I had one of the best weekend I’ve had in Michigan in a very long time! Following my last post, I’m actively working on cherishing the friends in front of me instead of feeling pain from past relationships. Two of my closest friends made my weekend in two of my favorite Michigan cities so special.
On Saturday, Emily and I visited some cool spots in Detroit: Two James distillery, a bar across the street and Cliff Bells jazz club. We laughed, vented about work and had deep conversation about life, love and relationships. It’s fulfilling to have such a mature, “adult”-like friendship with someone you can laugh the night away with at the same time! I look forward to making more memories with Emily.
Yesterday was a lovely Mother’s Day—although it was different than it has been in the past. I drove from Emily’s to see my friend Crystal, who lives in Grand Rapids (on the west side of Michigan). We had a lovely afternoon strolling through the botanical garden, admiring all the flowers and poking fun at some of the more obscure sculptures.
Crystal and I admired the Amway hotel and ate at a southern restaurant before we parted ways. 💛
I had a wonderful weekend with my parents, and old friend and another work friend who is becoming closer by the day. On Friday evening, I grabbed dinner and drinks with my coworker-turned-friend Emily, starting in my favorite Ferndale, Michigan and ending the night in Hamtramck (our Polish city within the city of Detroit!). We talked about our families, guys and shared plenty of laughs along the way. It’s been great growing a beautiful friendship with Emily!
Saturday was a lazy day at home with my parents, but wasn’t so lazy for Linley! We dressed him up in his bunny costume for a little Easter egg hunt in the backyard. He hated the costume, but loved the treats!
Sunday itself may not have “felt” like Easter, which was perfectly okay by me; my friend Crystal (who I hadn’t seen since December) and I needed a beach day on Lake Michigan, and of course Linley is always our plus one. The three of us enjoyed some hiking, lounging on the warm sand, walking along the water and some good snacks. I needed my much needed Crystal time!
Media taken Friday, April 7 through Sunday, April 9, 2023.
Since October, I’ve been on an adventure to not only rediscover myself—but find home. I’ve always had a since of home within myself, but it’s time to find that physical place where I feel that sense of community and support that I’ve been longing for since childhood.
I took myself to a comedy show and Larkin Poe concert in Philly last week, and felt nuances of Chicago, Boston, Toronto and other places that once made me feel deeply comforted. I got in late on Wednesday, March 8 and was welcomed by the friendliest Lyft driver I’d had in a long time. We talked about all things Philly, and reassured me that I was scoping out a great city to potentially call home.
Thursday, March 9 was full of work from my Airbnb but I explored Rittenhouse Square and Center City as I was on the hunt for some good sushi prior to seeing Greg Fitzsimmons at Helium Comedy Club. Not only were the rolls and laughs much-needed, but strolling through the city lights and riding the subway again made one thing abundantly clear: I need to be in a larger city again.
Friday was rainy but I had more breaks throughout the day, and was able to take myself on some great walks. I meandered through Old City (which is a contender for where I’ll be heading next!) where I saw Ben Franklin’s grave sight and the Betsy Ross house. Old City had a funky-yet-old school vibe, seemed super dog friendly and was extremely walkable—all things I’m looking for in my next home.
I also loved exploring Washington Square West and Gayborhood in the rain. I felt like I was in Boystown Chicago and downtown Boston at the same time. Everyone was really friendly, yet minded their own business… it was refreshing for a larger city. I’d love to live in a row home in a big city one day. 🥲
The main event (in Philly that is!) was seeing Larkin Poe live. Larkin Poe is a badass sister duo who really helped me fight for my marriage, and subsequently cope with my divorce. Some of their music even helped me put my feelings of moving to and back from Chicago into words I couldn’t – and still can’t – accurately articulate. I highly recommend ‘em if you’re in need of some soulful, kick-ass songs. Seeing Larkin Poe by myself might sound odd to some, but 1) I’ve always loved taking myself on dates, 2) I don’t give a shit what people think of me 😅 and 3) it was cathartic to feel that music around me by myself, because it was a journey I took on my own.
Bolt Cutters & The Family Name – Fighting for what you believe in, no matter the circumstances.
Georgia Off My Mind – Hoping that moving will give you clarity; reminiscing of what you miss and what brought you pain.
Self-Made Man – Being a bad bitch and doing it on your own!
Wanted Woman – Same as Self-Made Man, but also about those who didn’t want you back.
All in all, I believe Philly could be my next home, and I’m grateful that Rebecca and Megan brought me here. ❤️
On Saturday, March 11, I took a train to DC to visit my best friend, her husband and baby girl! Lily was born three and a half months ago, and I’m serious when I say I wanted to steal her! Haha Lily is the happiest, most well-behaved baby I’ve ever held. What a cutie!
Carolyn and I have been best friends since we roomed together in France nine years ago, and seeing her as a mom (well, a human mom; she’s already a badass fur mom!) brings happy tears to my eyes. I f’ing love Carolyn, Ryan, Lily, their families and fur babies more than I can put into words. I’ve been able to share in their milestones: I was one of the first people to know about their engagement, I was the maid of honor in the wedding, I’ve been part of their bridal and baby showers, and was the first of Carolyn’s friends to find out about their pregnancy. I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. This is yet another reason why being only two hours away from them would mean so much to me.
We took it easy in DC; We hit up some nice cafes, watched a lot of Ink Master and Inked on YouTube, and laughed a shit ton. Before I knew it, I had to hit the airport and never wanted to leave.
There’s no disputing that quality time will always be my love language—even when I’m taking myself on fun dates!
Photos taken Thursday, March 9 through Sunday, March 12, 2023.
I’m currently at an Airbnb in Washington D.C. writing the final post of KP’s and my New Orleans “trilogy.” It’s been nearly two weeks since we flew back to the Midwest from our vacation, and we’re still laughing and sharing fun memories from our weekend away.
That Sunday, we headed to a cute breakfast spot called Two Chicks Cafe (would highly recommend) and enjoyed some beignets and Bloody Mary’s at the one and only Cafe Beignet. Feeling the warm sunshine on our shoulders and being swept away by jazz music in the late morning was the best way to start our Sunday.
After our drinks and breakfast, we meandered through the French Quarter, soaking in our last full day in the city. We received tarot readings at the only authentic shop in New Orleans (dedicated to the one and only Marie Laveau) where I received the most accurate yet uplifting reading to date. KP was in heaven as she saw typewriters in the street, similar to her business in Chicago (Poems While You Wait; check ‘em out!) and wandered into bookstores, antique shops and lingerie gems. We couldn’t stop laughing in the bookstore and each walked out with a random variety of solid reads! Our favorite moment in the lingerie shop (Trashy Diva!) was seeing this older couple buying new things. All I have to say is… goals!
While heading back to the Airbnb to drop off our newly purchased goods from some wholesome retail therapy, we even received a free book about mediation and mindfulness. KP was trying not to laugh because I’d gone on a “rampage” about how people who tell me to “mediate more often” think that’s helpful to my divorce PISS ME OFF haha! Therefore, we left the book in our lobby and continued out for our last evening in NOLA (spoiler alert: the book was still in the lobby on Monday morning when we checked out!).
After some macrons and hazelnut lattes, we visited the oldest bar in the United States and slammed some tequila drinks as we booked our ghost tour. We booked it to our tour with a good buzz going, and thoroughly enjoyed the tour. When I was in New Orleans last year with my friend Jes, we did two tours and one of them didn’t go well (drunk idiots who were interrupting the entire time). This group was awesome, we had the coolest guide and even stopped for tequila shots halfway through (yes, I understand how hypocritical I sound as I just complained about the drunk people from last year haha!).
The tour wrapped up, and KP and I couldn’t leave NOLA without another absinthe drink. We stopped at Pirates Bar for some strong, traditional absinthe drinks—laughing and having the best time!
Buzzed, we strolled through Bourbon Street one last time prior to heading “home,” reminiscing about our weekend that we both so desperately needed. We even saw a street fight! We booked it into a Walgreens, bought some chips, watched some trashy tv shows and went to bed.
The next day, we enjoyed another Two Chicks Cafe breakfast and met some nice Michiganders. It was nice having the extra time with KP at both the New Orleans and Detroit airports—sharing tons of laughs and feeling slaphappy as ever! In Detroit, KP’s flight was delayed so I stayed with her until she boarded her flight to Chicago. For one last laugh, she tried helping me find my Viagra Boys concert goers from the Thursday prior, and almost got locked out of her Facebook account. The weekend couldn’t have been any better. 💛
Media taken Sunday, February 26 and Monday, February 27, 2023.
February, March and April were – and will continue to be – filled with new adventures, travel experience and growth. I can officially cross two more of my 2023 wishes as complete!
I’m still discovering a passion, but I’m making significant strides in healing. I wrote what I call “burn letters” early last month—which really helped me get my feelings out and heal. I wrote letters to friends who haven’t been there for me, Juan and people who have recently hurt me when I trusted them most.
Linley has been a big part of my healing progress. We’ve gone on some familiar trails, he’s been my buddy at work and we’re planning some new adventures together!
The cooking, reading, saying “no” and “yes” at the right times, setting boundaries, creating new adventures… it’s all happening and I’m setting the foundation so it continues to happen. I’m really excited about this—and it’s needed to happen for so long now.
And as far as community goes, I have the best coworkers-turned-friends in my current job. I LOVE IT HERE! There are certainly some difficult days with clients or our partners, but I never expected to “belong” as much as I currently do (I felt like I had to change to “fit in” elsewhere). Don, Giacomo, Baylen, Justin… are all becoming close friends, and Catherine and Veronica already are! KP and I even saw Don and his girlfriend Jennifer in NOLA over the weekend, where the Viagra Boys tee shirts from Thursday evening made an appearance!
Things are difficult and turbulent and hard and beautiful and hopeful and bittersweet, but I’m slowly seeing the clouds parting. I’m seeing who my truest friends are – and were this entire time – and I’m feeling like the best is yet to come. 💛
My time with Andy and Shawn was everything I needed in one weekend: Relaxing, fulfilling with both profound and hilarious conversation, explorative and engaging. I desperately needed a weekend like that with two people I have recently been able to call friends.
As soon as Andy and Shawn picked me up from the airport, I knew I was in for a great weekend! Andy and I became closer during our in-person team on-site back in August, and Shawn is an absolute gem. They both have been married before and have found true love in each other—which really inspired me as I somewhat begin my journey to find my true love and begin anew. The three of us stayed up until one or two in the morning catching up, and the rest of the weekend was full of laughs, great conversation and time outdoors.
Between exploring new places with somewhat new friends, spending time breathing in what felt like crisp, autumn air and spending hours laughing and learning with their South African friends, I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend with better people!
Photos taken Saturday, January 21 and Sunday, January 22, 2023
On New Years Eve, I sat with a couple girlfriends on the west side of Michigan, as we wrote down our “resolutions” (I put that word in quotation marks because I like to think of it as more ‘aspirational’ than specific, quantifiable ‘goals’). January has been an exceptionally hard month: seeing my ex-husband for the first time since our divorce and leaving Chicago, losing my dad’s best friend who we weren’t able to see prior to her passing, no longer being able to trust one of my male friends because he led me to believe he was someone he wasn’t, and my depression overall rapidly getting worse. Each month, I’m going to track my progress on each of my wishes for no one other than myself — but feel free to tag along if you wish.
Wish #1: ???
I decided to keep this one to myself for now, but plan to write more about this when the time is right.
Wish #2: Travel to South Africa, & plan other trips…
One of my best friends and her husband recently moved to Atlanta, Georgia from Johannesburg. Andy and I have worked together since the spring, and we became extremely close after all the project managers got together in person in August. Andy and Shawn are the kindest, funniest, most supportive people I could ask for in my life right now — both as individuals and as a couple. They’ve both been through difficult divorces in the past, and inspire me and give me hope that my true love exists — and that I’ll find him someday soon, without settling or compromising my beliefs or self worth. I visited them in Atlanta last weekend and I seriously needed all the laughs, time outdoors, lazy mornings watching TV and meeting more of their South African friends in the area.
Coincidentally, I’ve wanted to visit South Africa since I was about 10 years old. Andy and Shawn really want me to tag along with them the next time they return home. Whether that’s this summer or sometime in 2024, I look forward to my time with them, and to the other adventures abroad that are on the horizon for 2023.
Wish #3: Figure out my health bullshit!
As it turns out, I did indeed have a kidney infection, NOT a gallbladder or pancreas issue. Thank goodness I visited the Women’s Hospital of UofM, or else I probably would’ve had my gallbladder removed unnecessarily. If I still experience symptoms, I’ll be returning to the urologist for further testing, but for now I should be in the clear and my levels – and pain – are stable. I also made an appointment for my back problems and although my spine will never look the way I’d like it to, it was a relief to know that it “isn’t noticeable” to the average person — and now I can start planning for a new tattoo.
Wish #4: Find home in a physical place the way I have found home in myself…
I love who I am: I love how I look, I know what I deserve and I wouldn’t change anything about who I am as a person. HOWEVER, I do not feel at home here in Michigan. I left Michigan for a reason (or, several reasons…) and just because Chicago wasn’t my home either, doesn’t mean that I have to settle for less than I deserve here. Sure, some really good things have come out of me being here again, but my time here has been full of letdowns, false problems, and physical, emotional and mental pain. Maybe I’ll receive a permanent residency permit so I can live in Toronto. Maybe I’ll move somewhere closer to one of my best friends on the east coast. Maybe I’ll move to Charlotte, North Carolina because I had the best time with some of the best people this summer. Or maybe I’ll go somewhere totally new. The overwhelming possibilities are endless, but not all those who wander are lost.
Wish #5: More ink!
As previously mentioned, I’m planning my next tattoo, but am also working on finishing my foot/ankle and really want to get my dog’s paw print on my other ankle soon.
Wish #6: Find a passion – new or old.
I’m definitely getting back into music. As a kid, I was able to play three or four different instruments and found that music was a great outlet for me. Maybe I’ll get back into the piano or play something totally new — either way, I’m excited to explore this more. I also want to start swimming laps at a local gym every day, but am waiting until I relocate because figuring that out is like swimming laps in and of itself!
Wish #7: Heal from my marriage, time in Chicago, friendships ending…
It’s nearly impossible to put a timeline on this one. Progress isn’t linear with this one! Some days I feel on top of the world; others I feel like I’m drowning in my own depression, feeling like the universe is kicking me while I’m down. Seeing my ex-husband earlier in the month was necessary for my own healing, yet it was one of the saddest, heartbreaking things I’ve done. Being around someone you loved and who loved you for nearly a decade… and not being able to be with them in that capacity anymore… unless you’ve tried remaining friends with the person you thought was your soulmate is… hard to explain. It’s soul-crushing. I would give anything to go back to the good times where we both were happy — but my ex-husband doesn’t exactly feel the same way. I had to stare acceptance in the face and truly accept that things will never be as they were. Typing that even now – nearly a month later – feels daunting and depressing.
However… I am opening my heart where and when it needs to be open. I’m not only setting boundaries, but am finally adhering to them. I’m creating space for new friendships and new love, and although I’m losing hope, I haven’t fully given up yet. I wish I didn’t have to struggle this much and feel all this hurt within my heart — but I can only hope it all has to be worth it on the other side.
Wish #8: More bonding experiences with Lin!
I majorly need to step this one up. Because I live with my parents at the moment, Linley has shared the love between all three of us — making it hard to have that quality time I need with him. I hope to plan more adventures with Linley: before, during and after we relocate somewhere new. He’s the best dog in the whole world, and is my favorite adventure buddy!
Wish #9: More reading, cooking, exploring, saying “yes” and “no” when I want…
Saying “no” – even when it’s best for me – is still something I feel extremely guilty about. This is probably one of my biggest personal hurdles I need to jump leaps and bounds over this year. The good news is that I’m reading and cooking much more than I have in the past, and the exploring is still going strong! Over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, my dad and I made homemade gluten free calzones and fish and chips. I’m excited to try even more recipes with the people I love most!
Wish #10: Finding community who loves and accepts me for me…
For the first time in my 29 years of life, I finally have this at work. I can be myself, crack my jokes, bring my personality to all of my projects, consultants and client teams, and feel valued for my contributions. I have never had community in my own family, or in my physical location. I hope to find this when I leave Michigan as well; I want to find that group who I feel deeply connected with and not for the sake of “fitting in” — but truly belonging as I am.
Although I am grieving my marriage and what I’d hoped was “home” in Chicago – and despite some of the hardship I’ve endured since being back in Michigan – there are several moments and people I am beyond grateful for.
It’s been challenging to put all of my emotions into words lately (both positive and sad), but I will say this: If you made me smile or gave me hope in these last few months, thank you from the bottom of my heart! 💛
I feel like Florida is an extremely polarizing state in the U.S., but if you know where to go it can be a blast! I was there last Sunday through Wednesday for an on-site client meeting—my first business trip of this sort since joining the company in May. My boss, one of my favorite peers and I had a productive – and fun – time together in the sunshine state.
I arrived Sunday, a full day before Justin and Cosmo landed (yes, I work with the coolest dude who happens to have the coolest name!) and enjoyed some relaxation in the sun. There was a music festival right next to the beach resort I stayed at in Fort Lauderdale, so as I read my book I heard some punk rock bands going at it—giving me major early 2000s energy. Feeling the sand, salt water and base beneath my feet was (oddly) just what I needed.
Later that evening I took myself to dinner—which led to a good night full of great conversation. I met Cynthia at the bar, a woman from Montreal who is also experiencing the pain of divorce, and we spent probably four or five hours talking about life, travel and overcoming our current hardships. One of my favorite travel experiences is connecting deeply with a stranger-turned-friend, and my time with Cynthia is something I’ll always cherish. We’ve actually been texting ever since we met a week ago!
The rest of my trip was filled with last-minute preparation for my client meetings, working from a hotel room when I’d rather be order gin and tonics at the pool, and making fond memories with some of my favorite coworkers. The conversations, laughs and words of encouragement shared over nightcaps and good food was the kind of relief I so desperately needed in my life. In between the meetings and visits with our client, I was luckily able to enjoy the sunrise, warm water and “me time.”
Media taken Sunday, December 4 – Wednesday, December 7
I miss visiting Kjell and his family—who have quickly become my own over the years. I miss Kjell’s and my hiking adventures, laughing and sharing memories in the car, our time spent fishing and reminiscing about the last time I visited—all while creating new memories together. Mangus, Markus and Hildegunn made me feel incredibly welcome and one of their own during Kjell’s mom’s 82nd birthday party—where I was surrounded by at least 30 or 40 other Norwegians! Mangus and I spent an entire day strolling around Bergen and having a nice breakfast together. I miss joking around with Markus about things 17-year-old boys joke about (it made me miss the times I’ve shared with my own brother at that age!). I miss laughing with Hildegunn over chocolate cake and “brown cheese.” I fucking miss all of it. Until next time. 💛
Media taken Sunday, October 23 through Sunday, October 30, 2022
I’m slowly waking up from a deep sleep—that I needed ever so desperately. As work, family and personal stress come to a head, I needed rest and have been reflecting on the pain I’m feeling this month. Juan and I would’ve been married four years in a few days (and went on our first date almost ten years ago today). The holidays are painful without him, and without being close to some of my immediate family. I’m feeling so lost when it comes to my health problems and with some of the difficult conversations I need to have with others—including the one(s) I need to have with myself.
When I reflect back on my week in Germany last month, I was obviously feeling some of this physical and emotional pain, but I was able to live in the moment and feel the love of friends-turned-family; I didn’t realize how much I needed that until I was there living it.
Here are some of my favorite moments from my week with Saskia and her parents—full of love, laughter and happiness. 💛
Photos taken Monday, October 17 through Sunday, October 23, 2022