Tag Archives: sentimental

All These Things That I’ve Done

Sometimes you are home from college cause you graduated and although you feel accomplished, it sinks in that you don’t have a job yet or a future planned and you get really scared-out-of-your-little-mind and nervous about the uncertainty.

Sometimes this uncertainty drives you crazy and you just sit at your computer on job-searching websites for hours, not sure where to start and frustrated with the results.

Sometimes you take a break from this ridiculous search and decide to do something productive, like, say, clean your room that you haven’t lived in for 4 years completely.

Sometimes when you’re cleaning, you stumble across childhood artifacts and old notes that you used to pass to your best friend in middle school, speaking in codenames about the boys you liked and the dreams you had for when you grew up, and you read them with a 21-year-old mindset and it seems so hilarious and bittersweet to see how much you’ve changed, or rather, how much you really haven’t.

Sometimes, buried beneath the notes and old ticket stubs, you find your old green 2004 iPod mini, or rather, your first real love.

Sometimes you take this little iPod, and even though it seems ridiculous, you hook it up to charge and find yourself looking through it eagerly.

Sometimes you realize this old iPod holds so many of the keys to your heart, so many of the melodies that you held onto tightly, as well as nearly 100 hand-crafted playlists that you painstakingly made at the age of 13 to express nearly every emotion and every situation perfectly.

Sometimes you wonder how you had real friends with such OCD playlist tendencies.

Sometimes you take this old iPod and hook it up to your car stereo and press shuffle, just for kicks, and then for the next two hours, you know every single line of every song that plays.

Sometimes these old songs make you happy, sometimes these songs make you question your music taste and sometimes they make you laugh out loud.

Sometimes you run across a song that you forgot how much you loved. I mean, you know it can be a little cheesy and that no one really listens to The Killers anymore, but you remember when this song was it. You remember using ridiculous words like EPIC to describe it. You remember when your best friend played it for you for the very first time after a particularly long school day full of low self-esteem and it cheered you up. You remember singing along to it with your friends on countless car rides through your suburban neighborhood and you remember seeing it in several inspirational online videos for all sorts of nonprofits and campaigns. You remember it being ‘over-played’ in your young hipster mind, but still loving it. You remember throwing your fist in the air and feeling a little part of your chest swell when Brandon Flowers & company repeated “I got soul but I’m not a soldier!” over and over again. You remember, for whatever reason, this song being one you were never able to skip past, never able to ignore, never tired of. You remember always hearing it and feeling infinite.

And sometimes, you hear it again, driving down the road on a day where you feel like you have no idea what to do with your life, and everything comes rushing back. You soak up every little lyric and rhythm and cymbal crash, and you remember that you’re okay and that life isn’t so overwhelming and dramatic.

And after all, sometimes you need a five minute and six second singalong to stay sane.

Graduation Day (Part 2) / THANK YOU!

So, I did it. I graduated college! I walked across a stage and didn’t trip and someone university-esque handed me a diploma frame! Hooray!

This is my favorite photo from graduation, even with the indoor lighting and green tint because it means to much that I was able to be in the same ceremony with three of the most influential friends in my life-

You should hire all of us!!! But seriously, I will now plug these beautiful graduates.

(left to right)

Christie is my roommate, my bandmate, and one of the greatest ladies in the world. She is always such a positive little light of energy and practically radiates love, not to mention that her voice is crazy-good. Go read her blog here!

Ryan is such a force of creativity and fun in my life and I am so glad I got to know and live above him! Keep his design site bookmarked, it will be up soon and will be wonderful! (He also designed Olive & Chuck’s twitter page!)

Zack is the best friend that I stumbled upon and had no idea I could have so much in common with. He is an AMAZING writer and the funniest person I know. Go read his blog here!

Looking at us 4 in our caps and gowns, all I could think of was this picture:

-(blame my pop-culture obsession.) I guess it could be worse. The O.C. was one of my favorites and my 3 friends are my favorites, so it works! And to you three, THANK YOU for being such great friends!

Now, on to the real thank yous for the past 3 & 1/2 years:

To anyone I’ve met over the past 21 years, to old friends from high school, to anyone who’s ever bought me coffee, to anyone who helped raise me, to anyone who has hired me, to anyone who sang with me, to anyone who helped me do math homework (because seriously, math is the WORST), to anyone who lent me their jacket when I was cold, to anyone who sent me a hilarious youtube video or picture of a puppy, to anyone who helped me study, to anyone who helped me procrastinate, to anyone who challenged me to think differently, to anyone who humored my love of puns, to anyone who let me force my musical taste on you, to anyone who danced with me even if you had two left feet, to anyone who listened to me rant about my bad day, to anyone who watched tv with me til 4 am, to anyone who helped me pick out an outfit, to anyone who baked a pie with me, to anyone who sat next to me in class, to anyone who let me cry on their shoulder, to anyone who walked around Target with me aimlessly just because, to anyone who prayed for me and to anyone who has ever read, commented or ‘liked’ this little blog-


I would not be the lion-haired girl that I am without your help, encouragement, honesty, love, support, phone calls at 3 am, jokes, songs and hugs. You are the reason that I love so wholeheartedly and cannot wait to see what the next chapter of my life holds.

I’ll love college deeply, I’ll probably still talk and write about it, but honestly – I don’t have any jobs lined up yet. I am looking, all around and beyond, but I’m not too worried. I know something will fall into place. However, shameless plug, if you hear of anything you think my lion talents might be lent well to, feel free to let me know, tweet me, leave a comment or email me at kelseyrmanning@gmail.com !

Finally, this blog has been something I’ve always wanted to do more with and now that I’m out of school, I hope to be revamping these parts and being more consistent with posts. If you have any criticism or ideas for me, I’d love to hear from you. If you have any design tips, send them my way! Please contact me with anything you like/dislike!

And if you could do me a HUGE favor, I’d love if you’d ‘like’ this blog on Facebook, right HERE. It would be awesome to get an idea of who I’m reaching with this blog and how I can better grow as an online brand & presence!

So, to repeat myself for the tenth time, THANK YOU. The internet can be a lonely place sometimes, but I am so happy to be able to have found my little corner and feel so loved. Yall are the best!

(OC Photo found: here)

A Letter To My 18-Year-Old Self

dear 18-year-old self,

hi, i’m about to graduate in 5 hours and you haven’t even entered it yet. get ready.

i know you’re scared of college, i know it doesn’t make sense yet and i know it’s not exciting yet, but it will be. you’re going to learn A LOT in the next 4 years (spoiler alert: it’ll actually only take you 3 and 1/2 and you’ll wonder why you graduated early) but i just wanted to share a little advice with you before you enter the greatest university in the world (go bobcats!!!).

based on what i have learned in these college years, here’s some wise words and Advice from me to you:

buy someone a drink. coffee or alcoholic. when they’re having a bad day, when you’re feeling generous, or both. this is the simplest thing to do but it is the easiest gesture to just spread a little love. pay for the person behind you in line. offer a refill. this is a good thing.

stay up all night just to appreciate sleep.

go on a road trip. see things you’ve never seen, even if they’re only 15 minutes away.

stop being so cynical of love. you’re going to heal, you’re going to get back on that horse. i know that you still want to make sarcastic comments anytime anyone enters a relationship but you’ve gotta refrain. you’re gonna get over it. you’re gonna listen to a lot of adele and some nights you’re gonna cry, but you’re gonna become a better woman from all this and more that anything, you’re gonna laugh about it in the end.

PICK UP THE GUITAR IN YOUR CLOSET AND ACTUALLY LEARN IT. also, think about finding a ukulele. trust me.

offer to drive everyone. make playlists for the car. don’t overlook how much bonding is going to take place just driving around your small college town.

make cookies. learn that cookies take almost no time or effort to make, but they are secret code for caring.  LEARN THIS EARLY and then make them often, make a lot of them and give them to your friends. no reason needed.

i know it seems stupid right now, self, but you’re gonna get really into fashion and you’re gonna have a heart for it and you’re gonna find a style that suits you and looks good. just trust me on this one. embrace the fact that you love leopard print and vintage 1960s looks and go with it. also, thrift stores will be your new home, so bring febreeze.

try not to be so dramatic. keyword: try.

you’re gonna watch a heck of a lot of good tv. don’t let anyone tell you that this is a waste, because certain episodes are going to bring you to tears and you’re gonna realize that that’s what you wanna do with your life. you’re gonna make a best friendship cemented with buffy the vampire slayer. you’re gonna marvel at mad men and be blown away by the heart and simplicity of pushing daisies. share these with other people and watch episodes together and all fall in love with the artform of visual media.

take pictures!!!! take a million pictures! TAKE SO MANY PICTURES -but don’t get lost in the nostalgia of them. appreciate the memories but don’t get stuck trying to relive them. the past can hurt if you try and stay in it. always be moving forward, always look for new little places and people to give your heart to and share your life with.

call your mom. you’re gonna grow so close to her. she understands that a spoonful of nutella counts as a meal. she understands that growing up is hard. she knows what to say and when to listen and when to pray.

call your dad. he’s gonna teach you how to fix a flat tire and a broken heart.

call your brother and grandparents. they’ll always have a good story to tell and a good restaurant recommendation.

don’t worry so much.

everyone’s gonna get on you about dating and at family gatherings everyone will ask if you have a boyfriend. just smile at them politely. i know you want to punch them, but please, smile.

and whenever you get sad, just switch decades and go live in the 60s and 70s for a little while. play soul music and old country and psychedelic tunes and dance in your room till it gets better. let jimi’s guitar solos speak when you can’t, let sam cooke cheer you up with that divine voice of his and let john, paul, george & ringo continue to sing you to sleep.

keep writing songs, please. keep writing them and singing them even if no one hears them. maybe let someone hear one. and then two people. and then three. and before you know it, you’ll be strumming them in a coffee shop with your best friend adding harmonies. ps, you’re gonna grow so much from this.

don’t be so negative on the internet. don’t vent. use the internet as a place of creativity and humor and connection.

smile at people you don’t know. it’ll freak them out a little, but what’s not fun about that?

go play. go be outside and run around and do cartwheels in the sunshine. build blanket forts and eat candy.  you don’t have to grow up just yet.

pray, read your bible, talk to people about jesus. seek him when it’s not going right, cry to him when it’s not fair and tell him everything you need. don’t let loneliness creep in; remember that you are loved.

you’re going to live with some wonderful ladies who make college apartments feel like one big sleepover. cherish this even when yall get on each other’s nerves. reconcile by making breakfast and going shopping and getting manicures and watching chick flicks, because it is perfectly okay to be a girl and be feminine and sometimes spend too much time talking about ryan gosling and shoes. embrace those x chromosomes.

guess what? get ready for the greatest men in the world to enter your life! you’re gonna find boys who teach you what you want and they’re gonna respect you and make you feel pretty and loved even without saying anything. you’re gonna be the luckiest, most envied lady for all the great guy friends you have in your life. appreciate this and love them back.

go to that stupid freshman year seminar that has that speaker who you’ve never heard of and look for the boy who’s messing with the zebra phone case. i know that looking back it will be embarrassing when you tell him within the first five minutes of meeting that you two will be best friends someday, but trust your instincts. and get ready for the best friend of your little life.

and you know what? even though sometimes your feelings are messy and undecided and up-in-the-air, don’t be afraid to share them.

oh, and don’t forget that no one looks good in that silly hat, but the least you can do is add a little pizazz to it.

(and don’t worry, your hair’s still big in the future.)


your 21-year-old ready-to-take-on-the-world-but-not-really blessed-with-the-greatest-friends-in-the-world self

Graduation Day; Part 1

I know that I haven’t written in weeks and that I should have philosophical reasons for doing so, but if anything, my life as of late has been defined by five words:

“i’m graduating college on friday.”

I am a huge mess of emotions right now. I feel like a little kid who doesn’t want to grow up. I feel like an adult who somehow is still holding onto my college sweatshirts. I feel like everyone around me is getting married and I’m sitting pretty on single island, holding onto my Lord Of The Rings dvds and musical soundtracks. I feel like I’m going to trip and fall onstage when they call my name at graduation. I feel a bitter confusing sense of nostalgia for freshman year when everything seemed new. I feel giddy realizing I won’t ever have to study again in a few days! I feel sleepy because I haven’t slept for 4 years while getting this degree. But mostly, I feel extremely and totally happy.

Everyone is telling nightmare stories of the current job market and suggesting grad school and cocking their heads to the side when I tell them I don’t know what I’m doing after this Friday, but I am just so happy; so overjoyed with the love I’ve experienced in the past 4 years.

I believe in Jesus. I believe in God. I’m not trying to convert you and you don’t have to echo my beliefs to read this blog. You don’t have to read this post or agree with it and I won’t take it personally if you stop reading altogether, but I just can’t honestly write a sentence about college and how it has changed my life without name-dropping Jesus and saying that I know he placed me here, at this university, for a reason. He put me here to surround me with knowledge and so much creativity and so much music to encourage my career goals. He put me here to grow and learn to go after what I want, no matter how hard or impossible it might seem. Mostly, he put me here to meet people that would challenge me, make me laugh harder than I ever have and love me unconditionally, and for all of this I am so thankful and gosh-darn happy!

So, come Friday, I’ll take on the real world. I’ll wear a funny hat and take pictures and keep replaying graduation cliches from movies and tv shows in my mind the whole time. I’ll try not to, but I’ll end up listening to Youth Group’s version of ‘Forever Young’ and I’ll get a huge lump in my throat. I’ll hug my best friends that I’ve been blessed to meet here and I’ll most likely do a bunch of happy dances. And I’ll cry- oh, that I already know, thanks to my sentimental heart- but you can bet that the tears will be happy ones.

And, you can also bet that my lion-maned hair will be Texas-sized and in full force.

And, of course, that I’ll blog all about it.

My Two Cents on The Big C

Kevin posted something a lot like this entry HERE, and I actually have him to thank for even getting me on my Springsteen kick, PLUS, his post is a lot more put together and lovely, so I suggest reading it instead, ha, but I have had this post sitting in my drafts for too long and needed to hit publish! SO, onward-

I know this is late and lame, but I have to say a little something.

I’m not a seasoned rock and roll music critic and there are plenty of people that know more about Bruce Springsteen than I. However, Clarence Clemons was my favorite member of the E Street Band and I got to see him twice live on two different tours.

Put simply, the man was amazing. My concertmates and I were on the front row both times, but it was clear that from any place in the arena, you could just feel the energy from this enormous man; all his laughs and smiles and dances were such a joy. He wailed that saxophone almost like it was a weapon, and his parts of the song were always electric. He just had this fire, ya know?! We cupped our fingers and held up C’s with our hands through Born to Run and Livin’ In The Future and Badlands and most of all, JUNGLELAND (!) and he saw them and let out this enormous grin and I couldn’t help but grin as well. It was infectious. He loved what he did, he loved making music, and for those two nights, we got to send him a little love back.

He and Bruce were in sync at those two shows, which are only, of course, two tiny snapshots of forty or so years of friendship, playing in a band, surviving a band breakup and coming back to tour- all to make great music together. This band’s ‘legacy’ or whatever you want to call it is so much bigger than me, bigger than a fanbase, bigger than a few (great) records. I don’t know any of my favorite musicians personally, but if I had the right stationery to send to the Big Man, (and his address in Saxophone Heaven) I’d have to pen a thank you for the music that provided the soundtrack to me growing up. The music that I could listen to on both sunny days and dark nights. The songs that stuck with me and seemed to resonate like no other. The songs that made me dance and wanna shove the accelerator on my car hard and just GO with them! The songs that I could drop my turntable needle onto, skip my cd towards and shuffle my ipod with and it would just fill me with that little musical spike-happiness-feeling when you realize something is wonderful.

So thank you, Big Man. It might take me a while to tell people why I love you and they might still cock their head when I list you in my favorite musicians.

I didn’t grow up in Jersey.

I didn’t go to years and years of shows.

Being only 20, I didn’t get to see you back when the magic began.

So, I know you mean a lot of things to a lot of people and nothing to some people, but you gave this blonde-haired wide-eyed girl who stumbled upon a now-lifelong love for Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band a bunch of songs that she’ll never get over or tired of.

And if I get a little misty or this big grin on my face when I hear a sax solo, you can be sure it’s because my heart’s still happy from hearing the Biggest Man in the world show me how it’s done firsthand.

(Photos provided by the lovely, wonderful Katie Darcy, as taken at the greatest concert of my life!)

Phone Calls

I always forget what a fantastic invention the telephone is.

And honestly, if the Lord has spoken to me this week it has been directly from my little cellular device. I have had more influential, comforting, reassuring phone conversations this week than I hardly know what to do with. They’ve been everything from hard and upsetting to easy and hilarious, but all things I needed to hear.

I have always been really bad about answering my calls and text messages in a timely manner, but I think being away from home has cured me of that*. I know it’s not a rocket-science-revelation, but just the sound of a familiar voice puts me right at ease.

*It also helps that my ringtone is Prince. The Purple One makes every call that more exciting.


Whenever I talk to my little team of family and friends back in Texas and beyond, they always ask how it feels here in Nashville. And to answer honestly, it feels pretty much the same, but at times it can just be a little weird.

Yes, it’s weird being here on my own.

You see, it’s weird only making coffee for one, instead of adding on cups for two lovely roommates. It’s weird not waking up to a giant poster of Jimi Hendrix greeting me every morning. It’s weird to not be at the river nearly every day, soaking up the sun. It’s weird strumming my guitar and ukulele alone without a bandmate by my side! It’s weird to not have Destiny’s Child group singalongs as frequently as before. It’s weird not staying up late night after night just talking face to face about everything under the sun with the same good people that I’ve depended on for years now. And it’s just plain weird to not be able to order jalapenos at any and every restaurant!

But mainly, it’s weird how fast I feel like I’ve adjusted. Sure, I miss my lone star state and all the people in it with a bunch of my heart, but I’m starting to get attached here, actually. This may come from me adjusting in my truck and not getting lost on the winding roads as much anymore, but I’m not complaining as to the cause.  Nashville, thanks for being a great little home so far. You still feel a little weird, but hey, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m a little weird myself.

PS, my fantastic friend Megan and I met the amazing, legendary Chet Atkins this past week and he even let us strum his old guitar-  so nice of him!

Happy Dad Day, Father Lion!

Though I am a lion-haired girl, my Dad’s mane is a little more tamed.

One thing you should know- my dad is an absolute rockstar. Where do I even start? My dad is the reason that I was the confusion of every boy in many parking lots. You see, when someone need their car jump-started, there I was– marching in with the industrial-strength jumper cables he gave me, out of the back of his old pickup truck that became mine and the sassy “oh-don’t-worry-I’ve-got-this” attitude happening. My Dad is the reason I know how to waterski, wakeboard, handle a gun, kickstart a motorcycle, install cabinets, do a Texas two-step, grill, considered The Home Depot a second home as a small child and have both my boating and driver’s license. And I’ll be darned if I’m not proud of all of that.

Besides all these Dad-driven traits, my Dad is also a huge part of who I am. I have my Daddy’s love for working with my hands and problem-solving nature, but I still call him for advice before embarking on any major project. We share the same sense of humor and spontaneity, and he’s always been the one to just trust me and throw me into a situation to help me learn (like how when I was first learning to drive, instead of practicing in a parking lot, he told me to just get on Highway 59 heading to downtown Houston. Yeah, ‘white-knuckled’ tends to teach you to sink-or-swim!). We both love Back To The Future & John Wayne, classic rock and country music playing loud, a good meal, being on the water, finding places off-the-beaten path in the backroads of Texas and not wearing shoes.

But most of all, my Dad has taught and continues to teach me how to be a hard worker, but also enjoy so much of life. He has worked at the same company for over 20 years and still puts on his boots every morning to go in early and work so that I, my brother and my Mama can live so comfortably. He is a Godly man who treats people with so much respect. When my Dad laughs, he laughs loudly and usually, the whole room is listening and laughing along. He is a fantastic storyteller and oh-so-quotable and I hope to be a little more like him each day.

So Dad, even though I’m not in Texas to celebrate with you,

Happy YOU Day!

I love you to the moon and I think that you raised a pretty darn good son and daughter, but I might be a little biased.

*And if nothing else, you raised a daughter who knows the difference between an inboard and outboard motor, phillips-head and flat blade screwdrivers and was overjoyed this morning when the average recorded mileage on her truck increased by .5 miles. So hey, that’s something!

Happy Birthday, Mama!

I hope you have your party hats ready, internet, because today is my sweet Mama’s birthday! That’s right, the mother of this lion is the main (and mane) celebration happening on this lovely April 6th.

People often say that I’m turning into my mother, which, given our resemblance, could be pretty accurate. Observe:

But besides the obvious, I have to say that turning into this wonderful woman is not anything to shake a stick at. She truly was and still is the original lion-haired girl, and for that I am so thankful. She taught me about the world- from bible stories to how to write and everything in between. The clothing from her closet often ends up in mine (especially denim vests and turquoise…oh yes, like mother, like daughter!) and her recipes are like golden tickets. My musical knowledge and love is primarily all her and my dad’s fault; George Strait, Led Zeppelin and Earth Wind & Fire were all names I knew by age 5. She and I can hardly talk on the phone for under 30 minutes and even then, we still have plenty more to say.

If I can be as confident, hilarious, in-love-with-life, positive, strong and beautiful as this woman, then I will have achieved all I could ever want.

When it comes down to it,  just give me a good playlist, meaningful conversation, spicy food, a few sarcastic remarks and some strong cowboy boots to dance in. What can I say? Mama taught me well.

Happy Birthday, Mama Lion!

(this one’s for you!):

Home Alone? No Thank You

I basically lived alone my first two years of college.

Okay, wah wah, I can cry about it all I want, but it wasn’t too terrible. Of course, it wasn’t exactly by choice- it just happened that way. Both of my roommates my freshman and sophomore year just seemingly spent most of their days and nights at sisters’ apartments, boyfriends’ duplexes or just back home. On weekends, I always had the place to myself. This, of course, left only me and my beloved ukulele bunking together for literally months. They were both sweet girls…in the total of 36 hours we probably spent in the same room the entire two years I lived on campus, but if we’re being honest, I was on my own in my room.

Now, of course, this didn’t mean that I was by my lonesome most hours. I was very blessed to find friends and find them quickly, and they have been with me, by my side physically and emotionally for the past three years in so many ways. We went (and still go) everywhere together- literally. Laundry was done in a group, every class break was spent catching up even if we had five minutes, meals were never eaten alone and I’m honestly surprised that we didn’t all just move into a tent together on the campus lawn somewhere. Making tight-knit friendships has been the best part of moving to San Marcos, by far, and this year has only been even better.

This year I happen to live in the cutest little apartment with the cutest girls in the world. Think I’m kidding? You clearly haven’t met C & S.

See, told ya! But really, I can honestly say that living with two of my best friends by my side, sometimes even when I’m not expecting them to be, is marvelous. At any given time, there’s three separate iTunes libraries playing loudly, dishes stacked a mile high and cardigans of every color are sprawled across every piece of furniture, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love mornings when we all sit in S’s room on her bed and share stories and cups of coffee and I love evenings when we come home at different times but still check up on each other.

You see, I’m spoiled now. While I used to be adjusted to being alone in my surroundings, I now crave having my roommates near. I can still be on my own, but I’d much rather not. And so, hearing one of their keys twisting the lock to our front door at this very moment as I type this blog post? It’s like music to my ears.

Am I needy? Could be. But hey, internet, you would be too if you had roomies that woke you up to the smell of bacon and hugs. Promise.