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Friday, February 28, 2020

1 month without social media

This weekend marks 1 whole month without social media (Instagram and Facebook). It’s not the first time I’ve deactivated my accounts, but it’s the first time I’ve ever gone a full 30 days. It feels like just yesterday I decided to take a break. Now, here I am, 4 weeks later. 

I’m not going to lie, the first week was hard. Not hard in the sense like, “OMG I miss social media,” but hard in the sense that I didn’t realize what a habit social media was. Bored—check social media. Wake up in the morning—check social media. Laying in bed at night—check social media. A free minute to spare—check social media. After not having it for 4 weeks, I look back and think holy f, that’s a lot of time spent on social media. 

So what’s been the takeaway from 30 days without social media?

Wasted time 
Damn, I think we’re all guilty of this, but I think we all waste a lot of precious time on social media. I started to think about how much of my everyday life is spent scrolling through these little cyber worlds that, for all intents and purposes, are not real life. When you think about it, are we ever going to look back and think, “Wow, I really enjoyed all those hours I spent on social media.” Of course not! I will admit, social media does have its perks. I’ve actually learned a lot about health and fitness, nutrition, psychology, fashion, business, etc. from some of the accounts I follow… but it still doesn’t substitute for real life. Without social media, I’ve been more apt to pick up a book, get out of the house to do something new, and honestly, I’ve slept more soundly not checking social media right before I go to bed. As much as I hate to admit it, social media is a lot of wasted time. 

Knowing Less
Two couples I know got engaged, someone else announced a pregnancy, and a few others posted wedding pics and baby pics…and I knew nothing, because I saw nothing. I found out by word of mouth (like the old fashioned way) through my sister and friends. Honestly, this was the most refreshing thing about taking a break from social media. Knowing less about everyone else. Sometimes I think about the fact that I’m up to date on peoples’ everyday lives that I have not seen since I graduated high school. Let me say that again, I keep up with people that I have not physically seen in 9 years. 9 friggin’ years!! That sounds crazy, because well, it kind of is (lol)! Knowing less about everyone else has felt freeing. It’s honestly kind of refreshing to see my friends and not know what they’ve been doing (or eating, drinking, etc.) since the last time I saw them. And it’s damn well refreshing not to know what everyone I’m not in contact with (including insta strangers I don’t know personally) are up to. Sometimes, less is best. 

Mystery 
This social media break was inspired by a guy I met this winter out at the bars. Attractive, outgoing, and a bad boy (totally my type). When I went to look him up on social media to see what he was about, he was no where to be found. He has no Facebook. No Instagram. No Snapchat. No social media. No anything. Some might find that weird, but to me, that’s hella attractive. It only made him more interesting and appealing in my eyes. I got to thinking that we as humans, are intrigued by those in which we know nothing about. Anyone and anything we don't know too much about, are always more fascinating. Mystery is sexy.

Dreams
Without social media (aka keeping up with everyone else), I started to think more about me. What do I want? Who do I want to be? What do I want to do? Where do I want to go? Sometimes you can see/think/hear more clearly without the influence of millions of other people. I started making a bucket list based on what I think is cool, based on what’s important to me, based on what I want to look back on and be proud that I did. Some of it may be far fetched, some of it may be nerdy, some of it may be crazy…but you know what, it’s me. It’s what I dream about and that’s what matters.

End of the Comparison Game
We are so overly consumed with the lives, or should I say highlight reels, of everyone else…that we compare our lives, our bodies, our finances, our goals, our families, our whatever…to everyone and everything else that isn’t reality. Taking a break from social media put that in perspective for me. Like most girls my age, I am so hard on myself and my body. Social media creates so many thoughts that would have never been there in the first place—“If I don’t look like an Instagram model, then I must not be attractive,” “If I’m not traveling the world, I’m not living a cool life,” “If I’m not making millions, my job must not matter,” “If I’m not married with 2 kids by now, I’m a loser and a reject.” The list goes on. The more time I’ve spent away from social media, the more content I feel with my life. I’m not comparing my life to others, nor am I putting my life out there to be viewed or judged. It’s been freeing as f*ck. 

No Negativity 
Holy mother of pearl. This was the main reason I decided to take a break from social media, nega-f*cking-tivity. I hate negativity. I hate negative posts. I have negative people. I hate hateful people. I hate fake people. I hate fake news. I’ve learned to unfriend and unfollow the f*ck out of anyone that’s not uplifting. Anything negative, I like to live without. My world is brighter and more positive without it. Just like I like it. The less negativity, the better. Sometimes, the less social media in my life, the happier I am. 

1 month without social media and I can’t say that I’ve really missed it. I’m sure I’ll get it back at one point or antoher— could be next week, a month from now, or maybe never. But what I’ve learned after 30 days (also what I’ve known for a while), I’m an old fashioned gal, who prefers the old fashioned way of life. The simplicity of I'll see you when I see you. 

Keep on keepin’ on—
XX, Laura

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

whatever you’re holding on to is holding you back

I am in one of those transitional times of my life again where I find myself questioning—am I happy where I’m at? Am I happy where I’m living? Am I inspired? Am I challenged? Am I having fun? Am I who I want to be? Am I doing what I want to be doing? The list goes on… 

I kind of lived in reverse from most people my age. I tried going away to college, wasn’t my thing. I came home, got my 2 year degree at a community college in my hometown. I went to work for our family business. I had my own home at age 22. I partied occasionally, went out every few months (literally once, every few months). Took a few years to soul search and figure out who I was. I spent some time in other states—a westward road trip to Colorado, ski bumming in Utah, beach bumming in Florida. Realized I hated owning a home, eventually sold it. Got my first apartment in a small city. At 26 years old, I started to party every weekend. Meanwhile, most of my friends started to settle down—engagements (if they’re not already married), buying homes, having children (if they don’t already have one or two)—and I could not be happier for them—however, that is sooooo not where I’m at. 

I am in a wild phase of my life. I know it, my parents know it, and I’m pretty sure some of my friends know it. I’ve done things this past year that I’ve never done before—including living like I just don’t give a f. Questionable decisions, questionable moments, questionable people. I threw my cell phone number around like it was a coupon. I stayed out until 3 in the morning more times than I care to admit. I spent too much time in the sun. I drank way too much wine. Threw back a few too many tequila shots. I might have gained a wrinkle or two, lost some sleep, overloaded my liver with alcohol, and spent the most money I’ve ever spent on travel…but I can happily say, I have no regrets. 

My dad taught me a lot growing up, but something that always stuck with me was, “Pay attention.” Those two, simple words, pay attention—and pay attention I did. I am always observing people around me, people I’ve known forever, people I’ve known for 5 minutes, people in the news, acquaintances in my hometown, people I observe from afar. I’ve paid attention to marriages, friendships, people in their careers, level of happiness, etc. I’ve also studied language and body language. I’ve learned a lot by observing—a lot of good, a lot of not so good. I’m never going to judge another’s life (because I haven’t lived it), but I can observe what I see (and take note) and decide that that’s never going to be me. 

I am 26 years old and all I want to do is have the time of my life. 

I am not interested in settling down, getting married (anytime soon at least), having kids, owning a home, and most importantly, I am not interested in letting the fun stop anytime soon. I realize that that's not the norm for most women my age.

So what am I interested in right now? Living my life to the fullest, based on what I want that to be. Living life to the fullest looks different to everybody, but to me…that means going after my dreams, which includes having a successful blog, a lot of traveling (my first love), a lot of good food and wine, trying fun restaurants, exploring new cities, fun parties and events, snorkeling in Fiji (or Bora Bora, the Maldives, the Great Barrier Reef), going back to Monaco to witness the Grand Prix in Monte Carlo, going back to Italy to take a cooking class, going back to Greece (and hopefully on my honeymoon someday), visiting Ireland, Scotland, Germany, London (+sooo many other European counties), visiting every state in the US that I possibly can, eventually becoming a philanthropist, being the healthiest version of myself… (my long, long list goes on).

My point is, everyone has a different way of living their life. Society has a way of telling you, “this is what’s important,” but I’m telling you, f*ck society. You have to go with your heart. Go with your gut. What is it that you can’t stop thinking about? What do you want to do with your life? What’s most important? What are you afraid to do? What will make you happiest? Figure it out and find a way.

I had an hour (plus) conversation on the phone with my sister tonight and I told her my thoughts about where I’m at and what I want. She thinks I’m bat shit crazy…and I understand her point of view, but I don’t feel the same way. I never want to look back on my life and think, “I could have tried that,” or “I could have done that.” I joked with her that every crazy idea I’ve ever had, I did. Every place I wanted to move, I did. I am truly a girl with no regrets. Shit, not everything worked out in my favor… but I went for it, I tried. More often than not, I hear people say, “I always wanted to…but I never did.” In my humble, 26 year old, what does she know advice… don’t let that be you. Just f*cking go for it. Go against the odds. Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?” If you can deal with that consequence, then go balls to the wall with your decision. 

I’m going to end this post with a quote from my favorite bartender in Naples, Florida:
 “Whatever you’re holding onto, is holding you back.” 

Keep on keepin’ on—
XX, Laura

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

a whirlwind trip to washington, d.c.

This past weekend, the opportunity arose to take a last minute (literally down to the last minute) get out of town trip—and I went for it. I packed my bags, boarded my dog, and hit the road for 6.5 hours to head down to Washington, D.C. 

I had been to D.C. once before with my family when my sister and I were little, but I didn't remember too much. I do remember going to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and being in awe! I was at an age when this was the first I had ever learned about The Holocaust. Other than that, I remember we stayed at the iconic InterContinental, The Willard Hotel- located just two blocks from The White House. 

This time around, I stayed at the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Ave. I have had the pleasure of staying in many luxury hotels in my lifetime, but this one quickly became one of my favorites. Not only is it a beautiful hotel, but it was actually the Old Post Office of Washington, D.C. completed in 1899. Everything about the hotel was absolutely stunning, down to every detail—including the crystal chandeliers, beautiful (and heavenly comfortable) beds, marble bathrooms, the top shelf liquor and snacks in the room, and even the room keys (!!). Not to mention, the staff was so friendly (and happy), accommodating, and so appreciative. 


The bar in the lobby was my absolute favorite—and filled with interesting people, which always makes for an interesting night. 

The hotel was in a perfect location in downtown which made for easy exploring. Aside from walking around, on Sunday I opted to do a private guided tour of all the famous monuments and landmarks. It cost me a pretty penny, but was soooooo worth my while. You learn so much more when you’re with someone who knows all the history. We visited many of the main sights: The Capitol, Washington Monument, National Mall, Lincoln Memorial (including the reflecting pool), The White House, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial (which was so moving), Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, and the National Archives Museum to name a few. In my hotel itself was the Old Post Office’s Clock Tower in which you ride up a glass elevator to panoramic views of the city. It was spectacular. I had the best day. The older I get, the more I appreciate history and learning about our ancestors. 

I honestly had the most amazing time in Washington, D.C. My time there flew by so quickly, I hated to leave. Here are a few other takeaways from my weekend away:

From an older French man at the hotel bar, “If you have good weed, you don’t need expensive champagne.” 

—People remember people who are kind to them (you might even get free wine)

—The president needs an invitation to enter The Capitol building (I did not know this) 

—Get out of town, gain perspective 

—Sometimes the best therapy is a long drive and good music

—“Humility will open more doors than arrogance ever will.” 

Keep on keepin’ on—
XX, Laura