Well, we made it to 2019. Can you believe it? However you spent the countdown, I hope you had more fun than Chrissy Teigen getting hit in the face with an umbrella (still love you, Leslie!) and Andy Cohen listening to Anderson Cooper describe his mother’s affairs with Marlon Brando.
God bless this wacky, weird world.
- United Airlines: Don’t @ me. I continue to fly United when it’s got the lowest prices and best itineraries for my destinations (hello, nonstop SFO → MCO). After the Kenya snafu, I was able to use my credit toward a holiday flight home, and the service was top-notch on both routes. Flying is often frustrating, but United’s customer service is still among the best I’ve experienced.
- Whole30: I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid. Well, not really since I can’t have sugar for the next 30 days. This clean-eating phenomenon has an annual resurgence each January, and I’ve joined the bandwagon to reset my palate and mindset. The biggest struggle so far is not reaching for sweets, but I know I need this to get back on track. Let me know if you’re interested in joining my low-key accountabili-buddy group!
- This Candle: The real winner from the four White Elephant parties I attended this holiday season? None other than a Saint Kanye candle. I enjoy most of his music and agree he’s better off without a Twitter account, but every time this catches my eye from my desk I gain a little smirk. I won’t actually be lighting it, so hopefully I don’t summon any more crazy.
- “Stronger” – Kanye West: There are many variations of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” but I’m obviously inspired by the candle so this one wins. Through all of 2018’s ups and downs, faith and humility helped me along. It doesn’t hurt that this is one of my fave workout songs, but I also recommend when you’re having a shitty shit day and need a reminder of your superpowers.
This week’s obsessions are brought to you from a faraway place — the Masai Mara in Kenya!
During a very deep lunchtime conversation in July, a co-worker reminded me how important it is to use PTO for things besides weddings and babies and birthdays and funerals. Another co-worker chimed in about her friends’ upcoming safari trip in Kenya and shared the info with me to consider.
I literally came home that night to yet another wedding invitation — and while I am truly honored to be thought of by so many for their life milestones, I considered my own life milestones and what I’d like to achieve for myself.
Africa has been on my travel bucket list for some time, but I didn’t ever think a trip like this would fall into my lap. But thanks to some luck and a fabulous family-owned company called Safari Spots, I’m here!
I left Thursday and will return to the US on Monday. It’s been a whirlwind in every aspect of the word and I can’t wait to share more upon my return.
For now, I’ll simply say: Don’t wait. Life is truly what happens when you’re making other plans. So go on that adventure, take that leap of faith, do whatever it is you’ve been itching to do — because you never know if the chance will come again.
I’m sure there are worse ways to start off your week than being unceremoniously dumped, but I’m struggling to think of any right now. Better sooner than later, I know. But woof. What a week it’s been — and it’s only Wednesday.
- “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”: Caitlin Doughty’s memoir served as the backdrop for this month’s Book Club pick. It’s a dark, oddly humorous and fairly emotional look at the funeral industry and the way society acknowledges death (or doesn’t). I’m intrigued to hear what my fellow clubbers thought, but I gave it an enthusiastic four stars myself.
- Support BELWOP: One of the most selfless, giving people I know is planning a mission trip to Kenya with her church. You can read more about it on Lydia’s GoFundMe page, but I hope you’ll consider giving to a spirit so bright and selfless. Any donation counts toward helping her help others.
- Bran Flakes Visits: Another of my favorite humans on the planet is coming to visit tomorrow, and her timing couldn’t be more perfect. From working on the same creative team and exploring Panama and Costa Rica, plus volunteering on a leadership board and even designing this very WO template, Brandi and I have shared some of my most treasured experiences — and I’m sure there are more to come this weekend.
- “Let’s Generalize about Men” – “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”: There are some real gems out there when it comes to breakup songs, but this one is absolutely my favorite right now. If you’re not familiar with “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” songs, they’re often self-aware and a parody of ridiculous proportions. Disclaimer aside, I think anyone would enjoy this totally tubular jam.
My watch says it’s 7:45pm, which I fully believe after a pre-dawn wake-up in California and a nonstop flight to Florida. It’s been another whirlwind of a week, but it’s all been leading up to tomorrow, when I’ll join my dear friend Jess and her family for a four-day cruise to Cozumel.
Hurricanes Irma and Maria have changed our itinerary, but they’re not stopping us from celebrating Jess’s birthday and cancer-free diagnosis. I’ve always known Jess to be strong, funny and full of perspective, but the last year has only further proven to me how remarkable she is.
I can’t put into words how grateful I am for her friendship and being able to celebrate with her this weekend. It’s sure to be a once-in-a-lifetime trip and I can’t wait to share how much fun we had when I return!
MILD GOT SPOILER AHEAD. If you didn’t watch this week’s S7 premiere, scroll on down. Allow me to complain, for just a moment, about Ed Sheeran’s appearance in Sunday’s episode. I know I juuust said I liked the guy, but that doesn’t mean I want him showing up in Westeros. What were they thinking? Grrrr…
- Sacramento: In more important news, I traveled to California’s capital city Sunday to prepare for orientation at my new company’s HQ. It was 105 degrees when I arrived, so my first impression was not the best. It turned out to be an interesting city, though, with decent food options and some incredibly nice people. I look forward to return visits in the near future, too!
- Volcano Candle: I don’t recall ever receiving a candle for my birthday before, but this year I was gifted with THREE. All of them smell amazing, but I chose to burn this scent first and it didn’t disappoint. You know how that feeling when you walk into a room and are instantly calmed, just from the smell? Yeah, that’s what this little guy does. It’s sheer perfection.
- Purging: Before moving into my new apartment, I had the help of some friends who were supportive of me purging the heck out of my space. While those efforts were super successful — I donated 10+ bags of goodies — I still find I need to cleanse my stock of stuff. I started diving in this past weekend and have the ultimate goal of finishing on Saturday. Who says being a grown-up isn’t fun? This is thrilling stuff, you guys!
- “Ruby Tuesday” – The Rolling Stones: Naturally, I always think of this song when saying goodbyes. It’s a gimme for that, but it’s also one of those songs that always transports me back in time and puts a smile on my face. I simply can’t hear it without getting a little misty-eyed and reminiscent of fond memories. Take that, Ed Sheeran.
It’s the longest day of the year today, and it sure does feel like it! Not that it’s a bad thing — I am quite amazed at how we’re already well into June and don’t mind a day off feeling a bit longer.
Why am I off, you ask? Well, my HS bestie is in town for a visit and we’re taking on San Francisco like never before. We have tickets to a comedy show, a comedy drag show, wine country and more… a jam-packed 72 hours is in our future.
She even brought a little southern sunshine with her, as our temps climb into the 80s and SF residents freak the F out over the heat. I’m not immune to freakouts myself — life without central A/C is no joke.
So although it’s been a few weeks of less-than-stellar obsessions, I promise to be back at it again like Damn, Daniel next Wednesday.
In the meantime, please enjoy…
In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”
The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.
By 30, you should have…
6. A past juicy enough that you’re looking forward to retelling it in your old age.
Ayana Byrd began this week’s chapter describing her affinity for staying safe in the middle, never veering too far from the center to make waves.
I didn’t immediately relate. I’ve often considered myself somewhat of a rebel — or at least the black sheep — of my family. After all, I’m the only one who has a facial piercing (my nose, but it counts)! I’m the only one of my generation (until very recently) to get a tattoo — and at that, I have multiple. The horror! I’m the only one who left Florida to pursue a life beyond the Sunshine State.
This is where Ayana and I connect. She detailed her many adventures abroad, feeling limitless as she ventured far beyond the comfort zone of the middle.
It’s always surprised me when someone compliments me on my own big moves. I haven’t given them all that much thought, until now.
New York and San Francisco are largely made up of transplants. Sure, you have your lifers, the people who are quick to remind you they were born and raised there, and will call you out for any embarrassing transplant behavior. But by and large, there are tons of people in both places who’ve moved into these cities for the pursuit of something more. And probably because of that, I haven’t felt like my leaving Florida was all that big a deal. Plenty of people do it. Heck, lots of my colleagues have traveled much further — and risked much more — to come here.
But I shouldn’t lessen its importance, or how much those moves have changed me. Compared to my colleagues and friends, and yes, Ayana Byrd, I’ve done a paltry amount of traveling abroad. But aside from family who served in the Armed Forces, I’ve got the most stamps on my passport.
And without even leaving my zip code, I can see the world in a much more diverse way — challenging the status quo constantly — because I live and breathe in a city that pushes for progress and change.
I’ve had the privilege of learning about more cultures and backgrounds in four years away than I had in the 25 years prior. I’ve experimented with foreign (to me) ingredients, entertainment, customs and traditions. I’ve broadened my perspective on what an impact a life well-traveled can mean. I even spent seven weeks of the last year traveling — albeit, all domestic — because I can always find a reason to say “Yes” to a new experience.
Ayana’s story reminds me there’s so much to say “Yes” to, beyond the 50 states and how it’s OK to be a little scared the first (or every) time you venture somewhere new. Of all my wild and crazy antics, I’ll happily share a full passport and broader understanding of our world for years to come.