Application Sent!

July 1st, 2014 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | No Comments »

 

I JUST FINISHED SUBMITTING MY APPLICATION TO VOLUNTEER WITH THE PEACE CORPS!

 

Yes, you read that correctly, the PEACE CORPS!

 

Lately, I have been wanting a change.  NEEDING change.

 

I have been wanting to be a volunteer for the Peace Corps ever since I started canvassing with Texas Campaign for the Environment in 2012.

 

So, I did it.  I submitted my application.

 

I got a follow-up email stating I would get another email in which I have to fill out my health history information, then everything would be complete.

 

Oh my gosh, I am so excited!!!!!

 

It’s possible that this time next year I could be helping a community somewhere across the globe!

 

<3 <3 <3

 

Also, I start my new Bikram yoga class tonight!  Hooray for change!  :D

Quarter-Life Crisis?

June 24th, 2014 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | No Comments »

 

Oh hey, it’s been a while…

And I’m going through some changes.

I guess we all change a little every day, don’t we?

 

WELL, I NEED MORE CHANGES – BIGGER CHANGES.

 

TMI interjection – I’m pms-ing and emotional as fuck, which started this whole post to begin with, which may turn into a ranting-melodramatic-blah-whatever-post…  Buckle your seat-belts boys & girls – you’re in for a long one.  Hah.

So, on that note, let’s ramp up these mixed emotions & start with some gratitude:

 

I am so very grateful for my family & my friends!  I feel like I can’t see them enough & can’t say “I love you” enough!  <3 <3

I am grateful for my job, which is super easy and pays very well.  I am grateful I work around a group of people who appreciate me and we all get along (not like I didn’t have this in my other jobs, but still, it’s really nice to have).

I am so grateful for my little car.  She is so good to me.  (:

I am so grateful I am financially independent and sound.  I am grateful that I am able to pay double rent (last month at the old place and first month at the new place) and it doesn’t put me in a hole.  I am so grateful I have never missed or been late on a payment to any credit card/rent/bill/bank/etc.  I am so grateful I have a savings account.  I am so very grateful I bought myself Invisalign!!  I am so grateful I never worry about if I can afford food or gas.  I am so grateful I am being a fairly responsible adult.

I am so mother-fucking grateful I am about to move into a townhouse closer to the heart of downtown and close to all the places I frequent and out of the fucking east side and with a cool new roommate who seems super chill and is easy to get along with.  I am so grateful I am going to be living with someone again.  I love the contrast of living alone sometimes and living with people other times.  I am so grateful for contrast and how quickly life changes.

I am so fucking grateful for intimacy and orgasms.  And sex puns. :P

I am so grateful to be inspired by myself and by others.  I am surrounded by so many talented and thriving people and it inspires me to do so much with my life!  Literally, as I typed that last sentence, my eyes started to prick with happy tears and my heart started to race with joy.  I am so grateful for life and all of the possibilities I have and get to witness in others.  I have a drive/pull for more and more and more.  I always want more, to learn more, to create more, to be more, to strive more, to change more, to love more.

I am so grateful that I have CHOICES.  I can choose what I want to eat and wear, what I want to purchase and where I want to work, where I want to go to school, where I want to hang out with friends, where I want to spend time alone.  I am grateful that I can feel proud of most of the choices I make.

I am so grateful that next month is my 1 year victory!  I am so grateful for anniversaries of awesomeness, like I’ll be 3 years vegan in October and 5 years cigarette free in December!  I am so proud of myself for these accomplishments!

I am so grateful for self-love.  You need to love yourself first before you can know how to love someone else fully.

I am so grateful for reflection.  Looking over my past – the places I’ve worked, the friends I’ve made, the people I’ve dated, the places I’ve been, the drugs I’ve done.. I can’t change any of it, and honestly I wouldn’t because all of together it makes me exactly who I am today and I am happy to be me. (:

 

So this is where the questions of “who the fuck am I at the core?” and “what the fuck am I doing with my life?” come in..

Hahaha, yep.

 

Like I mentioned above, I have this drive/pull to do more, but what do I want to do?  I have so many interests and sometimes it seems impossible to pick a career out of them.  Which is why I have two unfinished degrees in Architectural Engineering and International Business.. And now I kind of want to go back to school, but I don’t know 100% what I want to go back to school for.

Job wise, I want to go back into nonprofit work because it was SO FULFILLING and it kept me active – mind & body.  (I don’t like sitting at a desk and behind a computer all day – I don’t want to do this for the rest of my life & I literally can’t or I will go insane.)  I want to focus again on the environment and human rights through some type of nonprofit work.  I am still very politically active and want that to be more of my job in general and not just something I do in the down-time at my current job.  But I want to keep my current salary so that I can keep my current worry-free lifestyle.  And unfortunately, I know that I would not have the same money flowing with nonprofit work.. not with the canvasser lifestyle anyway.  And I know that I got super burnt out on canvassing, so I don’t think I want to do that type of non-profit work again.  What are my options?! Tell me!

Also job wise, I want to focus on fitness/nutrition.  This has always been a HUGE part of my life.  I eat healthy and get in shape, then I get out of shape by being lazy and binging on emotions.  I spent the last year overcoming a major battle that I have been fighting for years and I am SO PROUD of myself for this, but I still have a long way to go and I feel like if I focused on this for my career/school that it would instill my ideals and my personal accomplishments even further into my lifestyle and heart.  Maybe it doesn’t have to be my career, but I would love for it to be!  I want to share my accomplishments with others who need the motivation to get to wherever they want to be.

Honestly though, I really want to just get the fuck out of Austin, but then again, I don’t want to leave this great city.  I don’t know if that means that I need to travel more or what…  I love the city, the people, my friends, my family, everything.  But I also want to go SO BADLY.  I want to get a job in a different part of the world.  I want to travel all over the world.  I want to go to school in a different part of the world.  I want to get out, but still have the comfort of home.  I want a permanent apt/house in central Austin, and be able to leave for months at a time knowing that everything will still be there when I get back.  And I want to have the time/resources to create too – I want to be able to express myself through art and writing and dance and any other outlet that tickles my fancy.  I want bookoos of cash and endless hours so that I can do all of this effortlessly!  …  I guess you have to play the lottery to win, huh?

 

Bah, back to reality – should I go back to school for nonprofit management and/or personal fitness and/or nutrition?  I think that would be the ULTIMATE career – working part-time at a nonprofit for human rights and/or environmental justice and part-time as a personal fitness/nutrition trainer.  Can this be my little niche in the world?! THIS IS AN ATTAINABLE GOAL, RIGHT? .. I suppose anything is an attainable goal if you want it bad enough and are willing to put in the effort..

But then my head proceeds to flip out on money – “you just signed a new lease!, do you really want to have to pay back school loans?, what about FAFSA?, do you make too much money now to qualify for grants?, what about scholarships?, what school year should I apply for – fall 2015?, do you even need to go back to school to be able to reach your career goals?!?!” …

Then my heart jumps into my throat – “OMG, are you really going to do this?!, are you sure this is what you really want?!, I guess you don’t know until you try – right?!, but what if you just end up wasting time & money like the last 2 times you tried to go to college?!, again – are you sure you need college to reach your career goals?!, and again – are you sure this is what you want?!, UGHHHH – but I don’t want to spend the rest of my life behind a fucking desk and computer – no matter how good the pay is – my soul won’t be fulfilled with any type of basic administrative job!”

And then the break down beings -

*crying*

WTF do I want to do with my life?!

Is this current idea I have for a career/college change what I truly need/want?!

How do I even get started in making the change, or any change?!

How do I answer these possibly rhetorical and inner-personal-growth questions?!

*sobbing*

 

 

Breathe.  Damnit.  I am so grateful for breath.  <3

 

Because I Need It

May 8th, 2014 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | No Comments »

Yup, this post is about the break-up.

Because I need it.

For reflection.  Later.  And now.

 

Change is inevitable.  It’s the one constant in life.

Funny how that works.

Things didn’t turn out the way I planned/imagined.

Oh well.

I trust the Universe.

It’s unfolding perfectly.

 

Breathe.

 

Personal growth is a good thing.

And now I have ample time to focus on myself.

 

Things I learned from all this:

  • I am more supportive than I thought.
  • I am more patient than I thought.
  • I am definitely a care-taker.
  • Maybe I should own a pet.  Probs not, though.  Pets are too hairy.  I’ll stick to plants.
  • I will be a fantastic wife if/when I get married.
  • I will be a great mother if I ever decide to have children.
  • I am more intuitive than I thought.
  • I am weird/quirky and make little noises all the time that I wasn’t really aware of before.
  • I am more jealous than I thought.  I’m kind of working on it.  Not really though.  More so just accepting it as fact.
  • I am completely surrounded by loving friends and family and I am so grateful for each and every one of them for being so fucking awesome.
  • I am definitely a hopeless romantic.  Ok, maybe I knew this one already.
  • I now know what absolute true and overwhelming love feels like.
  • You shouldn’t put someone else before yourself, because if they leave, then you are left with an un-fulfilled you.  (That is kind of shitty to say following the last point, but whatever.)
  • I am emotionally stronger than I thought.
  • I am pretty good at letting go/I am working on it.
  • I can do whatever the fuck I want and you can’t stop me.
  • I deserve whatever I want because I am an amazing individual.  Bam.  I said it.
  • And much, much more .. that I’m sure I will think of right after I post this.

 

Finally, I do want to note that we (Ethan and I) shared about 8 months of pure bliss in this relationship and I am so very grateful for the time we had together.

And that’s all I want to say about it.

<3

 

Cruisin For A Bruisin

April 16th, 2014 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | 1 Comment »

Adventures of Betty & Kelly, aka Bets & Kets, aka Belly & Ketty, aka Barbara & Keisha, aka Barbie & Kesha!  :P  So many aliases!

Get ready to see too many pictures of Kelly and I acting ridiculous on our fabulous cruise!

It was 6 days/5 nights of nothing but wonderful on the Carnival Triumph & our ports were in Progreso, Mexico and Cozumel, Mexico!

**I may have left out some events; I had drunk-brain most of the trip.  Shit happens.  :P

Day 1

We were so freaking excited, we got hammered with three drinks each before the ship even set sail, haha!  It was quite a start to a very alcohol-soaked trip (our tab at the end was $800)!

At dinner we met our new BFF, Preston, who we hung out with pretty much every evening for the duration of the cruise.

first drinks! the green iguana -

our room! so happy to be on board -

first little towel critter -

Day 2

We hit the pool decks with our books for a few hours, then went to lunch where the ENTIRE staff on the cruise broke out into the YMCA and dazzled us all!

We hit up an art auction with some free champagne and Kelly almost bought a $150 piece of art, but decided against it at the last minute.

We hit the casino to buy some playing cards for Kelly’s collection and paid a whopping $1 for the deck!  Then we crashed for a quick nap before dinner (we did this every day) and when Preston tried to remember our names, he deemed us “Barbara and Keisha” for the rest of the trip.  :P

We went to make fun of the drunk singers at Karakoe with Preston, the best of which was a woman singing Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time” with a raunchy fist pump, ahahha!

We laughed our asses off at the comedy show!  The comedian was hilarious and we made sure to see him again on our last night.

drinks on the pool deck -

nothing but ocean -

a few drinks in -

YMCA lunch special -

Kelly doing some hallway drinking - 

looking pretty for dinner -

- more drinking after dinner -

second little towel critter - 

Day 3

Progreso, Mexico!  Kelly and I walked the beach and settled in the perfect spot to tan and read for while before grabbing lunch and strawberry margaritas at a little beach-front cantina.

We did a little tourist shopping and then hopped back on the boat for a few more drinks & a nap.

We attended a talent show with only 3 acts, but they were good!

We went to the “deck party” with Preston where there were not nearly enough people dancing and an annoying camera man was all over everybody.  Needless to say, we didn’t stay long.

Progreso, Mexico beach -

one of many birdie friends -

- strawberry margaritas on the beach -

100_9190[1]

one of the longest piers in the world -

back to the boat -

drinking our calories -

the ship’s smaller pool & hot tubs -

- third little towel critter -

Day 4

We went zip-lining and snorkeling!!  We each only paid $90 and spent a few solid hours at a resort in Cozumel where we played on a zip-line obstacle course, climbing 60 foot towers and crossing rope bridges!  Then we went snorkeling and saw some little & big fishies doing their fish thing.

We were going to do a Tequila tasting, but we decided against it and headed back to the boat for lunch, some more shopping/drinking, and then took another much need nap.

We went to the Magic Show where we saw so many beautiful dancers in elaborate costumes and a few pretty good magic tricks!

We went to a show with Preston after dinner called “A Kiss Goodnight” which was a burlesque-ish show… they said you had to be 18+, but there was not one tit shown!

snacks for later :b -

resort in Cozumel, Mexico -

- zip line obstacle course -

- snorkel snorkel -

Kelly being adorable -

- Carnival Triumph -

fourth little towel critter -

we’re cute -

Day 5

We spent most of our day on the pool decks with our books, took a nap, and went to dinner.  This was by far the laziest day.  <3

We went to a double comedy show with Preston and got shit-faced with 2 bottles of champagne plus a few glasses.

We drunkenly stumbled to the piano bar for a few drinks and a sing-along sesh.

We took black-out pictures before passing out…  Oh joy.  :P

last day view on the pool deck -

our hilarious, handsome, and “humble” friend, Preston -

- black out pictures… not bad (; -

- fifth & last little towel “critter” -

Day 6

We ported in Galveston around 8:30 in the morning.  Kelly and I were more hung over this morning than any other on the trip, haha.

We endured a nauseating breakfast, packed up our last belongings, stood in the customs line for a relatively quick period, and then drove back to Austin!

Once home, I unraveled with the love of my life.  (;  So good to be back in my own bed and in his arms.  <3

 

I am so very grateful for Kelly Joy Mullen and our 6-year friendship that continues to be fantastic fun!  Cheers to a great vacation & hopefully many more to come!

My Birthday Month

March 4th, 2014 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | No Comments »

February should be a longer month.  It’s the shortest month of the year, yet it really has some great stuff.  I mean, come on – It’s the month of love!  Don’t get me wrong, I think Valentine’s Day is totally for boosting Hallmark and Hershey sales, but love is a great & powerful thing and it should definitely be celebrated!  And duh, it’s also my m-f-ing birthday month & I’m awesome!  Hahah.  :P

Alright, so this is what I experienced in this glorious & short month:

Feb 1 I went to Carnaval Brasileiro with Ethan, Sean, Laura, Kara, Billy, Forest, Jeremy, Malinda, Meredith, and Jordan. (All thanks to Kara because she had a bunch of free tickets to give away!) In sum, we had a drunken blast!  Haha. Ethan and I weren’t wearing a costume (because we decided about 2 hours before it started that we were actually going to go), so we were some of the weirdest ones there, but at one point Ethan lifted me up and put me around his neck and said that I was his costume.  :P  He’s so silly.

Feb 2 I spent half of the Super Bowl with my family & friends up in Cedar Park and half of it with Ethan & his friends. I found this year’s Super Bowl to be uneventful in that the game was a total domination of one team over the other and I like to watch in suspense as one team and the other fight their hardest to the end with just a few points separating the winner and loser. However, the commercials were pretty great in that they were laced with human rights/ equality!  :D

Feb 3 I went to see Buddy Wakefield’s World Tour with my friend, Meggan & her sister. I had never seen Buddy before, but I am a huge fan of slam poetry and he had some great stuff to share with us. I definitely wouldn’t mind seeing him again.

Feb 4 I finally got my license renewed! I have had the same license since I was 18 and it expired on my 24th birthday, so it was time. And wow, the DMV is just a lovely place, really buzzing with good vibes and provides an absolutely enthralling experience that can’t be replicated anywhere else. I can’t wait to go there again. (Where is the sarcasm font?)

Feb 5 My friend, Molly and I had dinner at El Alma! I think I mention her in every monthly update because we have monthly meet-ups, haha. But there was a lot to catch up on this time and it was great, as always, to see her. (:

Feb 8 I had lunch with my friend Tristan, aka T-Cup at one of my favorite places to eat, Bouldin Creek Cafe. I should really eat there more. They are soooo good and their menu is pretty much all vegetarian/ vegan! (:

Feb 9 I got in some sweet nephew snuggle time (like I do every weekend) and then met up with some old TCE friends that I haven’t seen in wayy too long and they all seem to be doing well, which is fantastic to hear!

Feb 10 Kelly Joy (who I’m going on a cruise with in April!) and I had dinner at Mama Fu’s and then I met up Jessica & Kelly for some late night fun to bring in my 24th birthday right!

Feb 11 My 24th birthday! I got off work early because my bosses are awesome. :D Then, Ethan surprised me with a bouquet of my favorite flowers (lilies), a plate of vegan dark chocolate covered strawberries & jalapenos (that he hand-dipped himself), a box of bon-bons, and a bottle of red wine!  Then he took me out to eat at New India (because Indian food is my favorite cuisine), and after that we went to the Austin Poetry Slam (because like I mentioned earlier, slam poetry is just wonderful and has a huge part of my heart)!  Oh, and while we were there we ran into my friends, Meggan and her bf, Freddy!  It was a great way to celebrate by 24th – I couldn’t have asked for anything better!  :D

 

Feb 12 Ethan and I went to the Austin Network Mixer which had a panel of different acting agents talking about their process and answering questions for the audience.  I surprisingly really enjoy going to acting events like this with him.

Feb 14 Valentines Day! <3  I had Jessica and Kelly over to my place for the first time since I moved in (which is insane because I have been there for almost 8 months). After that, I went to Ethan’s – I only got to spend the last 30 min of this day with him because he got off work so late, but we made the most of it! (;

Feb 15 DonNell & Vladimir took Ethan & I out to lunch at Haiky for a late b-day lunch! They also gave me some amazing vegan chocolates (one with lemon, one with honey, and one with walnuts & mushrooms) and a cute picture frame with a picture of me & my sweet little nephew in it!

Feb 20 I had dinner with my long time friend Amanda at Hunan Lion! She is preggers and is having a baby shower next month! I am so happy for her! I can’t believe that I have known her for over half my life.. crazyness.

Feb 23 Marked the begging of the last week of the month, which is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week! This is an issue that is very important it me and it should have more light shed upon it because eating disorders are a fucking bitch to deal with alone. Believe me, I know from experience.

Feb 24 I voted!  Hooray early voting for the primaries!  Can’t wait to see some positive changes in TX government!

Feb 26 Perfectly following that last sentence, it was announced that US District Judge of San Antonio granted a motion for preliminary injunction preventing TX from further banning same-sex couples from marrying in the state! It’s not official yet – but it’s a huge step in the right direction for TX! Hooray equality!

Feb 27 Ethan & I laughed our faces off at the Long Center! Did you ever watch the show “Who’s Line Is It Anyway?” – well Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood did a night of audience-involved improv and it was fantastic! Ethan & I even got to participate and make sound effects for starting a boat engine!  Gah, my cheeks are still sore from all the giggles!  Haha, too much fun!  :D

January Letter To You

January 31st, 2014 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | No Comments »

Hello my loves,

I hope everything is going well in your life.  I miss you terribly.  Seriously, though.  I haven’t seen most you in too long.  I wish there were more hours in the day so that I could spend just a few moments catching up with each and every one of you.  I love you all so very much and I am so grateful that you are a part of my life.  <3

This new year has been more than wonderful thus far and I wish the same for you.  To give you some updates, my job at the Law Office in West Lake is still keeping me busy and happy.  I really couldn’t ask for a more fitting job at this point in my life.  I love my bosses and the work that I do for them.  It’s a relatively stress-free environment and I am more financially affluent than any moment in my past, which is so freeing.  (:

My boyfriend, Ethan consumes most of my out-of-work hours and I still wish we spent more time together.  He is one of the sweetest, most attentive, appreciative, sincere, and loving people I have ever met.  I could not have created a better boyfriend for myself.  His acting career has started to really blossom this month.  He has had quite a few auditions, meetings with different agents, acting/improv classes, and networking mixers.  He is making a solid start for himself.  I have so much pride in him and his dedication.  Also, I am more than happy to currently be his manager.  Yup, it’s my second job and I love it.  I am constantly finding a submitting him to casting calls and finding classes and events in Austin that correlate to his acting career.  We make a great team and I am so very excited to see where our future goes together.  <3

On the weekends, I have been going to see my new baby nephew, Arthur for a few hours.  He is a little over a month old and just snoozes/snores little baby snores in my arms.  He is sooo cute and brings so much pure innocent joy.  I am so grateful to be a part of his life.  <3

During this last month, I have celebrated some personal triumphs/changes, and though it may seem like TMI, I think that they are worth sharing.  First, I got the Mirena, a cervical implant birth control that is progesterone-based.  I haven’t been on birth control in over five years, so my body initially freaked out, but now things are settling back to normal and I am so grateful that I have taken the preventative measures to not get pregnant for up to five years in the future.  Can I just comment on how fortunate I am to have this option available to me and that I am 100% covered by my health insurance?  Yeah, that’s pretty fucking awesome.  Second, and also fucking awesome, I passed a 6-month mark of ending a previous destructive habit of mine and I am so proud of myself for this.  Yes, that is vague in wording, but it literally brings tears to my eyes to know that I am passed all that and that I won.  :D

In relation to that last statement, I want to comment on how much I miss my previous job and bosses/co-workers.. they were some of the best friends I have ever made (ones that I shared my last victory’s struggle with) and I wish I was able to spend time with them on a daily basis like I used to.  Not to mention, the empowering job of fighting for environmental justice, which I still do in my own way, but there is nothing like knocking on doors to gather support in passing legislation and holding corporations accountable/ changing their horrid policies.  *Mental note, I need to make time to see them, ASAP.*

Well, I suppose that about sums up what all has developed over the month of January.  It’s crazy to realize the first month in this new year of 2014 is already behind us.  Can’t wait to talk to you next month; it’s my b-day month!

Yours very truly,

Betty Leigh Verbeke

XoXo

December Days & Ending 2013

January 2nd, 2014 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | 2 Comments »

I would like to start by saying that I am one lucky girl and that I am so so so very grateful for my life.  <3

Oh, and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!  This one is going to be the best one yet, I know it!

The month of December seemed to go by extremely quickly … time flies when you’re having fun, right?  Well, this is how I spent those precious moments that zoomed by:

Dec 1 – I met up with my old friend, Chontelle that I haven’t seen since I was attending UT in 2009.  Needless to say, it had been a while.  Over the last few years we have been in contact via FB, but this was our first time to sit down face to face.  We met up at Spider House Cafe and chatted over a few drinks about life and Jennifer Lawrence (who I apparently remind her and everyone else of, haha).

Dec 2 – Marked 3 months of my boyfriend, my love, my Ethan, being in my life. <3

Dec 4 – I went to Curra’s Grill on Oltorf with my friend Molly!  It is our ritual to nom on Mexican food and margaritas about once a month to catch up and girl-chat like you wouldn’t believe.

Dec 7 – Ethan tried Indian food for the first time at G’Raj Mahal on Rainey Street, one of my all-time favorite places to eat in Austin.  It was freezing outside by this awesome little food trailer, but they had heat lamps, we had beer, and when the table next to us left, they gave us their blankets as well as some of their left over beers.  Of course, when we left, we passed on the blankets and those beers to the new table.  Tis the season for giving!  After we were happily stuffed, we went to see Ethan’s friend, Steve play a show with his band at Beer Land in downtown Austin.  They were one of the opening bands, but I thought they were the most fun and best on stage of the night!  (:

Dec 8 – I went to Ethan’s acting workshop in New Braunfels and got to meet his acting coach, Gino, who I liked very much, as well as a few of the other potential talents.  Once back in Austin, we stuffed our faces with yummy Vietnamese food at Hai Ky on Oltorf.  Mmmm.

Dec 12 to Dec 15 – Ethan and I were in Dallas for Ethan’s acting showcase!  I don’t think I could possibly express how proud I am of him and how well he did!  (:  I learned here, among many things, that there is a lot of confidentiality when it comes to acting, so expect lots of vague yet giddy posts in the future, haha.  Dec 15th was also the 2-year anniversary of my sister, DonNell and her husband, Vladimir (and I am honored to be the one who united them in ceremony)!

Dec 16 – This may be too taboo for you to read, but I think it is important: I found a new lady-doctor and I really like her (Dr. Jukes on Bee Cave Road)!

Dec 21 – DonNell, Vladimir, and I went to the Blue Genie Art Bazaar to buy Christmas gifts!  Every year my sister and I shop for each other while we are together, which makes picking out gifts a stress-free event.

Dec 23 – I spent some time with my friends, Jessica and Kelly!  They still had all of their art up from the art show they held earlier in the month while Ethan and I were in Dallas, so I got to see what it was all about and purchase some of their art!  Also, they treated me to an impromptu dinner because they are awesome friends.  (:

Dec 24 – My friend, Amanda and I spent a quick minute catching up with each other at my apartment before I got ready for the evening.  That night, Ethan and I had a lovely Christmas Eve at Ethan’s parent’s house with his family.  They are so sweet and accommodating!

Dec 25 – Ethan and I had Christmas dinner with my family (Mom, Dad, Sister, and Brother-in-law) and then went to the Moviehouse & Eatery to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  The dinner was delicious, and the movie was definitely an inspiring one!  I can’t wait to travel more!

Dec 26 – Ethan was super sweet and came to my work to replace the brake lights on my car (we got pulled over on Christmas because of this… luckily we only got a warning) and he met all of my co-workers.  Of course, they gave him great reviews once he left, as I knew they would.

Dec 28 – My sister had her baby!  My little nephew, Arthur is now in the world and is oh so cute!  I went to the hospital and got to hold him for a few hours.  <3  He is just a little bundle of love.  I cannot wait to be a part of his life while he grows up!

Dec 29 – I snuggled with my nephew for a few more hours!

Dec 31 – Ethan and I brought in the New Year on Rainey Street!  First, we went to Icenhauer’s, where we gulped down a beer while listening to not the greatest music in the world, haha.  We then quickly closed our tab and crossed the street to The Blackheart.  This venue had a much more chill vibe and way better music.  Here, we counted down the seconds to the New Year and kissed at midnight.  <3  We stayed till 2:30-ish, talking about various adorable couple-y things and left when they finally took away our drinks and were kicking people out.  Afterward, we tried to go to an after-party that I was told was going on, but when we got there, the house was dark and everyone was passed out, haha!  So, Ethan and I went back to my apartment and stayed up till about 9 in the morning chatting and such.  (;  I could not have asked for a better way to spend this NYE and I hope that 2014′s NYE is spent with this wonderful man of mine as well.  <3

XoXo – kisses and hugs to all of you!  I wish you all peace, love, and happiness in every moment of every day!  Cheers!

See Ya Next Year, November! XoXo

December 3rd, 2013 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | No Comments »

Well, as you can probably guess from all of my tweets and facebook updates, this month was full of time spent with Ethan.  <3  I couldn’t ask for anything more.  There are not enough adjectives to describe the depth of how I feel for him.  <3  Plus, he did me the great pleasure of not shaving the entire month for No-Shave-November!  Haha.  Beards are awesome.

Anyway, on to the highlights of what happened this November:

Friday, the 8th, I met up with my friend, Kelly Joy for a fish-free sushi meal at Haiku.  We had a lovely time catching up with each other, giggling and girl-chatting our corner of the restaurant.  During our dinner, Kelly spotted one of her coworkers sitting at the sushi bar and sent her a hello-text and smile from across the room.  Her coworker replied with a bottle of sake sent to our table!  So nice.  (:

Saturday, the 9th, Ethan and I met up with my friend Meggan and her boyfriend, Freddy for a fun-tastic night in Austin.  We started at Luster Pearl, getting warmed up with drinks and snacking on some tasty noms from the little food truck parked in the back patio area of the bar.  Then we found our way to The Hideout Theatre for a hilarious competition-based improv show where we all heckled the actors and laughed heartily and downed more than enough beers to last us the rest of the night.. but of course we didn’t stop there!  After the show, we went back to Rainey Street to give our livers a little more to filter at Bangers (our go-to while in the down-town part of Austin).  Once Meggan was officially cut off from the bar (which she was more than ready, so no big) we decided to bounce out.  Ethan and I then grabbed our second round of food at Magnolia Cafe (yes, we ate there twice in one day) and safely found our way back home to sleep through the night and most of the following Sunday.

Sunday, the 10th, I had a late hung-over lunch with my friend, Jon at Polvos.  This was Jon’s first time eating there, and I’m proud to have given him that experience, suffering from the night before or not.  Haha.  Polvos is probably my favorite Mexican restaurant in Austin, strictly because of their outstanding and unlimited salsa bar.  Plus, their micheladas are kick-ass!  Anyway, I was glad to hear that Jon was back in Austin and canvassing strong with TCE.  Man, do I miss that group of people.  <3

Wednesday, the 13th, I had dinner at the Clay Pit with my friend, Ronnie.  If you like Indian food, then you like the Clay Pit.  Haha.  They are delicious and not over-priced, which sometimes can be the case when it comes to Indian food.  Also, they have perfect serving sizes.  I was pleasantly full at the end of the meal, but not miserable by over-consumption of sinfully-rich foods.

Thursday, the 14th, I hung out with my friend Kara for some much needed girl-chat!  I love this girl so much and she is the queen of holiday decorations!  Seriously, her little apartment is decked out with more holiday decor than some houses.

Friday, the 15th, Ethan and I hung out with my friends Laura and Sean.  They invited us over for dinner (thank you, the tacos were delicious!) and we brought over some yummy beer to share.  It was a chill evening.

Sunday, the 17th, I went out to lunch and went shopping with my Mom.  These days are always appreciated.  <3

Thursday, the 21st, was my sister, DonNell’s birthday!  To celebrate, Mom, Dad, DonNell, Vladimir, Ethan, and I went to see the second movie in the Hunger Games series, Catching Fire at the Moviehouse & Eatery off of 620.  They have a full menu and leather recliners as every seat.  It’s pretty swank and definitely worth the few extra bucks.  Catching Fire is an action-packed film, for sure, is a quick 3 hours long, and leaves you at a cliff-hanger for the third to come out.. and according to my family, friends, and tons of strangers, Jennifer Lawrence is my doppelganger.  So if you liked the first movie, go see the second and see me in action!  Haha.  By the way, not only was this day my sister’s b-day, it was also Ethan’s first day to meet the family.  <3  And of course, I got the “stamp of approval” from them all.  (:

Saturday, the 23rd, Ethan and I went to go see a house my Dad is finishing for a client.  It has a posh retro decor, which fit the style of the house, being that it was located right off of 35th St. and Mopac.  The counter-tops in the kitchen alone cost more than what I make in a year.  I can see myself in a house like this in the future.  :D  It’ll happen!

Sunday, the 24th, I went to a SoLDier meet up hosted by the lovely Emily!  We ordered Conan’s vegan pizza and took shots of vodka while filling out some good-vibes worksheets provided by the infamous Kelly Cree and Jessica Mullen.  The evening was divine!

Tuesday, the 26th, I popped Ethan’ Poetry Slam cherry!  Haha.  We went to the Spider House Ballroom to see a wonderful and inspiring group of poets.  I absolutely love this venue and the poets that slam here.  I think they are some of the most talented and creative people.  I used to go to this particular slam all the time with my friend Dan (go team Red Fish, Blue Fish! haha), way back before I worked for TCE.  I am so grateful I have the schedule available to start going to again!

Thursday, the 28th, was Thanksgiving (duh, like you didn’t know) and I spent the day with Ethan’s family.  <3  It was my first time to meet them all.. and unlike my small family, I met a ton of his extended relatives, probably close to 30 people in all.  It was a stimulating day, full of love and good food.  Ethan’s step-dad’s mom was so sweet and made me a delicious vegan stir-fry and Ethan’s mom bought me Sriracha to go with it!  I couldn’t have asked for a better Thanksgiving meal (I also sampled some vegetarian side-dishes and deserts… mmm, thank you holiday food)!  It was so nice to get to see where Ethan comes from.  His family is not unlike mine, in that they are very kind and can do a fair-share of shit-talking, haha!  We wrapped up the night with a bonfire in the back yard and I relished the smoke smell being soaked into my jeans for the next few days.  Funny story to go along with this: I was cooking some apple-caramel-pecan-pastries to bring to this Thanksgiving dinner at 2 in the morning, the day of (yes, I know, so smart) and I ended up falling asleep while baking them and woke up around 4 am with burned pastries and an apartment full of smoke.  Haha, oops.  Turns out my fire alarm doesn’t work.  Anyway, I ended up just scraping my little muffin pan into my sink while deliriously laughing my ass off and airing out my apartment before going back to sleep for a few more hours.  I was a nervous wreck the day of, but it all turned out fine.  I just hope I got that same “stamp of approval” from his family.. we shall see.  (;

Friday, the 29th, was my friend Cuuhhhrriiisss’ birthday!  :b  Ethan and I joined Chris, Kaitlin, DonNell, Vladimir, Keith, and Greg, for dinner at Uchiko!  Holy mother of all that is fabulous, that dinner was so good!  We let our waiter take the reins on what to brings us to eat.  Yes, the bill was a bit scary at the end of the meal, but we had about 10 courses of decadent Japanese tapas-style dishes.  The way I would describe everything is with the oxymoron lightly-rich.  After the meal of a life time, Ethan and I went to my friends, Jessica and Kelly’s apartment for a quick visit.  We chatted, took shots of vodka, and drew art with our non-dominant hands (it’s silly fun, you should try it sometime).  After our chill visit, we wrapped up the night at Bangers and talked and talked and talked till the early morning.

Saturday, the 30th, Ethan and I woke up more hung-over than I have been in a long time and decided to sober up a bit a Kerbey Lane Cafe, our new go-to place for weekend brunch, even though we have to wait like an hour every time we go, it’s so worth it.  Kerbey was the only place we went to on Saturday.  We spent the rest of the day cuddling and saying sweet things to each other in his apartment.  (Ya, I know, get a room and shut up about it already, but I can’t help it, I’m in love. <3)

Haha, well, that about sums up the month.  I can’t wait to see what December brings!  So grateful for this life!!!

October Overview

November 6th, 2013 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | 1 Comment »

So, I believe in my last post, I ended with the beginning of October..

But just to mention it again, because it is awesome, on the 1st of October I celebrated my 2 year veganniversary!  Cheers to 2 years of being completely fabulous and in love with my body, giving it healthy, nutritious foods instead of junk.  (:  Not forgetting, spending my dollars wisely and not supporting a horrific/gargantuan industry of terror for animals, people, and the planet. Ok, I’m officially stepping off the soap box… for now. Haha.

Shiner’s Holiday Cheer Beer is currently in season!  If you want to taste the entire Holiday season composed in a single tasty beer, you have to try it!  Also, I’ve been cutting down on my caffeine intake (hooray!) and now Dandy Blend is my new favorite thing to drink!  I tried it for the first time at the Herb Bar in South/Central Austin when I went with my friend, Marissa.  It’s an herbal drink made with dandelion and chicory.  It is caffeine free, gluten free, rich in flavor, and tastes like a smooth cup of earthy coffee.  I am in love.  <3

 

So, product placement aside (sans payment for advertising I might add), we can now start with the deets of my October outings:

During the weekend of the 12th of October, my boyfriend, Ethan and I went to go see Silence of the Lambs, Master Pancake style, at the Ritz location of the Alamo Drafthouse. Needless to say (if you’ve ever been to a Master Pancake show) it was hilarious! Before the show, we hung out at the Buzz Mill for a bit and enjoyed each other’s company along with a few brews. The Buzz Mill is a new little coffeehouse/ bar off of East Riverside. You wouldn’t ever expect such a cute bar to be located there. They are kind of a lumberjack-themed venue with a decent drink selection, neat decor, and a large patio in the back with food trucks and a stage for live music. They are original, and rustic, and it always smells like a big camp fire and bbq there… both smells I greatly enjoy and salivate over (yes, even being vegan, I can’t deny that bbq smells delicious, haha). After the Buzz Mill, and trying to waste time before the movie, Ethan and I went to Banger’s. If you’ve never been, go. It’s a sausage house & beer garden on Rainey Street and they have over 100 beers on tap! Here we met up with some of Ethan’s friends from work and had a few more drinks and shared a jar of boiled peanuts. The peanuts were weird, kind of mushy, and very salty, but they satisfied our tipsy cravings for a snack before the show.  (;  After the movie was over, and after killing a few more beverages and eating some yummy Alamo Drafthouse grub, we went to Easy Tiger to end the night. Easy Tiger is a bake shop & beer garden right off of IH35 and 6th St. They are a pretty chill place, also having a decent selection of drinks, and a nice patio with a stage for live music, as well as ping-pong tables located next to a little area of Austin that resembles the San Antonio River Walk. Have I mentioned that it was raining profusely basically the whole night? Because it was. And after we left Easy Tiger, Ethan was very sweet and carried my heavily tipsy and soaking wet ass back to the car to go home.  <3  Haha.

On the 15th of October I visited a place called in.gredients in North Austin. They are a small little neighborhood grocery store focusing on local and fresh foods, eliminating food waste, as well as having a selection of beer, wine, and sun-dried items. I went for my friend, Dobbs’ 30th birthday get-together. When I was there, I was too busy socializing to enjoy the store, but from what I saw, it seemed to be a sweet place.  I need to remind myself to go back there at another time and actually look around/ shop.

The following weekend was full of birthdays: my friend Cliff turned 24, my friend Marissa turned 30, and my Dad turned 29(x2), haha.  (:  Love y’all!

Thursday, the 24th, I met up with my friend, Veronica for a drink at Dog & Duck, a pub located just South of UT Campus.  She surprised me by giving me a comic book titled “Betty and Veronica,” which is apparently a popular Archie Comic that I hadn’t heard of ’till now.  I thought it was a pretty cool gift!

The following day, Friday, I went to my friend, Kara’s place and met up with a few friends I hadn’t seen in a while.  It was nice to catch up and chill like old times.  <3

Saturday, the 26th, I spent with Ethan, and Sunday was my sisters, DonNell’s baby shower!  I got to see lots of her friends that I hadn’t seen in a long time and I think she and her husband, Vladimir enjoyed themselves.  It was a casual baby shower located at a park and men and women were invited.  I liked that she didn’t have silly baby shower games and that she asked for mostly baby books as gifts.  My nephew is going to be an avid reader of Dr. Seuss!  (:

Halloween night was surprising calm and casual.  Ethan and I went to go see his friend, Steve play an acoustic set at a bar in Georgetown.  After that, we went to the Hide Out Pub in North Austin and stayed there till almost closing time feeding the jukebox our dollar bills.

Friday, November 1st was the party night!  I went as “lumberjill” and Ethan went as Batman.  I got to see tons of my old coworkers and friends and Ethan got to meet all of them for the first time.  The party was a huge hit!  There were tons of people, and never-ending drinks.  At midnight, there was an epic metal show in Sean and Laura’s living room.  And I mean epic!  Haha, it was the most metal Halloween I’ve  had yet!  After the party died down some, we went back to my place and crashed, hard.  But before the wonderful deep drunken sleep started, I caught Batman peeing in my dryer.  Hahahah, oh yes, that made for a morning full of laughter and blushing cheeks.  He will probably love that I’m putting that on here.  (;

Saturday and Sunday (the 2nd and 3rd of November), I also spent with Ethan.  He pretty freaking wonderful.  The more I hang out with him, the more I fall for him.  <3

Anyway, that’s all I have for now in updates in the life of Betty Leigh Verbeke.  :D

To sum it up, as always, I am so very grateful to be alive and am so in love with my life and all of the endless wonders that fill it.  <3

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changesss!

October 6th, 2013 Posted in Thoughts & Thanks | No Comments »

Hey there, loves!  Wow, so my friend Marissa had sweetly pointed out to me via facebook that I had not posted on my blog in a while…  She was definitely correct in that, since my last blog post was June 30th!  Yikes!  Looks like it’s time for a hefty update, and needless to say, because of the ever-so-clever name of this post (haha), there have been many changes since last time I was on here.

Let’s start where we left off (with the beginning of July), naturally:

On the 4th I went to a Round Rock Express baseball game with my Mom, Dad, DonNell (sister), Vladimir (brother-in-law), and Chris (good friend, also known as Cuuhhrriiiiisss, haha).  We had a drunkenly good time and watched fireworks at the stadium when the game was over.  I think this is one of the most “American” 4th of Julys I have ever had.  :b

At the end of July I moved into a new apartment (thankfully, with the help of family)!  Oh my goodness, it is so very nice living on my own again!  I never have to worry about roommate drama, and for those of you who know me or have read my previous posts, you know that I am extremely grateful to not have roommate drama anymore, haha.  A few reasons why I picked this place are 1) the price was right, 2) the entire thing was remodeled right before I moved in, so it came with all new wood floors and new carpet, 3) it has nice updated appliances in the kitchen, and 4) it came with a laundry room, so now I have my very own washer and dryer to use, which is awesome!  Plus, this apartment is so me.  <3  My old apartment was furnished with furniture owned by the complex, and my new place is completely decorated by myself (but my sister, DonNell, did let me take her sweet futon/couch that is now in my living room).  I love the way my apartment reflects who I am.  All of the art decorating my walls are original pieces made by myself or by friends of mine, & constantly being surrounded by such beauty and creativity and friendship is a wonderful thing.  (:  Another perk about living alone is I can keep the apartment at whatever temperature I want and wear as little clothing as I want.  Haha, isn’t that always a benefit of living alone… being able to roam around your home with no clothes or cook in the kitchen with only an apron on?  :b  Here are some pics for your viewing pleasure:

On August 24th I had my first Roller Derby experience & loved it!  Haha.  My friend, Marissa, and I went to a game to support my friend, Lani, who plays for the Cherry Bombs!  We went and met up with a bunch of TCE friends (Lani is the office manager for TCE) and had such a fun time!  They played at the Palmer Event Center and totally kicked ass and won the game!  If you have never been, it is definitely something to add to your “bucket list.”  :D

On the 25th of August, I went to Austin’s Hot Sauce Festival with my friend, Jon.  This was definitely a HOT experience, but unfortunately, I am not referring to the salsas that we tried, haha.  It was over 100 degrees outside and there was no shade or breeze to cool us at Fiesta Gardens (the venue where it was held).  Also, Jon and I tried to use the ATMs 3 times (we did not come prepared with cash on hand, note to self for next time) and never got one to work for us… they were either out of order or out of money.  This killed our plan of drinking cold beer while we waited in a 30 minute line to try 15 to 25ish salsas, which to my spicy-loving standards were not nearly hot enough to even be considered entered at a “Hot Sauce Festival,” but I am kind of insane when it comes to spice tolerance.  Meh, maybe next year it will be less hot outside, hotter in spice, and more cold beer available for me.  Haha, a girl can hope, right?

August 31st, my friend Keaton and I went to see the band, Article play a show at Maggie Mae’s!  They were really good and I like the Maggie Mae’s venue.  I had heard about the group because one of the members also works at the Freebirds on Riverside I used to go to quite often.  Their music is like The Black Keys, mixed with Sublime, mixed with Reggae, mixed with some other stuff, so if you enjoy any of those, you would probably enjoy their music.  Plus, they have this bunch of cute girl groupies that are friends with the band mates, which makes for a sight to see when they all get up and dance, haha.  (;

I went to the Austin Pride Parade on September 7th and had a fabulous time with some of my friends from TCE!  I showed up a little late, but I got to see the second half of the parade, which was loud and colorful and amazing and took up so many streets of downtown!  I love that Austin has a Pride Parade and that it was glorious!  Haha.  :D  I also enjoyed a few shows at a little venue, one of which was performed by my friend, Mel, with her adorable band.

The following day, on the 8th, Mel and I went and got professional massages at Massage Harmony off West Gate.  This was a much needed experience for the both of us and I am so glad we made/ went to the appointments!

On the 11th of September, I caught up with my good friend, Amanda!  It was her 24th birthday and I had not seen her in over a year.  She was one of my first friends when I moved to Texas back in 2001 and I am so happy we are still in contact with each other.  We went and celebrated with drinks and dinner at El Alma off Barton Springs and then came back to my place for a few more drinks before we called it a night.  I love her so much and I am so happy she is enjoying her life.  (:

September 16th was my first day at my new job!  I am now an assistant for two attorneys and a paralegal at an office in West Lake.  They practice Family Law, so we mostly deal with divorce and child support cases.  I love my new job so, so, so much!  :D  I enjoy the work, the people I work for, the professional atmosphere (I get to wear such cute business dresses and heels every day and I loveee it; feeling pretty at work is a fantastic thing), the hours, the pay, and everything else about the job!  Well, the only small down-side is I had to get rid of my nose ring, which I had for over five years, so that was like ending one of the longest relationships I’ve ever had, haha, but it was more than worth it for all the positives that come with the job.  Since I have started the job, my boss, Lawrence, has treated me to lunch at least once a week, which has been very nice, as well as become a Notary Public!  So if you ever need something notarized, you now know who to contact, haha.  (:  Also, I want to say I definitely loved working at my old job, TCE.  I was there for 18 months for good reason, but it was definitely time for a change.  Environmental advocacy is something I will always have close to my heart.  I know that when it comes to environmental policy in Texas (and in other states), there would not be anywhere close to the amount of progression if it weren’t for grassroots non-profits finding support in all communities, holding business accountable to taking responsibility for the end-of-life of their toxic products, and holding senators and representatives accountable to making responsible decisions when it comes to passing legislation (or not passing horrible legislation) during the legislative sessions.  I am so grateful I had to opportunity to work for TCE and that I had the ability to travel all over the great state of Texas, as well as New York (twice!) and New Jersey.  Not only was this an amazing job experience, but through it I have found so many friends that will forever be my life.  <3

On September 24th/25th, I bought a new car!  I now own a 2008 Mazda 3i!  It’s adorable and red and has a sunroof and I love her so much (haha, yes, her, but she doesn’t have a name yet)!  I found her on craigslist through a guy who is now retired and buys cars at auction to repair and sell, so I got a great deal.  I had my dad and my brother-in-law, Vladimir, to come look at the car with me just to make sure it was a legit deal.  Vladimir is a mechanic and gave her the thumbs-up after looking her over and going on a test drive to check out everything.  She is so wonderful and I am so grateful to have a car again!  I have been sans-car since last November when I lost my old Honda Fit due to a large deer committing suicide, haha.  Honestly, I am happy I got to live the car-less life for almost a year.  I now have an appreciation for the Austin public transportation system that I would not have had if I didn’t have a car for so long, and I can truthfully say I will continue to use it when needed.  And since I talked her up so much, I have to post a pic or two of her:

My friends, Marissa, Sarah, Kara, and I went to the Roller Derby Championship on September 28th!  It was bad-ass!  The Cherry Bombs (Lani’s team) won!  They took the title from another team that had held the Championship for the last four years, so it was a huge victory and was a great game to watch!

On the 1st of October I celebrated my two-year veganniversary!  Haha, yup, I have now been vegan for two years!  Of course, there have been a few meals along the way that weren’t 100% vegan, but I would estimate 95% of my last two years of eating has been vegan, and I have loved every second of it.  Going vegan was one of the smartest and healthiest choices I have ever made in my life.  I would like to thank my Business Ethics and Philosophy of Ethics professors for giving me the knowledge and the passion to do more research as well as my friends Jessica and Kelly for giving me the initial consideration and inspiration for making the transition.  <3  I love y’all and am so grateful I have you in my life!

This last weekend (October 4th through to today, October 6th), was spent with my friend, Ethan.  (:  It was his birthday weekend, and on Friday night we went to House of Torment!  It was entertaining, but not nearly as fun as I remember it being in years past.  It probably had something to do with the amount of annoying high school kids that were in front of us the entire time, oh well.  Saturday we went down to the Rainey Street area to go to the bar, Bangers.  He and his friends had never been there before.  It is pretty sweet if you are a beer drinker – they have 101 beers on tap and a few bottles to choose from as well!  They also had a cool live band playing; possibly German music, not too sure, but they were keeping us amused.  Haha, I think the funniest part of this weekend was us trying to go to Kerbey Lane Café, twice.  Saturday morning and Sunday morning (today), we went, asked how long the wait was, and left both times because it was “too long” for our impatient and hung-over selves.  However, we ended up just driving around looking for a place to eat during the time we would have been waiting and both times we settled for places that were not nearly as good as I know Kerbey can be.  Ethan has now been there twice and has never eaten there, haha, but the food is delicious (& they have vegan options), so next time we will just wait out the wait!

Finally, I’ll end with a preview: at the end of the month, my sister, DonNell is having a baby shower!  She is having a little boy and I am so excited to bring my new little nephew into this glorious world with so much love and fun with all of our family and friends getting together to celebrate his arrival!

Well, I guess that brings this update up-to-date and officially makes this an odyssey of a blog post, haha.

Here’s till next time, my loves!  Best wishes and good vibes to all of you in all that you do!  XOXO  Love you and so grateful you are part of my life!  <3