Friday, November 11, 2016

Oh, Toronto...

Well, it's been over a month since our #tripTOremember, and I still miss it each day.  Every time I drink a Dunkins coffee, I'm wishing it was a Boxcar Social latte swirled with creative designs and drenched in that rich chocolate, gotta-have-it-now-even-though-it's too-hot-flavor. 

And whenever I look out my bedroom window, believe me I am grateful for another beautiful night in Massachusetts, but sometimes I find myself wishing I was at the top of the Bond Place Hotel, peering over Toronto's city lights, with a view of the Filmores Hotel in the distance.

Beginning with a night in Niagara Falls, I knew this trip was off to a good start, and I knew I would be left with that little pit in my stomach upon my return home. But that is so far away I thought, I have five full nights!

Now don't get me wrong, I've traveled to many places, and each place I have made connections to and left a little piece of myself there, but this time it was different.  After walking through Yonge Dundas Square, soaking in the thrill of bright billboards and shining lights everywhere, making new friends, strolling down the streets of Rosedale with my sister beside me, doing cartwheels at the Sharon, Lois, and Bram Playground, actually becoming friends with them (actual childhood stars we grew up watching!!!), eating real authentic Chinese food in a little restaurant with more tea and wine than I should have drank, taking a ferry to the islands and gazing at that  Canadian skyline,  I realized we did did so much living in six days.  So many memories and inside jokes were made in such a short time, and I couldn't be more grateful for the experience.

Driving through gorgeous towns I never knew existed, eating delicious foods I have never tried (come to find out, poutine and gelato are the actual bomb... #AmIRight?!), watching the sun rise and set over city sidewalks while tourists and citizens alike make their way through crowds, wondering where they are going, where they work, where they live, experiencing new culture and having conversations with people who were once strangers but now good friends, it all seemed like movie - like too much happiness for a real life experience.... know what I mean? 

Not to mention, I had my sister and best friend along for the ride.  What a truly special trip it was, bonding with my sister, laughing over things no one else in the world would find funny, singing childhood songs from the Elephant Show together, and driving for 8 hours without one second of boredom. That right there, my friends, is when you know you're pretty freakin' blessed. 

So as I sit here typing, I am reflecting on a quote I once read, "you take delight not in a city's seven or seventy wonders, but in the answers it gives to a question of yours."  Thankfully, Toronto answered that question perfectly.... What do I need most in my life right now?  What will give life to the craving inside me for new experiences and feed my hunger for inspiration?  Where can I go when I'm just bored of the same old people and same old places? What city will take me in and make me feel like one of their own?  

The only question Toronto didn't answer for me is this: WHY ARE YOUR SQUIRRELS BLACK? No, not dark gray, and no I wasn't dreaming.  The squirrels there are legit black.  So weird. 

So, peace out Toronto.... for now.  I promise you I'll be back again. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

A Letter to My Younger Self...

Dear Younger Holly,

First I want to thank you.  Thank you for never listening to people when they told you your sister couldn’t be your best girlfriend.  Turns out, your sister AND your mom became your best girlfriends.  Eat that, popular 5th grade girls who wore baggy JNCO jeans and eyeliner.  

Thank you, too, younger-self, for wearing bell-bottoms before they became cool again, and thank you for smiling at the kid who told you that you looked like a hippie.

Also, thank you, younger self, for paying enough attention in school to get into college, largely based on your ability to rock a college essay.  If not for college, you wouldn’t meet your other best friend in the entire world, Angela.  On top of that, if not for your outgoing and friendly personality, you wouldn’t meet your other best friend, Jade.  Make sure to never let these girls go.

Next, I want to thank you for listening to your mother when she told you to always wash your makeup off at night.  Your face will be pretty wrinkle-free for an almost 30 year old. 

Finally, I want to thank you for always admiring the free spirit in your father, and for listening to him when he told you to chase your dreams no matter how great or small.  Always make sure to dance with him to "Brown Eyed Girl" every time you get the chance.

Younger Holly, sometimes I wish I could go back to being you.  So carefree, but wise enough to know your surroundings.  So excited over the simple joys in life like long car rides with your family and a boom box in the back seat.  Oftentimes when I’m having an insanely stressful day at work, or sitting in ridiculous traffic, or waking in the night with anxiety, I wish I could go back to those moments. And sometimes, I wish I had taken more Polaroid photos of my teenage years, just so I could laugh at how awkward I was, and be proud of the beautiful person I've become.

Younger Holly, I would love to tell you to go back and kindly raise your cute middle finger to all of the mean girls who made fun of you for peeing the bed until you were _____ (let’s leave that age blank), and for having to get braces at a young age.  I would tell you to wait until we are almost 30 and check out how well those girls are doing now…..

Younger Holly, I wish I could and tell you to be so thankful for all the relationships in your life that didn’t work out.  Your best friends you had fights with, your first crush, your high school boyfriends, your first real love in college.  Even though they destroyed your heart a couple times, I would remind you to always keep your head up and to remember to love again.  And love again.  And again. 

I’d tell you that all aspects of life gets easier, but they don’t.  Relationships are a lot of work, but the ones that are meant for you won’t break your heart, and that’s what makes it all worth it.

I wish I could go back to 8am soccer games and the sound of my parents cheering on the sidelines. I would thank them for driving all over creation just to make me happy. I wish I could go back to late night sister conversations in a shared bedroom.  I wish I could go back to the frustration of not having 100 Abercrombie & Fitch shirts, just so I could remind you that once you turn 29, you’ll be able to afford all those clothes and more, but you’ll much rather shop at Marshalls and thrift stores.  Bargains can’t be beat, little girl!  Also, I will remind you that as much as you hate taking naps now, you'll love it when you're older!

Younger Holly, if I could tell you that once you turn 19 you'll stop eating meat, you probably wouldn’t believe me, because you could never imagine giving up hot dogs and your dad’s cheeseburgers with the ketchup smiley faces… but you will. 

I wish I could tell you to cherish every single moment with your grandparents while you had them.  I know they all left you at a very young age, but they helped shape the person you are today, and I would remind you to thank them every night for giving you such an amazing set of parents.  Also, I’d love to go back and tell you to thank your family for all the sacrifices they made to make you happy.  You really are a lucky person, surrounded by so much love.  Thank them for giving you all the opportunities you have had so far!

I would remind you, Younger Holly, that the world is a really cruel place sometimes, but if you keep your faith, and keep doing good to other people, it eventually will come back to you.  I want you to so badly believe your dad the 100 times he told you “what comes around, goes around”, and then maybe you wouldn’t cry so much over the girls who cyber bullied you behind AOL Instant Messenger.

Younger Holly, I wish I could tell you to be so proud of who you are. You are unique, loving, kind, and gentle.  But you have quite the temper.  I would remind you to not fly off the handle so quickly, and I would tell you not to throw fruit and other objects at your sister.  You are quite aggressive when you’re mad.  Also, don't sweat the small stuff.  Not everything in life is a crisis.  Try to be calmer…. (it won't happen, but I'm telling you anyway)

I want to remind that you you’ll change a lot, so to embrace every phase of your life because before you know it, you’ll be almost 30, with a blog, writing a letter to your younger self.  And when you do this, you should be so thankful for the life you have been given. 

Lastly, I want to tell you to never let anyone tell you that it’s wrong to be 100% in love with yourself. 

This is the best lesson I could ever teach you.

Almost 30 year old Holly.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Raw Post

                To say that my life over the past year and a half has been stressful is an understatement.  To say that I have a bad life is false.  Everyone’s life encompasses so many ups and downs, and each individual person handles things differently.  To me, having optimal health is what’s most important.  To some people, being rich, being successful, or being skinny and pretty is most important.  Again, we are all strung together differently.  And, for some reason, my strings have been all out of tune lately.

                This might be the hardest post I’ve ever written, as I feel like I am turning my back on the community that helped build this blog from the ground up.  Since this blog began as a health-food, vegetarian based, i love animals forever space, I gained so many followers with similar lifestyles.  The community of animal friendly, vegetarian, PETA loving readers I’ve been able to share this blog with for over four years has been incredible.  So, let me say it is not without fear, anxiety, stress, and a massive amount of guilt that I must tell you that I have decided to venture back into the meat-eating world after 11 years of being without.  And I feel so strangely about it.  Believe me, this was the hardest decision I’ve ever made.  Being a vegetarian wasn’t just that I was a girl who liked the taste of veggies and fruit better than muscles and flesh, it was an entire lifestyle for me.  It's not something I did for attention, it's something I did because of my beliefs.  It’s who I was.  It’s who I’m not anymore… and that’s okay.

                As you read in my previous post, I’ve been dealing with all kinds of stomach and digestive issues over the past year and a half.  After many (invasive) procedures and tests, more medicine than you could ever imagine, and lots of tears and sleepless nights, the doctors still can’t figure out what the F@*! Is wrong with me, besides that I have some sort of acid reflux and adenomyosis. Side note: Girls, don’t google that last word.  You don’t even want to.

                Anyway – I decided it was finally time to take matters into my own hands and see if I could do a better job at fixing myself than all of these highly paid, highly skilled medical professionals could do.  It had gotten to the point that my reflux was so bad, I couldn’t even enjoy any of my favorite vegetarian meals anymore.  Fruits, veggies, anything with lots of acid was killing me.  I can’t eat nuts because of my food allergies, and I wasn’t eating meat, therefore, I was really getting no nutrients and trying to survive on pasta and bread.  Talk about boring, uncomfortable, and a legit recipe for a long road of health issues, possible weight gain, and misery.  I decided this was not a road I wanted to take.  And so, I asked myself, what good am I even doing by living this lifestyle anymore?  It’s clearly not helping me right now, and something’s got to give.  I needed nutrients back, my body was aching for some help.  So with that being said, it’s been about three weeks since I took my first bite of chicken in what seems like forever.  I’ve been doing it really slowly, introducing lean chicken and turkey back into a daily routine… and maybe trying a few different meat dishes and fish options here and there.  It’s not an easy adjustment, but I am trying to focus on the nutrients and hope that this helps me get better.  If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t.  At least I will know I tried.  So far, it has helped a little.  I've begun seeing a chiropractor, nutritionist, and taking all natural supplements.  Some days I experience no reflux at all which is a huge jump from how I was living before.  Some days it's still here, nagging me like crazy, but I'm trying to stay positive.  

                So, readers, blog community, vegetarians and meat eaters alike, I hope none of you place judgment, and I hope none of you give up on this blog.  I need readers like you to help me with my difficult journeys, and I hope you still need me for a little inspiration every now and then.  And I hope, more than anything, that you just want me to be healthy, just as I want all of you to be - and don’t worry - I will post my progress soon.

              Thanks for being by my side these past four years, through each one of  my ups and downs.  I truly love you all!  

Friday, May 20, 2016

On Being Twenty Nine

So, like any girl who is approaching her thirties with a mixture of excitement and pure fear, I like to play around with different things that keep me feeling like the spry, cute, little bouncy 21 year old I once was. So, you might catch me rocking out to Bieber with my sunroof open, trying to squeeze my body into tight crop tops that I swear are only made for pre-pubescent 14 year old girls (but what the hell, a girl’s gotta try anyway) and constantly going back and forth between all different types of makeups, wrinkle preventers, haircuts, work out regiments, detox teas, and more. PS. The Smashbox X-Rated mascara is to die for. Go buy it now. Your lashes will soon resemble Kim K's and you'll feel like a legit rock star all day long. 

In saying that, a lot of the time you’ll find me acting like the intelligent, hard-working, dress-like-I’m-almost-in-my-thirties 29 year old full time working, 401k paying-into, bills-up-the-ass, legal assistant that I am.  Thus, you might find me wearing a button up blouse while shedding a tear over a Simon and Garfunkel lyric, making constant To-Do lists, and organizing all the god damn medicine I’m on to keep my heartburn (yes, heartburn isn’t just for the elderly and overweight people) under control.  You’ll also find me staying in on a Friday night watching Netflix instead of getting blackout drunk and forgetting how I got home. You’ll notice I made the switch from real tanning to spray tanning as to preserve my youthful skin.  I’ve also been known to have a full blown conversation with my cat about whether she’s voting for Trump or Hillary. Those conversations happen in private though, so I guess the chances of catchinig those ones are slim.

So what I’m trying to say is, it’s a really hard thought to grasp – moving from being the age that EVERYONE wants to be and EVERYONE wants YOU to be, to the scary dark world of your thirties. There are so many things I wanted to have accomplished by now, but there are also so many things I have accomplished that I never thought I could.  And, I’ve learned so much through this process - one important lesson being that it’s better to have a few real friends you can vent and grow with than to have a bunch of girls you can go to the bar and talk shit with about people you don’t even know.  I’ve also learned that spending time with my parents is some of the best time I spend.  I find myself growing to be more like my beautiful mother, and I’m happy about that.  I’ve found that nights in on the couch laughing over stupid inside jokes with my boyfriend mean so much more to me than wearing 8 pounds of eyeliner and trying to look hot for the next guy who just wants to break my heart.  So all in all, I’ve learned that I’m a pretty damn lucky 29 but almost 30 year old.

So for now, I’ll hold onto the two – the life I live now and the live that awaits me, and in doing so, you may definitely still see me rocking out to the Biebs and T. Swift in my brand new Jeep, while wearing a dark shade of office appropriate lipstick, with perfectly highlighted hair and expensively manicured nails, looking like a maniac because I’m trying to simultaneously take a selfie while thinking about how I can cook a clean organic dinner and still make it to bed by 9pm and wake up the next day to start day-drinking at noon.

With that being said, life in your late twenties can be so confusing, man.  Who’s with me?

Friday, May 13, 2016

Today I Believe...

Today I believe:

- That it's okay to get overwhelmed sometimes.  Life can throw a lot at you, and when it rains, it sure as hell usually pours.  But this makes you come out stronger, wiser, and better in the end.  Believe me.

- That it's so important to thank the people who are always by your side.  When people sacrifice doing something for themselves to be next to you, that's when you know you've got someone special in your life.  Make sure to thank them.

- That being alone sometimes is okay.  It's important to work on your relationship with yourself and learning how to be okay in situations you typically wouldn't be.  It's healthy to try to let go of the anxiety and concentrate on yourself.  Treat yourself to a night in while everyone else is out. Take care of your own mind and body first.  You are number 1.

- That if you work really hard at something you really want, chances are you might get it.  If you don't, something else more radiant and breathtaking may come along, and you'll understand why the first goal didn't work out as planned.  

- That you need to TRUST people.  Stop being like me and thinking everything is a scam.  Have a little more faith in people. 

- That spring is the most beautiful season. Everyone is happier when the sun is shining and flowers are in bloom.  It's the best precursor to everyone's favorite season, and there's something to be said about the smell of the pavement after an April shower.  

- That things just happen as you get older.  I am no longer the person I was in my early 20's, and I am thankful for that. 

- That it's really great to always have something to look forward to.  It makes each morning a little bit sweeter when you can count down the days until your next exciting adventure. 

- That the people reading this blog are my favorite people in the world.  I can't even believe you take the time out of your day to read my thoughts.  I really hope I can inspire some of you.

- That it's important to pick a certain small time slot in the day to worry.  Have your worries, have your tears, feel the stress, and then be done with it.  Don't let yourself worry about the same thing all day.  You'll thank me for this one.

and finally, today I truly believe:

- That sometimes, maybe all the time, we just need to let go and let God.  

Monday, April 11, 2016


“Hung my head as I lost the war, and the sky turned black like a perfect storm… The water filled my lungs 
I screamed so loud, but no one heard a thing…

Life is hard sometimes.  Of course life is easy a lot of the times, but sometimes it’s hard, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.  It’s nothing to hide.  And if you’re lucky enough to have a space to vent like I do here with this blog, then it’s the perfect way to learn to breathe again.  It’s also a way to inspire and encourage other people.  Your hard times might mean something.  Your struggle might give life to someone else’s strength.  Think about it.  The way you learn to rise above your low points just might inspire someone else to do the same.

So, here you go – this past year was hard.  And my hard might be a lot different from your hard.  My hard wasn’t suffering in a third world country with no water or food, but my hard was hard enough for me.  And your hard can be hard enough for you -- and no one has the right to judge the difference.  My year started with stress and decisions.  It continued with a year-long stomach ache, tests and misdiagnoses from so many doctors.  It progressed with people telling me I was crazy, that I needed a therapist, that I needed anti-depressants which in turn made me sad and angry.  I felt disconnected to my own self, the relationship I valued the most. I felt lost.  Look people, I just have a really bad stomach ache, I feel like crap.  I’m not f*cking crazy.

So, between all the useless medication and pointless doctors’ appointments, I found my anxiety rising. I was finding it hard to sleep.  I was missing out on all the fun I should have been having.  I stopped writing as much.  I stopped living as much. I let the dark clouds take over, and I knew I was being consumed.  It wasn't just the stomach ache, it was the uncertainty.  The hypochondria in me that was just too overwhelming.

Then my uncle passed away.  I had to watch the hurt in my mother's eyes as she lost her sibling.  I had to help clean out his apartment and sort through all his belongings.  No one ever said that was an easy job, I just didn’t expect it to be so hard.  There’s that word again, hard.

Then the holidays came, and I coped.  I focused on family, on memories, on love, on what I do have.  It took a lot of strength for me to force myself to feel better, even if I was somewhat pretending.  You might be thinking how stupid I was for letting a stomach ache get the best of me, but this stomach ache lasted for so long – with no sight of it going away any time soon.  The holidays ended, my sister went back to TN, and my pain and anxiety came back. What can I distract myself with now, I feared.  

But, like life always does, the next things came.  My trip to Nashville, my birthday, weekend trips, my new love for yoga, warmer weather, long phone calls with the best friends a girl could have, lots of advice from my mom and dad, and listening to my boyfriend remind me how strong and brave I am, and it helped me bury my fears and my anxiety.  Sometimes you have to cover things up for a while just to be happy again, and sometimes it works – even if it’s only temporary.

Then something happened.  I met a new doctor, and I suddenly felt at ease – something I hadn’t felt in quite some time.  I felt like someone finally cared enough to help me.  And so, she has begun to. She figured out my stomach ache wasn’t just a stupid stomach ache at all, and although it’s nothing too serious, it’s something she’s going to try to fix, and I’m so grateful for that.  I’ve decided to put my trust in her, and to slowly let go of my hopeless mindset.  I’ve decided I have had enough. It’s time to be positive again.  It’s time to let my hard times go.  It’s time to shake off something that I’ve carried on my shoulders for a year.  It’s time to sleep through the night again, and it’s time to apologize to all of you for my lack of writing.  It’s time to realize it’s okay to write on this blog about things that aren’t always positive.  It’s okay to admit that I am human, and realize that humans don’t always know the right answers -- they just do what they think is best at the time.  Finally, it’s time to both apologize to and forgive myself for letting worry and anxiety steal a year of my life. 

I guess that’s why they say when it rains it pours -- and I’ve surely learned that even though the mild rain turns to heavy pouring, sometimes you really need that storm to wash away all the dust and pollution that’s been hanging around your mind for too long.  Sometimes it’s the only way to cleanse your soul, and I can't wait to be refreshed.

…Rain came pouring down when I was drowning,
that’s when I could finally breathe”

Tuesday, March 1, 2016


February was the best month. It was packed with adventures, and each week lead to the excitement of what was planned for the upcoming weekend.  Now that it’s over and we are on to March, I’m starting to get amped up for Spring and the warmer weather to (hopefully) arrive, and stay!
The weekend before last, Paul and I headed up to Old Orchard Beach in Maine, where we stayed for two nights with some of his family and friends and enjoyed the beach atmosphere in the winter. It’s an odd feeling, kind of hard to explain, when you see all your favorite summer spots and attractions shut down.  It’s eerie to see the roller coaster at a complete standstill, no one walking through the streets, no one selling towels, no open late night snack shops.  But in that emptiness, there’s a glimmer of excitement because you know it’ll come again, that smell of beach air, suntan lotion, mid-day Blue Moons on the pier overlooking the waves. Paul and I  ended Saturday night by sharing a bottle of wine on the beach, sitting on a blanket listening to the sounds of the waves.  Totally illegal, but totally worth it.  Money can't buy that kind of happiness...well it can buy the bottle of wine, but you know what I mean. You can't put a price on those late night memories.  Sunday, on our way home from Maine, we spent some time driving by the coast, and stopping for milkshakes at the cutest spot.  We played arcade games, ate beach pizza, and again noticed how many places were shut down for the winter.  But nevertheless, we made the weekend so fun, and we remembered that in just a short few months, we would be back, wearing flip flops and tanned skin.  Summer comes around.  It always does.

Then, al I had to do was make it through one work week before another enjoyable weekend arrived.  It was my birthday weekend, and everyone who knows me knows that I get so eager about my birthday every year!  Who doesn’t love being the center of attention and getting dressed up to celebrate with your favorite people? I know I do, and It was the perfect birthday weekend, indeed.  It started with morning love from Nala, shopping and lunch (where I didn't get carded - ugh!) and trying on all different kinds of outfits and modeling for the mirror, until I finally decided to wear my original choice. Then the day went on. More perfect memories were made by a beautiful dinner, a healthy nature walk, my mom’s homemade Funfetti cake, and the most thoughtful gifts in the world.  This girl could not have welcomed 29 in any better way.  And one of the absolute best parts?  Paul had a cake made with a big picture of my perfect little Nala on it, and had it delivered to me by a group of singing wait staff at the restaurant where we had my birthday dinner, surrounded by friends and family.  It certainly was a moment I’ll never forget.


Thanks for capturing this moment, Angela!

I think Nala was a little jealous that it wasn't her big day, and she got sick of me trying to attack her with love and kisses. Typical.  Anyway, now that my birthday and quite the busy month are in the past, I’m focusing my gaze on warmer temperatures, the scent of the Spring rain when it hits the pavement, and more reasons to write.  My poetry book is about halfway finished, and I can’t wait to publish and begin selling it!  I’m determined to continue the promise to myself to make sure 2016 kicks some serious ass, and to focus on making 29 my best year yet.  Let’s do this, people!