The Ever-Inspiring Dr. King

MLK Quote 2014

Yes, I may be guilty of playing the race card more than most folks I know, but don’t let that fool you. I couldn’t be more proud of my African-American heritage, a fact that is cause for pause and reflection on days like this Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

Above is one of my favorite quotes from Dr. King. It’s one that not only helps inspire me to remain motivated, but to maintain perspective on life’s greater purposes as well. Enjoy the day, everyone.

Advertisements

Nine-Year-Olds Got Nothing on These Nine Mascots

I taught nine-year-olds for two years coming out of grad school, and believe me, those kids had nothing on the nine mascots that took part in our recent CAA Basketball Mascot Tour in Baltimore.

The purpose of the tour was to help promote the CAA Men’s Basketball Championship’s move to Baltimore in 2014. I was tasked with manning the conference’s social media efforts during the tour alongside several members of a local public relations team helping lead the day’s events.

Needless to say, given the efforts (and antics) of our nine so-called furry friends, I think we got the word out.

The tour began at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel, site of our CAA Basketball Media Day. Several mascots arrived earlier than the others, so while we waited, the mascots wasted little time finding their form, greeting (i.e. scaring the hell out of) guests as they got off elevators, getting spanked by security and even taking some time to check in folks at the front desk.

Elevator

Check In

Before heading out to our first stop, we corralled our cast of characters for a photo. The expression “herding cats” certainly applied here. They are a good-looking bunch, though, right?

CAA_0052

Waiting outside for us was Baltimore Trolley, which so graciously carted the group around for the day. There was plenty of room for the gang, including James Madison’s Duke Dog, who if it weren’t for his lack of opposable thumbs could probably start for JMU given that he’s a good 6’6″.

Mascots Trolley

Our first stop was the Under Armour Brand House, where the mascots did everything from play a little hoops to fold some of the apparel. There was also some fooling around with the checkout scanner gun. Oh, and this happened on the counter…

Doc Checkout

It was then off to Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s office. While we waited for the mayor to return from some important business, the mascots rested up and took in a little TV.

TV Mascots

We were then led into an immaculate chamber featuring artwork and furniture that had to be well over 100 years old. The mascots took full (and I do mean full) advantage of the space, with each taking a turn behind the podium, including Sammy, who’s got the whole politician thing down.

Sammy Podium

Mayor Rawlings-Blake arrived to quite a sight. After taking in the fur-filled scene and a little one-on-one time with the league’s lone female mascot, Hofstra’s Kate the Lioness (who had just finished dolling herself up in the 19th-century mirror), it was time for what was the day’s premier photo opp.

mayor

Following a quick return trip to the hotel to greet the media and their head coaches, the mascots joined us at Phillip’s Seafood in the heart of the Inner Harbor. A full spread had been set out for us, and it didn’t take long for the mascots to begin cracking crabs and making a complete mess. Even William & Mary’s Griffin was at a loss at the spectacle.

Griffin

At least Kate was there to help clean everyone up.

Duke Dog Kate

With everyone now stuffed full of seafood, we headed to Federal Hill. Along the way, Drexel’s Mario the Magnificent stumbled upon some long-lost family members.

mario dragons

We also discovered that Towson’s Doc the Tiger has some mad skills on the drums. We thought he was just cattin’ around when he first sat down, so this was a pleasant surprise to all of us and the other Inner Harbor visitors who gathered around for the impromptu show.

Doc Drums

A beautiful view of the city awaited us atop Federal Hill, making the hike up the several flights of stairs very worthwhile.

Federal Hill

It was important that we all stayed hydrated after that climb, as Northeastern’s Paws the Husky took to heart.

Paws Fountain

The next stop on the tour was a highly anticipated one – M&T Bank Stadium, where the reigning Super Bowl Champion Ravens’ mascot, Poe, joined us for a shot in the stands. Love or hate the Ravens, they boast one of football’s cleverest mascots.

ravens

We followed up our trip to the stadium with a visit to the Orioles’ historic Camden Yards, which combines classic ballpark beauty and an updated modern feel to create a great stadium aesthetic. Enough about architecture, though, as we were joined by The Bird, who led our nine mascots onto the dugout for this sweet shot.

camden

A few of us got left behind (not because we were perfecting our dugout dances), so the mascots enjoyed some extra time at Baltimore’s Sports Legends Museum.

museum

The four of us stragglers quickly caught up with the group and we then set off for Baltimore Arena, home of the 2014 CAA Men’s Basketball Championship. The league hopes to see plenty of fans in these lines come March.

arena

Our last stop on the tour was the National Aquarium, where the mascots made friends with one of the dolphins.

Dolphin

Sammy made a friend on the way out as well. Yeah, this is pretty adorable.

Sammy Girl

All in all, it was a highly entertaining and ultimately successful day spent with our nine crazy mascots, thanks to a lot of teamwork…

Teamwork

and a lot of fun.

Scared Lady

A Truly ‘Strangers’ Inspired Pic

Pitchfork Teepee

My girl Di texted me this pic of a teepee yesterday along with the words “Pitchfork on its side with the handle broken off,” which I’ve since captioned on the photo itself. Her text absolutely made my day (well, that and talking to my mom on Mother’s Day, of course).

The pic probably means nothing if you’re not a fellow (and refined) fan of “Strangers With Candy” – hands down one of the greatest cult classic series of all time, and one that has served as a foundation for a number of my friendships. The latter may appall you if you’re one of those uber-politically correct types, but it actually makes me quite proud.

The context of the quote along with the premise of the episode in which it appears can be found on some guy’s ridiculously involved series companion site. And I thought I was a Strangers superfan…

This pic is a keeper though. There are often times I send friends photos that remind me of them, but I haven’t gone as far as those tumblr types who caption funny phrases or inspirational quotes on his pics. This one may just have inspired me to start doing more of that.

Embracing My Late Twenties

liz lemon

A wise individual once said, “You’re only as old as you feel.” In that case, then, I  feel like a total 28 year old – caught in between those crazy college years and an extended stay at a senior home.

There are times I genuinely feel like I’m 28 going on born in 1928, with not a day passing at this point that I’m reminded of no longer being twenty-twoooooo (thanks Taylor Swift). I mean, I run and can drive at night, but it’s probably not a good sign that I’ve found myself using phrases like “kids these days,” right?

These geriatric moments and sensations (and frustrations) are a recurring subject and source of humor in conversations with friends. Thankfully we’re not alone, though, as apparently our feelings of old ballness is a “thing,” perfectly encapsulated in a recent BuzzFeed article comparing one’s early twenties to their late twenties.

Scrolling through the gifs (knowing what a gif is… score!), I found myself not only laughing but also finding a lot of truth in (too) many of the examples. The one that rang all too true involves where you’re likely to find me at 1 a.m. on Saturday morning…

20s

The article also made me realize that I’m now at the point where I could give two shits about gossip and clubbing, have hella more confidence than I did five or six years ago (yeah life experiences!) and feel so much older than college kids – the exact same feeling I used to get around high schoolers as an undergrad.

Okay, time to get ready for bed. It’s already past 9 p.m…

Lots of Inspiration to Stand as One With Boston

Martin Richards Sign

After tragedies like Monday’s Boston Marathon bombings, many of us search for a way to help, as evidenced by the many inspiring stories of good being done in the aftermath of the attack and over the past several days. I know that finding a way to give back was one of my prevailing thoughts after my initial senses of shock and horror began to dissipate.

Today I heard about a “Boston stands as one” tribute T-shirt being sold by Boston Marathon sponsor adidas, which will donate 100% of the proceeds to the One Fund Boston founded in Monday’s aftermath to help support the victims of the bombings and their families. Mens and women’s styles are available, both featuring a blue and yellow theme – the colors of the Boston Athletic Association that coordinates the marathon – for a very race-appropriate cost of $26.20.

I immediately bought a tee to serve as a tribute to the victims, their families, all of the marathoners, the authorities and the people of Boston. I figured another way to give back at this point is to spread the word about the various ways to give back, which is my aim here.

If a tee isn’t your thing, then check out One Fund Boston and The Salvation Army’s Boston Emergency Services Fund. Another awesome resource is the Boston Marathon’s Crowdrise site listing a ton of teams and individuals to which you can donate. It’s amazing to

In addition to that, I’d encourage you to get out and go for a run to honor those affected as well as to take some time to pray, which I like to think is the most powerful option. Oh, and call your loved ones and tell them you love them!

I wanted to end this post with several inspirational things I’ve seen in the news over the last several days…

The fans at Wednesday’s Bruins/Sabres game stepped in after Rene Rancourt had difficulty overcoming his emotions while singing the National Anthem (occurs around 3:00 mark)…

In a clear display of support, the archrival Yankees paid tribute by playing Sweet Caroline during Wednesday’s game against the Diamondbakcs…

I also wanted to share President Obama’s speech made at today’s  interfaith service in Boston. I point to two statements in particular: “Your city is with you. Your country is with you. We will all be with you as you learn to stand and walk and yes, run again.” and “It should be pretty clear by now that they picked the wrong city to do it. Not here in Boston. Not here in Boston.”

Lastly, the Chicago Tribune featured a very classy tribute on the front page of its Sports Section on Tuesday. I thought this was incredibly well done.

original

San Fran: As Beautiful as You Are Stereotyped

San Fran Rainbow

My friend Jason posted this pic of San Francisco’s rainbow-filled sky earlier this week and it just made me smile. The city, and the Bay Area in general, is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places I’ve had the pleasure of visiting in my 28 years.

Say what you will about San Fran – without a doubt one of America’s most strongly-stereotyped cities with its hella-pricey properties and copious earthy-crunchy, liberal-leaning, techy and altogether strange types – but it’s hard to argue the city is probably one of the most beautiful in the country. The photo doesn’t lie, folks.

San Fran, if you weren’t so far away from the majority of my friends and fam, I’d come knocking in a heartbeat. But don’t worry, I’ll visit soon.

Per Usual, I’m in the Minority

Layla Snow

I get it. You hate cold weather; a hatred that’s probably been only further magnified by winter continuing to linger like it is now in late March.

I’m sure many of you have recently stepped outside and flashed a McKayla Maroney-esque sneer similar to the one of my sister’s dog Layla in the pic above.

Like you, I’m fully aware that spring has officially arrived, so why isn’t the weather acting like it? Damn Mother Nature and that (Punxsutawney) Phil with his six more weeks of winter. Winter’s the worst, right?

Wrong. Per usual, I’m in the minority. As my friends and family know, I’m one of the seemingly few folks who genuinely loves cold weather. Winter and I are tight. In fact, if it weren’t for it not being light enough for morning runs, we’d be besties. But generally I’m a big fan of rocking my Patagonia jacket, holing up at Starbucks, couch surfing with my mags or a good book and piling on the blankets at night.

While many out here in Virginia don’t mind (but always find a reason to complain about) these soft winters with their lame quasi-cool temps and little to no snow, I personally can’t wait to move up north in the near future (Boston!) so I can bundle up, finally get into cross country skiing and occasionally score a snow day when a massive snowstorm like good ol’ Nemo hits.

Growing up in the Midwest, I miss my authentic winters, a fact I was reminded of this past weekend when my mom group messaged my sisters and I photos of the winter storm that dumped 15 inches on our small central Illinois town. The pics made me reminisce about snowfalls during our childhood and all of the good times we Burri and the neighbor kids had together.

In this spirit, and because my mom braved the snow and cared enough to send these shots, I thought I’d share them here on the blog. Enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.