junior year: nashville by Brooke Haney

Going away to college is an extreme moment in most people’s lives where they leave home for the first time. For me, I went twenty miles north and settled in for five of the best years of my life. Whether I knew it or not, I had the home field advantage.

One night my junior year a guy who should not have been walking home from The Strip (you know, the place where Garth first made his mark in Stillwater, Okla.) strongly believed our house on S. Duncan was the house where he needed to settle in for the night. One too many crown slushies, I assumed. As I listened to his attempts at a b&e, I told some southwestern Oklahoma boy I needed to get off the phone because oh-my-gosh-someone-is-trying-to-kill-me. So, like any normal 20 year old girl would, I called my dad who drove 20 miles to sleep on my couch.

That, folks, is a home field advantage.

Since leaving the best state since 1907, I’ve likened my adventures to college. Freshman year (buffering in Charlotte) I was homesick, didn’t like my classes and spent way too much time doing things that didn’t matter. Sophomore year (thriving in Austin) I fell into the groove, found my rhythm, but was still very much an underclassman. Junior year (Hello, Nashville) I’m feeling like me again: confident, spending more time at the rec center, and living in a legit house on S. Duncan.

My safety net - in a lot of ways - was ripped out from under me when I moved to Charlotte. I couldn’t drive home to Perkins when I needed a minute, I couldn’t drive my car into the shop when it was making a noise and I couldn’t pick up someone in my tribe for a run to TJMaxx and Ted's Café Escondido when I just needed a person to listen.

But, just like in my junior year I’ve started to believe myself when I tell myself it’s going to be okay.

TNStateCapitol
Nashville_Capitol

This week I watched the sunset from the steps of the Capitol.

For a second, I imagined I was sitting atop the rocky hill on the back 40 overlooking my childhood home. As I removed my earbuds and allowed myself to listen to the white noise of the city, I acknowledged Nashville is a great city. It’s overflowing with creative, passionate citizens. And, it’s okay that it’s not home.

hot wax and pesticides by Brooke Haney

The other day I went for a routine eyebrow wax. If you’re a dark-haired girl, you get that finding someone to trust with your eyebrows is just as important as finding a doctor, a gym and a grocery store in your new city.

So while my esthetician, who I’ve come to adore in the past few months, strategically poured hot wax on my brows, I tried to make small talk. Because nothing says small talk like hot wax only an inch from your eyeballs.

I don’t find much surprising these days. I have, you see, been urban for six years. Between the mix of a random calf on the front porch during calving season and walking down Bourbon Street during the day - and night - I’ve seen and heard my fair share of random.

Following up on our last awkward small talk conversation, I asked about her juice cleanse. Juice for 21 days? I’m curious. Do you wear one of those helmets with straws like the crazy dudes in football commercials? Are you hungry? Does wine count? It’s sort of a juice.

She said, and I paraphrase, that she feels better than she has in her entire life. That her body is functioning stupendously without pesticides or growth hormones lining her intestines. Her hair is fuller, her nails are longer and her stress is basically non-existent.

I’m reasonable to a fault. My counselor says he’s impressed with how I try to see a situation from every possible angle before responding, but sometimes I should just react before thinking too much.

Remember, folks. Hot wax. A quick reaction wasn’t really in the cards.

So I kept quiet and said, “good for you!” sans sarcasm. To be fair, my eyebrows have been looking really good lately and I don’t want to be on market again for another esthetician, and maybe I can introduce her to a farmer.

Then it hit me. Someone told her pesticides line her intestines. That’s her truth.

Colon cancer took my dad when he was only 25, so I’m well versed in intestinal health and ohmygosh she thinks farmers are killing us.

So, clearly, I googled. I wanted to know what she sees. I wanted to know why she thinks modern agriculture is bad for her. I needed to know why she thinks an organic apple has more nutritional value than a regular apple.

I get it, though. I do. In the middle of a big city, whether it’s Charlotte, Austin or Nashville, grocery marketing is our first, sometimes only, connection with agriculture.

Pesticides

Our address now (east side, strong side) is very much in a food desert. Every Sunday (sometimes weekdays, too) I drive nine miles north to the “good Kroger.” This Kroger does a great job of showing pictures of farmers and locations (very much Whole Foods-eque) of their farms. I’ve noticed, however, this is primarily found on the organic foods. So, if organic foods showcase their farmers the regular foods must have been made in a factory or used chemicals to make the product so affordable, right? Right?

This is why I want to connect farmers with consumers. Because, unfortunately, not everything we read on the internet is truthful.

I spend more time in the kitchen now than ever. I’m strategic in my purchasing decisions and select produce and meat products that not only fit within our budget, but also appeal to our waistlines. I, too, want to make good choices. I, too, reach out to farmers to make sure I’m a well-informed consumer.

This is why I agvocate.

Places to visit in south-central Oklahoma by Brooke Haney

A long, long time ago my full-time hustle was living life as the original Chickasaw Country blogger and community manager. As such, I’m often asked to give my two cents as to the best places to visit, stay, explore, et al.

For those looking to extend a quick trip from Oklahoma City to Dallas in more of an adventure, here’s my top five.

Wayne_Payne

Wayne Payne Exit

This has no actual relevance except that I have a dream to one day byline a fictional children’s book about two brothers - Wayne and Payne - who are divided because of the evil road builders who disregard their historic deeds and divided their land. With herds of buffalo (with the strength of Greek gods, mind you) to attack from both the east and west and faithful scissor-tailed flycatchers to deliver messages to align strategic attacks (rural reception is the worst), Wayne and Payne become victorious and unite their communities once again.

Garold Wayne Interactive Zoological Park

GW_Zoo

(Wynnewood, Okla.) During week 1 of Team Haney, Travis tagged along as my faithful intern as I adventure - and reviewed - this hidden Oklahoma gem. Here’s the deal, you get to play with a baby tiger and see a Liger in real life. Worth. It.

Smokin’ Joes

(Davis, Okla.) Because, barbecue.

Downtown Ardmore

Places to visit: Threads Clothing Co., Cafe Alley, Cloverleaf  

Picking a favorite town in south-central Oklahoma is what I imagine picking a favorite child would be like. Today, I pick Ardmore, but know tomorrow I could easily pick Sulphur. Maybe because I once covered a free Pat Green show downtown, or watched our now-IRL friend, Josh, play in a historic venue. Bottom line: spend a few hours in Ardmore. 

The LadySmith

(Tishomingo, Okla.) Last fall, we celebrated my friend’s birthday in Tishomingo, Okla. - a weekend with the Lady Smith at The Ladysmith. With talented ownership, passionate staff and a curious town filled with proud citizens this stop is the best return on your investment. Each room in the Inn is uniquely decorated (yes, by Miranda) and the bar is equally stocked with top-tier wine and low-tier domestics. 

Across the street you'll find the Pink Pistol (a tick touristy) and the Ponderosa (filled with locals).

Of note: I should really byline a post about this weekend.

Tishomingo_Oklahoma
TishomingOklahomaAmerica
LadySmith_Tishomingo

Although this list doesn't include ziplining, gaming (sorry - won't blog about that), restaurants, or concert venues know they're there. There are simply just too many to list. 

Comment below if you need suggestions for a particular town. I'm always game for discussing one of my favorite regions of Oklahoma. 

pomeranian versus snow by Brooke Haney

Although we had quite a few snowy days in Oklahoma, they were often outweighed by ice storms that took their toll on power lines and livestock.

So, you can image the delight of a true snow day while living an urban existence in Nashville's east side. I've never seen The Walking Dead, but I image our 'hood could have passed for a scene or two. Imagine folks walking down the center of a snow-filled street toward the local Kroger to fill their bellies. 

To be fair, I keep our pantry quite stocked. We just needed out of the house. We were stir crazy, man. 

The dog turned into a real jerk who gave us the a serious guilt trip for forcing her inside every so often to knock off the snow frozen to her little body. 

Pomeranian_Snow

Just look at the little snow bunny. She could barely walk yet she threw us some mad shade when we called her indoors.

Molly_Pomeranian_Haney

Now that the snow is gone we're left dreaming of another snow day. 'till next time. 

2016: living with intention by Brooke Haney

I slid into twenty sixteen like an ill-prepared marathon runner crawls across the finish line. My muscles were sore, my brain hurt and my body needed about 14 gallons of water.

2015 was a year to praise for it’s glorious adventures: moving, jobs, friends, et al. 

Just look at that map, though. That's every work trip, friend trip, Haney vacation (oh, hey, Mexico). It's great, right?

I'm so grateful to have a career that allows me to work with some of the most talented agriculturalists and developers in the world. Truly.

Just look at that house in the historic Jonas Snowstorm of 2016.


And I'm also grateful to say I'm a happy homeowner. A homeowner who really likes to stay home. 

This year I'm going to live more intentionally. Weigh my options. Keep my priorities close. Do more of what makes me happy.

I can say this, you know, because it's a resolution I can keep. It's already February for crying out loud. I'm doing this. It's happening.