All is well

“Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well.”


Living My Dream

A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown.
Denis Waitley

My move to Denver is more than a geographic change — it is a personal and professional one.  I have wonderful, inspiring and supportive friends, colleagues and family in Florida — and they shinned so bright as I was departing from Tallahassee.

My mom and me in Dillon, CO. She helped me moved and was so supportive.

My mom and me in Dillon, CO. She helped me move and was so supportive.

A part of me is homesick, feeling a little exposed and raw in this new, vibrant city. My people, my comfort, are not here….but I knew this going into it, and am taking these growing pains in stride. I am putting one foot in front of the other and establishing my life here. Moving to a big city, building my brand and living on my own as a young professional with a bright future — that is living my dream.

Living my dream doesn’t mean I have arrived at heart of it yet, but rather is the daily acts of taking the steps to get there. I am not yet Helen Hunt’s character from What Women Want (only my love interest will not be with someone like Mel Gibson) — but moving, literally, outside of my comfort zone and walking toward my dream IS living it.

Earlier in 2012, I blogged about creating something and building a life that doesn’t involve two weeks of vacation to escape from “reality.” I am making a life built on experiences and personal and professional growth. This year I am walking the walk and embracing the unknown and unexpected — as we all know those are always the brightest, most powerful sparks.

Goodbye Bali, for now

My trip to Bali was exceptional. I tried to blog as much as possible during my trip, highlighting how the experiences, events and moments have shaped me. However, it has been impossible to post about everything and still have time to live it. Here are the highlights of my Bali sparkle that has not been mentioned in my blog thus far.

Jogging Campuhan Ridge

Campuhan Ridge Path

I finally was able to go for a good jog two days in a row, which was proven difficult because of the rain. My body felt it for sure, especially since jogging the Champuhan Ridge is comparable to running stadium steps at Doak Campbell in August. The heat will beat you down and the steep inclines will leave your calves and gluteus burning. Except Doak Campbell doesn’t leave you feeling like you are jogging in a tropical paradise surrounded by Alang Alang and palm trees. Champuhan Ridge allows you to get your head above the noise, literally and figuratively. I am so glad I had a chance to experience endorphins in such a beautiful spot on the planet.

Blurry vision jogging up one of the hills

Business (and Personal) Shopping Denpasar

The main clothing manufacturer, my family has used for more than a decade gave us a ride to Denpasar and Seminyak from Ubud to finish up shopping for the spring line of clothing at Rollick. We visited Double Six Street where I found a new purse and my cousin found some great items for the store.  The main attraction in Denpasar was a fabric store in the Denpasar market where my aunt and cousin regularly obtain the fabric for their clothing. It was so much fun! I think we spent more than an hour searching for fabric and developing ideas for the fabric. My creative side was enhanced during this expedition.

Fabrics at the Denpasar Market

Night out with Anika

My cousin and I went out in Ubud on Saturday night. After searching the city for a place that fit our taste, we found the Laughing Buddha Bar. On Saturday night it offered a Balinese Latino band called Buena Tierra. They were awesome and the vibe was great. We made friends with the bartender and one of the servers as well. They are both locals and I look forward to visiting them when I visit Bali again. It is always refreshing when you meet new people who are warm and make your night better as a result of relationships cultivated.

Love for Obama

President Barack Obama is a very popular man in Bali. Three times while I was there, the U.S. President received a shout out. As a child the president lived in Jakarta, so Balinese feel a connection with the well-traveled President.  When asked by a Balinese person where I was from I would respond with “America,” of course. Three times Obama received a shout out. The shout outs I heard were:

  • “Obama is Bagus” (Bagus = Indonesian for good)
  • “Yay, Obama!”
  • “Obama good man”

Drink Menu at Laughing Buddha

He even made the drink menu at Laughing Buddha Bar in Ubud. Arak is an East Asian liquor that is considered the local liquor of the island, like moonshine is considered the local liquor of the Carolina boonies. Arak Obama was a mixture of honey, cranberry juice and sugar. It was pretty good, but I like the real Obama better.

Fruit in Bali

I ate more fruit during my 12 days in Bali than I eat in one month at home, and I eat a lot of fruit. I ate fruit everyday for breakfast, along with a main course and usually had two fruit drinks throughout the day, such as the watermelon juice below, Yum!!

Watermelon Juice

I tried two different types of fruit while I was there. One was Mangosteen and one was Rambutan. They both were delicious. Fruit is like candy that is good for you.


Trip to Padang Bi and Bloo Lagoon

On my last night in Bali, we drove an hour on motorbike to Bloo Lagoon Villas in Padang Bi. Arriving stressed and soaked from the hard core rain and traffic, we realized this was worth the journey when we saw the view.

One view from Bloo Lagoon Villas

Another view from Bloo Lagoon Villas

Our villa was amazing. Often times as humans, we walk on the earth and not among it. We take animals and resources for granted and assume them for our needs and wants. In a place like Bloo Lagoon, it is impossible to feel unconnected to the earth as you here all the little animals (and bugs) during the night. We went for a walk, soaked up the sun (with SPF 50) and relaxed to the sounds of island. It was the perfect way to end my trip to this amazing island.

Villa bedroom

Patio at the Villa

I Love Bali Dogs

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love animals, especially my dog Reno. Reno is my crutch, the one constant being in my adult life that makes me whole during life’s toughest times. He has my back and I have his. Because of the bond I have with Reno and other dogs in my past who have added sparkle to my life, it is only naturally for me to write about the dogs of Bali.

Bali Dog in Seminyak

We saw the Bali dog above the first day we were in Seminyak. He runs the block. Most dogs run in the streets of Bali. Those who are owned by locals are kept outside to act as protection from intruders and keep evil spirits away. Since they are kept outside in the hot and wet weather conditions, it is not uncommon for them to develop mange and other skin conditions. Some locals have their dogs treated for these conditions, but most do not. The Balinese live on minimal income, and treating their street dogs is not a priority.

Over population of dogs is another issue on the island. Many pet owners do not understand the importance of spaying and neutering. The more dogs that are on the street result in a greater amount of starvation, dogs hit by cars and motor bikes, and the faster rabies is spread. Bali experienced an extreme rabies outbreak in 2008.

To my disgust dogs are also consumed in Bali. Most Balinese are appalled by this, but it does happen among the poorer people that live in the outskirts of villages. The places that serve dog meat are marked with “DR”.

Yesterday I visited the office of the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA). BAWA is an Indonesian based charity foundation founded in 2007 by Janice Girardi, an American resident in Bali for more than 30 years. Before she founded BAWA, Janice supported community welfare groups within Bali for decades. BAWA’s overall mission is to solve the complex animal welfare situation in Bali and relieve the suffering of Bali’s animals.

BAWA's Ubud Shop

BAWA’s mission is achieved through:

The BAWA office is separate from their clinic. They are located about 10 to 15 minutes apart in Ubud. I was unable to make it to the clinic, which houses more than 150 animals at the moment, due to the constant rain. During my visit to their office, I met two puppies and the young office dog, Mia. Mia, born blind, was found by Janice in a flooded market as a puppy. Janice scooped her up and provided her medical care and much needed nourishment. Mia is now a happy, healthy dog living in the BAWA’s Ubud shop.


I am not sure of the puppies’ stories, but before they are adopted out, their adoptive family goes through an extensive background check. The background check includes a home visit and subsequent home visits after the puppies are adopted. This is to ensure the puppies are living with a humane and loving family.

One of the Bali Puppies

Puppies Playing

21 Airtime Hours Later

As I type this I am sitting in a thatched roof covered bed by the pool in Seminyak, Bali. My aunt and cousin have left on the moped to do more shopping for their store, Rollick, in Atlanta. I, however, haven’t braved driving in the streets yet. There literally are no rules of the road, everyone honks and I am certain driving on the left hand side of the road will throw me for a loop. I will rent a moped when we get to Ubud, a less busy village on Monday. Listening to the pool’s waterfall and the wind from the storm rolling in blow through the elephant ears and palm trees offer the peace I am seeking at this moment.


Poolside in Seminyak

The first day (yesterday, January 6) we walked and shopped for seven hours straight.  I have never seen such incredible stitch work and creative design in apparel before.  Despite the runway designed clothing, the combination of the Bali heat, sore tailbones from the airplane and seven hours on our feet in sandals kicked us right into bed at 6:00 p.m.

Busy Streets of Seminyak:

We awoke at 12:45 a.m. and had an insightful conversation on our balcony that I am certain was fueled by the environment and the company. We spoke about the sparkle we have already ignited in our lives, such as our ability to embrace emotion. After all, what is living without feeling ALL of it, the pain and the joy?

We also conversed about the sparkle we wish to ignite in our lives such as the ability stop and allow ourselves perspective and insight among life’s clutter, or as I refer to it, life’s camouflage. Perspective and insight are nearly impossible to obtain in the fast pace life the three of us live without consciously hitting the pause button.

Last night’s spark – “Stopping and allowing myself the time to develop my own philosophies and embrace the energy around me is necessary for a bright existence.”

Preview of my next blog, my visit to Uluwatu – This is where I wish I could hit the pause button everyday:

Bali Here I Come!

Today I received an international driving permit – no test required. This, I assume is one of the many luxuries I have as an American. I can drive in Indonesia without knowing the rules of the road, by simply getting a picture taken and paying $25.00 at my local AAA office. I am pretty sure that a Balinese person traveling to America isn’t legally allowed behind the wheel that easily. Watch out Bali, there is a newbie on a moped coming your way!

This is my first time out of the country in my 25 years of life, but I already feel as if my perspective on life has changed. Since a young girl, I have heard stories of my aunt and grandmother traveling to Indonesia. I have heard about the moment they reached monkey forest in Bali, calling it “home” and the lifelong friends that were made on their travels. I have also heard about the bruising foot massages, Bintang beer and mushroom shakes. I am unsure of what the trip has in store for me, but one thing is for sure, I will be adding a spark to my life that can’t be found in America.

New Year

2011 was a year that shaped me more than most.  For the first time in my adult life, the next step for me was unclear. After I graduated from grad school I was faced with the dilemma of choosing to remain in Tallahassee, the city I have been in for more than seven years, or take a risk and move to Colorado, the state I loved and have been trying to get to for years. There were two sparks that influenced my decision to remain in Tallahassee:

  1. The opportunity to work with a great communications firm.
  2. The need to cultivate personal and professional growth in a location that I was familiar with after a whirl wind called graduate school.

Once the decision to stay in Tallahassee was made, the “what if” scenarios crossed my mind every day: What if I would have moved to Colorado? What if I would have networked with more professionals while I was in grad school? Would that have led to a place that filled me with wonder and adventure?

The combination of the ground swell of regretful questions I was asking myself and the positive growth at the workplace forced me to do a lil’ soul searchin’. I began to realize that I had a lot of growing up to do. I mean, I was mature for my age, but needed to add dimension and texture to my life, beyond running and going to the gym.

The desire to add dimension and texture to my life came to a tipping point during the past nine days. I have had the opportunity to reflect on my thoughts and ideas without day-to-day duties and deadlines. I am lucky to be surrounded by a multi-dimensional and creative family, who reinforce my desire to pave a brighter, less traveled path.  Listed below are the major sparks that have been ignited in 2011.

  1. I will work toward owning my own business (what exactly that is, I don’t know yet).
  2. I will reduce the amount of overhead I incur to allow for regular travel to different countries.
  3. I will engage my creative side by painting, writing and photographing.
  4. I will allow myself time for meditation.
  5. I will start a blog!!!