Wednesday, December 31

2015 New Year's Resolutions

Can you all believe the year is over? I'm sitting here wondering where the time went. I mean, did it literally fly by?

With the end of the year comes the annual "New Year's Resolutions" post. So here I am on December 31 sipping hot cocoa and writing away.

What I love most about the end of the year is that it's both the perfect time for reflection and progress. Look back but only to spring you forward.

So I took a look at my 2014 resolutions, or as I prefer to call them, mantras:

  • Live in the now.
  • Let yourself feel. 
  • Take risks. 

And looking back, I'm happy with where those resolutions took me. This year was one of immense growth - personally and professionally. I learned to trust myself and my emotions. I learned that making decisions based on those emotions was not only OK but what I preferred. And I took risks. Not jumping-off-a-cliff risks, but small ones. 

What I love most is that I didn't forget my resolutions, because I lived by them. They're the advice I tell myself on the day-to-day and the advice I share with friends.

This year, I'm keeping it even simpler. 

There are two things I want out of 2015:

Be courageous. 
Just go for it. I'm scared all the time. We'd be lying if we said we weren't. But I want that fear to push me to do bigger and better things. A few days ago, I decided I'd go for a tripod pose in yoga. I've been practicing on and (mostly) off for about a year, but it was until this week that I decided to go for that inversion. Why? Because I was scared. It didn't seem natural. But when I tried, it came easily. That was natural. In 2015, I want to continue to push myself outside of that comfort zone in all aspects of life. 

Be strong. 
Mentally and physically. This is the year I'll finally take care of myself for myself. I'm not aiming for #gainsss or any of that. I just want to be healthy and strong. I want my arms to not tremble when I move into a headstand. And I want to accept and encourage moments of vulnerability. I want to fall so I can learn. Because you're only as strong as you are vulnerable. 

I'm so excited for 2015. 

And here's where I get a little sappy: I'm grateful for each and every one of you. Thank you for following my journey and for being my support system, my outlet. You da real MVPs. 

Wishing you all the very best for the New Year! I have an inkling it's gonna be a good one. 

Con todo el cariƱo,
Natalie


A look back at my New Year's posts throughout the years:

Monday, December 22

2.5 Months of Travel in 2014

I managed to travel every single month this year -- a total of 2.5 months combined. I attribute that to my New Year's Venezuelan tradition of running around the block with my luggage... and of course, to our clients.

It's been an incredible year on planes to the Northeast, the West Coast and, most of all, to Chicago. And I've learned several travel tips along the way.

It was one hell of a year.


January
Yep, that's me making my way around my best friend's block with my luggage in 5-inch heels. That was my wish for a year of travel. 

I made it out to Chicago that month, too, to pitch McDonald's. No big, right? 



February
It was a low-key travel month. I drove up to Gainesville to spend time with friends, trespassed into some private properties, enjoyed the "woods" and danced the night away. 



March
I spent the first week of March in Chicago for our McDonald's on-boarding. That's right - we found out in February that we'd won the McDonald's account! I was effin' freezin' while my friends were enjoying Spring Break, but I didn't hate it. 



April
Chicago again, this time for Hamburger University. And yes, I did graduate from HU. Biggest accomplishment of 2014? I also dropped my phone in a toilet that trip.



May
You guessed it: Chicago. But this time with another client, and I stayed in downtown for a whole week. I did all the touristy things, including this incredible view from the Hancock building. 


I also made it back out to Gainesville to watch some of my best friends graduate. 



June

June took me to New York for a McDonald's event. It'd been two years since I'd been back to the city that stole my heart in summer of 2012. I got to see some college friends AND meet Joey Fatone and Tyson Beckford. Whattttt. 




July
I spent the 4th of July and first parts of the month in Boston visiting my bosslady best friend, Diana. This was my first ever real-world vacation. We kayaked, watched fireworks and had plenty of brews. What an incredible city.



Then I ended the month in Houston for a client event. The food was DELICIOUS (though I didn't enjoy the city all that much).



August
Chicago again to talk multicultural things. Look how beautiful the Hyatt Lodge is!



September
I made it out to Chicago again (told you it was often!), but I also drove up to Orlando to visit my parents. Kare and I took Khaely to Disney and Frozen on Ice. Such good family times.



October
My first trip to Los Angeles happened in October for a McDonald's education event -- but I ate In-N-Out (eek!). I also walked the Hollywood Walk of Fame. And earlier in the month, I made it up to Gainesville with Danitza for the Luke Bryan Farm Tour. 




November
My final trip to Chicago! Part of the lake was frozen. I literally watched the seasons change there. 


And then I made it out to San Fran on vacation to visit my bosslady Googler, Lizi, for a #GrownUpish Thanksgiving. Wine, food, wine, food, wine. Need I say more?




December
I almost made it out to Chicago again. But luckily, I'm just spending this one at home with family and friends.

I couldn't have asked for a better year. 

P.S. I did earn my AA gold status. ;) And I only paid for two of these trips. #doublewin

Thursday, December 11

A Note to You: June

Sometimes I write notes to people. They're cathartic notes that I'll never share with them, almost a look in my diary. But I'll share this one with you because it was a turning point for me this year. 

This is so incredibly convoluted. I like you and I care for you and I love you. I’m just not sure I’m in love with you. I can fall in love with you. Am I falling in love with you? But can I even trust you? 
It feels right when I’m with you. But maybe it’s just because I haven’t found who’s really right. And I think you think we’re it. That we’re gonna be together. One day. When you’re ready. How do I tell you I’m not so sure? 
That I want to be sure it’s you. That I want it to be you. But that I just don’t know. 
We connect. It’s like BAM BOOM WOW. It’s all sorts of perfect. And even when it’s just the two of us, together, alone, it’s perfect. We fit. 
But there are so many layers to you. So many women after you. So many little secrets and little things you wouldn’t be able to give. Or you wouldn’t want to give up. 
There are so many little things I wouldn’t trust. And quite honestly, I know we wouldn’t last. It’s so unlikely. But I stay. Because you’re comfortable. We’re comfortable. And because when it’s just us, you make me happy. You make me smile. It’s cheesy. 
I don’t know if to give it a try. If I’m making a fool of myself. I just don’t know what you want me to do. That would be so much easier. Because I don’t know what I want to do. 
I’m scared none of it would work – and then what was it all for? Why would we take the jump? If it didn’t work once, why would it work again? It won’t. And I think we both know that. We want to pretend it’s not true, but we know it is. 
You don’t want to go back and give up your life for me. It doesn’t make sense to you. 
I just don’t know how serious you would be. And I don’t know what I want. I don’t know if I want to give it a shot. I’m pretending that I don’t hear your comments (“why is it so easy with us” “so what happens when I leave”). 
I’m afraid to get hurt. That it won’t be right. And that this time, it’ll be me breaking your heart.

Sunday, December 7

We blur the lines


We blur the lines. Not cross them, just blur them. But it’s a blurry night anyway.

We’re drunk on beers and whiskey. You’re drunk on me, and I like it that way. It’s always been this way.

You touch me – softly, slightly. It’s the kind of touch you only want the two of us to know. Until you want everyone to know. Then it’s protective. It’s territorial. It’s your hand moving down the small of my back.

It’s “She’s mine.” But I’m not.

And I let you. Because, yes, I like it that way.

I grab your hand and take you with me. And you let me because you can’t control it. (Tell me what it is I do that drives you crazy.)

We dance and dance some more. Because dancing is just dancing until my hand’s on your neck and I’m pressed against your chest.  

It’s just the two of us. I’m lost in you and us and this thing we do. And we laugh because it’s so easy. It’s so easy to be like this. It’s who we are, how we are.  

But we only blur the lines.

Because I’m not yours, and I don’t want to be yours.

Not for more than just tonight, that is.



My favorite Tinder match will make you smile

I found this guy on Tinder, and he's by far my favorite match.

In the sea of papi chulos and DJ wannabes, his profile was completely unexpected. It took me .1 seconds to swipe right, and it was probably one of the first times I initiated conversation.

Meet Mike, a 29-year-old living in New York.


Mike photoshopped himself into photos of some of our favorite TV shows - The Brady Bunch, GoT, How I Met Your Mother. And they're perfect.



I messaged Mike asking what inspired him to make this profile. (After all, he'd obviously put in some work to make it happen.) He said,

"I kno a lot of people turn to online dating during some hectic times in their life, so I figured it would be nice to lighten the mood a bit and give everyone something to smile about :-)"
Rock on, Mike. Rock on.



 

Sunday, October 19

To my friends

I'm a strong believer in the wonders of the universe. It has a way of figuring things out. It rids our lives of bad vibes and fills it with good ones, if we let it of course.

Well, this year, as much as I tried to tell myself I was all good vibes, that wasn't the case. I was still stuck in a toxic back-and-forth with an ex-boyfriend. I was no longer in love with him, but it always felt right when we were together. We were explosive.

Fortunately for both of us, that ended abruptly and without explanation. And I tell ya, though his decision for sure, I thank the universe.

It was then that I started to really let go, open up and let other people in my life. And by other people I don't mean other men. I mean friends. Good friends. Old friends. New old friends.

This one goes out to those friends, you're getting a call out here:



  • Diana: The blondie to my brownie (or reddie, I should say). You are my rock. Our sporadic texts make my day. We're inextricably intertwined in so many ways. Thank God for Silver Knight. 
  • Nick: Forever and always. We can go days, months, I'd say years without talking and it's always the same. I got you, and you got me. Guava wine night soon!
  • Lizi: I love that you text me at 8 p.m. your time and I'm already sleeping, and then I respond at 5 a.m. your time. Forever wishing I was exploring Cali with you and Woward.  
  • Danitza: Man, we've had our ups and downs, but we make it work. You literally came through when I needed you most last year, and I'll always love you for that. Cowboy boots!
  • Shannen: Where do I even begin?! I can't get enough of your sass, your laugh and all your good times. I love you, boo. ;)
  • Mirtle: You make my days. I literally cannot not laugh around you, and I so love your brutal honesty. My dominicana favorita, hands down. 
  • Krysten: We may not be 'biffles' or whatever, but I love how real you are and how strong you are (literally and figuratively). And we always have a blast together, so heyyy.
  • Palmer: Palmskiiii just makes me happy. You can be super stressed, a little crazy, and still I just want to hug you. And your cosquillitas are the best.
  • Blair: This loving bitch disappears on me all the time, but she knows I'll always be there. Doesn't matter where or when. (Call me, maybe?)
  • Vero: Talk about old acquaintances becoming new friends. I'm so lucky to have you in my life. Some friendships just click at the right time. Todas las buenas vibras. 
  • Clau: I would have never thought we would be going out together post-college, but here we are. Because the world needs more people like you, who just see good in the world. 
  • Kengg: Girl, you are just fab. So glad Vero introduced us and that we have more in common than we even knew! Here's to all the fantastic times to come. 
  • The ladies at Boden: Las quiero tanto. You all help me grow and learn every day, and I can't complain about our happy hour outings either!
  • Kare: Lol, no one has more fights than sisters, and that's true of us. But I do love how we've grown together and how we now fit into each others' clothes (I need my pants back!). 

Thank you all for being there this year. From the oldest friendships to the newest, each and every one of you mean so much to me. Words don't even do it justice.

Los quiero,
Gnat/Nat/Naty/Natalie

Sunday, October 12

Last Night's Men: 6 Characters You'll Find on a Night Out

Last night! 
Last night, a group of friends and I made it out to Brickell to celebrate, well, Saturday. We had a fantastic time dancing, laughing and being ridiculously silly and sassy.

And while we were being fabulous, as Shannen says, I particularly noticed the kind of men who were at the bar. They were all sorts of characters. And while they were different men from the last time we’d gone out, I realized they were essentially the same. The men changed but the characters remained.

So it got me to thinking about the characters from last night – and every other night, too.


THE PERIMETER BOYS

These are the men who hang around and surround your girl group. They typically seem creepy – not because they’re not attractive but because they’re whispering and deciding amongst each other “who gets whom.” No one gets anyone, creeper. These boys prefer to oogle and stare you up and down without an ounce of shame than strike a conversation.

The thing about the perimeter boys is that sometimes they close in on your space. They creep closer and closer until you’re basically bumpin’ on their junk. Ew, see sly guy below.

Note to the perimeter boys: Rev up the courage and come up to us. Strike a conversation. What’s the worst that could happen? We say no? Take a chance.

SLY GUY

That perimeter boy who creeps up on you is also known as the sly guy.

He’s the one who will graze your waist as he’s walking past you because he obviously can’t just say, “Excuse me.” And he’ll do it repeatedly in hopes that he’ll catch your attention.

No, sir, that’s not OK. Next time you touch my waist I will turn around and slap you. Not really slap you but verbally slap you. It’s worse. So don’t touch me unless I let you. And don’t creep up on my ass. That’s quite possibly the biggest turn off.

Note to the sly guy: Don’t be so sly.  

THE PIGEON

Coined by Krysten Elektra (that’s basically her real name), the pigeon flocks to your group but nobody wants him. Because who likes pigeons? No one. Pigeons break through the perimeter boys and make their way to your inner circle. They’re typically over-the-top personalities with no shame in their game. You’ll mostly laugh at the ridiculousness but don’t forget: the pigeon will quickly get annoying. Why? Because pigeons expect you to like them and their ways.

When pigeons approach your group, they’ve typically had one beer too many, so when they come up to you, they feel like the can conquer you and the world.

Note to the pigeons: Fly away please.

MR. FRENCHIE

He’s similar to the pigeon but takes the “intellectual” approach. Mr. Frenchie is over confident, too, but in a pompous, cocky kind of way. He doesn’t know that he’s raining on your parade because he thinks he is your parade.

As much as we prefer a conversation to your harassment, this isn’t the time to impress me with your “culture” and believed “sophistication.” Please stop telling us you’re French. That doesn’t make you impressive… it makes you French.

Note to Mr. Frenchie: I have a beer in my hand and want to dance the night away. If you want to stick around, dance the night away with me.

BREAK-NECK CREW

These guys take breaking neck to a whole new level. It’s more like the turn-your-head-180-degrees crew. And it’s a crew because most guys break neck as if they were falling dominoes – one right after the other.  

(I’m not even going to mention the hissing, catcalling or biting their lips. Oh, and the break-neckers who have girlfriends… that’s low.)

But my biggest problem with these characters isn’t that they’re looking, it’s that they just stand there. Seriously, guys, if you’re gonna break neck when a girl walks by but not go after her, what’s the point? Here I was thinking men were mostly intimidated by intelligence, but apparently an attractive girl who makes him look twice is also too scary.

Note to the break-neck crew: Be subtler. No one likes to feel like a piece of meat when they’re walking to the bar for a drink. Then, make a move.

THE ONE

Not THE ONE I’m going to marry. Just The One I’m going to dance with tonight, maybe kiss tonight and maybe take home tonight.

The One is the little blessing in the midst of the craziness. He’s your type of attractive and the perfect mix of dance moves and conversation.

When he touches you, it’s only because you let him. And somehow, it’s sexy without being disrespectful.

He knows to pull you in to dance but also lets you do your thing with the girls. He’s not overwhelming.

You can’t always pinpoint what draws you to The One, but inevitably, he’s got your attention.

Note to The One: Keep on keepin’ on.