Tag Archives: Santa Barbara

SB. SJ. Big Sur. SLO.

31 Dec

I finished my journal. I have written 1825 sentences of gratitude for the last 5 years. I’m really proud of myself. When I look back through the journal I can’t help but get happy tears in the corners of my eyes. The last five years have brought so much joy and it’s all documented. Having a gratitude journal has completely changed my outlook in life. Without a shadow of a doubt I can say that I see the world differently now. Life is most beautiful when it is imperfect.

The last month of my journal was spent enjoying the holidays despite having the plague. My Husband (I still can’t believe I have one of those) and I traveled to Santa Barbara, San Jose, Big Sur, and SLO over Christmas.

I leave you with a grateful Hart. Thank you for joining me in my journey the last five years. It meant a lot.

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Just Married

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This month was my favorite ever. I married the love of my life in Santa Barbara and it was perfection. Excited to leave on our honeymoon to Italy tomorrow. My Hart is full of gratitude. I’m a wife. Bring on the carbs and the wine.

Ciao!

xo Mrs. Hartman

Something Old.

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Something New.

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Something Borrowed.

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Something Blue.

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First Look.

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The Tile.

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Santa Barbara.

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All Smiles.

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Sunken Gardens.

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Our Ceremony.

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Just Married.

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Pure Bliss.

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Holding Hands.

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First Dance.

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Husband & Wife.

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And they lived happily ever after.

Wedding Ish

31 Aug

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Summer is kind of over. Boo. However I live in San Diego, California, so it’s always summer.

The Dips

My Mom’s beloved escape artist dog managed to get out of her kennel and went missing the very beginning of the month. The agony I felt when we didn’t know where Blue went was absolutely awful.

Luckily for me this dip has a happy ending. I sent one text to my Work Wives and they both got online and started looking for Blue. In a matter of minutes one of my Work Wives found Blue on Craig’s List. A good Samaritan found her and posted their info online on how to find her. I went from hysterically crying at my desk to crying tears of joy. Blue is my Mom’s best friend and if she was lost forever my family would never recover.

AND…

Planning a wedding is really stressful. I am aware this is not a surprising dip.

The Bursts

On a random Thursday I went to Happy Hour after work. My friend and I overheard a gentlemen talking about how his wife just passed away from ovarian cancer. We bought his dinner and he joined us for a three hour chat. I was a heart warming experience to make someone’s day.

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There are five brides in my office and I had the pleasure of toasting one of my favorite gappers at her Bridal Shower. It’s fun going through the engagement journey with strong women who understand the ups and downs that come with it.

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Hartman and I went to Santa Barbara to scout potential wedding venues. I have always seen myself eloping more than having a traditional wedding. Hartman has always wanted to have wedding that leans towards the norm. It was an fun but exhausting weekend. Walking down memory lane in a city that means so much to us was deeply personal on so many levels. We are creeping towards one year of being engaged and it appears that we need to figure something out. This quote has resonated with me:

“Everyone says that it doesn’t matter what everyone else thinks, its your day. But the entire reason people have weddings and don’t just elope is to show it off to their friends and family. You can’t make everyone happy, but trying to make sure your friends have a great time while not offending relatives but still staying true to yourself and your fiance is a nearly impossible task.”

At the end of the day the most important thing is that Hartman and I decide what is going to bring beaming smiles to our faces on the day we become Husband and Wife officially.

I hope you are finding your happy. Thank you for reading.

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It’s Gonna Be M A Y

28 May

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MAY. YUCK. As soon as my birthday ends, I watch the days creep towards my least favorite month with dread. I am always a little grumpy. A little bitchy. A little sad. I feel down. I feel low. I feel like the world is not a fair and just place. I feel stressed and full of anxiety.

I haven’t always been this way. I came to hate May in 2004 when I got the news that my best friend was no longer with us. Ten years later, the sting is still there. It’s something that I have learned to manage with but it still sucks so HARD. This May the ache was there like always but it was softened by a trip to San Jose to celebrate the life and the person Sarah Faye Hurth was.

This month was rough. That’s putting it mild. Along with the moments that were not the best, there of course were happy times as well. That is the point of this blog entirely. Find the happy, with not so happy.

$32,000

I am on the charity committee at gap intelligence. We hosted our second annual charity golf tournament, Drive for Rides, to benefit the Emilio Nares Foundation (ENF) on May 3, 2014. We set out a goal to raise $15k for ENF. So much work goes into planning this tournament. We have hours of meetings going over every single detail. Our planning for this event is juggled on top of working full time jobs. As I crouched in front of the banquet room at Riverwalk Golf Club Instagram-ing as the big check was raised, tears welled up in my eyes. We raised $32,000. We more than doubled our goal. That is BADASS. Plain & simple.

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Canada Does San Diego

Hartman’s Mom came down to visit us the weekend after the golf tourney. We snuck in an early Mother’s Day celebration for her while she was in SD and took her to a Padres game. We ironed out the details of a family reunion for Hartman’s Canadian side of the family. It’s a ways off but it’s going to be so much fun having everyone come to see us in California. We will be taking over Mission Beach in February and I am so looking forward to it.

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#RedBalloonsForRyan

Hartman’s Sister in Law, Silver, and Brother, Paul, organize a massive group camping trip every year in Lake Tahoe. We went last year over the 4th of July. Among their many awesome friends in attendance on this trip we had the pleasure of meeting Curley and Julie. They have two adorable red headed kids named Connor and Caitlin. Caitlin in particular sticks in my mind because she said the funniest thing during our camping adventure. While taking a make shift shower she screamed, “It’s freezing, you’re burning me”. Kids really do say the darndest things. I loved Caitlin’s quote so much I used it in the description of my photo album on Facebook. I first saw #RedBalloonsForRyan on Silver’s Facebook page. Hartman informed me of the direct connection we shared with Ryan Cruz. Julie and Curly are Ryan’s Aunt and Uncle. Julie’s brother is Ryan’s Dad, Dan. I read what happened to Ryan and just cried. Ryan’s Mom, Jacqui, is a blogger as well.  I have been following her journey at Baby Boy Bakery.  It is so inspiring how many people have rallied around to support Ryan’s family in their time of need.  My precious niece even showed her love for Ryan in Lake Tahoe.

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When I arrived in San Jose, I shared with my bother what had happened and that they were asking for everyone to wear Red on Friday, May 9th, in Ryan’s memory. Paul laid out Peyton’s outfit for the next day. He chose a red shirt. As I got him dressed for the day I was certainly counting the many blessings of being Mater P’s Auntie Erin. Life can change in an instant.  You have to appreciate the moment.  Mindfulness is key.

Peyton Time is the Best Time

I loathe May 9th. On any normal given day, I’m all in my head. I overthink everything. That is my standard. On May 9th in particular, I spending the day thinking about what I was doing on the day Sarah died. I look at the clock and I think, she was still alive, she was at work, I was at work, I was in bed…on and on I go all day long. Luckily for me, on the 10th Anniversary of Sarah’s passing, my day was hijacked by Peyton. My nephew woke me up with a big smile. He distracted me from getting my work done by bringing me books to read. My brother had an unexpected errand he had to run so I got to have Peyton all to myself for a few hours. We went to the park and I pushed him in the swings.

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I couldn’t help but think about #RedBalloonsForRyan as I watched Peyton play. Life can change in an instant. Every plan is a tiny prayer to father time. Peyton will never remember the day we spent together but I will remember it forever. He was the perfect excuse to not be sad but to be grateful for the little things in life. Peyton is the coolest little dude on Earth. Even as he was squeezing his honest fruit juice pouch all over the living room all I could do was laugh.

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Wine Night @ the Row

I was juggling a lot the weekend I was in SJ because it was also Mother’s Day weekend as well. I wanted to toast all the amazing women in my life. My Seeeeeester, Step Mom, Aunt, and girlfriends decided that a girls wine night was in order. No boys allowed. We enjoyed several wine flights and being able to dish about all the things gals like to chat about. The Real House Wives were discussed. All other topics are non-blog-able. What happens at girl’s night stays at girl’s night.

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Purple & a Palm Tree

Saturday I had some errands to run before Sarah’s party. I was in charge of the flowers for the event. I was feeling a little stressed because I had to pick up flowers and vases AND arrange them by 11:30am. I wanted purple flowers specifically (Sarah’s favorite color) so I expect to have to go to multiple stores depending on the selections available. I stopped at Trader Joe’s first and to my delight they not only had purple flowers but they were already in cute burlap holders. I felt like Sarah was making life easier for me. I was done with my errands so fast, I decided to make one last stop before heading back to my brother’s to get ready for the event. I went to the cemetery.

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I haven’t been to Sarah’s tombstone in years. I feel like I can honor her memory more by doing something she would have loved than sitting at her grave. My heart was calling me there though so I went. Even after so long, I found her spot first try. I wasn’t prepared for the wave of emotions that engulfed me as I sat down in the grass. I took of my sunglasses and just bawled. When I felt a sense of relief I wiped away my tears and headed back to my car. As I drove off I knew I had made the right choice taking a moment by myself to feel so raw. The rest of the day would be busy. I need a moment of quiet zen, just me under her Palm Tree.

A Celebration for Sarah Faye

Sarah was the control tower for many friends. We all kept in touch through her. I’m sad to say that I hadn’t seen some of the people at her party since her funeral. Luckily, it doesn’t matter how much time passes. We greeted each other with open arms and smiles. We all shared stories and reminisced. Looking at pictures brought so much positive energy to the room. I must have heard, “remember when”, a hundred times. I am a firm believer that you can still be a good friend to the ones you love even after they leave you. Coming together to toast our girl was the greatest tribute we could ever do to her memory. I know she watched over us and loved every second of it. I left feeling sad that she wasn’t there but so happy we all could come together. Life is beautiful and you have to take to bitter with the sweet. Thank you to everyone that made the journey to SJ to celebrate the amazingness of Sarah Faye. Thank you to Dusty and Donna for hosting us. Thank you to Maggiano’s for making it so special. She really is proud as she watches over us. I know she is.

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Mama’s Day

I spent Mother’s Day spoiling my Mama (as it should be). We made her eggs benedict for brunch. We spent the afternoon on the deck watching Peyton with his bubble lawn mower. My Step Dad cooked a feast for dinner. I can’t remember the last time I spent Mother’s Day with my Mom since I moved to San Diego. It was so nice to be in the same city, actively participating in the day’s festivities. I always send a gift but the best gift you can ever give someone is your time.

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Firenados

San Diego has had little rain this year.  This lead to an incredibly early and INCREDIBLY scary early fire season.  The fires were not near my home thankfully.  I had many friends and colleagues that were evacuated from their residences.  It was scary to watch on the news and to hear that the fires were hardly contained.  We are used to what the locals call “May Gray” not record high dry heat this time of year.  I found a new horror in life while watching CNN, firenadoes.  Firenadoes occur when a fire is so powerful it creates its own weather pattern.  Thankfully the weather cooled down and the fires were put out before more houses could be harmed.  The city had a gross layer of smoke over it for some time.

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Bridal Shower

My friend Meredith is getting married in June and all of her girlfriends came together to toast her impending happiness at her Bridal Shower. The hostess, Amber, really pulled out all the stops. Not only was her house in Encinitas stunning but there were so many personal touches that made the event extra special. Mere and her beau, Tony, have been together to over ten years now. We both understand what it’s like to be constantly harassed with the “when are you going to get married” question. It was a lovely day filled with all things girly. I am so excited for their big day in June. The wedding is in Cabo so you know it’s going to be quite the celebration.

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Australia Does San Diego

My bestie’s BESTIE made the long journey from Oz to SD so a major day of fun was in order to mark this momentous occasion. Chow decided a full on Sunday Funday was the best way to really show her and her hubs a good time. We went to a Padres game and sat in my new favorite seats right along the Western Metal Supply rail. We then went to a few different fun bars downtown and tried out a new spot for dinner. All and all it was a perfect day. Nothing like a three day weekend done right to cap off a crazy month.

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#GauchoStrong

If you have been reading my blog for some time now you will notice a reoccurring theme of Santa Barbara love. I technically graduated from UCSB in December of 2005 but I didn’t walk for graduation until 2006. My time in SBeezie is remembered in a glow of positivity and blissful carefree fun. The fact that someone could rob so many of that college experience sickens me in a way that makes me see red while feeling intense sadness at the same time. As I read about the events unfolding in Isla Vista on Friday, May 23rd, 2014 I felt helpless and heart-broken for the students forced to endure such horror. SB has been having a rough time lately between losing Mallory Rae, the Deltopia riots, and now these killings. I pray that this is the last of it. I attended a vigil for UCSB that was held at UCSD. It was a truly special night and I get chills writing about it. I even made it onto NBC News in San Diego. You can read more about it by clicking here: Let There Be Light. I will be rocking my Gaucho gear tomorrow in remembrance of those whose lives were lost and in support of those who were injured. I will also be wearing it as a thank you to the police officers that responded so quickly. It could have been so much worse.  I have cut enough black ribbons for my entire office for those that want to show some Gaucho love too.

I used to always have tar balls stuck to my feet when I was living in Santa Barbara.  I ruined many pairs of flip flops.  I looked down at my flip flops yesterday and noticed that I dripped wax on them from the Candlelight vigil.  I’m going to leave it there.  Seems fitting.  Gaucho Pride will continue with me forever. No matter what is thrown our way, we will throw a tortilla right back at it.

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Thank you for Reading.

P. S. I’ve been kind of a mess this month.  Super emotional.  I want to thank Hartman for putting up with the roller coaster. His kind compassionate spirit keeps me from completely losing it on all levels (I love you, baby).

 

Let There Be Light

26 May

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I just returned home from the UCSB Candlelight Vigil at UCSD. We came together in memory of the students whose lives were tragically taken on Friday in Santa Barbara. Hundreds of people came together to recognize those that were lost. There were tears. There were moving speeches. People opened their hearts. Total strangers gave each other hugs. Shoulders were lent to cry on. To say it was moving would be an understatement.

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I wear many hats in my life.  I’m a daughter.  A sister.  A girlfriend.  An Aunt.  A friend.  A gapper. And a GAUCHO. I wear my Gaucho hat with so much pride.  I think of my time at UCSB with so much happiness in my heart.  Having that joy robbed for so many that had to endure firsthand the events that unfolded in Isla Vista on Friday breaks my heart.  To know that another family is struggling with the loss of their child makes me sick.  To know that friends have been lost that can never be replaced makes me so sad.

We know that the Isla Vista community is resilient.  They will rise up and find a way to cope.  They will be stronger for it.  Nothing will ever make it okay though and nothing will ever make it alright.

I wish more care was made by the media to make the six souls that were giving angel wings too soon house hold names.  The person that commits the crime is always the one the media hones in on.  When you jump the fence at a baseball game to run on the field, the cameras cut away.  They don’t show the people that are halting the game because it glorifies what they are doing.  I’m not sure what the right approach is but there has to be more we can do to stop making celebrities out of the troubled individuals that make themselves famous by harming others.  There is no magic wand of a fix but there has to be more we can do.  I won’t even type his name here because he doesn’t deserve the recognition.  That’s what he would have wanted.

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I brought a sign with me to the vigil with the names of the victims listed.  The incredible organizer of the vigil, Julia, saw that I was wearing a UCSB sweatshirt and holding the sign and introduced herself.  She told me to come up where she was standing so I could see the steady stream of people that came out to show support.  As I hoisted myself up to her perch I couldn’t believe the amount of people that I was seeing.  We stood there with our arms wrapped around each other.  Tears streamed down my cheeks.  We were total strangers having a moment.  It doesn’t get more powerful than that.

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Whether you are a Triton, Banana Slug, Trojan, Anteater, Bear, Gunrock, Oski, or a Gaucho…we all make up the University of California community.  As I watched candles being raised high in the air, I felt proud to call myself alumni of such a prestigious group.

Spreading love is the most important thing we do.  The final speaker at the vigil led all attendees in our signature Gaucho battle cry…

“Oooooole, Ole, Ole, Oleeeeee.  GAU-CHOOOO, GAU-CHOOOOOOOO…”

Where you see bad, you will always see good too.  That was apparent this evening more so than ever.  Keep these names in your heart.  These are the names you want to remember.

Veronika Weiss

Katie Cooper

Chris Martinez

Cheng Yuan Hong

George Chen

Weihan Wang

Thank you to everyone that organized this event.  Thank you to everyone that shared.  Thank you for reading.  Spread love.  xoxo

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$0’s for this Sailor

29 Mar

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I haven’t been able to stop swearing. It’s hopeless. I’m changing my thinking. They are no longer swear words, they are adult words. I will continue to lock it up when necessary but other than that I am going to continue with my sailor like ways. Having never spent any time with a real life sailor that drops F bombs I’m not sure what exactly that means. If you are a sailor that swears, I’d love to meet you. Please comment below so we can connect.

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So much has happened since we last chatted. Where should I begin? I guess at the beginning makes the most sense, huh. Soooooooo, here it goes…

Pop Champagne

Hartman landed an amazing new job that allows us to spend more time together. He is more of a closed book than me so I won’t give too many details other than that things have seemed to worked out better than imagined. We have taken advantage having more time by enjoying San Diego to the fullest. It is so much fun living in a vacation destination. Having time with him has made it very clear to me that I am on this journey called life with my best friend. The rough waters have been weathered and we are enjoying calm seas for the time being and I am just delighted. I am lucky to call him my guy. He’s pretty cool.

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Baby Aidan

My brother has this amazing group of friends that have remained close for many years. They call themselves the “10th Street Mafia”. It has been such a joy watching them go from wild parties, to parenthood. I had the pleasure of meeting the newest member of the crew, Baby Aidan Martin, in February. It’s quite hilarious how most of his friends keep popping out boys. Aidan is cute as could be. I was mesmerized at how the new parents were handling a few challenges that were thrown their way with such ease. Congrats to the Hickersons! The Hickerson mojo has a new generation to get in all sorts of trouble. I know Uncle Aaric will spoil him rotten.

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Santa Barbara

I went on a rather wild super quick girl’s trip to Santa Barbara in celebration of my friend Zoa’s Birthday. The events that unfolded on this trip were fun with a capital “F”. It should be illegal to have as much fun as we did. I ‘sort of’ chronicled the debauchery in my last blog so check that out if you want more details. I did embellish. You make the call on what is fact and what is fiction.

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Paying Respects

I received a large box in the mail recently and I was perplexed as to what it could be. When I opened it to discover a plethora of #VOW4MAL goodies I was thrilled. I dug through the box with tears in the corners of my eyes. The reach of Mallory Rae has been so powerful. They have taken a loss that could have been viewed as meaningless and turned it into something so incredibly meaningful. I took time out of my Santa Barbara weekend to pay my respects to Miss Mal. I left yellow flowers and a note letting her know that she still means so much to so many. The work her namesake foundation is doing is epic. The world is a better place because she was in it. P.S. I don’t believe in coincidences. Everything happens for a reason. Miss Mallory Rae worked her magic on her birthday, March 20th. The official International Day of Happiness was her way of telling those whose hearts long for her so much to smile through the tears. It gave me chills to see that bright yellow post.

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Happy Birthday, Ash

I have a handful of friends in San Diego that I have been friends with since I was a teenager in San Jose. Sometimes it’s hard to keep in touch though. The craziness of life can get in the way. My friend Ashley and I met when I was 18. She also shared a best friend in Sarah Hurth. When her husband invited me to a surprise birthday party for Ashley I jumped at it. The last time I saw them was at my 30th Birthday Party in San Francisco (GIGANTES!). Mike and I decided to get a hotel near the birthday party instead of taking expensive UBERs from downtown to San Marcos. It was great to cheers Ash on her birthday and reconnect. I am looking forward to many more fun San Diego outings together in the future. Please also note that all of the pictures below feature a stolen Adirondack chair. We pissed of our neighbors whose chair we stole at the hotel and the management staff for sure. We probably have been banned for life.

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San Francisco

Due to an over loaded schedule in December, I unfortunately had to miss my college bestie’s 30th Birthday. I promised Maggie I would make it up to her with a trip to see her within a few months. She picked a weekend that she wouldn’t be drowning in school and work so she could show me a good time. She def brought her ‘A’ game in fun activity planning. The weekend was flippin’ AWESOME. Her friends were all so welcoming; I felt like I had known them for years. I left a piece of my heart right on the golden gate bridge.

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10 Years

The anniversary of my bestie’s passing is fast approaching. We still miss her dearly after all this time. Her family has decided to throw a party in her honor. It’s going to be a trip to see so many people that I haven’t seen in so long. She wouldn’t have had it any other way. I can’t believe it’s going to be 10 years. I have been thinking about her more than ever lately. Some stories make me smile so big. We used to do the craziest things. Oh, to be young again. Sarah Faye Hurth, this party is going to be LEGIT. A true celebration of everything you stood for.

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Baseball Season

I bleed orange and black. I love my GIGANTES. My company has season tickets so I end up going to a lot of Padres games even if they are not my team. I try to go when the Giants are in town but that’s only a handful of times a year.  Mike and I are headed to opening night tomorrow and I am so excited.  I will be there to route against the Dodgers.  I will lead the chant on “BEAT L-A”.  YAY BASEBALL!

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April

My favorite month is April for one simple reason, its my birthday month. I look forward to many more happy times to share. I don’t have any official plans yet but I am brainstorming. I have already been annoying Hartman by rapping, “Thirty-two, thirty-two, watcha gonna do.” Its going to be a long, annoying build up to the end of April for Hartman if I am rappin’ already.

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Thanks for reading! Stay happy, beautiful people!

Part Fiction. Part Truth. All Fun.

27 Feb

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This blog is based on a true story.  Parts have been embellished for entertainment value.   Parts are bold faced lies.  Many parts are inappropriate in nature.  Parents and Grandparents, skip this one. Everyone else, continue reading…

If you are going to take a girls trip, you should go to Santa Barbara.  Santa Barbara is always a good idea.   Tara was about to celebrate a birthday.  The girls had tossed around the idea of going to dinner somewhere cool in San Diego to celebrate.  Then fate stepped in.  Well, I guess you couldn’t really call it fate.  More like Alli went to Happy Hour and then over to Madi’s afterward.  Alli and Madi then got into some wine time.  The idea to go to Santa Barbara was born around 11pm (several glasses of wine deep) when they realized that the famous Tuba player, Ringo DeCargo, whom they recently friended, would be playing in SBeezie at Sonic Nightclub.  They texted their other Bestie, Brit, immediately to make sure she was all for this genius idea.   Brit’s response was, “you’re drunk and yes”.  With a few unrelenting obsessive texts to the almost Birthday Girl, Tara finally responded and she was RSVPing a HARD yes.  Alli, Madi, and Brit decided it would be more fun to keep the destination a surprise since Tara LOVES surprises.

If you’re going to celebrate a birthday, you should drink good Champagne.  Vueve Clicquot and Moet Chandon were packed in each gals suitcase along with their cutest going out clothes as they traveled to Brit’s place in Orange County a few weeks later.  They decided to break the drive up by staying one night there.  None of the four girls were fans of long car rides.  After a fun sushi dinner (Brit’s fave) and two bottles of champs the girls tucked themselves into bed around 1 am.  Alli couldn’t sleep because to her it was like Christmas morning so she woke up at sunrise and got the girls SBUX and made a pancake feast for breakfast.  Anything to get on the road and on with the fun a second faster was worth it to her.

When the girls arrived at the Hotel SeaAna in Santa Barbara, their room wasn’t ready.  They didn’t fret because brunch plans awaited them.  Several mimosas and one birthday wish, was the perfect way to start the trip.  The girls then started to wander the shops on Stake Street and they joked that they felt like they were on an episode of the Hills gabbing as they tried on makeup.  Alli isn’t a big fan of shopping so she began looking for the next stop for adult beverage consumption.  Luck would have it, Mo’s Café was known for having the strongest cocktails in SB.  They each ordered one and choked it down and that’s where the day starts to get a bit fuzzy.

After Mo’s they made their way towards the new hot spot in Santa Barbara, the Wine Zone.  The Wine Zone has tasting rooms from several of the hottest local wineries in SB.  Anyone who knows Alli, Madi, Brit, and Tara knows that they do not have blood in their veins; they have wine.   They can toss back wine with a vengeance and in obscenely inappropriate large quantities.  The Wine Zone did not disappoint.  If the girls arrived at the Wine Zone with a mild buzz, they were certainly feeling no pain after the first tasting room stop.  A tell all sign of this would have been how Alli signed her name on the check when they were leaving.  It was her name and a drawing of a penis.  Alli is a super classy lady.  Not quite.

As the girls maneuvered their way through the Wine Zone they decided to make one more stop at Fig River Brew Co. before checking into their room.   This stop probably should have been skipped.  This is the stop where things began to get a bit extra blurry for the ladies.  Upon walking in the girls were immediately struck by how badly they had to pee.  As they stood in a very long line, they began chatting with other Santa Barbarians waiting as well.  All were joking and taking bets about how many girls were in the ladies room since ladies can’t seem to go unless they are in a posse.  When the door finally opened and four girls came out they all roared with laughter while the girls looked bewildered as to what was so funny.  The conversation then took a turn to what girls do in the ladies room that makes them take soooooooooooooooooooo long.  Alli assured the gent asking that she was the fastest pee-er in the west.  He rebuffed her claim.  Alli then made a bold move.  She announced to everyone in the line that she was challenging the young gent to a pee race.  Whoever finished first bought the other one a drink.    They both shook on it and waited for the doors to open at the same time.  To everyone’s surprise Alli was the winner winner chicken dinner.  Her free wine never tasted so good.  She joked when the gent emerged from the bathroom as she stared at her invisible watch, “oh, there you are…finally…nice to see you again”.

If waiting in line to pee was so much fun you can imagine the vibe of this bar.  As the gals looked for prime real estate on the crowded patio they found a table with enough room for them to squeeze onto.  Tara made a quick surveillance of fun on the patio and like a heat seeking missile spotted a fellow Birthday-er because a balloon was tied to his belt loop.  After a bit of flirting and giving him a modest fully clothed lap dance, Tara walked away victorious with a balloon that said “happy birthday from all of us”.  She lost this balloon to another Birthday Girl at one point and Alli traded back for it with a beverage.  This balloon left the bar securely tied to Tara’s wrist.  The walk back to the hotel to primp for dinner was more of a stagger.  It was dark out at this point.  The girls had been drinking since noon and they are not good day to night partiers in their 30s.  This was a recipe for disaster for sure.  This point of the night would have been better for writing purposes if one of the girls had been wearing a go pro.  Drunken memories are tough for blogging.  Next time I will request one of them to rock a go pro for sure.

The girls checked into in to their room and primped for dinner in a tornado like tizzy.  Outfits were thrown on, makeup was reapplied, and hair was fluffed.  In their heads they looked like super models.  The reality of it is they probably looked like total train wreaks with smeared lipstick and tangled hair.  Madi opened the MOST expensive bottle of champagne she had brought because naturally after drinking all day, the next step is to open a fancy bottle of champs so you can really appreciate it.  Please also note, the champagne was warm because it had been sitting in a trunk all day.  The only reason they knew it had been drank was by the empty bottle and four glasses in the morning.

Once sufficient warm champagne had been enjoyed and makeup had been caked on, Alli called an UBER (safety first) and the girls headed to Cheeks for dinner.  Did they eat dinner?  Yes.  Did they drink more champagne?  Yes.  Should they have perhaps taken a break from alcohol for a bit?  YES.  The fun train kept rolling along and none of these gals made any attempts to slow down or jump off.  Just as they were finishing up, Alli’s nearest and dearest, Omi, showed up to wisk the girls away to the Kitty Kat for a night of dancing, or in their case, drunkingly swaying from side to side.  Upon arriving at the Kitty Kat, “Team Wasted” split into two.  Alli and Tara kept boozing.  Madi and Brit were much smarter and switched to water.  The vibe at the Kitty Kat was insane.  Great DJ.  Great people.  Tons of fun.  But at the stroke of midnight the ladies snuck out the door to see Ringo DeCargo play his Tuba at the bar across the street, Sonic.

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Sonic was packed and Ringo was playing his Tuba like a boss.  There is something about a tuba being play along with the latest club jams that really elevates the vibe.  This point of the night became a bit of a hazy, blurry, fuzzy memory for all except Madi who had assumed the team Mom role.  Alli lost her coat at some point while dancing at Sonic (it was never seen again).  Brit got into a fight with a bouncer for sitting in a VIP area.  Tara was completely lost from the group for the rest of the night.  Despite Madi’s twenty laps around the club she could not find the birthday girl anywhere.  Alli began doing an incredibly violent humping dance and Brit was her chosen victim.  The final moment before the girls were asked to leave involved a stolen tuba and an inappropriate dance with said tuba.  Let’s just say new friend, Ringo DeCargo, will not be continuing their friendship moving forward and the girls have probably been banned from Sonic for life.  No one likes a tuba thief.

Madi dragged everyone into an UBER with the exception of the missing birthday girl who’s last text said she was at the hotel but her phone was about to die.  You can imagine their horror when they got back to the hotel and there was no sign of her.  Normally this would have caused much more concern but who are we kidding, they were totally blacked out hot messes.  The fact that anyone made it to the hotel was such an amazing feat.  Once in the room in a fit of unknown rage, Brit picked up everyone one’s suitcases and dumped them out on the floor.  She then picked up the dumped out belongings and threw them all around the room.

Tara made it back to the room in the early morning hours to three girls star fish passed out on the beds.  She then decided to eat several highly overpriced snacks from the mini bar while she was in the shower.  You read the correctly, she ate them in the shower.  When Tara was done showering she could not figure out how to turn the shower off to save her life.  After a 30 minute naked fight with the shower she threw on some clothes and marched down to the front desk with soaking wet hair.  Please note that at this point of the Santa Barbara Birthday Adventure, Alli, Madi, and Brit were sound asleep as the shower was running (I apologize to the drought on their behalf) at full force.  Tara explained to the front desk staff her shower predicament though she could not tell them what room she was in or who’s name the room was under (she had created a hybrid of Madi and Brit’s last name).  One of the gents working behind the front desk begrudgingly followed soaking wet Tara to their room, past three slumbering girls, and over dumped out suitcases to easily turn the shower off with a quick turn of the handle to the right.  He left without saying a word.  Tara continued enjoying her mini bar snacks as she fell asleep.

The girls woke up in the morning to Alli in a full on panic because her purse was empty.  Without her car keys how would they ever get home.  After a confusing Easter Egg type hunt around the room, all belonging were located with the exception of one jacket and one scarf.  Alli left a giggling message on Sonic’s voicemail about her missing jacket.  She said, “I left my dignity and my jacket on the dance floor”.  Please note that the Balloon “from all of us” was the first thing Alli saw when she opened her eyes.

It was a slow and painful pack up to get out the door and back on the road by the 12pm checkout time.  They made three stops because Alli insisted they were must dos before hitting the road: drugstore for coconut water, coffee, and burritos.  Alli had this bright idea to bring hydration, caffeination, and food to a popular picnic spot in SB despite everyone’s intense hangovers.  This was the WORST idea ever.  The last thing you want to consume when you already want to die is coffee and a giant burrito.  While Madi, Tara, and Brit were plotting Alli’s death and orchestrating a full mutiny things were quickly put into perspective when everyone’s stomachs went full Bridesmaids dress shopping scene at the same time.  Picnic time was quickly over and a race to the nearest gas station quickly took top priority.  They rated how much of a 911 situation it was for each of them and then not so patiently waited each ones turn.  The bathroom toilet seat had “fu$k you, B$tch” carved onto it.  Such a classy thrown for a classy group of ladies.

Alli gave everyone motion sickness with her crappy driving on the way home.  The gnarly hangovers could have had something to do with it but probably not; she’s a pretty terrible driver.  The first part of the drive was miserable.  The second half was riddled with laughter about their adventure.

Santa Barbara is always a good idea.  Always.

Instead of going home as planned the girls checked themselves into Promises Rehabilitation Center in Malibu.  They also found Jesus.  Amen.

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Contagious Happiness

22 Dec

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I am at work on a Sunday blogging.  The reason I am at work is because my laptop decided to stop working on Friday.  I am sitting here soaking wet because I just left a hot yoga class and I stupidly did not pack a change of clothes.  Luckily I have a snuggie to wrap myself in.  Yes, you read that correctly, I am wearing a snuggie in my office.  That’s how this gal rolls.  My work computer is super nice and I can write much faster on it so I don’t really mind.  I have been feeling the pull to write, so here I am, typing away.

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I feel it is only appropriate to begin this blog by touching on the “Rae” of sunshine that is Mallory Rae Dies (I also want to mention that Mallory’s last name is pronounced “Des”).  It’s been 11 days since she left the world too soon.  The love and support that has continued to surround her memory is beyond impressive.  I found the hardest time for me after my best friend passed was once things calmed down after her memorial service.  I struggled during that time.

I have been following all updates via the Mallory Rae Support Page.  Her fundraiser that was thrown together in just 48 hours was a HUGE success.  The celebration of her life held at Shoreline Park looked like it more than did her memory justice.  From the pictures I saw via Instagram, Mallory put on quite a show as the moon rose and the sun set (photo credit to fern_golie on Instagram; search #4MAL if you’d like to see the magic yourself).

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Her fundly donations have slowed down a bit.  If you have $10 to spare please please PLEASE help her family ease the stress of her medical bills.  You can donate by clicking here.  $10 is the smallest amount you can donate via fundly (it defaults to $20 but you can change it to $10).  If you skip fancy coffee for two days, BOOM you have a donation.  Easy peasy.  I saw a Facebook post that said, “your donation is Mallory’s Christmas gift to her family”.  If you can help, I know it will be beyond appreciated.

I read an article last night that warmed my heart.  A foundation is being formed in Mallory’s name so this senseless tragedy serves a positive greater purpose.  Mallory’s Father has asked everyone to honor Mallory’s memory by never driving under the influence and also by becoming an organ donor.  Five people received the gift of life when Mallory passed.  She has given families a second chance at life right before Christmas.  I can’t think of a better gift even if it does come at such a high cost.  Check the box.  You can make a difference for many should you ever be in the same unfortunate position.

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Mallory’s blogs have had a powerful reach.  They were read 62,822 times.  They were read in the following 112 countries (many of which I had never heard of):

United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Mexico, France, Korea, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, Italy, Brazil, Japan, Israel, Norway, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Switzerland, Belgium, Argentina, Austria, South Africa, Chile, Denmark, Colombia, Peru, Finland, India, Poland, Costa Rica, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, Philippines, Barbados, Turkey, Ecuador, Nepal, Czech Republic, Taiwan, Russian Federation, Guatemala, Qatar, Hungary, Bulgaria, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Croatia, Ukraine, Cambodia, Viet Nam, Turks and Caicos Islands, Sri Lanka, Uruguay, Albania, Kenya, Puerto Rico, Macedonia, Cayman Islands, Nicaragua, Portugal, Latvia, Trinidad & Tobago, Panama, El Salvador, Venezuela, Senegal, Aruba, Antigua and Barbuda, Northern Mariana Islands, Dominican Republic, Morocco, Slovenia, Bahamas, Swaziland, Marshall Islands, Nigeria, Guernsey, Palestinian Territory, Serbia, Zambia, Myanmar, Belize, Iraq, Saint Martin, Malawi, China, Ethiopia, Malta, Slovakia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Jordan, Cyprus, Bahrain, Grenada, Greece, Rwanda, Belarus, Romania, Zimbabwe, AND Honduras.

As Mallory’s foundation is being formed if there is any way you’d like to get involved I’m sure its founders in Santa Barbara would appreciate any support they can get.  While I’m sure much of their support will begin in the local Santa Barbara community, an opportunity to expand their reach would most likely be welcomed.  If you work in the bar or restaurant industry get your wheels spinning.  I have already heard positive support from a dear friend in the Bay Area that is a bar manager.  Is there something you could do to help keep people from drinking and driving?  I know there are industry people here in San Diego that are sharing Mallory’s story.  Taking the pledge #4MAL is the first and most important step; spreading the word is the next.

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I had the thought that it seemed weird to go about my typical blog format which is essentially a run down on my day to day life.  This rather eloquent post on Facebook that my friend was tagged in made me realize the best way you can honor those you love that leave too soon is to continue to find happiness even when your heart is so sad:

“The last thing in the world Mallory Dies would want is people sitting around feeling sorry for her, yourselves, or anyone else.” ~ Jeremiah Shields

So, live your life.  Be happy.  Laugh.  That is the best way you can honor the memory of someone so unbelievable special.  Whether its Mallory Rae or Sarah Faye, I will honor their BEAUTIFUL souls every day.

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The rest of this blog will be about my life.  I wanted to take a moment to honor sweet Mallory once more before I dove back into my Happiness Project.

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The Thanksgiving holiday proved to be a challenge with blogging for me.  In the whirlwind of family fun that over took my day to day activities I did not have time to write a November recap blog.  So, this blog has a lot of ground to cover.  I am going to skip going into too much detail because as I said earlier, I am at work and its SUNDAY so I want to go the flip home, homie.

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My 8 year anniversary with mi novio was AWESOME.  I was told by a few that my lack of social media-ing during our date night shocked them.  Hartman often complains that he is rarely on a date alone with me because my nose is always going apps on apps on apps via my beloved iPhone.  I made a point to leave my iPhone in my purse to his shock and dismay.  We had a FABULOUS time out and I have decided I am going to put him in full complete charge of our dates moving forward.  He knocked it out of the park.  It’s always good to take a step back and look at the past 8 years of our life together.  It has certainly been quite a wild ride.  I wouldn’t have it any other way though.  My journal quote could not have been more perfect as I slinked into bed at the end of my day on November 1st.  Cheers to 8 years and what’s next to come.

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Life has been busy busy busy with a multitude of fun activities on my social calendar.  I had the privilege of enjoying a private VIP outing at Petco Park (shhhhhhhh, don’t tell them I’m all about the GIGANTES), girls night, happy hour, paint nite, High Tide Breakfast at the Marine Room, a lovely walk on the beach, dog sitting Sir Charles The True Gentleman Dog, AND reconnecting with friends who were away (welcome back, Roeys).  It truly has been such a wonderful couple of months.  I am so grateful to have such an amazing cast of characters in my life.  Enjoy the pictures of all the fun…

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Thanksgiving was spent with Hartman’s fam bam and we had a FAB time.  We started the week with his Brother’s family making the long journey from Tahoe to San Diego.  They stayed with us for a few days and we were sure to pack in lots of fun San Diego adventures with our precious nieces, Sienna and Riley.  It was rather entertaining watching big sister Sienna pick on her little sister, Riley.  With Hartman and I both being the youngest in our families we both remember having the crap beat out of us constantly by our older siblings.  After some San Diego fun we all headed to Mike’s parents in Northern California and we ate until we were about to burst.   We capped off the week with a trip to Lake Tahoe.  It was fantastic spending so much time with our nieces over an entire week.  Being an Auntie is one of my favorite roles and Uncle “Mito” is the most fun Uncle EVER.  He is a human jungle gym.

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I love Christmas and I look forward to December every year.  Decorating our home, listening to Christmas music, buying gifts…I love it all!  We live steps from Balboa Park.  Every year they host an epic Christmas festival called December Nights in Balboa Park.  As usual, it did not disappoint.

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gap intelligence threw their 10th Annual #gappyHoliday party at the Diamond View Tower in East Village this month.  I won the Ambassador of the year and was gifted a bat autographed by Mark Loretta from the Padres (I thought it said Matt Latos at first and was relieved when it was confirmed it was not from him).  I was honored to be recognized by my colleagues and the party was flippin’ sic as expected.  I danced like I was auditioning for the Jabbawockeez.

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All of my nearest and dearest gathered in Orange County for an early Christmas celebration last weekend since most of us are traveling over the holiday this year.  As always, the Hales know how to host.  We had a lovely time and somehow stayed up till 3am chatting away (a very rare thing these days for us 30 somethings).

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I spent a few hours last week volunteering with the Emilio Nares Foundation at Rady Children’s Hospital handing out Christmas gifts.  gap’s CEO was Santa for the day.  It enriches my soul when I help other people.  It felt good giving back in some small way to people so deserving of some holiday cheer.

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The sunsets in California have been spectacular lately.  I have taken time to watch them at a park that is near my house.  I have even pulled off the freeway to snap a pic.  The different colors painted across the sky this time of year are so pretty it hurts to look at them.  Gorgeous sunset = instant happiness.

I’m looking forward to hugging my family a little harder this Christmas.  I hope you have a wonderful holiday and do the same.

Finding happiness in life is the most important thing you do and guess what, it’s contagious.   Thank you for reading.  Stay happy.

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The Legacy of Mallory Rae

11 Dec

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How does one recover from a loss like this? The reality of it is, you don’t. You are never quite the same.  A part of you will always be missing.  A piece of your heart will never stop aching.  Happy moments that unfold before you will seem a little less bright because she is not here to share them with you.  The world will always seem a little duller.

I wish I didn’t understand what all of you are going through.  I have been in your shoes though.  I lost my best friend, Sarah Hurth, over 9 years ago.  I still miss her every day.  I often wonder how different things might have been had Sarah not left us too soon.

Watching Mallory’s heart breaking story unfold before my eyes brought about a deep routed sadness in me.  It stirred up many feelings and memories.  It also made me want to try to help in some small way.

Mallory’s Dad said the best way to honor his precious daughter is to NEVER drink & drive AND to never allow anyone else to do the same.

The blog I wrote yesterday (Mallory Rae) including her father’s plea has been viewed over 23,000 times.  It has been viewed in the following 12 countries outside of the United States:  United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, Germany, Brazil, Spain, France, Mexico, Sweden, Ireland, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.

Over 50,000 people have viewed Mallory’s CaringBridge.  The Mallory Rae Support Page has been bombarded with thousands of heartfelt messages since the second it was launched and the likes for it are growing by the minute.

How on earth does a gal like Mallory make such a huge dent in the universe?

It’s simple.  She’s awesome.

Mallory was a clearly very rare special soul.  A great light as gone out and she will be missed deeply forever.  Heaven has gained an angel despite our wishes to keep her here with us.  I prayed so hard that Mallory Rae Dies LIVES would be the outcome.  The heavens above have another plan though even if it breaks our hearts to accept it.

The poem below helped me in my darkest hour 9 years ago.  It was sent to me by a total stranger.  I read it as a part of Sarah’s eulogy.  I hope it will give you a small sliver of peace as you wade through the grief of losing Mallory.

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To my dearest family, some things I’d like to say, but first of all to let you know that I am okay.

I’m writing this from heaven, where I dwell with God above, where there’s no more tears or sadness, only eternal love.

Please do not be unhappy just because I’m out of sight, remember I am with you every morning, noon, and night.

The day I had to leave you when my life on Earth was through, God picked me up and hugged me and said “I welcome you.  It’s good to have you back again, you were missed while you were gone.  As for your dearest family, they’ll be here later on.”

Then God gave me a list of things he wished for me to do, and foremost on that list of mine was to watch and care for you.

When you think of my life on Earth, all those loving years, because you’re only human they are bound to bring you tears.

But do not be afraid to cry, it does relieve the pain, remember there could be no flowers unless there was some rain.

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Mallory will live on forever in the hearts of those that loved her so.  As her story continues to spread, her infectious smile and spirit will continue to steal more and more hearts each day.

I believe Mallory’s LEGACY is to love hard and laugh even harder.  Let the Dies families loss be the tragedy that keeps anyone from driving under the influence again.  Let this tragedy be what fuels your courage to stop someone else from making the same mistake.  Mallory deserved better than this.  She deserved to be old and gray with a lifetime of memories behind her instead of having her life cut short so senselessly.

There are four ways you can honor Mallory’s memory:

1) Share her story.  She was too special not to.

2) Wear yellow.  It was Mallory’s favorite color.

3) Use proper grammar.  Mallory’s friends say she was a stickler for it (I apologize for the errors in this blog).

4) Donate to the Dies Family via Fundly (no amount is too small) so they can pay for Mallory’s medical bills, memorial service, and take however much leave they need from work to grieve.  Let’s knock the goal out of the park so the financial burden will be one less thing they have to worry about.  The video of Mallory on this link will melt your heart:  https://fundly.com/support-for-mallory-rae

I want to say thank you everyone that has shared Mallory’s story.  How far it has reached is powerful.  I also want to say thank you to her friends and family that continued to update everyone on her progress over the last 6 days.  I don’t know how you found the strength to do so.

I want to send my deepest condolences to the Dies family and Mallory’s many friends.  You will all remain in my prayers.  I will continue to send lots of love and positive energy to Santa Barbara from San Diego.

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To stay up to date on Mallory’s story and fundraisers please follow this page via Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MalloryRaeSupport

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Mallory Rae

10 Dec

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Somewhere in a bed in Santa Barbara, there is a girl.  This girls name is Mallory Rae.  Mallory is fighting for her life.  She is fighting for it at this very moment as I type.

I have never met Mallory but we share several mutual friends.  I woke up on December 6th and noticed that my Facebook news feed was overwhelmingly dominated by posts about a tragic senseless accident.

Mallory was struck by a car while she was crossing the street.  The driver was drunk.  The driver fled the scene like a coward.  He was caught shortly after and was booked with a BAC of 0.17.  The level of disgust I feel for the driver is beyond words.  His detailed DUI history is chronicled in this article.  Please read it for yourself and form your own opinion.  I do not want to waste a moment more of my time on someone so unworthy of it.

I went to college in Santa Barbara.  Many people don’t realize what a small town it is.  The sense of community is one of the reasons why I love the red tiled roof beach haven so much.  There is a magic to SBeezie and I feel blessed that I called it home for  several years.  I enjoyed many fun outings at Tonic while I was in college where Mallory is a bartender.

While I have never met her personally, I felt inclined to write.  I am a spiritual person.  I have been praying for Mallory’s recovery all week.  I have been following her constant stream of updates on CaringBridge.  She is clearly someone that is incredibly loved by many.  Getting a small glimpse into the wonderful spirit of Mallory has been something to marvel.  Her picture is so vibrantly full of energy.  She clearly is a gal that has a very special zest for life.

Earlier today my heart sunk into my stomach when an update came through via the Mallory Rae Support Page on Facebook that things had taken a turn for the worse.  I sat at my desk quietly praying for a miracle for Mallory.  As they say, the lord works in mysterious ways.  We need a miracle right now.  I believe that one can happen.  I am not alone in this belief.  I am in awe of the love that surrounds this pint sized gal.

Life is about choices.  The domino effect that led to this heart breaking chain of events could have all been avoided if one driver had made the right decision that night and taken a cab home instead of getting behind the wheel.  Mallory’s Dad sent the following message via Facebook today:

“The best way to show your love and support for Mal is to NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE and to never allow anyone else to do it either.”

If you are reading this I’d like to ask you to do something…Share Mallory’s story.

It’s too important not to.  The series of events that led to Mallory fighting for her life all could have been avoided if one person didn’t get behind the wheel of their car after drinking alcohol.

The driver was leaving a holiday party.  He clearly had one too many.  His terrible choice has led to an unforgivable act that has left Mallory’s family, friends, and the Santa Barbara community shattered as they watch her struggle to survive.

People often think that getting a DUI is the worst outcome of drinking and driving.  I disagree whole heartedly.  The worst thing that can happen to you if you decided to drink and drive is hurting someone else.  I just don’t know how a person can live with themselves knowing their actions caused so much pain.  How would you look in the mirror for the rest of your life and not feel complete and total disgust.  If you hurt yourself there is solace in the fact that you did it to YOURSELF.  Mallory was completely innocent in all of this.  She was simply crossing the street.  It’s not fair.

Mallory’s battle is being waged at this very moment.  She has been on a roller coaster of highs and lows over the last five days.  If you are religious, please say a prayer for her.  If you are not religious, please send a positive vibe or a good thought her way.  She needs as much love and support rallied around her that is humanly possible right now.

As you head out to enjoy yourself at holiday parties this December, think of Mallory.  Do not get behind the wheel.  I implore you to stop anyone else from drinking and driving as well.  Life is too precious and fragile to risk putting anyone else in the same horrific position.

Keep fighting, Mallory!  My heavy heart is routing for you.

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The sites below are the best way to stay up to date on Mallory’s progress:

Mallory Rae Caring Bridge: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/malloryraedies/mystory

Mallory Rae Support Page: http://www.facebook.com/MalloryRaeSupport

Follow to the link below to help Mallory and her family with her rapidly growing medical bills:

Support for Mallory Rae Fundly: https://fundly.com/support-for-mallory-rae#comments

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