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It’s here, it’s here…and wayyy overdue! I’ve finally finished blogging the final part of our wedding. Re-reading the details of this sweet day makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

We left off in Part III, where Eric and I + the best wedding party ever ventured into the peaceful field on our venue’s property for some of the dreamiest sunset photos in existence. (Want to catch up further back? I got you – Part I and Part II here.)

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You may remember I ended Part III with a little trivia regarding the 90s movie theme song we entered into the reception with, per the wedding party’s vote!

Hint was that a famous Chicago Bulls basketball player starred in the film…

Any guesses? Let’s dive into this party – find out below!

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We had of course spent too much time giggling and snapping photos in the field, so by the time we lined up outside the big wooden reception hall doors to be announced, our coordinators had to wrangle up our group of blissfully happy and silly friends.

I sometimes think the announcement of the wedding party, and everyone dancing in 2 by 2 can be awkward, but definitely not when your people are a pack of fun and weird humans.

Everyone paired up and coordinated their dance moves, the doors were propped open, and SPACE JAM boomed from the speakers. *cue excited cheers and childhood nostalgia*

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E and I may have decided to chest bump. We definitely did.

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I loved the way we had the reception house decorated. I wanted to weave in the blush and deep wine throughout, but keep an overall clean and natural feel by incorporating woods and metals throughout the space.

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We tried to incorporate unique spins on some of the classic wedding components too. Our guest book was actually a large black and white canvas of one of our engagement photos in downtown Austin. We had loved ones sign with a gold sharpie and this is probably our favorite piece of art hanging in our apartment!

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The seating chart was an old antique frame that we stapled chicken wire to (thanks sir at Home Depot for help us!). This is another cool piece we had shipped back to Chicago that we now have pictures displayed on.

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Our favors were heart shaped Mexican cinnamon sugar cookies. I grew up eating them in the Rio Grande Valley with my grandparents, so this was a really special little piece of south Texas for us. Koozies were also a solid last minute addition!

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We walked straight into our first dance to The Way You Look Tonight by Frank Sinatra. I’m not one who ever really thought about my wedding or planned it out growing up, but the one thing I did dream of for years was doing a first dance to this sweet song. Luckily, E is a Sinatra fan too, so it worked out nicely!

One of our favorite things to do is dance, so this was a really special moment to share together, singing along and laughing and twirling.

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Afterwards, my dad and I danced to I Loved Her First by Heartland, followed by E and his mama’s dance to You’ll Be in My Heart by Phil Collins. Gah, SO CUTE, right?!

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Then it was tacoooo time. We had a fajita buffet with all the fixings for our dinner because Tex-Mex is life. I remember people telling us you don’t usually get to eat at your own wedding, but we made it a priority. It wasn’t a full meal, but we weren’t going to order those tasty tacos and not get some of the goods!

So future brides, you totally can and should eat yours too. ūüôā

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No one panic though, E and I literally ate a full tray of fajitas, rice, and beans at the end of the night that our incredible Memory Lane coordinators packed up for us. Honeymoon suite livin’ at it’s finest.

E and I cut our cakes next! I’ve learned that having a Groom’s cake is largely a southern tradition? Not until I started talking about ours, did I find myself explaining that back home it’s common to have a classic wedding cake, or the Bride’s cake, and a Groom’s cake that usually has a fun theme close to heart for the couple!

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For those that know my husband, it should come at know surprise the Groom’s cake was inspired by his love for our alma mater, The University of Texas. It was delicious dark chocolate cake with layers of fresh strawberries. The Bride’s cake was a tasty French vanilla with vanilla mousse filling. A huge thanks to Classic Cakes by Lori for these beauties!

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A funny little thing most guests probably never knew was that we had an extra French vanilla sheet cake in the reception kitchen that never made it to the floor. So we’re actually super sorry if you didn’t get a piece of cake haha, the venue crew never realized it was there!

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The good news? My family ate cake for days after. We even got some after the honeymoon, and there is still some for us to eat for our first anniversary since we hadn’t planned on saving any.

Speeches by our Maid of Honor and Best Man were next. My sister teared up during what was the sweetest and funniest toast I’ll ever hear. Eric’s brother killed the speech game too! I loved hearing their stories (some details may have been fabricated, *cough cough*, lookin’ at you P!) and jokes.

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The best surprise ever was when the two of them legit broke out into rehearsed song and dance. You guys. It was AMAZING. They wrote they’re own lyrics for a mashup of rap and pop jams, ending with my favorite Crazy in Love by Queen B, to which we all strutted across the dance floor – a tribute to a story my sister shared in her speech from our childhood.

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My parents shared a few sweet words and then it was time to get this dance floor going, y’all! I mentioned E and I are dancers, and the same goes for our family and friends!

Our wedding vendors actually told us afterwards they were so amazed that once everyone started, it never stopped. That usually there’s a moment when it’s a bit slower, but that our guests were just going the whole night. DJ Brian rocked.

Haha I truly wouldn’t have expected anything less, our people made us proud!

I remember for awhile Eric and I kept getting pulled in different directions to talk to others or take photos, as expected and of course we were so appreciative that we could see everyone, but at one point I turned to him and said “Ok, after this one, we have to go to the dance floor! We should be dancing!”

He immediately took me there, confirming what I already knew – that my husband rocks. Marry someone who pulls you onto dance floors, people.

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At one point, Crazy in Love came on again and everyone chanted so I would strut again. So there I went, strutting around to Beyonce with all my favorite people. It was definitely one of my top life moments ever because duh.

A personal touch for the dance floor was playing Go Cubs Go! in honor of the World Series win we had just a few days before we got married, and the UT fight song of course!

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We did the classic bouquet and garter tosses, and perhaps my favorite reception touch – had an open air photo booth in the corner printing out classic strips! I was beyond happy we had one, I just couldn’t go without it and loved how much fun everyone had in there.

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With our amazing photographers, Kelsey and Talon of Feather & Twine!

The whole night was amazing. E and I were blissfully happy. It truly was the best day ever. All we could’ve ever hoped for and more!

Sadly, the dancing had to eventually end. We had the happiest, brightest exit with sparklers though! It was like our personal fireworks send off, and it made for some pretty gorgeous photos.

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Our venue housing us + our wedding party for the night meant the party continued. I was really thankful for this time together since we knew it would be awhile before we saw some of these friends again!

So in summary, tacos + dance floor + photo booth + E = truly the best celebration ever! The whole night was all we could’ve ever hoped for and more. I’ll cherish these photos and details forever.

I love you, E. // 11.06.16

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The next morning, we were up and at ’em early for an 8:00 am flight to Jamaica! Our honeymoon is a whole other adventure I’ve already written about here and here. If you’re looking for a beach getaway, cannot recommend Couples Swept Away enough!

Wow, my first post in quite awhile. It’s been a packed summer and I’ve missed blogging, friends. Capturing memories and sharing stories with our words is one of life’s simplest, yet sweetest, things – don’t ya think?

Stay tuned for some fun posts I’m working on! Happy Monday!

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graduation anniversary

Today marks one year since I graduated from The University of Texas. How can that be?! As usual, I’m completely blown away by how fast time flies.

A graduation anniversary definitely has a sentimental twang. It makes me think of the fact that a year ago, so many things were different – where I was living, what I was doing, how I got around the city, what the next couple months looked like, etc.

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I definitely miss it and have moments of wishing I could go back, but then I’m reminded about how fortunate I am in the present. It’s so wonderful to look back at the awesome things that have¬†happened in the last 365 days.

I’m also not hear to pretend everything is always peachy-keen though. I¬†do feel some sadness, because in the last year, hardships have most definitely been present and I think it’s important to let yourself acknowledge that.

All and all though, I think what is most rewarding on this day is to look at how I’ve grown and what I’ve learned. The new experiences in the last year have¬†truly shaped me and taught me more than I could’ve ever expected. I’m sharing ten of those things today.

  1. New people with different ideas, perspectives, and previous experiences are SO refreshing. I knew I loved meeting new people for this reason, but moving to a place where you can count those you know on one hand and immersing yourself into a whole community of new people is actually incredible.
  2. Public transit in a big city rocks, especially if you didn’t like driving to begin with. Not having to pay for gas…or replace a mirror you might have broken off when backing out of the garage…can save a lot of money.
  3. To be fully known and fully loved by someone, in my case Eric, is truly the greatest gift ever. Eric knowing me at my best, and at my worst, and still choosing to love me, work at things with me, encourage me, want to be a total fool with me every single day, and spend forever together is pretty darn cool.                                                                                                                        graduation anniversary
  4. Trader Joe’s frozen BBQ Chicken Teriyaki and frozen Quinoa Duo make the best quick and easy meal. I feel like a real chef when I whip out with this combo, or more like I went and picked up take out from a real chef. Sooooo good.
  5. Keeping in frequent, regular contact with people will become even harder. It can be done, but it takes more work, and more forgiveness of self when it feels like you’re not doing a good job. Everyone is busy, and everyone understands. It’s just that now instead of only¬†family and high school friends, you’ve got your college crew layered into that as well.
  6. I want to live abroad for a year, maybe two, and likely in Spain. Eric and I want to perfect our Spanish and travel as much of Europe as we possibly can. Plus, new people and new cultures?? Per point number one here – sign me up.
  7. Studying God’s word alongside a group of ladies each week is oh-so-rewarding. How wonderful it is to love on,¬†be vulnerable and honest with, and adjust to this so called adult life in¬†a community like that??
  8. Wedding planning is a whole lot of work, but a whole lot of fun. Also, weddings in general are the greatest because they involve dancing and reuniting you with people you love and miss dearly.
  9. Spending money on travel and food are my¬†priority, because let’s be real – adventure and chatting with friends over a good meal are the best.
  10. Eric and I ¬†are incredibly grateful and in love with life here in Chicago, but we do miss Texas a whole bunch. We’ll¬†eventually settle back down in Austin, where it all started.

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Wrapping up this post with a couple more notes…

First off, A HUGE CONGRATS to my baby sister and official Texas Longhorn! This lady worked her butt off this past year to transfer to UT Austin, and I’m so incredibly in awe of her faith and determination. I can’t wait to cheer her on throughout this journey, just as she did for me.

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Secondly, congratulations to all the new Texas Exes that graduated from UT this past weekend! What an accomplishment to be closing this amazing chapter, and starting the next one Рwhatever it may be! As Monica said in the very first episode of Friends

Welcome to the real world. It sucks. You’re gonna love it.¬†

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It’s true – this adult thing has it’s challenges. But when you surround yourself with good people, keep¬†working towards dreams, your faith, and stay focused on laughing and learning, it totally rocks.

Happy Monday, friends!

Days By Day

our story

This Sunday not only marks a special day to celebrate all the amazing mommas around the world (Happy Mother’s Day, mom!) – but it’s also significant to me for a whole other reason. Eric and I celebrate¬†four years of being together on Sunday! I can’t believe how time has flown, these past four years have been the absolute best. I could’ve never¬†imagined love being so wonderful, or finding someone who loves dogs and tortilla chips¬†as much as I do.

Um, something really cool about this actual very Friday?? It’s¬†officially six¬†months from our¬†big day. Eeeek! That makes me so giddy inside.

I figured these exciting milestones were good¬†excuses to finally share the¬†story of how we¬†met and started this shindig¬†four years ago. Reading¬†people’s “stories” is one of my favorite things on other blogs, and I was already writing it¬†up for a¬†wedding website, so it seemed only natural to make sure I shared our story¬†on this little space!

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Before I jump into our¬†story though, you’ll notice throughout¬†the post I’m sharing some of my favorite photos from our engagement session with Feather & Twine. Kelsey & Talon (with us below) are unbelievably¬†talented, kind, and such a beautiful example of what being best friends in a¬†marriage looks like. ¬†Fun fact: We both got engaged in Paris! We had a total blast chatting and laughing away – Eric and I truly felt as if¬†we had stumbled across some long lost, close friends. If you’re familiar with Austin, you might recognize South Congress¬†or the Mayfield Nature Preserve in our photos. We could not be happier with them…and are counting down until we get to hang out with this couple again!

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Okay, now let’s get to talkin’ love…

So the reason Eric and I have chosen to get married just outside Austin, TX is because the roots of our story start right in the middle of this wonderful Texas capital. We lived just three doors down from each other in San Jacinto Dorm on The University of Texas campus РI was a freshman and Eric was a sophomore. Talk about meant to be Рhe almost chose to move off campus into an apartment for his second year!

We were fortunate enough to have been placed on a dorm floor where a group of about thirty students became very close – some will¬†most definitely be life long friends, and there are even a few in our¬†wedding party! Eric and I first hung out as part of this little UT family, and instantly clicked. Neither of us remember the exact moment we first saw or spoke to one another, but I do remember all the girls thinking he was soooo cute – including me! I wasn’t going into our friendship thinking of anything more than just that though – a friendship.

We started talking and hanging out more and more on our own outside the group Рgrabbing breakfast before class, taking long walks to explore downtown, attending Sunday church service, etc. Pretty soon everyone was wondering if this was more than just two college kids being pals, but we were pretty content with being the best of friends we had become. This continued all the year.

Come late spring, as finals were approaching and summer was just around the corner, the romantic sparks and obvious connection were no longer deniable to anyone else, or ourselves. We had a conversation about it and ended up opting to just leave things as they were to avoid ruining our friendship…which looking back now, we both¬†agree was¬†so ridiculous haha.

Despite these talks, the easy and natural chemistry between us continued. A couple weeks later, I invited Eric to my Texas Lonestars’ Boat Party formal. Texas Lonestars is one of the female Spirit groups at UT – basically meaning it was a chill, awesome, fun¬†non-Greek sorority for lack of a shorter description. I could go on all day about how the group was incredible and gave me life long girlfriends, but that’s a different story. ūüôā Anyways, Eric and I had a grand ol’ time that night cruising with friends on Lady Bird Lake.

You can take a total trip back in time with me with a little then and now¬†below¬†– I’m honestly looking at that formal picture thinking¬†oh my gosh who are we?!?¬†+ feeling sad about how much we have lost our tan.

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our story

The very next day, after meeting¬†up ¬†for breakfast, we headed back to the dorm to procrastinate studying for finals with TV. It was right after this that Eric¬†asked me to be his girlfriend. He claims our impromptu slow dancing to She’s Like Texas by Josh Abbott Band on the boat is the moment it all clicked, and he knew that’s what he had to do.

Sunday morning, May 8th, will mark four years from the moment that officially started it all…C R A Z Y.

We dated for the rest of our time at UT Рsupporting each other,  being ridiculous best friends, growing together and as individuals, and eating a copious amount of Tex-Mex.

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After graduating from UT last May, we set off to backpack western Europe for a whole month as a graduation gift to ourselves. On June 15, 2015 in Paris, Eric got down on one knee right in front of the Eiffel Tower. It was the most magical, wonderful, best surprise ever. We had just finished a champagne and sandwich picnic, got a random man to capture the whole moment, and spent the rest of the day exploring the City of Love.

I’ve blogged about that¬†day in France and it might be my favorite post ever.¬†You can read it here¬†and get all the details –¬†like the fact that Eric carried the ring in his backpack for a whole TWO WEEKS prior, through three different countries.

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Eric is the queso to my tortilla chips and I’m so darn excited to spend my life laughing, loving, and adventuring with him. Let’s keep this countdown to 11.6.16 going! Happy Anniversary, love!

 

Days By Day

Like I mentioned a couple days ago, the last couple weeks have been a whirlwind! I’ve had every intention of sitting down to write, but time has escaped me. That being said, it’s all good, because I’ve been taking advantage of free moments to explore the city and spend time with the people who have made living here so wonderful.

So, here are a bunch of things I’ve been doing all this time instead of blogging:

Having brunch like it’s my job //

This has definitely become a weekly occasion.

Two Sundays ago, we went to Acoustic Brunch at Schuba’s Harmony Grill. It was awesome. Free live music + breakfast food? Yes, please.

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This past weekend, Becca and I had a roomie date at Ann Sather’s, where we finally satisfied Becca’s basically two month long craving for cinnamon rolls.

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Going crazy for pumpkin things at Trader Joe’s //

At what point have you gone too far in your pumpkin grocery purchases?

Becca and I may have reached that threshold, but it’s fine. We just bought a variety seven pumpkin items in one visit. We’re fine. We’re not being ridiculous or anything. Right? Right???

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My favorite purchase though is definitely the ravioli. SO YUM. Highly recommend it.

Developing a new addiction //

It‚Äôs La Croix. I‚Äôve always sworn off carbonated water because I didn’t like the taste, but who knew when you added every fun fruity flavor to it under the sun, it‚Äôs actually really good??

Our work fridge has a never ending supply and I never fail to grab one for lunch. And maybe another in the afternoon. Or two if I really want to feel refreshed, but who’s counting?

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I’m not even a fan of apricots, but I think it might be my favorite flavor. If you want to know what being obsessed with La Croix is like, this Buzzfeed article is pretty spot on.

Watching UT beat OU //

This was so amazing!! A couple weeks ago, the annual Red River Showdown between The University of Texas and The University of Oklahoma took place at the Texas State Fair in Dallas. I was prepared for the worst, seeing as we had been c r u s h e d by TCU the week before, but the Longhorns put their game faces on and we killed it.

Life Lately

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Chicago Texas Exes Chapter put this on FB and I felt famous.

I was ecstatic they won in just general, but also ecstatic they won for Eric’s sake, because I feel like he would’ve gone into a mild depression. Missing this game and the fair’s fried food for the first time in years was eating him alive all week.

Also, taking a moment to love on our real life Longhorn mascot, Bevo XIV. Unfortunately, he was not able to make the trip to Dallas and passed away from cancer last week. Bevo XIV got to be apart of some awesome moments for our school though, and was also the king of social media Рevidence here. Rest in peace, big guy.

Feeling really domestic for once //

Remember the 30 apples we all came home with from apple picking? Eric and I wanted to bake something to use some, and found an easy apple turnover recipe that used a whole whopping two of them.

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You guys, these turnovers were the bomb. They turned out great. I think I will whip this recipe out over the holidays to impress everyone and pretend I’m a master chef.

Also, in case anyone was curious, between Becca, Eric, and I, we got through most of those apples. I was really proud of us.

Running into Barcelona friends //

This was such a cool moment! Over the summer during our month long Europe backpacking trip, Eric and I became good friends in Barcelona with three awesome guys from North Carolina. We had completely forgot one of them, Chris, was now living in Detroit, and he’d forgotten we were in Chicago.

As Eric and I¬†were walking around downtown one Saturday, I¬†randomly spotted Chris watching a magic show with his cousins and I had to do a double take before whispering to Eric if that’s who I thought it was! Turns out Chris came for a last minute weekend trip with his cousins. The three of got to catch up for a bit and now hope to plan real weekend visits to see each other.

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It was such a cool feeling being reunited and knowing that we had that common bond of some amazing memories way overseas. Eric and I are already trying to plan our next foreign country trip.

Well, that sums up a lot of things that have been going on here in the city! All little moments, but all special moments.

Happy Wednesday! Up on my radar this weekend…TEXAS.

Days By Day

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The greatest time of the year is upon us…football season! The NFL regular season kickoff is basically a week away, but as of yesterday, college football is here and I am just really, really excited about it.

Tomorrow, the Texas Longhorns kickoff their season playing Notre Dame just a couple hours away from Chicago! As of now, Eric and I aren’t attending because we can’t pay the arm and leg required for entry (ok that’s an exaggeration kind of), but that won’t stop us from cheering on our Horns. We have plans to head to a¬†local UT bar called Stanley’s that has big watch parties each game day! Apparently the totally change out their menu to serve bbq and queso and Texas Teas, and it sounds like a Texan’s paradise.

In honor of this new season starting, I thought I’d share some of my favorite things about Longhorn football, because I’m so going to miss being there at every home game!

  1. Tailgating // I think this concept seems so odd to people who don’t regularly do it, but when you grow up with it (thank you, Houston Texans games) or have a school where tailgating is basically just as big as actually attending a game, it is one of the main reasons football season is so fun! It was always the perfect time to hang out after a busy school week for a few hours before the game – dance to some music, drink¬†some punch, scarf down some fajitas to hold over our hunger that would surely hit at halftime, and of course snap two hundred and one photos.

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2. Game day outfits // I usually attend sporting events super casually Рthink jean shorts and a team t-shirt Рbut one of the things I grew to totally love at UT was the fun in shopping for burnt orange and white pieces to throw together a cute game day ensemble. My favorite local Austin boutique where I always had luck (including that white top above) is called Longhorn Fashions, I highly recommend it, ladies! And then of course these Kendras (above on me, and below on my sis) are a staple!

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3. ¬†Bevo // I’m convinced the Texas Longhorns have the greatest mascot ever. Bevo is not only huge and magnificent, but he’s super spirited and cooperative, just chillin’ in his little corner with his hay bales each game. We’re obsessed with him. If you need anymore convincing or want a smile on your face, do yourself a favor and check his Instagram¬†or Twitter accounts out.

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This is actually a video, he's scratching his back to Jay-Z's "Dirt Off Your Shoulder." I can't handle him.

This is actually a video, he’s scratching his back to Jay-Z’s “Dirt Off Your Shoulder.” I can’t handle him.

4. Seeing Eric on the field // For those of you who didn’t know, Eric was in Texas Cheer and had¬†so many awesome opportunities through the program – from being on the sidelines every¬†home game, to flying across the country for TV appearances and supporting the team at away games. He even got to meet Texas Ex Matthew McConaughey at an appearance the team did one time…not bitter or jealous or anything about that one at all. Getting to see him cheer on the field, having a blast with his teammates, and waving to me whenever we could find each other are some of my favorite memories!

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5. The Eyes of Texas // At the end of the game win or lose, the team and the fans sing UT’s school song The Eyes of Texas. I just love this tradition and pride that unites everyone! It’s obviously the absolute best when we win, because everyone is fired up, raising their horns, and we watch the tower be lit up that beautiful burnt orange.

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What are your favorite UT or college football memories?? Hoping for the best for my Horns this weekend, I can’t wait to dress up and cheer them on with our friends here in Chicago!

TEXAS FIGHT. m/

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