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...

Holding On.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A letter to myself.

Stumbled upon this little gem of a note that I wrote to myself a year or so ago, hidden within the folds of my journal this morning. I found it to be extremely raw and real and exactly what I needed to read while sipping coffee on a date with myself this beautiful Sunday morning.
"Remember this time your life. Never forget how it feels to go to bed alone with your thoughts and to wake up with a clear conscience. Never forget the feeling of independence, the freedom that comes with only having yourself to worry about. Remember what it is like to put your friends first, yourself first and savor the time when this is still the case. Never forget these years when you are so perfectly content with you, your thoughts and your own dreams- dreams that are concocted by nothing but the brilliance of your own imagination. And most importantly, be satisfied and grateful for the realities that you and only you have created for yourself. Relish in the big and little daily decisions that have defined and directed the course of your life thus far.
Because at some point, things will change, and people will come and others will go. And one day you will wake up and this independence, this freedom- will be gone. And when that happens, as happy as you may be in your new shared life, there will be moments. Moments where you miss this. Where you miss the quiet or the simplicity. Moments when you miss playing a song on repeat just because it's how you feel. Moments when you miss going to bed alone, with your thoughts and the freedom that comes with only have yourself to worry about."

"And at once I knew I was not magnificent."

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Seeing Color

...and just when I thought the grey mundaneness of winter would swallow me whole, I saw color again. Vibrant pinks and oranges in the sunsets, deep magnificent shades of turquoise in the water and brilliant light in the faces of those who literally have nothing, but a world full of color.

Belize 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


"I love you" he said, his voice sounding farther away then ever. "I love you everyday" I responded before reluctantly hanging up the phone. Sitting in our sunroom, staring out into the dark Denver night I couldn't help but wonder when the next time I hear his voice will be. We already seem so far away and in a few short weeks- we will actually be worlds away.

It's been a little over a year and a half since our paths have crossed and with the new turn his life has taken, it is unclear when I will see him next. Our friendship however, has never been one based on close proximity- in fact we only ever lived in the same place for four months total. But that short time was all it took. Those four months were the start of our friendship, the beginning of a deep relationship and a lifetime of a mutual understanding. Our paths crossed and our lives were forever intertwined, regardless of where we are today and the extremely different paths that will get us to where we want to be in the end.
"I'm proud of you" he said after I detailed my life in Colorado, my job, the committees I sit on and my social life that never really seems to slow down. "and I'm proud of you" I responded as he explained his upcoming move, the choices that he's made for his family and the way his life has changed so quickly. As I sit and listened to the things he wants out of life (because somehow, we always find ourselves discussing these types of things), I couldn't help but realize that though our current lives, realities and responsibilities may be so very different right now, in the end- we want the same thing.

It is what brought us together in the beginning and it is what will continue to be the foundation of our friendship, whether we go a year without speaking or five years without seeing each other. We get it, and though we are taking different paths to get there, happiness is coming for the both of us.

"Isn't it funny where life takes us?" he asked as we were closing out the conversation. "Those signs in life that you follow, that you feel deep within you- really do lead you to where you belong"

And as I sat in the sunroom I remembered the signs that I felt before moving here. The license plate, the late nights on the rooftop dreaming of Colorado sunsets and the actual physical pull that I felt to this state and to the place that I now call home, all signs that I chose to follow. "When you feel a place deep within you, you know that it will be a part of you in some way forever" he finished. And as I agreed with him I couldn't help but feel that Colorado will definitely be a part of me forever in one way or another. Then I pictured him, bags packed, leaving for the place that he will put his roots down, the place that he will begin to call home and I couldn't be more proud and more excited for my friend and his next step towards happiness.

"I miss you" he said. And I responded with a simple yet very heavy, "I miss you everyday".