Friday, February 6, 2015

A Farewell to GoAbroad & An Open Letter to STA Travel

It's been nearly a year since I've updated What Would Jane Do (apologies on that front) but it seems there's no better way to make a comeback than by sharing one of the biggest and most recent announcements regarding my life:

After nearly four years with my GoAbroad family, it's with bittersweet emotions that I announce my departure as Outreach Manager (aka: Roadshow Veteran, Obsessive Tweeter, Excessive Jewelry-Wearer, and General Troublemaker) in the GoAbroad US office.  

Blogger Tricks

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday Travel Inspiration: Road Warrior Glam

Not too long ago, I shared a post showcasing 7 ways to amp up your wardrobe. As I've been traveling throughout this spring, I've been on the lookout for even more ways to rock an outfit without sacrificing too much space in my carry on.

From air travel to road trips, traveling for business can make it difficult to only pack the necessities. At least, it's difficult for me as I'm a recovering over-packer trying to make it as a carry-on-only traveler. I know I'll need the slacks and blouse, but what about an outfit for the reception afterwards, or for a night spent relaxing at a low-key pub? What if I need comfy clothes for the long haul drive back home, or for getting a morning workout in? And don't even get me started on the jewelry.

Sure, I get that not everyone is this kind of traveler. But for me, dressing for success is part of what helps to inspire a rockstar attitude. If I love what I'm wearing, and feel comfortable in the outfit, I'm ready to take on a long day of meetings, presentations, or chat with students on campus all day.

So for today's #TravelTuesday inspiration, we're going to dive into some fashion tips for all the road warriors out there. The most important lesson to take away from these before we even get started: make them work for YOU. As unique as our style of travel may be, so are the ways we rock an outfit. Get creative, make it your own, and keeping on doing you, boo boo.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tuesday Travel Inspiration: Optimism

I was reading a beautiful post a friend of mine recently wrote about "flopping" through life and it got me thinking. First, of what an amazing writer she is, and second: how true it is that everyday represents another chance to pick ourselves up off the ground, and try again. Flop. I just love that word.

This #TravelTuesday, I'm giving a moment to the optimism the keeps us dreaming, keeps pushing us forward, and keeps us smiling when all we really feel like doing is crying in the shower. There have been many times I've called myself a fatal optimist, but I'd like to think it has more positive connotations than not. As important as it is process pain and negativity, it's even more important to find a silver lining; reminding ourselves that even if we didn't get what we wanted, what we need is just around the corner.

The more I see and learn of the world, the more I believe this to be true. I've barely taken a bite out of what there is to experience, but from what I've tasted so far there is one lesson that stands out from the rest:

Friday, January 31, 2014

Geronimo! 26 Tips to Feel Inspired By Life

I was originally going to write this post from the focus of how the songs on One Direction's new album can be applied to life, but I had a firm talking to the 12 year old girl inside of me, and we opted to leave that one for the pages of our diary. The one that my sisters will likely find and read out loud. Typical. But seriously, "Story of My Life"….I can't even.

Instead, I'm letting a project I participated in the other night guide the inspiration for this post. For those who know me, I'm not a fan of setting new resolutions at the start of a new year simply for the sake of doing so. I much prefer the ones that transcend 365 days. At the same time, there is something to be said for being actively involved in any goals, be them new ones or old ones, we set for ourselves.

The other night I got together with some friends to compile a "vision" board and it was an eye-opening experience. The point is to create something that helps you visualize and manifest your goals/dreams. Not to mention, you can appease your own 12 year old girl by creating a collage of magazine cutouts.

Beyond the fun aspect, though, it got me thinking about my future and reflecting on the past, and appreciating the moments that fill the gaps between those two. With those goals and reflections in mind, I've compiled a list of tips I find helpful to appreciating all that life throws your way. As I just celebrated my 26th birthday, we're going with that number. Brace yourself. Excessive adjectives and touchy-feely emotions ahead.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tuesday Travel Inspiration: Unity

There are things that happen in life that can break us, make us, beat us down, and help us to rise again. Through each experience, it helps to have a hand to hold or a shoulder to lean on; especially when the going gets rough. And if there was ever a time to band together, it would be now, when stories of survival and strength continue to pour in regarding Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

I've written briefly about this disaster and its impact on my colleagues at, but today I'd like to get a bit more personal.

With so many crazy things that happen in this world, it's easy to become desensitized to all that we read about, or hear from others about. It's another thing entirely when those you hold close to your heart experience these situations firsthand. It can make you feel helpless, a little bit angry (or a lot), and wondering what you can possibly say to express the depth of your emotions.

Yet, in the face of these circumstances, it's often those who lived it who inspire you to be stronger, to be more hopeful, and to keep a smile on your face. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Glam on the Go: 7 Ways to Amp Up Your Wardrobe

Want more ensembles? Comin' at ya!

I'm just going to come out and say it: I love clothes.

Not just the clothes, but how you can mix and match them, what accessories to pair them with, and how they can make you feel ready to take on the world. 

I'm not a person with a never-ending budget, so shopping for clothing is also about getting the most for less. This is particularly true when I'm shopping for outfits I regularly pack in my suitcase for work conferences, short jaunts, or weeks on the road.

I've been on a countdown to fly out to California to see my family this week and as it's the holiday season, I've thus been on the hunt for outfits I can bring home for the occasion. When you have three younger sisters, it's also about what you bring home to share with them. And let's be honest: the four of us girls like to taunt each other with unique finds (while I figure out ways to sneak them into my suitcase before they notice).

Today on What Would Jane Do, I'm bringing you some of my tips for finding outfits to help you stand out from the crowd this holiday season. 

Full disclosure, I'm no fashion expert but I love having fun with outfits and working with what you've got. I have what can described as a quirky style, and will wear the heck out of the things I love. You can click the link to see all my favorite everyday ensembles.

Monday, December 16, 2013

You Pierce My Soul: Celebrating 238 Years of Jane Austen

Wentworth may have been half agony and half hope when confessing his feelings for Anne Elliot, but that certainly isn't the case for me today. More like half excitement, half contentment. It seems fitting when celebrating such a figure as Jane Austen.

Fair warning: the following post may overuse adjectives and trek into nonsensical territory. Bear with me. Or don't. You've been warned.

Today marks the 238th birthday for Jane and damn, girl is looking fine at her advanced age. Proof: Her novels still line the shelves of bookstores, with an accompanying film for each, her quotes are regularly used as inspiration for some pretty hilarious articles, and there is now a ten pound bank note from the Bank of England in her honor. Not bad for a woman who I doubt ever realized the kind of iconic status she would achieve years after her passing. 

It's hard for me not to shout my public declarations of affection from the rooftop, but I'll try. Also, it's probably a bad idea to be on the roof.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tuesday Travel Inspiration: Hope

I've been thinking a lot about hope lately.

In the wake of all that has happened in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), and its impact on my friends and colleagues there, clinging to hope has become a source of motivation and keeping a positive attitude.

Hope is what I reached for when we lost communication with our GoAbroad Asia offices during the storm, when word started trickling in regarding staff safety, and as I viewed image after image of the sheer devastation done to the country.

It was heartbreaking to see and hear about things from thousands of miles away; I don't even begin to imagine what it must have been like for those who lived it. I still struggle to even know how to write about this. I can only send my hopes for recovery, trusting in the strength that defines the Filipino people, and all the volunteers providing on the ground relief support.

Thus, it seems appropriate that today's #TravelTuesday be about the hope that guides us - through the good times and through the darker ones.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

10 Things to Obsess About in Australia

I was sitting in front of my scratch-off map recently, running a coin across the country of Australia and as the turquoise color hidden behind the gold revealed itself, I was struck by a thought: 

As much and as far as it feels like I've traveled, the reality is that I've barely taken a bite out of what the world has to offer.

There's a certain satisfaction in crossing off destinations from the imaginary list in my head, yet when one steps back to look at the bigger picture, that list becomes less about crossing things off - and more about valuing the experiences themselves.

This is why I never lose that feeling of awe when walking the streets of a new city, when chatting with the locals, or learning about the best place to try new beers (you can take the girl out of Colorado…). I'm fortunate to work in a field that combines a job I love with experiencing life as a traveler, and I try to never lose sight of that.

That being said, I had the opportunity to spend two weeks in Australia for WYSTC at the end of September and I'm still obsessing over all that I came across. From Sydney to Melbourne, to Canberra and Newcastle, there was something to smile about around every corner. Given my limited time in the country, I'm sure there are many things I missed seeing, which is why another trip is absolutely necessary. Until then, I have the memories to tide me over.

Whether you're planning an extended trip or a short jaunt, here are ten obsession-worthy things to discover in Australia, in no particular order. Fair warning, this list is as quirky as my personality ;) 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Three's a Crowd: You, Me, and Jane Austen

Faces on the Road - made possible thanks to Jane Austen & you!
When you work in the field of international education, most if not all the entirety of fall is consumed by making university visits and attending regional conferences. So here we are. All together again at the end of October, and finally taking a deep breath as winter encroaches upon Colorado. 

In the months since I've posted on WWJaneDo, I've celebrated the marriage of one of my younger sisters, traveled to Australia for WYSTC, moved apartments, and connected with many new and familiar friends on the road. A whirlwind? Yes. But the kind of whirlwind that keeps a smile on my face after every adventure has concluded.

As I settle into being home in Colorado, it struck me a bit by surprise this week to receive a unique notification from my LinkedIn account: it was a message letting me know that October marked the three year anniversary of What Would Jane Do. It was enough to make me smile once more. To some, three years might not be much, but this anniversary continues to hold a special place in my heart and in my professional life.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tuesday Travel Inspiration: Friends

As much as a journey is defined by the places you go, so is it affected by those you meet along the way.

Whether you're on the go, settling in at home, or somewhere in between, there are often those in your life who "just get it" - whatever the "it" may be. You might call them friends, but that term can be SUCH an understatement - these are the people who love you for being a weirdo, who will tell you your hair looks like crap when it does look like crap, and will have your back through thick and thin. Can you imagine what life would be like without these individuals? Neither can I.

That being said, today's inspiration for #TravelTuesday is for all those who've left an impression on your life and travels.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Girl in Transition: Two Years & Counting

Tiffany Harrison, GoAbroad Bus

"Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."    

- C.S. Lewis

I've always loved that quote. I like to think that as you get older, it's discovering the magic in reality that makes for a true fairy tale. If we can discover the happy endings in every obstacle and challenge that comes our way, it's safe to say that one never really has to outgrow fairy tales.

Earlier this week, I marked my two year anniversary with and it's been a fairy tale of the best variety - filled with ups, downs, moments that made me laugh and cry, and the kind of learning that comes with a job you truly love.

Working in international education isn't everything I imagined it might be - it's more. It's more work, more persistence, and more passion than even someone as obsessed as myself thought it would be. And I'm not even close to done learning or connecting with others who dedicate themselves to international education opportunities. 

This is what they call a girl in transition. Or something like that. And on this #ThrowbackThursday, I'm jumping back to take a look at two of the biggest lessons I've learned about international education so far. Grab your coffee or tea. It's about to get all sorts of introspective up in here.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Three Reasons It's Okay to Make Mistakes With Your Job

It it a truth universally acknowledged that nothing ever goes according plan. 

The same can be said of your job responsibilities and projects not always turning out the "right" way.

And you know what? That is perfectly okay. More than that, it's my thought that you SHOULD have moments of failure and falling down - thus learning what it takes to stand up, brush your behind off, and try again. Or in some cases, try again and again and again.

Before you head into your weekend plans, be them exciting adventures or low-key relaxing, let's take a look at three reasons why making mistakes with your job is a good thing, and how they allow you to become a better employee and thought-leader in your field.

At the very least, these should help when you arrive back at the office on Monday morning ;)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tuesday Travel Inspiration: Dreams

Have you ever had one of those mornings when you wake up from a dream, and no matter how hard you try to recall the details, they continually slip out of reach? Then at some random point mid-day, you're struck by a sense of déjà vu and clarity. 

I find that life tends to work in the same fashion as dreams, in that it's only when you take a step back from the finer details, the entire picture comes into focus.

Ever since returning to Colorado and following up with connections post-NAFSA and TBEX, I've been thinking a lot about the big picture, and how all the "details" experienced at both those conferences helped remind me of what it means to be an international educator. 

I should start by saying I've always admired those who are able to sell their belongings, travel the world one continent at a time, and document their experiences along the way. Actually...admire is a tame word - "jealous" is more appropriate. To live as a nomad, to really experience the world and its cultures - I mean, what isn't there to admire about that lifestyle? Of course, it isn't always glamorous - I've read enough blogs and traveled enough to know that - and like everything in life, there is more to it than meets the eye. Still, it was dreams of being a travel blogger that fueled much of my early motivation to travel.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Online Embarrassment: What Sisters Were Made For

Sisters reunited for Cassie's HS graduation day
I have a significant amount of catch up to play with all the ongoings in the last month - NAFSA, TBEX, adventures with my GoAbroad name it, the list goes on and on. Before I get to that, though, I wanted to take a moment for one particular event that occurred a couple of weeks ago - my youngest sister's high school graduation.

As many of you know (or may now only be learning) I am the oldest of four girls in my family, which signifies a few different things: first, the word 'bossy' is something I'm very familiar being accused of; second, the nickname of "Mom #2" is used as often as the bossy accusation; and third, there's nothing in the world like watching your younger siblings take on the world like champions. 

With sisters like mine, there is no doubt in mind that they are the rockstars of their own journeys, and my own personal superheros. Because let's be honest - there is no one who can save the day quite like a sister can.

That being said, it is also extremely enjoyable as the eldest sibling to continually seek new ways to publicly feature my siblings - and if I'm lucky, there may be some embarrassment involved. This is what brings me to the video that I created for my youngest sister on her high school graduation day. 

Yes, there is a lot of silliness and inside jokes involved with this, and yes there mayyyyyyyy be a few inappropriate jokes/language use. You have been warned. At it's core, though, this is my way of saying congratulations, I love you, and best of luck to a baby sister who has worked SO hard to get to where she's at today. Living a few states away the last two years meant watching from afar as she transformed from a little girl to a gorgeous and talented young woman, but it never once lessened the impact. Rather, it's made me appreciate even more the family I get to call my own.     

To those who have already enjoyed viewing this video, enjoy it once again. To all you newbies, "Hairballs" is a nickname given to my family (the Harrisons). That in itself should give you an idea of how ridiculous we are ;)      

And to Miss Cassie Sue - you already know how proud I am of you. Thanks to you, Courtney, and Samantha, you make being called a big sister the best compliment in the world.  

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Six Ways to Shine Like a Diamond on LinkedIn

I feel like I've been living on LinkedIn more often of late. Not only because I enjoy the platform so much, but all the recent changes and developments with LinkedIn have me thinking that being on this platform is more important than ever. 

Whether you're a college student, a post-grad, or have been a working professional for years, it's time to tune into how to make LinkedIn work for you.

My colleague, Kayla Patterson, recently featured a guest post on her blog about why it's important to be on LinkedIn (highly recommend reading this if you haven't already!) and it's inspired me to follow up on that post with some tangible ways to sparkle on the platform - or shine like a diamond, as Rihanna so eloquently phrases things. 

Why? Because as someone who was hired for my position through social media, I understand how hard it can be to walk the line of transparent personality and professional employee. To achieve balance, it takes a lot of practice - as well as a healthy dose of trial and error.

It doesn't matter if you're new to the platform, or already quite experienced, these tips should help add some extra pizzazz to your digital footprint!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Annual NAFSA Conference & Expo - Meme Interpretation

I'm going to preface this post with the note that I'm in the thick of NAFSA planning, TBEX planning, GoAbroad Innovation Awards prep, and getting over a nasty bit of a cold bug. It's safe to say that these factors combined have made me more than a bit loopy of late. (Not that that is anything out of the ordinary.)

Perhaps that's why I spent my Sunday night putting the following meme together after preparing for all that comes with a pre-NAFSA-Monday-in-the-office. Those of you in international education will know exactly what I mean ;)

In preparing for the 2013 NAFSA conference, there has been much excitement in the air at the GoAbroad offices. From getting ready to meet new people and old friends, to celebrating innovation and new programs, the Annual NAFSA Conference & Expo is like prom for international educators. We may not wear ballgowns, and are apt to choose Dr. Scholl's inserts over platform heels, but celebrating international education with thousands of delegates from around the world is part of what makes our world go round. 

We all know, though, that the pre-, during and post- NAFSA experiences can also be overwhelmingly stressful. My advice to you: don't let it get the best of you! There are so many awesome things to experience at NAFSA, that it isn't worth letting the stress ruin those moments. Easier said than done, I know. This is where a bit of humor comes in to save the day.

Please keep in mind that this meme is made in jest and good fun. When your stress levels are high, and your Google calendar is looking like it's going to explode out of your computer, any sort of lighthearted humor is necessary to get through the day. I mean, am I right, or am I right? 

For all you NAFSA-ians out there, enjoy. I also suggest stocking up on green tea, comfy shoes, and expectations of many 12 to 15 hour days ahead at the end of the month. Be seeing all yo' faces soon! Happy travels!

Shameless promotion ahead: if you're a social media enthusiast who will be at NAFSA, consider showing up for the #TweetIEs to earn prizes and connect with other social media gurus in the international education field.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Where Creativity Meets Study Abroad: An Interview with Atlas Sliced

Are you looking to launch your career in the field of international education? Are you applying to jobs left and right, and wondering when your big break is going to come along? I know the feeling. I had similar thoughts constantly running through my head as I was trying to break into the world of study abroad. 

If you're on the brink of frustration and impatience, I have a word of advice for you: don't give up. Not yet. Not when the fruits of your labor will be as sweet as you imagine them to be. And certainly not when you owe it to yourself to turn your dreams into reality. 

Rather than fold like a deck of cards, consider adding more creativity to your job search. Find a way to stand out that's true to who you are and what you're passionate about. Easier said than done, I know, but if you want something bad enough - like working in international education - you'll tap into that internal well of motivation. It might just be the gold mine that leads to your success.

To help add a bit more inspiration to your efforts, I'd like to share a video interview I recently took part in with the amazing Alexa Hart of Atlas Sliced. The interview covers my own approach to launching a career in international education, and how creativity was the key to my success.  

If you aren't familiar with the site, Atlas Sliced is the ONLY travel web show that serves up advice on how to live and work abroad long-term. The goal of the interview-based show is to inspire, inform/educate, and motivate people to take action to fulfill their own travel dreams. 

I hope that my story helps you to keep thinking outside the box, and to remember that no matter where your journey may lead, the most important part is enjoying yourself along the way. Happy Travels!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

On the Road Again: Reflections from the GoAbroad Bus

Jumping for joy near the border of Montana
After almost two years working as the Outreach Manager for GoAbroad, I keep wondering if my job will ever stop surprising or motivating me. I'm thinking not. Especially when one considers that I'm currently writing this post from a beautiful mountain town in Montana.

I've confessed to having "itchy feet" syndrome more times than I can count, as it's difficult to imagine being in one place for an extended amount of time. There are always the questions of what else is out there, what's waiting to be explored, and where is the next place I can call "home?"

The longer I live in Colorado and work for GoAbroad, though, I'm extremely fortunate to experience the best of both worlds: having a home base in a place I love, and traveling to a variety of interesting destinations. Most recently I've been exploring Montana while on board the GoAbroad Bus, and the awe-inspiring views are causing some internal reflection.

Bear with me as those thoughts become external declarations ;)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Breaking the Mold: A Career in International Education

No travel or study abroad experience? You aren't alone. There are plenty of individuals and post-grads out there who dreamt of making it a reality, but were often limited by circumstances. 

It doesn't mean you still CAN'T have meaningful travel experiences, though. Just the opposite actually. To help fuel your own dreams of traveling abroad, and having the courage to make it happen, I'm featuring an interview with one my colleagues at and the Founder of, Kayla Patterson.

Kayla sat down to chat about why she didn't study abroad, how it's actually helped her in her role within international education, and where social media comes into play! 

Why didn't you study abroad? How has it affected your current outlook on travel?

Ultimately I ended up not studying abroad due to my somewhat nontraditional college experience. Knowing that I wanted to get through college with minimal debt, I got my Associate's Degree at a community college and transferred it into my four year degree at Colorado State University. And honestly, I didn't even know that I could study abroad while I was attending community college. By the time I was a junior at CSU, studying abroad would have postponed my graduation - mostly because I wasn't taking classes in preparation for it.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tuesday Travel Inspiration: Discovery

On this particular Travel Tuesday, I'm reminiscing about how it feels to set foot in a brand new place. 

Be it a new country, a new state, or simply a new state of mind, I never quite get over that feeling of awe and discovery. For anyone who loves to travel (or dream of travel), you'll know what I'm talking about. 

Take a moment to close your eyes. What do you recall the most vividly from those moments of discovery? Is it the smell of fresh-cooked street food? The sound of conversations in a different language? The feeling of a cool ocean breeze brushing across your face? Don't rush through the reminiscing - let it surround you and remind you why those moments were so memorable in the first place. Pretty amazing how much they stick with you, right?

As you continue to discover the world around you, here's to also discovering new things about yourself. It doesn't matter how old you are, how well-traveled you may be, how experienced you feel, or how much you've already learned. Anything is possible when you stop thinking of things in terms of impossible.

Once a student of the world, always a student of the world.

Friday, March 29, 2013

When The Going Gets Tough, Get Tougher

Having a hard week? A hard couple of months? A hard start to the new year? 

We've all been there, at some point or another. You're more than entitled to letting the stress get to you, but we know how much fun the results of THAT are: sleepless nights, struggling to get through the day, missing out on get togethers with friends, and having a closet full of clothes of nothing to wear (to be fair, that last one can happen any day of the week ;)

Whether you're struggling to meet a deadline for a project at work, dealing with drama in your personal life, or even if you're just having a bad hair day, you owe it to yourself to work through these obstacles while keeping in mind that there is usually a light at the end of the tunnel. It can be hard, if not impossible, to remember this in the moment but I have faith in you. Or maybe it's an eternal supply of optimistic stupidity. Either way, neither have led me astray yet.

With that in mind, here are some recommendations for getting tougher when the going gets tough. Full disclaimer: there may or may not be tea involved.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Golden Year: 25 Life Lessons in the Making

And suddenly we're nearing the end of January 2013. Can someone remind me when we even got to 2013?? Once again, I've fallen a bitttttt a lot behind with posting some updates over the last couple of months - but it turns out this must have been meant to happen as the last two months have wrought more changes than I anticipated the New Year bringing.

If you know anything about me, you'll already know that I'm a fan of ongoing New Years resolutions, whether they're new or old. More than anything, it's the spirit of motivation and reflection that I enjoy the most about a new year. After partaking of an adventure to the Philippines, to finally re-connecting with family at home during the holidays, to most recently celebrating my 'golden' birthday, there have been a variety of highs and lows that have me thinking 2013 will be anything but boring.

In the midst of all these events, I've taken to thinking more deeply about how they've affected my life and the path I'm on to who-knows-where. Some might call them life lessons. Some might call them a cluttered braindump in a public space. Both cases could be argued for ;) In accordance with it being the year of my golden birthday, I'm going with 25 life lessons to share (organized in no particular order). It's a good a number: enough to incorporate all the things I've learned, but not so many that you'll be dozing off by the end of this post. Or maybe you will. If that's the case, grab a pillow, sit back, and get comfortable. What Would Jane Do is about to get a bitttttt a lot sentimental.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A is for Asia, B is for Bring it!

That's right folks, What Would Jane Do is headed for Asia today (the Philippines to be exact) for a much anticipated work conference! After a full season of domestic travel, it will be brought full circle with this international jaunt. 

Added to that, I've been looking forward to finally meeting coworkers I've only ever communicated with through email and Skype - and the day has at last arrived. The only thing more excited than me may be my passport - to say it's thrilled to be out of hiding is an understatement. And yes, I just gave my passport human-like characteristics. Deal with it. An overactive imagination combined with very little sleep will do that.

With layovers in San Francisco, Hawaii, and Guam, it's going to be a verrrrrry long day of travel before we arrive in Manila. There will be photos to come following the conclusion of our 10 days in the country, so stay tuned for updates! In the meantime, here's wishing you all a very happy post-Thanksgiving weekend. If it was anything like mine, it was filled with all sorts of good food and even better memories - including the part where I decided I was athletic and walked away with minor bruises after playing some good ol' night frisbee. The fact that my father calls me an "academic athlete" for more reason than one is never going to take hold, I suppose.... ;)

Happy travels!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful for a Kick@$$ Year: A Photo Essay

What a kickass year 2012 has been. I know, it's not exactly the end of the year yet, but when I woke up this morning it hit me that it was actually Thanksgiving. I mean, when did the end of November even get here??! Can someone explain that to me?!

Even with the speed that 2012 has gone by, it has been such an amazing point in my life and I'm entirely grateful to so many things and people. Rather than go off on page-long tangents about how grateful I am, I'd rather share some of these photos from 2012 with you to better demonstrate how damn lucky I've been - and to demonstrate to every person who has been a part of this journey how appreciative I am that life works out the way it does.

And yes, I've officially turned my Christmas music on while writing this. It's Thanksgiving and that means no holds barred to getting into the Christmas Spirit. The only thing I'm missing is my mom's pumpkin cheesecake. Dreamers will dream, right? Ok, let's do this. Here are a few of the things I'm most thankful for this year:

Friday, November 16, 2012

Life's an Adventure, so Taste the Rainbow

It's Friday, the sun is out (thank you, Colorado), and there are so many things to appreciate about life. Whether you're having a bad day, a good day, or a 'it-doesn't-get-better-than-this' kind of day, I hope you can take a moment to sit back and really look around you. It just might help you see how lucky you are, too. Don't believe me? That's okay - everyone has their own moment of epiphany and yours doesn't have to be today. The important part is that you simply try looking.

I don't care if you're having a bad hair day, if you were late to work this morning, you ran out of coffee (blasphemous!) or you woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Let it go and remember that you are a kick-ass person, whose hair probably doesn't look as bad as you think it does. Hopefully ;) At the very least, the day is young and it's still up to you to turn things around. I also see a hair salon down the street I'm on just in case you're still worried.

I'm eating a handful of skittles while writing this - yes, skittles on a Friday morning - and it already feels like the perfect way to start today on the right foot. The way I see it, we can always use more tastes of the "rainbow" throughout life - whether it comes in the form of sugary candy or laughing at the little things. So let the sunshine in, kick back your feet, and soak up the goodness around you. It's Friday and you totally deserve it ;)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Too Cool for School? Ya, Try Again

It's nearing the end of the fall travel season for me, and I've been thinking a lot about kids.

Whoa, what? Back up, hold the phone….what does that even mean?

Let me give you some context as an appetizer: I've always believed that there are so many amazing things to be learned from kids, particularly those entering that stage of becoming a teenager. 

And I'm not just referring to the latest lingo or acronym--despite how ridiculously addictive I find "YOLO." What I'm referring to surpasses 'nbd' 'ttyl' or any other urban dictionary addition I've overlooked.

Let's be honest with ourselves - we all are intimately familiar with the awkward transition from 'child' to 'teenager.' (Thank you, mom, for refusing to let me paint my bedroom walls that neon lime green I was like, sooooo in "love" with. No, really...Thank you.) 

Terrible taste in colors aside, the changing idea of 'self' that accompanies becoming a teenager is amazing. It's a time of learning about who you are, making mistakes you'll laugh at (hopefully) years later, and opening your eyes to the world around you.

During one of my recent travels, I had the chance to chat with a group of young teens in middle school about study abroad and international education opportunities, and it blew my mind in more ways than one. See where I'm going with this thinking about kids thought? Awesome. Enough with the appetizer. Let's dig into this entree.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

An Ode to Autumn, Travel and My Father

Does anyone else enjoy how autumn comes swinging into season? Yes, the bad pun was intended. I guess it depends on where you call home. For Northern Colorado, it seems to have arrived over night. Colors are changing left and right and and my level of excitement at getting new boots was probably considered inappropriate. Or not, if you're also a sucker for this season and the wardrobe that accompanies it.

Regardless, the crisp air, crunchy leaves, and variety of lattes I probably don't need reinvigorate my spirit like no other time of year. As the equinox came and went this past weekend, it also had me thinking a lot about my father. Yes, there is a connection that will eventually make sense here.

His birthday falls--another bad pun, get used to it--on the first day of Autumn and this year marked birthday number 52 for him. If you're like me, living far away from family means celebrating birthdays with a phone call and an embarrassing gift delivered via post. It takes getting used to and I still hate that I can't be there in person. At the same time, I've come to realize that's it's also a chance to better appreciate these people.

And my father - dorky, stubborn and peanut m&m hogging man that he is - deserves some serious appreciation.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mid-Week Travel Inspiration

Sometimes you just need to hear this. And when it's the middle of the week, you have a big presentation to be prepping for, AND you're running low on coffee....well, like I said, you just need to hear this. 

Here's wishing everyone out there a good ol' aren't-you-glad-you've-made-it-halfway-through-the-workweek. Does it seem to matter that many of us had a holiday on Monday and so it's not really halfway? Nope. Doesn't matter one bit :)

Friday, August 31, 2012

Stop in the Name of Losing Your Mind

Seriously. Don't be this person.
You know that feeling of being totally overwhelmed? The one that sneaks up behind you, shoves you in the back, and then has the audacity to laugh as you flounder to find balance. Ya, I think we've all known that feeling a time or two.

In the world of international education, the start of the fall semester is known for producing this feeling more than is probably healthy. Sure, I'm still new to the field but I've experienced and observed enough to believe it to be true. And let me tell you, there are only so many cups of chamomile tea a girl can drink to try and stay calm. Trust me, I've tried.

So how does one shove that overwhelming feeling back without losing your sanity? I'm still learning, but here are a few suggestions to get you started. At the very least, I hope they will allow you to enjoy the onset of autumn the way it should be enjoyed - with lots of pie a la mode and a gym membership (that last part is definitely optional).