the USC game yesterday!! also, goals + meal plan for the week of 11/17

WOW. The USC game yesterday was one of the most thrilling football games I’ve ever watched! It was so amazing to be there, cheering on my alma mater alongside my family and friends. My parents and I spent the afternoon tailgating on campus with a bunch of my brother’s business school friends. It was great to meet them!

family tailgate

The game itself was a nail-biter and came down to the wire, but ultimately USC pulled out a victory over Stanford with a long field goal. WOO!! We were all jumping up and down and screaming with joy. It was so much fun! I hadn’t been back to a football game in the Coliseum since I graduated, and I forgot how amazing it is to be there. I love all the traditions: Traveler running down the sidelines, the marching band and spirit leaders and song girls, lighting the torch at the beginning of the fourth quarter… And I love how you become friends with the people sitting around you as all of you go crazy cheering on your team! We had a blast.

me and Ben at game

beat stanford!

after the game

We drove home from the game last night and arrived back at the house just in time to watch Lady Gaga host SNL … what did you guys think? I was pretty impressed. Lady Gaga isn’t in this skit, but I randomly loved Kenan’s character Mr. Senior … his “special report” telling people to STOP with early Christmas and enjoy Thanksgiving had me cracking up:

All in all, it’s been a whirlwind weekend! I can’t believe I’m already headed back up to the Bay tomorrow. Today has been a peaceful, quiet Sunday at home … went to church this morning, grocery shopped with my mom, and now we’re watching football while waiting for my Gramps to come over to dinner soon. My mom is spoiling me and making my favorite stuffed chicken breasts! YUM.

weekly goals

Here’s how I did on my goals from this past week:
write 15 pages of new material
send out my novel chapters for Dec. fellows workshop
– submit fellowship application
– exercise at least twice
– finish reading Happier Endings: a meditation on life and death
connect with two friends

Here are my goals for the week of 11/17:
– write 15 pages of new material
– submit fellowship application
– exercise at least twice
– finish reading Happier Endings: a meditation on life and death
– connect with two friends

And here are some recipes I’m planning to try out: {if you can’t tell, I’ve already got Thanksgiving on the brain!}
healthy green bean casserole via The Lean Green Bean
sweet-filled acorn squash bowl via It’s Progression
greek yogurt biscuits and mini pumpkin cinnamon rolls via Two Peas & Their Pod
pumpkin and kale stew via The Pajama Chef

Questions of the day:

  • What were the highlights of your weekend?
  • What are your goals and menu plans for this upcoming week?

fabulous friday #4

Happy Friday, everyone! I’m writing this from the beautiful new John McKay Student Athletic Center at USC … so excited to be back at my alma mater for Homecoming weekend!

Here are five things I’m happy about:

1. Getting to hang out with my brother! This guy makes me laugh like no one else on the planet. I love him so much!

dal and greg

2. The USC Homecoming football game! I’m going with my friend Ben, who I haven’t seen in far too long … can’t wait to catch up. My parents are also driving down tomorrow morning and we’re going to tailgate with them and my brother’s business school friends. Should be a ton of fun! {Apparently last time my mom went to the tailgate with my brother, everyone thought she was a Dean, haha. She’s just such a dignified lady.} 🙂

Greg USC

3. This morning I had a coffee date with Erica at our favorite local coffee shop Simone’s. Nothing like a pumpkin chai latte and two hours of laugh-filled conversation with this beautiful lady to get my weekend off to a great start!

me and Erica at Simones

Simone's chai

4. My dad took me out for a sushi lunch date before I headed down to USC. He’s such a sweetie! When I was living at home we’d try to go on lunch dates every Friday, so it was extra special to continue our tradition when I was home today.

Dad at sushi

Pops says, FIGHT ON!

5. Mr. Murdog was oh-so-excited when I came home and gave me the most exuberant, tail-wagging welcome. And I got to take him out on a walk with my mom last night after dinner, which is one of my favorite rituals. I love walking and talking with my mama!

me and Murray


If you couldn’t tell … I’m happy to be back home for the weekend!

Questions of the day:

  • What are your weekend plans?
  • What are you happy about on this lovely Friday?

year of kindness challenge: week 42

year of kindness button

Happy Monday, everyone! Hope your week is off to a good start. 🙂 The BART strike continues up here in the Bay Area, and I feel so bad for all of the commuters into the city who rely on BART and now have to find other means of transportation. Please send good thoughts that the issues get resolved soon and the trains will start running again!

My cousin Arianna went to the Homecoming Dance this weekend and she looked absolutely gorgeous! I love this photo of her and my grandma … we were calling them our two ladies in red:

arianna homecoming

Yesterday was another family-filled day, and I loved it! In the morning I headed over to cheer on my cousin Makena in her soccer game — not only did her team win, but she scored three goals! I was so proud. She is quite the soccer star!

Then I headed over to the U.U. church a couple towns over {the closest one to where I live now} … it was my first time going to this particular church, and everyone was so welcoming and kind. The church itself is stunningly beautiful, on top of a mountain, and the chapel has a ton of windows looking out over the green hills and the valley below. I was definitely happy I made the drive, and I plan to go back next Sunday! It can be intimidating to walk into a new church, and it takes me a few weeks to feel completely comfortable and to start recognizing familiar faces.

In the evening, we got together for dinner with my other aunt’s family. Grandma and I made an apple cake with cinnamon crumb topping and brown sugar glaze … YUM! It was actually a very easy recipe, and was a big hit with everyone. Grandpap even went back for thirds! I’ll have to share the recipe on here soon.

apple cake

Now … on to the kindness! Last week’s kindness challenge was to advocate for someone, particularly someone younger or newer or just starting out on their career path. I sent a dozen or so emails to young writers with contest information I came across, and I also spoke on the phone to a few high school students about their writing and college applications. I always come away from these conversations inspired myself — I hope they felt the same way!

The Week 42 Kindness Challenge is to buy someone else’s morning java fix or afternoon caffeine boost. This might mean paying for the person behind you in line at Starbucks or bringing lattes to your coworkers as a mid-week treat. Whatever strikes your fancy!

As always, blog about your experiences and include your links in the comments section below, or feel free to send me an email at dallaswoodburn AT gmail DOT com.

Now I’m off to work on fellowship apps and then go for a run at the gym. Have a wonderful day!

❤ Dallas

P.S.: The archives were getting pretty loooooong below each new post, so head on over to this Year of Kindness Challenge page to see all the archived posts from the previous 41 weeks!

Questions of the morning:

  • What kindnesses happened in your life this past week?
  • Have you ever moved to a new town and had to start out at a new church? Do you have any advice about making the transition?