Get you some gals who can do it all (Happy International Women’s Day!)

Four and a half years ago, I went to Europe for the first time. I’d saved up a little money and bought a spot on a loosely-guided tour through Contiki to London, Paris, and Rome. I went completely by myself, without knowing anyone or having much planned out.

That’s where I met Kristina and Mary.


Kristina was my randomly-assigned roommate, who had a cheery disposition and a habit of touring hard all day and still going out at night. She was also one of the very few people who went on to Rome after Paris, and we got some real quality power-touristing time in together.

Mary was that take-charge person who had all these guidebooks and knew what things we had to do in each city. I, like many others, gravitated toward her during the trip.

After the trip was over, we made a lot of promises to see each other. I didn’t really expect it to pan out, as hopeful as I was. But less than a year later, I met up with them for a US-based Oktoberfest celebration. We wore dirndls daily and drank way too much beer.


Since then, we’ve been all over the world together (sometimes just two of us at a time, too).

When your primary relationship with someone is travel, it’s easy to not really get to know the other person. You’re not a part of their daily lives, so you miss out on a lot of the conversations about things like the person you’re dating, or the weird interaction with your boss, or the things that your parents said when you last saw them. But something started to shift in my friendship with Kristina and Mary. We would take breaks from sightseeing to watch trashy TV (mostly Bravo) and drink beers in our room. We’d have real conversations over dinner or while waiting in line. It started to feel like a genuine and meaningful friendship.

I began to learn a lot about them and understand our ‘roles.’ We are all major planners — which is probably an obvious, since we all travel so much — so we split the burden on putting together these trips. Mary always finds the deals and always has some sort of connection who can hook us up with some new experience (or, frequently, access to Vegas pool parties). Kristina handles a lot of logistics, like the time we went to Calgary Stampede in Canada and she had pre-purchased all of our transportation and scheduled us down to the minute. (It. Was. AMAZING!) And I generally will make sure we have reservations for any meal. (Priorities.)

I learned that Kristina and Mary are both engineers — one oil, one airplane — and I know where they went to college, where they grew up, where their parents live and how many siblings they have. We’ve talked about our exes, our partners, our plans for the future. We’ve taken painfully necessary naps after late nights and gotten each other Pedialyte and Sprite. And they put together a hell of a special Bachelorette experience when they accepted my request to be my two Maids-of-Honor.

They are the definition of rally-ers. They can dance at a Parisian club all night and get comp’d bottles of Grey Goose, then still make it on the bus to Versailles the next day. (True story.) They are true joy in woman form. They are intelligent, hilarious, amicable, contented, organized, weird, enthusiastic, confident, and two super fabulous human beings. They can wear un-laundered dirnls three days in a row and consume all-you-can-consume sausage and beer, then give a killer toast and embrace all your guests at your wedding. They can do it all. They are exemplary women to celebrate any day, but especially today on International Women’s Day. And I’m so glad they became more than just my travel friends.

Universal wedding advice

Are you getting married? It feels like 97% of people on my social media feeds are engaged or newlyweds, so the odds are that yes, you are getting married. Congratulations. You have probably already noticed that people love to give you their unsolicited advice. Like me, you probably grin and bear it. Maybe you took away a couple nuggets of wisdom. But ultimately you’re just gonna do your thing.

Well, here’s my unsolicited advice! Why should you listen? I was told by TWO of my vendors — on the day of my wedding — that I was the calmest bride they’d worked with. And here’s my guarantee: I have included only the absolute best, most impactful, easiest to implement, non-personal, and truly universal top three tips that I can offer. You won’t hear what to give as favors or what type of DJ to book. ALL you will receive here are the three things that made the wedding genuinely less stressful and so much more joyful.

1. Lots of people WILL forget to RSVP. Almost a third of my invitees did not RSVP on time. It felt shitty but it’s just the way people are so brace yourself now. On the due date, I sent everyone a mass text giving them a new deadline (five days later) and said if they didn’t reply in time I would assume they were out. I also enlisted my in-laws to message their family members that I didn’t know very well.

2. Makeup and hair WILL run long,
so book your HMU artists to arrive earlier than they suggest is necessary. Mine arrived at 8:30am for my 4:30pm ceremony.

3. Take all your photos before the wedding even starts.
You may not be willing to do a “first look.” Your prerogative! If that’s the case, skip this. But if you are thinking about (or definitely doing) a first look, try your absolute darnedest to have your photographer take ALL your portraits (with the groom, with your girls, with family) before your ceremony begins. The wedding is your precious few hours to revel in the pure joy that happens when you love someone and are surrounded by people from all different corners of your worlds that you love. You will never have this time back, so be selfish with it and get all your portraits done first! I did it like this: We had a 4:30pm ceremony, which meant i needed to be in “hiding” by 3:30. I had the photographer arrive at noon for getting ready pics, then I got the dress on at 2pm, did my first look, took bridal party pics, then at 3:00pm we did family pics. (My family was instructed to arrive by 3:00pm.) We were done with everything and got some time to relax in the bridal suite. Then, after the ceremony, we got a few quick sunset pics, but we got almost the entire cocktail hour to talk to our guests and have a great time!

Venue: Casa Real at Ruby Hill Winery
Photographer: Daniel Neal Photography
Florals: LC Floral Design
Dress: designed by Robert Bullock; purchased at BoLee Bridal Couture
Hair & makeup: Lacee Deniz

What did you do to make your wedding less stressful? Was anyone else calm on their wedding day?

Millennialism in the Age of Instagram

October 6, 2010: The day that Millennial marketing changed forever.

You’re wracking your brain right now. What happened on October 6, 2010? Is that when Kendall Jenner was born? That can’t be right. Is that the day that avocado toast was invented, effectively ruining the housing market? That’s probably it. Is the avocado shortage still happening? I wonder if Chipotle is charging even more for guac now. Is it ethically OK to be selling guac at all? 

I know. I went through the same thing. But nay, October 6, 2010, is the day that Instagram launched in the App Store. I had a Blackberry (you know, to BBM) at the time, and I didn’t have the big data package because back then you didn’t have to use your ‘smart’ phone to do anything besides text and call. I didn’t get instagram until that Blackberry got left behind in a cab and I just said ‘screw it’ and got an iPhone instead of using my insurance to get another Blackberry. It was early 2012.


On January 18, 2018, I arrived at the Museum of Ice Cream’s San Francisco location. I was wearing a white dress, specifically chosen to fit in with all the pinks, purples, oranges, and more pinks. I had a giant DLSR camera hanging from my shoulder and a face full of makeup. I was ready to go through this experience solely because Instagram told me to.

You see, the Museum of Ice Cream is one of the many institutions that’s designed specifically for the uber-Millennial “Instagram culture.” It begs for you to take out your phone or camera, snap pictures, pose with it, and post it online. They don’t need a marketing team: Their designers make irresistible attractions, and Millennials WILL post it online. (I want to take a moment to point out that I am sharing this over ONE MONTH after I went there, because I am so #subversive #rulebreaking #nonconformist.)


For the record, I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all. It’s brilliant. I love living in the Age of Instagram, because I live in a culture where almost everything is made to be beautiful, interesting, compelling, unique, or some combination of these traits. It serves as an excellent distraction to life’s realities and as a point of joy for an aesthetically-minded person.

I struggle sometimes with the vocal critiques of the Millennial generation, not wanting to be defined simply for being born during a certain timeframe. But thankfully, it’s one of the oldest “sure things” in life, to have each different generation criticize the others. It’s the most reliable pendulum that I know: Baby Boomers were criticized by the Great Depression-era Traditionalists; Baby Boomers hate Gens X & Y (Y is Millennials); I have no idea what Fetty Wap is but assume that she/he/it is beloved by Gen Z and therefore I will pretend like they are so strange for liking this thing that I do not know. I take a bit of comfort in that. It’s not about me as a Millennial, with my toasts avocado and my specific shade of pink and my aversion to Big Macs (I really have never had one! V Millennial of me). It’s about a very reliable, observable psychological trend. I am proud to be part of the most educated generation on record. I think it’s funny that so many Millennials say they are “different” and they “don’t feel like they fit into the Millennial category” — a very Millennial thing to say. And I freakin’ love Instagram.

So to all those other generations out there: I vow to complain occasionally about you, and I promise that I will train my future children to do the same, so that you can enjoy the Millennial generation’s gorgeous restaurants and bars and museums and hotels that are all very Instagrammable, whether you know it or not. ♥

No, I will not get over it.

Within the last year, I made a point to delete Facebook friends that I would surely never talk to again. This included people that I had met only once or twice, people who were in college classes but I never kept in touch with, or people who had added me because of a mutual friend but that I never actually met. Because manually sifting through a list of over 1000 connections was an impossibly mind-numbing task, I removed connections as they popped up in my Facebook news feed. Eventually, a couple people that I barely knew began posting statements justifying Donald Trump’s behavior. These people were removed.

All the people I deleted from my Facebook connections were people that I didn’t really know, though. Since clearing out the people with whom I’d likely never cross paths again, I made a conscious decision: I would not delete people I knew based on their politics. Instead, these people are canonized in my connections as long as they don’t delete me. Because I want to see your beliefs, and I want you to see mine. I want you to know that women who march for the rights of ALL people are not hippies or raging, violent protesters. I want you to see that I am educated, tolerant, and speak real facts (government-issued lies are called propaganda, Sean Spicer).

I encourage anyone who disagrees with what I or anyone else believes to not delete us as connections. I encourage you to keep us in your news feed, to learn what and why we believe. For this same reason, I will not delete you for your beliefs. I want to know what you’re thinking, posting, feeling. The more well-educated I can be about your side, the better I can share with you mine.

I grew up in Christianity, and I still cling to my faith. One of the most important things I learned as an attendee of Christian school K-12 is to know your scripture and beliefs inside and out, challenge them, and be deeply acquainted with all the arguments against your faith. This makes you a greater witness to others, able to answer the questions that they have and the problems they raise with your beliefs. The same is true of political beliefs and thoughts on civil rights. Educate yourselves. Do not create a virtual echo chamber of your own beliefs.

Today I want to begin by addressing the numerous posts I’ve seen to “get over it,” that “he’s our president now so accept it.” I do accept that he is our president. Because he is. But when during the inauguration did a law pass that I am forced to accept what he believes in? That law does not exist, and I am not going to be quiet about my beliefs.


Millions of people (women, men, Christian, Muslim, atheist, black, white, bi, gay, trans, agender, Americans, Australian, South American, Asian, European, African, visitors of Antarctica, immigrants of all statuses, disabled) around the world stood together, and with a few abhorrent exceptions, the groups were peaceful and energized and firmly principled in their morals. Walking through the SF Women’s March was likely the most inspiring experience I’ve had in person.

I do not agree with any of the protesters who damaged other people’s property or acted violently in any way or who intimidated pro-Trump protesters of the protests. They do not represent what millions of other human beings stood for yesterday and believe every day. This is just like how you, if you are pro-Trump, probably do not identify with the small pockets of people who have literally grabbed women’s ‘pussies’ and have said, “I can get away with that now!” I’ll bet you also don’t appreciate how a group of white supremacists support Trump, including actual Nazi Richard Spencer.  I bet you know that Obamacare and ACA are the same thing. You probably know “alternative facts” are lies and that inauguration turnout for Trump was very significantly lower than it was for either Obama inauguration and that Washington, DC, didn’t have a shortage of dresses for sale and I’ll bet you think that Meryl Streep is an extremely talented actress.

I vow to not write you off as a racist, as a white supremacist, as a person who doesn’t believe in my rights. I want you to do me the courtesy of knowing that I am not smashing windows of a Starbucks, I am not refusing to listen to your beliefs, and when I say participate in a “women’s march” I am not ignoring the rights of so many other groups.

It is your right to voice that I should “get over it,” but I want you to know that you saying that is not enough. You are not effecting any change by just saying “get over it.” I can promise you I will not get over it until I see factual evidence that I am somehow in the wrong on my beliefs. It is my constitutional right to protest as long as I do it legally. It is my right to free speech. It is my right to want tolerance for people in hijabs or with more melanin than me. It is my right to care — deeply — that I can make decisions for my own body and health. Try telling a woman who suffers from endometriosis that she can’t access the birth control pills that she MEDICALLY needs. (I support the right to BC no matter what, but in this example, you can’t argue moral implications.) Imagine a person who was sexually assaulted hear their attacker say, “There’s no way I assaulted that person, because they are not attractive enough.” Now try to take a guess why I am not going to just “get over it.” I’d guess there are some things you don’t agree with in this (or a past or future) administration, even if you voted for the person who champions those things. I beg of you: don’t ever get over it.

The biggest pending lawsuit will be Trump v. Womankind

I basically never get political (somehow that makes me sound more legit right? Pls say yes), and I realize I’m sharing a buzzfeed post and not something by a more esteemed outlet. But I happened to see this and I felt compelled. 
I keep trying to convince myself that Trump as POTUS can’t possibly be that bad. That his legislation will get blocked in congress. That my rights, at least as a white Christian person, fall under what Trump would protect the most. I could use my privilege to help fight for the ones who will be most negatively affected by him. Right?
But all this is idealistic and false, because I am a woman, and Donald Trump views me as someone whose worth is attached to my sexuality and appearance. Donald Trump will, over time, penetrate congress with people who support his ideas. Today, there is finally a platform for feminist voices to redefine society’s understanding of what constitutes sexual harassment and sexual violence. If Trump is inaugurated in 2017, I am extremely afraid of how I will be treated. And I fear for the rights of those who are also women, or non-white, or non-Christian, or — and I can’t believe I’m saying this — not very good-looking, because even those who don’t fit his definition of beauty will, at the least, be susceptible to bullying if their paths shall ever cross with a President Donald Trump. 
My hope is that finally the business practices of Donald Trump will catch up to him and that this Trump University thing finally is confirmed as a felony-level fraud and he gets put away in prison before taking ownership of the most visible seat in America’s government. I’d write a joke here about hoping someone “takes care of him,” too, but I’m pretty sure that he’ll start reading all social media posts about himself if given that power, and I don’t want him to sue me.  
PS: I really hope no one writes in the comments trying to debate me or say I wasn’t inclusive enough here. I have no idea how to wax political. Pls cut me some slack. Love you!