The Short List: June

Disclosure: This post contains a few affiliate links.

I know I told you not to get too attached, but look what’s back! I wouldn’t go out and buy us monogrammed sheets or anything, but writing more than one post in a series is always a good step for me. Summer and blogging are always tricky for me. It’s when I seem have my best ideas and get the most fired up about topics … and yet it’s when I have the least amount of time to act upon those ideas and write about them. I think and write a lot of great stuff in my head … if only it automatically posted itself. I try to write ahead when I can, but that’s never been my best habit. And so I’ll have days like yesterday, when I tell myself I’ll get a few posts written. And then it’s 89 degrees outside, the sun is shining, and the kids are clamoring for the pool. The pool will almost always win.

Like May, June is a crazy month for us. We have two birthdays in June, and this year they happen to be milestone birthdays. Mike joined me in the 40 club. On Sunday, we’ll wake up with a teenager in the house. I can do the math, and it’s not like I don’t know what comes after 39 and 12, but it still blows my mind. In between, we celebrated Father’s Day. As much as we would love to be traveling the world again, it’s been nice spending June at home and filling it with our favorite summer activities: baseball, festivals, cookouts and strawberry picking. I hope your June has been equally as lovely. Now, feast your eyes on the Short List of things I’m into this month.

🎶 I always feel like some berry's watching me ... 🎶


Elena, Mike and I are still making our way through Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. From now on we just want to say “Beyonce” in a French accent instead of thank you. Eli has discovered American Ninja Warrior. As a result he can’t pass through a doorway without trying to spider climb it. Mike and I were all excited to watch the premier of the new HBO series Ballers, until we realized neither one of us DVR’d it. Not very baller of us.


In fiction, I just started Motherland by Maria Hummel . I’m a few chapters in, and while I’m glad to pick it up each night, I’m not dying to read more throughout the day. I snagged a free 2 month trial to Audible and picked up The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. I really enjoyed The Namesake, but this one isn’t quite as good for me. Still, I enjoy having something to listen to while I do menial household tasks. I need a new non-fiction read, as I just finished The Opposite of Spoiled: Raising Kids Who Are Grounded, Generous, and Smart About Money by Ron Lieber yesterday. I tell you, the non-fiction books I’ve been reading lately are killing it. I’ll definitely be writing more about this book very soon. Eli and I are still reading through Masterpiece by Elise Broach. And Elena and I are still listening to All the Bright Places, and we are both loving it.


Two years ago we had the opportunity to participate in Camptown’s Camping for Rookies program. It’s genius for people like us, who had never been camping, but really wanted to try it out with the kids. The good people at Camptown know that lack of knowledge and access to camping equipment are a big barrier to getting families outdoors, so they started Camping for Rookies. For a very reasonable fee, they provide you with a location and a tent. Staffers are there to camp with you and show you the ropes, including the all-important setting up of the tent. They also provide meals and programming to share more knowledge of camping and the great outdoors. Camptown offers the program a few times over the summer at various locations in Indiana. I highly recommend it!

Chobani Flip Almond Coco Loco

I can’t get enough of these Chobani Flips right now. (Disclosure: I participated in a campaign with BzzAgent in which I received coupons for the product, but I’ve been obsessed with these long before now.) I’m sure all the flavors are fantastic, but once I tried the Almond Coco Loco that was all she wrote. If I have one in the fridge, it’s all I can think about.


We can worry about our kids (and we all do), but that worry doesn’t need to turn into a fear that holds them back. Love this essay “Worry Is Not Our Benchmark” from Life Your Way.

Jen Hatmaker explains the things she says yes and no to in parenting. And promptly advises that she wings it and second guesses 72% of her parenting, which gives me much comfort.

65% of kids entering grade school this year will end up working in careers that haven’t been invented yet. Isn’t that crazy? Eli will be happy to know that Minecraft and duct tape wallets can help him prepare for that yet-to-be-invented job.

What’s on your short list of favorite things right now?


(NFL) Combine Life

NFL Scouting Combine Tweetup 2015 with Peter King

Photo by Todd Rosenberg

I love following my favorite NFL media on Twitter and Instagram, especially during the NFL Scouting Combine week. It’s interesting and entertaining, both to peek inside the parts of the Combine that are off limits to non-media folks, as well as to see my hometown through their eyes. (Note to media for next year: No more TwitPics of the shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo’s. Unless you tote yours around the city like your own spicy Flat Stanley, everyone’s seen it before. Stop taking pictures of it and just eat the damn thing.)

So when the MMQB’s Jenny Vrentas posted a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #CombineLife, I couldn’t resist clicking on it. More insight into the coaches and athletes? Yes, please! Instead, it was a clear example of  “I don’t think that word/hashtag means what you think it does.” Lots of farmers, a plethora of actual combines, not so much football.


The Combine is officially over, and I’m thrilled to say that the Combine Tweetup I organized was a big success. The event sold out, which I was a tad nervous about since it was the first year we asked attendees to pay. Between ticket sales and on-site donations, we raised nearly $2000 for Thrive360. That feels so incredibly good, and makes me want to give each and every one of you that came out on that ridiculously cold night a big hug. Unless you’re not a hugger, then I’d settle for shaking your hand. The good people at Sun King kept everyone hydrated and happy. To top it all off, we had an incredible panel of NFL media answering every kind of question under the sun for two hours. Many, many thanks to Albert Breer, Ian Rapoport, Mike Tanier, Alex Marvez, Doug Farrar (Sports Illustrated), Aaron Schatz (Football Outsiders), and Hal Habib (Palm Beach Post).

NFL Scouting Combine Tweetup 2015 Albert Breer

Albert Breer (NFL Network)

Photo by Todd Rosenberg


Alex Marvez (Fox Sports, Sirius XM NFL)

Photo by Todd Rosenberg

NFL Combine Tweetup Alex Marvez Albert Breer Ian Rapoport

Peter King, Alex Marvez, Albert Breer and Ian Rapoport (NFL Network)

Photo by Todd Rosenberg

Most importantly, thanks to Peter King – for coming up with this crazy idea in the first place and for continuing to make it priority when he returns to Indy every year.

NFL Combine Tweetup Angie Six Peter King Thrive360

Peter, myself, along with Shane Scarlett and Jill Madinger of Thrive360

Photo by Todd Rosenberg

I’ll leave you with my favorite snapshots of #CombineLife. Peter graciously invited my family to dinner with the MMQB team on Saturday evening. It ended up just being Elena and me. Mike was trying to get over a cold before flying out to party work in New Orleans on Sunday evening. And at this juncture in parenting, I’d rather have a root canal than sit through a 2-hour dinner at a nice establishment with a 7-year-old that can barely make it through a private meal in our home without farting or shooting milk out his nose. So Elena and I it was. Even though she’s not a sports fan, I really wanted Elena to come so she could meet and spend time with people who have taken a passion and turned it into a really fun career. And I especially wanted her to meet Jenny, who I would very much like to be when I grow up. We had a fantastic dinner, and I only had to kick Elena under the table twice for sneaking peeks at her iPod. Eventually the conversation turned to Elena, and what she was into these days, which turned into this:

Jenny Vrentas Peter King NFL Combine

Elena happily giving Peter and Jenny an impromptu audio demonstration of what the kids are listening to these days (it’s All Time Low, if you’re as uninformed as the rest of us).

Or this. I have no idea what Elena and Robert Klemko are doing, but I’m a fan of both.


Photo by Todd Rosenberg

I’d tell you that I’m done writing about sports for a bit, but that would probably be a lie. I have a Fuel Up To Play 60 event coming up next week with Pat McAfee, and that guy is nothing if not treasure trove of things to write about. The NFL Draft is only two months away, in Chicago of all places, which has me seriously contemplating a road trip. Free agency and trading periods open up in less than two weeks. Let’s face it, I’m a junkie and I can’t quit. I guess that’s the #NFLLife.


7th Annual NFL Scouting Combine Tweetup with Peter King

It’s that time of year again, when my hometown of Indianapolis welcomes the NFL’s annual Scouting Combine.

NFL Scouting Combine Indianapolis

Even though I’m a huge football fan and I’ve lived in Indy for almost 10 years, it wasn’t very long ago that I had no idea what the Scouting Combine was or that Indianapolis has been the host since 1987. The Combine is essentially a week-long job interview for college football players hoping for a chance to be drafted into the NFL. Their week consists of medical tests, physical drills, mental evaluations, and interviews. Every team from the NFL sends its coaches, general managers and scouts to the Combine to see the players for themselves and evaluate which ones might be a good fit for their team … and hopefully their next breakout star.

It’s a wonderful opportunity for the city of Indianapolis. It’s estimated that the Combine brings over $5 million in revenue to the city. Each year Indianapolis sees an influx of nearly 800 media personnel, 300 athletes, and the staff of every football team in the NFL. It’s very cool as a fan to spend some time in the city, especially over the Combine weekend. You’ll see focused athletes making their way from hotels to Lucas Oil Stadium. How will you know when you’ve spotted a player? They’re all numbered. Seriously.

Spend any time in a downtown bar or restaurant and you’ll likely run into a current or former player, coach, or media person you know. Last year I had to patiently shuffle behind New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton through a crowded bar to make my way to the ladies room. We were so close I could smell his Juicy Fruit.

So if you’re in Indy, it’s a fun time to wander around downtown for a bit and soak up a very unique football atmosphere, one you can’t find anywhere else.

NFL Scouting Combine Tweetup

Speaking of a unique football atmosphere, Sports Illustrated’s Peter King will be heading up the 7th annual Scouting Combine Tweetup this Friday. You can read the story about how I stumbled into my first Combine Tweetup a few years ago. Since then it’s been one of the highlights of the year for me. This year I have the nail-biting task of organizing the Tweetup for Mr. King! If you’re in or near Indy this weekend, I’d love for you to come. Here are the details:


NFL Scouting Combine Tweetup. You have burning questions about the NFL or the upcoming draft, we have NFL insiders with answers.


Anyone who wants to come! You aren’t required to have a Twitter account, nor do you need to have ever sent a single tweet. However, if you are on Twitter and follow various NFL media, chances are one of them will either be on the panel or in attendance. In past years, we’ve had Indy’s Bob Kravitz, the NFL Network’s Albert Breer and Ian Rapoport, Bleacher Report’s Mike Tanier and Matt Miller. Oh yeah, and that ESPN guy Adam Schefter was there once, too.

Adam Schefter NFL Combine Tweetup


Sun King Brewing Company, 135 North College Avenue, Indianapolis. Pints of their delicious Fresh•Local•Beer will be available for purchase.


Friday, February 20, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.


So we’re trying something a little different this year, and charging for tickets. However, all the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Thrive360. Thrive360 is a local non-profit whose mission is to feed the hungry both locally and globally. This organization means a lot to me, not only because I’ve volunteered with them before, or for the good work they do, but because they make it a priority for families to be able to volunteer together. Anyone with young kids knows it can be hard to find appropriate opportunities the whole family can participate in. All this is to say, your $10 is going to a great cause. Tickets must be purchased in advance, and you can get them via our Eventbrite page. Hurry, though – tickets are selling fast.

I hope to see you there! If we haven’t met before, please find me and introduce yourself!


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