I’m living the life my future self covets.

My house is clean, [walk-in] closet is organized, I have lunch at random local hotspots and I work late. Like really work. Work so hard that when I look up and it’s nearly 8 o’clock – I’m often surprised.

I hang out with that guy I married – on the random. I mean really hang out with him. It’s common for him to send a text mid-day asking if I want to go to dinner and/or a movie. We talk about things, too. Weather. Politics. That hilarious Vine video I looped 15 times.

Every few weeks I pack a bag and head north to my company’s HQ where I work with talented folks who knock my socks off. I often imagine I’m in the honors college and they simply haven’t found out my GPA isn’t as impressive as they would prefer.

I also wear pink on Wednesdays.

Like most humans, I often think about what life will be like when/if we have children. Ones with our genetics or ones I nurture so hard they have my <sarcasm font> hilarious sense of humor. </sarcasm font>

So many people compare life before kids to life after kids. As someone still on this side of the kid thing, can’t we all agree that’s just a weird comparison? I have so much time right now. So much room for activities. Of course I would have less time (for myself) if I had a toddler. I have less time having a husband.

Dear mom version of myself:

Wash your hair. Also, start using GlamGlow again – it’s magic in a bottle.

You’re doing a good job. Probably. It’s okay if you don’t think you’re doing a good job. You are. Most likely. Also, if the house is a mess – that’s fine too.

You didn’t even start using coasters until you joined Team Haney, so that milk jug that’s been sitting on the counter for three days: no big deal.

Remember that time you spent the better part of a Saturday watching almost every episode of Greek? Yeah, you do. The house was so clean the carpet had those Grandma Compton-approved lines on it. You were so bored. Bored in a very accomplished, yet borderline pathetic way. 

Also. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, working from the office kinda gal or working-at-home-with-kids kind of superhero, I’m glad you have choices. Do you, man. Women are often insecure and put others’ choices below theirs. Don’t you ever think someone else chose poorly. They made the decision that was best for their family.

Don’t forget – you’re doing a good job.

ex oh,
The version of you you’ll think had it all together. You didn’t.

P.S. I hope you have a nanny. I’ve started lobbying for one now – just in case. It’s always good to have options.

 

Real talk. Within the past year I’ve become a champagne drinker. The sportwriter says this is just my way of edging toward motherhood. What does that even mean?

B.


Texas_Sunset_Brooke_HaneyOne of my many jobs during college was as a sales associate at a local shoe store. To this day I can calculate a 40 percent discount faster than Johnny Football can earn a spot in a sports gossip thread.

David, co-owner of the Shoe Bank, once said something that until recently didn’t quite make sense.

“Unless a sales associate can keep us in their top 5, it’s not going to work out for us or for them.”

We’re edging close to 10 years since he said that to me, so let’s just say he said something sort of like that.

Last week while crashing in my hotel room after an exciting – yet long – workday in Wisconsin, I noticed Katie and Crystal’s conversation about blogging on Twitter.

Insert light bulb moment.

In the past two years my priorities changed drastically.

Recap: Engaged, moved from Oklahoma to North Carolina, started a new job, planned a wedding, both siblings graduated from high school, my parents split (am I allowed to say this on the internet!?), Travis thought it would be cool to give me his last name, I saw whales, one of my favorites mic dropped planet earth, I got a new job and we moved to Texas.

Although we tend to focus on a lot more than five things in life, David made a really good point to a naïve freshman. We each have things that are more important during different seasons of life.

While I was focusing on making new friends, discovering a new state and trying to figure out this whole marriage thing, blogging just didn’t make the cut.

Crystal asked a really solid question: if blogging makes its way back to the top 5, what are the other four?

Faith
One aspect of life in Oklahoma City that kept me grounded was co-leading a life group. Man, I miss those guys. What started as a weekly gathering turned into a network of quality humans who loved exploring our city, sharing life experiences and being a support system. As we work to build roots in Austin, we’re searching for a new church home. (suggestions welcome)

Team Haney
Marriage is hard. I must have picked the right guy, because I don’t know of anyone else who would do this crazy marriage thing with me. It’s awesome, trying, fun, scary, exciting, comforting and every other descriptor you can imagine. Now that we’re both traveling for work, focusing on Team Haney is as important as ever.

What does that even mean? I don’t have a clue. I’ll let you know when I figure it out. Right now it means making sure we have food in the fridge, someone fed Molly and we get to hang out for a few minutes a week without technology interfering.

Using my degree
What happens when social and digital media collides with food and agriculture? The glass slipper of careers.

Friends
There is a group of people looking for an addition. I just have to find them.

Do you have a list? Show and tell begins.. now.
B.


This weekend, that guy I married worked from his office. He had all the basic necessities for a sportswriter: diet Dr. Pepper, two HD televisions, laptop, phone and a closed door.

His job sounds extremely fun, doesn’t it? As the CEO of the Haney House I can tell you exactly how hard that human works. (No, he doesn’t read this. He has no idea I say nice things.)

Why am I telling you this? Because I can. I sort of registered this url and can write about whatever I want to. For some reason, people read it.

Anyway, while that guy I married worked the weekend away I built a fort. Closed door, remember?

Yes, a fort. With blankets, pillows, random pieces of furniture. Because, why not?

Honestly, it’s because we moved to Texas (!) and I haven’t made any friends yet. If y’all know of anyone who is down for wine drinking and fort building in the five-one-two, let them know I’m their girl.

Wait, Texas? Yes, we moved to Texas. Travis is still doing the same thing, and I joined a “dog-friendly, client-focused, strategically sound, creatively driven, full-service agency that’s 100 percent laser focused on success across the food system.”

Rural_Gone_Urban_Haney_Austin
We’re living in a place where the people are nice, the sunsets are gorgeous and the food is delicious.

Winning. Team Haney is winning.

Honeymoon.

07.11.14 — Leave a comment


St_John_Rural_Gone_Urban
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.

Haneys_Honeymoon
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.

Jost_Van_Dyke
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.

Sunset_St_John
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.

B.

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.

Brooke_Haney_Dad

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.

Brooke_Haney_Travis_HS_Graduation

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.

B.

 

 


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.

-30-

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.

Haney_Wedding_Decorations

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.

Haney_Wedding_Flowers

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

Haney_Dress

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

Haney_Dress_Details

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

NICK2069

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.

Haney_KateSpadeEarrings

Kate Spade earrings were new.

Haney_SomethingBorrowed_SomethingOld

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

Haney_Cake_Wedding

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

Haney_GroveParkInn_WEdding

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.

B.

 

—–

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.

Haney_BlueBendPhotography_Sunset
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.

TheOmniGroveParkInn
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.

BlueBendPhotography_Band

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.

Haney_Invitation

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]

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

Signed,
Mrs. H.
CEO of Team Haney.

 


Brooke_Haney_Canola

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.