I love to travel because it always brings me back to me. When I travel, it takes me back to my roots. The happiest moments of my life were when I was travelling through Europe while studying abroad. I loved exploring new cities, meeting new faces and enjoying new cultures. Everyday was an adventure and each adventure was better than I thought it would be. My heart will never forget climbing up the Eiffel Tower, lounging in a thermal bath in Budapest, or sipping red wine on rainy night in a Roman hostel. Travelling gives you the best, most unforgettable experiences of your life. Hold and cherish these memories. Return to these memories and places when you need to feel instantly content and inspired by the world's beauty.
This past week, I visited Savannah for the first time with my boyfriend, Dave. This trip was extra special, because this was the first time I have ever traveled with a romantic partner, and it was our first holiday together as couple. I am pleased to report our trip was absolutely perfect... and I'm not just saying that. #nofilter.
Savannah is a beautiful setting for any couple trip. The magical live Oaks combined with the fascinating history, flavorful food and exciting nightlife, make for an ideal getaway from everyday life. We stayed at an adorable Airbnb which alone was a flawless vacation from city life! It was such a treat to not be surrounded by roomies while squeezed into a closet together. We had a full kitchen! A porch! A family room! Two closets! It was incredible.
Our days were filled with exploring the city's historic neighborhoods and squares, while also multitasking with eating. Lots and lots of eating. When in the South, do as the Southerners do. Here were our favorite Savannah experiences.
Parks and Squares
Park Forsyth and all of Savannah's 24 squares (and counting) are gorgeous! The Park was right near our Airbnb which made for the perfect spot for relaxing walks, including a trek to the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning. You can't miss the beautiful fountain on the North side of the Park, the one that you see when you Google "Savannah" LOL. It's absolutely stunning and even more so in the heat of the night. Savannah's squares show off the city's magical live Oaks and serve as ideal resting spots and Instagram photo opps. You're welcome.
We went on an awesome ghost tour from Blue Orb, which was a fun way to learn about "America's Most Haunted City" and get a little scared! We toured around the city by foot for two hours and were shivering while listening to the spooky tales that make the city so fascinating.
For a fun, wild night head to Club One for their famous drag show. These ladies are doing the damn thing! We had a blast singing and dancing to the fun hits these ladies performed. Slay, slay, slllaaayyyy!
Savannah Bee Company
I never liked honey until I tried Savannah Bee Company's honey. It's the BEST. The store is located in downtown Savannah and is a MUST visit. While at the store, you can sample all of the honey, honey beauty products (lotions, shampoos, face masks!) and mead. I had never even heard of mead before until I sampled it on this trip. Mead is a super old alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water. It's pretty good and totally worth trying!
The Olde Pink House
This restaurant is Savannah. It represents Southern charm and class with it's fine setting, superb service and menu filled with the region's finest cuisine. The food had me asking "Paula who?" because it's that bomb. Still thinking about it.
As a New Yorker always looking to escape New York, the pace of Savannah was refreshing and appreciated. People are super nice and welcoming, even friendly! We rode our bikes everywhere and it was shocking to not be scared for my life. I can keep up with the pace here.
Savannah is a charming getaway that allows you to relax and enjoy the Southern life. Nothing fancy, just real good times, squares, fried chicken and drag queens.
My older sister is engaged, which has granted me the pleasure as serving as her loyal Maid of Honor. This is my most important job title yet, one that requires dedication, creativity, flexibility, kindness and understanding. I have been dreaming of my own wedding since a child, and I have been dreaming of my sister's wedding for just as long. I saw her meet her fiance, Kevin, go on dates, experience romantic butterflies, move in with him and now, choose to begin a new life with him. As Maid of Honor, I have learned to balance. Although, I have strong opinions about what may work well for the wedding, the day is all about the Bride. I am there to ensure her big day feels perfectly magical and extraordinary for her. In order to accomplish this big task, I remind myself to always...
Put Myself in Her Stilettos
I dream of wearing a long, Kim Kardashian worthy veil on my big day. However, my sister does not want a veil at all. At the end of the wedding, it doesn't matter what I would want if I were the Bride, because I'm not the Bride. Be like a pair of stilettos, lift your girl up and make her look fantastic.
Stop! In the Name of Love
Weddings are supposed to be all about the love. Do not let the venue, invitation list, dress code or family drama steal the spotlight from love. Let it go babes.
Remember the Couple
Similar to the tip above, remember who the couple is. Are they relaxed? Do they like to travel? Does family rule their world? Do they like cupcakes or ice cream? These silly questions will guide you as you plan the special day for your loved ones.
Be a Rock
Your Bride is bound to feel stressed, confused and upset at anytime during the wedding planning process. Be incredibly kind and reassuring to her during this time. Console her with love, understanding, confidence and hope. Tell her, "you will look beautiful", "the wedding will be wonderful" and "you two are perfect for each other." Above all, this is what matters.
I recently watched Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, the incredibly funny and inspiring duo on Netflix's Grace and Frankie, discuss the importance of female friendship on TED Talks. The conversation touched me deeply, because the words spoken were so true. Female friendships are resilient, silly, inspiring, supportive and perhaps the most treasured relationships in a young woman's life.
My Girl Power spirit was developed by my family and pop culture. Luckily, I grew up in the '90s where girl gangs like the Spice Girls, The Baby-Sitters Club, Destiny's Child and Mary-Kate and Ashley were all around me. My girlfriends and I wanted to be just like these women - strong, loud, independent, intelligent and fearless! Ever since then, this is a part of who I am. Successful women surround me in all of my circles, from friends to colleagues, and I absolutely love it.
In Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin's Ted Talk, they share how friendships have been proven (by science!) to boost happiness and even extend your life. In fact, according to a 2010 review of research, the effect of social ties on life span is twice as strong as that of exercising, and equivalent to that of quitting smoking. In this study, researchers found that measures of the strength of people's social relationships, from their number of friends to their integration into the community, were all linked to decreased mortality.
As I grow older, my friendships are bonds I treasure with my whole heart. When I studied abroad in Belgium, I admired how my host mom had such an active social life. She was the life of the party at all times, and had a huge circle of friends. I thought, "I want to be like her when I am older, living it up with my friends!" A lot of older women I know, don't have a lot of friends due to life happening - marriage, kids, career. Similar to fighting for your career goals, you need to fight to keep fruitful friendships alive. This means replying to the endless group chats, calling a girlfriend when you have 859485945 other things to do and setting up plans weeks in advance because we all seem to have an endless To Do list.
Last night, I went out with a few my gal pals. One friend I have known since 6th grade, another lady from college and the last one I met a few weeks ago in a Lyft car pool (yes really). We had a blast together! Dancing and laughing all night. This positive energy has pumped into my body and I know these good vibes are going to get me through this week.
We all have a lot going on, but don't forget your friendships. These need love and nurturing as much as your intimate relationship(s) do. Do not neglect your girl squad, after all, Posh didn't become Posh without her Spice Girls.
Summer has arrived! Let's bring out the rosé, buns and guns. Each season, I create an extensive Summer Bucket List that guides me through the sunny days to ensure I am living up to all sorts of YOLO expectations. The tradition began in high school and really took off in college when I was given only a couple of months to live it up with my high school girl gang. Now, the Summer Bucket List is even more important, because being an adult can really suck and it's important to remember to have freakin' FUN!
Last year, my Summer Bucket List took me to Boston, Fire Island, Rockaway Beach, wine tasting in the Finger Lakes and eating dope ice cream (Summer Bucket List requirement). This time, my goals include attending an Opera, making my own herbal tea, checking out the Jersey Shore and hosting an epic picnic in Central Park.
Summer is the season to enjoy. Enjoy LIFE, instead of just "getting through the day", which I am totally guilty of. Slater on some sunscreen and go explore! Check out a street fest, go skinny dipping and clubbing until 4 A.M. (all of these things are on my list), because this is the time! Throw on that short skirt and do your thing because it's SUMMER. There's something so magical and dreamy about this season. Enjoy it. And if you get a little extra while slaying your Summer Bucket List, blame it on the rosé.
I am on a runner’s high from all the love I experienced, shared and witnessed at the Boston Marathon. The most famous race in the world brought together talented runners and their fans. I was beyond proud to cheer on my Dad as he slayed another marathon and lived his dream of conquering the challenging Boston course.
My love for running comes from my Dad’s passion for the sport. For as long as I can remember, my Dad has been obsessed with hitting the pavement. Growing up, he would often go for long runs with my neighbor and attend weekly runs with his YMCA crew. When I matured into a young lady, I tried the activity and… well, didn’t love it. Running for me was painful. I was slow and uncomfortable. The only reasons I even bothered with it were to lose weight and please my Dad. However, my Dad was born to run.
My Dad pleasantly recalled that he was always the fastest kid in the neighborhood. About 10 years ago, my Dad ran his first marathon that runs through New York and Canada – the only race to take place in two countries. My Mom and I rooted for him at the finish line, where he immediately fell over as soon as he crossed. I remember rubbing his legs for blood flow and how his skin was as white as Canadian snow. It was scary, but he managed to limp to the car and eat some poutine.
Since then, he has grown into a truly phenomenal runner. It’s funny how society tells us to grow old and tired, while my Dad has grown old and energetic. His zest for life and determination to keep going are the traits I admire most and hope to inherit. On Marathon Monday, he crushed the course with his commitment, optimism and straight up physical greatness. When I saw him turn the corner to finish the damn thing, his legs were like angel wings. He was so fast!
The Boston Marathon is a one-day organic community of love. I cheered for the family members of those around me. I high-fived the marathon warriors as they pushed for the finish line. I saw runners stop their journey to help others finish theirs. I witnessed people that attacked the race, despite their physical limitations. I teared up when I saw an older woman with bad-ass pink hair stop to kiss her husband who snapped about a hundred pictures of her in action. The Boston Marathon runners are my superheroes, champions and stars. They showed me that everyday people, with hard work, can transform into untouchable gladiators.
My love for the sport, like a marathon, has been long and unpredictable. In college, I began to finally enjoy the practice because it allowed me to just be. Since then, running has made me feel strong and limitless. When I am having a bad day, I lace up my sneakers and my mood instantly lifts. I have learned it’s hard to feel bad about yourself when your body is pumping and gliding you through the beautiful streets of Brooklyn.
The Boston Marathon reminded me that no matter what pace or distance, we were all born to run.
Last month, I embarked on my first ever solo adventure from start to finish. Disclosure: For those that know me well (most likely the only people reading this), I visited Wales and Scotland last year, which was only half solo.
Travelling solo is extra special because it’s a little treasure you give to yourself. When I booked my holiday to Bermuda in December, it was because I was scared. I realized I had absolutely nothing to look forward to in 2017. At the time, I was going through a health issue that rocked my world. My self-esteem suddenly dropped and I wasn’t feeling at all like Bridgit. It was the first time in my adult life that I experienced not wanting to live life out loud. I began to find ways to ditch social plans, the gym, calls with my Mom. I was dodging life and who I am. That’s when I knew, in my heart, it was time to go travel.
My love for travel stems from my study abroad experience. Once I went abroad, I developed a genuine obsession for visiting new places, learning how other people live and the rush that comes with exploring.
After I graduated college, I experienced how fricken’ easy it is to lose a grasp on your personal goals and hobbies. This really scared me and still does! As young Americans, we work so much it’s disgusting and shameful. In fact, Americans work more than anyone in the industrialized world. In order to at least keep my love for travel in action, I vowed to go on one big trip to a new place each year. For me, this goal is financially attainable and realistic.
This year, I selected Bermuda! I picked Bermuda for the following reasons:
1. Weather! This winter I forgot the sun existed.
2. Price! My roundtrip flight was $160. That’s cheaper than my roundtrip train ride to Rochester!
3. Trends! Each year, I devour the hot list of places to visit, and 2017 announced Bermuda was the it island.
4. Different! I have never been to any tropical island and wanted to explore a whole foreign country, lifestyle, culture and people.
Instead of listing all of the amazing activities and places I visited while in Bermuda, I would like to share the frequently asked questions I hear when I told/tell people about this solo holiday.
1. Why did you go solo?
I went solo because I love to do things by myself! Right now I am in this great café, Kos Kaffe in Brooklyn, writing and enjoying my own company. All day long, we’re surrounded by people and prioritize everyone but ourselves. Doing things on your own allows you to check-in on the first person who matters, YOU.
2. Why didn’t you go with your boyfriend?
Because I’m an independent woman! Joking… somewhat. My Dad asked me this question and it really pissed me off. Just because you’re intimately attached to someone, doesn’t mean you need to go on holiday with them. Mic drop.
3. Were you scared to go alone?
Yes, of course! However, before I embarked on this trip, I had already dipped my toes into solo travel. I also live and work in NYC, which has developed some fearlessness in me. However, when I first arrived I was nervous! I panicked that I hadn’t planned my trip enough and feared that maybe, just maybe, something bad would happen to a single female traveler. But guess what? Everyone I met was a pure delight and helped me. When I was boarding the plane back to NYC, I was devastated to leave the island that gave me such an incredible week.
4. Do you think it’s important for women to travel solo?
Absolutely. At a young age, women are taught to never go anywhere alone, even in their neighborhood. Hell, we infamously all go to the bathroom together. It’s so, so vital for women to boldly explore the world around them. After my trip, I had never felt more empowered and capable. I came back to my “reality” beaming with pride that I created an unforgettable holiday for myself! For both men and women, trying new experiences on your own increases your confidence, communication skills, problem-solving thinking and overall knowledge.
5. Did you meet people?
Yes! I strongly believe when you travel solo you’re more approachable, it’s like when you go to the bar with just one friend instead of your squad. People are more likely to come up to you when it’s just you instead of a huge group. I was blessed with great Airbnb hosts that introduced me to their family and friends. I also spotted a flyer for a women’s mediation class, where I met local ladies who offered me inside travel tips. I am following most of the women I met at this class on Instagram now! #Instafriends
6. What did you do at night when you were in Bermuda?
I didn’t go out to the bars because I didn’t want to find myself in a shady situation with strangers. Instead, I went to a yoga class, meditation class, read and wrote. If I had gone out, I would have spent more money and felt tired. My goal with this trip was to feel refreshed, balanced and inspired. Drinking doesn’t make me feel that way. Again, mic drop.
7. Did men hit on you?
I realize this is insulting to men out there, but women did ask me this one, and I totally get it. Women are sexually harassed almost daily and we fear being catcalled in strange places. Honestly, I didn’t have a problem.
8. Where did you stay?
I stayed at two amazing Airbnbs that were budget friendly and had great accommodations. I am friends with both my hosts on social media now and we have even messaged each other since I left! I highly recommend using Airbnbs while travelling solo because you get to meet the locals and have someone you can reach out to in case of emergency.
9. Was it expensive?
Bermuda is actually a very, very classy and expensive island. However, I stayed at Airbnbs, took the buses, visited free sites and cooked all of my meals. Also, my Airbnbs were near cool areas, but not in them like the hotels, which brought me closer to affordable grocery stores.
10. What did you do by yourself?
Exactly what I would do with friends or family! I checked out Bermuda’s beautiful beaches, caves and towns. I saw the country’s authentic Gombey Dancers shaking it and mediated for the first time at a local yoga studio. Since I was solo, I was able to see everything I wanted.
11. Was it relaxing?
YES! I didn’t have to rush or ask someone, “Hey, what do you want to do today?”. I began each day with a lovely run, ate a homemade breakfast, explored Bermuda, practiced yoga, read and reflected in bed. That makes me a relaxed and balanced woman!
12. Would you recommend going solo?
YES! Any person and more importantly, any WOMAN debating about travelling solo, just do it. You’re smarter and braver than you think! Take the leap and get out there, you will not regret it!
13. Where are you going next?
First, I want to remind everyone that travelling is a state of mind. Anytime you’re experiencing a place or activity with fresh eyes, you’re exploring. That’s the mindset of a traveler. I am dying to go to Mexico City this fall and am looking forward to a few upstate New York visits.
If you’re thinking of adding Bermuda to your travel list, please send me a note! I can share all of my magical spots.
I am still recovering from Lady Gaga's KILLER Superbowl Halftime performance. She OWNED the stage: dancing, jumping, flying, shining and dazzling all of us.
My love for Lady Gaga began in high school when her, "Just Dance" anthem inspired me to participate in a school trip dance-off and WIN. At the time, I had acne, frizzy hair, love handles and low self-esteem. When Gaga told me to "just dance, gonna be okay," it was like someone was finally telling me I was going to survive the bleak days of being a teenager. As you guessed from my physical description above, I wasn't popular at all. Not one guy thought I was attractive (which was all that mattered at the time) and I attended all my monumental high school dances with my girlfriends. However, my group of outcast friends were somehow, wild, loud, rowdy and above all, weird. When Gaga came onto the scene, she spoke to us all.
I loved everything about Gaga. I loved her wigs, makeup, leotards, confidence, songs and dances. I adored how she boldly put herself out there, haters be damned. She was fearless and different. Before her, everyone was just... blah. The world has enough Britney Spears to last a lifetime, what I needed was someone to encourage me to raise my freak flag high. Gaga was my leader.
My obsession with Gaga took me to her Monster Ball Tour with my two best friends. That concert was life-changing. I am NOT exaggerating. Of course, she made the crowd wild with her songs, dances and costumes. But the best part, was when she spoke to us after each song. Gaga told us that tonight, she locked the doors and the "freaks" were on the outside. She told us to be different. She told us to be ourselves, no matter what society says.
Gaga is still telling us that, almost ten years later. So much hasn't changed. Being different isn't celebrated, especially now during the Trump administration. When I watched Gaga perform during the Superbowl, I was reminded how confident, gutsy, beautiful and powerful she is. I was reminded how unique her music is and what it means to be a monster. My paws are up, forever!
Power to the Nasty Women!
As I am writing this and listening to Helen Reddy's powerful anthem, "I Am Woman", I am feeling strong, invincible and woman! This was how millions and millions of people felt last weekend as we joined forces to support women's health, reproductive rights and overall empowerment.
Ever since Spice Girls declared Girl Power in the '90s, I have been a raging feminist #noshame. My belief in feminism has only expanded because of experiences like celebrating International Women's Day in Europe, attending Take Back Night, starring in Vagina Monologues, dancing to Lil' Kim's Ladies Night, embracing my body after battling an eating disorder, building positive relationships with men, getting in formation with Beyonce and watching women in my professional field kill it in every damn way. That's why when American women said we're marching to stand up to Donald Trump, I was there.
The Women's March was the biggest protest in US history, with an estimated 2.9 million fierce people in attendance. Being a part of the movement, witnessing young women beaming with pride to be females, meeting a woman who has been protesting since the 1960s and fighting for what I believe in has been the best moment of my 2017 thus far.
The weeks after the election, I realized that people in this country do not feel, think and believe that women deserve equal rights. This finding has racked my brain, but now I know that I am not alone. I now know that Helen Reddy was right. "I am woman, hear me roar, in numbers too big to ignore...if I have to I can face anything."
I hate the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” but I have learned it rings true in the workplace every damn day. The reason my packages always go out on time? The mailroom dude adores me. The reason why I have my job? A personal relationship I cultivated through my college alumni group.
As a young career woman, I have been told to befriend those in power that can help me climb the ladder of success. Find a mentor. Discover a sponsor. But what about the woman sitting next to you?
A few weeks ago, I approached my Work Wife to learn how she was promoted from my title to the next level. I learned how she successfully shared with her boss (who is the same level as my boss) why she deserved a better title and a pay bump. It was incredibly helpful to have a candid conversation with someone who really gets what it’s like to ask for a promotion at your position, compared to a mentor or sponsor who may have forgotten what it’s like to be starting out.
If you wanna be a Mariah, sometimes you have to ask an Ariana how to get there before going to The Diva. All I want for Christmas is a promotion... but will settle for some tips in my stocking. Here they are gang!
1. Be prepared. Before meeting with your boss, have concrete examples that show why you're ready for the next level. Think of every little project or situation where you have shined like Mimi.
2. Timing is Everything. Is there a month where your account is rolling in dough? Has someone just left your team and there is an open position? As soon as the timing is right, let your boss know your promotion plan.
3. Know Your Worth. Ladies, we often believe we are worth less than what we truly deserve. Ask your Work Wife what she's making and do a little digging on the Internet. Do not just accept what is being offered. Raise your $tandards and your glass to that!
4. Follow-up. You may not receive the promo, no biggie. Make sure to make a career timeline and share with your boss following the meeting. Once you have a plan, you cannot fail!
There are lots and lots of words, questions and statements to avoid when dating, especially in your 20s and especially in New York City. Here are a few:
A few months ago, I went on a date that was as successful as Kanye’s VMA speech. The dude asked me lots and lots of questions, which made the date feel like an intense job interview for a job I really, really didn’t want. He asked me one straightforward question, “What do you do for fun?” I rattled off the usual white girl activities: working out, travelling, reading, and writing. I then added, “I am also very passionate about feminism.” His face quickly transformed from smiley “I-want-to-learn-more” to wide-eyed “holy-shit-this-girl-is-a-psycho-run-for-the-hills.” He openly shared with me that he thinks feminism is stupid and that women “do it to themselves trying to keep up with the Kardashians by buying fur jackets and jewelry.” I’m still unsure what fur jackets and jewelry have to do with feminism, perhaps he was saving that for the second date.
Needless to say, we weren’t matches made in millennial dating heaven and I never saw him again. The F-Word is just as startling as the L-Word. In college, I told a guy I was a feminist and he responded, “Can we still have sex?” I am deeply proud to be a feminist and consider it a part of my identity, it’s the same as saying, “I’m a Pisces” or “I’m Drake’s future girlfriend.”
Given my personal experiences, I’m fully aware that this word can bring about a negative or confused reaction. I usually wait a few dates before dropping the F-Word bomb because it’s annoying to explain that yes, I shave my legs and no, I don’t have daddy issues. But if I had waited to share this big part of who I am with this date, it would have been an even bigger disappointment. I knew within 30 minutes the dude wasn’t for me.
So, go ahead and say all the “bad” words on a first date. Your passions matter. Feminism matters. If your date isn’t about it, he’s not the guy you should pick fancy kitchenware at Pottery Barn with. Say the F-Word on the first date. I dare you.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.