Salt Life

“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again- to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more.” 
―    Pico Iyer

A few months ago, a close girlfriend of mine suggested we go visit her “happy place.” A place where the sun shines, the temps are warm and drinks are cold – Puerta Vallerta, Mexico.  I can’t say no to any of those things and a trip was much needed, so I happily agreed to be her travel partner in crime for the trip. 

Now, on day seven and a few short hours before we have to head to the airport, I sit next to the pool and drink my coffee. I can hear the waves of the ocean, the overly worked motors on the cars driving up these hills and the beauty of David Nail’s voice on my iPod (new CD of his rocks by the way). The sunshine peeks through the morning haze and the air feels cool against my bikini clad, seriously tanned skin. Heaven… I hope we didn’t let a moment pass us by where we took any of this for granted.

I was proud of only opening my work emails several times while I was here. I enjoyed turning things off and totally being in the moment I was in at that exact time.  I could hear everything clearer, I felt more connected to the people, I experienced everything deeper.  I engaged with the local people, tried out my rusty Spanish and navigated the world of pesos ($1,000 pesos – I’m rich!!!).  I had time at night to look at the stars, breathe in the salt air, and appreciate every breath.  

Totally disconnecting is always hard, because there are people you want to share the moments with at the end of each day.  The people you wish were oceanside with you, learning to body surf and buying candy from the vendor on the beach.  Technology allows us to keep connected to share the sunset, show off our tans and wish loved ones happy birthday and let them know we are thinking of them, although thousands of miles away. The nice thing is that we can turn it on and off when we need to. I can escape to the beach, alone with my thoughts and no distractions.  If I didn’t get to that email, it could wait. The world didn’t end without me being connected to it – which was refreshing and scary at the same time.

Vacation feels all too sweet and I want it to last forever. However, I know that wouldn’t feel as good. It feels amazing that I work hard all year to reward myself with a journey somewhere beautiful. Knowing that I can spend pesos on margaritas, crafts from the locals and authentic Mexican food is a good feeling. I appreciate the powerful beauty of the ocean, as that is something i don’t see in Cleveland. Being immersed in a culture where i don’t speak the language fluently or understand fully, makes me feel like a curious little kid again, full of questions and wonder.  Spending money on travel has made me richer, and is an investment I will continue to make throughout my life for sure.

Coming home puts everything in perspective. It helps me understand why there is a need to get away, but why I need to come  back. It helps me understand why I work so hard, why it’s important to live and love and appreciate the people that want you there.

I couldn’t have asked for a better week spent with a truly wonderful friend.  I am a lucky woman in this life, and this week was a great reminder of that.

Tanned up and digitally yours!

-Kelly

Now boarding…

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There’s something about being in an airport that’s like being nowhere else. One of the best environments for people watching, hands down. It’s one of those places that brings thousands of people together by happenstance daily.  Some people are running around rushed and stressed…others are tanned and relaxed. There are business suits and flip flops, Louis Vuitton carry-ons and ragged backpacks. Each person with a story to tell – a reason to travel.

I was sitting in the airport on the way home from Florida this past week and I thought the best thing to do is make up stories about people passing by or sitting near me. Where were they going? What’s the back story? 

A very tan gentleman with a fedora and suit on having a cocktail at 9am… possible pimp. OR maybe just a guy who spent on a week on the beach and liked to get fancy for the plane ride. A mother traveling with twin infants – seemingly alone – is she out of her mind? OR was she flying somewhere fun to get her party on…where someone else could take care of the babies for a well deserved break? The business guy in a suit talking obnoxiously loud on a cell phone…jet setting somewhere awesome to do business OR sneaking away for a tryst with an exotic lover?

There was a young girl, probably about five years old, flying with two sets of grandparents. There were no parents to be found, but the girl seemed comfortable with them and was enjoying her stuffed elephant patiently waiting to board her flight.  I looked over to see the one grandmother in tears…then the grandfather. Then everyone huddled together and hugged.  The behavior, and the slight eaves dropping in conversation, led me to believe it was a trip to deal with the death of a loved one.  I teared up for them and in the heat of the moment, I had become part of their story. It was real.

We sat behind a guy on the first flight who decided he would wait until we were pretty much taking off to stop his sexting.  **Note to self – do NOT write scandalous texts when there are people sitting behind you…who are probably creeping…and mad you aren’t obeying FAA rules and regulations during an already nerve wracking part of a plane ride! I think there were a number of girls on his pre-flight sext list…maybe he was preparing for having a full roster by the time he got to his destination. No story to make up here…that man needed to get laid.

The best moments at the airports are the final destinations. When people get off the plane and arrive to baggage claim or a waiting area where someone is there to greet them. I LOVE watching a parent come home to a kid who runs up and yells “DADDY” and gets scooped into his arms. I love when a guy has flowers for the girl of his dreams as she walks back into his life. Of course I get very teary watching anyone in a military uniform coming home. I get emotional seeing families and friends hug and laugh and celebrate being together….that’s the best.

It was fun to daydream about why people were here, where they were going and what waited for them at their final destination. Hopefully they arrived to something that made them smile as big as I did!

Digitally yours-

-Kelly

The Anti-New Year’s Resolution Post

I’m baccckkkkkkkkkkk 🙂

Let me start by just apologizing to my readers (maybe all 4 of you) for the lack of updates with this blog. I am challenging myself to really dig into it this year and make it a place of reflection and creativity….that is also updated regularly.  Thanks for being patient!

(Cartoon credit to Calvin and Hobbes – I’m not that artistic!)

Anywho……

Five days into the new year and I have been inundated with new year’s resolutions and what everyone plans on doing with their upcoming year. This has caused me to take pause and really think about the whole concept of resolutions and my conclusion is…they are a waste of time and energy. In the few weeks before Jan. 1 each year, we all become this beacon of change and inspiration. At the stroke of midnight, we all want to lose weight, budget better, gossip less, get promoted, exercise every day, be a better person, blog more and the list goes on.  The resolutions trap us into analyzing our flaws and concoct somewhat unrealistic goals that will end up being long lost hopes that get thrown to the wayside in a matter of days or weeks following.  This generally leads us to feeling like failures and that’s certainly no way to start a new year!

Now…let me clarify. Am I anti-goals? No. Do I think making changes is dumb? Hell no.  However, I hate thinking of change and re-invention of one’s self as only something that can happen with a blank slate, or start of a new year.  Personally, I also hate pigeon-holing myself into specific things because I operate better when I have some flexibility and know that just because I only lost 5 pounds instead of 10, doesn’t make me a failure.

As I try to do every year, I’m focusing my efforts on things/people/experiences that fulfill the following areas of my life, rather than hard and fast resolutions. These are the measures in which I will use to figure out if life is what I need it to be for myself.  This is how I will continue to make each year better than the last without fail.

1) Does it make me happy?

2) Will I be better for it?

3) Am I learning something?

4) Am I pushing my comfort zone?

2013 was a great year for me – some bumps in the road and life lessons learned, but it was abundantly rich in love, hope, adventure and excitement. I want to carry that all into 2014 and build upon that to make that list longer and stronger as each month passes.  I want to constantly re-evaluate and use these as guidelines for improvement, no matter the time of year. Maybe these change over the course of time when my life changes…but until then, this is what I’ve got and I’m sticking to it!

I don’t need a stroke of midnight or the flipping of a calendar page to tell me when I should start doing more to make myself happier. I’m going to continually kick ass all year round and so should you.

Digitally yours in 2014!

-Kelly

Re-evaluating

Most good things happen without a plan: friendships, falling in love, finding a job, and so on. If you want to make your new year count, you’ll need to be intentional — not by setting goals, but by making space in your life for what really matters. -Jeff Goins

 

I thought this was a good quote to incorporate into the blog, as this was started as somewhat of a New Year’s resolution and at one point, almost became a bucket list.  As I read this over a few times, it really resonated with me. Anyone can make goals and lists of things they want to do – you need to create the space in your life to follow through. I thought I would use it as a launching point for this post, as well as a reminder that in order to experience the things most meaningful to me, I have to continue to make the time.

I wanted to experience some great things during my 28th year.  I didn’t know what they might be or what I was setting out to do specifically, but I just want it to be the best year of my life so far.  This would mean trying some new things, putting in the effort to make things happen and most importantly, creating the time.   What really matters in my life pretty much falls into these buckets: love/relationships (family, friends, romance), happiness (what am I experiencing that brings me joy or what can I do to bemore happy) and education/experiences (how am I growing/changing, what am I doing to make that happen).   Anything that falls into these categories, needs to have priority in my life and I need to remember to make the space and time for them.

Creating time for these things in your life can mean making sacrifices.  We are all juggling 1,000 responsibilities and obligations, and it can be hard to remember what we NEED to be doing to fill up our own individual buckets.  Instead of going out and boozing with friends on a Friday night, I have to stay home and rest up for a crazy Color Run at 5am on a Saturday.  Maybe I don’t go to the gym one night because I haven’t seen my best friend in weeks and she wants to grab dinner.  In the end, if it’s worth it, it’s not a sacrifice.  If it enriched my life in a way that I consider meaningful, then it was time well spent.

One of my best friends and I were talking a month or so ago about how easy it becomes to weed out your true friends and significant others based on the issue of time.  It’s not a matter of how much physical time you always get to spend with someone, but the effort on both parties to make time to connect.  I’m an avid believer that if you want it bad enough, you find a way and find the time.  Perhaps you have to stay up an hour later than normal to hang out. You’re a little tired in the morning, but the conversation and wine were flowing the night before and that…that moment was worth it.

Maybe you have to connect digitally. In this day when technology has us connected in a hundred different ways, there’s almost no excuse for not making the time, especially for people.   Take two minutes to send a quick email… shoot a photo of what you’re doing and send it to your mom…find the perfect e-card to send to your friend having a rough day….text  your significant other the moment in the day when you think of him/her.  Don’t forget the power that reaching out can have, even if it isn’t face to face.  It’s a reminder that you are cared about and care about someone…that someone does care enough to take a few minutes out of their day to remind you of your importance in their life.

The best thing is when you get to have a really great experience WITH someone you really care about. In my mind, those are the best. I’m lucky this year has been so full of these opportunities thus far, and I’m appreciating my goal to capitalize on every one.  I have created some of the best memories this way and I think THAT is what is helping make this year so great for me.

What I’ve realized is at the end of the day, if you don’t make time for that person/experience/situation/feeling, then it probably isn’t a priority and therefore shouldn’t suck up the available space you do have for something that matters.

Digitally yours!

-Kelly

Whatever Makes You Feel Like a Rock Star

In an effort to continue on my journey of making 28 the best year yet, I certainly have had a memorable week doing some new and exciting things!  It’s hard to sum up sometimes how lucky I must be to have this life.  I travel, I have new experiences and I get to share them with some really great people.

I apologize in advance for how long this entry is going to be! Let’s face it though, you can’t scale back awesomeness 🙂

Extra Extra!

After working in some great pillars of the entertainment industry (sports and music), I had yet to have anything to do with the world of movies.  Luckily for Cleveland, it’s been a hot bed for movie-making over the last few years. My guesses are that A) it’s cheap to film here, B) we are willing to trash it and let things be blown up on the sidewalks and C) Cleveland can be made to essentially look like any other city you want it to (ironic…why not just let it be Cleveland?!).

Without going into too much detail (legally…sorry guys), I was cast as an extra for a film that will hit the theaters next June.  The day started at 1:30pm filling out paperwork and waiting in lines…for about 4 hours. No joke.  This is not the glamourous life that’s for sure.  For $8/hr, I would suck it up once…but I can’t imagine doing it again for a tiny chance that my one baby bobby pin would make an appearance in the film.

We had to bring three of our own outfits that met certain requirements for our wardrobe. The costume directors would pick the one that they wanted you to wear. My biggest concern going in was, what if they hate all my outfits? Do I get told to go home? Obviously they are probably used to LA/NYC with their Gucci and Prada, so will my trendy Express shirt and Target dress cut it?  Luckily for me, they liked the black dress I had on, so i was sent along to hair and makeup. PHEW.

Not so lucky for one of my co-workers.  Her adorable, chic outfit was given a “no.”  They advised her to wear gray slacks, tan undershirt (somewhat like a tank top) and an old tan cardigan.  How this was deemed fashionable, I will never know. The rebellious co-worker just avoided making a total change (she did rock some pants) and hoped that the costume crazies would never find her (they never did).

Hair and make up lines were outrageous.  Keep in mind we were told to come with hair and makeup ready, so I was assuming unless you looked like a hot mess, you were probably going to pass this test.  They didn’t touch our makeup, but simply put on lipstick. Easy enough. The hair ladies came by and nodded their heads, so off we went to another holding area.

As we were getting called to go on set, a hair lady pulled me aside and said, “Did we approve your hair?” I said, “Yep!” She gave it a quick disgusted look and said, “Oh no. I’ll find you on set.”  Immediately, I was in a panic because I had taken a lot of time on my hair that morning and there were like 100 bobby pins holding it together… it wasn’t coming down. The remainder of the day I spent hiding from the hair ladies with their snarly combs and Aqua Net hairspray. I hope that not conforming to their bland hair-do’s doesn’t ruin my chance to make the final cut!

Being an extra means a lot of waiting on set and watching things unfold.  We re-did the same cheering scenes and walking in the background about 100 times. We were pantomiming (acting like we were talking but not actually talking) while drinking beer (O’Douls) and red wine (grape juice).  We did actually get to talk to the celebrities and watch them work.  All of the cameras, lights and set up were pretty interesting to observe.

At the end of a very long day (around 2:30am), we wrapped.  The director was more than appreciative of our efforts and thanked us for being part of the process.  I think all that work will go into a 5 minute scene but I’ll be on lookout for my big film debut next year.  More than anything, what a cool thing to experience and add to the list of why this year has been so awesome!

Nashville

Country music… Southern hospitality… history… beauty.  I had never made a trip to Nashville but it’s been on my list of places I had to get to for quite some time.  My mom and I decided to do our first ever girls weekend, which will now probably be an annual event since we had so much fun!

Everything about it was what I was hoping it would be. Nashville is an amazingly clean city, easy to get around with tons to do.  What impressed me the most was the general sweet disposition and helpful, caring attitudes of pretty much everyone we encountered. My mom couldn’t parallel park and a lady pulled up next to her to help guide her in.  5 minutes out of her day just to help a visitor out.  I never opened a door when a sweet southern gentleman was in my midst.  Everyone was very helpful and friendly – engaging in conversation because they truly wanted to talk to you…not because they felt obligated.

Of course, I ultimately went there for the music.  Live country music everywhere all times of day is like heaven for me.  I had moonshine and sang along to my country faves at the iconic Tootsie’s Lounge at 11am on a Monday. I ate dinner at Puckett’s (fried green tomatoes no less) and listened to up-and-comer Sammy Arriaga fill the room with his beautiful voice. At one point I had to stop and ask for $40 worth of $1 bills…to which I clarified, “I’m not going to the strip clubs,” because naturally that’s what people would assume, right? The cashier looked at me and said, “Oh no honey…I get it. You’re just supporting the music careers of some of the country’s greatest talent trying to make it big.”  You really never know who you may be tipping a couple of bucks that will turn into the next Taylor Swift (discovered in Nashville at the Bluebird Cafe) or Loretta Lynn (Tootsie’s).

The trip ended entirely too quickly but the memories made will last a lifetime and there are certainly more to be had!

Biker Chick

‘Cause oh,oh,oh, I got a motorcycle baby
Oh,oh,oh, come on take a ride with me
Oh,oh,oh, I promise you a hell of a ride
‘Cause I got a motorcycle tonight  (-Kip Moore)

I wouldn’t consider myself an adrenalin junky, but the quick shot of something crazy running through my veins is exciting.  That’s why I don’t think it took me too long to agree to hop on a motorcycle for the first time in my life this week.  It’s somewhat shocking that it took me this long – especially considering I have purchased a motorcycle before (for a crazy ex-boyfriend … bad story – will probably come up at a later time) and never got to ride it once (jerk).

There’s something to be said for experiencing riding on an open air vehicle that is so different than riding in any sort of car/truck.  You can smell absolutely everything…feel the fresh summer breeze blow past your whole body…take in the beauty of the sky and/or stars. You think a sunroof view is cool?! Just wait… While a lot of people think it’s an adrenalin rush, it can also be very calming and tranquil…especially if you got a long stretch of highway and a large open sky (next time?!).

Here’s a couple of lessons I learned from the experience:

Rule #1 – Don’t wear yoga pants. Pretty sure my ass almost slid right off the back a few times. I need some pants with more traction…

Rule #2 – Ride at night. I thought it would be extra scary going at night for the first time but honestly, I think it made it that much more awesome. You get to take in the beauty of the open sky with stars and deal with less traffic around you.

Rule #3 – If your boobs are smooshed onto the driver, you’re holding on tight enough. (Helps if he is hot)

Rule #4 – Trust your driver.

Rule #5 – You actually don’t have to yell … the person driving can hear you just fine if you talk pretty normally.

Rule #6 – Get some good tunes and crank ’em up!

Rule #7 – Guys don’t get to ride with guys…. Yep, I had to ask…. but now that i picture it, it seems kind of obvious.

Rule #8 – Enjoy it – it goes fast 🙂

While I don’t think I will go out and buy a motorcycle for myself, I certainly have a better understanding of why people have them.  It kinda made me feel like a badass – maybe more night rides will be in store for 2013.

This is a officially a wrap on this blog. Thanks for hanging in there 🙂

Digitally yours!

Kelly

Daily Prompt: Unconventional Love

I’ve never attempted using one of the Daily Prompt ideas to inspire a blog, but since I needed a little help, here goes nothing!

This week’s prompt was:

“Over the weekend, we explored different ways to love. Today, tell us about the most unconventional love in your life.”

I’m going to reveal something embarassing – I did just Google “unconventional” to see what popped up.  For a split second, I thought I may not actually know the meaning and wanted to verify prior to carrying on like someone who didn’t properly understand the task at hand. However, my definition was correct so I feel pretty confident about not deleting this entire post now.

I think as much as we attempt to be “normal,” unconventional love strikes more often in our lives  than we really know.  When I saw the synonyms for unconventional like “out in left field,” “far-out, “eccentric” and “crazy,” it made me realize that is my life.

Plenty of things actually work well together, that may be considered out of the ordinary. 

Here’s my list:

1) Bacon apple pie vanilla milkshakes

  • Never tried it – but it’s the rage around a few select restaurants in CLE

2) Someone originally had to mix red and blue to make purple

  • It’s a great color…

3) Pina coladas and getting caught in the rain.

  • When you’re drunk, what isn’t awesome? However a good hot summer rain while drinking, not too bad!

4) Lincoln Park and Jay Z remixes 

5) Heavy drinking and games

  • I don’t think an explaination is needed here. Beer pong, Flip Cup, Kings, etc… You can’t go wrong.

In terms of actual love for a person, I have had my unconventional share of it.  I’ve dated a guy 12 years older than me … I’ve dated someone in another country and a 5 hour plane ride away … I’ve met a guy by falling off a treadmill at the gym … and I’ve felt like I was falling into some deep feelings for a guy I really only knew through text communication.  While it may not be traditional, it’s created some awesome experiences and some really fun memories. 

While I can’t seem to pinpoint the unconventional loves in my life right now,  I’m sure they are there. What I did take note of in this whole thought process, and find to be the important thing to remember, is that unconventional doesn’t mean wrong.  It shouldn’t be anything you have to hide or feel embarassed about.  It’s love at it’s finest because it’s unique and it’s you.

Digitally yours!

-Kelly

Looking for Mr. Imperfect

'He would be perfect, but he's got a beard'

Sitting down for drinks with girlfriends will likely end up in a conversation about what ideal qualities we want in a boyfriend/fiancee/husband. While I’m not sure that guys really sit around and chat about this over drinks, I know it’s something everyone thinks about and thought it would be interesting to cover in a blog entry this week since who doesn’t want to talk about finding the perfect match?

Fact: We want what we want. We have a laundry list of “ideal perfect qualities” that someone who is lucky enough to date us will possess. Some of these are fun and superficial (“must have washboard abs”), some are practical (“must have a job”) and some are just because we know are qualities that mesh well with our own needs (“must love country music” or “must love dogs”). 

I read something today that sparked me to thinking of these in a slightly different way.  I was challenged to think of the “flaws” I would ideally like to have in a significant other. We can’t all be perfect, and sometimes these imperfections are what actually make the relationship deep and meaningful. It’s hte imperfections that you don’t just tolerate, but end up loving.

Here was my stab at 5 flaws that I would embrace:

1. Imperfection #1: He’s Pushy

I know me – I can’t make decisions. If you ask where I want to go to dinner or if I want to move to Alaska, the answer always takes an agonizing amount of time.  Instead of wanting a guy to just be decisive, I want a guy who will not let me off the hook for making decisions.  I want him to stay on me about the decision and commiting to it.

This also applies to my lack of outward emotion.  Pushy guys won’t let you just get away with saying “I’m fine…” or responding in short one word answers. They will nag you until you explain or go into more detail.  In some ways this appears as demanding, or pushy, but sometimes it’s just what I need.

2. Imperfection #2: He’s not sorry

In my book, “I’m sorry” is overused. We often say it when we aren’t just because we think we should. It ends up not carrying meaning if it’s used for every little situation. 

Don’t apologize for being yourself. I want to know the real you. You watched and cried at “The Notebook?”  Not worthy of an apology.  You want to wear that ridiculous Super Mario Brothers graphic tee to the bar? It may not be my favorite, but don’t apologize for your fashion choices.  Don’t apologize for being eccentric or for your personality. I picked you for a reason….if I can’t handle the quirks, that’s my problem…not yours to apologize for.

Be sorry when you make me cry. Be sorry when you forget my birthday or really fuck something up.  Be sorry when you really mean it.  That way I know it’s not something you take lightly and toss around. 

Imperfection #3: He moves slow

Facebook reminds me on a daily basis that my friends are getting into committed relationships, getting married, having kids.  Facebook also does a pretty good job of highlighting my friends getting divorced and writing out sloppy, sappy breakup statuses. Therefore, I can appreciate a guy who wants to move slow. As I get older, I don’t expect things to move faster –  I expect things to move in the right direction.  While it may be confusing for awhile that I won’t know where we stand or what “this” will end up being, taking your time makes me feel like you want to do it right.

Commitment is scary and doing things differently than what the norm is can be a great sign of what the future may hold.   I don’t mind a slow, forward-moving approach. Just make sure it’s moving, the speed is irrelevant at this point.

Imperfection #4: He’s overly emotional (by guy standards)

Guys have to be super macho and have no feelings.   They can’t cry… they can’t tell you how they feel… they have to be stronger for the girl.  So because this is considered an “imperfection” by society’s standards, I embrace it (I don’t agree with it) and that’s why it made my list.

I have a hard time being emotionally available sometimes.  I hide my feelings, I can’t always communicate my feelings.  I am envious of that kind of man who can wear his heart on his sleeve. It’s brave, it’s sexy and it ultimately makes for better relationships. I think for me, this is a good compliment to my personality.

Imperfection #5: He has to be Superman

Women sure love to be independent these days. Do I feel accomplished when I can change my own tire or figure out how to navigate a big, new city on my own? Hell yes. I love knowing I can do that on my own.

Let’s face it though, I need a lot of rescuing. Yesterday, I was going to use paint thinner ON MY OWN BODY to remove paint (crisis averted).  I’ve left my interior car light on and had a dead battery… I’ve lost my dog at 10pm at night… I’ve blown countless fuses… I’ve needed to be picked up when I’ve been scared…Too many glasses of wine and I need a ride… I can’t figure out how to get something to work… I’ve started small fires. I might as well wear a sign sometimes that says “Rescue Me!”

I like that guys can and want to do things to save the day.  I don’t care if they break things or screw things up worse than they were to start – A for effort.  While I can do it on my own because I often have to, I always appreciate someone helping, or attempting to help.

 

There’s my five… I’m sure they are different for every one which is the very neat thing about doing this – everyone will find different “flaws” that they really want to embrace. 

It  means that there is someone out there who will love your imperfections perfectly.

Digitally yours,

Kelly