07.11.14 — Leave a comment

How many days can be claimed as one of the best of ever? Well, if each day is better than the previous day you could say this every day, right? Not that I would — or you would — but it’s possible.

For 10 days in a row — our ‘moon to be specific — it happened.

That guy I married whisked me away to the Virgin Islands for 10 days. Ten days filled with rum punches, suntans, mornings by the beach, afternoons on the water and evenings by the beach.

Sunset_Westin_StJohnThe St. John Westin became our home away from home. Our ocean-facing room was only steps from the shore. Each morning I welcomed the day with a new book (yes, one a day) and large cup of coffee.

For a girl who didn’t have a typical college spring break trip, this more than made up for it.

We ventured out with the Kekoa – twice. Twice we guzzled our rum punches faster than we should have and snorkeled to our hearts content.

In one day I learned to snorkel, spotted two octopuses, squealed in delight as two Humpback whales breached the azure waters, swam to the shore of Jost Van Dyke and watched the sunset while drinking yet another Pain Killer.

Living like the Jones’ was great until it wasn’t. The Westin was lovely, truly it was. It was undergoing a lot of renovations and closed up shop at about 7 p.m. every day.

So, we checked out of our ocean-facing room at the Westin, took the ferry to the BVIs and rented a cabin no bigger than a shoebox on Jost Van Dyke.

It was meant to be, you see. Upon checking we spotted both our alma maters’ flags. That’s a thing, of course

photo 4
We traveled 1,500 miles and what we found was the most authentic experience of my life. Soggy Dollar? Check. Foxy’s? Check

Where’s the magic? Corsairs. The owner is a treat, man. To be fair we got off on the wrong foot. That’s what happens when you have a couple of hangry Haneys.

The food was out of this world. Or was it? It could have been that Merle, Kris, Waylon, Buck and Willie were on loop. Who knew that all you needed to do to listen to really authentic country was to visit the BVIs.

We claimed a picnic table to watch the sun bid the day adieu. Here’s when I inquired about the realness of the day. Could it be? Real?

Did that ‘moon happen?

It was like a unicorn that I captured and released back into the wild. For a while, the world was perfect.


Venturing to St. John?
Sail with: Kekoa
Drink here: Woody’s Seafood Saloon
Eat here: Morgan’s Mango
Sleep here: Westin St. John
Play Rummy with a local here: Across the Street Bar

Of all the hats I wear, big sister is my favorite.

In this capacity, I’ve learned to manage, delegate, rule, annoy and defend – all buzz words that will be immediately added to my résumé.

A few weekends ago, my sister gradated from high school. Read as: I used my last vacation day of the year to take my heart back to Payne County, Oklahoma.

Tori's High School Graduation
Oklahoma: where everything moves a little slower (except the wind), the people are friendlier and my heart is fuller. I can travel the world, but my home will always be in Perkins. It’s where my family is, you know? It’s where I learned to drive on dirt roads, first kissed a boy and met my best friend.


It’s where I learned to have high standards for the boys I brought home. How’s that? By bringing home ones who didn’t quite make the cut. Just ask my dad – he’ll tell you about ‘em.


When I finally brought home the right one, it was all worth it. And, yes, that’s his best little brother impression.

Cheers to you, little sister. May you love college as much as I did and may you make the friends who stand by your side for all of life’s curveballs. You’re my favorite.




I can escape into a book. Really escape.

My senses cease reacting, the world halts on its axis and my entire being is absorbed into the crisp paper neatly adorned with characters of freshly-printed ink. Honestly, it can be frightening for those around me.

Brooke? Absent.

From Charlotte to Atlanta the words of Emily Giffin’s The One and Only were transcribed onto my soul.

Emily Giffin The One and Only
I sound like such a fan girl. In addition to the Harry Potter series, Giffin’s books are the only others to avoid adoption. (Does re-reading books count toward the coveted personal-pan pizza in the BookIt! Program?) She writes, I read.

Rolling into Atlanta, I had barely looked up from the final pages when we were greeted by an evening my college-self applauded.

Listen, folks. I can karaoke with the best. I’ll cover Conway Twitty or Sammy Kershaw and wow you with my inability to hit a key, any key — on or off.

Live-band karaoke? You win, 10 High.

I proudly recorded Nick’s performance like a true soccer mom. Maternal instincts, y’all. Maternal instincts.


Of note: Emily didn’t pay me to endorse her book. Is that even a thing? No? Carry on.

Claudia Jean Isley

During the past few years, my Grandma Claudy has gone from Grandma to one of my best friends. It’s rare we go a few days without an email or phone call and her sound life advice is something I’ve leaned on heavily as I made life transitions. She knows the details of my life possibly more than anyone else and always asked the right questions – always. I’m decently sure she could give T a run for his paper as a journalist.

She’s also the most enthusiastic fan of Rural Gone Urban.

If you’re an avid creeper, you’ve seen her comments on posts. What you don’t see is that they’re always followed up with by an email and most often a phone call. “I just read it like I’m there. Write more adventures, Brookie.”

So for my biggest blogging fan, I write this post.

My grandma passed away this week. Through tears, I seek peace knowing that in the end, she won. No, she didn’t have a long, painful battle with an illness. She had a minor surgery that went terribly, terribly wrong. But, she won.

You see, right now she’s rejoicing in heaven with our Heavenly Father and her son, my earthly father.

She gave me my infamous “k. bye.,” my nose, my ridiculous laugh, my creativity and hopefully – my outlook on life. She was just so – nice. 

This morning I submitted her obituary to the local paper. It seems fitting it could have real-estate on Rural Gone Urban, too.

Claudia Jean Isley
September 25, 1944 – April 21, 2014
Franklin, Indiana

Claudia Jean Isley was a lover of westerns, Saturday girls’ lunch, the color purple and bragging endlessly about her talented and wonderful children and granddaughters.

She passed away on April 21, 2014, and it was fiercely too soon.

Claudia, 69, graduated from Franklin High School in 1962 and then earned her cosmetology license. Her chair became a haven for many; unintentionally but importantly, it made her an instrumental pillar of the community.

She recently retired after 25 years at the Indiana Masonic Home Beauty Shop.

Selfless to her core, Claudia often took cookies to local librarians and firefighters for protecting the Dewey Decimal System and civilians, respectively.

Her family brought great joy to her life. Whether she was exploring new beaches with Chris; sitting on the patio with JR and his wife, Tina; cheering for Sydney during swim meets or watching Gidget marathons with Brooke, her desire to make small moments big memories will leave a lasting impression on those who hold her dear to their hearts.

Claudia, deeply loved by so many, will be missed for her thoughtful nature, sweet giggle and quick-witted personality. Reasonable, honest and kind, her life advice was useful – and uniquely hers.

She is survived by two children, Carl Richard Isley Jr. (Tina) and Christina René Isley, and two grandchildren, Brooke Isley Clay Haney (Travis) and Sydney Isley.

She was preceded in death by her mother, Wreatha Liss; sister, Crystal States; and son, Charlton Ronald Isley.

Rev. Charles Stanley will preside over the memorial service on Friday, April 25, 2014 at 2 p.m at Flinn and Maguire Funeral Home, 2898 North Morton Street, (U.S. 31 North) in Franklin.

Friends may call on Thursday, April 24, 2014 from 4 – 8 p.m. at the funeral home.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks you donate to the Johnson County Public Library overdue book fund and to do for others before you consider yourself, laugh until it hurts, find joy in seemingly small moments and spend a Saturday morning watching westerns.

Today, I hope you can make a small difference in someone’s life. Do it for Grandma Claudy.

k. bye.

Something blue.

04.19.14 — 1 Comment

Most humans say “it’s all in the details.” It’s amusingly strange that humans, in general, would or could have an opinion about a wedding that isn’t theirs, but that’s just part of life, I suppose.

For a New Year’s Eve wedding I wanted a classy, shiny theme sans any prom glitter circa ’05. To accomplish this goal, I focused on mercury glass and quirky details.


With clocks counting down until midnight, guests were surrounded with subtle reminders that they were – in fact – at a New Year’s Eve party where the hosts just happened to be getting married.


All guests were asked to wear their favorite little black dress (or suit). Why? Why not. It was New Year’s Eve.


My dress brought me out of my comfort zone (Maggie Sottero). Sparkles? This girl?


For a day. It was, after all, New Year’s Eve.


Frank once said, “orange is the happiest color.” He speaks the truth. With guests asked to wear black, my dress and bouquet became the center of attention. Of course, I knew this was part of being the bride, but it didn’t keep me from running for a glass of wine, or two.

Bride Bouquet Dad's Locket
One aspect of life I will never take for granted is that I had a really great dad to give me chunky cheeks, a big laugh and a great family. He passed the baton to another really great dad, who raised me to be a pretty decent human. (that’s what he tells me, anyway.) Thanks to a really sweet gift from my cousin, they were both able to walk me down the aisle.

[Locket: Joyfully Renewed]

Bride Shoes | Betsey Johnson
Soles Betsey Johnson pumps were blue.


Kate Spade earrings were new.


This fiercely coveted ring served as my something borrowed, while the orange handkerchief was my something old.


The cake was designed to fit our personalities. Interpret as you wish.


Although the details were nice, they’re not what I’m going to remember. I’m going to remember swiping Glenn’s glass of Woodford during pre-ceremony pictures, not being surprised when Travis opted to turn his vows into an extemperanous soliloquy, giggling because I worked “outkicked my coverage” into my vows, dancing to Whitney Houston, looking around the room for help because we didn’t know how to cut the cake and raising my hands in victory as the Grove Park Inn’s lobby cheered for us as we walked to the wedding suite.




Photographer: Blue Bend Photography
Venue: The Omni Grove Park Inn Historic Country Club
Cake: Cakes by Jane 
Flowers: The Omni Grove Park Inn Florist

On December 31, 2013 – yes, New Year’s Eve – I outkicked my coverage with the man who highly encourages the use of coasters, loves exploring the world as much as I do and who not only accepts my abstract-randomness, but also finds it endearing. (that’s what he claims, anyway) He’s the man who decided while standing in front of an intimate group of friends and family that his vows didn’t quite make the cut, and shot from the hip.

That one sentence is indicative of our wedding weekend. We just went with it.

Planning an extremely intimate wedding was not all the stress Pinterest made it out to be. We focused on what came after the wedding and our top three wedding musts: photographer, venue and music.

As you can tell, our photographer wins all the awards. Nick at Blue Bend Photography is one of the nicest humans I’ve ever met and is talented beyond belief.

We chose the historic Omni Grove Park Inn because of its intricate details and historical significance to our new state. This historic resort hotel on the western-facing slope of Sunset Mountain within the Blue Ridge Mountains, celebrated its 100th birthday in 2013. Yes, we simultaneously celebrated our nuptials and the Grove Park Inn’s centennial.


The ambiance of the Grove Park Inn’s country club was only magnified with The Whiskey Rebellion, playing their signature hits in addition to covering The Band, Doc Watson, Avett Brothers and more.


For a few days we explored Asheville – eating incredible food, sampling local beers – and then there happened to be a wedding. What more could you want, really?

[invitation: Jon Cain]

Everyone should get married on New Year’s Eve. People dress like dimes and there’s always a built in party.

Mrs. H.
CEO of Team Haney.



Rural scenery is my drug of choice. Turns out, winter wheat is gateway drug into the world of row crops.

Returning from the beach, this canola field took my breath away. Gone. Breathing was just no longer an option while standing on the side of a [paved] country road, staring in wonder at the beauty of a canola field.

Rural America and all it encompasses — is the epitome of joy.

Once surrounded by winter wheat and black cattle, this rural-gone-urban girl needs scenes like this. Too often I get caught up in the hustle of urban living: the homes, ‘hoods and schedules.

Keep showing off, North Carolina. It looks good on you.

By nature, exploring my surroundings is intertwined into every fiber of my being. In Oklahoma, I was paid to explore. Yes, it was a real job.

This weekend, Stephanie flew to North Carolina for one of many girls’ weekends. Never will I take for granted meeting this girl at sixth grade lockers. She’s been instrumental in so many aspects of my life, it’s only natural she would support adventures in my new state.


Charlotte is geographically blessed. East for the ocean, west for the mountains: choose your adventure. We swiped right for Wilmington.

Staying on Carolina Beach was a strong choice. Like any girls’ weekend, we popped a bottle (or two) of champagne and solved the world’s problems as the ocean crashed against the shore. (Shout out to the stock the bar wedding shower!) Let’s level, I’ve never been a huge champagne drinker. I was wrong – so wrong. That stuff is delicious.


Downtown Wilmington encompasses everything one would want in a downtown: history, culture and the location of Brooke Davis’ Clothes Over Bros HQ. This weekend is was overflowing with visitors from all over the southeast for the North Carolina Azalea Festival. You guys know how much I love festivals. Talking to people about their history and their business is by far my favorite thing in the world.


Unknowingly, the rest of our day was predetermined with a simple purchase. Destiny by way of coasters, if you will. Read as: piers and dive bars are how to really experience Wilmington.

Because until you see the moon rising over the Atlantic Ocean…


… and drink a local beer with your best friend in a dive bar…

… you haven’t truly experienced Wilmington.




Links to help plan a Wilmington getaway:
Visit North Carolina: Wilmington and It’s Island Beaches
Wilmington and Beaches CVB


Like most of the female population, I dream of Lucchese kicks, Tory Burch bags and a wardrobe fitting of Kate, Kacey and Khloe.

For a spring wedding in Texas Hill Country, my online window shopping kept arriving at the same conclusion: the dresses I covet are out of my league. The struggle is real, y’all.

What’s this dress, you ask? Just a Vince Camuto I picked up from Marshalls. What’s he wearing? Not a clue. Fortunately, I’m not his keeper.

Unfortunately, the dress didn’t make it through the night unscathed. While attempting to set a photobooth record, the dress suffered minor injuries. RIP, lovely Marshalls find.


Traveling tip: pack for the forecast, otherwise you may wear a denim shirt to a wedding. Life tip: surround yourself with beautiful friends.





Austin and such.

04.11.14 — 1 Comment

“It’s time.”

These two words upgraded my professional life from a cubicle (sans natural lighting) to a shared office space overlooking Charlotte’s SouthPark area. For this rural-gone-urban girl who dreams of winter wheat, black cattle and Oklahoma’s blue sky – this was a game changer. With this simple change, creativity has walked back into my life like a tall drink of water from west Texas.

I really missed you, creepers. I miss writing you of my adventures, and the fault is mine. It’s a hard life as a social media manager – being “on” all day and writing a hobby blog at night. How does one make time for Rose, Sophia, Dorothy and Blanche?

Moving on.

view of SouthPark Mall

Thursday – new office. Friday – travel to Austin.

We (uhg. the married “we”) explored Austin this past weekend. Swoon. Austin encompasses everything I love in the world: music, minimal trees and all the Mexican food.

On Sunday, Mary married Joseph.

Mary Kate Scott, Kirby Smith, Brooke Haney

(insert all the jokes)

Photo Booth

New rule: all weddings must have photobooths.

BREAKING: I’ve decided it’s time to post about our wedding. The invitations, flowers, details. In my own way, of course.

Over & Out.

P.S. Austin, I still love you.