I’ve alluded to this week being my one year anniversary of my move to Dallas from the Big Apple but I wanted to take a minute to write out my experiences and everything that’s happened since I moved here – not just for The Sports Brat. I have to admit I’m one of those goal-oriented people that often focuses so much on the finish line that I forget to take in everything happening along the way, so it helps me to write annual recaps to realize my progress as a blogger and as a human. So let’s get started.
I’m not sure if you all know but when I moved to Dallas last year I was in a relationship that I thought was going to be THE ONE. I wanted to leave NYC for various reasons so when a job opportunity came up in Texas I was open to interviewing. During that time he and I had reconciled for the 100th time and I was ready to live in the same state and give it a real shot and start a new career and life there for myself.
I ended up not taking the job because, quite frankly, I wanted to focus on our relationship and with his career I just wasn’t sure I could really commit to the company for the next year unconditionally. So I decided to take a part time job working in a cute boutique instead.
About 2 months into being here things got very toxic and bad again and my relationship was officially over.
I was devastated. Not just because the relationship was over but I was humiliated because, if I’m being honest, we should have ended that relationship 2 months in, not 2 years later. But its all part of learning and growing. I was so ashamed, so embarrassed and so mad at myself for not being true to who I was to try to save the relationship. So months 3-4 were about me forgiving myself, moving on and taking a different path than the one I had imagined. I had to rebuild and create a life for myself in Dallas.
When things have been hard for me I’ve always enjoyed pouring myself into The Sports Brat. I have caught some flack for it being “fluffy” especially in the sports industry where they take things so seriously but that’s what’s authentic for me. It’s fun, its light and its positive. Oh and I try to keep it real with you guys.
So back to the timeline, It was June, I was working at the boutique still and I got the opportunity to go on a writing retreat in Carmel, CA. (Yeah I know a total dream right?!). I applied late one night and didn’t think anything of it. I was walking Stan in the neighborhood when Linda (the retreat creator) called and invited me. It started in 3 days but I booked a flight and off I went.
On the flight to Carmel, I was seated next to a woman who appeared to be a bit disheveled when I first sat down. She began chatting with me and I was actually happy to have the company. We spent the flight talking about her extremely interesting life. She lived on Long Island so we shared laughs and nostalgia over our favorite Manhattan and Hamptons memories.
As we stood around baggage claim, her friend arrived to pick her up. As we were saying goodbye, the friend offered to give me a ride to the retreat. Now it is not like me to take a ride from a total stranger but for some reason I trusted them. So I hopped in her convertible and we took off down the coast. I felt so alive and so ready for the week head.
We pulled into the long driveway just as a cab was pulling in. A pretty, young blonde was getting out of the car. I hugged my new friends goodbye and looked at the blonde, we were both a little unsure until she asked if I was here for the retreat and immediately I felt more at ease. Her name was Laura and little did I know she would be the sister I never knew I was missing.
What a magical week. We stayed in the idyllic log cabin-style home, situated atop a hill overlooking the Pacific ocean. Trust me, when you’re going through anything, a retreat is the way to go. Do not get me wrong, Linda had us on a tight schedule of writing, group brainstorms and individual sessions with her. But in between we ate amazingly delicious and nutritious meals above the garden, we took walks on the beach and shared approximately 1 million laughs. The other women that were there were incredible, so creative but mostly so dang supportive.
I haven’t told many people this, because sharing your dreams can be scary, but I’ve always dreamed of writing a book. While I was at the retreat, with the help of my lady tribe, I was able to outline my first book and get a good portion of it done. I was even able to send out pitches to agents and the response was pretty good. The book hasn’t been published, or edited for that matter but I am super proud of the work that I did on it last year.
After the retreat, I came back to Dallas and was intent on pursuing The Sports Brat again and finally getting it to where I’d dreamed it could go.
In month 5 I was feeling confident enough to reach back out to contacts and one of them was John, host and producer of Tailgate Radio. I went on and did another show with him and when it wrapped he said the words I had always dreamed to hear, “Hey Jess, I don’t want to overstep but I think you should really have your own show and if you’re interested in doing that, I’d like to be the one to produce it.”
Again, I love to entertain people and I never really thought of it as a proper career for me but when I’m with my friends I love making them laugh and telling stories. So this opportunity seemed incredible to be able to do that on a larger scale. And thus, my podcast baby was born.
Months 6-7 were spent networking and working out the details of the podcast. In June, a good family friend moved to Dallas as well. She happens to be a talented photographer so she and I began working together to curate my Instagram feed.
Also during this time, I got a huge idea for a podcast launch party. August marked the 3 year anniversary of The Sports Brat and I was launching my podcast in September. In my mind, I created this awesome idea for a “Girl’s Night Out at the Park.” I rented out this amazing suite at the Ranger’s ballpark and was going to invite a group of bloggers and influencers in town to come out for a game.
My experience at the Rangers was unlike any other team. They took me on a tour, I got to meet the mascot and even take batting practice in the cages. It was truly a southern welcome.
In my planning I thought it would be great to bring in different vendors to not only help offset my costs but help them to get exposure with the influencers and vice versa. I connected first with an amazing company called Tribal that does pressed juices that I love. Then Bandier, an adorable workout apparel store, said they were in. And lastly, I was connected with Alex, one of the co-founders from Fave4 hair. Now I’m a total fangirl of Fave4 so this was so cool and she was on board to do a braid bar in the suite. I also had connected with Kristin, the owner of JaneHudson dresses that I LOVE and she was willing to be a part of it too. I was so surprised by the overwhelming support and excitement to be a part of the event.
The last piece I totally stole from “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” but I also found a jewelry store to set up diamonds so the influencers could try on pretty things. Because lets be real, I love a pun and diamonds…baseball diamond…it just was too perfect.
So everything was set to go but at the last minute I decided to postpone the event because of several reasons but it just seemed to be a big investment and I wasn’t 100% sure people were going to come, so I tabled the idea (but stay tuned for this year).
Regardless, my point is that by August I had made some incredible connections but more importantly, new friends. I was starting to build my life and my business back up.
On a personal note, I bought my first home in July as well. As someone who has moved every year since I was 18, I was so happy to settle into my own place. Plus it solidified that Dallas would be my home now. I can’t really express the gratitude I have for that because there is so much peace in knowing your home is your home and you don’t have to find somewhere new in a few months. Plus Stan loves the extra room.
In September, I went to my first game at Cowboys Stadium. It was USC/Alabama and I was able to see old California friends. I even got to meet one of my favorite Housewives, Shannon Beador. I also kicked off my podcast with my gal pal Whitney Bond! LOVE her recipes. I was also able to interview Charissa Thomspon again, if you want to get into broadcasting, listen to her story.
That brings me to October. You may have read my Car Crash Love post about meeting my boyfriend so I will spare you the sappy story on that again ;).
November may have been the best month of my life. I was so lucky to head to LSU for the LSU/Alabama game. I have never been to a tailgate like that, EVER. It was incredible and so cool to share that with my dad and cousin Brian. I was also fortunate enough to go to my first SMU tailgate where I learned that dresses are perfect for a warm game day and that I need a pair of cowboy boots.
I was also to shoot an awesome webisode with Lexi and Kelsey from PizzaandChampagne.com. We did a fun Friendsgiving and former podcast guest, Summit Hogue even stopped back in.
On actual Thanksgiving the bf took me and a couple of friends to the Cowboys game. What an experience. I always watch the Cowboys on TV while cooking Thanksgiving at home so it was so cool to be in person this year.
Wrapping up the year, I was able to get an opportunity to do some video work for a local sports TV show here in Dallas. Again, totally out of my comfort zone but it gave me an opportunity to challenge myself and grow. I’m sure you’ve all seen the bloopers but here you go again!
And I finally got on the platform, Like to Know it. I had been rejected twice so I was so nervous and even more excited when they brought me on. It gives me a way to not only monetize my instagram but to share detail more easily with you all when it comes to my outfits, tableware, cookware, luggage, etc. To me it was a huge win and something I had been working on for so long.
I’m not sure how much I shared but I got the flu and pneumonia over the holidays and it really knocked me out but around my bday I was able to podcast with my bestie just before I really went down. 2017 started with awesome guests, an old colleague Cara Alwill Leyba from the Champagne Diet, Sam Ward and my all time favorite Kaitlyn Bristowe. Not to mention my friend and total inspiration, Matt Coulter and I had a blast planning events for this year that I cannot wait to see unfold.
I took a brief break in March from podcasting to reflect and come up with fresh new content starting in April. I also started to work part time at a radio station to hopefully learn more and meet more people as I continue to build my life here. I wrapped up the month by collaborating with a local boutique (Moreau, so cute go check them out) and Sydney, the creator of Live Love GameDay. I’ve never done a trunk show and had no idea what it would be like but it went great and I was so happy to help out.
I hope this reflection and opening up doesn’t come across as bragging. It shouldn’t. Instead, I want to show you just how capable we all are of starting over. I kid you not that I had to literally rebuild and start over in June and when you’re hit with something all we can do is start over. And what’s so interesting is the woman who offered me the job when I first moved here that I turned down has ended up being such a mentor and friend to me. We just had lunch the other day and we were laughing at all that has happened since then.
Trust me, every day is not all roses. I struggle. I often doubt myself and have to fight those negative thoughts. But I think if you all looked back at the people you’ve met, the relationships you’ve built, the goals you’ve attained, and the little things you’ve accomplished, it would look more like this blog post than you think.
If I told you I felt like I didn’t do much last year you would call me crazy, but I felt that way. That’s what inspired this post. I challenge you all to look back and reflect and see how much you’ve done even if you haven’t reached your goals yet. I want TheSportsBrat.com to be the authority of game day, I want The Sports Brat with Jess Ceresino to be a top podcast on iTunes, I want to publish my book, I want to create a merchandise line and I want a weekly segment here at the radio station. But until I reach those goals I promised myself I’m going to enjoy every moment of the journey.
I know I’m not a professional but if anyone is moving and needs some tips on how to get settled and meet people in a new city I highly recommend joining non-profit or getting involved in some way. That has been really great. Also, church or any religious group you belong to is a fantastic way to meet people and start to settle in. And my last little tip is to research your new city and make a list of all the things you want to do and see. You never know who you may meet along the way. Moving can be so daunting and overwhelming but rebuilding doesn’t always have to be scary, you can turn it into and amazing adventure….you could even blog about it (hint hint), I meet so many people that way.
Have such a great weekend everyone and new podcasts will begin in April!