Boring Adult Things

“Before 30”

Tonight, I close the door on one era of my life and open another. It’s the last night of my twenties, and tomorrow I hit the dreaded 3-0 decade.

So much has happened since I turned 20. So much has happened even since I started this blog four years ago.

I’ve traveled four continents. Swum with sting rays and surfed (poorly). Spent years traveling to resorts and Caribbean-hopping for my job. Started my own business, which is going better than I could have imagined. I wrote three books, have spent endless time (and stupid money) renovating this house, our first home. I’ve found a new love for my wonderful husband. Traveled with my dad, got closer with my sister, settled a little bit in my spirituality, and challenged myself physically with mountain climbs, yoga, and 15ks. Everything is such a friggin’ balance that it feels like you really nail one thing in life, everything else suffers. It’s always an act of managing the spinning plates.

Most shockingly, and perhaps most importantly, Brandon and I brought a new life into the world – our amazing, sweet, strong-willed, beautiful Cameron. He has folded into our lives so seamlessly, and we wonder what life was like before him. He is my everything, but at the same time, he isn’t. I’m still me. I’m still annoyed that age continues to slide over my life like a dark cloud, I still have dreams, I still have friends. But Cameron has made all of it so much more challenging and enriching.

I have seen my husband through new eyes in these last few months. He has always been caring, but I have never seen a better and more loving father. I wanted to get closer to Brandon in this Before 30 journey; little did I know it would take something I never would have expected to include on my list to make that happen.

I hate aging. I really do. I haven’t embraced it at all yet. My whole childhood, I sprinted toward the finish line to be older and more respected. Somewhere around 24, I screeched to a halt. Slow down, I thought. Let’s let this marinate for a minute.

But life has a funny way of not listening to you, and my body doesn’t respond the way it used to, hangovers really suck now, my face isn’t fresh, and I’ll never be the cool one in the room again. (Not that I ever especially was.) I look back at photos from 10 years ago and I still think I look like that. I don’t.

What’s interesting, though, is in these last few months, I’ve cared a little less about those things. I’m seeing the world through a new set of eyes and experiencing life brand new again. Cameron is fearless, thrilled to encounter everything, and un-jaded by a world in which it’s especially easy to feel jaded, angry, and “less than.” I hated that we were bringing him into a world so rocked by turmoil in our country, but little did I know he’d be my rock and solace as we wade through it. I just hope he’s too young to remember any of this garbage.

So tomorrow, at 7:01pm, I will be 30. My list will begin anew with some grand plans before 40 (which I hear is the new 30). I haven’t accepted it yet, and I wish I could age more gracefully.

But time marches on, the body starts to sag, and I am reminded every day of all the fun and adventures I still have ahead of me. They aren’t on a big bucket list, and maybe I’ve done some of them before. But it’s the big, bright, happy eyes I’ll be viewing them through that will make all the difference.

Boring Adult Things

Making Moves

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. I left my position at the tech company to forge my own path as a consultant, and it’s been up and down as I transition. There is a weird uneasiness to having my day be at my discretion, and the paychecks be inconsistent. But I’m lucky to have a supportive husband, a great network, and good opportunities. So far, I don’t have regrets.

I’m excited to take on this venture. My time spent training so many people on the ins and outs of digital marketing has me feeling that much more confident in my skills, being able to take people from square one to fully ramped in very little time. From my side, I was challenged to take on a more technical track than I’d anticipated, learning the ropes of ad server tagging and measurement, so I could quickly become a subject matter expert in a field I in which I had no background. It was scary but fulfilling. It wasn’t where I wanted to go for my career, but it was a confidence boost I needed.

If you care to read more on my career and what exactly I do, check out my professional blog, Millennial Advocate (a bit of a tongue-in-cheek reference, as my approach is pretty tough-love based).

On the personal front, I’m continuing my guitar lessons and will be finishing up a recording of an original song, “Prey,” over the next month or so. I hope to have my next book, Paris to Phuket: My Life in Airmiles published in the next month or so as well (assuming someone gives me my marked-up hard copy draft back… yes, Jason, I’m talking to you). I suspect by May 2017 I will not own a second home or have seen a wonder of the world. I probably also won’t have found spiritual enlightenment. But I do hope to have taken that road trip with Brandon. And we are going on more walks together. So 25 (or whatever it is) out of 30 isn’t half bad.

Here’s to living the life you dream, and taking the road less traveled. I don’t know if it will be my forever. But it’s a refreshing place to be for now.


Rocky Mountain High

Well, I feel simultaneously stupid and proud, which is a unique feeling.

Dad and I headed over to climb Flattop Mountain on Sunday; you can see the excitement and fear on my face in the picture we took of the sign clearly pointing to the right to take us to the trail:


So, obviously, we headed off to the left. You know, in the wrong direction. Because Dad and I share the beautiful trait of Terrible Navigational Skills.

A little over a mile down the path, all on a fairly steep incline, and asked some guy with his family which direction Flattop Mountain was.

He looked at us, confused. “About a mile and a half in the other direction, then up 4 and a half miles,” he said. “This is the trail to Emerald Lake. You’ll have to turn around if you want to hike Flattop – unless you want to climb a glacier,” he laughed.


I was clear with Dad I was not adding a 3 mile round-trip detour to our hike, so we thought we’d see what the glacier looked like. Um, pretty glacier-like:


Note the scale of the person in this picture – unless you want to swim across the near-freezing lake, you’ve got to climb boulders and snow all the way around to hit the top of the glacier. Which, of course, we tried.

View from the middle of the glacier.

After some bouldering and difficult navigation, we realized the other side of the glacier was likely much more difficult to get down than the scaling had been – and that hadn’t been particularly easy or safe. So we turned back. However, I’m still counting it as a win, because the bouldering and snow hiking was pretty intense, I got a great workout, and this is all on top of a 3.5-mile trail hike, so hey, I’m celebrating.


We climbed back down the boulders and I decided this was a good time to get my handstand pic in Colorado. Unfortunately, the ground wasn’t flat, and I overestimated my balancing skills:


I found flat ground near a tree and gave it another shot:


Anyway, check out a few more pics from our fun-filled trip – including a brewery, a horseback ride through the Rockies, a distillery, a trip to Wyoming for one more handstand picture, and a ghost tour of the hotel that inspired The Shining (The Stanley).

So you know what? Trip = a Success, and I count this as my mountain climb, because it was certainly an adventure, it was a challenging workout, and we went all the way to Colorado for it. Two more states I’ve never been to before – and one I probably wouldn’t go back to (Wyoming)!

Your talented hiker friend, over and out.


Boring Adult Things

Oh Hi There – I Hate You

No, not you. Not my dear reader.

I hate you, my first two wrinkles, appearing unexpectedly on the right side of my forehead.

No, I don’t forgive you for intruding on my bathroom mirror image, appearing as a reminder of my stress and new, wonderfully startling march toward bodily decay.

I think it’s really uncool that you pop up as a result of ongoing mental anguish and probably some body abuse over the course of a woman’s lifetime. We women who operate under anxiety are warriors, dammit, and you’re just the icing on the cake. It should be people who are carefree hippies prancing through lily fields that get wrinkles; they’ve got everything else going for them – it would be like some sort of karma to even out the stress levels in the world.

I shouldn’t care about these evil monsters creeping their way across my forehead, but I do. I’ve grown up as the baby of my friend groups; the oldest of my family but the impressive ingenue of my peers. College at a young age is a great carpet ride of surprised guffaws and easy darts to the finish line. The expectations are low for the kid who’s consistently 2 years younger. Yes, I did start my first job before I was able to (legally) drink; oh, humble humble, it’s no big deal. Whether I was good at it is irrelevant.

Well, it was a big deal; it was a big deal to me. Not to outright impress other people, but to feel like I was somehow ahead in the race against the world. Beating myself out against my own goals and sprinting toward some untold finish line that now has slowed me to a crawl. I’ve realized that in this marathon I’ve made into a sprint, the finish line is death, and it’s prefaced by a long, long jog uphill once you get about 1/4 of the way through. Adorable.

Needless to say, I’m not the girl who will age gracefully. As always, I will age willfully. There is little in this world I haven’t achieved when my mind is set on it, and now I’m wearing that fierceness on my face. So fuck you, little wrinkles; I’ve got bigger fish to fry. And if I decide to blast you away one of these days with some poison in my head, I will give zero fucks. This is my life and you two little assholes are just living in it.


Climb Every Mountain, Or Really Just Any Mountain

My dad apparently thinks my exercise experience of late has been frantically lifting Doritos into my mouth (not wholly far off), because his latest email to me about our potential mountain climbing adventure reads:

“Climbing uphill is nothing like walking or running; it’s very hard physical labor.”

Thanks, Dad. As if it wasn’t already intimidating enough to have your 56-year-old father in better shape than you.

(This isn’t entirely inaccurate: last Christmas, we went on a 5-mile run together and I ended up shitting in the woods. SHITTING IN THE WOODS LIKE A BEAR. Yes, I had food poisoning, but it wasn’t the best intro to him that I’m a capable jogger, with a soft j).

I’d of course also venture to argue that much of last year, I ran 12-15 miles a week and took several yoga classes in addition. I also ran not just the 10k I set out to achieve, but a 15k as well (which was incentivized by chocolate at the end; a related but entirely more appealing conclusion from my run with Dad).

I can freaking train, dammit. And this bucket list was worth nothing if not to challenge myself.

I’ve traveled to Ecuador and road-tripped Thailand. I’ve saved money. I’ve learned Spanish, taken auto classes, learned to knit, read the classics, published a book, swum with sting rays, surfed in Hawaii, won major business, and volunteered weekly for six months.

If nothing else, I’ve proven to myself that I have willpower, which is something I didn’t realize until literally just now. Climbing a mountain will be, what, 8 hours out of my life? BRING IT, MOUNTAIN. I WILL SHIT IN YOUR WOODS LIKE THE CHAMPION I AM.


Boring Adult Things

In Treatment

It should be no surprise to anyone who reads this blog that the last few months have been rough for me. Brandon’s informed me that I’ve literally been flinging myself around in my sleep, to the point of actually losing a ring in the middle of the night and stealing all the covers, waking up with spine issues and headaches. I’ve been in a pit; sick, depressed, angry – unable to sleep, and when able to, haunted by nightmares.

I’ve removed what remained of the tumor in my life and although the after-effects are still present, they are fewer. It’s amazing how much emotion-based poison flowing through your veins can destroy you, even as placebo.

So with that said, I hope that over the next few months of blog posts, you’ll see a happier and healthier Alexis.

I’m riding my bike to and from work, re-embracing the exercise I’d abandoned recently. I’ve completed 5 or so auto classes, so I’m comfortable crossing this piece of the puzzle off the list. I’ve embraced a new challenge in my career and find myself working on countless clients and facing new and exciting obstacles each day. I’m writing music and getting better at the guitar – and our work band may even play one of my originals soon. How surreal that will be…

We’ve cut the cable cord and tried to embrace some R&R where we can. We bought Alice a Thundershirt because that lil shit is a freaking ball of anxiety (not helped, I’m sure, by my own anxiety). I bought a Prius (and HIGHLY recommend Carvana for the experience). We adopted out a kitten. I began a charity venture. I’m seeing more friends. I’m drinking less wine.

It’s all surface changes but it’s seeping inside, and replacing the hatred and disgust is a slow, super-slow feeling of peace. And for all the decisions I’ve made this year, the one I am most grateful for is the decision to leave a past that was hurting me far in the distance, even though I love those I’ve left behind. We all must forge our own paths.

And with that said, onward and upward in this life adventure… 30 and beyond.


One Happy Island

Confession: I’m not a beach vacationer. As you may have noticed from my blog, I like adventure travel, heavy cultural experiences, and getting lost in a foreign countryside. You’d more likely find me in Ireland than Amelia Island, New York than the California coast.

But there’s something special about Aruba. I guess that’s why people keep coming back here year after year (after year, after year). Part of it is the perfect sand and clear turquoise waters. Part of it is the resort I’ve represented for years; my very first baby and an incredible place to stay. I could go on and on about its customer service and amazing amenities, but I won’t, because I wouldn’t do it any more justice than our ads do. But I truly, wholeheartedly believe in the property and what we do for them.

For me, though, the main love of Aruba is all the memories I have here and the people I’ve been with. From transitioning the account into my first major client at this agency and working with someone I’d remain close with for years to come, to making Aruba the first account I passed onto my talented employee and becoming similarly close with the new set of clients, I have so many memories of wonderful trips, incredible education, lots of laughter, a little debauchery, and tons of love.

The Aruba account has always been my baby, and the island has always been my grounding spot. It’s where I’ve become empowered and inspired and learned so much about the inner workings of hospitality; felt supported and like a partner, and got my hands dirty (literally and figuratively) on photo shoots. And I couldn’t be prouder to see Chelsea doing all those same wonderful things, and often doing them better. But there’s also that twinge of sadness that comes with parting ways. There’s that lingering ocean smell or a Tradewinds breeze that will always be somewhere in the wind for me.

So I’ll be back to Aruba, next time as a tourist, knowing I have–through routes less traveled–become a part of the island family that every guest knows they’ve joined. And for these next two weeks, I will give every inch of energy I have to transitioning Aruba and everyone else we work with as seamlessly as possible.

Because that’s what you do for family. And I know I’ll always be bon bini here.


A New Leaf

I’m always turning over leaves.

The one constant in my life over the last 10 years has been my husband; someone who recognizes my quirks, impatience, and constant need for change better than anyone. He’s stood by me through countless transformations, hobbies, interests, jobs, and emotions. And now he’ll see me through this one. I am a woman in motion.

I’m 26-and-a-half. Ish. It wasn’t long ago I thought that was ancient: one foot in the grave, or at least both feet depleted of youth. I rushed like a bullet to become an adult and skidded to a halt, terrified, as I reached home base. “Woah, there, buddy – I wasn’t ready for ‘late twenties.'”

I’m not a normal 20-something these days. Married, pets for children, homeowner, career woman. I’m regularly called “ma’am” – and not in a Southern way.  As someone who was always the youngest in her friend group, this is disconcerting. I feel like I’m losing a vital part of the youth experience. I straddle the dire desire to squeeze the last moments out of my carefree twenties and the things all my older friends are doing: having babies, nesting, moving to the ‘burbs. My ovaries are knocking but my brain isn’t responding. There’s so much still to DO.

And thus, my bucket list begins: 30 things I need to accomplish before 30. I write this list independent of children. For so long, I’ve looked at having babies as the end of my life: I can’t do it until I’m willing to sacrifice all semblance of myself. I have to stop looking at kids this way or I’ll either never have them or I’ll resent the ones I do have. Life should be richer with children, not over. So I’ll try to navigate my goals practically, but with the understanding that kids may come into the mix at some point, and that’s okay. Just not right now.



30. Climb a mountain.

Like, a real mountain. Think Rainier, not Stone Mountain. I want to train for it and see the world from a crazy high vantage point. I want to flip my perspective and accomplish the impossible.

29. Run a 10k.

I can barely run 5k these days. And this is some of the best shape I’ve ever been in. Time for an evolution.

28. Nail a handstand in yoga.

NAIL IT. Not get into a handstand – stick it, purely with core strength.

27. Get spiritual.

Find some peace with the Almighty. Even if it’s not a Christian peace.



26. Learn a language.

I can’t expect to be fluent. Languages are challenging for me. But I’d like to speak some passable Spanish in a pinch.

25. Master a skill.

Knitting, basket weaving, welding, whatever. I want to be able to do something, capably, with my hands beyond typing on a keyboard.

24. Read some books that actually mean something.

Chick lit is a nice escape. The classics are important.

23. Develop some knowledge about cars.

Change a tire, learn how to change my own oil, and try to have a better understanding of when someone’s trying to rip me off.



22. Visit Thailand.

I’ve always wanted to.

21. Take a trip with my Dad.

A love of traveling to foreign lands is something we’ve always shared. I want to take advantage of that while I can.

20. See a Wonder of the World.

I’ve seen the Colosseum. I’d like to see another Wonder, and maybe one of the Natural Wonders as well.

19. Take a cross-country road trip with Brandon.

I think it will be amazing what we learn about ourselves and each other.



18. Volunteer regularly somewhere for at least 6 months.

Mentor a kid, feed the homeless, live in someone else’s shoes.

17. Turn off the T.V. for a week.

It’s a crazy drug. I need to detox.

16. Finish my book.

I am sick at how long it has taken to finish writing my book. Get the fuck on it, Alexis.



15. Invest in 5 diversified stocks.

Doesn’t count retirement.

14. Build retirement fund.

I want to quadruple it by the time I’m 30, interest growth aside.

13. Own a second home.

A cabin to rent out, a place generating rental income, whatever.



12. Get closer with my sister.

Enough said.

11. Go on a walk at least once a week with Brandon.

Even 10 minutes counts.

10. Try something more sexually adventurous than usual.

Let’s just caveat that I also mean “with Brandon” here.

9. Be a good in-law.

Remember every birthday, even when Brandon doesn’t!

8. Send a real letter to a friend every month for a year.

A postcard or an article from a magazine (Grandpa-style) – whatever it might be, everyone loves a handwritten note.



7. Zip line.

6. Participate in a big cultural event like a music festival or Oktoberfest.

5. Swim with a shark. Or at least sting rays.

4. Learn to surf. Or at least try.

3. Be personally responsible for winning a big piece of business.

2. Perform in a play or musical.



1. Learn to be happy just as I am.