The Warning Label

When it comes to writing this blog, I’ve got to tell you, I’m terrified. I’ve always had this idea in my head that I want to write something worth reading. Or rather, I want to write something that I would want to read. Now, in all fairness, I will read anything I can get my hands on. I will read great works of literature, and then the next week read the latest teen drivel. As a child I was known to read the back of the shampoo bottle during my bath because I needed to read something. But I’ve always wanted to write something that actually moves people. Because isn’t that the greatest feeling? When you read something and the author seems to get you, and their writing touches a nerve and suddenly you realize you’re not alone and humans have been dealing with the same issues for centuries? That’s what I want my legacy to be. But that’s a pretty tall order.

When this blog was mostly a travel blog, I got a lot of comments on how great it was, and how you could hear me talking when you read it, and I always loved those compliments. But to be honest, there are only a few posts that I’m actually proud of, because most everything else was pretty skin deep. Look at this great place I went, look how yummy my food was, look at these amazing people I met. But it was all a mask. I mean sure, most of the time I was happy, exploring, and stunned by the world and the wonderful people in it. I was on the most amazing trip I am positive I will ever go on in my entire life. However, this trip was spurned by some of the deepest emotional issues I’ve dealt with to date, and I barely mentioned it. I could have delved deeper into why I decided to quit life and move to a farm in rural Italy, because let’s face it, that’s a crazy thing to do. I could have talked about the fall out in my personal life on what it looks like to abandon your relationships when you make self-centered decisions, even when you know they are the best for you. But I didn’t. In hindsight, it’s something I regret, as it could have been a huge opportunity for my personal growth and for my writing.

The point is if I’m going to make this blog something I am truly proud of, I’m going to have to get vulnerable. I’m going to have to let you, a perfect stranger, into the deepest recesses of my mind. This, in itself, is pretty frightening. However, it’s manageable, because I don’t know you. I’ll never have to look into your eyes and see you judging me. If you don’t like me, you’ll just click in that red box in the top corner of your screen. No biggie. It’s the people that I know that I’m worried about baring my soul to. It’s my friends or coworkers that might recognize one of our interactions in one of the stories I tell, or a guy I’ve dated that sees himself in my anecdote. It’s that worry that revealing a little too much of what makes you tick will make people not like you so much. And the worst of all, it’s my parents and grandparents that think they’ve raised a nice sweet girl and they find out that I’m a degenerate with emotional issues. I’m sorry Mom and Dad, but you created this independent, free-spirited, over thinker, and now you get to read my thoughts and weird escapades and it’s going to be strange. You’re most likely going to find out about things that we may have never talked about, so I hope that we can all handle this with grace and get over the weirdness just like we’ve always done: wine.

So I suppose this post is sort of like a warning label. On this website, you are going to get the unfiltered version of me. You may not like what I have to say, and that’s fine. I’m secure enough in myself to be vulnerable, and I’d be doing myself a disservice if I wasn’t true to myself and what I have to say. But I do hope that you like what I have say, that my words give you a break from your life, and that you enjoy your time here with me.

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To Whom It May Concern

Dear Readers, Friends, Family, and Random People That Have Stumbled Upon This Blog,

It’s been 575 days since my last confession- I mean… public explanation of my life. The anonymity has been killing me, so I’m back. Now, as you can imagine, a lot has changed since I was a FUNemployed suburbanite kickin’ it in my folks house, partying and traveling and having fun. This changed for a few reasons 1) I ran out of money, 2) if I kept partying like that I’d lose my liver, 3) if I kept sitting on their couch all day my parents would have kicked me out and 4) I got current on the Walking Dead and about 20 other shows. My low point was when I started watching Revenge. That’s when it’s time I knew I needed to get a real job.

After my escapades around the world, I really wanted to pursue some of my passions as career paths: sustainable agriculture, wine (making and selling it, not drinking it), artisanal food production, writing, changing the world in some huge way… you get the picture. Turns out these things are extremely difficult to do unless you know someone, and/or you make little to no money. But hey, here’s a life lesson – you don’t always get to make a lot of money (or any money) and pursue your passions and be a world changer. Sometimes you have to weigh reality with the expectations you’ve put on your life. Be honest with yourself, it’ll be easier in the long run.

Now, I’m not trying to be a downer or say that it’s impossible to do something your passionate about and make enough money to support yourself. Hell, there are tons of people that have done it, tons of people that are currently doing it, and so many more that will decide to make the necessary sacrifices or risks to make their dreams a reality. I’m just saying, I weighed the options of chasing my passions against my constraints: the extravagant lifestyle I’ve come to expect, and more importantly the time I’d be missing out on with my family and decided to find a middle ground. And don’t worry, you guys, this story has a happy ending- er, well, a happy ending to a chapter because I’m not dead yet.

At the beginning of 2014, I decided to put on my grown up pants, one leg at a time, and got a great job working for a General Contractor in Southern California (name retracted for my safety and theirs). Side note, my dad is my boss, but let’s not focus on that just yet. I’m doing something that challenges me, where I get to learn new things, build cool stuff, and it’s socially acceptable to cuss. I work with some of the best people and some of my closest friends, and it makes me really happy that I get to share my days with them. It’s not all rainbows and ponies; there are struggles and tough days just like anything else in life, but I’ve been there for about a year and a half now, and, well, let’s just say every day is different and provides me with some pretty great stories. Don’t worry, I’ll share.

Now, don’t cry for me, dear reader, I didn’t give up being awesome and interesting for this job, I promise you that. I moved to San Clemente, CA (Google it, you’ll be jealous and admit that my life is pretty good), where I have a cute little house that overlooks the coastline and I can hear waves crashing from my bed. I discovered my zen and completed yoga teacher training, and I’m now a certified, though unemployed, yoga instructor. I traveled to Las Vegas, Austin, Albuquerque, Mexico, New Orleans, London, Paris, and most recently, Costa Rica. Two beautiful baby boys were brought into my family, and they are the greatest humans I’ve ever laid eyes on. I’ve made new friends that have made my world sunny and bright and that reinforce my belief that people can be so good to one another. I’ve opened myself up to a strange new dating world, that reinforces my belief that people can be so terrible to each other (just kidding!). So many good things have happened to me over the past year and a half, and I’m so grateful that I stuck around in one place long enough to experience it.

And as for my passions and dreams; they are still there. Alive and well. I fully believe that I can have my cake and eat it to. That I can have a career that is fun and makes me money and also sometimes sucks, while also pursuing the things I love and that make my neurons tingle. Whether that’s in the form of side projects, hobbies, or simply loosely planning for the future that I know I will have some day, I know well enough not to let my soul come second. If there is anything I learned through traveling, through letting go of paths that no longer made sense, and through embracing the reality of my life, it’s that I should always come first. I know, typical only child behavior here, but it’s true. When you live your life for you, trust your instincts, and follow your heart, there is no way you can go wrong.

Now, I’m sure there is a lot that I’ve missed. I mean, did you really think I could catch you up on a year and a half’s worth of thoughts in less than a thousand words? I’m so sure. But it’s a start. And at least you know I’m still alive. As we get reacquainted with one another, I hope you realize that the style and format of this website will have changed drastically. For one, I’m much funnier than I used to be. But really, I’m not this exciting jetsetter anymore with gorgeous photos and hilarious stories about sheep farmers that want to marry me. I’m just a regular, late 20’s single girl with a job, and that’s what this blog is going to be about. But my hope is that since I won’t have all the glamour of travel to hide behind, I can get real. Show you who I am and what makes me tick. Maybe you’ll like it, or maybe you’ll get bored with me and just want to look at pretty pictures of Europe. If it’s the latter, email me, I can point you in the direction of some really great Instagram accounts. But if it’s the first one, then welcome to the new blog, and I look forward to getting to know you.

Until next time,

Bee

Why I Love San Francisco

This past July, I went to San Francisco to visit a friend, and with every moment I fell more in love with this city than I already am.  Here’s why.

Natural and Architectural Beauty:

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A gorgeous Bay day
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Palace of Fine Arts
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Coit Tower
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The Golden Gate Bridge peeking out through the fog

All my 90’s kids will recognize these from the opening credits of Full House.  The Painted Ladies in Alamo Square are the epitome of the Victorian era homes in San Francisco.

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The Ferry Building is one of the must-go places for me every time I go to the city.  Inside, you can find all kind of artisan food mongers, butchers, creameries, coffee shops, and restaurants.  It’s my heaven.  Turns out, the actually ferry leaves from here as well, who’da thunk it?
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To me, the Transamerica building is the building that makes the San Francisco skyline. Well, that and the bridges.IMG_4880 IMG_4863 IMG_4899

Go 'Murica!
Go ‘Murica!

The Food:

The food scene in San Francisco is so wonderful.  As I’m sure you’ve picked up by now, bad food is a deal breaker for me.  Luckily, San Francisco and I can continue our love affair, because this is the food mecca of the US. The plethora of fresh produce and locally made goods makes each trip to the farmers market or a restaurant a special treat, and actually makes you excited to eat healthy. Imagine that.  Like this proscuitto with almonds and piquillo peppers from Bar Jules in Hayes Valley. Okay, so maybe proscuitto isn’t healthy, but I’m willing to look the other way on this one.

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Or their fantastic chocolate cake.  I couldn’t wait to taste the fresh whipped cream before taking the picture.IMG_4798_2

My fave in the city
My fave in the city

farm:table is one of my favorite places to go in the city.  Their menu is different everyday depending on what’s fresh, and then tweeted to their loyal foodie followers.  Seating is limited in their tiny space, but if you’re lucky you can catch a table outside and enjoy a rare sunny day, an egg and bacon sandwich on a housemade bisquit, and a latte with a friend.

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The perfect remedy for a hangover is this s’mores rootbeer float from Cole Valley’s The Ice Cream Bar Soda Fountain. Trust me on this one.

S'mores milkshake.

And the fruits and veg.  The variety here is amazing, and I will eat heirloom anything. IMG_4874 IMG_4865_2

Tomato love.
Tomato love.

The Quirks:

All the things that make me smile.

Playing tourist with the lower Haight bunny
Playing tourist with the lower Haight bunny
A ceiling made entirely out of wine corks. Genius!
A ceiling made entirely out of wine corks. Genius!
Reppin' my Indian brethren
Reppin’ my Indian brethren
Just like me.
Just like me.

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Walking up these stairs was terrible, but beautiful at the same time.
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Hey, book people, make sure if you’re ever in the city you visit City Lights.  It’s pretty great.IMG_4884

And the most important thing in San Francisco that makes me smile.  My amiga that I met in Spain, Casey.  She willingly brought my into her home, tour guided me around the city, and made sure that my body was always drunk or full of food.  What a good friend!

Early morning mimosas to kick off a day that almost killed me!
Early morning mimosas to kick off a day that almost killed me!

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Oh yeah, did I mention we went to the Pride Festival the weekend after DOMA was declared unconstitutional? I LOVE SF!!IMG_4855 IMG_4856_2 IMG_4850

The Escapades of a Domesticated Suburbanite

Hello, dear reader. You may be wondering what the hell I’ve been up to for the past few months.  Well, I’ve been in California trying to figure out what I’m doing with my life.  The day-to-day of that looks pretty boring; breakfast and coffee, workout, a few episodes of whatever tv show I’m into that moment, lots of musing, intermittent internet job searches, cook dinner, rinse and repeat.  A domesticated suburbanite, if you will.  I’m definitely not in the place I was hoping for at this point, but I still take the time to be grateful that I am in the situation that I am in (loving family, positive attitude, place to live etc.).  But in the meantime, I’ve been FUNemployed!

Since returning home from Europe, I’ve spent time in San Francisco, Napa Valley, Las Vegas, Lake Havasu, and I took my grandpa’s ’79 Corvette (well, if we’re getting technical, I’m on the title, so it’s psuedo-mine) on a road trip up California’s beautiful and scenic Highway 1 from the Orange Country area to Berkeley and back. I really should have been writing about this stuff as it was happening, because I’m not going to lie, it was pretty awesome. But we must remember I’m a huge slacker.

Anyway, about two months ago my dear friend Katie is awesome, and asked me to join her in Vegas to celebrate her passing her nursing boards like a boss.  Not one to pass up a reunion or shenanigans, I agreed.  Her friend Casey joined us for the weekend, but Katie and I were there for a week.  Let’s preface this story by saying a week is entirely too long for someone to visit Las Vegas.  It’s a miracle that my liver survived the week, but I’m convinced that if I can survive a week in Vegas, I can get through anything!

Casey, Katie and me.
Casey, Katie and me.
From the top of the Rio.  Don't go here if you want to live.
From the top of the Rio. Don’t go here if you want to live.

On our first night we went to a club at the top of the Rio that I will never go to again.  On our way down to make our way back to the hotel, the elevator got stuck.  With about 13 people in it.  For an hour.  At 4 in the morning.  In Vegas in AUGUST.  It was the hottest and sweatiest thing ever. Hotter than hot yoga.

Way too many strangers in an enclosed space.
Way too many strangers in an enclosed space.
Me so pretty.
Me so pretty.

There was one guy in the elevator that kept prying open the inner door of the elevator and trying to open the outer door to get airflow.  We were stuck between floors, and once I read this story about a person that died trying to climb out of an elevator that was stuck like that because when they were halfway out, the elevator slipped down and they were cut in half.  So I kept telling him that if the elevator moved he would get his arm chopped off and it would be a total Tarantino movie in that elevator, but he wouldn’t listen to me.  Later, the firemen yelled at him for doing that. VINDICATION!!

Anyway, after escaping the death trap, management told us that it was our fault the elevator got stuck because there was too many people on it, which is total B.S.  I’m not a math genius, but an average elevator has a capacity of 3000-3500 lbs, divided by 13 people, each person would have to weigh more than 230. Now, a lady never reveals her weigh, but that elevator was filled with mostly skinny bitches (Katie, I’m talking to you), so it’s kind of a stretch for me.  Anyway, they gave us a free water. Whoopedy doo. I hate the Rio and I’ll never go back (unless it’s free).

While there, we saw The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s play at the Cosmo pool, and Karen O is such a badass.  She rocked a gold sequin blazer all night while jumping around like a wild woman.  It was rad.  The venue there is really awesome as well, and tickets are relatively cheap- about $36 bucks.  Downside? Drinks are like $15… sooo… boo.

Sunrise at the Cosmo.
Sunrise at the Cosmo.

We also met some crazy characters, as per usual, especially this group of Aussies.  We lost one Aussie for about 30 minutes, and when we found him again, he was extremely intoxicated and ended up faceplanting in the middle of the casino at the Cosmo.  Definitely a highlight of my life.

The Faceplanter
The Faceplanter
Not sure what is going on here, but it's magical.
Not sure what is going on here, but it’s magical. And probably unsanitary.

I’m sure he’d be super proud of himself if he knew that he’d made it onto a random American girl’s blog.

Besides partying entirely too much, we also managed to have some incredibly delicious meals at the Cosmo. Pizza, tapas, burgers and alcoholic milkshakes, McDonald’s at 6 am.  You name it, we ate it.  And then some gambling and clubbing action as well.  It was seriously a great week.

$71, the most money I've made in 2013.
$71, the most money I’ve made in 2013.
Butts. And boobs. WIn.
Butts. And boobs. WIn.
Hipster Katie.
Hipster Katie.
Giant cowboy hat, giant sunglasses, and a Burt Reynolds look alike. It's funny.
Giant cowboy hat, giant sunglasses, and a Burt Reynolds look alike. It’s funny.

And the fun doesn’t end! Tomorrow, I jump in my car to meet my amiga for another Vegas trip! Catch you later, reader friends, let’s pray for my survival!

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Random and Weird London

First off, I’ve spent the past few days giving the blog a makeover… not quite done yet, but check it out and please leave any comments or things you’d like changed in the comments section.  Also, if any of my readers out there are fancy pants computer whizzes that can make me a cool logo, like a bee flying around a globe or something, I’d be willing to commission a piece!

Anyway, flashback to London, mid-June. I was feeling out of sorts on my last few days of travel.  I was sad to split up with Katie, sad my adventure was over; I just felt blah.  Thankfully, London had my back and provided me with beauty and all kinds of weirdness.  The street art in London is amazing.  There is a tunnel where it is legal to do graffiti, as long as they keep it clean, so of course the best pieces were found there.  There would be new pieces every day, it was really fantastic.

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Too true, wall.
Too true, wall.
My friend Joe, taking a picture of me taking a picture of him.
My friend Joe, taking a picture of me taking a picture of him.
Blurry Katie
Blurry Katie
It's not street art, but I was laughing my ass off.
It’s not street art, but I was laughing my ass off.

One of the days we made the trek out to Greenwich, which was lovely, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it was enjoyable.  We were all crabby, and picked fights with one another all day.  Oh well, I had fun anyway!

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Lovely skyline
Lovely skyline

I have three words, and they equal happiness…

PITCHERS OF MOJITOSSSSS!
PITCHERS OF MOJITOSSSSS!
I miss this bun.
I miss this bun.
Look at that face...
Look at that face…
I watched the window cleaners for about an hour... I don't know how they do it, hieghts are terrifying!!!
Can you see the window cleaners? I watched them for about an hour… I don’t know how they do it, heights are terrifying!!!
Cute houses
Cute houses
London Eye
London Eye

We stayed with my friend Joe, and he lives really close to the London Eye, it was a great starting off point to explore London by foot.

London Eye + Big Ben
London Eye + Big Ben

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Weird bridge thing from one building to another
Weird bridge thing from one building to another
London Eye at sunset
London Eye at sunset

Now, since this is my last European travel blog post (not forever I hope, but for now), you might be asking, “Brittany, what is the weirdest thing you saw while in Europe??”  To that I will respond, “Well, my friends, the strangest thing I saw was the Naked Bike Ride in London.”  Yes, you read correctly.  Naked. Bike. Ride.  I’m not sure how suitable these pictures are for work, I’m pretty sure I picked the ones that you can’t see anyone’s junk, but there are definitely butts.  Lots and lots of butts.

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This bike ride was in support of “a vision of a cleaner, safer, body-positive world.”  It was ridiculous, hilarious, and borderline gross.  It was the cherry on top of a really amazing 6 month journey sundae.

London Food Adventure

The last few days of my trip were spent wandering around London and enjoying London’s excellent food scene.

My favorite of the markets (of any market, anywhere really) was the Real Food Market at the Southbank Centre.  Near the London Eye, the Southbank Centre is a complex of art venues, and is really a great place to visit. It has a really awesome community garden.

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DSC02611The Real Food Market is held Friday-Sunday, and has everything from fresh produce, honey, curry cooking in giant pots, to locally brewed craft beer.  I feasted on the best roasted hog sandwich and a local lager.

DSC02626 DSC02621 DSC02619 DSC02623This sandwich will haunt my dreams forever, because I doubt I’ll have to opportunity to slow roast a whole hog, and if I do, I know it won’t be this amazing.

The other amazing market I went to was Borough Market, one of the oldest markets in London.  Borough Market sold more gourmet type products, both local and global, as well as produce.  For a food lover like me, these markets both felt like little slices of heaven.

DSC02631 DSC02630We also visited Chin-Chin Labs, a nitrogen ice cream place, which was absolutely phenomenal.  I had the peanut butter popcorn icecream with white chocolate covered potato chips and caramel pretzels as a topping.  It was too good to share, so us fatties each got our own.DSC02648 DSC02654 DSC02655 DSC02656

 

And the irony is, after eating all of this amazing food, this is what I miss most from the UK that I can’t get in the US.

IMG_4747Haribo, it’s time to get your s**t together and bring Tangfastics to me. Because ‘Kids and Grown Ups love it so’… and I’m not sure which one I am just yet 🙂

 

 

 

 

Birthday Adventures!

Spending my birthday on Santorini was really fantastic.  Katie and I rented ATV’s and drove from one end of the island to the other. Even though ATV’s don’t even go that fast, I felt like a badass, but I think Katie thought I was trying to kill her. Sorry dude, I wanna go fast.

DSC02553 DSC02555Our major attraction of the day was Red Beach.  Now, I’ve heard a lot of cool things about Red Beach, but it was honestly a crazy, awesome, magical (insert a ton of adjectives here) place, and I couldn’t get the huge goofball grin off my face.

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Can you see the doors in the cliff?
Can you see the doors in the cliff?
I've been told I look naked in this picture. Trust me, I wasn't.
I’ve been told I look naked in this picture. Trust me, I wasn’t.

I’m looking at these pictures thinking that they definitely don’t do it justice.  Trust me, if you’re ever on Santorini, GO HERE!! It was so cool. Also, you can’t tell from this picture that I was having an absolute panic attack because I let Katie swim out into the damn ocean with my most important possession (after my passport, that is), my iPhone. Thank god Katie is basically a chick Poseidon from all her years on the swim team and can tread water for days with one arm out of the water. Additional panic moments when the camera wouldn’t work and I had to tread water with both arms out of the water to try to delete some pictures so we could snap these gems.  And I’m really not that great of a treader.

The strangest part of this beach and the ocean were these little flakes of seaweed that floated in the ocean and when they washed up on the shore it made like… a seaweed pillow? I don’t know how to explain it.

Seaweed pillow? Cushion?  Quicksand?
Seaweed pillow? Cushion? Quicksand?

Anyway, sea weed got everywhere, and I mean, place you don’t want sea weed. Yuck.

For lunch we stopped at a little roadside hole in the wall and got the most delicious gyro.  It was the best I’ve ever had, plus is was like 2 euro… Amazing.

Wet hair, covered in seaweed, no complaints.
Wet hair, covered in seaweed, no complaints.

After a day of adventure, we went and cleaned ourselves up and then ATVed our way to Oia for dinner to catch the sunset, a must if you’re on Santorini. You know all the movies that take place in the Greek Islands and you’re like, “oh, I HAVE to go there!”  They are probably in Oia.  It’s gorgeous.

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Oia falling into the sea
Oia falling into the sea
View of Fira from Oia
View of Fira from Oia

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Hemingway + Rent-a-Cat. Excellent business model.
Hemingway + Rent-a-Cat. Excellent business model.

Katie and I went to a great dinner.  When in Greece, eat as much lamb as possible.

Birthday present
Birthday present
The surprise was lovely lamb.
The surprise was lovely lamb.

So, as I’m sure you’ve picked up, I’m a big sunset person. I make a point of stopping to look at the sky, and I could never live on the East Coast because I can’t imagine looking at an ocean and not getting to see the sun set on it. It’s just weird.  So my birthday present was this gorgeous sunset.

DSC02575 DSC02577 DSC02582 DSC02586 DSC02588 DSC02593I love the very beginning of twilight (no, not the book), when the colors from the sunset still have bits of orange, and you watch it fade to dark blue.

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That night, Katie and I went out like wild women.  Lots of people worry every year they get older, but I proved to myself that I can still have just as much fun as I did when I was 21. The problem is the recovery.  I spent the next day in bed, ordering room service, watching movies on my computer, and vowing to never drink anything that is green ever again.

All in all, I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better way to mark the beginning of a new year.  I was in a beautiful place, with a great friend, going on an awesome adventure.  What a great day.