Summer round-up: Castles, Spitfire, clear eyes and full hearts

Crazy year, crazy summer. The latter’s been made a little sweeter by:

This win for humanity, this tenacious Texas senator and this T-shirt (timed perfectly with my long overdue discovery of “Friday Night Lights”):

This firecracker, so energetic that she snapped me out of my jet lag funk at her Houston concert last week:

This understated Grand Ole Opry debut of Kree Harrison, one of five reality TV-boosted local singers I covered in the latest issue of Houston magazine (check it):

These comprehensive All-Time Greatest’ lists over at Entertainment Weekly, outlining the best shows, movies, music and books of the past 100 years:

This honest discussion of Houston’s ethnic and cultural transformation:

This new album review format we introduced over at Country Universe, starting with LeAnn Rimes’ top-notch Spitfire (current favorite: “Who We Really Are”):

This view from the mountains in England’s Lake District…

…these ruins just south of Kilkenny, Ireland…

… this castle in Stonehaven, Scotland – all from a trip to Europe earlier this month with friends who have become like family…

…and this full circle opportunity to visit the site of my old school in Aberdeen, Scotland, just three days before it would be completely demolished:

It inspired me to reach out to a special teacher whose encouragement and belief in me as a (very) amateur sixth grade writer shaped me into the writer I am today. Learning that he had recently shared with his kids one of my writing samples from 15 years ago is the sweetest thing on this list.

*Post written to the tune of this acoustic beauty, currently on repeat.

Posted on July 18, 2013 and filed under Round-Ups.