Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Let's Be Friends Blog Hop!

I've been really crappy at blogging lately, because I'm exhausted from working so much. My biggest event of the year was this past weekend, and I can't wait to tell you all about it, but I am still pooped. I just need a night or two of restful sleep until my brain is back to functioning normally. Until then, go meet some of my favorite bloggers! 

Welcome to the Let's Be Friends Blog Hop!

A blog hop is a set time frame for current or aspiring bloggers to find new blogs and quality content. It is a great way to make new friends and find inspiration! It is also a fabulous way to promote your own blog and posts.

Dear Friends,

What a day to celebrate! This is the 58th week of the Let's Be Friends blog hop! Thanks for joining us on this special day. Chelsee and Tiffany are extremely delighted to see the way this hop has grown and love to see your faces each week! 

Join us every Tuesday at 7am (MST). This blog hop focuses on content. LINK UP YOUR FAVORITE POST from last week in this fun content-sharing blog hop! I love the idea of blog hopping, but I love the idea of reading posts and quality content on new blogs I've never been to even more. Instead of simply linking up your blog button, you are now able to link up your favorite post you recently wrote. Have a delicious recipe to share, DIY tutorial, or heartfelt post? Share it with us! All hosts and co-hosts put up some unique and fun content from the past week. Make sure to check them out. P.S.- you may still link up your blog button and blog name, but it is encouraged to link up your favorite post instead. You will get more page views and interest if you do so! Some of the most successful blog hops I have participate in focus on content rather than just exchanging follows. You never know who will become a loyal follower or pin that delicious new recipe you posted!

The BEST part of this blog hop? Each week there will be a WINNER! That's right, each week we will choose one lucky blog to feature from the previous week's hop. This hop receives thousands of page views every week, so your blog will have the chance to be center stage for free. You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win. Only those who link up a specific post are eligible to be featured! *You must follow all the hosts and co-hosts in order to win.

The last exciting change is that the co-host spots will now be available to all sponsors of  The Dwelling Tree or Southern Beauty Guide. If you are interested in co-hosting the blog hop, email Tiffany or Chelsee about sponsorship opportunities and how to co-host the weekly hop!

There are a couple of great giveaways going on right now at Southern Beauty Guide and The Dwelling Tree. Go check them out! :)

Let's Be Friend's Blog Hop Guidelines
1. Link up your favorite post from your week.
2. Follow your hosts and co-hosts.
3. Grab the button and post it on your blog so we can share the love.
4. Visit 3 other blogs and follow them along!
5. Tweet about this blog hop, using #letsbefriends
6. Pin the button on pinterest so we can spread the news! 

***Once a week, one blog will be chosen to be the featured blogger from the previous blog hop. 

Meet your hosts: 

The Dwelling Tree: Blog, Bloglovin'

Southern Beauty Guide: Blog, Bloglovin'

 and your co-hosts:

Kendra from Open Spaces
Suzanna from One Hoolie Mama

***This weeks featured post from last week's hop:

Hello! This is Tiffany this week! Thanks for all the great posts last week. It was really fun to read what was on everyone's mind. Such great posts are linked up here every week. You all make it hard to pick one post to feature! This week I chose the post "Creating a Self Care Box" because I love the idea and also would love to gift this to a friend down the road. 

I've been super terrible at blogging lately because I've been working a ton and, as a result, I'm exhausted.

My biggest event of the year was over the weekend, and I can't wait to tell you all about it. I need a night or two of sound sleep before my brain can function normally. Until then, go meet some of my favorite bloggers!

Sheryl is a Kentucky gal and a lover of Starbucks. She is married, is a counselor, and started her blog as a personal journey. Her blog is really beautiful and full of fun recipes, tutorials, and posts about life. 

The idea behind this blog post is to create a box filled with things that make you happy and pulling it out when you are having a rough day. It can be your favorite scent, chocolate bar, movie, or lotion. Put a sweet card in it from a friend that touched your heart. 

I think this is a great gift idea for friends who are going through a rough time. In fact, I can think of a few friends I would love to make this for! Go read her post for more ideas on the "Self Care Box"! 

Keep posting awesome content! You make it so fun for me to read all your posts! If you can, please link up a specific post. It makes it easier for us to come and visit! 

*Remember YOU can be next weeks winner! :)

Friday, March 7, 2014

Jersey Wish List

Posts have been lean the last few weeks because I'm gearing up for my biggest event of the year. I'm just two weeks away from my gala event. It's a ton of work, but I get to play dress up, and my wonderful friends volunteer, so I'm really excited. I'm even more excited for it to be over, because that feeling is just euphoric, and I'll be very excited to tell you all about it.

A few years ago, one of my favorite USA Hockey bloggers asked what jerseys were on your "jersey wish list." Up until then, I hadn't really thought about it, but as a hockey fan, that's an excellent question. So, without further ado, here are mine:

In the Western Conference, the Calgary Flames are my favorite team. They are also perennially awful, and haven't been the same since their 2004 Cup run.

One of my all-time favorite Penguins, Eric Godard, also played for the Calgary Flames, and because that's a whole lot of awesome, I want to own his Flames jersey, especially so I can wear it when I eventually make it to the Saddledome.

How much do I love Eric Godard? If you Google him, this image comes up:

I made that sign during the 2008-09 season, and he signed it after a game. At Mellon Arena, it was really easy to meet players after games, you could wait along the fence near the player parking lot, and most of them would come right over. Eric loved my sign, and if you can't read it, it says:

To Kylie: Best sign I've ever seen.

I was also lucky enough to get him to sign my Godard Pens jersey right before a game on Long Island in 2011. As you can tell, I really love this guy.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I unapologetically and obnoxiously announce every TYLERRRRRR JOHNSONNNNN GOALLLLL! Tyler is one of my favorite hockey players, and one of the nicest athletes I've ever had the please of meeting. I really need to add his Spokane Chiefs and Tampa Bay Lightning jerseys to my collection.

This jersey was on the top of my jersey wish list, but I acquired it and was able to get it signed, so now it's the crowned jewel of my collection. This is a replica of the jersey Tyler wore when Team USA ended Canada's reign of terror winning streak at the World Junior Championships in 2010.

The jersey I most want to own is Brooks Orpik's from the 2010 Winter Olympics.

I had no idea how quickly they would sell out, and by the time I had gotten home from Vancouver, I missed out on getting one. This one is especially important to me since I was lucky enough to go to the Olympics in Vancouver. I've seen one on eBay for upwards of $500, and while I was tempted, I just couldn't justify it. I still keep looking, though.

To commemorate the once-in-a-lifetime experience of attending the Olympic Games, I got the star from the USA jersey tattooed on my right shoulder blade. I mean, I have the tattoo, I need the jersey.

Are you a sports fan and have a jersey wish list? Do you have a wish list of another kind?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Throwback Thursday - Olympic Edition

This post is quite picture-heavy, so I apologize if it takes awhile to load.

Does that even still happen? I don't know, I still use the same laptop I bought when I started grad school in '05, so everything loads about as fast as Hal Gill skates.

This time, four years ago, I was on the way to Vancouver for the 2010 Olympics with one of my best friends, and met up with two Canadian friends once we landed. That trip seems like it happened yesterday. How did four years go by so quickly?!

I know just how incredibly lucky I am to have had the opportunity to attend the Olympics; sometimes I still can't believe it. I think being in Vancouver took my already intense patriotism to extreme levels. Anytime my American friend and I saw someone wearing Team USA gear, we yelled "GO USA!" at them/in their faces. Sometimes we got a patriotic response, but others we just got confused looks. I'm pretty sure we looked like we had just gotten out of an asylum. Whoopsie, patriotism makes me a bit nutty.

While we were there, we took in women's hockey and men's hockey, and it was so awesome.

First up was women's hockey at UBC Thunderbird Arena. We saw Slovakia vs. China, which I thought was pretty neat since China is not the first...or even the 15th country you think of when you talk about international hockey.

China won 3-1. The handshakes after international play (and the conclusion of every NHL playoff series) is one of my favorite tradition in sports. It has to suck being the losing team as you're going through the handshake line, though. Although, I'd probably want to punch a few people/everyone, so I don't know how well that would work out for me. If you haven't noticed yet, I get pretty riled up about sports.

There was a pumped up Team China fan there, so, we obviously had to get a picture with him. I mean, when in Rome China, Vancouver, right?

The men's game we attended at GM Place (renamed Canada Hockey Place for the Olympics, now Rogers Arena) featured No. 8 seed Switzerland vs. No. 9 Belarus. Since we had qualifying round tickets, we weren't sure who we would be seeing until the round robin had ended. On paper, this sounds like a really boring game, but it wasn't at all. I can't even begin to put into words what the atmosphere was like, and my pictures certainly won't do it justice. Despite the crowd being mostly Canadian, the teams were being cheered on as if they were playing a home game. It was really cool.

From our seats, we could see the TSN guys. FYI: Darren Pang uses a booster seat. Not even kidding.

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were also there, being all adorable, showing of their Ice Dancing gold medals. There was no outcry of the results being fixed or coach favoritism at these Games.

For Belarus, we saw Sergei Kostitsyn and the late Ruslan Salei in action. For Switzerland, Jonas Hiller, Luca Sbisa, and Roman "Swiss Miss" Wick.

Switzerland won in a shootout 3-2. Despite the game not being a marquee match-up, it was a lot of fun. GM Place Rogers Arena is a great venue, too. The sight lines were awesome, it has nice concourses, and everything was laid out in a way that made sense. It was also easy to get Olympic souvenirs there, which I appreciated. Since I didn't see NHL hockey there, I don't count it as one of the 13 arenas I've been to so far, so I most definitely want/need to go back.

Vancouver is an absolutely gorgeous city, and you should most definitely visit if you ever have the chance. To save a few dollars, we flew into Seattle and took a bus to Vancouver. It was super easy, and I highly recommend it.

We did not go to the gold medal game, but I have a story to tell you about that, which should make it even clearer why I'd rather set myself on fire than cheer for Team Canada in hockey.

Team USA and Canada meet tomorrow, and I"m already wondering where I can get a sedative. I considered day drinking, but, 1) I'll be working tomorrow; 2) my drink of choice is usually Crown and ginger ale, which won't work, because that's Canadian, and I refuse. I don't think wine or beer would be strong enough, and I can't go back to work tequila drunk, so, I'll have to figure something else out to calm my nerves.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

International Competition

I wasn't going to post this, because I wrote it while I was all fired up, but now that USA and Canada are meeting in the semi-finals, all bets are off.

I apologize in advance for the profanity in this post. This is a very serious topic.

I've been putting off writing this post because frankly, the topic gets me fired up. Like, irrationally angry, probably to an unhealthy level.

I'll start off with the nice stuff. I really love the Olympics and the magic that comes from the Olympic spirit. I love seeing the pure, unadulterated joy on the faces of athletes who win and the pride of those who are just happy to compete for their countries. I'm often moved to tears while watching the Olympics. The first time I cried tears of joy was in 1996 when the Magnificent Seven won team gold. You know what I'm talking about.

I'm at a loss for words. I mean, what is there to say? It was a truly magical moment, and embodies the Olympic spirit. Just amazing.

That brings me to Olympic hockey. I can't think of anything that fires me up more than the hockey that happens every four years, aside from the World Junior Championship.

I have no tolerance for people who root against their country. Like, seriously. What in the actual fuck is wrong with you?! There is no justifiable reason for this and I don't care what you say. You are entitled to your opinion and your treasonous opinion is wrong. This is not the NHL regular season. "Favorite players" don't matter here. This is a two-week tournament for international glory. There is a team that wears your country's colors and name across it's chest, yet you choose to root for your country's biggest rival.

Don't tell me, "Sid is my favorite player, so I'm rooting for Canada." You know what, Sidney Crosby is one of my favorite players, too, but, newsflash, HE'S CANADIAN AND WE ARE AMERICAN. HE DOES NOT WEAR THE COLORS OF OUR COUNTRY'S FLAG DURING THE OLYMPICS. I also do not care if you started cheering for Canada as a misinformed little boy/girl because you love Mario Lemieux. Again, Mario is Canadian, and therefore, your argument is invalid. Nothing you can say to me will convince me that you are not wrong for choosing to root against your country. Nothing. Don't even bother trying.

I've also seen people say, "I hate Kane/Kesler/Brown/your mom. I hate Team USA." WHAT. WHAT ARE YOU EVEN SAYING?! Go ahead and dislike whatever players you want, God knows I have my own laundry list, but how does that translate into hating YOUR. OWN. COUNTRY. That doesn't even make any sense. It's INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION, not ROOT FOR YOUR FAVORITE PLAYER COMPETITION. Nothing, and I mean nothing could ever make me root against the United States of America. Not even if I was married to a Canadian athlete. N O T H I N G.

Let's think of it in terms of other sports, shall we?

Johnny Damon was my favorite baseball player for a very long time. When he signed with the Yankees, he was dead to me. Would it have been okay for me, as a die-hard Red Sox fan, to jump ship and start rooting for the Yankees? Hell no.

What if a Columbus native grew up a Michigan fan? Again, not okay.

How about a Pittsburgh native being a Flyers fan? Nope.

You see where I'm going with this.

Then, I see things like this and get even angrier about people cheering against their own countries.

All this being said, I love national pride. I have zero problem with Canadians who root for their country with every fiber of their being. This is how it should be. I'm also skeptical of people who cheer for Team USA but aren't American.

What is your purpose here? Are you a spy?

I also love friendly, sports-related ribbing and harassment. However, if you come at me and you're not rooting for your own country, chances are good that I'll want to punch you in your Benedict Arnold face.

I love you, Sidney Crosby, and you'll always be one of my favorite athletes, but I want to use this picture as target practice with the gun I don't own.

For two weeks every four years, my most favorites become my most hated, and athletes I hate become those I cheer on relentlessly. It's actually beautifully poetic.

If you're one of the traitors I'm talking about, you're probably wondering why I care so much and what real effect this has on my day-to-day life. To answer your question, you're right it doesn't. However, I am still fascinated and dumbfounded by your horrible life choices.

For the next two weeks, these guys are my favorite players, regardless of NHL club.

Once these Olympics are over, we can once again go back to cheering for our respective NHL teams and favorite players.