Travel Light

11blog1 SanFran In the past 7 years, I have been fortunate enough to do quite a bit of traveling. My once crisp, blank-paged passport  is now worn and nearly full, the pages colored with stamps from the United Emirates, Barbados and Costa Rica to name a few.  Many times I’ve found myself packing for contrasting destinations with limited luggage space which can be a little tricky, it feels life I’m playing fashion suduko or trying to solve a style algebra equation.  If girl K leaves St.Maarten in the winter and arrives in Italy in the spring, what kind of shoes should she wear in London in the fall? 11blog4 lug In my more novice packing days, I assumed the more options the better until I found myself paying excessive baggage fees  on a regular basis……most of the time in Euros. The charges were really starting to add up to the point where I realized the cost of carrying those items with me was starting to outweigh their actual value.  Numerous times, I’d place my bag on the scale at the airport check in counter, the zippers nearly bursting at the seams, only to be told I owed over $150 for being a couple of pounds over.  In an effort to minimize travel expenses, I’d take my bag to the nearest rest room and play a game of clothing survivor, throwing away my least worn items in hopes of lightening my load just enough that I wouldn’t have to pay…..

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I said a heartfelt goodbye to a vintage sequined tunic in Dusseldorf, “Auf Wiedersehen you glitzy little gem, thanks for always standing out in a crowd. In Rome, I explained to a lavender fringe flapper dress that I was in love with but had a broken zipper, that the costs were starting to outweigh the value and our journey together had to end.  Despite my deepest affections for the gorgeous number,  I just didn’t see myself being able to repair it anytime soon, meaning it was nothing but an unwearable burden.  “It’s not you it’s me, Ciao bella.” I said to soften the blow as I placed it in the trash of Terminal C while on the verge of tears. thor

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I practically became an airport Hansel & Gretel, leaving a trail of clothing crumbs at various points along my international path until I learned my lesson.  Finally I’ve mastered the art of streamline packing, narrowing my on the go wardrobe down to the perfect combination of stylish essentials;  a fashion formula that can be applied to almost any destination without weighing me down or draining my bank account. These are my must haves: -a Good leather Jacket. It can add casual edginess or sophisticated warmth to any outfit, and layers well with almost anything from jeans to a fancy dress. leather perse leatherjckt -leopard print shoes.  There is nothing more classic than a killer pair of animal print pumps, but recently I purchased some loafers in my favorite goes with everything print and I swear, I wear them almost every day.  I love them because the style is conservative and comfortable, but I still get to take a walk on the wild side. A pop of leopard print in any form adds sass and class to everyday basics. leopard geekchic leatherjacket -a collection of scarves.  Scarves are the traveling girl’s best friend. They pack well, hardly taking up any space and are like the swiss army knife of fashion accessories… A good scarf can be a bikini coverup, a beachy hair wrap, a neck warmer or just the extra added piece of visual interest to an otherwise humdrum ensemble. mex he culebra Carmel bikini Denim- a few pieces of denim in different colors and lengths can take you almost anywhere in the world.  I always have a pair of white long skinnies for day, a pair of black long skinnies for night, some distressed boyfriend jeans for almost anytime and a pair of cutoffs for the warmest destinations.  The long and the short of it is:  you can almost always count on denim to be the universal right answer. bas 2 jeanshorts wht outfir These items, when mixed in with basic tanks and t-shirts in neutral colors can truly take me anywhere.  Throw in some cool statement jewelry, a big leather bag and some sunnies and Voila! I’m ready for anything and anywhere from the tree lined streets of Savannah to the meandering cobblestone alleys of Barcelona. I always carry a couple of pretty dresses for more fancy occasions but the most important thing I have in my luggage is extra room for the new pieces I pick up along the way, special momentos from my travels that I can wear further down the road. LB12 Just like the clothing we choose to pack for a trip, the relationships we choose to carry with us can sometimes hold us back, weigh us down, or alternately give us the freedom to go anywhere the future takes us.  Solid friendships are like denim; basic essentials we all need on a day to day basis; we can rely on them to be there for us regardless of the climate or time of year.  Some friends are like fashion trends; they come into our lives for a season and add something new and different but don’t last for the long haul because inevitably after a while, tastes change and people evolve so you have to learn to let go. The sequin tunic I left in Germany was the same as fun acquaintance: great for a wild night out but not really something I would want in my everyday life. I don’t miss the flashy eye-catcher at all, but appreciate the good times we had and kind of laugh at how outrageous it was. The lavender fringy flapper dress I parted ways with in Italy however, was a little more special and more difficult to say goodbye to.  There are some days where I wish I still had it hanging in my closet, but deep down I know the zipper would most likely still be broken and it would just be taking up valuable space.  There have been people in my life like that beautiful but broken dress.  There have been people that I loved, just the sight of them putting butterflies of happiness in my stomach……. but shit happens and things go wrong and at some point you have to admit when a dress or a relationship is beyond repair.  Maybe it was my fault that it broke or maybe I could have tried a little bit harder to fix it, but at the time it didn’t seem worth it, I didn’t see the sense sacrificing my time and energy for something that no longer served it’s purpose. It’s easy to get caught up in the what if’s and maybe’s in your mind….What if I had taken in to a tailor?  Maybe it just needed a different kind of clasp?………But thinking that way about past decisions will only lead to regret and that’s not healthy. I try to focus on the fact that there are plenty more dresses and people in the world for me to enjoy, and now that I’ve gotten rid of what wasn’t working anymore,  I have room for the next thing I fall in love with.  When I choose to be selective with my baggage, I can go so much farther than when I try to carry every single thing with me. I only want to carry on the things that add beauty and comfort to my journey, and anything I am missing I’ve learned you can pick up along the way, but only if have you room for it.  Who knows…. the next thing down the road that gives me butterfly in the stomach feelings of happiness might be even more wonderful than anything I’ve had before and if it’s truly meant to travel with me forever, whatever holds it together will probably never break. min ba 1c12048fe8b083cd2046b048648df28b Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 1.39.26 PM souv things anchorself doubt

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#tanklife

LAUNDRY MT. NEVEREST

When I first started working on yachts 7 years ago, I remember my first Captain asking me how I was liking it so far.  I happily replied,

“Oh, I love it! It’s like summer camp for adults! The bunk beds, the shared meal times, bonding with the crew. It’s so much fun!” I’d been onboard one month.

Immediately the more seasoned South African bosun chimed in,

“That will fade.”

I was shocked that he’d said that and frankly felt bad for him.  Why was he being so negative?   He seemed a little bitter and I mentally assured myself I would never feel that way….I would love it forever!

Turns out he was right.  Once the newness wears off, the bunk beds are annoying to make and climb in and out of.  A twin sized bed feels spacious by comparison.  Cabin fever starts to set in and everything your crew members do becomes highly irritating.  Silence is a valued rarity and there is always one person that just talks too much.  Even the largest yachts start to shrink the longer you are on them which can sometimes be months at a time.  Non yachties think you are living a glamourous life but in reality it can feel like a you are trapped in a floating prison.  You have no control over anything in your life from your schedule, to your meals, to what country you are going to be in the following day.The only consistent thing is the work…..every day feels like  groundhog day; a constant cycle of wash, rinse, repeat. There are rules about everything-strict rules. Eventually this leads to burn out, where you quit and return to land.  The normal daily minutia of life feels bizarre and it takes some to re-acclimate to being on terra firma.  Driving a car feels like flying a spaceship and all of your friends and family look frightened when you vent about how mush of a jerk your engineer had been.  Like they want to say, “it’s okay you’re in a safe place now.”

I was on a boat about 5 months ago and it was hideous,  the captain was a micromanaging arrogant psychopath.  I would be laying in my (bottom) bunk every morning and promptly at 7:30 a.m. I could already hear him talk shouting up in the galley.  I would then wait my turn to take a shower in the bathroom I shared with 3 other people. The shower head was conveniently placed over the toilet making it either the grosset shower ever or the cleanest toilet.  I couldn’t decide.  I’m sure everyone has had a nightmare boss at one point or another, but they probably didn’t have to LIVE with them.  It’s simply not healthy.  And trust me it’s hard to get a good start to the day when you have to close the toilet lid before you use your loofah.  (the shower/toilet combo did prove efficient for multitasking during charters and it was nice to prop my leg up on the seat when I shaved)

Anyways, misery loves company so one of my yacht stewardess friends and I would text each other every day for moral support.  She was on another boat that was just as awful and we tried to find humor in our depressing situations.  It’s simply not good for someone’s mental health to be confined to a small space and forced to work long hours with other, sometimes sociopathic, personalities.  We started joking that working on yachts was like being an Orca whale at SeaWorld……stuck in captivity.  After one especially difficult week I text her, “DAY 56: my mental dorsal fin has officially flopped”.  Because it seriously and sadly had.

Maybe it was boredom or a creative catharsis but I continued to send her a photo diary we call #tanklife. You want to know what it’s like to be a yachtie? Read on…….. I feel you Shamu, the struggle is real.

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7:30 a.m. I’m just waking up and I’m already surrounded by people watching me

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10:30 a.m. I feel like I’ve been swimming in circles for weeks, oh wait I have

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12:00 lunchtime. At least they feed us pretty well. It’s basically all we have to live for at this point

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2:30 oh Christ of the abyss here comes Moby talking shit again. When is this idiot going to learn stop running his blowhole. He seriously never shuts up. What a dick.

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5:30 time to greet the guests. I can hardly fake enthusiasm anymore

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Yay. It’s a guests birthday. Let’s celebrate. yippee

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What exactly do you mean ‘the charters extended an extra week????!?’

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Come on interior team….just one more day and we can stop jumping through all these damn hoops

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It’s finally over. I’d celebrate if I wasn’t so flipping tired

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I QUIT!!  Aaaaahhhh freedom of the outside world….I swear I am never going back. And this time I really mean it. It’s been so long since I’ve interacted with anyone in the outside world…..I’ve almost forgotten how to behave socially.

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Maybe I should talk to a professional. That can help with my post traumatic tank stress. They might even be able to give me a pill or something for my floppy fin

     After a few months, once my land legs and sanity have returned I usually end up taking another yachting job because lets face it, the money and travel are hard to beat.  I try to last as long as possible but if there’s one thing I’ve learned from yachting, life is too short to stay in a situation where you aren’t happy.  There is a difference between giving up and having the courage to leave something that isn’t right for you… Whether it be a job, a relationship or a just an old habit if it brings you more misery than joy, move on.  There are plenty of other fish (and whales and yachts) in the sea.

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10 things

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Re-Charge Your Light

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             Around this time last year, my mother came home extremely excited after a day of early Christmas shopping. Apparently she had found the one perfect gift to give every person on her list; her husband, her twin brother, her mother in law, her secret santa at work, the little boy down the street……..EVERYONE was getting this one, great present. I waited in curious anticipation as she opened the crinkly plastic shopping bag. I couldn’t wait to see what in the world could be so amazing! As if she were unwrapping the holy grail, she proudly presented her fantastic, fit for all find.….a wind up flashlight. To say I was underwhelmed would be an understatement. While I quietly hoped I wasn’t on the list of recipients for this gift, she went on to explain (defend) the dinky little gadget.

“Look, you just plug it in to the wall and it charges. Then whenever you need a flashlight, you have one ready to go!”

I stared back, unconvinced.

“And then if it dies and you have no power, you can wind it up and it will work again.”

She was beginning to sound like a crazy informercial person and I wasn’t buying it.

“Listen, you might not think this is so great now, but when you’re stuck in the dark and my little gift saves the day, you’ll be singing another tune. This thing is gonna be a life-saver! You’ll see!”

     She was so excited I decided not to point out that the last time the power had gone out was in 2007 and none of the people she’d bought a flashlight for were avid campers, to say the least. It’s not that I didn’t think the thing could be useful, I just didn’t think it was a very exciting gift. It seemed the same as giving someone a smoke detector with a card attached that said “Hope you never have to use this but just in case, Merry Christmas.” Um, thanks?

Despite my lack of enthusiasm, my mother still gave the flashlight to all of her loved ones for Christmas that year. It was even included in my stack of presents under the tree, and wouldn’t you know my mother was right. Last weekend a tropical band of storms unexpectedly blew through town and I lost power. Desperate for any source of light other than the screen of my quickly dying i-phone, I remembered that silly little flash light, but lets face it, I hadn’t plugged it in. Actually it was ten months later and Istill hadn’t even taken it out of the box yet. As I blindly fumbled in the dark to remove all the packaging I could hear my mother’s voice in my head “Bet you think my gift is pretty cool now, don’t ya?”

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All of a sudden, the wind up flashlight I had once thought so dull was now the one thing I wanted most. I just needed a little light to feed the dog and brush my teeth! Considering it had been sitting unused for almost a year, it took quite a bit of winding before it would work and I made a mental note to properly plug it in and keep it charged once the power came back on. By the time I woke up the next morning, my electricity was back and I returned the flashlight to its charger, securely plugged into the wall. I probably won’t use it again for a long while, but should I ever need it, it’s there just waiting to help me get through the dark and that’s comforting.

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I guess what I learned is that everything can’t always be exciting and that comfort has a value too. We all need to get out of our comfort zone from time to time. When we push ourselves past the confines of what’s familiar we test our skills, keep things interesting and gain useful life experiences. But you can’t live there. You can’t spend all of your time pushed to the limit or you’ll burn out.


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Just as important as stepping out of you comfort zone is returning to it. Just like that little flashlight, we all need to recharge every so often so that we can shine our brightest when facing the unknown. Whether it’s a home cooked meal, a nice weekend with loved ones, a favorite old t-shirt that you’ve had forever (and should have thrown out 5 years ago), we all have things that give us comfort, things that re-charge our soul and make us feel warm and fuzzy. The funny thing about comfort though is you have to leave it to have it, otherwise it’s not comfort its just same old same old. So don’t be afraid to try something new or hard, just make sure that every now and then you remember to re-charge with the familiar things you love.

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Happiness is hard to find

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     I admit it. I am a spoiled brat.

      Every single day, I receive an excessive amount of gifts that I did not earn and for no apparent reason. Life is good, I’ve never been so happy, however it hasn’t always been this easy. For a long time I blindly chased happiness. Actually, ‘chase’ is an understatement, I stalked it. Governed by a one track mind, I dedicated all of my time and energy to the pursuit. I was obsessed with my quest to obtain the coveted ‘brass ring’ – whatever that was. I was certain that if I just worked hard enough it would eventually be mine, and I would know it when I saw it. In hindsight I laugh at my younger self’s misdirected determination. I was less Sherlock Holmes and more Mr.Magoo, tenaciously looking in all the wrong places. Time and time again I’d set my eyes on the prize, go after it with all my might until finally, I’d arrive where I was sure happiness would be only to discover…. it wasn’t.

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After years of tuition, studying (cramming) and exams, I graduated college then was quickly disappointed when happiness didn’t come included with my diploma, neatly rolled and tied in a bow. Still determined, I took a job as a stewardess, certain that contentment would be found on the shores of foreign lands. It was fun for a while, but eventually the excitement of travel wore off and degraded into lonely wandering . I longed for anything that felt domestic and was underwhelmed to discover other countries, while interesting, merely exported different versions of the same. (FYI ‘table for one’ is a universal language).  My passport full but my search unfulfilled, I resorted to the last place I could think of. I sacrificed myself to a high paying job that I hated, my time in exchange for money. If I couldn’t learn happiness, and I couldn’t travel to happiness, surely I could buy it! Before long I had more commas in my checking account than I had ever imagined, yet I felt more broke inside than ever before.

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I was beyond frustrated. It just wasn’t fair! I did everything (I thought) I was supposed to! I got a degree, I traveled across oceans, I earned lots of money, what else was I supposed to do? No matter how hard I worked, or how far I ran, happiness always remained one step ahead of me. In fact the more I chased it, the further it got away until finally I gave up out of exhaustion. I was sick of trying so hard, sick of proving I deserved happiness with no return on my investment. And that’s when things got good. It wasn’t immediate, I had to go through a detox. It took time to shake my old bad habits of material want and prideful ego, but once I let go of those misguided values, once used as a navigation system during my search, a funny thing happened: happiness came to me.   It just showed up on my doorstep and said “Whew, about time we ended this silly game, can we just be where we are for a while?!”

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These days, I don’t chase happiness, I choose it. I live with it, I see it every morning in a cup of delicious, warm, energizing coffee. I look for reminders of it everywhere I go during my day, and I curl up with it at night when I give thanks for all the miracles I am spoiled with. Divine, beautiful gifts that I did not earn but am so grateful for; the perfect turquoise color of our Florida summer sea, the refreshing temperature of aforementioned sea on these familiarly warm Florida summer days, cruising down the road when a forgotten favorite song comes on, coasting through the week when a forgotten favorite friend calls, the satisfaction I get from a productive day, the satisfaction I get from a relaxing do nothing day –these are all gifts I did not earn but am so grateful for. I admit it, I’m spoiled.

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Now that I am living with happiness, I can hardly escape it. Sure there are times when happiness’ annoying, distant relatives, Fear and Worry try to visit, but my life is too full of joy to host them.  My days are booked with solid content. Just when I think I surely must have reached my joy quota for the week, the next day brings a whole new batch of blessings and all I have to do is acknowledge them. The one biggest joy however, day in and day out, the one blessing I wish I had discovered a bit sooner , is the fact that I didn’t need to go out learning for, searching for, working for happiness at all, but that it was always with me the entire time, just waiting for me to stop chasing something else.

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my Puerto Rican road trip

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My cousin and I had only 7 days left in Puerto Rico, where had all the time gone? I had needed an extended vacation after a hectic yachting season and Leslie had recently left her job allowing her to join me for some Caribbean R&R.  We’d been there for 2 months doing nothing but tanning, drinking and cousin bonding.  Feeling somewhat guilty that in the last 8 weeks we hadn’t explored this beautiful island much further than the sands of the nearest beach and the barstools of the nearest rum shack, we decided to rent a car, make a few mixed cds and hit the road in search of la vida loca! Friendly locals and persuasive brochures informed us of a few must see stops but other than that we were just going to stay close to the coast and see where the open road would take us.  Departing from our temporary hometown of Rincon on the Northwest side, we began our trip with enthusiasm and made excellent time between cities.

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Old San Juan was as charming as the advertisements had promised and it was easy to see why the famous Corona commercials are shot on the pure, white sands of Culebra. The soothing white noise of the rain forest’s canopy made up for every moment of hungover winding road nausea on the way to the top and Ricardo’s meat on a stick proved delicious food can indeed come from the back of a van on the side of a highway.

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By the fifth day I had dreadlocks, hated every annoying song on our annoying cds and was accustomed to finding sand in places that left me wondering, how and when did that get there? My legs were cramped, my sunburned tush hurt from sitting so long and if Leslie didn’t stop tapping the steering wheel in the next five minutes I was going to have to give her an spf 15 mace in the face. Riding in silence, staring out the window at yet another stupid palm tree I tried to remember when I had last changed my shirt and judging by the way my co-pilot was hanging her head out the open window I considered that she might be thinking the same thing. We were both losing momentum and after 5 days of living out of a ford echo, our wanderlust had worn down to wander dust.

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A bit further down the road we came upon a sign for a state park. We had never heard of it and it wasn’t on any of our maps but we decided to check it out anyways. I had needed to use el bano since about about cinco fruit stands ago, and I think both of us were craving a little space from each oth-, i mean…. the rental car.  Yes a breath of fresh air and a chance to stretch our legs was exactly what we needed.  Once we drove onto the property, smooth asphalt of the highway gave way to gravel which eventually gave way to dusty potholes. The poor ford echo was not designed for this kind of terrain and each increasingly deeper dip and bump made me thankful that we had sprung for the added rental insurance. We briefly discussed turning around but something inside told us to keep going – it might have been my bladder. Once we found the empty parking lot, we looked for what made this piece of unkempt land so special in the eyes of the Puerto Rican government. Now I’m not fluent in Spanish but I was pretty sure “parque nacional’ meant ‘national park’ not ‘abandoned sandlot’. There weren’t big wooden signs telling us where to go but eventually we noticed a dirt path and decided to give it a try. It was a long, rocky trail with no end in sight that cut between fields of whatever plant life could survive the blazing Caribbean heat. My cousin and I forged ahead, slapping mosquitoes away from our legs expressing only our sudden dire thirst. I didn’t know what we were walking towards but I hoped that it would have a beverage vending machine and a bathroom? Why had we decided to come here, to this sweltering valley de death-o?

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There’s me in all of my borderline dreadlocks glory.  And my Puerto Rican shirt on it’s 4th consecutive day……I felt like I was dying in this photo.

What seemed like 2 miles of sweaty walking later we finally made it. There were no bathrooms or vending machines, but suddenly I wasn’t thirsty at all………………………..The stunning panoramic view of teal blue water from the edge of the horizon to the cliff’s edge below my feet was remarkable. It was as if the beauty of that place was so strong it had called us off of the highway and down the rocky trail, despite our waning enthusiasm. And so we sat, took it all in and enjoyed what I will always remember as the most blissful, perfect moments of our entire Puerto Rican road trip.

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Much like finding that beautiful ocean view cliff at the end of a path less traveled, I find that when I let my heart steer my life, I arrive at places better than the ones my mind could ever dream of. It’s as if my heart already knows what will make me the happiest and, desperate to lead me there, it speaks to me through intuition. Dashes of inspiration, flashes of joy, just feeling ‘clicked in’ to a deeper truth – these are whispers from the heart telling me I’m headed towards my true calling. Recognizing the whispers is easy, it’s taking their direction that can be difficult. The path that your heart calls you to may require a detour from the conventional or perhaps involve some risk, but if you have the courage to trust what your heart is telling you, if you listen to that deep inner voice you will eventually find the place where you can exist in bliss.

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Coastal Postal

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I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time.  Sundays to me are for taking long relaxing drives down a coastal highway…the wind in your hair, windows rolled down & music turned up….worries an ignored notion that can wait until Monday. My friend Emily and I had that perfect kind of Sunday this past weekend.

I am lucky enough to come from a barrier island; a narrow spit of land between the Atlantic Ocean and Florida’s intracoastal waterway to be topographically accurate.  A long stretch of 2 laned road called A1A acts as our primary and for the most part, only thoroughfare, allowing willful drivers a scenic cruise along Florida’s eastern coast.  South of Delray Beach, this main commuter vein becomes congested with traffic, just another conduit from point A to point B. Alternately, as you accelerate north, specifically around Vero Beach and above, it’s almost as if the clock slows down as your odometer goes up.  Gliding flocks of white birds replace neon Cheesecake Factory signs and a backdrop of overgrown sea grapes become the new skyline.  All of a sudden you find yourself easing your foot off the gas pedal, distracted by the slide show of quirky waterfront homes, each with their own personality.  Who knew spanish tile-stucco-wrought iron revival wasn’t a mandatory McMansion blueprint? Brevard County, Florida’s Space Coast, that’s who. But not because it’s trying-because it’s not trying.

First time visitors especially city slickers, might be surprised at the lack of anything at all commercial or convenience purposed.  I’m just saying, this is not a stretch of state road you embark on with an empty gas tank or full bladder; it’s primarily residential.   This lifestyle is not for everyone.  If you are the type of person that needs a Starbucks every morning and enjoys a posh martini bar every night, KEEP DRIVING.  No, this is not a place where modern civilization is applauded,  quite the contrary; this is a place where you can escape the hustle and bustle.  It’s not even escaping, it’s completely forgetting or even caring about it.  The simple beauty and somehow still preserved naivety of central Florida’s barrier island is it’s own thing.  It isn’t as faced paced, high tech or with the times as it’s future obsessed neighboring cities to South, it never will be and it never wants to be. This place has no need for an instagram filter.

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The miles and miles of nothing but waterfront homes does present one location specific challenge however: giving directions to a house can be vague when the only point of reference is “The 372nd driveway on the left”.  That’s where residents started getting creative. At least that’s my take on it although I also hypothesize that eventually a little bit of competitive spirit came into play.  Thankfully, this is a competition where everyone wins!  The homeowners are able to make their property stand  out and express themselves creatively, drivers  passing through town witness a whimsical break in the road sign monotony, and the most fortunate United States Postal Service worker on the planet surely laughs his way through his day.

If you never have the chance to drive from Sebastian Inlet to Ocean Avenue in Melbourne Beach, I hope you can at least enjoy the photo diary I’ve named ‘Coastal Postal’.  I wanted to document these little beauties not only because they bring me great joy, but because I believe 10 years from now, snail mail will sadly be a thing of the past.  Everything will become digitalized, e-mailed, auto-dropped and hash tagged.  And one day I will be sitting in a Starbucks, next to a Cheesecake Factory, telling a child the story of how when I was younger, we could put a little stamp on a letter and a man would deliver it anywhere in the world and they will not believe me. I just hope that Melbourne Beach is the last place that happens to. xo

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I have no idea what this is, but I think “amazing” is an accurate enough description.

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 I hope he gets all his messages in a bottle

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This is not  the gateway to a popular locals only  surf break.  There are never waves here and there are tons of sharks.

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How much to do you want to bet they have a monthly subscription to Architctural Digest.

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Fun people live here, in case you were wondering

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It’s a PVC flamingo.  I mean….I never would have thought of it myself, but now I can’t imagine life without it.

IT JUST FEELS RIGHT

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If you put your ear up to it you can hear the ocean….but that might be because this house is on the ocean

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I just. can’t . EVEN.        this little f*%er is so cute it hurts

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this is awkward. somebody give him a Xanax

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Georgia O’Keefe’s beach house

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No Solicitors.  Or junk mail.

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Just your standard manatee wearing an apron. Normal

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He’s cool. Like, I want to hang out with him on weekends.

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Best in Show.

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Support a single mother.  Send sardines.

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Hangin’ with the bouys!

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“They just have a certain ambience about their mailbox” -Emily Klein

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He takes his job very seriously

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That’s just aggressive.  How many people live there? I feel like they’re upset about it.

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FUN FACT: this is an actual navigational point for mariners.  Guiding sailors home since ’97

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No new friends. all applications returned to sender, don’t even bother

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#failbox

              Now the last mailbox of the day was a little freaky.  Emily, the friend I was on this adventure with also works on boats and is one a select few girls in what we like to call the Mermaid Girl club.  It’s not a magical as it sounds, we call ourselves mermaids because we are literally maids on the ocean, cleaning boats for a living.  Obviously we were ecstatic when at the end of our day we came upon a Mermaid Mailbox!  But imagine my surprise when I got close enough to take the photo I noticed it said something very familiar on the tail…………….I think it was a sign that the Universe enjoyed Coastal Postal as much as I did 😉

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Talent Search

My fondest memories from childhood always occurred during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, when all of my cousins would visit from around the country to stay in the ocean front timeshare our grandparents kept. My mother is one of five, and all of her siblings have at least 4 children, you do the math – I have a lot of cousins.   I loved the week of swimming and laughter with my family but there was one special thing that I looked forward to most; The Annual Cousin Shell Hunt.

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We were given a list and sent on a beach combing mission to find the best in each category: the roughest shell, the smoothest shell, the biggest shell, the smallest shell, the shell that was the most shimmery-glimmery, and the shell with the most holes. The flattest shell, the swirly-est shell, the fattest shell, the skinniest shell ……. The list went on and on, covering everything under the Florida sun from ‘most unique shell’ to ‘pair of most similar shells’.

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     After hours of hunting, we would gather around the patio and share what we had discovered.   It was brilliant on our parents’ part for many reasons: First of all, it kept all of the running, screaming, excited children busy and out of their hair for the day. Secondly, while it was a fierce competition saturated with rivalry and murderous glances to any cousin that tried to creep up on the shell patch I was digging through, we all came out a winner; there were enough categories for all of us to win at least once.

There wasn’t one cousin who had the best shell over all – we all had the best shell in one way or another.   It was fascinating to observe and compare what each of us had brought to the table.      Looking back, not only did the game give us something fun to do and give our parents some quiet time to relax, it taught the great life lesson of appreciating things for what makes them special. Even the most broken shell that may have been ordinarily passed over without a second glance became a highly coveted trophy piece when placed in the right spotlight (‘the most broken shell’ category, for example).

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     Just as there are innumerably different kinds of shells on the beach, there are an infinite number of talents in life; each one of them extraordinary in their own special way. One talent isn’t the best over all, we each have our own personal best, something interesting and unique that we can bring to the table and share with those around us.   If we go out into the world looking for the best in each other, the list of different talents goes on forever covering every quality under the sun from best story-teller to best listener. Whether it’s knowing the right amount of spice to add to a recipe, which direction is north or how to accessorize an outfit, everyone has a talent. EVERYONE.

  Your talents are a natural part of you … as natural as your laughter and as innate as taking a breath, yet since they come so easily, we often overlook or undervalue them because they take so little thought and effort. When we celebrate the qualities that make each of us extraordinary, we encourage and reflect the best in everyone around us. And so the mission, should you choose to accept it, is to go out into the world with your mind’s eye looking to discover the hidden talents in every person you encounter whilst sharing with the world the gifts you’ve been blessed with. Here’s a list to get you started, though the categories are endless…………

-the most organized laundry room

-the best one liners

-the most enthusiastic team member

-the best dancer at the wedding reception

-the best movie selector

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-the best dog whisperer

-the warmest hug giver

-the most infectious laugh

-the best shoulder to cry on

-the best gift giver

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-the ability to crack an egg with one hand

-the neatest handwriting

– the always cool as a cucumber person

– the always on timer

-the snazzy dresser

-the joke teller

-the crossword puzzle phenom

-the mutli lingualist

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-the green thumb

-the best blow dryer

-the best mixed tape maker

-the always has a clean car goddess

-the can-whistle-with-her- fingers cool girl

-the best restaurant orderer

-the never forgets a name genius

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I hope that if I was a shell this would be me; the Pearl Nautilus.

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Not only is the Pearl Nautilus is an ethereal shimmery glimmery thing of beauty, the inside of every Nautlus shell is a perfect example of Sacred Geometry and fractals.

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 I have a fascination with fractals for some reason, maybe because the simple perfection is proof to me that this world is not an accident. It’s almost as if religion and science come together in sacred geometry.  Fractals and sacred geometry to me, are proof that from the smallest particle of matter, no matter how you exponentially magnify or increase it’s size, the intelligent pattern remains the same, proof that there is a master plan even if you can’t necessarily see it with your own eyes.

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So ya, I’d be the Pearl Nautilus……guess you could say this is me in a naut-shell………………. I know, so bad.

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Love is Old, Love is New

After a quick flight from Italy, I landed in London and jumped on a train to Liverpool street station where Paul was waiting to greet me.  Right off the bat, I performed an embarrassing failed attempt to make it through the exit turnstile  without a pre-paid oyster card (local Paul could only mutter ‘tourist’ between fits of embarrassed laughter) we jumped on a connecting underground train to Greenwich. Thank God Paul was there to carry my excess baggage through the hustling and bustling impatient London commuters.

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Once we  dropped my bags off at our hotel room in Greenwich, Paul and I quickly covered a lot of ground in the surprisingly sprawling city over the next few days.  One thing I found remarkable was how the skyline was such a contrasting mix of  ornate, stone buildings from the past and sharp, modern glass super structures of the future. Every city has a mix of old and new but the age difference in London is far more pronounced than any city I’ve seen so far.

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The building on the left is called The Gherkin (2003)

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Royal Navy College (1696)

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London City Hall (2002)

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The London Tower Bridge (1894) with The Shard building (2009) in the background

In the 3 days of walking and tubing our way around London there were many highlights.  One being the old battleship that Paul worked on for nearly 5 years, berthed near City Hall on the Thames.

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The HMS Belfast is now a museum ship, originally a Royal Navy light cruiser launched in 1938. She’s HUGE, about 4 X bigger than the motoryacht Paul and I worked on together this past year.

We met my other yachtie friend Jackie for a pint and some fish and chips at a well known historic landmark, appropriately named ‘The Anchor’.

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Later that night we went to Camden, an area that for years has  traditionally been the heart and soul of the hipster club and music scene in London.  Paul’s brother is the drummer in an amazing new band and we were lucky enough to see them perform.  The venue, once horse stables long ago but now happening music club ‘Proud Camden’, was also super cool.

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Paul’s brother Luke is an extremely talented drummer.  Paired with a cellist, violinist, trumpet, base, electric and acoustic guitar players AS WELL as a lead singer who sounds like Florence Welch but better…..the band Edith Violet is sure to go far. Give them a listen here:

Possibly my favorite thing Paul and I did in London was on our last day together.  After taking me to see Buckingham Palace he brought me to St.James Park to see some pelicans.  Walking through St.James’ Park made me feel like I was living in a Disney movie.  Squirrels and ducks and swans were tamely taking food right from the hands of park goers.  Weeping Willows, fountains and a real life castle in the background left me wondering if at any moment all of the little woodland creatures were going to break into song.

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After a quick last pint together in the park, I went on to meet up with my sister Jen.

Jen had planned a gorgeous night out in London starting with dinner in Levant.  Walking into Levant feels like walking into a whole new world.

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Belly dancers, a feast of food, wine and great conversation with Jen’s friends made for a wonderful dinner.  But the night wasn’t over yet…..much like the skyline of London our night went from old world charm to modern glam in one short walk.  We finished the night with designer cocktails and dessert in the lobby bar of the St.Martin’s Lane hotel in Shoreditch, the uber posh Light Bar.

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How cool is this lobby?! Yes those are golden molar stools

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shout out to ol’ checkmate too!

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The huge creepy faces on the upper walls reminded me a lot of the Mondrian in South Beach…come to find out they are part of the same Hotel group, upscale funky interiors and freaky faces being their trademark?  If that isn’t their trademark, delicious drinks and cuisine could be.  Between rounds of gourmet cocktails, our entire table ordered our own plates of the signature butterscotch filled donuts. After the feast at Levant, any semblance of a diet day was out of the window so I just enjoyed every bite of the divine pastries.

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So it’s been an action packed week in London, I left out at least half of the things I did (including the extreme privilege of sitting in a certain historical figure’s chair who will remain nameless to protect the wish granter…but lets just say the likes of Bon Jovi have been refused this privilege……No big deal)

Now I am off to Abu Dhabi for a week of everything opposite London’s chilly city streets and historical landmarks…..Here I come warm weather, sandy beaches and modern sensations!

Love

travel, fashion and stuffing

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Words cannot describe my current state of excitement.  After a year straight of working and living on yachts, I am being released into the free world.  I am kinda in denial that I will not be wearing a skort or waking up to an alarm clock for at least 2 whole months!!!  As if that news isn’t thrilling enough, I am going to spend my time travelling to a few new places  and seeing friends.   Tomorrow I board a plane in Genova, Italy and my begin my next big adventure.theresaworld

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First stop London to meet up with my favorite Brit, Paul.  We are headed straight to Greenwich for one night where I will calibrate all of my wristwatches to the exact Greenwich mean time of course. Then for the next few days Paul is going to take me to all of his top London spots. I’m so lucky to have one of my favorite people give me a local’s tour, even if there are one too many museums for my taste on the itinerary. The weather will probably be a bit chilly but touring around the streets of London with Paul will be a blast and it sounds like the perfect way to break in my new, gorgeous Italian leather boots, to boot!

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On Friday I am going to my sister’s new apartment in Fulham, an area I’ve been told is quite posh.  I have no doubt this is true because my sister has impeccable taste.  I get to spend the weekend with her which is sure to be a great time as she is probably the best host/ tour guide any tourist could ever have.  I have visited her in Chicago and Manhattan and both trips made me feel like I had truly seen the best those cities had to offer.  I am so looking forward to Jen’s version of London!

 

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After a week in London, I then fly to Abu Dhabi to see another favorite friend, Ashley.  Ashley just moved to the EU a few months ago and I am beyond excited to be able to visit her in such an exotic locale.  I basically have no idea what to expect from this new culture, but I’ve been told the shopping is amazing.  And by a serendipitous stroke of luck, I happened to pack the perfect dress in my suitcase.  It covers my arms and legs completely and is a vintage print of islamic architecture. Even more fitting is that the last time I wore it was with Ashley!  When I included it in my suitcase a few months ago I simply imagined wearing in St.Tropez or Palma….little did I know I would be traveling to Abu Dhabi! I always said that if I had to dress according to a muslim dress code I would wear nothing but Pucci silk dresses, they cover from head to toe but their stunning prints are eye catching and flattering.  Thank goodness I always travel with mine.  I don’t think it’s mandatory for me to completely cover up in Abu Dhabi, but I want to be as respectful as possible.

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After Abu Dhabi I return to London just for 2 days to break up my travel time because the next flight I take is a long trans-atlantic flight……back home to the Space Coast!

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I will be in my sweet little hometown for Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday.  I have already started pinning recipes and holiday decoration ideas.  Can’t wait to get all Martha Stewart up in my parent’s kitchen.   Stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, more stuffing, pumpkin pie, green bean casserole, stuffing with gravy, turkey with stuffing.  sweet potato casserole, and STUFFING. My plan is to gobble til I wobble.

 

 

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And you better believe I am bringing back last year’s napkin turkeys for the table setting.  The table setting us stewardesses put together was magnificent and my little turkeys were the perfect finishing touch. (a celebrity that shall remain nameless even posted this photo to their twitter account)

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Once I’ve had a week or so to shed the L-Bs I will inevitably gain from the Thanksgiving feast (STUFFING!!!!!) I am going to Rincon, Puerto Rico to see my best friend Tiah.  I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Rincon, I lived there one winter season and always try to get back there for at least a week when my schedule allows.  Nothing but beach, books and total relaxation while I’m there.

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Travel, new cultures, friends, family, and relaxation…..I’ve worked hard over the past year and now I get to just enjoy life for a little bit.

 

 

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The Gyp-set Life

GYPSET:

 Gypsetters are artists, surfers, designers, and bon vivants
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who’re lucky enough to  live and work around the globe
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from Hermosa,Costa rica and Ibiza, Spain to Montauk, New York and St.Martin, Netherlands
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say yes
Indonesia, Ibiza and Iceland
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Gypset Style explores the unconventional, wanderlust lives of these high-low cultural nomads and the bohemian enclaves they inhabit.
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I am currently lounging at waterfront wine bar in Genova, Italy. Sounds romantic right?

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But to be franc(ophilian)….My latest adventure started out about 6 weeks ago in France…..Cannes and Villefranche to be exact.

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The south of France was just as I remembered…..so gyp-set…..elegant without trying, bohemian eclectic with discerning taste.

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It pains my AMerican heart to say this, but the French are the best at almost everything

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Exhibit A) Fashion

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Exhibit B) Baked goods

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The fresh have ‘a certain something’ as they say

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after france I arrived in Italy

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 it’s here that I am studying ‘Dolce far Niente’

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dolce far niente

  1. literally means “sweet doing nothing” = “Delicious idleness”. Sheer indulgent relaxation and blissful laziness, being deliciously idle.

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 And on that note, I must stop tending to my blog and live the dolce vita….the corner bar down the way is starting to sound lively so I think it’s  time to stop being productive and just enjoy the sweetness of doing nothing……ciaodoor