30 things my 20’s taught me.

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Dear Avery,

In a few months, I’ll be 30. To some that sounds so old, to others that sounds young. To me, there are days it sounds scary. How could I be 30 already? Wasn’t I just 21 celebrating in Vegas? I must have just blinked. Other days, I’m excited to think about this new decade – the abundance of joys and the new challenges that will come.

 

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Reflecting on my twenties, here is what I know:

  1. Your body starts to become a little more fragile.
  2. Social drinking changes drastically from the start of your 20’s to the end.
  3. Time moves fast — if you don’t stop to look around — you just might miss it.
  4. Friends become family, and your family become your friends.
  5. If personal space wasn’t an issue before, it’s an issue now. Get out of my bubble people — and take 3 steps back. Please and thank you.
  6. Pets are just as important as people.
  7. Love changes — in good ways and in bad.
  8. Being outdoors is natural medicine — for soul and body.
  9. Weekdays don’t need to be dreaded. Find a place of work that makes you excited to come into.
  10. Weekends don’t need to jam packed. But it’s OK if they are. I happen to love them.
  11. Taking a day to rest and relax is actually a lot harder than it used to be.
  12. Sleeping too much might actually not be good for you.
  13. Judgement of other people becomes harsher. At times, you’ll need to force yourself to empathize.
  14. Being kind and thoughtful goes a really long way.
  15. Actively engaging in relationships with your friend’s spouses/partners is good for all of you but can be hard to maintain.
  16. Good poetry finds you at the right time.
  17. …A meaningful song will do the same.
  18. A one-on-one dinner or lunch date with a close friend is so very vital.
  19. No marriage is perfect. In fact, it’s a lot harder than it appears (even on Facebook).
  20. Your career should never hold you back, if it does, push back and make it move forward. Only you have the power to make that so.
  21. The world can be a cruel place — but paying attention to news will bring perspective to your own life.
  22. The world can be a magically beautiful place — acknowledging when you find that beauty and sharing it — is something we all need to do more of.
  23. The universe gives us so many small signs and signals to a greater story. Paying attention will bring you unexpected joy.
  24. Themed parties will never go out of style.
  25. The most wasted of all days is when you haven’t laughed.
  26. You’ll look at teenagers and think “Why are you dressed like that?”
  27. You’ll look at older generations and think “Why do you think or believe that”?
  28. Getting lost in a good book is so enjoyable when you finally find the time to dedicate to it.
  29. Year 29 of life is a harsh realization that you can’t say “I’m in my twenties” soon.
  30. At 30, you are an official adult (according to me). But that doesn’t mean your sense of childish wonder, discovery, and fun ever have to end.

Oh, and also — in my twenties, I learned to really love creating lists. Can you tell?

(Here’s another fun little list of mine from 2012: What to expect in your 20’s ).

Avery, I hope your twenties bring you joy, suspense, curiosity, exploration, the travel bug, a good true love, a wealth of fantastic friends, pain that is followed by learnings, a love for the earth, poetry that speaks to you, and something or someone that inspires you to write (like you do for me).

OK, 30 — I’m finally ready for you.

With love,

Aunt Megs

Celebrating 4 years!

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Dear Avery,

This year is special. Somehow, magically, you turned 5! How is that so?

Today marks 4 years of this blog. 4 years of stories, lessons, lists upon lists, and learning about how impressed I am with you. Only 5 years old, and you continue to amaze me.

You are funny, caring, insanely intelligent, sassy, full of confidence, and so easy to love. You light up a room full of family and strangers.

I can’t begin to tell you how proud of you I am. And how much I brag about you to anyone that will listen.  (And this photo has been my phone background basically all year.)

Aunt Megs

I firmly believe that if you are not on a stage somewhere singing and dancing for thousands of people, that could become the President of the United States, or become a fearless astronaut. Why? Because you can do anything you put your mind to, and BE anything you want. And I will be here to make sure that happens. I’ll be here to support you and lift you up when you need it the most. And encourage you every step of the way.

I plan on writing a full post just on celebrating your 5th birthday this year, but for now, know that the sole idea of this blog was to be a constant reminder that your Aunt Megs will always be in your court.

You are loved. You are supported. And I will always be here to cheer you on — where ever your path my take you.

With love,

Aunt Megs

Wanderlusting

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Dear Avery,

Wanderlust; a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about. I’ll add feeling alive in a new location and experience to that definition. It’s one of my favorite words, and definitely the word of 2015 for me — compare that to my favorite words of 2013!

Here I am… “Wanderlusting” in Mexico.

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Experiencing a new place is always on my New Year Resolution list — as it should be for everyone. While I didn’t get to explore Europe as I had hoped, I ended up in some FUN places and my wandering heart is quite full.

 

First stop > Paradise Island, Bahamas:

Sipped tropical drinks, rode water slides, enjoyed a good book on the sand, swam in the warm(er) ocean,  and enjoyed family time. The Bahamas is one of my favorite places on earth.

How about that water, huh?

bahamas

 

Second (NEW!) stop > East Texas:

My annual girl’s trip with some of my best friends. We: drank lots of wine, went to Walmart at 12am and bought ammo, shot some guns (eek!), went 4 wheeling through creek beds and brush, and thoroughly enjoyed some Texas BBQ!

Here we all are on the 4 wheeler!

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Third  (NEW!) stop > Sedona, Arizona

I’ve always heard wonderful things about the magic of Sedona. And when we were invited to be apart of our friend’s wedding, I couldn’t wait! On this trip, we spent time with old friends and made some great new friends at the wedding. Easily one of the best weekends of the year —  Sedona is indeed a beautiful site to see.

Here we are with the weekend warriors on a LOVELY winery for the wedding.

Sedona

 

Fourth (NEW!) stop > Chicago, Illinois

This was the 2nd girls trip of the year, and easily one of the best trips. We: drank lots of wine, went to the Chicago Art institute, saw the infamous Second City comedy club (LOVED it!), took the architectural boat tour on the Chicago river, ate at some great little restaurants, went to lunch in Wicker Park and had the best tacos at the Antique Taco, walked the Magnificent Mile and shopped, took touristy pictures at the Bean, and enjoyed girl time. Chicago is now at the top of my list for favorite cities!!

Here we are on the Chicago river in November! Just a tad cold.:)

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Fifth (NEW!) stop > Playa del Carmen, Mexico

For your Uncle Matt’s 30th birthday, we decided to take a trip to somewhere we’d never been (Even with all this traveling, I was not over my wanderlust). We took the week of Thankgiving and found an all-inclusive resort. It was lovely, quiet, and full of fun animals. I saw a peacock upon arrival, found a family of kittens, and discovered an animal that is a cross between monkey and racoon! We mostly enjoyed the beautiful beaches and pools, spent a day at the spa, played a round of golf (well sorta… I just played the greens and drove the golf cart), went off site for an adventure where we swam through caves and held parrots. A fun wanderlust adventure for sure!

I took this picture after a warm rainstorm. Lovely, huh?

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Sixth stop > New York City, New York

The best news of the year was the birth of your cousin, Brooks! As soon as we heard he was born in August, we planned to meet him on his Baptism day during Christmas. This was your first trip to NY, so I will have to write a whole new blog just for that trip!

This is one of my favorite cities on earth. I love the energy, the people, the pace, fun restaurants, so many sites to see… everything!

Here you are riding your first subway with your Uncles.

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Seventh stop > Bay Area aka Home

“Home is where the heart is.”

Even after all that traveling, going home is always the best because of this:

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So, Aves, my hope for you: explore, travel, experience new adventures, and soak it all in.

May you forever wander, because not all who wander are lost.

With love,

Aunt Megs

The Art of Smelling Good

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Dear Avery,

One of my favorite compliments I ever receive is “you smell so nice”. I feel naked without perfume. To me, it’s an essential part of your wardrobe. Without it, I’m only half dressed.

Around middle school was the time where I spent so much of my shopping trips at perfume and lotion shops. I should have bought stock in Bath and Body Works. I was never good (still not) at makeup or hair — but smelling nice was something easily attainable.

My taste in perfume over the years has gone from:

GAP >>  Abercrombie and Fitch >> Victoria Secret >> to now switching between Salvatore Ferragamo and Tommy Bahama.

My tips for always staying fresh:

  1. Immediately out of the shower, I spray my chest and neck — and then wrap the towel back up. I feel like the scent soaks into your skin. I could be crazy. Probably.
  2. In the morning, I spritz the insArt of Smelling Goodide of my wrists and rub them together. Spray my neck once and then the top of my hair.
  3. Lotion is always key. I’m a fan of scented lotions, my favorites being Tommy Bahama and an assortment of Victoria Secret.  Also, I hate dry skin.
  4. As stated above, I ALWAYS have at least two different bottles of perfume at all times. I will switch these scents on and off throughout the weeks. When you stay with the same scent for too long, you’ll stop noticing it.
  5. Deodorant — all day every day. Do not forget it, ever.
  6. Keep lotion and a mini bottle of perfume in your purse. And apply throughout the day. If you for the slightest second think you smell bad — apply. Do not run the risk!
  7. Don’t over do it. The best appeal is the sweet and light scent of a woman. Keep it light.

Here’s to smelling lovely and always staying classy.

With love,

Aunt Megs

Women in SEO : So many more now than 3 years ago!

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Dear Avery,
I’ve been a “SEO” analyst for 3 years now. My first conference around Search Marketing was attending MozCon in Seattle 3 year ago. I was late on Day 1 due to a cancelled flight, and was trying to meet up with my boss and coworker (both males under 40). My boss texted me “Come to the lunch hall, we are both in flannel shirts.”Hipster SEO

I remember walking into a room of hundreds of people. Scratch that. Hundreds of MEN. And it just so happened, hundreds of men wearing either flannel or checkered shirt and Chuck Taylor shoes. It took me a good 10 minutes to find my boss!

{What in the world} Is this a joke? Why are there only 10 women in this room?

And why did they all look like this?!? >>>>>>>>>>>>

Full disclosure.. I’m wasn’t mad at it.:)

This was my first true experience walking into a room full of industry colleagues. And boy, was I outnumbered. It was a tad overwhelming, but then, I also realized how cool it was to be a young woman in a profession made up of mostly men. Bring something different to space — I thought to myself. Speak up and push the envelope.

Fast forward to my 3rd conference — 3 years later (which was today at SearchLove). The conference had already begun, and I only saw two young women (roughly my age, and also similar fashion sense) walk into the room. My first thought, “this must not be the right place!” Ha!

                                And to my surprise, I walked into the room that was about 50/50 women and men!

I think it’s so rad to experience this relatively young profession evolve in such a short time period. Young blood. New perspective. Incredibly smart and passionate people who genuinely support each other. They’ve shared their successes, their failures, their learnings, and given up their secrets on how they help people find useful content on the internet.

Aves, I hope that whatever you end up doing for your profession — that you surround yourself with smart and passionate people. Learn from them. Teach them what you know. Glean skills from them. Network with people outside you own company. And if you are the only girl in the room — OWN IT. And show them what you are made of!

If you wanted to know how I got into marketing, check out my post from 2012: “Career Woman: Part 2“. I will always love this story of how it came to be!:)

With love,

Aunt Megs

Welcome to the World, Buster!

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Dear Buster,

As I sit down to welcome you to this world, suddenly, Simon and Garfunkel’s “The only living boy in New York” came on my playlist. And wouldn’t you know it…YOU were born today – a little boy – in New York City. As you grow up to get to know me, you’ll learn that I love symbolic coincidences. Gives life little pleasures to always look out for.

Back to you, I’m so happy you have joined our family. Your Dad, my oldest brother, has been waiting for you since I could remember. A little boy to bring to baseball games and introduce him to Nirvana.

You’ll be immersed in a fast paced culture, but your Mom will teach the ways of the city in no time. She is intelligent, chic, and can hold her own. She loves your Dad more than any other woman I’ve seen love another person, so her love for you is going to be out of this world.

While your life in NYC will be a fun adventure, your other extended family will be on the west coast waiting for every chance we get to be with you. You’ve got Mimi and Papa Today is your day(your grandparents who are socialites – much like your parents – who will teach you about old movies, classic music, and all things sports). Your Aunt Court and I will try and spoil you every way we know how, even if we are far away. We’ll also try and give you as much advice as possible – and tell you stories about how your Dad used to torture us as kids. Your Uncle Andrew will show you at the cool kids are up to, and tell you when to move from Facebook to Snapchat. Your cousin Avery will teach you the lay of the land – and how to wrap this family up around your finger – because she’s got that one on lock down.

I’m excited to see the places you go, the things you learn, the adventures you experience, and love that you’ll feel.

You are one lucky boy, Buster, or whatever your name will soon be.

But for now, you are Buster to me, and probably always will be.

Until we meet.

With Love,

Aunt Megs

Infertility: the Not-So-Funny, the Bad, and the Ugly

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Dear Avery,

Infertility is something you never think you will go through. My Mom had 4 kids. I’m surrounded by large number of children on both sides of our families, surely that means it will be easy for me? Right? Yeah, not so much.infertility

Infertility is like watching a bus full of your best friends go away to summer camp to experience this incredible adventure, while you are left in the dust because you didn’t get your parents to sign your permission slip in time. Stupid timing! You watch them wave to you, tell you they’ll miss you, and good luck with the lonely summer you’ll have. Basically, it’s life’s biggest pity party.

This blog is 3 years in the making. It’s 3 years deep in experience. It’s 3 years full of ups and downs.

When we decided to that we were ready to start a family, I was 25 and we’d been married for 2 years. OK, 2 years of fun, sleep, vacations, wine, and time spent together — that’s good enough, right? OK — it’s time for babies!

Ready… set… not going.

This is a really hard road. Much harder than I ever expected. Rounds of testing, pill taking, watching your fertile calendar like a fiend, and this really odd yearning for something more to add to your life. I wanted to hear that there was something wrong with me so I could fix it. And nothing. “Everything looks great. In fact, especially since you are young, it should happen anytime now.” Hearing this after every positive test, was great but insanely frustrating. If everything is right, why is nothing working? It’s like when I got tested recently for allergies because I’ve had a tough year of awful sinus infections back to back to back to back, and then WANTING to see that I had developed an allergy because I wanted to be proactive and avoid whatever I needed to avoid to not get these anymore! And surprise “You are literally not allergic to anything. Just up your intake of Clartin.” Note: I’m not asking for an allergy here, but I’m asking for explanations. That’s all I really want.

As an open book personality, this was my greatest secret for a long time. Something was clearly wrong with me, why would I want to tell anyone about it? Then over time and after the 15 millionth question about when I was going to have kids, I started telling my family and close friends. And over time, it got easier and harder. Talking about it goes both ways. It makes it easier to manage your thoughts and feel supported (thankfully, I am surrounded by WONDERFUL people), but then it gets harder because you don’t want to people to feel sorry for you and show up to parties with an “I” on your chest. Ugh. It’s the strangest thing.

So, in some psychological way, writing about it and sharing is very refreshing. And I’m hoping that it reaches other women who are in the struggle with me. Like group therapy, there is a strength in knowing that you aren’t alone. And that I hope you get the result you are yearning for.

In light of the 3 years, I’ve got 3 things to highlight for the infertile army of tough women out there:

  • The Not-So-Funny: You go through times where you will look at your calendar and think… “I’m going to Vegas in a month… good thing I’m not pregnant! I enjoy the occasional cocktail, and it’s one less thing to worry about.” While it’s not funny to think that way, it kind of is. You plan to not be pregnant for upcoming events. Thankfully, these events take your mind off of it…so they are always welcomed.
  • The Bad: Infertility sucks. Even the word sucks. You feel defeated. You feel defected. You feel powerless.
  •  The Ugly: You will never ugly cry harder. You will be angry, sad, envious, and heartbroken in times where you should be happy. You’ll feel all those things when other people tell you they are pregnant. That school bus image comes to mind first, she’s on the bus and you aren’t. That’s the ugly part of infertility. But, 10 seconds later, you’ll join in her happiness, as you should. It’s about them, not you.

(And to my personal friends — important note — please do not feel bad telling me you are pregnant — that will only make me feel worse! I need you to know, deep down, I’m extremely happy for another beautiful life to join our group of friends. That feeling will never go away, because I already LOVE that baby of yours. And hell, let’s be real, you are all on your second kid by now anyway!)

There you have it. Laid out in the vulnerable open like that.

Don’t think for a second that I’m sitting at home in a corner crying all day. Absolutely not. I focus on kicking ass at work. Taking half day Fridays to get a jump on a fun weekend away from home. Working out at a fancy gym because I can spend my money on ME. Eat out at restaurants multiple times a week with my husband as we talk about life, work, and swap funny stories. Go to themed parties with my friends. Attend weddings like its a part time job. And enjoy all the sleep I’m currently getting. Life is still so sweet. It can be hard, but it’s oh so sweet.

{Here’s to a life we can enjoy in the moment we have it, and worry less about what we don’t have.}

With love,

Aunt Megs

The Soundtrack of My Life

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Dear Avery,music

I love movies. I especially love movies with incredible soundtracks. I often feel like music can play a character of its own if it’s good enough. I’ve loved song lyrics for as long as I could remember — so when you pair that with a scene without words — and somehow they go together — it’s magical to me.

My favorite soundtrack of all-time is from the movie “Garden State”. It became a favorite movie of mine because of how perfect the music fit with the film.

Sometimes when I’m in the moment, I often wonder what song would be playing if it my life were a movie. This sparked an idea of this post — with the best part being — in 10 years this list might change. More songs will affect me differently, and new songs will be created. Oh, the fun that is to come!

{What would the soundtrack of my life be?}

If I were walking down the beach at sunset, the songs that would play:

  • “Snails” – The Format
  • “New Slang” – The Shins
  • “American Honey” – Lady Antebellum
  • “Three little birds” – Bob Marley
  • “Man on Fire” – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

If the boy I loved was thinking about me:

  • “Magic” – Coldplay
  • “She’s Got a Way” – Billy Joel
  • “Have I Told You Lately” – Van Morrison
  • “A Sky Full of Stars” – Coldplay
  • “Always Be” – Jimmy Eat World
  • “Angel Eyes” – Love and Theft

If I were thinking about the boy I loved:

  • “Bright” – Echosmith
  • “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” – Death Cab for Cutie
  • “Falling Slowly” – Glen Hansard
  • “Make You Feel My Love” – Adele
  • “Sparks Fly” – Taylor Swift

If I were kissed in the rain (the passionate – pouring down rain – under a streetlamp kiss!):

  • “Stolen” – Dashboard Confessional
  • “Till Kingdom Come” – Coldplay
  • “Into the mystic” – Van Morrison
  • “These are the Times” – Van Morrison — I’d slow dance in the rain to this one.:)
  • “Holocene” – Bon Iver

If I were driving down the pacific coast highway with the top down:

  • “Just a ride” – Jem
  • “Hero” – Family of the year
  • “Forever Young” – Bob Dylan
  • “Such great heights” – Postal Service
  • “Free” – Zac Brown Band

If I were going through a rocky stage of a relationship:

  • “Yet” – Switchfoot
  • “Let her go” – Passenger
  • “We are broken” – Paramore
  • “The Best Deceptions”‘ – Dashboard Confessional
  • “Ships in the Night” – Matt Kearney
  • “Mess is Mine” – Vance Joy

If I were on a party bus with my girlfriends:

  • “We R Who We R” – Kesha
  • “Single Ladies” – Beyonce
  • “Royals” – Lorde
  • “Wanna be” – Spice Girls — because this one is nostalgic!
  • “Hypnotize” – Notorious B.I.G

If we took a flashback to my adolescence:

  • “What I got” – Sublime
  • “Sweet Child O Mine” – Guns N Roses
  • “Hey Jude” – The Beatles
  • “Sweet Home Alabama” – Lynyrd Skynyrd

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For more, have a look at my pinterest board of some of my song favorite lyrics. I spent lots of nights wandering through these words!

It would be my great pleasure for you to find these songs one day, and listen to them, like I hear them. And I’d love to hear the soundtrack of your life –

because all you need is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.

With love,

Aunt Megs

#IfIWere22

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Dear Avery,

I came across this fantastic idea for a blog series called “If I were 22”. The series was inspired by the well-respected and thought provoking President of The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington.reflection

I love this idea of going back to an age that is quite possibly one of the scariest yet exciting times of your life. At 22, you are fresh out of college, the world is your oyster, and you have no idea what is to come. Will you succeed in your career? Will you fail? Will find a partner to share your life with right away? Will stay where you are, or will you move? You’ll have so many questions and so little answers. Take a minute to think back and reflect on what you’ve learned, who you’ve turned out to be thus far, and the dreaming of what’s to come… is something I find myself doing often.

Personally, I had just graduated, was planning a wedding, and had no job. I’ve ALWAYS had a job. For 4 months, I searched and searched for a job to fulfill my psychology major dream… but learned that it was not that easy. Most jobs of that nature required so much more schooling and experience. What I’m trying to say, my career track didn’t go to plan… in fact, turned out better than I ever imagined.

But life at that time is more than your career, its personal too.

Here’s what’s to come at 22:

  • If you end up living in your college town, realize that not everyone will do that. Some friends will move, and some will stay. You will ultimately need to restart your networking efforts.
  • The real world gave you an out for being a naïve college student, but now you are an adult. You have bills to pay for yourself, now. Woohoo!
  • You’ll learn a lot about yourself: your limits, your expectations, your desires, etc
  • Drama and acne never really go away. You think these two things will go away after your schooling years. But no, they come back in all forms.
  • You’ll find that some people are completely happy with doing mundane work and tasks with no real desire to do more. You’ll find people who put in 110% every day to move up as quickly as they can. You’ll also find people who are somewhere in-between. You’ll learn to deal with everyone in their own ways.
  • Calling your mom will be more important now than ever. Keep doing that. It’s good for both of you.
  • Finding a life partner will be hard for some, and easy for others. Try your hardest to resist the urge to compare what others have and you don’t.
  • Loud bar scenes become less and less fun. Finding a quiet wine bar to sit and enjoy your company becomes well worth it. Wine bars? Say what?? Yeah, I wouldn’t have believed that at 22 either.😉
  • If you are ever given the opportunity to travel, you’ll regret it if don’t take advantage. You aren’t too tied down to anything yet… so go.

My twenties (yes, I’m still in them) have been the best years of my life, and at 22, you are only just beginning the adventure. So enjoy!

With love,

Aunt Megs