Griswold's:

Jersey Boys:

"The Kids":

Last night:

Jim Halpert/Birthday boy: