Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Take It To Heart

We suffer, often unknowingly, from wanting to be in two places at once, from wanting to experience more than one person can. This is a form of greed, of wanting everything. Feeling like we're missing something or that we're being left out, we want it all. But being human, we can't have it all. The tension of all this can lead to an insatiable search, where our passion for life is stirred, but never satisfied. When caught in this mindset, no amount of travel is enough, no amount of love is enough, no amount of success is enough... The truth is that one experience taken to heart will satisfy our hunger. | Mark Nepo

Saturday, March 7, 2015

A Short Letter To Rome

Ahhh Roma, what have you done to me?
 I will never be able to exactly put it into words because it is more of a feeling than anything else.  I've spent two weeks now wondering your cobblestone streets, getting lost in your sounds and your smells, letting myself indulge completely in being.  Being alone, being myself, being happy, being content, being everything I've always wanted to be.

You've shown me that I can be alone but that I don't have to be.  You've taught me to let go and experience, to let things just happen the way they will.  You've made me feel small, so small.
Standing next to a monument or church that is thousands of years old, basking in your beauty, I felt so young and so insignificant, yet at the same time you helped me to feel a part of something bigger, something greater- a piece in the puzzle of this earth, a true citizen of the world.

Coming here and experiencing you allowed me to realize what I deserve and more importantly, that if I really truly want something and it is right, it will become, it will manifest itself.

Roma, you have changed me, but more so than anything you have allowed me to continue to become the person that I am meant to be, and I am forever grateful for you.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Letters From Roma - "Thoughts On Becoming"

“Someone give this girl some more lemon for her artichoke” he said pointing to the cutting board in front of me during cooking class.  
“Ah, Alan, have you made carciofi before?” Chef Andrea asked the older man next to me. 
“No, but I’ve eaten enough of it to know that she needs more lemon on her artichoke or it's going to burn.  I’m a bit of a chef myself, you know” he responded with an air of superiority. 

I put down my knife and looked at the short, 60 or so year old, self-proclaimed writer across the kitchen from me wearing dark rimmed glasses, a black mock turtleneck and a black beret, and I knew right then exactly the type of person he was.  Four hours and a lot of hearing his voice later, we had all listened to Alan’s entire life story.  Twice.  
Alan is the tried and true definition of a know-it-all.  From how to cook traditional Italian food to gun control to what cities foreigners should visit in the US (“don’t go to San Diego” he told them, “there’s no culture there”), he had an opinion on everything and made that opinion very well known throughout the entire day.  I sloughed off his comments for the better part of five hours, but as we sat down to eat with the group after our cooking class, I just could not bite my tongue any longer.  

“This would never happen in America” he stated loudly as the nine of us clinked our glasses together in cheers and accomplishment over the meal we had spent the entire day preparing.  “What do you mean?” I asked him, confused and starting to feel a bit defensive.  
“Well, you know Americans” he responded casually, “No time to sit with friends to eat and chat, Americans are always racing for the next best thing, the next promotion, the next money maker, the fastest way to get to the top.  As a culture we have no regard for spending time with each other and slowing down to just be.  That’s why I moved here you know, to get away from it all.  America is just so toxic and that’s what I mean, we would never sit down with friends around a table like this in the US, wouldn’t you agree?” 

All eyes at our table were on me as I swallowed a GIANT sip of red wine and took a deep breath, gearing up for my big moment in the spotlight.  “Well no, Alan, actually I wouldn’t agree with you on that one.”  I replied, challenging him in a way I don’t think he had been challenged in a long time. 

“I know you come from New York where everyone is constantly hustling everywhere, wanting only to go up, to get to the top, to grow as high professionally as the sky scrapers reach.  People want to be known for something there and maybe in that city or in your group of friends, you never found the time to sit down with people that you love to enjoy a meal and a good conversation, but where I come from that just isn’t the case.  Where I come from and where I have been living in Colorado for the past five years, there is so much land and space to grow, there is room to become the person you want to be because there is room to expand not only upwards, but outwards.  And more so than anything else, there is time, there is so much time to do that.  I have had some of the best nights of my life sitting around a table like this with friends or family, laughing and talking about life and love and loss.  So I actually have to disagree with you Alan, because your statement is not only a generalization of an entire country of over 300 million people, but it is incorrect and I feel sorry for you that you did not experience the type of growth and community that I have in our amazing country.”

Everyone sat in silence as I finished my rant.  Taking another sip of my wine and catching my breath, I received a wink of support from my new friend Annmarie, a sweet girl from Glasgow as Alan still sat speechless across from me,  A few minutes later, I knew my point had been made when he finally spoke and surprised me by saying with sincerity, “You’re a smarter girl than I thought Danielle”.  And dinner continued. 

An hour later after the cooking class said our goodbyes, Alan caught my arm and roped me in for a hug as I was on my way out the door.  To say I was surprised is an understatement, but as he hugged me, the man wished me a good rest of my trip and thanked me for a memorable day.  And as I opened the door and turned to leave he said 
“Rome is like an onion you know, every time you come here you peel back a layer and you get closer and closer to understanding the heart of this city.  But never will you actually get there.  That is why time and time again, we all come back to Roma.  I wish for you Danielle, that you continue to come back to Rome and peel back it’s layers and when you do that, I hope you also peel back layers of your own.” 
“Thank you” I said as I walked out the door and stepped in to the sunlight. 

A week later and I am still mulling over Alan’s words and his metaphor for Rome.  Somehow with his simple statement, the writer redeemed himself in my eyes and in doing so, he sparked within me an internal conversation that is still on-going. 

I have been thinking a lot over the past week about the person I am and the person I am becoming.  So much of me is a direct result of my past environments and the people who have been the most important to me in my life (that means you, if you’re reading this email!).  I have been shaped by thousands of conversations, shared experiences and long dinners, and in particular, I feel very thankful to have had the time and the space to grow immensely as I did in Colorado over the past few years.   Another large part of me is the result of every past decision I have made for myself in my life.  Every path I have chosen to follow on my own that has led me to be in this exact moment, sipping red wine and a caffee latte in Rome.  

But more so than that, this week I have been contemplating a great deal about what this next chapter of my life will look like.  I have been thinking about the person I want to become.  Who is she? What is important to her?  What does she want for herself and for her future?  What experiences will she bring with her as she travels down the next path?   
These past two weeks clearly have been for me, an adventure in peeling back my own layers and growing closer to figuring out what makes up the heart of the person that I strive to be.  Dammit Alan, I absolutely hate to admit that you were right on this one.

Much like Rome in Alan’s metaphor, I am not certain that I will ever fully know or understand my own heart, as we are all a constant work in progress.  But being here in Italy has allowed me the time and space to check in with myself and get one step closer to figuring it all out.   The things I have experienced and felt here are priceless and I have a hunch that this two week exercise in self-discovery will stay with me for a very long time.  And if I am lucky, as the writer said, I will make it back to Rome someday to continue to peel back more layers of this city and of course, to continue to discover more about myself.  

Thank you for following me on my journey.  TO THE NEXT ADVENTURE!!!  

All my love,

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Letters From Roma - "Alone But Not Lonely"

When I first decided to take a two week trip to Rome, I didn't think twice about going by myself.  I was able to create time in between leaving one job and starting another even with a move halfway across the country so "What the hell" I thought "Why not".  
I was ecstatic about the idea of spending 14 days in one of my favorite cities in the world and while I had never traveled alone before, I jumped at the idea of experiencing Rome in a way I never had experienced any other city. 

"But don't you think you'll get lonely? or worse- won't you be scared to eat by yourself?" a friend asked over lunch before I left I left the States.  "I don't know" I replied, "I guess I'll just have to see what happens when I get there". 

On my first night in Roma, admittedly I did feel uncomfortable and extremely insecure eating dinner alone and I definitely did not even try to use any of the Italian I learned in college.  "I wonder what they think of me?" I asked myself over a plate of carbonara.  Nine days have passed since I arrived in Italy and as much as easy conversational Italian has become second nature to me here, I now fully enjoy each and every bite of solo dinners, basking in the option to eat as slow or as fast as I please.  I have come a very long way in one week and two days.  

Traveling alone has allowed me to breathe easy and take my time.  I am able to stare at something for as long as I please, to sit in a basilica for hours on end if I want and to plan each and every day according to what interests me.  It has been quite the lesson in learning what I truly enjoy doing and how I prefer to travel.  And while this trip makes more and more sense to me everyday, the Italians still sure do not understand me at all.  

"You studying here?'
"No, i'm here for two weeks by myself exploring Rome"
"Two weeks?
"Yes, two weeks just in Roma"
"......But why?"

It's like clockwork every single time.  There's always an air of sadness when they ask me why I am traveling alone, as if I am harboring some super dark and sad past that prompted me to take a trip across the world by myself to leave it all behind me.  At first these interactions used to irk me a bit, but after having this conversation upwards of 30 times now, I get it.  It's rare for a woman my age to take a trip like this, but if they only knew or could understand the gift I have given myself, they would hardly feel sorry for me. 

To be honest though, it did take me a while to get to this point myself, and over the past 9 days I have really come to realize the gift it truly is.  Full disclosure here, I woke up one day early last week and felt a twinge of sorry for myself.  I knowww I knowww, how right?  It came the morning after a night out where I was determined to make some friends and came up empty handed at midnight.  As I left my apartment the morning after, it seemed as if everyone was so deeply in love or having so much fun with their friends, and I, I had no one and felt more alone than I have pretty much ever have.  

"Snap out of it!" I told myself over a cappuccino and a chocolate croissant.  
"Look at where you are, there is no time to wallow"

And after that one come-to-Jesus moment with myself, I did snap out of it for the most part. Sure there have been times where I have wished that someone was standing besides me to witness a street performers brilliant act or the glowing chandeliers of a massive church, and I would be lying if I said I didn't wish for a partner in crime at night to drink wine with. 

But there was a moment yesterday at the top of Monumento Vittorio Emanuele where it all came together for me, full circle.  I had paid 7 euros to ride an elevator to the top of the monument which is one of the highest buildings in Rome. Initially I debated over whether or not to pay because I had already seen some pretty spectacular views, but in the end I went with my instinct and of course, the saying "when in Rome" won me over.

The elevator up was an experience in itself as it was a bit rickety, completely glass and absolutely reeked on account of 3 large smelly frenchmen crammed in right next to me. I was thinking that the world was about to end after 30 seconds of holding my breath in the elevator, but when the doors opened and revealed a grand rooftop with one of the most breathtaking views I had ever seen, it was all worth it.  

I stood on that rooftop for the better part of an hour, breathing in the fresh Italian air and soaking up every building, every basilica dome, stretching my eyes to see for miles and miles.  Somewhere below, an accordion played and I could feel my brain filing that moment away in the depths of my mind.  

You know when you can feel yourself making a memory with someone?  You're at a concert or on a trip or laughing so hard that you just know you'll both remember it forever?  That is how I felt yesterday standing on that monument, overlooking one of my favorite cities.  Except it was different, because no one else in the world will have that moment.  No one will ever feel what I felt right then and only I will be able to conjure those images, those sounds, that feeling.  Which to say, is a pretty powerful thing, to have in your possession something that no one else has.  

And so, I am alone, yes, but I am not lonely.  I am seeing, I am exploring and more so than both, I am making memories, by myself and for myself and absolutely no one should feel sorry for me for that. 

All my love,

Friday, February 27, 2015

Letters From Roma - "Thoughts on Being Full"

"You no like?"  she asked with a hinge of sadness in her voice as she cleared my half eaten plate of truffle risotto.  
"No, no!" I clamored, 'I LOVED it, I'm just full"
"Oh" she sighed, adding a reassuring "good, va bene" before she turned on her heel and disappeared behind a curtain that separated the dining room from the kitchen. 

Sitting in Piazza Santa Maria last night, live music orchestrating the soundtrack to my evening, I stared down at the empty table before me and I couldn't help but think about how full I actually was, how full I truly am here.  Rome makes me feel full.  Full of life, full of adventure, full of wine, full of culture and certainly, full to the brim of truffle risotto, amongst other incredible dishes.  

Today I attended a 6 hour cooking class which quickly proved to be my favorite thing that I have done thus far in Roma.  The class was a short five minute walk from my apartment, in an unsuspecting building down a quiet old alley.  Andrea was the chef, classically trained of course and as an added bonus, extremely good looking.  There were 8 other people in attendance besides myself; a couple from London, a girl and her aunt from Glasgow, two Italian men, a woman from New York and her friend Alan, a writer, who is a New Yorker by origin but has been residing in Rome for the past twenty years (so much more to come on him at a later date).  You couldn't have chosen a more different line up, as we were quite the motley crew of people, but six hours in a tiny kitchen is sure to bring people together in one way or another, and in this case, it absolutely did.  

With Andrea as our fearless leader, and the ultimate fixer of our mistakes (including a small incident I may or may not have had with a giant knife while separating a chicken bone from its skin), we completed a six course, traditional Italian meal inspired by the Lazio region.  Beginning with a Roman style artichoke, followed by homemade cavatelli pasta with fresh tomato sauce and basil, then a chicken rolle dish that was stuffed with smoked provola, spinach, sausage, bacon and kale, followed by roasted potatoes and roman style broccoli as side dishes, and finishing with a chocolate and pear soufflĂ© (hungry yet?!?!).  

In between slicing, dicing, and rolling fresh pasta, conversation easily flowed like the wine we were given.  You really get to know people whilst kneading dough for pasta and swapping stories. And it dawned on me halfway through the class, as I found myself really, deeply laughing at something Jani from England said, that I had missed this.  In my normal everyday life at home, I am constantly surrounded by people, intentionally so.  It has been rare for me to spend much more than one evening alone ever and I tend to thrive off of social interactions.  Yet, over the past five days being in Rome alone, I have spent a lot of time with myself, just listening to my own thoughts.  And while I think I can be rather funny and interesting (at times), today was refreshing in that, I didn't realize how ready I was and how much I needed some true human interaction.  I was craving some real conversation and something that ran deeper than the general, surface-level greetings I have grown accustomed to thus far in Italy. I missed chatting and laughing, and it felt good to be in the presence of people who became familiar to me.  Which may only make sense to someone who has also traveled alone for an extended period of time, being okay with being alone isn't always easy! 

Anyways, needless to say, our food turned out exquisite and while Andrea confessed that he would NEVER serve the artichokes we had made in a restaurant setting because they weren't up to par, we all raved about them and promised to take the recipe back to our respective homes and share with others.  As we broke bread and chatted about life and love and more politics (blah), I couldn't help but feel so so full once again.  

Six courses will definitely have that effect on you, but this was a different type of fullness.  I have come to realize there is a space within me that I didn't know was empty.  However, after five days here in Rome, I feel it slowly filling.  Filling with my own thoughts, with sights, with sounds, with tastes and more importantly, with experiences, whether shared or my own.  

So when I thought I was full last night, bursting at the seams with truffle risotto, this cooking class surely put me over the edge.  I am so thankful for the moment in time spent with that particular group of people.  I am thankful for their stories, for their culinary skills (or like me, lack there of), for their humor and for their company, as their presence filled me more than anything.  

I continue to find magic around every street corner here and though I am currently in physical pain because of the amount of food we ate this afternoon, I have no doubt that somehow I will make space and Italy will continue to fill me.  

All my love

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Letters From Roma - "Italia"

Ciao from Roma!

What an incredible past few days it has been exploring the city and getting settled in my little neighborhood by the river!  I woke up Monday morning and had to pinch myself because I honestly could not believe I was in Rome and that one of my greatest dreams had finally come true.  Two weeks in one of the most historic, beautiful and inspiring cities on the planet- what in God's name did I do to deserve all of this?!  

As I write this email, I am sitting at the table in the living room of my apartment, staring out the tall windows into a beautiful courtyard.  This morning for the first time I tried my hand at making Italian espresso and while it pretty much tastes like dirt, it sure does wake me up!  I truly couldn't have asked for a better apartment and I get up every morning in awe of the tall ceilings, giant chandelier and huge shutter windows in my room that open to the bustling Roman street below.  I feel like I found a secret gem of a sanctuary hidden behind a busy street corner, and I constantly have to remind myself that I am not the first nor last to stay here - although I am currently trying to devise a business plan that would allow me enough cash flow to buy this apartamento from Alessandra, so that I can have a summer home in Italy.  

My days thus far have been filled with walking, walking and more walking!  I have yet to take public transportation as I love wandering the cobblestone streets and bopping into any store or bakery that entices me.  After two days, I finally got a grasp on the Trastevere neighborhood, which is where I am staying. It is an incredible area and there is always something happening, from live music to mass to the most incredible people watching.  I can sit for hours in Piazza Santa Maria just watching life go by, and I have.  

Yesterday, I spent the better part of 8 hours in Vatican City on a tour of the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museum and St. Peter's Basilica.  The tour I paid for started at 8am and naturally, I walked from Trastevere along the river to Vatican City at sunrise.  When I came upon St. Peter's Square it was 7:30am and there was barely a soul in sight (which is somewhat of a miracle).  I was able to sit in the square in total silence and just take in the view, which was an experience I will forever be thankful for.  After, I met up with my group that consisted of 2 british, 2 dubliners and two Americans, plus myself.  My tour guide was Talia, a quirky Italian from Naples who somehow made 4 hours of history extremely fun and informative.  Major take aways from her tour of the Vatican include: the fact that Michelangelo was gay, Raphael died from Syphilis and most of the early popes had children that they masked by calling them nieces and nephews.  I enjoyed the tour so much, that I booked a tour of the Colosseum for Sunday with them as well.  I highly recommend Talia and Italy With Us tour company for anyone coming to Rome! 

After Talia's tour, I spent another two hours exploring Vatican City by myself.  It is such an awe-inspiring place and I felt like a better person for being there.  I reserved a ticket for the Pope's speech next Wednesday morning and I think I actually might faint when I see him.  Much like in the rest of the world, Pope Francis is very well received in Italy as being progressive and the change that the Catholic Church needs to move forward.  I heard quite a lot about bad Popes during my tour of the Vatican, but I have a feeling Francis will forever be regarded as a good Pope and I cannot wait to see him in real life, even if I won't understand a word he says.  

In addition to learning a lot about history and Roman greats, I am learning a great deal about myself as well.  It is quite the experience to travel alone in a place where you know no one.  I love the feeling of being anonymous in a city and I can't even begin to describe the sense of calm that comes from having no agenda, no schedule and no set plans.  Everything is heightened for me here, my curiosity, my appreciation for life, and  of course- my senses.  Coffee smells richer, music sounds more harmonious and the wine - the wine tastes so smooth.  

I first read this quote a few years ago and while it did resonate with me, I didn't fully understand it's true meaning until I arrived in Rome.  It came to my mind the other day when I was staring at a whimsical sculpture in the middle of a courtyard I stumbled upon and I have been thinking about the quote below a lot over the past few days because it feels so applicable to my life at this moment and because (guilty) the beauty here quite often literally brings me to tears: 

"she cried at least once each day, not because she was sad, but because the world was so beautiful and life was so short"  - Brian Andreas

I feel extremely blessed to have this experience and this time to live and learn and process.  I am eternally grateful to my family, friends, co-workers, and even the random strangers who supported me in my quest to get here, to get to this point.  It is nothing short of a miracle how everything works out and if there is one thing I am sure of here in Italy, it is that I will not take one moment for granted.  

All my love,

Monday, August 18, 2014

One of Those.

I could feel her eyes on me as I applied an ungodly amount of dark blush on my cheeks, trying to hide the tear stains.  I reached for the mascara in my purse and when I looked up I caught her glance in the reflection of the mirror.  "It's just been one of those" I said quickly with a shrug, trying to prevent her from feeling too awkward for getting caught staring.  "Oh girl, I feel you" she responded with empathy while she washed her hands, "Trust me, I had a day like that last week.  Couldn't keep it together if I tried.  But hey just remember that whatever it is, it will pass, and in two weeks you'll forget that you were even in this bathroom reapplying your makeup".  I looked down at my hands and bit my lip, trying not to let the tears fall for the third time in twenty minutes.  "Thanks" I finally mustered as she threw her paper towel away and headed for the door.  "No problem, and cute shoes" was all I heard as the door shut and I was left with my reflection, my thoughts and enough makeup for a circus clown.

After she left, I felt thankful for the interaction, grateful that someone could at least try to relate. "Girl power" I thought as I reminded myself to pay it forward the next time I came across a crying girl in an unlikely place.  Yet regardless of the woman's kind words, I continued to feel sorry for myself as I looked deep into my own eyes, glassy and tired.  "What am I doing?" I thought quietly in the empty bathroom.  "What the hell am I doing here?"

Shaking my head, I realized it felt overly dramatic to be asking myself that question.  I mean to be honest, I was hiding in the bathroom at a dingy neighborhood bar, so it was pretty obvious that what the hell I was doing there was trying to drown my sorrows in half priced beer and chicken wings.   Work was shit, my life plans had somehow and unexpectedly spiraled out of my control and true story- that very afternoon I had received a breakup letter in the mail from a guy I wasn't even dating (talk about salt in the already gaping wound).  He had handwritten it, bought a stamp and even took the time to put the card in the mail, which was without a doubt, quite a bit more time dedicated to "us" than I had ever put in.  His words came in a card that was embossed with the crest of his alma mater on the front, which only led me to ponder how long he had been in possession of such cards and as I read, I found myself legitimately wondering whether he had purchased them with campus cash or not.  And while I found this particular mans efforts to end something that never exactly started, humorous and a bit presumptuous, I couldn't help but feel a pang of envy over the fact that he knew exactly what he wanted, even if that meant it wasn't me.

Because besides acknowledging that I was trying to forget about my problems in a dark bar, I really knew nothing else about where my life was going.  I was at a crossroads and had no clue what lie on any of the roads in front of me.  I wanted someone, anyone to tell me what to do, where to go and what to expect next.  I needed someone to order me to stay or to go, to direct me on what my next move should be.  And as thankful as I was for my interaction with the lady in the bathroom, I found it extremely hard to imagine that she had ever been in this particular situation and I knew that it would take me a hell of a lot longer than two weeks to forget about this night, in this bathroom.  I had some serious decisions to make, and while I had always valued my independence and ability to make choices based on what makes me the happiest, I had never wanted direction more in my life.

Realizing that I had been in the bathroom for a worrisome amount of time, I took a deep breath and looked at my reflection once more in the mirror in front of me.  "It's just one of those" I told myself reassuringly.  "Tomorrow will be better, it has to be" and as I turned for the door, I looked back and added "cute shoes."

Thursday, May 29, 2014


It was late and the room was dark with the exception of the midnight moon which somehow found its way through a small break in the curtains.  The white glow cast shadows across the walls of the hotel room, creating the perfect silhouette of a man and woman who stood facing one another, barely a few inches apart.  She was in her head, mind racing as she silently cursed the moon.  In that moment, she wished with all of her being that it would go away and that the darkness would engulf the two of them so she could no longer see the flecks of gold in his eyes or the definition of his perfect jawline.  The girl fought with great difficulty, the urge to let her eyes meet his.  Meanwhile he was staring at her, desperately searching her face for answers or at least an indication of what his next move should be.

"What do you want from me?" she whispered after some time, her voice shaking and body trembling.  As if he was waiting for it, he reached up to touch her face, pushing a piece of hair behind her ear, dropping his gaze to meet hers.  "I want you" he said simply, half-smiling and pulling her closer to him.  

"How the hell do I get myself into these situations?" she thought to herself angrily as he slid his hand into hers, finding that all too familiar place where it had rested so many times, so long ago.  

He was the only man in her 26 years and many failed relationships, that she ever actually saw herself ending up with.  Though it was never the most serious of partnerships nor the easiest for that matter, there was just something about him, some disarming quality that made her think about their future together instead of pulling away, which had up to that point, been her norm.  It was so uncharacteristic of her to fall for someone like him.  She had spent a lot of time fighting off the "good guys" in her past relationships, chalking them up to being too "simple" or accusing them of not wanting the same things that she wanted for her life.  Yet somehow with all of the odds stacked against them, she had found herself enamored with this man.  A man who could never give her the worldly experiences she craved, or the nomadic lifestyle she always imagined she would have.  He was stationary and always would be, yet for the first time in her life she accepted this and despite a deep inner struggle, was willing to give up her adventures and her dreams for him and the dreams that they could potentially create together.  

But that was then.  

The reality now was that she somehow, someway had ended up in a dimly lit hotel room alone with this man (who notably had a girlfriend), in a strange city, with a whole lot of feelings between them.  Two years had passed since their last fight- the fight that had ended it all.  It happened more suddenly than she had expected and looking back on it, she always wondered if she should have fought harder, if she should have for the first time ever, showed all of her cards.  He gave her an out that day- claiming that he could never give her all the things she wanted and would never ask her to give those things up for him, and though every bone in her body told her not to, she took it.  Selfishly, she took the out and then promptly spent the next two years trying to make sense of that decision.  He had moved on since then, and for all intents and purposes she had too. Yet here they were, the two of them alone in this room, so much history between them, fighting against every physical and emotional urge in their bodies.  

They lasted only a few minutes like this, in each others embrace, fighting hard to resist the pull that they felt for each other.  Until finally, he pulled her in as close as he possibly could.  And as their lips met, her head began to spin.  Memories of late nights and early mornings, stolen kisses and too many laughs clouded her mind as she found herself melting in to his all too familiar touch.  The passion between them was an unstoppable force and unlike anything she had ever felt.  Her heart was pounding and while they kissed, her thoughts went deeper as questions about the future began popping into her mind.  She wondered how it would feel to be kissed like this every single day, or if anyone would ever really know her like he did and then she questioned whether or not she could ever love someone this much.  In that moment, in that hotel room, it was nearly impossible for her to imagine feeling this way with anyone else on the entire planet.  
Yet as she felt her heart go to places it had never been before, her head rang loud between her ears.  "We can't" she said as she pulled away abruptly.  She stepped backwards, away from him and into the darkness, shielding her face from his view.  The hurt and confusion she saw in his eyes was almost too much to bear, but she quickly realized that it truly couldn't compare to the hurt in her heart when she mustered up all the courage in the world and repeated "We just can't".  Heading for the hotel room door, she was careful to keep the tears that steadily streamed down her face out of sight, as the glow of the moon projected a single shadow on the hotel room wall.  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

It's Me.

"Hey, it's me.  Hope you had a good day, I'm thinking of you and I hope you're as excited as I am that it's almost the weekend.  Call me when you get a chance."

He sounded far away in his voicemail; far like, East Coast far.   But the time zones and the thousands of miles between them faded away quickly as a smile took over every inch of her body.  It was one of those smiles, one that starts from somewhere deep in your heart and finds its way to your mouth and eventually to your eyes, where it rests with satisfaction and unexpected happiness.  In that moment, she could care less that he was thinking of her or that he wanted her to call him.  "It's me" he said and after that she heard nothing else.

He had addressed her with such a feeling of familiarity and she couldn't remember the last time someone had said that and not been her mother, or grandmother or childhood best friend.  It was as if they had known each other forever, even though it had only been a few months.  It felt comfortable, even though she was still uncomfortable with the whole thing.  It somehow felt right, even though she didn't exactly know what that meant.

"It's me" he said, and she lost it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Leaving a Mark.

The chardonnay went down easy.  It was crisp and cool and exactly what I needed on that cool, Spring afternoon.  I was sitting at my favorite table, in my favorite coffee shop that doubles as a wine bar, and I was thinking that it had been a long time since I had found myself at that particular table.    After settling in to the space, noticing the different artwork on the walls and the addition of a new lamp in the corner, I remembered that I had once met the girl who painted the table which I sat at.  She had pink in her hair and roughly five facial piercings that I could count at first glance.  Her name was Amber or something similar that started with an A and reminded me of the 90's.  The two of us got to talking about the table one cold fall afternoon when I found myself cozied up at the coffee shop, scouring the daily job postings online and sipping my vanilla latte.  "It started off a terrible brown" she explained.  "But then one day I was bored and had paints in my bag for school.  It was a slow day here at the shop and I figured I wouldn't be working this job forever, so I just took the table out back and spent an hour painting rainbows and flowers all over the top.  I guess I did it so that when I quit here I can leave my mark on the place."  I remember in that moment looking down at the surface, staring at her brush strokes with admiration and a deeper appreciation having heard the story behind them.

On this particular Spring afternoon at the coffee shop however, Amber was nowhere to be found.  Many seasons had come and gone and no longer was I desperately searching for a job or trying to become a regular at any place that would have me.  I was established in the city; I had a job and a house and friends to call for drinks or a group fitness class if I wanted.  I guess I should have felt good about those things, about being successful in a city where I once knew no one, during a time when I had nothing but a couple hundred dollars in my savings account.  So that night, when Amber's replacement came by the table and asked if I was okay or if I needed anything, I was surprised when I found myself wondering what else it was exactly that I needed besides another glass of chardonnay.

I looked out the window, watching a man and his dog play and I wondered what mark I would leave on this place, then I wondered if I ever would leave this place.  The city had become my home and with each year that passed I found myself breathing deeper the mountain air, letting it settle in my lungs and into my soul in a way that I never imagined it would.  We were in sync, the city and I.  We had a mutual understanding of one another, where we were going and who we wanted to be, or so I thought.

I guess sometimes all it takes is a few glasses of wine, a quiet evening alone and a familiar table at your favorite coffee shop to get you thinking, because as I sat there staring at the flowers and rainbows I couldn't help but wonder where the girl who once was a "regular" had gone.  There was a time when the coffee shop made me feel like I belonged, like I could be whatever version of myself I wanted to be, and more often than not it was the most creative, outgoing, and raw version that frequented the rainbow table.  Now, no one knew me here in this coffee shop, yet I had finally become "someone". I had finally achieved everything I ever thought I wanted in this city.  Even so,  with each sip of wine, waves of regret crashed over me as I realized that somewhere between working too many long hours and dating way too many of the wrong people, I had lost sight of the girl who had once noticed how many piercings her barista had.  I had let her go and I hadn't even realized it.  As my mind started racing with thoughts of new cities, new jobs and new people, I tried to focus.  I breathed in that fresh mountain air, reconnected with the city, and got lost in the brush strokes on the table, making a promise to myself that if I do ever leave, I will do it on my terms.  I will leave this city fulfilled, as the best version of myself and I will leave feeling like I can truly leave a mark that matters.  But until that time comes, I realized that it's past time for me to reclaim my favorite table in the corner with the window, it's time for me to become a regular again.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The One

"Can I get you girls anything?" the saleswoman asked the group as they settled into the blush colored couches.  Soft, early afternoon light flooded the room, casting shadows on the exposed brick walls, dancing across the floor and shining a perfectly placed natural spotlight on the dresses that hung from the rack in the corner.  The girls looked back and forth at each other anxiously and finally one piped up, "Is it alright if we open this in here?  We're just so excited, she's the first one to go through this!" Ten minutes later, glasses were filled and toasts were made.  "To finding the perfect one!" the friends exclaimed excitedly, sipping the champagne and adding to their Sunday morning brunch buzz.

The initial few she came out in were pretty, there was no doubt about that.  The group loved the lace fabric that made up the first dress, and they gawked at the flawless silhouette of the third, commenting on how it clung to her body in all the right places.  "I like it, but I don't love it" one friend commented on the fifth dress.  "It's beautiful but will you be able dance in it?" said another.
Thirty minutes later the saleswoman had just began to get a bit nervous about not finding the perfect fit, when the girl emerged from the fitting room and the peanut gallery fell silent.  The friends watched intently as the girl stepped in front of the full length mirror and they gasped as she released hold of the dress, letting the train fall the to the floor.


"This will be me soon" she thought as she stared at her roommate and one of her closest friends. "I am making the right decision" she silently told herself when thinking about her upcoming move and the new job she had just accepted in another city and a completely different state.  "We will be good together" she reassured herself as the nerves associated with moving and moving in with her boyfriend surfaced.  They had met in this city and had been together two years, in a relationship that could be characterized as easy and more than anything else, simple.  However, during the previous two weeks they had engaged in more deep and real conversations than they had in the entirety of their relationship.  "If you follow me and we move in together, you know that means that we're really committing to be with each other, right?" she had asked him one night while they were discussing the impending move over pizza and wine.  "Well, I'm not going to marry you tomorrow, but ya, I get it.  I know" he had responded in true, 26 year old boy fashion.  "I'm next" she thought as she admired her friend in white.  "I'm next and I think I'm ready".


Though she was sitting on the blush colored couch next to her friends, admiring the perfection that was the bride-to-be in what was quite possibly the dress-to-be, her mind was elsewhere. She checked her phone for the forth time in ten minutes, hoping that there would be something from him, anything from him. "What am I doing?" she wondered as she realized how desperate she was to hear from a man she barely knew, a man who was certainly not the man that she was currently dating.  Her phone buzzed and she felt a pang of guilt when she read "can't wait to see you this week, babe".  Slipping her phone into her purse she scolded herself, "Dammit, this is the man I should be wanting to hear from, this is who I should be getting excited about.  He flies across the country to see me, he loves me whole-heartedly and if he knew I would let him, he would put a ring on my finger tomorrow and then I would be the one trying on these ridiculous white dresses like every girl dreams of doing".  But even with the feeling of guilt, her mind still wandered to the mystery man she had met during a chance encounter.  "He's the perfect stranger" she thought to herself, "keep him that way".  But as she recalled the conversation they had engaged in, the way she had opened up to him like no one before and the way he had really looked at her during their brief time together, she couldn't help but smile.  Their exchanges since that fateful day had been short but heavy, loaded with questions about fate and destiny,  yet lacking anything concrete or solid with regard to the future.  "What am I going to do?" she asked herself.  "Chris loves me, he would do anything for me.  He is the safe bet and  I could have all of this if I wanted it".  Focusing in on the white dress and the gorgeous girl wearing it, she was honest with herself for the first time in a long time and asked the question "But what if I don't want all this?".

"What the fuck, Josh" she cursed in her head as she stared with envy at her beautiful friend in the beautiful dress.  Sunlight streamed through the window and landed on the back of the dress, catching one of the shiny rhinestone buttons, sending beams of bright light dancing across the room.  She closed her eyes and breathed heavily, reminding herself not to get too worked up.  "Two years you chased me" she thought angrily, "It took you two whole years to convince me that you would love me forever and when I finally let you in and finally gave you my heart, you shattered it.  Fuck you Josh, this was supposed to be me" She opened her eyes slowly and plastered a smile on her face, hoping that her outward expression showed the opposite of what she was feeling internally.  "One day I will have this" she told herself repeatedly, "One day someone will be worthy of my affection and when I give them my heart, they won't run.  They will stay."  And as she caught the eye of her friend in the reflection in the mirror she smiled a warm and heartfelt smile, nodding her head and telling herself, "I deserve this and sooner or later this will be me".


"I've never seen something so beautiful" she realized as she gazed at the train falling perfectly around her feet.  It really did hug her body in all the right places, accentuating her curves yet complimenting her tiny waist.   She watched the light catch the rhinestones on the belt and admired the way the dress moved with her when she moved.  "I love this" she told herself,  "I've actually never loved any dress more".   Looking at her friends reassuring smiles in the reflection of the mirror she thought about how lucky she was to have such incredible people in her life, friends who would do anything for her.  Redirecting her attention to her own reflection in the mirror she could feel the tears start to well up.  "She's found the one!" she heard her friend say as the first tear rolled silently down her face, followed by many, many more.  The room erupted in applause and cheers as photos were snapped and hugs were given.  Her mind raced.  "How am I ever going to tell them?  How am I ever going to tell him?" she questioned as she removed herself mentally from the celebrations, looking deep into her own eyes and deep into herself in the beautiful white, floor length mirror.  "I can't do this" she thought, glancing through her tears at the diamond ring on her finger, "there's no way I can go through with this, he's just not the one."

"How wonderful, it truly is perfect on you"  the saleswoman exclaimed as she wrote down the style number and color before running off to grab a celebratory bottle of champagne.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Keep The Change

There I was in my favorite coffee shop, on my favorite street, in my favorite city enjoying a relaxing morning and a much needed coffee date with myself, when I received a text from my roommate that read "Check your email".  
"What could she possibly be sending me right now?" I wondered as I finished my vanilla latte and logged into my gmail.  My eyes immediately rested on an email from our landlord and as I opened it and scanned the contents, my stomach dropped and a sharp pain spread from my finger tips to the depths of my heart.
"After much debate, we have decided to sell the house.  Thank you for being wonderful tenants and let's discuss a move out date soon" the email read simply.

My mind raced at a million miles an hour.  "They're selling the house?!?" I gasped, how could they do this to me?  That house on Hooker Street is the only place I've ever lived in Denver for gods sakes!  It's where we met the boys next door and subsequently, our first new friends in Denver.  It's where we threw one too many parties and consequently, many morning-after recap brunches.  It's where I was when I opened the email that informed me that I had gotten my first real career job.  It's where I experienced my second true heart break and attempted to mend it with endless red wine and black and white indie films.  It's where we planned our next vacations, our next dinner parties and our next steps in life.  That house is the first place that I have considered home since I left my parents house for the beaches of California and college in San Diego.  That house is my Denver.  How on earth could they be selling my house, my home?  
I spent the rest of the day crying on the couch, trying to wrap my head around the fact that in a few short months, I would be moving and leaving behind a chapter of my life that could easily be considered one of the best.  

"It's just a pile of bricks" my friend Ben told me as I desperately tried to explain my feelings to him over the phone that evening. "You have the memories and you'll have them forever.  Plus, you get to make another place in Denver your home.  And also, why is this such a big deal?  You love change." he concluded.  And as I sat there soaking in his honesty and his extremely rude comment about 2974 being just a "pile of bricks", I realized that I actually dislike change very much.  

Now, I understand that this notion of hating change seems extremely bizarre coming from a girl who has moved to new cities, states, and even countries at the drop of a hat. And I guess I should clarify that when I'm ready for it, I love change. I have a unique ability to leave places and people that I deeply care about behind, in order to seek out new destinations and new people to love elsewhere. I am fully capable of creating my my own future and changing my life to match what is important to me at a certain time. I embrace change on my own accord and pride myself on being able to adapt well when I hurl myself blindly into the unknown however, when it is decided for me, I have an extremely hard time accepting change.
I'm absolutely terrible at adapting to situations that I don't have control over.  I like deciding my own fate way too much.  Which in itself is an oxymoron I guess, because you can't decide your fate can you?  You can only make decisions that lead you down one path or the other and the rest, the rest is up to destiny.  

 So, after a couple days of wallowing in sadness and hating the forced change that is coming my way in a few short weeks, I picked up the pieces and began scouring craigslist for a new place to call home.   As I emailed various new landlords with questions regarding square footage and the "feel of the neighborhood", I finally came to terms  with the fact that so much of life is out of my reach.  Yesterday, as my roommate and I signed the lease for our new place, on a new street, symbolizing a new beginning in Denver, I realized that I must accept the things that I have no control over.  Because it is change that propels us forward and forces us to leave our comfort zones, whether we plan for it or not.  And in the end, isn't that what I have always craved the most? That feeling of newness, the ability to reinvent myself and the idea that I never have to settle.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012

25 Things I've Learned Along The Way

- Know your worth
- Be kind to people and that same kindness will be returned to you
- Never underestimate the power of being honest
-- Shared silence is okay
- Becoming a citizen of the world is perhaps the best way to educate yourself
- Those who genuinely wish us well, want us to be happy and are prepared to accompany us on that journey
- Everything will fall into place - it always does
- Being part of a community will make you feel as if you're a part of something bigger than yourself
- Just because you weren't born with real sisters, doesn't mean you can't pick up a few along the way
- Pay it forward.  Whenever possible, pay it forward
- Strangers give the best advice

- Family trumps all
- Surround yourself with people who want to end up in a similar place in life as you and you will get to that place faster
- Time heals wounds that you never thought could be healed
- Follow your heart, it somehow already knows where and who you should be
- Listen closely to your grandparents or the elders in your life, their wisdom is worth more than anything
- Make sure that you have purpose in your work.  Feel fulfilled by your job and if you don't - quit. 
- Do things as often as possible that challenge you to reach your full potential as a person
- Strive for balance in all areas of your life
- Always have a 5 year plan
- Travel to find culture, to find friends, to find God, to find yourself.
- You have the ability to design the life that you want to lead.  So do it. 

- Happiness is not a destination, it's a state of mind
- Do something nice for yourself every once in a while, you deserve it more than you realize
- And always, always remember to write thank you notes. 

Monday, August 27, 2012


As the Uhaul packed full of her worldly possessions turned out of sight, I was left with my thoughts on the all too familiar, worn front steps.  After two incredible years living together, her room was empty, our house was empty, and my heart, felt the most empty.  
I tried to remember the sound of Saturday mornings.  Waking up to stories from the night before, sharing coffee on the back patio, talking life, loss and our latest crushes.  
I listened hard, hoping to hear the sound of her cooking up a storm in the kitchen or deep cleaning every inch of our old, brick home.  
I breathed in deep.  Soaking in every dinner party, every movie night, all the mornings we spent complaining about work and each and every dinner we shared accompanied of course, by our favorite red wine.  
And then I let it go.  
I let the emptiness fade. 
I closed the door on our chapter.  
And opened the door to the next.  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Not Right Now.

"I have the absolute WORST post-drinking guilt" my cousin's text read on a Sunday afternoon around 4pm.  She was flying home from a wedding in Chicago and I was nursing a hangover from a day long Cinco de Mayo party gone totally wrong.  "oh my god - chill out, you couldn't possibly have done something that bad, or at least nothing half as bad as what I did yesterday" I texted back from underneath the comfort and protection of the six blankets on my couch, that were physically and mentally "helping" me to block out any and all flash-backs from the previous nights debauchery.  "Well... I slapped the grooms ass on the dance floor, the bride's cousin saw it and tried to full on fight me mid- Macarena" she quickly responded.  While I couldn't help but laugh, I did actually feel for my cousin and the minor lapse in judgement she had made post champagne toasts, regardless of the fact that for some reason there actually does seem to be quite a bit of ass slapping at all weddings, or at least that's what I proceeded to tell her in an attempt to ease her pain.

"What the hell am I doing with my life?" she asked when we talked on the phone later that night.  "I mean, I think we're now at the age where we should start to get some things right, right?" she asked in the most serious of tones.
"Hell, I don't know... Are we?" was my only response and as I headed to bed that night I contemplated her question and wondered if I actually have reached the age where I should start to get some things right....


"So if money wasn't an option and you could do anything you wanted, what would you do?"  I asked while shooting him an inquisitive glare over the rim of a glass half full of dark red wine.  He was perfect on paper - a southern gentleman who frequented Denver on business, wining and dining me every time he blew through town.  He had played basketball in the NBA post college, even did a stint playing in the European league before he landed back home in Houston, close to his mother's home cooking, his new niece and his passion.  "Well, if I could do anythannng" he replied with that southern drawl that originally caught my attention in a swanky downtown hotel bar the night we met, "I would fish.  I would hunt quite a bit too - but marlin fishing is the thing that makes me the happiest."

"Fair enough", I thought.  At least the man knows what he likes and thank the lord on high it's not gambling or god forbid- video games.  The next morning on the way to drop him off at his respective hotel before heading to work, I caught myself staring at him while stopped at a red light.  Here was this well-established, older, ridiculously handsome man who, for some god-forsaken reason had taken an interest in me - a clapped up mess of a 24 year old, yet somehow, I knew despite all of the great things about him, he just wasn't it.  I knew this thing between us wouldn't last and unlike most girls (ahem... blondes) who I'm sure consistently throw themselves at him, I just couldn't bring myself to actually believe that he was right for me or that he ever would be.  That said, even after the moment of clarity at the stop light and a few more moments after that- I continued to sit across from him, breaking bread, drinking wine and talking life whenever he came to town for months after.

It was also circa the time that the Texan and I were entertaining each other with monthly dinners and the excitement of random texts in between, that I decided to make a career move.  I had only been at my organization for one year and as much as I loved my job and my co-workers, I took a chance in applying for an incredible position that I felt I was highly under-qualified for, yet by some total grace of God, I landed the job.
"I hope you know how grateful I am for all of the opportunities that have been given to me here" I said, choking back tears in my boss's office giving her an elaborate speech that culminated in me putting in my two weeks notice.  "While I'm excited for you, I just hope you are making the right decision" she replied as I stood to go, only adding to the extreme anxiety and the nervousness that I felt in leaving the familiarity of my old job behind.  "Yeah, me too" I said quickly before running out of our office building in tears and straight into a mid-afternoon Colorado torrential downpour.  "fuck this." I thought as I looked up to the sky, letting the rain drops hit my face and smear my mascara for dramatic effect.
"the right decision?!?!  I'm only 24!!" I thought angrly to myself "how am I supposed to know what the right decision is??"

A couple weeks into my new job and a couple weeks after the last time I had seen the Texan, I found myself digging through my enormous purse in my car that was parked outside of our local liquor store.  I was picking up beer for mid-week bbq that I had decided to attend instead of going to the gym, creating another excuse for the third day in a row.  "Why can't you get anything right??" I thought to myself while desperately searching for my misplaced ID.  I was muttering profanities out loud about how I should've just bit the bullet and gone to spinning instead of consuming ungodly amounts of calories in the beer and burgers I was about to chow down on, when a song came through the speakers that made me stop digging/cursing altogether.  I sat back in my seat and listened.  I closed my eyes and felt it.  And as the lyrics washed over me, I felt them sink in.  They sank down to the place where the uncertainties about the Texan or any current new man in my life lies, they sank deep into the insecurities about my new job and the new co-workers that I'm just not quite comfortable with yet.  The words sank into my post-drinking guilt and my recently horrid gym routine, they sank into all aspects of my life that haven't reached their full potential and at that moment, I realized that while I absolutely want to do right in life, I'm still getting there.   I'm still on the path to figuring out what those "right" things are.  Yes, i'll make some mistakes along the way, yes I'll take some wrong turns or accept some free dinners just because.  Hell who knows, maybe i'll even slap a grooms ass on the dance floor at a wedding (hoping that one never actually happens), but in all seriousness - its just not yet the time for me, not right now.  And as I shut my car door ID and cash in hand, I walked towards the liquor store feeling much lighter.

"How'd that white wine work out with the fish last week?" the all too familiar man behind the counter asked as I paid for the beers.  "eh, it wasn't the one, I should've picked the other bottle" I replied.  "Well Miss, you can't always pick the right one" he said with a wink as I breezed out the door.
Pulling out of the parking lot I found myself humming the song that had changed my perspective.  And as I turned onto my friends street for yet another night of drinking, laughing and not working out, I repeated the chorus of the song out loud and felt so very comforted in the lyrics and in that particular moment of clarity.

"I wanna do right, but not right now."  

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"And don't worry about losing. If it's right, it happens -- The main thing is not to hurry.  Nothing good ever gets away."

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Running List....

"A third round, ladies?" He asked us in a hurried tone as the sun was slowly setting behind him, casting shadows across the rooftop patio that we were currently occupying. "Hell yes" we said in unison without a glimpse of hesitation, "And when you bring the drinks, we have a question for you..." I said in a serious tone that caught his attention before he took off towards the bar.

It was Wednesday and we were in a mid-week funk, struggling to make it through another work week and struggling to let go of the little things that were driving us absolutely crazy. She had come home in tears, frustrated with her boss who could quite easily be compared to the crazed Meryl Streep in "The Devil Wears Prada"... on a good day.
"I just don't understand how she can make me so unhappy" my roommate complained as I sat comatose on the couch, exhausted from another long day at the office. The sun was shining yet it was dark in our little white house on Hooker street and as I looked longly out the window of our sunroom I decided that we needed something. We needed a pick-me-up, we needed a drink and we needed to talk it out. So after ten minutes of back and forth, I finally convinced her to grab her coat while I stuffed my tattered and torn journal into my purse, leaving the house and heading to our favorite local bar with the best rooftop in all of Denver.

As the first glass of white wine went down smoothly (and quickly), we discussed the monotony that comes with having a desk job, we blabbed about our co-workers and their little nuances that drive us up the wall at times and we whined about having two work days left before getting the freedom that the weekend brings.
By the time the second round of wine had come, our conversation had evolved and we had moved on to the bigger picture. We were discussing our dream jobs and our dream lives and whether they were attainable or not. "I want to be a travel blogger" she exclaimed. "I want to live abroad and write books" I confessed. We threw ideas back and forth and the excitement of possibility began to stir within us. Where would be in five years? Ten years? Where would we be next year? These were questions that though unanswerable, brought us relief, in that the uncertainty and the opportunity to design the lives we want to lead felt freeing.

By the time our waiter had brought our third glasses of wine, my journal was out and my pen was in full movement. "Here we go ladies, and i'm here to answer your question... whatever it may be" he said as he set down the glasses and stood before us anxiously awaiting the topic of conversation. We looked from our running list to him and I asked him the most serious of tones "What makes you happy? We're making a list". The question caught him off guard, we could tell, as he adjusted his thick framed black glasses and looked to the sky before answering. "Well that wasn't exactly what I expected" he replied slowly, then followed confidently with "but the answer is easy - music, time to think and whiskey" he concluded, before turning on his heel and trotting off towards the kitchen without any response from us.

"Fair enough" I replied as we discussed his additions and went over our own items. And as the sun set and the last drop of wine was finished, we decided that even though brown liquor makes me absolutely bat-shit crazy, it was only right to add his items to our list, as he had provided us three rounds of one of our favorite things on the list that evening. "I needed that" she said as I put my car in park outside of our little white house. And looking back on that evening, I needed it as well, and I have a feeling that someday in the future we will look back on our list to remind ourselves of the little bursts of color in darker times, and as our lives continue to unfold our list continues to grow.... And so.....

Things That Make Us Happy
-good food
-good wine
-great conversation with incredible friends
-the community feeling of day drinking
-a nice rooftop on a warm day
-painting our nails
-an awesome sunset
-friendly neighbors
-sipping jet-streams
-road trips with country playlists
-wedding videos
-midweek happy hours
-Sunday dinners
-city lights and country roads
-solid advice from perfect strangers
-a neighborhood dive bar
-a little scruff
-the color gold
-time to think
and of course...