Howdy, Internet! How’s everything? Anyone else feel like the world is a hot mess right now? Has it always been this whack or are we in a new era of whack-ness?
God’s in control of it all, and I know that at a cellular level, but there are some days when I can’t help but think if I was in charge, I would have some changes to make. And then I remember that if I were in charge, I would’ve been on Season 6 of The Apprentice.
August came and went and with it, my 13th anniversary of becoming a blogger. From twenty-something New Yorker with funny stories to tell to full-time content creator and influencer marketing expert, it has been a wild, unanticipated ride. It’s crazy to think that the career I have now wasn’t even an option when I graduated from college. What might the next 13 years bring? I’m enjoying riding this wave and seeing where it goes next. I feel more confident in my abilities than ever and hopeful that no matter what happens next in my career, I will land on my feet.
Now, remain seated, please. It’s time for Reflections from the Road 40. (Catch up on RftR 39 if you missed it!)
THE JET SISTERS | FINGER LAKES
We are thrilled to share THE JET SISTERS: FINGER LAKES with you! We visited in 2018 for TBEX but so briefly we didn’t even scratch the surface of all this region has to offer. Thank goodness we got to go back to film an episode! We finally had time to make some gorgeous glass flowers at the Corning Museum of Glass, we flew over Keuka Lake in a seaplane and we discovered Finger Lakes wine is worth traveling for.
If you haven’t watched yet, we’d love your support on this labor of love. And in VERY exciting news, we are lining up episodes for 2020 already and having some conversations behind the scenes about bringing THE JET SISTERS to a wider audience. More to come 😉
BLOGGER BOOTCAMP BONANZA
We hosted our first ever Blogger Bootcamp at Jekyll Island Club and it was a smash hit. Georgia’s Golden Isles are so beautiful – it’s actually annoying how rarely I’ve visited when I live so close.
My favorite part was teaching a group of entrepreneurial women how to kick butt in a boardroom that was once reserved for America’s richest barons — men only. The women were relegated to a pretty sunroom to talk about, I dunno, petticoats and child rearing. And now, in 2019? We can talk about any dang thing we please. Petticoats, kids, being CEOs. Each woman in the group is finding her own way, writing about her passions and getting paid to do it. What a time to be alive.
Due to Hurricane Dorian, I saw much less of Montana than I’d hoped, but what I did see was enough to make me want to go back ASAP. I’ve always craved wide open spaces and wilderness, and that’s what Montana does best. I had a taste of Yellowstone, Big Sky and Billings, and mark my words, I will be back in 2020.
So I missed the vacation part of the trip, but I made it in time for my TBEX speech. I’ve been a TBEX conference attender since the very first one in 2009, so it’s always like a homecoming to go back, catch up with friends and tell stories about how everything has changed since “way back in my day.” It’s a truly bizarre feeling to be one of the industry veterans when clearly I am only 21 years old.
FAMILY TRIP TO KISSIMMEE
I see a ton of family travel content out there, but it’s usually designed for families with kids. All the kids in my family are in their 20s and 30s, but that doesn’t stop us from vacationing (in onesies!) as a group several times a year. We just grabbed “the kids” for a weekend away to Kissimmee and it was so much fun.
We stayed in an enormous villa, kayaked with baby alligators and watched college football from a wave pool. It was a perfect sibling getaway and just what we needed after a stressful couple of hurricane scares. Kissimmee itinerary post coming soon!
I still can’t wrap my head around the fact that Hurricane Dorian obliterated two of my favorite islands in The Bahamas, Abaco and Grand Bahama. As you know, Rick and I got married in Treasure Cay and while that experience was not a great one, in light of what’s happened, I’m so grateful that we did get to share that special place with our friends and family. Everything we did during wedding week – restaurants, hotels, tours – it’s all gone. They say they’ll rebuild, but remember this area is on island time, it’s a challenge to get supplies on a good day and the Bahamas’ economy relies on tourism, which is on hold in these two popular islands indefinitely. It won’t be a fast process, and realistically things will never be the same.
Rick and I were supposed to join Rae and Ben in Montana the week before TBEX, but it looked like Dorian would hit Florida, so we had to stay home to prepare. Praise God we were spared! I spent a nerve-wracking two weeks scouring the web for news of my friends. As far as I know, all my friends and former colleagues and their families made it through, so I’m grateful. The news has all but stopped covering the disaster, but The Bahamas need our help more than ever. This is not a crisis that will go away anytime soon. For more info on easy ways to help, check out my post.
THE AIRBNB GUESTS FROM HELL
We’ve had some absolutely wonderful Airbnb guests in our cottage, and to be fair, we’ve had some folks who were nice but didn’t bother to read any of the instructions we left, causing us mild headaches. Nothing too crazy, but still. READ THE INSTRUCTIONS.
And then there were the Smiths* from Texas. They snuck their demon cats in without our approval and their demon cats proceeded to claw our leather ottoman to death. They tried to take our furniture with them and replace it with a cheap-o version. Then they gave us all one star reviews and called me a “lying POS” in my Airbnb review. If I wasn’t laughing so hard I might’ve been upset. Here’s a link to the story on my Facebook.
What would you do if a guest trashed your stuff and then accused you of orchestrating with their cats to get your house refurnished? (I am nothing if not a magnet for whackos.)
Leia has ringworm, a fungal infection that is super hard to get rid of. Leia is Rick’s dog who lives down the street at my brother’s house for a variety of reasons… and since I’ve had questions, here are the reasons:
- She’s a pit mix so we legally can’t have Leia and foster kids
- Vader has separation anxiety and needs his therapy dog close by
- I’m just allergic enough that I can’t have her in the house full time
So, when Leia was diagnosed with a bad case of ringworm, and not her typical allergies, she came to our house to recover (i.e., receive baths every other day, get medicated massages every day, bother me incessantly, run into walls and doors with her cone of shame). It’s been a month and $750 in vet bills. It’s a good thing I am a sucker for animals. And she has the perfect puppy dog eyes. She’s so pretty and so bad and so expensive to keep healthy.
SLOW DOWN, SALLY
My talk at TBEX was entitled, “Paid or Trade, Knowing When (And How Much) To Pay for Content.” It’s a subject I’m passionate about — so passionate, in fact, that I barely took a breath during my 50 minute session. I had so much to cover and not nearly enough time to cover it.
My lesson: don’t overestimate the number of words a human can speak aloud in one session and make yourself faint. (Almost.) Book a double-header next time!
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could just stop using Instagram and Twitter altogether? I can’t really get rid of social media because it’s an integral part of what I do as a content creator. But boy, would I love to axe it completely.
Instagram has continued to hide my photos from the majority of my audience this quarter, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better. I’d leave if brands didn’t prioritize it so highly. I’m hopeful they’ll get rid of likes in the US sooner rather than later so everyone can get back to not caring about that kind of stuff. Wishful thinking, I know, but it’s my dream.
If you do like what we do, the best way to support us is to like, comment and/or share as often as you can. Doing that sends a signal to Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter that we are cool women doing cool stuff. Literally every like matters.
We can make our plans but God determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9
EUROPE WITH MONOGRAMS
Rae is heading to London to kick off a few days there and a few days in Sorrento in partnership with Monograms Travel. And I might just sneak over and join her afterward for some quality time (and pasta) in Italy…
Since Hurricane Dorian canceled the husband and wife portion of our Montana trip, Rick and I are going to Destin for a week to celebrate our anniversary and have some downtime. Send all your tips for where to stay, what to do and what to eat!
GET WHISKED AWAY
I have not been this excited about a trip in a long time! We’re partnering with Whisked Away for a surprise trip – as in, we don’t know where we’re going until just before departure. Everything is planned for us and we just show up. I’m a little bit scared (Hi, control freak here) and also incredibly excited to not have to think of anything at all and still get to travel. I have a sneaking suspicion that this is going to be a game changer for me. Coming soon!
In the next 90 days, we’re slowing down a bit as we approach the holidays. We’ve got a healthy mix of work trips and just-for-fun adventures on the agenda, with a hard stop in December where we take time to soak in the holidays, bake cookies for everyone in the world and plan for 2020.
Coming soon to the blog, you’ll read stories on Kissimmee, the Whisked Away trip, Montana, London, Sorrento, the Bahamas and of course our annual holiday gift guide on Black Friday. But we really have to start writing first, ha!
So many of you have been with me since my Big Apple Angie beginnings, so this virtual hug is for you. Thank you for reading all these years, thank you for sharing and liking and thank you for being a part of this wild and unexpected career of mine.