My brain is full (SXSW)

Sorry, guys, I totally meant to post this last night, but when I got home from work all I could think about is, "I go to bed now?"

But hey, stranger! Long time, no see!

I am officially back in Indiana and still coming down off of my SXSW high. My brain is on fire from all that I saw, learned and experienced, but I am beyond ready to get back to my job and daily life.

Our flight got in just before midnight on Tuesday evening and my heart skipped a beat when I saw Clayton waiting for me outside gate. My days in Austin were packed and I almost (emphasis on "almost") didn't have a spare moment to think about all that I was waiting for me back at home, but seeing his blue eyes last night made me feel 100% whole once again.

And I may or may not have squeezed Joey so hard his little beagle eyeballs bulged out of his head.

But holy guacamole, you guys. SXSW? Amazing. Draining, exhausting and overstimulating, but oh-so-awesome. I learned so much. I met so many like-minded creatives. I saw so many celebrities. It was beyond bizarre. I met freakin' GRUMPY CAT, for crying out loud! GRUMPY CAT. Was seeing Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart on a street corner real? I'm still not entirely sure.

I filled an entire notebook with notes from my sessions. I learned how to do my job better. I learned how to be better. I learned from the best in the business. I just learned.

And what trip wouldn't be complete without my telling you about all of the yummy things I ate while down in Texas? Fluffy, warm soft pretzels; German sausages; hearty breakfast burritos; authentic Mexican tacos; Thai food from a food truck; In-and-Out Burger (changed my life. Honestly.); and massive doughnuts. I'm pretty sure that walking back and forth between hotels all day long is the only thing that kept me from gaining 100 pounds while I was there.

If you don't follow me on Instagram (and why the heck not!?), here's a tidal wave of photos I snapped while down in Austin. Some of the images aren't the best quality, but I was in the moment trying to capture everything as it happened and well, grainy images happen. I need a new cell phone.

We were so ready to nerd out!

Your SXSW badge is your lifeline in Austin. It gets you into well, everything. We started our very first day waiting in line to get into the Samsung Lounge where they provided fresh veggie juices; the opportunity to design your own bag, hat or shirt on the newest Samsung Galaxy; or let you recharge your tech devices in the "exclusive" lounge area (and when I say "exclusive, I mean that you had to sign something and they let you right in).

One of the best sessions I attended at SXSW was led by Ashley Ford (a fab writer; seriously, go look her up or follow her on Twitter), Busy Phillips, and one of my own personal heroes, Stacy London (of TLC's What Not Wear fame). The ladies discussed "cultivated transparency" and being your authentic self on social media. As a woman, a media professional and someone who practically double-majored in gender studies, this talk was right up my alley.

I also met an incredibly cool gal named Ingrid (on the right) who has a job quite similar to mine and we both fangirled out about meeting the ladies on the panel. Our first interaction was literally my sitting next to her and saying, "OMG. Are you like, so excited?" (I never talk like that. I have no idea who that version of myself is.)

After the session, Ingrid and I (who were sitting in the front row) basically rushed the stage and were among the first to snap a few pics.

And I also happened to walk by Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart who were out on the street promoting their new film, Get Hard. Seeing Will Ferrell was a life-affirming moment for me. The only person standing between him and I was some camera guy that I could have easily shoved out of my way if I were a little less classy and dignified. If I reached out my arms, I could have freakin' TOUCHED Ron Burgundy.

We also had the opportunity to hear Jessica Alba and her business partner talk about the story behind her line of natural baby and family products, The Honest Company (another session that landed me almost in the front row. I sat directly behind her husband ... who's got a dreamy salt-and-pepper hair thing going on). And in case you were wondering, she is just as beautiful and flawless in person. Seriously, I don't think that woman has a single pore on her face. And that fab bob haircut? Don't even get me started.

So Grumpy Cat totally happened. She couldn't be bothered to wake up for me (or anyone else), but I reveled in having my picture taken next to that adorable little Ron Swanson-looking kitty face. And I was so glad that I had my make-up done at Cosmo's Style Lab beforehand since I didn't know there would be a photo op (I wish she would have woken up long enough to see how on point my lipstick was).

I saw Ms. Grumpy Cat in between sessions and stood in line with some true cat fanatics. Like, I can't even emphasize that word enough. I didn't dare mention that I'm a major dog person in their presence.

And I can't stop laughing every-time I see the hashtag on the wall of that photo. #catdreamscometrue. LOLZ

I completed a 5k with Brooks! Got a t-shirt and everything. I am now beyond legit. I don't even care that I look super sleepy and kind of gross in the below photo because I ran with people from BROOKS RUNNING COMPANY. Brooks, if you ever want me to be a spokesperson for you, call me. I'd do it in a heartbeat. And with fervor. 

One of my colleagues and travel partners wouldn't stop talking about this doughnut shop called Gourdough's (do you get it? No really, DO YOU GET IT?) and on our last day in the city, I let him twist my arm into going for breakfast. We drank mimosas and I ordered a doughnut called "Mama's Cake" that was filled with, you guessed it, CAKE BATTER. And I didn't let myself stop at just one. I ate my entire massive doughnut, a few bites of my co-worker's and then we split a third one. God bless America.

Some of my co-workers are also heavily involved in our summer film festival, so we spent some time rubbing elbows with movie industry people and I tried desperately to act like I was cool enough to be there.

We did rooftop yoga one morning (I'm not pictured above, but my hot boss is) and afterwards I had to peddle a bike to blend my own Chobani breakfast smoothie. "So lemme get this straight: I just sweat for an hour trying to twist myself into a pretzel and now I have to furiously peddle a bike to mix my own breakfast? No, no. It makes total sense."

But I had fun:

We just had a great time in general, as evidenced in the above photo. We had a little bit of work to do at night because the whole world doesn't just stop for SXSW (though it should), and all of us ladies were in agreement that the lemon yellow walls of our house were not the most flattering.

I'd love to hear what you all have been up to the past several days. I'm sure you did some awesome, fun stuff, but I'm kind of willing to bet that my week was slightly more exciting. Because come on, GRUMPY CAT.