After a busy April on the move, I made a very conscious choice to spend the vast majority of May at home in Las Vegas. This month I worked on getting caught up on all the work that had been set aside during my travels in April and exploring a variety of new restaurants and activities in and around Las Vegas including driving an exotic car through Red Rock Canyon and taking a helicopter ride to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. We also went camping in Zion National Park, where we spent a day hiking up the Virgin River.
During the month of May, my work was published in the following places:
On Rodale’s new lifestyle website:
In the May 2013 print edition of Desert Companion:
I’ll be the first to admit that I am incredibly fortunate. As a writer, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to many interesting places, stay in incredibly nice resorts and experience things that few people will ever get to experience. I’ve also seen people in my position become jaded about these things, always expecting more with higher expectations. I never, ever want to become one of those people, and so I am very selective in the opportunities I pursue, and I am always incredibly grateful when someone offers to host me so that I may go somewhere new, stay somewhere exciting and do something I never would have done on my own.
That said, I admit that one thing that bums me out about my job is that I do the vast majority of these things on my own. While fully acknowledging how truly awesome these experiences are, I also admit that it’s often lonely to do them alone. The classic example I use when people ask me about this aspect of my job is the time I stayed on a private island in Vietnam. I had my own villa, butler and private pool. I also had a huge fruit basket and a couple bottles of wine in my accommodations. The island was beautiful and relaxing. Everything about this place spelled romance, and yet I was totally and completely alone. This is just like the time I went snorkeling in St. John’s, drove exotic cars through Red Rock Canyon, rode in my first hot air balloon, skied the slopes in Vail … well, you get the idea. Read More…
A lot of people ask me about what I’m working on at any given time, so I’ve decided to start sharing updates on a monthly basis about where I’ve been and what I’m working on. Every month is different and every project is different, but the freelance life always keeps me busy!
During the month of April, I worked on a handful of articles for several regional publications. I also spent about a week furiously editing a book for one of my clients. You can find my published work from April in the following locations:
In the spring 2013 issue of Massage Envy’s magazine, ME:
In the April/May 2013 issue of Acadiana Profile:
Online at USA Today’s Experience Las Vegas site:
I feel like the United States has seen an increasing amount of senseless violence in recent years. From the Colorado movie theatre massacre to the Newtown tragedy and the shooting/car explosion that killed people just a few short miles away from my home on the Las Vegas Strip, it seems like bad news is such the norm sometimes that I’ve become a bit desensitized to it.
And then the explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon happened. This tragic event, more than any of the others that have come before it, shook me up. Perhaps it’s because I have a friend who works at a water station on the course every year (she was at mile 23 this year). Or perhaps it’s because these are my people. This is my community. Read More…
All this talk about gay marriage has me thinking: How common is that 1950s family consisting of a married man and woman with two children?
The other night, my husband and I were having dinner with our current foreign exchange student, and my husband said that we may be the closest thing to a “normal” family. If normal consists of a 30-something couple without their own children but an extended branch of non-blood-related kids from other countries and a brood of pets and foster animals, then, yes, we’re a normal family … and I love it exactly the way it is. Read More…
With two deadlines met within the past two days and two more articles due within the next 24 hours, I shut off my computer, turned off my office light and wandered into the living room. It was 8:30 on Thursday night. My husband was out with the guys. Our foreign exchange student was holed up in his room, exerting creative power over his music. And I, well … I was exhausted. I’d been juggling interviews and research and emails and appointments all week, and I just needed a moment of rest.
I turned on a single light. I dropped a Pure Moods CD into my ancient CD player and scooped up our oldest, smallest dog, sinking into the couch with her in an attempt to lull her into a lazy state of mind before tucking her in to her kennel for the night. Our oldest cat began the laborious bathing process on my left. Our slinky black cat tucked into a loaf and closed her eyes on my right.
For a brief moment, I thought about getting up and grabbing my phone from the counter, where it was plugged in to charge. If I was just sitting on the couch, I might as well catch up on my Twitter feed or my Facebook updates or my Words with Friends game or …
But wait. I was exhausted. My body felt like a melting lump of lead, heavy and overburdened. My eyes just wanted to close. My thoughts wanted to tip toe in their own directions. Read More…
I take time every Sunday evening to plan when certain things need to happen during the upcoming week so that I have enough time to research and interview sources, prepare certain parts of projects in advance and meet deadlines so they aren’t sneaking up on me at the last moment. On Sunday night, my plans for the week look manageable. When projects are just words on a piece of paper, I’m sure I can conquer them all.
And yet, week after week, I reach Friday afternoon and am always appalled by how much is still left over on my to-do list for the week. Why can’t I get through a week—heck, a day—when I can actually complete all the tasks I’ve lined out for myself?
After three years of self-employment, I’ve finally figured it out. On a normal day, I could complete all the tasks on the list. But—and here’s the kicker—there is no normal day. A normal day DOES NOT EXIST. There is always something that derails my best laid plans, to the point where “normal” has lost all meaning. Little things sneak into my day all the time, things that I don’t anticipate happening and, even if they’re small, they add up over time. So far this week, for example, here are a few things that knocked my thoughts off the to-do list: Read More…
How is it that another year has already flown by?? Even with an extra day in the year (thank you, February 29!), 2012 went by way too fast. I had a great year hopping around the United States, trying new things and adding to my 100 Challenge. 2012 is the third year I undertook the challenge in an attempt to learn, do and experience 100 new things. In the process, I also knocked six things off of my Life List: I threw beads in a Mardi Gras parade, wrote one handwritten letter every week for a year, visited Iceland, competed in the Urban Adventure Games, attended a production of Wicked and attended the Book Passage writing conference.
One of the things I’m most proud of is that many of the things in 2012′s challenge involved other people – hosting foreign exchange students, finding old friends, taking trips with family members, helping others meet goals on their own bucket lists. 2012 was a fun, satisfying year. Onward to 2013 and another attempt at the 100 Challenge!
- Wrote a bona fide business plan.
- Fell in love with a class at the gym.
- Adopted an all black cat.
- Made a welcome sign for someone I was picking up at the airport.
- Became a host parent to a 17-year-old girl.
- Registered a student in school.
- Reconnected with a friend from elementary school.
- Ate escargot.
- Received a sugar scrub treatment.
- Watched a professional dance company practice in its studio. Read More…
The other morning, our foreign exchange student was flipping through AFAR, one of the few magazines I continue to subscribe to because, quite frankly, I just can’t keep up with all of the magazines I love. The latest issue focuses on food from around the world and related experiences, and while the topic doesn’t interest me so much, my reaction to the magazine was typical. One of the first things I did was flip to the contributors page, and then I scanned the masthead. Why? Because I’ve gotten to know so many people in my industry that I like to see who is writing about what and for what publication.
I am constantly impressed by the opportunities my friends and colleagues create for themselves or are given, and the stories that result because of these opportunities. In an industry that has the potential to become competitive and catty, I celebrate others’ successes because it keeps me jazzed up about my own work, and it inspires me to do more, work harder and stretch my skills to become a better writer and editor. Read More…
I found out about the Urban Adventure Games at Travel Media Showcase last year. As soon as Colleen, the tourism rep for South Bend, Indiana, mentioned this quirky race, I was eager to learn more. How long was it? When was it held? What do you do in it? Is it a challenge, or just a 5k through the park?
And most importantly: When can I sign up?
Colleen and I talked about the Urban Adventure Games for the entire 15 minutes we had together at the conference. When I was encouraged to compile my Life List shortly thereafter, it immediately earned a spot. And, in the last few months, Colleen and I trained, schemed and strategized about how we were going to complete the race, which happened the last weekend in July.
I flew out to South Bend on a Thursday evening. On Friday, we picked up all our gear and race packets. On Saturday, we kicked it into high gear. Though we joked about being the winners of the race, our real goal was simply to complete all the tasks and finish the race, which I’m happy to report we did. The results came out yesterday, and we placed well in our division. Out of 67 teams in the women’s open division, we came in 16th.
I couldn’t have asked for a better race partner, better weather or a more perfect day. Thank you to everyone who helped make this Life List goal a reality!