New Beginnings in Our New City!

Phew, I am tired… I just got through prepping a ton of delicious healthy meals for the week! Tomorrow marks the start of a new beginning, The first day at my new job in Portland. I could not be happier to start working in an office again, especially at this amazing organization.


This weekend marked one month that Nick and I have been in Portland and so far I adore our new city. The first month was challenging, mainly because working part-time from home in a new city is pretty lonely, but it was also fun. I was adjusting to Nick traveling during the week and to be honest, some of the days it was hard to get myself out of the house to explore. I set small goals each day to run errands or walk to take bike rides to different random locations. Luckily Nick’s travel hasn’t been as bad as I had expected. I see him a lot more than I thought I would which makes me so happy. Next weekend marks 2 years that we have been together!😀 After two years I think I am even more smitten with him as the day we met.❤

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A photo from our 2nd date. :-D 

Today was a rainy Sunday and Nick had a lot of work to do, so I decided it was time to break in my kitchen. I figured that this week might be stressful, adjusting to the new schedule, so I decided to take the afternoon to meal prep. By taking all of the guess work out of my daily meals this week I am saving myself the time at night of having to prep and assuring that I am eating healthy meals and snacks with all of them in easy to go containers.


This week, I made a chorizo, mushroom and garlic quiche with chopped spinach and herb over sweet potato hash for breakfast.img_7122

For lunch, a sweet potato zoodle stir-fry topped with snap peas, mushroom, garlic and sesame oil with roasted chicken.



For dinners, I prepared a bunch of veggies such as green beans sautéed in garlic and olive oil, oven roasted brussel spouts with garlic and olive oil and baked sweet potatoes. Nick grilled some tri-tip steak strips  with a  dry rub and grilled chicken.



To mix it up a little we also got some greens, cucumbers, tomatoes and I made homemade almond butter, garlic thai salad dressing for fresh evening salads. For snacks we got some seasonal lara bars and chopped up some fresh strawberries to toss in with some blueberries for fruit cups. I also pre-packed granola in tupperware to toss in some vanilla greek yogurt cups.

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FullSizeRender 10.jpgPretty excited to try these! 

Aside from being exciting for work, I am also excited to break in my new bike!! That’s right, on Friday I went to Seven Corners Cycles in SE Portland and got myself a spunky little Specialized bike with a pink bell, and a ton of great accessories. My daily commute will be entirely through the park along the river, so I won’t really have to worry about cars (which is a relief). The guy who helped me at Seven Cycles was super nice, he was actually from Canton, MA! Such a small world… He didn’t try to oversell me stupid things that I didn’t need and was very patient with me as I test drove a few bikes.


This is the beauty I chose.

Now I just hope that the sun comes out this week so I can get some good rides in. I am a little nervous to ride in the rain right off the bat, especially on my first week of work, but I have to get used to this weather. I hope you all have a wonderful week and I hope to update  more later this week!🙂

I feel like everything has been on hold and I am finally restarting my new life here!!! I am so excited for this new chapter.




Relax, Nothing is Under Control.

I hope you are all having a great week. I am into my third week here in Portland and still loving the city and the people… but to be honest I can’t WAIT to be employed again. While the weekends have been great, filled with exploring and trying new restaurants, the weeks have been long and I need to up my game on structuring more of a routine for myself.


Truth be told, I have been working since I was 11 years old (in those early years, under the table… haha) but still…I have never been unemployed EVER. Technically speaking I’m not unemployed right now, I am still working part time for my Boston employer… yet, not going into an office every day and having that home base/daily human interactions has got me down.

I have a final round interview with an organization I would LOVE to work for, next early next week. I am hopeful all will work out and I will be a full-timer again in no time, but until then things just feel a little in limbo. So what am I doing to stay sane? Well, I have been setting small goals for myself each day. Today I walked over to the Portland DMV and renewed my license—YAY new Oregon license!

Now is the time to get all of the tedious things I need to get done completed. Portland’s pace has been really good for me so far, I definitely need to unwind and take a breath. This week has been all about re-teaching myself how to embrace these rare moments of relaxation rather than stressing over them (currently a work in progress, haha). I know that once I’m employed I will miss moments like these. I have worked so hard for so long, I forgot what it’s like to just be and relax.

I read a quote today from Pema Chodron that said, “Somehow, someone finally needs to encourage us to be inquisitive about the unknown territory and about the unanswerable question of what’s going to happen next. The state of nowness is available in that moment… In that awkward, ambiguous moment–right there in the uncertainty of everyday chaos is our wisdom mind.”

I need to read this over and over and over to remind me that I have to embrace the nowness of this move…to appreciate the moments of having the time and space to take it all in. Some great nowness that Nick and I experienced over the weekend was a 6 mile hike we did in Lava Canyon! Nick bought a book, 60 hikes within 60 miles for the PNW and we are going to highlight each in the book once we’ve done them to see how many we can do! Here are some gorgeous shots from our hike.



I have also been head over heels for the food here. One of my favorites so far was brunch at Bread and Ink. It was seriously some of the best brunch I’ve ever eaten…The cinnamon buns where fresh baked and literally melted in our mouths… the best part was, it was a DOLLAR. Yup, fresh baked goodness for one dollar. Stupid good… I also discovered the beloved bialey which is basically a bagel with roasted garlic or onion in the middle. It was so delicious… We had totally over ordered but we fit as much as possible.



These are the delicious reasons I had to start a food journal…

Aside from all of the amazing restaurants we have been trying together, it has also been SO nice to have a full kitchen and utensils to cook for myself too. While prepping at home, I have been trying to stick to as many healthy options as possible. In the spirit of finding some kind of order among the chaos of all of this unknown, I have started a food journal and workout routine while I have the time.

All in all, I would say I am adjusting pretty well. Being alone in a new city can be tough but I know in time it will get easier little by little. It is the first time I have ever lived in a different time zone than my friends and family and it can get a little lonely after 7pm when you know all of your people are asleep on the other side of the country. It can also be hard as an adult to make new friends. While at the DMV I was chatting with a girl my age, who had also moved from out of state and was renewing her license… she seemed nice enough and we even talked about how hard it is to make new friends, yet neither of us made any effort to exchange info and become friends…Why? Because it feels fucking weird! That’s why, haha.

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Anyhow, all of that in due time… tomorrow I am venturing out to a drive-In screening of the Big Lebowski under a nearby bridge near our apartment. Admission is $8 bucks and people bring blankets and snacks to lay out and watch the flick. That should fill my social quota until Nick gets home tomorrow night.😀



Getting Settled- Embracing the Quiet.

I can’t believe I have already been in Portland for six days! Yay for surviving my first week, and with no furniture in the apartment! It really has felt like indoor camping haha. Paper plates, plastic forks and the single frying pan. Honestly it’s not all that bad, I have a ton of clothes, my computer and the kitties to keep me company. I think the air mattress has been the worst part…I feel old as hell everyday waking up like I can’t move from my back being all locked up. If I never sleep on an air mattress ever again, I would be a happy girl.


The days have been kind of weird without a whole lot of structure. I’ve been waking up around 8am, checking work email from Boston (working remotely part-time), getting ready veryyyy slowly to take up as much time as possible and making healthy breakfasts.


Presentation is everything, even on paper plates.🙂

I have had three interviews so far at two different organizations, both resulting in a follow up interviews next week. This week, and all of the weeks until I find a job, my major focus will be employment. But I don’t want to work just anywhere that will have me, I really want to work somewhere that will be a good fit for me.


Interview Ready! :::Crushed it.:::

So my mornings have been filled with interview prep/interviews and my reward for getting through them has been adventure time-exploring! The only problem is by the time the afternoons have come, I have been POOPED. After my phone interview yesterday, I wanted to venture off and explore a part of the city, it didn’t matter which part, it was nice out, so I just headed in any direction.


I really love the Tilikum bridge, it reminds me of the Zakim Bridge back home, so I chose that as my direction to see what was on the other side. Fun fact, the Tilikum only allows foot traffic, bikers and street cars, no cars allowed. There are gorgeous views of the Willamette river and the Ross Island bridge as you walk along it and just as you get to the other side, you can see the faint outline of Mount Hood in the distance. It is breathtaking…I literally stopped and said “Wow” to myself.


So I walked and walked and walked some more into the SE Neighborhoods. I had  my Pandora blaring and it was super sunny, so I decided to just kept on going. I was definitely in no man’s land… not exactly the place you go to actually find anything. But it didn’t matter to me because I was really happy with the quiet solo walk. I got to a point where I was so tired I needed a recharge so I stopped at this little Wholefoodsie type of shop, which had the phrase “the friendliest store in town” painted on the side… At the moment I was feeling a little lonely and in dire need of coffee so I decided to pop in… A+ for advertising New Season’s Market… it worked on me. But alas, it was just a regular grocery store, no extra friendly than any other. I tried to chat with the hipster barista who poured my cold brew, but she wasn’t having it.


Anyhow, I have been setting small goals for myself each day and that day I was on a mission to find bubble bath. I had decided my self care for the day would be a bubble bath with a glass of wine, so I grabbed some lavender bubble bath and a cold brew and continued on my way. Side note… the cold-brew and coffee here definitely lives up to its hype—SO incredibly good.


Mission Accomplished! I am obsessed with our tub.

I ended up walking so far that by the time I checked my google maps (which has been a life-saver as a newbie to Portland…) I had ventured and hour and a half way from home… which meant that I had to walk an hour and a half BACK home…

I almossttttt opted for an uber since my legs and feet were so tired but I decided, eff it, even if it takes me three hours, I have no place to be! No one at home waiting for me—except the kitties, so I powered on. I called up my bestie and who was also walking home, three hours in the future on the East Coast, and we chatted together literally up until my apartment was in sight. I also navigated myself pretty well and barely looked at the map—who knew, I DO have a sense of direction!?


I miss my life partner… <3 

Going into this move, I knew it would be a bit difficult to adapt to Nick being away traveling for work the majority of the time. Of the 5 days here so far, I literally have only spent one day with him before he had to fly out for a work conference. Having him away traveling so far has just made me appreciate him that much more. Seeing him after his travel is a gift and it makes us feel like we are back in the first few months of our relationship. I mean all of this woulddddd be a little easier if I had the comforts of our home here to distract me (i.e. TV, Internet, dishes, BED) but that all comes on Monday. The way I see it, is the “roughing it” part is almost over. Soon enough I will have cookware, Netflix and all of my comfy clothes to choose from and won’t be sitting in an empty living room, but instead the new home we have built together.


Thank Goodness for our Sweet Ass Lounge!❤

Our apartment complex, has been my saving grace this week for sure. There is a gorgeous lounge with free Wi-Fi, a huge TV and computers with printers, a gym and lots of amazing common space like the courtyard and the beautiful roof deck.


Our Complex’s Roof Deck and Gas Fire Pit! 

Escaping to these different areas makes me feel way less trapped in my own apartment, without having to go to a restaurant and have to purchase something in order to use the Wi-Fi without feeling like a free loader. Though tonight, I took myself out to dinner, not to steal the Wi-Fi, but I just wanted to be around other people. I almost forgot to mention! When I arrived on Sunday, Nick surprised me with a new MacBook Air. I was sooooo incredibly excited. It has been like my new comfort blanket, I have been taking it everywhere to job search, write blog posts and stay in touch with family and friends, it is STUPID nice. I love it so, so much and cannot thank him enough for being so thoughtful.❤ Well I am off to explore more with my love, I am savoring all of these moments that he is home!🙂



The Storm before the Calm.

i know, I know… that’s not how the saying goes, but that is how moving from coast to coast felt. There was literally a hurricane crawling up the East Coast as I left. I don’t think there is any clean and easy way to move anywhere, but shit got messy leading up to my departure. Spoiler alert… The kitties and I made it save and sound to Portland. So far, I love, love, love our apartment complex and our apartment, even without anything actually in it (the movers get here on Monday)! Moves are messy, they mess with your physical health, emotions and overall wellbeing, no matter how hard you try to stay cool.

To rewind back to about a month ago when this all started to become really real, Nick told me we were moving to Portland I was OVER THE MOON! I am wanderlust at heart and have always wanted to live in the Pacific Northwest. When talking about the possibilities of all of the districts we could end up in, Portland was my #1. I had never been here, but from everything I had heard it sounded wonderful and I was told I would adore it. So, mentally… I was psyched! But a few days into the moving logistics of my schedule/Nick’s schedule, job searching, coordinating with the movers, etc… my arms started to itch…followed by my legs… Benadryl did nothing, I had broken into stress induced hives. No joke, the only relief came when I was covered in ice packs.


A pretty accurate depiction of how I felt…

After about 2 weeks of scratching my skin off I took a trip to my doctor who then prescribed me three different types of antihistamines and ahhh, I finally started to feel like myself again! Before I knew it, time sped up and slowed down at the same time and I was just a week away from the big move. I had secured two interviews after networking like a crazy person to try to make it all work. Mentally I was still feeing really great, a bit stressed but super excited, BUT alas, my body was still pisssssed at all of these stress hormones running wild in my body. Between the two weddings we went to in California and Philly before departing Boston, Nick and I had been traveling a LOT and my body decided to put me in check.

My Immune System was like…


Being me, with no off switch, I didn’t & couldn’t listen because shit had to get done! So there I was, a week away from the big move and boom…sore throat. The weird part was that I felt 100% fine other than the throat pain… I went to the doctor once again and they told me that acid reflux likely induced the sore throat. They gave me some antacids and sent me on my way. Spoiler alert #2 the antacids didn’t work. Fast forward to the Saturday before my move, I woke up with my throat so swollen I could barely swallow my own salvia, my uvula had doubled in size overnight.😮


My life long bestie, Meg, who I was staying with was lovely and accompanied me to urgent care to find out what the heck was up and it turns out I had Uvulitis. I know, gross, that sounds like some kind of STD, but it’s when the little hangy thing in the back of your throat becomes inflamed.

Shocker, a cause of Uvulitis can be allergic reactions! Turns out, when you’ are super stressed out, your body releases tones of hormones and chemicals such as histamine which can lead to allergic reactions. Though stress doesn’t cause allergies, it can increase the histamine in your bloodstream which can make an allergic reaction worse… Still not sure what allergy was heightened but god am I glad that is over.

So while I was mentally holding it together (that is until you read the next few  paragraphs..haha) my body wasn’t allowing me to ignore my stress. There are no skipping steps in big life changes like these. SO, lets get to the fun part, the emotional breakdown.

Admittedly, I cried four times during this whole process:

1.) When I told my boss I was moving and would be leaving the company. He is the best boss I’ve ever had and I loved my job so that was a needed cry.


2.) When I said goodbye to my 92 year old Grandmother and she asked me who I was. I realized that very well might be the last time I might see her… It was really sad, we took selfies and she seemed really happy, so I will frame them and will savor those memories.❤ Plus we are visiting for Christmas and she is a tough lady so I will think positive thoughts.❤


3.) While watching chick flicks with my bestie–we were watching “How to Be Single” and the sister finds out she is pregnant. So naturally my married BFF realized that I am moving for good and won’t be local when her and her husband decide to have a baby… She cried… I cried… I miss her terribly already.


Also, funny and kind of related was the moment my Dad got really upset that he wouldn’t be able to see his hypothetical grandkids that Nick and I may or may not  EVER have…He is adorable and I loved the sentiment but quickly told him to come back to reality…


This is my Dad, isn’t he aborbz? <3 

4.) Then finally was the big messy/embarrassing public breakdown…I flew Alaska Airlines because they allow passengers to have two cats on board if you purchase the additional seat next to you. I had read too many horror stories on the internetz to even think of stowing them below, so we bit the bullet and bought the extra seat. Last minute we bought Charlie a smaller soft-top carrier on wheels (lifesaver!) since his other carrier didn’t meet the standards listed on the website. Thomas’s according to the website was fine…until we boarded and tried to wedge it under the seat for take off.

After a prolonged episode of musical chairs with the flight attendants trying to find a place where Tommy’s carrier would fit, there were no other options and the flight was already being held up. The very nice flight attendant, told me I would have to stow Tommy (who has a history of seizures…). I lost my shit and burst into tears in worry for my little fur baby and the stress of the move finally broke me. If that weren’t bad enough, my nose started to spontaneously bleed at that very moment, haha. In hindsight it was hilarious and probably entertaining to watch… you can’t make this shit up…


The kitties in their Thunder Jackets. 

After they took Tommy, I fired off a ton of weepy texts to any friend who would listen and my pals and Nick were wonderful and helped calm me down. I concluded the fiasco with a Xanax and a stiff drink and ended up sleeping the entire six hours. The silver lining of the cat drama was that they had moved me to an empty three seater row, which I used as a airborne bed.


Night, Night Juice! 

I arrived at PDX and Nick was waiting for me with a huge smile and greeted me with the biggest hug and kiss and we just laughed at how ridiculous my journey had been. He was a champ and went over to get Tommy, mainly to protect me in the off chance anything had happened to him, but thank goodness he was totally fine… a little pissed off, but he was even better adjusted than Charlie who rode in cabin with me.


Luckily I woke up in time to capture this before landing at PDX.

So now that the storm has passed, I can focus on the calm. Today was a super productive day that allowed me to sleep in a bit and get organized. This city has a super laid-back air about it, no one is in a rush. The MAX (their streetcars) are not crowded, there are always seats and breathing room available. While I know that the stress will come and go and that there are other challenges ahead for me, I think I’ve gotten through the toughest part of the physical move. First impressions, I LOVE our apartment, the city and the people. It is pretty gray outside, but no rain just yet. We get all of our stuff from the movers in 6 days and I can’t wait to settle in more and make this place home.❤


Our gorgeous apt complex lounge where I am stealing internet and comfort until all my shit arrives.

This concludes my moving rant. I know there are amazing things to come and even in the tough moments, they are now funny stories that have definitely helped me grow and have added to my life experiences. If you can’t laugh at yourself, life is going to feel preeeeetttttyyyyy long. :-p So many lessons learned this week.




The Shit You Get When 30 & Female.

When I was a little girl, while most of my friends were daydreaming about their big poufy white dresses and who they might marry, I was daydreaming about traveling the world and having my own office in a tall building. As the child of divorced parents, marriage was never even on my radar.


The truth is, I have always kind of hated weddings. I am writing this in the peak of wedding season, so please don’t chase me down with pitchforks. I went to an amazing wedding last weekend, probably one of the best I’ve ever been to, and have another next weekend. I am super grateful and honored to be included in the special day of these amazing married/soon to be married friends. I love, love, and these weddings have been lovely and fun in every way they are supposed to be. I just personally dislike formal events, dancing and I can’t hold my liquor. Basically I hate fun… (JK, I just wanted to say that before you thought it).


Seriously though, they just aren’t for me. The thought of having my own wedding, being the center of attention, possibly crying and having a first dance in front of 100+ people, literally makes my stomach turn. I don’t even think I know 100 people… But, much to my dismay, in the last five years, the pressure on me to get married has increased tenfold. The fact that my friends, family and colleagues love my boyfriend just adds to that pressure.

This all started to escalate when Nick and I planned at get-a-way to the beautiful island of Maui. Aka, the home of all engagements, anniversaries and weddings ever…I know, WTF did we expect, haha. As that trip neared, an alarming number of people had a heightened interest in our relationship. I was asked nearly every day leading up to the trip whether I thought Nick would propose or not, mind you, we hadn’t even been dating two years yet.


While all was going effortlessly in our relationship, the pressure began to build and build. On the second night of our trip to Maui, at a super romantic dinner, the waiter dropped our check at the table and wished us a fantastic remainder of our honeymoon…after being called Mrs. Brown by numerous hotel staff. So in that moment I met my breaking point and I totally I began to weep uncontrollably and my poor, sweet boyfriend just looked at me completely perplexed. This has been a perfect dinner, why the tears?!

Although terrible timing for a cry, this actually brought me relief because it lead to us talking about it and learning we were both on the same page. We both have never been in any rush to tie the knot. We live together, love one another and have two beautiful fur-babies. What other people say shouldn’t matter. But the reality is that sometimes the expectations and social pressures coming from others can really wear you down.

Our pending move to Portland has stirred up round two of lots of opinions. I felt compelled to write it after being asked by literally three people (today alone), one being my dental hygienist, “Oh my goodness, you are moving to Portland with your boyfriend!? Where is the ring?” The majority of the people who have asked me are those who don’t really know me well, and I don’t think they are asking to be jerks. It’s like word-vomit, they feel obliged to ask. The unsettling part is that when I tell them “Nope… we’re not engaged,” you can see the judgment on their face, like they are thinking, “Aw, you poor dumb girl.”


I mean, I get it… I have a job I love, I am from Massachusetts and all of my friends and family are here. It is clear there are some people who can’t imagine leaving all of that to move across the country. Many people really dislike change, but I have always wanted to live on the West Coast and I find it exciting—even when all of the little details pile up and drive me crazy.

I still struggle with why I am assumed naive to move with my partner whom I love, live with and have built a life with. With divorce rates still at a staggering 50%, why would it be more socially acceptable if he were my fiancé? The risks that come with love are equal with or without a ring.

I know I am definitely not the first woman to write about this. I also know that people will always find a way to sneak in their unsolicited opinions about your life. After marriage comes, “When are you guys going to start having kids!” It is a never ending cycle of social pressure. I guess my point is—next time you have the urge to ask a woman, whether she be a friend, coworker or family member, “When do you think he will propose!?” DON’T. Unless she has proven psychic abilities, she doesn’t flipping know. More importantly, she might just be happy and not in a rush… and asking that question is just killing her vibe. So instead, just ask her if she is happy—because that is all that really matters.


P.S. I am not anti-marriage and while other people’s opinions don’t matter to me, I am human and a female, so I have a lot of feelings.


 P.P.S: I would love any suggestions or witty comebacks to respond to the “Where’s the ring” and “When do you think he’ll propose” questions…What are you supposed to say in those moments. Apparently it’s frowned upon to show someone your middle finger when they ask.;)

Our Cross Country Move to Portland, Oregon!

As many of you already know, Nick and I are in the middle of planning our cross country move to Portland, Oregon! A few weeks ago, right around the time I was getting ready to embark on my three-day hike in the White Mountains, Nick’s boss sent him a job posting for a District Manager role in Portland. This would be a much deserved promotion that he has been working incredibly hard towards… all he needed was the opportunity.


Before we knew it, he had applied, been asked to come out for an interview and was accepted for the position. Boom! All of this was propelled into motion…

With this incredible opportunity comes a lot of bittersweet feelings… I am currently thriving in a job and career I love, working with a community of non-profits I adore and my manager is like a second father to me. All things that will be extremely difficult to leave behind–not to mention family, friends and a state I have called home my entire life.


So how am I coping?… Well aside from my body completely rebelling against me…(ie. my arms and legs breaking out into hives from the elevated stress and cortisol levels pumping through my blood…) I am doing really well considering. I have always wanted to live out West, so for me this is more of a dream come true, finally realized.

I found the perfect quote today while thinking about all of the feelings that I am processing and it says this:

“Fear always goes away once two things are realized: First, you’re a spiritual being. Second, nothing can ever be lost or taken from a spiritual being that cannot be recreated; not pride, nor money, nor love.”

It reminded me that this is not my first rodeo. I have started over in life in many different times and in many different ways. Over the weekend, I received the nicest message from a friend that I met through Crossfit. She has always been really encouraging of my writing and I hope she doesn’t mind me sharing this, but it touched my heart and reminded me that I can do this. Her message said, “I don’t know if you remember this, but I remember about two years ago I ran into you in the bathroom at the gym and you were crying. I think you had just broken up with your boyfriend and just had a lot going on.. and I just really admire that you never settled and have gone through a lot but have kept going, found someone great and have really been positive. It’s cool to see.” She wished me well with the move and thanked me for the honesty I convey through my writing and it was probably the nicest complement I have ever received. 


But seriously… I love you girl! Thank you times a million for the message.❤

Reading that, took me back to that time… I was going through a terrible break up and had gone to the gym to distract myself from the pain. The only problem was that we were doing box jumps that day, a movement you kind of have to be really present for and my mind was elsewhere. After failing on one too many box jumps, both my shins and ego were bruised pretty badly and I finally just lost it and broke down into tears. My decision to end that relationship was a bit forced but necessary. The guy I was dating was in a downward spiral, had just confessed to doing steroids and asked if we could “take a break.” His timing was impeccable…about one week before the first anniversary of my mother’s death. Emotionally I had hit rock bottom, but I had the strength left to tell him to fuck off and that adults don’t “take breaks,” they break up. In hindsight, that was probably the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.

Since then I have made the conscious effort to embrace change and not to fear it. Change is the catalyst for growth. It is the only path to finding better opportunities and furthering your life. Change has enabled me to ditch my “type,” in terms of the guys I was dating and opened my eyes to the kind of person and love I deserved, leading me to the love of my life, Nick.


I can certainly say that I am not entirely sure what change has in store for me through this next adventure, our journey to Portland… What I can say is that I am happily embracing it, trusting in my gut that the road ahead will lead to really incredible adventures, opportunities and without a doubt–more change.





Three Days in the White Mountains= Happiness.

I’ve been dying to write about my Wilderness Heals experience all week, but to be honest, nothing I could ever write could fully describe this incredible experience. This hike came to me at the perfect time in my life, during the perfect time of year. My only regret about the entire experience is that I didn’t find it sooner.


❤️ Friendship bracelets made for us by ESH women and children.❤️ 

The anniversary of my mother taking her life tends to dominate the month of July, but this hike helped to offset the grief for the first time in three years. All that I have gained from this experience has left me smiling through the hardest of times, helping me look towards the future with a sense of strength and light that I didn’t have before.


From July 15th-July 17th a group of 44 women hiked through the White Mountains in New Hampshire on the Appalachian Trail to raise awareness and funds for women and families who have experienced domestic violence and homelessness. All of the funds raised will directly benefit the amazing work of the Elizabeth Stone House in Jamaica Plain.

Starting off as strangers, the 10 women on my team gathered together during our “Pep and Prep” meeting the weekend before the hike. Many of us were a bit nervous about what it would really mean to backpack and carry a 25-30lb pack around for three days in the woods. Roughly half of us were first time participants, but the wisdom and cheer leading from the veteran hikers gave us confidence that we could and would make it through.

Day three hiking from Lake of the Clouds to the Highland Center.

Had it not been for this hike, the 10 of us may have never met, but through trial and tribulation, we all became bonded in a way I could have never imagined. I feared that the whole ordeal would be a little too “Kumbaya” for me but it was actually the perfect amount… paired with lots of poop talk/jokes…It was really clear to me from the get go, that these women were my kind of people. I can honestly say that at this point in my life, there have been few experiences as real and authentic as the bonds created among us.

Family style dining with my new favorite ladies at the Madison Spring Hut.

The adventure started bright and early at the Riverside T stop, many of us either hopping in Ubers or driving from the suburbs to arrive in time for the 5:30am departure. Upon arrival, there were a sea of many nervous first time hikers mixed in with the confident, excited veterans—all of us scoffing down a breakfast of coffee, bagels and bananas all neatly put together by the excited volunteers & staff members who came to see us off.

As I sat awkwardly on the curb eating my second bagel, the group gathered and the ESH staff members set the stage to welcome a powerful female speaker. Not only was this woman a former resident of the Stone House but also a cancer patient, currently undergoing chemotherapy. She credited the Stone House for saving her life and really wanted to be there to see the hikers off.

Where it all began…:)

Her story, like so many experienced by survivors of domestic violence, was not easy to take in, filled with trauma and pain. She described the details of her former life, seven months pregnant trapped in a violent household with an abuser that wouldn’t even let her see a doctor throughout her pregnancy. Tears filled her eyes as she read the memories of the father of her child who beat her mercilessly and refused her medical care. She described leaving him, doubting herself, and returning to him. Finally she made the decision for herself and her child to leave for good. She credited her success to this amazing organization that we all were about to hike for…the funds we had raised would allow women, like her, a fighting chance to change their situation.

Of course when the speaker started to cry, we ALL started to cry… Talk about a powerful moment… Her talk took me back to my senior year of college… Twenty-one years old, babysitting my five year old niece when my sister and her abuser came home fighting at 2am… She had been working as a bartender, eight months pregnant, and her abuser had once again gotten her fired from yet another job as a means of financial control. I remembered waking up, trying to defuse the situation, so to not wake my niece, but instead it escalated when he put his hands on her. I remembered the moment that stood still when I put myself between the two of them, his fist raised at me, ready to strike…followed by the 2am run with clothes stuffed in trash bags and the heartbreak that ensued the next day when she decided to go back to him. These are TRUE stories that unfortunately happen to women everyday across the country and the global…

These were some of my favorite moments.

I decided to do this hike for many reasons…and much like my experiences with most volunteer events, I felt like I received SO much in return. The most rewarding parts of this hike, aside from the physical challenges, were the relationships I built over the weekend. During times, like day two, we hiked for 10 hours in fog so thick you could barely see the person in front of you. The weather and challenges of hiking really kept taking my mind back to why we were hiking and what it is like to be in situations of domestic violence…You aren’t always able to see the road ahead of you, but you know you have to continue on to get to your goal and it is easier to do that with a group to support you.

Fog hit us hard on day two, but we marched on!

Our group of 10 women supported one another along the way. We learned that we had far more similarities than differences—from student loan debt, issues faced in relationships and even common employers. Our lives had strangely overlapped in so many ways and through this three day experience, we started to feel like a tribe rather than strangers hiking for a cause.

Day three brought rain, but the views cleared a little and we still found reasons to smile!

Now I have always been an extremely open person and before going into this I thought I would want to share in detail everything that happened on the trail… but I selfishly want to keep all of those things for me and my tribe. What I will say is if there are any women in the Boston area looking for a life changing experience…there is no other event I would recommend more than the Elizabeth Stone House, Wilderness Heals Hike… What happens on the trail stays on the trail.❤️👊🏻


Our trail map…25 miles hiked in 3 days with a lifetime of memories made.❤

Darcie (aka: Paparazzi)