Dirt Track Virgin Diaries

It's no secret I've been to more pavement races than a gal can count on ten pretty little painted fingers.

That being said, I've never graced a dirt track with my presence. When a couple of my guy friends caught wind of this they immediately loaded me into a truck on a sunny Wednesday afternoon and whisked me off to good ol Kokomo, Indiana - the land of a dirt track, a strip club, and a Chrysler plant.

Maybe it should be mentioned that when I climbed into the truck, there was a goody bag waiting for me. I knew it would be a fun night.

I really had no idea what I was getting myself into, but getting dirty really is my forté so I found little cause for concern.

That being said, I was slightly caught off guard when I'm following the guys through the lot full of trailers and get lead into one only to run face to face into Tony. Good ol' Smoke. Who even knew he stepped foot off the Nascar circuit? Not this lady.

So I did what any girl would do - posed with his helmet and blasted it on social media like some kind of racer chaser. And then went on about my night. I never really cared about him, until spending the whole night around him I realized what a smartass he was. Therefore, he's a-ok in my book. I might even cheer for him next time I see a Nascar race.

(I don't know what it's like to not watch a race from the top of a race toter. I've sat in grandstands maybe once in my life. It sucked.)

(Side note - could Kyle Larson be any tinier? I just wanted to put him in my pocket) 

I quickly learned why people wear hoodies and sunglasses all night long. Within the first qualifying lap I had more dirt in my eye than I've ever experienced in my life. At the end of the night, every article of clothing had a nice brownish-red tint, my hair felt like it had been blasted with dry shampoo, and my mouth had a lovely dirty taste.

My eyes and throat burned for the three days following. I don't even want to think about my poor lung.

In all honesty though, watching a dirt race was farrrr more exciting than watching pavement. So we may be in some trouble boys & girls.


Left and lift. Left and lift.

He smelled like motor oil and tire rubber. A reassuring chuckle came from his mouth as he showed me the four switches I would flip to turn the car on, while double-checking the tightness of the five-point harness. 

A shrill beep came through the earpieces as he tested my radio. "Clutch in, watch my signals, listen to your spotter" he said as latched the safety net up and threw me the thumbs up. I flipped the visor down on my helmet, followed the sequence of switches to start her up and headed out on pit row for what was about to become the wildest ride of my life.

See, I've done a lot of "bucket list" style stunts. Cliff-diving, co-piloting a stunt plane (side note: how bout that hair - phew!) , but none where I was ever completely in control of what was going on. Racing a stock car was in a whole 'nother playing field. There was no one else to rely on. Aside from the spotter talking in my ear, I was completely in control of every single action and consequence.

As we followed the pace car the first few laps I started to get a feel for the car. When the pace car pulled away I tested out her speed. When I hit that first corner I became ever so thankful my spotter could only talk, not hear me as I threw out a handful of "ohshitohshitohshit"s. When I hit the apex I threw my foot down on the throttle again and lit her up.

Judging by the adrenaline rush I was feeling, I knew my brother and pops who were in two of the other cars, were also having a blast. My mom set it up for all three of us to go racing, for them it was a Father's Day gift, for me... well, I was a shoe-in since I'm always doing the reckless things!

It was easily one of the scariest things I've done. For fifteen laps I feared every single turn I entered, almost positive I was going to get loose and slam the wall. You see nothing behind you, and very little next to you. You have to have complete trust in this eye in the sky who's telling you lift and left, lift and left whenever someone is near you

The thrill of flying around that track was beyond explainable though. I have a new found jealousy and appreciation for everyone I know who wheels any type of car around a track week in and week out.



Paleo Fail-eo

I've been telling my friend Whit I was going to do the Whole 30/Paleo thing for, oh who knows, somewhere around the past 2 years?

So after a brief string of multiple migraines(which I'm pretty sure I can attribute to both the lung and the ex, but who's keeping tabs) I decided I was finally going to take the plunge. She was so pumped, and even said she'd do it with me.

I read a bunch of blogs, scoured the internet for recipe ideas, loaded up a grocery cart with kale and spaghetti squash and coconut oil, the whole shebang. I was a little hesitant, because frankly a world without Goldfish crackers or bourbon isn't exactly a world I want to live in. But I committed.

I was kicking ass and taking names for two whole days, until this gorgeous sunny day happened upon central Indy and I just HAD to meet a friend at a local brewhouse patio for an afterwork wind-down.

I opted for a steak salad and tequila, the most paleo-friendly of liquors. One thing led to another and somehow the waiter decided to bring us shots of Jack and as I stared into that little brown vessel of amber whiskey I realized there was a very slim chance I could go another 28 days on this super strict plan that told you no cocktails were allowed, and so I lifted her high and took her down in one swig.

The night quickly snowballed into cucumber vodka lemonades, lobster mac & cheese and halfbaked cookies. We did however make some lovely new friends who felt it necessary to pick up our tab at the end of the night, which counteracts the guilt I had for only lasting 2 days.

At least I came out of that little experiment with a newfound love of spaghetti squash. And a heavy appreciation for anyone who can commit to something like that. That's gotta count for something right.



Another year, another Kenny in the books

I can't recall the last summer that didn't involve a Kenny concert. What do you say about a Kenny concert? They're always a good time, that's a given. So we'll just let this be a photojournalastic approach. (I'll go ahead and acknowledge that I have the most gorgeous friends, hands down)

This post could also be titled: the time I rerouted an oncoming migraine with 3 sequential shots of Jack.



Last one.

I remember getting the texts from my brother that day and my heart dropping. I had screenshotted it for some reason. Still to this day I can't read it without fighting back tears.

It was supposed to just be a normal follow up visit for Liv, except it wasn't.

I begged him to tell me. He wouldn't. My parents were hosting their annual Halloween bash that night, he "didn't want to dampen our spirits". Finally, he called and my world crashed down.

Brandin begged me not to tell my mom. There was nothing that could be done at that point, and he just wanted her to enjoy her night. So I put on my best fake smile and didn't say a word that night. The next day Brandin called and asked if we all would go get family pictures taken with them and Olivia. That's when my mom started questioning what was going on.

And he told her. Standing on the sidewalk outside the photography studio, on that cold October afternoon. All the doctors really said was that things didn't look good. That it came back. That it had spread.

Except, she's got the same blood that my grandfather has, her papaw, who has fought countless heart attacks, the same stubborn blood that pumps through all our veins.

And here we are another eight months and countless chemotherapy and radiation treatments later, with hearts full of hope. Because today, today is the day she starts her very last (God willing, EVER) chemo treatment.

Every doctors visit will bring clinched hands and tense thoughts, but there's no doubt in my mind this little kiddo is a fighter. She is my niece after all, and if someone tells us we don't want to hear, we're going to fight it with all our might!