“My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.” Michel de Montaigne, philosopher during the French Renaissance, made this statement 500 years ago which provoked a recent study. In this study, subjects were asked to write down the things they worry about over an extended period of time, and then were asked to show which of those things actually happened. It was actually proven that only 85% of what the subjects worried about never happened. Within the 15% of the worries that did happen, 79% of those subjects felt as though they handled the situation better than expected, or learned a valuable lesson from their misfortune. So…what’s the point?

I have suffered from severe anxiety since around my junior year of high school. I’m sure I had some anxiety as a child, but never to the extreme that developed later in my life. I go through phases of it being so bad I can’t even get out of bed in the morning, to some periods I forget it even exists. When I am in a “funk”, I can’t seem to stop convincing myself that my life is horrible and that I’m dying from every medical condition known to man. How does one sharp pain in my side turn into a weeklong panic attack that my appendix is about to rupture? Or how does one headache, obviously from alcohol and dehydration, send me spinning into the direction of the nearest MRI machine to see how huge my brain tumor is? I. Hate. It.

Since reading an article in the Huffington Post about the whole 85% thing, I’ve started to try to use it as my mantra. I’ve been in a funk these past couple of days over something entirely stupid and a waste of my time, yet it still is taking a valiant effort to stop being crazy over it, so as I walked into the deli to grab my salad before starting my work day, I chanted “85%, 85%, 85%,” in my head over and over again. I am so tired of sending those, “help, I’m panicking” texts to my poor friends who are probably exhausted from hearing me bitch about the same tired things my brain convinces me to care about. Boys, money, appearance, nonexistent cancer raging through my body- just the every day things I waste time freaking out about. Studies have actually shown the damage that worry and stress do to our body, like premature aging and a shrinking IQ and a vulnerability to cancer. So all of my anxiety about these things I don’t have, are going to cause me to have them?! SHIT.

Time to re-center. I bought a gratitude journal and every day I write down things that I have seen or experienced in that day that I am grateful for. I give myself an extra 15 minutes in the morning to just lie in bed and play my favorite “feel-good” songs. I write a bible verse out every week on my whiteboard. On the mornings I feel like I can’t get up, I throw myself into the car, get a coffee, and drive down the most beautiful road I’ve ever seen and stop and take pictures of the beaches at the overlooks (because I live in paradise). The more I focus my energy on helping myself getting out of a funk, the better I feel, but it is so hard. I’m never going to buy some magical journal or self-help book and be cured and never worry again. It’s a process, and it takes a lot of energy that some days I just don’t have. But I will get better.

I will continue to remember all the things I have to be grateful for, I will continue to pray and listen to “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5 until there is no possible way I could be unhappy. I will keep reciting “85%” in my head over and over again. Because, 85% of the things I worry about…will never even happen.

(Another) Walk In The Sand Around The Sun

Yesterday marked two years since I packed my life up and moved to a little island in the Caribbean. January 2nd brings reflection and gratitude to my heart and soul because I am reminded about a choice that I made to put myself and my happiness first. The past two years have been amazing, terrifying, blissful, heartbreaking and everything in between, because I have learned about life. And for that, I am blessed.

I wanted to do something to acknowledge the anniversary of my move, but after a full day of work and a crazy amount of holiday partying, the best option seemed to be coffee and sunset. I got off work, grabbed my favorite frozen coffee from Cruz Bay Landing and headed towards North Shore Road. When I got in my car and picked up my phone to play some music, I thought for a second about what songs I was listening to this time two years ago, or any of my favorite “St. John” songs. I was in a tiny parking spot at customs and there was someone waiting for my spot so I just gave up, pressed shuffle, and went on my way. After “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons was over, I almost forgot I wanted some tunes to reminisce on, when “Merry Happy” by Kate Nash started playing through my speakers. It was one of those moments when I just had to laugh out loud at how crazy and mysterious the universe is. Out of the thousands of songs shuffled on my iPhone, the most perfect song to bring me back to that time in my life played through my speakers. The first time I heard that song, I was sitting at Beach Bar by myself, on the 4 day trip to St. John I took by myself to see if I really wanted to move here. I didn’t know anyone, I was mostly just thinking I was going through temporary insanity, but there was just something in my head, tirelessly telling me I needed to move to St. John. I sat there alone during off season, probably drinking a painkiller, when Kate Nash sang “I can be alone, yeah, I can watch the sunset on my own, I can be alone.” I remember smiling as I heard that song because it seemed like some sort of sign from the universe that I could definitely handle moving to an island alone, because if Kate Nash can watch the sunset on her own then I could too. Then, over two years later as I headed to the beach by myself to watch the sunset, that song came on again- and all felt right in my world.

During my second year on St. John, the main highlights that stand out to me were my job and my home. I had the perfect job and the perfect schedule. I was able to nanny for two great families with amazing little ones and I never dreaded going to work. I don’t think anyone really believed I even had a job because I basically just got to play and snuggle with babies that made my heart so full. I worked three days a week, and three nights a week. It was the best of both worlds. Half of the week I was free during the day to be productive, go to the beach, or sleep in, and half of the week I was free to go to happy hour, go to karaoke or out to fun dinners. I was so insanely happy. I also lived alone for the first time. I had a tiny shoebox house, but it was mine and I loved it. My fridge was covered top to bottom with pictures of my friends and family, my huge box TV played the same 5 movies I owned over and over again, and most of the time my sink was filled with dishes but I didn’t care, because there was no one there to yell at me about it. I paid my rent every month on time without anyone reminding me, I cleaned when I felt like it, and I locked my door every night before I went to sleep and never felt unsafe from being alone. I had the perfect job and the perfect (to me) home. What could go wrong?

Two category 5 hurricanes proved to me what I already knew- this life is transient and unpredictable. I lost most of everything I had, my job, my home, my clothes, my pictures, my books, my keepsakes…things I had built up and collected over pretty much my entire life, just got washed away with the storm. But, all that I lost were just things. I can buy new clothes, and print new pictures, and find a new job and build a new life. I was safe during the storm in Virginia, my friends on St. John were safe, and we are rebuilding. The beaches are beautiful and the foliage is green. I was extremely lucky to find a new place to live, and although I don’t yet have a full time job or steady income, I have been working plenty of hours and I have been able to support myself, so I am doing just fine.

My second year on St. John went from having a near perfect life, to losing most of it, to now- starting the process of building it back up. A few months down the road, if I still haven’t regained the stability I once had and I have to move on to the next adventure, then that’s what I will do. If I am lucky enough to check back in with y’all from St. John on January 2nd next year, then I will reflect back on this post knowing my worries faded and it all worked out again. Either way, I am blessed to have spent the past two years on St. John, made incredible friends and memories, and experienced life and lessons that I don’t think I ever would have faced without moving to this little island. Again, I am blessed and grateful for my friends and family who encouraged me, questioned or doubted me, supported me or trusted me, because I wouldn’t be here without all of that. Thank you to everyone on St. John who made these past two years great and unforgettable. Well, mostly unforgettable…due to the talented bartenders at Dog House Pub and their heavy o-bomb pours.

Thank you for checking up on me and my little adventure. Cheers to two years!

Three Months Later

Three months ago, on August 29th, I packed one suitcase full of clothes to last me for a month in the states. I was nannying for a family that owned a restaurant, and since they closed for month of September I decided to take the month off island and spend it with my family and traveling around the states. When I left my apartment containing the majority of my belongings, I had no way of knowing I wouldn’t get them back. I had no way of knowing that 8 days later my life, and so many other peoples lives, would be turned upside down.

The night before the storm I was so terrified that I couldn’t even breathe. I was texting and calling everyone that was still on St. John as much as I could before the messages stopped going through. I had a flight the next day to Austin, where my sister and I had planned to have a bonding getaway weekend. I got on the plane the morning of September 6th, I spent the day traveling, I was physically on the trip, but how much could I really be there? I had no contact with anyone, I watched the weather app as this massive, incredibly powerful hurricane sat over my home. I was terrified, I was heartbroken, and I was numb.

The days following where spent in a blur of check-ins, missing persons, photos of destroyed businesses and homes with no roofs. When I finally heard from all of my friends and heard that the general consensus was that people were ok- it started to sink in that my life on St. John as I knew it would be forever changed. At that point it felt like I would never be able to go back. I had no home, I had no job. Many people were starting to pick up the pieces and move on to a new chapter. I knew I wasn’t ready to do that, but I also didn’t know how I would be able to go back. I decided in the mean time to get a temporary job, save as much money as I could, and then just ride the wave and see where it’d take me.

It seemed to get worse before it got better, but when I started to see that people were agreeing that it was moving forward, I made up my mind that I would be back sooner than expected. My first roommate when I moved down and my best friend, Carly, went back and since she needed a new home as well, we begun the search to find a new apartment together. Shockingly- that search lasted about 3 hours until I came across the most perfect apartment and by the grace of God, it worked out and we had a new home that I would be able to go to when my flight landed. I didn’t exactly have a job, or still don’t for that matter, but I had somewhere to go and a reason to go back so I did.

Landing on St. Thomas was tough. I’d seen the pictures for two months, I prepared myself for it being worse than I imagined and it really wasn’t like I was just seeing it for the first time, but it was just hard. I could obviously see the vast amount of progress that had been made since the storms, but of course there is still devastating destruction to this beautiful place that so many people call home.

Photo by Carly Houts

My first couple of nights back on St. John were great and it was amazing to just walk back into the bar and see my friends, but I just felt a little off. I felt like I was new again, like there were rules that I didn’t know yet. I haven’t been here for the past 3 months, and these past 3 months have contained and unimaginable amount of shit. I was nervous that it had just changed too much while I was gone and there wouldn’t be a place here for me anymore. Of course, I just have a dramatic and anxious mind and I know that St. John is still St. John. It’s been my home for two years and I know that my absence was necessary as well as everyone else’s who had to leave. I talked to more people, heard more “Welcome Home’s”, and started to feel like I was settling back in my place.

On my first day off work since I’d been back, I knew I wanted to go to the beach and the easiest choice out of our limited options is to go to Hawksnest. On the way, Carly asked if I just wanted to go to Maho just to see it. I knew how badly damaged Maho was from the storm and I didn’t know if I could handle it but knew I’d see it at some point so on we went. It was painful to see one of the most pristine beaches in the world completely turned upside down. It was a very surreal experience that I don’t think I can put into words, but I can say that I am extremely blessed to have spent the time I have on the beaches of St. John.

I am very blessed to have known and loved this place before the storms, because I now have the understanding and the faith that St. John will return to how it once was. There are still people working everyday, there are still people here that had never even been to St. John but whose jobs sent them here to help. I sat down next to one of the BBC linemen and as we were talking about his experience here he asked me if I have power at my apartment. I told him that I did, and that I was extremely thankful to have it. He said “Well that’s why I’m here and why I’m doing it. I just want you all to be happy and have what you need.” This man had never met any of us, never been to our island, but left his home and family for God knows how long- to help us. And I am so thankful for that, and all of the men and women here that are doing the same thing.

Photo by Monica Knaggs

We are getting better and stronger every day. I am happy to be back here on this amazing island, and everyday comes with challenges but this community is resilient. I will miss the people that have gone, I am excited for those who will come back, and I am appreciative of those that will come now and make a life here with us. Thank you to all of you who have supported us, prayed for us, and kept us in your thoughts over the past 3 months.

Hurricane Irma: Perspective.

I laid in bed in my parents basement the night before the storm hit St. John, restlessly scrolling through my timeline. Every post I could see was from my friends who were still on island and getting ready to brave the storm. Everyone seemed to have done what they could to prepare, but I laid there in complete fear and agony for what was to come. I knew there would be a time where all of those people posting would go silent and lose connection with the outside world. I prayed, I texted all of my friends “I love you” as much as I could, and I prayed some more. Up until that point, I don’t think I have ever felt so helpless. I had to fly back to Virginia the week prior for a wedding, but I felt guilty for not being there for my friends and for my home. I woke up that morning to the final texts from my friends which generally stated, “I’m scared.” I sobbed for them, I prayed for them, but that was all I could do. I was helpless.


The storm left more catastrophic damage to St. John than I could have ever imagined. 50% of the houses are destroyed on St. John. 90% of boats are damaged or sunken. Parents hovered over their children as roofs flew off, people used all of their strength to hold their doors closed during the 220mph winds. People who have put their entire lives into building businesses have lost everything they have worked for. This was our paradise, this was our home, and now it is no longer the St. John that we knew. Resources are limited and not being distributed in any way that seems to be effective. There won’t be power or running water for a very long time. It shouldn’t have been possible for it to get any worse, but now there are looters who are going through peoples destroyed homes to take what is left, they have stolen the majority of our ATM’s, they have broken into the customs building and stolen guns, they broke into our insurance agency where people have all of their private and personal information. The people who are still there are scared for their safety and for their lives.


The Westin, St. John, USVI

I haven’t been the easiest person to be around since the storm hit. I am so easily frustrated by complaints about the small things. I just want to keep screaming, “WELL AT LEAST YOU HAVE A HOME,” because so many that I know personally, do not. I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to have a full grasp of this situation unless they are living it, but I am begging for some perspective and some understanding. And most of all, some help. Picture your town. Your home, your favorite coffee shop, your happy place. Can you picture it all being ripped out from under you, while you just have to sit back and watch it happen? There was nothing that could have prepared those islands for this storm. They didn’t have the luxury of getting in their cars and driving north. Evacuation was next to impossible. They just had to sit there while everything they owned and loved got taken away. Please picture that the next time you’re frustrated with your family, getting angry in traffic, or in a long line at the grocery store. If that makes you feel anything, please help St. John. If you know anyone in the media, please bring this to their attention.  With the storm hitting Florida, that has been the main focus of the news. It is so important for this to get more coverage because we need so many more people to contribute. Contact your local government, news, and anyone you can think of in a position of power. We are American citizens and we deserve help too.


Cinnamon Bay, St. John, USVI

I don’t want to be here. I want to go home. I want to wake up from this nightmare and go sit in my little apartment and watch the 6 DVD’s I have over and over again. I want to go to the place where I built a life, where I made the most amazing friends and memories. I want to go to the place where I found myself and my happiness. But myself, and every other St. Johnian knows that we just can’t do that right now. Our home is in shambles, and many of us are left lost and wondering what to do next. I don’t have a job or a place to go, I just have the hope and faith that things are going to start getting better. As soon as I am able, I will be back to St. John to do my part in the cleanup and rebuilding. Until then, I am trying to channel my grief and heartbreak into help for my home. Right now, the best way to help is by donating to St. John Rescue. Until there is any easy way to get supplies and manpower down, I believe this is the best way to contribute for the time being. I am begging you for your help. St. John is the kindest, most beautiful, most loving place I have been fortunate enough to be. If you have been to the Virgin Islands, if you have smiled when someone has said “Good Afternoon” or slid a Painkiller across the bar, donate. If you have read my blogs, looked at my pictures, told me that you were jealous of the life I was able to live there, donate. That life came to a screeching halt for so many people that do not deserve to be living through this hell with so little help.


Caribbean Paddle Co., Margarita Phil’s, & St. John Villa Company, St. John, USVI 

This past week has been an unbelievable reality check. I could have never imagined this happening to St. John, so I’ve always just felt bad for a moment and then kept scrolling when I have read about people losing their homes in natural disasters. Please do not keep scrolling. Please give St. John and the USVI the help and love that we deserve. Hurricane Irma didn’t touch American soil when it hit Florida, it touched American soil when it destroyed the US Virgin Islands. These are our brothers and sisters under God who have lost everything they have to their name. Please help.





Caneel Bay, St. John USVI

Shipwreck Landing, St. John, USVI

You Are A Badass 

I don’t think it’s a secret that I’m pretty much the worst adult in existence. I save no money, I let dishes pile up in my sink, I don’t put my clean laundry away until it gets all mixed up and I have no idea what is clean anymore. I woke up this morning in a very “WHY AM I LIKE THIS” mood. Why do I have no money? I work 6 days a week, I make money but it seems to disappear much faster than I ever anticipate. Why do I have an entire sink full of dishes and trash that needs to be taken out? I wake up at the ass crack of dawn everyday and I usually don’t work until 4pm. What am I doing with all of that time? I have literally no idea. 

I go through these phases that I just decide I’m going to be a real adult and get organized and get on top of my shit. I was at the airport a few months ago and saw this book. It’s bright yellow and in bold capital letters it states, “YOU ARE A BADASS“. Shut up and take my money. I hadn’t even opened the book yet and I’d  already decided I’m going to save a shit ton of money, lose a shit ton of weight, and generally become a happy and radiant new woman. I made a list in my head of things I needed to do, told myself this was going to be easy and I was ready to get. it. together. 

I read a chapter or two on the plane. Read another at work. Flipped through a couple pages at the beach. It sits next to my bed and sometimes I glance over at it and wonder why it hasn’t changed my life yet. Oh, probably because it’s still book marked at page 77 and I’ve already forgotten everything up until that point. Again, WHY AM I LIKE THIS. 

I’ll have days of organization, usually when I take my ADD medication, and I make all of these goals and decide on all of these life changes and then my organizational high wears off because someone asks me to go to the beach and I obviously can’t say no. I decide I want to lose weight and spend $135 on a gym membership and I go for a week then I get bored. I do 7 loads of laundry and then get home and let it sit in the basket until it’s time to laundry again. 

Hair dryer? You don’t belong there.

Real life story: On Wednesday morning, I took all of my bed linens and all but 1 of my towels to the laundromat. I went to St. Thomas for the entire day and by the time I got back and had spent a fair amount of the day sipping straight from a bottle of Tito’s, I really didn’t feel like going to get cash all the way in town then going all the way to pick up my stuff. So I decided I would suffer just one night without any SHEETS or PILLOWCASES on my bed. At the ripe age of 24, who does that?! Oh. It gets better. Yesterday was Thursday, and I woke up in a mood only the beach, lunch, and my bed could cure. I had to be at work at 3:45 so the game plan was to leave the house at 3:15, go into town to get cash then go get my laundry. Did I do that? No I did not. So last night, I put a long sleeve shirt on, laid on top of my mattress topper and put my one clean towel over my body. I should be too ashamed to put that in writing on the internet, but in the name of full disclosure, this is just who I am as a person. 

I ask myself when is it going to click. When will the day come that I decide to make changes and then actually continue bettering myself for more than a week? It’s frustrating. I want to be better, I want to make these changes, and I want the energy and the motivation to stick with something. To stick with ANYTHING. I’ve told myself that if I don’t become this Type A functioning adult that I dream of, it’ll happen when I become a mom. Mom’s seem to always know what they’re doing, so when I become a mom I’ll just crush the game. I’ve got the childcare thing down, it’s what I do for a living and they do seem to like me. So maybe with my own maternal instinct, along will come the drive to do the dishes and mop the floor occasionally. No? Not how that works? A girl can dream. 

I don’t really have an answer for this problem of mine. It’s all mental, and all it takes is some commitment because I have all of the tools I need to succeed in being who I want to be. Maybe one day, I’ll get a letter from insurance and call them that same day instead of putting it on my fridge for 6 months while hoping it just goes away. One day, my apartment will stay clean for longer than a week, and one day I’ll mop my floors. One day (hopefully today), I’ll put the clean clothes away that are sitting in the basket on my floor, instead of laying in my bed and writing a blog post about it. Maybe one day I’ll finish reading this book and it’s going to change my life. I’ll have a glorious transformation, I’ll become the badass that Jen Sincero tells me that I am, I’ll write about it and look back on this post and laugh at the girl I once was. One day. 

This morning, June 23rd, 2017, I called my insurance company about an outstanding claim from October 9th, 2016. With the help of my book, of course. #CrushingIt

23: A Year In Review 

Wasn’t I just writing about turning 23? It seems impossible that a year has passed. On Tuesday I am turning 24 and this is by far the least excited I have ever been for a birthday. I feel very adult-ish about that statement. My 24th birthday will be spent in Virginia with my family so I am very excited about that aspect, but this whole mid-twenties thing is freaking me out a little. 

When I turned 23, I was so nostalgic looking back on what an incredible year I had. When I turned 22, I changed my entire life. I took on an entire new outlook on life, I graduated college, I moved 2,000 miles away from home by myself, and I met some of the most incredible people that made St. John my new home. Looking back on this year is a little different…it has been a great year nonetheless, but the year before was hard to top. 

In my 23rd year I became a lot more stable on St. John. I went through a couple of jobs I was unhappy with, to end up settling on doing what I love, becoming a lot closer to being financially secure, and finally not feeling like my entire life revolves around work because I am so happy doing what I do. I have built secure relationships with great people that I know are not transient and will be in my life for many, many years. I have said “yes” to as many things as I could, boat trips, dance classes, game nights, cliff jumping, parasailing, and a lot of karaoke (thanks to vodka and Dakota). 

Along with saying yes to new things, I have been a lot better about saying no. I have a hard time saying no. When it comes to people asking me for a few too many one-sided favors or doing things that make me uncomfortable, I mostly just say yes to avoid a problem. But I am learning, and getting better at saying no. When a situation arises that I am asked to do something that in that moment I want to do, but I know it is not a good choice in the long run, this year I have been so much better about saying no. And for that, I am proud of myself. 

This year has been filled with more tears than I am proud of, but I am confident that the lessons I learned will keep me from heartbreak in my next year of life. I am so much stronger than I have given myself credit for. I am so much better than I have let anyone lead me to believe I am, and though a hard lesson to learn, I am so grateful for it. I will never push someone to feel a way they don’t, or to be someone they are not, because there are plenty of people out there that are exactly what I need them to be. There has been a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders in the past few months after breaking that cycle of constantly needing and pushing people. It’s exhausting and will lead to a dead end and heart break every single time. 

I moved to a studio apartment and I live alone for the very first time. My friends call it my “closet” or my “dorm room” which is fair, but it is all mine, I go home by myself most nights, and I am finally at peace being alone. I will be the first to admit that I was terrified to move to a place by myself but I have a new found love of independence and freedom that is truly amazing. 

23 has been good to me. I am ready to stop planning and start doing, focus more on me and what I can do in my next year. I have very few things holding me to one place, I can be or do whatever I want and that is what I plan to do in my next year. 24 comes off to me as a dull and uninteresting year of life, which is why I plan on making it the opposite. I don’t know what changes this year will bring, but whenever I end up, I hope next year I have learned more lessons, said yes to more things I should, and no to more things I shouldn’t, so I can write this next year off as a good one. 

I can say for certain that this year will include jumping off a few more rocks and boats, a couple hundred more “cheers” and milagro/soda/pineapples, countless Caribbean sunsets and a lot more adventure. Cheers to 24! 

A Walk In The Sand Around The Sun

365 days ago, I woke up in the basement at my moms house having a full on meltdown. I begged my parents at 4am to help me pack my suitcase as I sobbed on the floor. I got to the airport late and while I waited in line for security I prayed I would miss my flight. A five hour flight, a grumpy taxi driver and a new roommate later, I laid down and wondered what the hell I was thinking when I decided to give everything away, say goodbye to my family, and move 2,000 miles away to a tiny island in the Caribbean. One year ago today I made the most terrifying, yet best decision I have ever made. 

In my last trip around the sun I have learned more about the world and more about myself than I ever have. I have made more incredible friends than I ever have and I have never been so genuinely happy. It took a little while to get here and I still have a lot to learn, but things are really good. I just started a new job, I moved to a new apartment and I’m living alone for the first time, I’m doing a little better with my finances…all of that is good. I am also going on crazy adventures, getting completely wasted and singing terrible karaoke, not keeping up with my laundry and smoking the occasional cigarette- BUT, I can’t grow up too much because that wouldn’t be any fun. 

It is still pretty crazy to think that this is just my life now. Carly and I called this a productive day because we went to the beach instead of staying in bed all day. Laying out on Cinnamon Bay with my best friends is now what I consider to be productivity. It’s great. While we were on the beach, a high family posed in front of us in the water for a picture and they were all so genuinely happy and it was so adorable. All of the sudden I was a bystander to this incredible moment, watching a picture being taken that will hang on someone’s wall and every time they walk by they will think back to how happy they were on St. John. I get to have that feeling every day. 

During my first few days here all I could think about was when it would be acceptable to leave. I made a huge deal about moving, posting shit everywhere, starting a blog before I even moved… I was so terrified that I didn’t even care what people would think if I just gave up and failed miserably. I didn’t stay to prove anything to anyone, I stayed because as soon as I calmed down I remembered why I love Saint John and I fell in love all over again. When I was visiting, I didn’t know St. John the way I do now. I didn’t know the ins and outs, the best kept secrets and the people that make this island so great. I didn’t know the drama, the coconut telegraph, and the feeling of seeing the same person every day that’s also breaking your heart, either. I have learned how to have an insane amount of fun while also like, avoiding death, and I have also learned how to be tough and handle situations that I would never experience if I didn’t live on this tiny little rock in the middle of the ocean. 

So, raising my glass (of  ginger ale because I’m doing Sober January) and toasting to the best year yet. I am eternally grateful to have support from home, and for every person who has crossed my path on St. John and taught me something about this life. Everyone who has been in or out of my life in the past year has done something to make this experience great, memorable, and successful and for that I thank you. And thank you for those people who keep reading these things…you’ve made this year a lot more fun, too.

2016: That’s A Wrap.

  1. What did you do in 2016 that you’ve never done before?

I moved to an island. That was a new thing for me. I did a lot of new things this year actually; but that one is the most appropriate to share on the Internet.

  1. Did you keep your new years resolution, and will you make more for next year?

I don’t think I made any resolutions last year. I moved on January 2nd, 2016 so at the end of the year I was a little too preoccupied questioning my sanity and life choices to think about the future.

  1. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Danniele and Caleb welcomed their little baby Camden! She is the cutest little peanut and I’m so glad I got to meet her!

  1. Did anyone close to you die?

My dog. Sammie. I wanted a puppy so badly when I was little and my mom and step-dad surprised me with her one day when my dad was dropping me off at their house. I walked in and Sam was so tiny, sitting there on my moms lap. Being on St. John and losing our family dog really sucked, but she was 15 and it was her time so there was comfort in that. I loved that stinky, rat-looking mess.

  1. What countries did you visit?

I bounced back and forth between the Caribbean and the states a few times. And over to the British Virgin Islands…Jost van Dyke, Cooper Island, Norman Island, Tortola, Sandy Spit, Little Jost, Virgin Gorda…not a bad year in the travel department.

  1. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Money! Not that I didn’t make enough money, I just didn’t keep any of it.

  1. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

January 2nd, because I moved. April 30th, because I was supposed to go on this boat trip and it was pouring down rain so we had to turn around and instead we spent the entire day drinking in this crazy villa and my 12-hour alcohol binge led to…you guessed it…a boy! Which happened to be a significant lesson/part of 2016. December 25th, because it was my first Christmas away from my family, which was really hard, but it ended up being a really amazing day.

  1. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I would consider not backing out on moving and staying here for a year a solid achievement considering how I felt when I got here. Also, not hitting anyone in the face when they really deserved it. Patting myself on the back for that one.

  1. What was your biggest failure?

Probably my money management. Because it did not exist.

  1. Did you suffer any illness or injury?

I had Zika! That wasn’t fun. And also several dozen hangovers.

  1. What was the best thing you bought this year?

I really didn’t buy many material things this year. I bought this dress from Big Planet that I wear way too often but it’s my “flower dress” and I love it. I bought a lot of tequila which probably made me dance too crazy in my flower dress.

  1. Where did most of your money go?

Rent! Food! Tequila!

  1. What did you get really excited about?

Sunsets. Cheap bottles of wine. Traveling home to see my friends and family. Boat trips.

  1. What song(s) will always remind you of 2016?

Hurricane (Artsy Remix)- Halsey

Hello- Adele

Monster- Mumford & Sons

Lost Boy- Ruth B

  1. Compared to this time last year, are you:

Happier or sadder? Way happier.

  – Thinner or fatter? I haven’t owned a scale in over a year, but boys still talk to me sometimes and I haven’t had a heart attack so I’m probably fine.

– Richer or poorer? Poorer. Way poorer.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Traveling. I have so many islands near me but I only pop over on boat trips. I want to spend a few nights on Tortola, and Jost and Puerto Rico.

  1. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Drinking. Eating. Crying over f-boys.

  1. How did you spend Christmas?

I had a really great Christmas. I made breakfast with Carly at her house and we had friends over, then we all went to the beach and drank champagne all day, then we had dinner at a friends villa. It was a really great day.

  1. What was your favorite TV program?

Shameless. Stranger Things. New Girl.

  1. What were your favorite books of the year?

Milk & Honey- Rupi Kaur

  1. What was your favorite music from this year?

It takes quite some time for new music to reach down to the islands, so I spent a lot of the year listening to throwbacks. I listened to Ignition (Remix) probably 200 times. A lot of Matchbox Twenty & Goo Goo Dolls. Also, every song Hannah and I listened to during off-season which was only like 3 songs but we listened to them on repeat for 6 weeks and it was great.

  1. What were your favorite films of the year?

I actually saw a few movies this year while I was in the states! I saw Finding Dory, Bad Moms, and Office Christmas Party. I am honestly the worst movie critic because I love every movie I see. I really can’t think of more than 5 movies in my entire movie that I haven’t loved.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I turned 23. My mom flew in on my birthday. We had a perfect dinner at Banana Deck, she had balloons and a cake and a card already there when we got there which was like magic but that’s my mom for you. Every year I give my mom flowers on my birthday, since she birthed me, and I was really happy to be able to give them to her in person instead of sending them. That was probably the best part.

  1. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Maybe punching a couple of people in the face. But other than that, 2016 was a pretty satisfying year. Also, I’m really not a violent person at all so I’m not sure why I keep talking about hitting people so I guess that’s something I need to work through.

  1. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

Uh. Bathing suits. Faded and stretched out tanks and shorts. Flip flops.

  1. What kept you sane?

My friends. Overlooks and sunsets. Cheap wine.

  1. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

If you aren’t happy, make a change. No matter how hard it is, or crazy it is, make the change. It will pay off.

  1. Your guilty pleasure?

Frozen drinks at Rum Hut happy hour. Landing shrimp and Sweet Beans. Burning half a tank of gas and driving around the island, blasting music and singing way too loud. Champagne out of the bottle at the overlooks. 

  1. Song lyric that sums up the year:

“She’ll be here until she runs, some just have to chase the sun. She’s a wild child, got a rebel soul and whole lot of gyspy wild style.”


Happy (?) Holidays

There is something very different about the holidays when it is 80 degrees, you have to go to work, and your family is 2,000 miles away. I have never spent a Christmas outside of Virginia, or away from my family. In the past 23 years, not a Christmas has gone by that I didn’t hug my mom or my dad. I did get to go home a couple of weeks ago and we did our own little Christmas but of course it’s just not the same. I don’t get to see my 8 year old sisters face light up when she sees that Santa came. I don’t get to drink a mimosa out of a crystal glass while my dad finishes making french toast. I can almost feel the cold hardwood under my bare feet while Christmas songs softly play from the speakers in the corner of every room.

I woke up this morning to my alarm telling me I needed to go to work. It wasn’t until after I brushed my teeth and got out of the shower that I remembered it’s Christmas Eve. I’ve mentioned being upset about being away for Christmas to a few of my friends and the general consensus has pretty much been, “I haven’t been home for Christmas in years, you’ll be fine.” Well, obviously I’ll be fine but this isn’t the second, third, or fourth time I’ve done this. It’s the first time, and it kind of sucks. Year after year, my parents worked so hard to make Christmas so special for us and they created these memories that I will always associate with the holidays and it has been hard for me to accept that I won’t be a part of that this year.

I am here on St. John by choice. If I desperately needed to be home for Christmas, I could have made it happen. But it would have been really hard to get off work, it would have been really expensive, and it’s a pain-in-the-ass time to travel. So, this is part of growing up. I ate my chocolate that my parents sent me in my “stocking” care package in bed last night, by myself, watching Love Actually. Tomorrow I’ll wake up at Carly’s house, we will drink mimosas out of plastic Soggy Dollar cups and make a big breakfast for our best friends. I’ll FaceTime my family and watch the insane pile of wrapping paper build around my little sister and brothers. I’ll spend a few hours at the beach and probably forget it’s Christmas a few times, but that’s ok. I’ll be with my best friends, I’ll be in my favorite place, so it will be ok…just different.

I am so extraordinarily blessed to live the life that I do. I have really good friends here. I am very lucky to be able to experience these things and learn about life and myself while I live on this island. My first Christmas alone could be because I got relocated for a job to like…Wisconsin or something. No offense to Wisconsin, but I just don’t think I’d like to spend Christmas alone there, you know? But, my first Christmas alone is in the Caribbean. I went on an amazing Christmas boat trip to the British Virgin Islands, I have very shitty Christmas lights, and I have a bikini picked out for Christmas Day. I have a stocking on my door that will remain empty, but all in all, I think I am doing ok. The holidays won’t be the same this year and I won’t be able to continue those traditions with my family, but I have many years ahead to be with with them, and I have time now to make my own holiday memories and traditions. I still might cry like 8 more times. But then I will get my shit together and remind myself that my life is awesome, like I always do. Merry Christmas y’all. If anyone sees my family, hug them for me.



She Won’t Be Lonely Long.

Towards the end of August, I became increasingly nervous about slow season. On St. John there are a couple months that are very slow, so a lot of people leave to go travel, go home, or move on to their next adventure. My roommate was going back home for the entire month, most of my close friends were doing the same thing, a lot of my friends were leaving indefinitely, and I was terrified. I am a by-the-book extrovert and I’ve had a lot of trouble being alone. I had serious anxiety throughout the days leading up to Carly leaving and couldn’t stop thinking about how much I would hate going home to an empty house every single day after work.

Since my very first boyfriend, I have been in back to back relationships all the way through college and up until I moved. This is by far the longest I have ever been single. I thought about how much easier slow season would be if I was with someone to feel like I actually had something tying me here while all of my friends were either with their families or off seeing the world. Though it does sound nice in theory…my slow season actually KICKED ASS. And it was (almost) completely boy-free. #GirlPower.

I spent almost every single sunset during slow season sitting on an overlook with Hannah and a $5 bottle of wine. We got off work at the same time, blasted the same 5 songs in my car, drank cheap red wine out of foam cups, and talked about anything and everything. We had all of this time that we had never had before because so many of our friends were gone, so many restaurants were closed, and we just got to sit down and breathe for a little while. It was amazing.

I started to feel indifferent about going home alone every night. I didn’t dread making the trek up my stairs into my dark apartment, because I really started to learn how to enjoy being alone. I used the energy I would normally put into my friends or a relationship, and put it towards myself. I went through a bit of a rough patch and I felt extremely stagnant. I didn’t want to be alone, but I didn’t have a choice so I made a conscious decision to just be ok with it. I needed that time to remind myself of my worth, to remember why I’m here, and to learn and experience every part of living on this island. Slow season is one of the tough parts, but if you do it right, it can actually be one of the best parts.

The day before mine and Hannah’s roommates came home, we took our final trip to the overlook with a bottle of wine. We weren’t exactly ready for our routine to change, but started to get excited about all of the new life that high season will bring. Everyone seemed to come back within the same week, and everything returned to normal very quickly. I stood at Doghouse last night, scanned the room, and I was so blissfully happy that I was with all of my friends in the same place.

Loneliness is something that doesn’t necessarily have to be fixed by not being alone. It can be fixed by learning how to be alone, how to enjoy it, and how to make the best of it. I’ve been needing to learn that lesson for a very long time and over the past couple of months I feel like I have become much stronger and much more stable. I feel very…content. I don’t know if I’m in a place of extreme happiness at the moment, but I am definitely not miserable. Content is ok. Whether it is being comfortable spending time by myself, or having all of my friends back, all I know is that I’m really not lonely anymore or at all scared of being alone. If you can’t fix it, you can always just learn to be ok with it. It’s always temporary.

“If she’s lonely now, she won’t be lonely long.”