As a child, I was taught the myths as some kids learned the Bible. I don’t necessarily call myself a Pagan at parties, and I almost never sacrifice goats during the full moons (anymore) but I definitely believe in Hera, Zeus, and all the heroes of the Trojan War–to me it’s just so much cooler! So for me, my trip to Mykonos was trip was something of a holy pilgrimage. I was going to swim in the sea that Achilles crossed! Walk through Diana’s forests! Eat my weight in baklava!!
Because of my dorky, dreamy attachment to Greece, I really think I got more out of the trip than my traveling companions. All 42 of them.
Yes Shalloners, you read that corretly–I was in Greece with 42 new BFFs. Forty two. I knew no one but my friend Wen-Wen, who knew 4 people, who knew more, who knew more. So it was cliques within cliques, from all over the world–12 from Singapore, 14 from London, 6 from New York, 2 from LA, 3 from Germany, 1 from Dubai, several Aussies, a French girl, and a few Kiwis.
The villas came with guard dogs, five pools, a catering staff, drivers and cars, and of course, THE HELICOPTER.
I mean…a helicopter. When Pippa chipped her manicure I suggested we go get our nails done in Athens
Mark, our fearless leader, organized some amazing outings, like a day on a yacht sailing around to some uninhabited islands including Delos. Once upon a time, Delos was second only to Delphi in terms of holiness. The tiny rocky island was the birthplace of Apollo and his twin Artemis and in 600 BC, it was declared so holy that no one was allowed to die or be born on it.
By the Roman Era, 88 BC, it was a multi-cultural and peaceful trade hub for the Cylcades, until King Mithradates slaughtered all 20,000 inhabitants to show his opposition to Roman rule. It never really recovered after that and now it’s uninhabited once again and hosts tours of the ruins.
But to see it from the back side, where no tourists go, was magic. Pure geeky Pagan magic.
The whole day was just…magic. I can’t even say it enough. Being in the sea–not simply the ocean, the sea–is so therapeutic. I was reading a magazine article about how in times of stress, you should think about your “blue place”–some body of water or memory involving the ocean–to calm your mind. I think I found mine. (Aegean bonus: there are no sharks!) (And if there are please no one tell me, kthanx)
The town was also ridiculously charming. We arrived just as the crowds and tourists cleared out and it felt like our own private island. Even the little touristy trap restaurants were incredible. I literally didn’t even know that’s what gyro was supposed to taste like.
Being in such a breathtaking place with such diverse people made me yearn to travel. My heart absolutely aches for Europe sometimes. It’s easy to forget just how big the world really is, and how much of it there is to see and how many new people there are to meet. What can I say, I’ve got a gypsy heart.
The Singaporeans brought paper lanterns and on the last night, high on love and Greek wine we did a lantern release which was just so charming and beautiful.
I know this was supposed to be my last trip of the season, but little does my passport and bank account and boyfriend realize that I’m only just getting warmed up.
I’m a wanderlester
Now that you’ve got your outfit sorted, here’s how to act to make a killer first impression and make friends with all the right people. The most important thing to remember is that EVERYONE is as nervous as you are. Everyone. No matter how popular they were in middle school/how “cool” their clothes/how rich their parents are, they’re anxious too. And, everyone wants to make friends. No one goes to high school thinking “God I hope I don’t meet anyone new for the next 4 years.” So take advantage of that with these 5 easy—but hugely impactful—tips.
1. Adopt a Mantra
I’m a firm believer in having a personal mantra or theme song. My current song is “Grown Woman” by Beyonce because lately it seems like I’ve had to remind people that I am a grown ass woman and can do whatever I want, so back off. Anyway.
Pick a phrase that really resonates for you. It can be as simple as I am OK just the way I am or I deserve to be happy. Oddly, the ones that feel the most uncomfortable at first are the ones you need to be telling yourself the most.
Start adopting your mantra now so that it’s familiar by the time school starts. When you’re angsty on that first day, say your mantra while you inhale deeply. It’s positive power will show on your face and make a huge difference.
2. Shoulders Back, Chin Up
In a new environment, we naturally curl into a ball as best we can. Head down, shoulders hunched, trying to disappear. Don’t. I know it’s awkward and scary but if you can lift your chin three inches to put that head up, you will project pure confidence, and that’s intoxicating. People want to be around someone who is confident and serene. I know you may not feel that way, but studies show that changing body language can influence thoughts. So faking confidence with your body can actually make it true!
OMFG this is important. It sounds simple and stupid, but often, the most effective tips are! You don’t need to walk around grinning like an idiot, but flash smiles at people you see in the hall, even if—especially if—you don’t know them. Shoot for one out of every 10 people. Then 1/5. People like to be smiled at, it’s reassuring and relaxing and a mood booster. You want people to associate you with that feeling.
Plus, it makes you seem like you are oh so cool and calm that you’re just breezin’ on through the first day. Again, that is alluring—people want to be around someone like that. Being popular is about creating a buzz and a mystique around yourself, and it’s as easy as smiling.
4. Talk To Everyone Who Sits Near You
Like I said, everyone is nervous and everyone wants people to like them. Take that first step by introducing yourself to your seatmates. ALL of them—even the rednecks, the goths, the jocks, the black kids, the Asians, the handicapped kids, the blonde, EVERYONE. You never know who someone may be. It could be your new BFF, the most popular guy at his middle school, the best lacrosse player in the state—who knows!
What to say?
“Hey I’m Kacey, I went to Vista Verde, how about you?”
Totally easy icebreaker that everyone is comfortable can answer. If you take the lead chatting with people, you establish yourself as a social leader, aka a potentially popular person. And it’s SO EASY.
5. Let It Go
Were you uncool in middle school? SO WHAT LET IT GO. Seriously. Let it go. You aren’t cursed. You are the master of your own destiny. If you want to be popular, these are the tricks. If you want to cast off the person you used to be, then do it! But, realize that you may have to do just that. You may have to dress and act more mainstream. It doesn’t mean you never have to cosplay or go to punk rock shows. It just means it doesn’t need to be your main persona.
Me, I’m obsessed with My Chemical Romance but I dress preppy because socially, that works for me. It’s fine for me to dress normally and listen to my music on my own and have it be a private thing. I don’t need to lead with it.
I know, it’s not fair—you should be able to have piercings and green hair and still be prom queen, but that’s not super realistic and it sucks. So, you’ll need to decide how much you’re willing to sacrifice in the name of mainstream popularity. Don’t want to compromise? That’s cool, but then don’t spend the next 4 years being bitter that you’re not cheer captain. Find your lane and make it work for you.
Next time, I’ll tell you what sort of activities will get you to the top of the social ladder! For more, follow me on Twitter and Instagram @ShallonXO!
I went to a very small and nerdy middle school and felt like everyone in my freshman class already knew each other by the time school started. So how did I go from unknown dork to Prom Queen? I’ll tell you in this three part series.
First up, STYLE! Time for an upgrade, darlings.
Ninety percent of communication—and therefore 90% of the impression you give off—is non-verbal, meaning body language and looks tell people more about you than anything you’re going to say. That means you want a killer first day outfit. But this does NOT mean the trendiest outfit you can find! It’s natural to latch onto trendy clothes thinking that they make you socially “safe”—if you’re wearing something a magazine says is cool, then you are automatically cool too, right? WRONG. And here’s why.
1. Trends Aren’t Flattering
Do you know who the biggest consumer group in the world is? Asians. So, clothes are cut for their bodies—flat fannies, small breasts, shorter arms, narrow hips and shoulders. I am built like a Kardashian, not an Asian, so most “trendy” clothes look just terrible on me. So unless you’re a tiny Asian girl—or a long willowy model type like Kendall Jenner, because models can wear anything—avoid styles that are ultra trendy, aka ones that are new this year.
2. Trends Make You Blend In
If you want to be popular in high school, you need to stand out and be a leader. Ironically, to truly stand out is to be comfortable in your skin, and that happens when you discover your own personal style and put your own spin on it! Wearing the same thing everyone else is may seem like a sure way to make you popular but the opposite is true.
3. The Trendiest Girl Is Always The Weakest
There’s a difference between being fashionable and trendy. Fashionable means you pick and choose from trends and tweak them to suit your personal vibe and style—you don’t change your style to suit trends. A girl who relentlessly chases trends does so because she doesn’t feel confident enough to just be in her own skin and let her personality speak for itself. And girls like that will never be popular because that lack of confidence is SO apparent.
4. Boys Don’t Understand Trends
Like, at all. I’ve polled a lot of guys of all ages and NOT ONE like the high-waisted shorts trend. Not one. NONE. Unfortunately, fashion honchos don’t make clothes that are attractive to the opposite sex. So it’s up to you to ignore trendy clothes and do you.
So what should you wear? Follow these steps…
1. Figure Out Your Style
As an OC girl, my style is breezy, preppy with some surfer girl thrown in. I like bright colors, prints and gold. Living in New York City, that’s not always the “cool” choice in a sea of black-clad fashionistas. But I don’t care because I’m comfortable with what I’m wearing.
Don’t know your vibe? Sit and think of some adjectives that entice you. For me, it’s “sparkling” (not sparkly, note), “refreshing,” “world traveler,” “chic,”
2. Figure Out Your Body
Girls carry their weight in one of three places: tummy (apple shape), lower body (pear shape) and upper arms/back (rectangle or triangle shape). Here’s how to dress each one…
- Apple Shape
I’m an apple shape which means I show off my legs and hide my tummy. That means shorts + peasant blouses, skinny jeans + loose patterned tops, and very short trapeze dresses. High-waist shorts, crop tops, jumpsuits and knee-length anything do NOT work for this shape. Not at all.
- Pear Shape
Your waist is smaller than your hips, so show that off while hiding thighs. Stick to full skirts + tight shirts, lined maxi dresses (unlined or cheap cotton ones will stick to cellulite) that are fitted at the waist, and anything fitted/belted/banded at the waist or draws attention to your middle. Avoid shorts, clingy skirts, ankle boots AT ALL COSTS and skinny jeans (bootcut shapes will balance out hips and legs).
- Rectangle/Triangle Shape
Your shoulders may be as wide as your hips and your waistline lacks definition, so interesting silhouettes (low necklines, tulips skirts, peplum tops, etc) are your friend! Avoid things that are too clingy and solid colored since you’ll end up looking like a giant rectangle.
Fuse The Two!
Find clothes that nail your vibe AND flatter your body! Warning: you probably won’t amass as many garments as the trend-chasing chick, but you’ll look awesome in everything you wear! If your clothes feel less exciting than the trendy ones your friends are buying (and looking terrible in, mark my words) jazz things up with jewelry/shoes/bags and hair accessories that go with your style. Bonus: it’s cheaper!
Next in the series, I’ll tell you how to ACT your first day of school to ensure you turn heads and make friends with all the right people! In the meantime find me on Instagram andTwitter @ShallonXO!
As a professional writer, I don’t always enjoy reading. Sometimes after a day of looking at words, I don’t want to come home and look at MORE words. It’s like a gynecologist watching porn–I mean enough is enough already!
But I still try to make reading a priority and choose books that will enhance my life and further my agendas. So here are the books that have literally changed my life and helped me get a boyfriend. Take a look!
Bitch is about to be your new favorite term. When I read this I realized that I had it all backwards–I thought that I was being “nice” to guys when I was really being a spineless pushover who let guys get away with murder because I thought it’d make them like me more. After I read this and put her tips into action, the turnaround in my dating life was incredible and immediate. It is the foundation for all of the advice I give you guys!
Literally everything I’ve ever achieved in my life–from my first kiss to my book deals to my TV show–is because of what I learned in The Secret, which is to “ask, believe, receive.” As girls, we have a hard time asking for what we want–we don’t want to offend people, or rock the boat, or we feel like we don’t deserve it. The list is endless. But when you declare what you want and truly believe that you deserve to have it and that it’s possible, it’s amazing how things manifest. I know it sounds kind of hippy-dippy but trust me, this is a quick and easy read that will absolutely 100% change your life.
What do boys really think of girls? This book tells you. Told through the eyes of teenage boys, it really shows you bafflingly complex and alluring they find us. If you feel not confident, confused and like you’ll never understand boys, read this. You’ll walk away feeling like a goddess.
Yes, my book Hey, every girl needs a fun beach read, right? Almost all of the stories I allude to in my videos are chronicled in Exes and Ohs, and it’s pretty damn funny if I do say so myself. So if you think you’re awkward, pick this up and prepare to breathe a sigh of relieve over your own love life!
Summer is a double edged sword for me. While I’m THRILLED to be out of the grey hellscape that is winter, my relief is short lived because soon it’s time to start panicking about how I look in a bikini.
So if you’re like me, here’s a summer sexiness survival guide with some tips on how to look good in a bikini, whether you have one month, one week or one hour to prepare!
ONE MONTH OUT: Revamp!
In 3-5 weeks you can seriously change your body. It won’t be super easy or buckets of fun, but cowboy up for that small amount of time and focus on doing these things…
- Hire a nutritionist
Controlling my food portions isn’t not exciting or instantaneous but it DOES work. A nutritionist helps me monitor my eating, since having a good body is 70% food, 30% exercise. I know getting a nutritionist sounds expensive and extreme, but if you’re a teenager you’re still on your parents’ insurance, which means you may only pay $10 copay per visit to a nutritionist and it is the BEST MONEY EVER SPENT.
- Read The Zone Diet
It gives you a really good overview of what foods are good to eat and why carbs can be bad and fat can be good. Even if you don’t want to do the diet, it’s still really informative and easy to understand!
- Stop Drinking Soda
When I cut out soda and did the Zone Diet, I lost 15 pounds in three weeks! Diet sodas are bad too because really, they’re all chemicals. That’s super gross. And all those bubbles make you gassy and fat and bloated. How sexy!!
- HIIT The Gym
Get it, HIIT? That stands for High Intensity Interval Training, which burns the most calories in the shortest amount of time AND helps build lean muscle. A 20 minute HIIT workout does more than 45 agonizing minutes on a treadmill. Google it and find similar classes at your local gym or YMCA. Always eat a little bit (half a protein bar, toast with a wee bit of PB) before HIIT workouts otherwise you’ll get sick
Or, if you can’t afford a gym, download the Nike Training Club app for about $10. You can choose your workout (cardio, strength, slimming, core, etc) and set your own music and you can do almost all of them at home with basically no equipment. It gives you a HELL of a workout, believe me. Also, be sure to incorporate planks into your routine since that’s what gives you ab muscles you can actually see!
- Save $10 A Week
If you can amass $40-50 you can buy just about all of my must-have beachside looks that will boost your confidence!
ONE WEEK OUT: Shop!
I talk about this in my How To Feel Confident In A Bikini vid on YouTube, but it bears repeating: if you don’t like where your body is at, make yourself feel as good as possible by perfecting every other aspect of your beach look. If your outfit, accessories, skin and makeup are all on point, then you won’t be so focused on your figure flaws–and neither will anyone else!
- Formulate Your Summer Look
Mine is very “Riviera glam”–I love flowly caftan coverups, gold wedges, bangles, hoops, and of course, big fancy hats.
That look works for me and where I vacation, but if you’re in high school or college, not so much. Instead, think about what your summer style is–festival? boho? surfer girl? preppy?–and really go for it. Find a celeb icon who embodies your summer style and spend an afternoon googling around for how to replicate her look for less. I find almost ALL my clothes at TJ Maxx or Marshall’s, and Payless has terrific beachy shoes!
- Skip The Shorts
Whatever style you go for MAKE IT A DRESS. No shorts. Shorts are for boys and gym teachers, and rompers never fit right. And if you’re not sure what kind of style vibe you want to give off, opt for a neutral cover up dress, like this one, which could be anything from preppy to glam depending on the accessories, shoes and hat!
- Select a Scent
A sexy summer perfume is an absolute must. Victoria’s Secret has great summer body mists, and I also love Beach by Bobbi Brown, Born in Paradise by Escada and actually (embarrassingly) Jennifer Aniston’s perfume! But a great affordable option is Saint Barts Soleil by Mark and it’s small enough to travel with too!
While you can get away with a cheap cover up/hat/shoes, you actually want to invest in a good fragrance; if a perfume is cheaply made (like, from the drug store) it breaks down in the heat and can smell sour and rank. Not hot.
- Practice Your Walk & Posture
You know what a stickler I am for bad posture and clunking around in heels. If you plan to make wedges part of your summer style, make sure you can walk in them. Shoulders back, thumbs pointing forwards, boobs out. Otherwise you’ll look like Mr Burns skulking around the cabana.
Not in a tanning bed, obvs, but start applying self tanner in light layers. If you wait until the day before your beach/pool excursion, you’ll be tempted to slather it on too thick to get dark ASAP and it’ll be streaky and terrible. Every other day add a light layer of a gradual self tanner, this Neutrogena one is my favorite and totally goof-proof.
- Cut The Salt
Salty foods (diet and regular sodas, canned soups, microwave meals, pasta sauce, ramen and basically anything from a restaurant) makes you retain water and bloat. Women can hold up to 9 POUNDS to water weight! Can you imagine dropping that much just by cutting back on sodium?? Read food labels and if something has more than 20% sodium, skip it. Drink a lot of green or detox tea and water to get you at your absolute thinnest!
- Get a Mani-Pedi!
Boys seriously notice nasty feet. Enough said.
THE DAY OF: Work It!
Ok, you’re tanned, de-bloated, nails did, and smellin’ good. But there’s still that pesky issue of YOUR BODY. Here’s how to make the best of it:
- Make A Deal With Yourself
Put a 24 hour freeze on body angst and just, almost as an experiment, pretend like you haven’t a body issue in the world! If 24 hours is too long, try 10 minutes. And spend 10 minutes free from the hell of obsessing about how you look. You may feel relieved, then happier, then more magnetic then discover that SURPRISE! people do like you better when you’re not so focused on tugging at your bikini, keeping that towel wrapped around you, or constantly poking at your thighs. The more attention you call to your flaws, the more people will see them.
- Sit Strategically
My butt is my best feature and my tummy my worst, so I’m ALWAYS laying on my tummy with my fanny slightly perked up. If you want to hide your thighs, sit up in a lounge chair with your knees bent. Have great abs? Lay down to showcase them. Boobs need a boost? Lay on your side so that they slide together and look perkier. In fact, the “side lay” is the best position overall, but it’s a little hard to maintain for too long since your arm muscles are engaged.
- Show Your “Fanny Fold”
Fact: your butt looks better if you show more of it. Having your bikini bottoms cover ALL of your butt makes you look wide and diapery. Observe:
Instead, pull your bottoms in just a bit so you can see the fold in your fanny. This is WILDLY attractive to boys and is super flattering to your bum!
- Skip the Mono-kini
These are INCREDIBLY unflattering. The middle cutout makes curvy girls look enormous and boyish figures look even more rectangular. They are not good for ANY type of figure, burn them if you have one and either opt for a one piece that shows your fanny fold, or a bikini.
- Avoid Mirrors
I’ve learned how to table my body angst and just let go…until I hit the bathroom and see what I really look like, then I get depressed and anxious all over again.
So, I don’t look in the mirror! I’ll literally walk sideways into the ladies room
- Flex, Don’t Suck
Abs are my problem area, and I’ve learned that sucking in doesn’t help, but flexing your abs does! When you suck in, you look panicked and stricken and you draw more attention to your problem area.
But when you flex, your tummy flattens and your posture aligns!
- Look At Photos Of Hot Girls
It sounds counter-intuitive, but studies show that looking at pictures of hot girls with great bods will actually boost your own self esteem! Weird, I know, but also strangely true.
So head to Pintrest to look at sexy bitches then envision your body as theirs and WERK IT HUNNI!
I really love getting y’alls comments on this blog, but they’ve basically been overrun with spammers
So I’m going to turn off comments from here on out, and instead if you need to reach me, tweet or Instagram me @ShallonXO or drop me a line at AskShallon@gmail.com!
OMFG PROM IS COMING!!
Prom night can either be totally amazing or literally scar you for life. There are three main parts to Prom: your date, your dress and your behavior. I’ll show you how to ensure that each aspect is flawless. Read on!
1. Your Date
Junior prom: I was beyond thrilled when my crushed asked me, even though all my friends said he was a twerp. Sure enough, the DAY of prom, he decided liked this other girl, ignored me all night and I cried for about two weeks after. Hellish.
Senior prom: The boy I really liked didn’t ask me, but (in a rare moment of good decision making) I said yes when the cute sweet guy asked me. Even though I wasn’t super into him, I decided to just give the good guy a try for once. Turns out, we had the best prom ever. He was so sweet, so gentlemanly, so romantic. It was heavenly. And now, years later, guess which one is hotter, richer, funnier and sexier? YEP, Mr. Senior Prom!
The point is: your date can make or break your evening. However, this isn’t Sadie Hawkins–you can’t do the asking. Seriously you can’t. If there’s a boy you really want to go with, be a little extra flirty with him in the weeks leading up to prom. If he is interested in you TRUST ME he will ask you. This is a golden opportunity for him to come after you. If he doesn’t, I hate to say it, but that’s your answer. So if a different guy asks you, say yes even if he’s not your OMFGDREAMGUY4EVR. He may just be a Peeta.
2. Your Look
- The Dress
Repeat after me: you do not have to spend a ton to look fab on prom night. RentTheRunway has amazing designer dresses that you can borrow for under $60. But make sure that you’re getting a dress in the proper size. No one is going to be checking your tag to see if you’re in a 6 or an 8, so pick what is FLATTERING, even if it’s the size up! Also, make sure it works with your usual style. Hate strapless bras? Don’t get a strapless dress. Why torture yourself? The overall point of your dress is to make you look like a princess, and that happens when you feel comfortable in what you’re wearing. Also, make sure the color flatters your skin tone. Blush, yellow and rose gold are all super cute hues, but not on a pale blondie like me.
- The Shoes
I see SO MANY girls in great dresses, chic hair, flawless makeup…and they’re clomping around like llamas because they can’t walk in their shoes. If heels aren’t your thing don’t wear them. A guy won’t be turned off if you wear cute ballet flats. “Yeah I was going to kiss her but then I was like whaaaatt she’s wearing flats?! Hell no, bro.”–said no guy ever. He will be, however, if you’re hunched over wobbling because you can’t navigate heels. Not hot.If you’re going with heels, PLEASE practice walking in them before hand, on a flat hard surface, not carpeting. But please PLEASE don’t do what I did and change out of your heels and into SNEAKERS during the dance. Holy mother of god what was I thinking.
- Your body
One word: POSTURE. I know I sound like your mom but seriously, you need to stand up straight–it’s the #1 thing you can to do look skinnier and sexier and more confident. It makes your tummy flat, butt perky, and boobs bigger. And, bonus, it’ll make you seem cooler than every other girl. It Girls stand up straight–always. Check your posture by looking down at your thumbs–are they brushing your thighs? Bad. Roll your shoulders back so that your thumbs point forward–that’s how you know you’re standing up straight and sexy.
Next, slather Jergen’s BB Body which will give you a sexy glow and slight shimmer, but not in a skanky strippery way
Now, perfume! Always opt for an expensive fragrance over a cheap drug store one. Sephora has rollerball versions of high-end perfumes (my current fave is Nirvana White by Elizabeth & James) for under $20. Roll it onto your pulse points–wrist, neck, cleavage, behind the knees and nape of your neck, but don’t rub it in, that breaks down the scent molecules. If you put too much on, rubbing alcohol on a cotton pad can get it off!
When I say the phrases “belle of the ball” or “princess for the evening” what do you picture? A girl who is demure, polite, charming and a little bit mysterious, I bet. You do not picture a girl who is loud, whiny, drunk, slutty or worried about looking fat, do you? NO YOU DON’T.
For each dance I went to (and now, each gala, which are basically grown up proms–so fun) I find a “celebrity spirit animal” to guide me through the evening and boost my confidence. As you may know frommy vids, one of my big tricks to faking confidence is to pick a celeb persona to emulate, click here to watch the video!
For example, I went to the Kentucky Derby last weekend and one of my dresses reminded me of something Hayden Panettiere’s character, Juliette, would wear on Nashville. So I let that vibe come through and semi-pretended to be Juliette Barnes–spunky, feisty, flirty, brazen–throughout the day. Tonight, I’m going to a charity gala and my belted lavender dress is very Kate Middleton so I’m going to be oh so gracious and sweet and polite and warm.
But some of you may be saying “Ummm why would I want to pretend to be someone else on prom night?” Well relax. We all know that “spirit animal” or no, your authentic personality always shines through, as it should! This is just an idea to help you overcome prom night jitters and have a behavior guide if you’re not used to such a fancy evening with a date. So if there’s a vibe that bubbles up from your dress or your hair, go with it!
My crush and I kissed a few times and had an amazing time together…but then he just kind of vanished. He won’t return my texts and never wants to hang out, and I hear that he’s flirting with other girls and he’s becoming really popular. But when I see him at a party, he’s all excited to see me. ?!?! What’s going on?
Royally Confused Rebecca,
Ugh YUCK. I hate hate hate HATE things like this, where you have this amazing awesome intense connection with someone and then POOF they just vanish and it’s like ummm hello? If we had fun why do you not want that fun to continue?!
So there’s a few different reasons why he’s gone MIA and gotten weird…
It was in Mexico that it happened–it finally, unequivocally happened: I decided to leave New York.
Well technically, it happened off the coast of Mexico, in the Pacific ocean, as I wiped out on a wave and technically by “leave” I mean “start seriously exploring the possibility of life in another city.”
I was underwater, upside down and my leash was tangled and pinned one foot behind me. I should’ve been panicking but I was in heaven. HEAVEN. There, in the rough, I was baptized. I surfaced a new woman.
Surfing made me feel more alive than I had in years–at least without wine in my system–and I realized that I would be happy hitting the ocean every single day.
(I promise I’m better than this pic makes me look)
(That’s not true)
I wouldn’t say that I grew up surfing–I first learned in Bali, then tried to go at least once a summer–but I did grow up with surf culture. Everyone surfed (well, the white kids anyway), even just a little bit. Our high school even had a surf team! Even if you didn’t surf yourself, you wore Volcom and Hurley, you went to the US Open of Surfing in Huntington, you just lived it, the way a preppy doesn’t have to hoist a mass themselves to be part of the nautical set.
I got out of the water and FaceTime’d my boyfriend.
“Baby, we’re moving,” I told him firmly. “To Australia.”
“Mmmm…kaaaay,” he said slowly, trying to decide whether or not I’d gotten into the minibar.
For the second time this year, I was south of the border on a press trip. This time my travel buddy Jen and I were in Sayulita, a sleepy little surf down about 45 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta in the Riviera Nayarit.
Sayulita was like a Cody Simpson song come to life. Happy, bright, colorful, bouncy and beachy, it’s what you picture when someone bumps you on the train, or grey snow sloshes into your shoe and you think Fuck this, I’m out. The town is populated by surfing ex-pats and chill, middle class locals. It’s a far cry from the cartel-riddled border towns or the rum-soaked spring break destinations. If you want to party, you can. But if you want to relax, eat fresh-caught tuna ceviche and be up early to surf, you can do that too.
We stayed at the Grand Velas, a visually stunning hotel but it was absolutely overrun with kids. As a single city girl, kids aren’t my thing. So that’s a definite con on the list, as was the fact that the resort was a ghost town after 7pm (I guess everyone was tucking in their kids!) (lame) and you had to take a shuttle to the sister property next door to access the beach. But once you reached the beach, it was delightful. More than enough lounges and cabanas, with prompt waiters.
Since one can take only so many selfies, Jen and I tried to step up with our game with an oh so balletic cartwheeling photoshoot…
I need to stay in my selfie lane. I look like a crab. #thankspinacolada
The resort had another hilarious pro: jello menus. YES I SAID JELLO MENUS.
But the place was more than just weirdo gelatin confections. It boasted an adorable rooftop bar with a pool that spanned it’s length so you could sip a drink, look 20 stories down or straight out at the magnificent sunset over the Pacific.
And did I mention the spa? Some people are spa snobs but I’m happy as long as someone gives me cucumber water and sort of plays with my hair. I’m a simple woman. But this spa really was delightful, with ,ore than just a tepid selection of magazines to keep you occupied before your massage. They had hot and cold plunge pool and and a Jacuzzi with an “obstacle course” of massaging jets on the walls and floor.
As much as I travel, I’m almost always happy when the plane is pointed in the direction of home. But not this time. I didn’t want to go back.
Go back to what? I asked myself sulkily as I unfurled my hideous winter coat AGAIN. Uh, how about your job, your boyfriend, your friends, your favorite bodega that always holds aside a bag of Tate’s Cookies for you? You know, your life? But in that moment, I wasn’t a creature of logic. I was a creature of the ocean.
I want to surf every day, I want to eat fresh fruit and fish and be outside. I want adventure.
(beer is good too)
So back to my original idea: start to explore the possibility that life can exist outside Manhattan, New York. This idea had been brewing in my mind, hazy and alluring, for sometime. I really can’t bear another winter on the East Coast, I just can’t. I refuse to spent one third of my life hating where I am, and really, it’s not like the sweltering, gritty concrete summers are much better.
Plus, the other day someone had asked me what’s on my bucket list. I couldn’t think of a thing. At the time, I felt smug, like I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to, but that dissolved into a depressing hollowness–was there really nothing else out there? Then, in Mexico, I realized that learning how to surf–like, really surf–is number one on that list.
But could I ever leave beloved NYC? Where do you go after the greatest city in the world? Maybe the answer isn’t another city at all; maybe the only place to go is the ocean…
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