Life-Hacking Skills

It is widely known among my friends that I do not, in fact, own a smartphone.

Yes, I know, it’s quite the tragedy. As they have assured me many times. How do I get along without it? How do I live without a portable camera and Instagram filters? How do I know where anything is?

To which I say – just fine thank you, cameras have always been portable, photo-editing can be done on my computer, and MAPS, thankyouverymuch.

But as a result of this caveman philosophy, I constantly surprise myself with how much I can actually make life work for me with simple stonelike tools such as a LAPTOP and THE SHITTY INTERNET ON MY PHONE (5 year old platform) and GOOGLE MAPS – BEFORE I go somewhere.

First of all, I have the insanely weird talent of being able to look at a map 1 time and know exactly where I am going, and it’s a pretty sure thing that I’ll always remember how to get there after that, too. I look at it once, and my brain holds it forever.

Pretty nifty tool. Who needs a fucking GPS? I’ve got MY MIND (it’s better than yours).

So normally, if I need to get somewhere, I simply look up directions beforehand and handily take myself in that direction. I first learned I had this skill when I lived overseas for 3 months and successfully navigated myself on the Metro, the bus system, and to church. Alone. At 17 years old.


Except, this morning, all went awry. I am in Kansas City for the weekend for my grandma’s 90th birthday. It’s an epic family reunion and includes people I haven’t seen for 6 years. Some of them for longer. And with some of them (mostly IMMEDIATE family ones aka Father) it has the potential for extreme awkwardness.

So, I decided in order to cope with sharing hotel rooms and cars for the weekend, I was going to rent my OWN car for 5 hours and 5 hours only, so I could have a zen-like afternoon before everyone else showed up.

I planned out where I was going to go. Good coffee had to be a part of this, obviously. I literally cannot go to a city without having their best coffee. When I was in London 2 years ago with my best friend, we had not a drop of tea in the 2 days we were there. BUT I HAD 3 CUPS OF COFFEE. At least.

Enter problem 1. I get off the plane, get my bags, and get on the rental car bus. WITHOUT turning on my trusty laptop to look at Google Maps. I had no fucking clue where I was going.

The lady at the rental car place asked if I needed directions, so I asked her how to get downtown. Inside, I secretly sparked with the adventure of having absolutely NO idea where I was going, other than two directional cues (LEFT, then RIGHT).

I’m a badass, so of course off of these 2 directions, I got myself downtown. Within 2 minutes of arriving in the downtown area, I inadvertently turned onto a street I had planned on going to, anyway – the Kansas City Library and its supercool parking garage.

WINNING. I then proceeded to meander around downtown and then landed myself in the ARTS DISTRICT.


It was at this point that my skills almost evaded me. Though I drove around for an hour, I could not track down a coffee shop. I just KNEW they were right out of my reach (spoiler: I was correct).

But just in time, my life hacking skills saved me as I spotted a Panera Bread. As anyone with life hacking skills knows, Panera Bread has the most accessible free wifi ANYWHERE.

MWAHAHAH. I promptly parked in the nearby mall parking structure (FREE), walked over to Panera, and SAT OUTSIDE (FREE) at the outdoor tables while I mooched their FREE internet to find out where I was and where I needed to go. Turned out that earlier, I had literally come within 7 blocks of a coffee shop I’d been looking for. (See, told you they were just out of my reach)

So with my trusty Panera wifi as my guide, I headed back out and within 10 minutes had parked and ended up in Oddly Correct, a lovely little hipster coffee shop (The Costa Rica they have on their brew bar right now is epically delicious, FYI).

So the next time any of y’all say “OMG YOU DON’T HAVE A SMARTPHONE?” here’s what I’ll say:


Suck it, bitches.

Do you have any lifehacking skills? What street smarts do you have that you’re most proud of? Do you have a weird brain likemine that retains directional information? Holla at yo booiiii!! I mean… girrrlll…


Laurie’s List of Dream Travel Locations – Part One

It’s been a long week at work. I’ve been training for a new position that I got promoted to, and my brain is dry of any creativity. I’ve been trying to think up posts all week and have gotten nowhere. Until…my lovely friend Aussa suggested I write about travel locations. Thank God. This is one post that I can write that will be reviving to my soul. I need to think about these things this week for inspiration! I need a mind vacation!

I realized, though, when I started this post that I want to go too many places for one post. Therefore, I’m going to start this series. And on weeks where I feel uncreative and tired, I will unveil the next installment of the series! Two benefits: inspiration for me, and earth porn for you. Win win!

So, grab your beverage of choice (mine will be sparkling limeade) and come along for our little adventure! This shall be in no particular order, since I really can’t organize which one I want to go to most. And it will be totally out of continent order too, just depending on which one I really feel most inspired by right now.

San Pancho, Mexico

My most pressing travel dream is to go to San Pancho and live there for 3-6 months. For so many reasons. It’s small, it’s a beach town, and it has the perfect hippie vibe. Everyone is laid back. Everyone surfs. All the hippies and artists are there. There’s yoga. It’s cultured, but I can learn Spanish too. I want it. It’s amazing. I’m dying to go back. And I could drive down there and take my cat with me. I would live in a tiny rooftop apartment with beads over the doorways, lounging around in linen pants all the time. My hair would be in dreads because I’d never have the care to wash it. I’d drink agua fresca all day and lounge on the beach. I’d hike to nearby beaches in the afternoons and om in yoga at night. Pretty much, it’s my entire dream life.


Patagonia, Chile

It’s Neruda’s fault I’m obsessed with going to Chile. The lilting Spanish is seductive to my ears. The beautiful little houses and the bright culture sounds entrancing. And I’m not sure you can look at that picture and NOT want to visit. So. Seriously. Beautiful. Take a sip of your drink and just look at that view. Ahhhh.

The Trans-Siberian Railway

I am DYING to take this 14 day train trip from Beijing to Moscow. I think it would be mind blowing. So much countryside. So much beauty. So much of the world. I want to do this so badly, it sounds like the adventure of a lifetime! Winding across the countryside, crossing rivers, watching women and men and children wander down dirt roads in their every day lives. Seeing the everyday movement of another nationality. It’s fascinating.


Istanbul, Turkey

I have been obsessed with Turkish culture for years (just ask Carly). Turkish is on my bucket list of languages to learn. I’ve been to Izmir (on the coast) but never Istanbul. I so want to see Hagia Sophia, the Grand Bazaar, the Bosphorus. I want to wander the streets and sip on Turkish coffee, listening to the mullahs utter the calls to prayer from atop gorgeous minarets. I want to stuff myself on doner, lahmacun, baklava. I want to drink cay for days in little teacups shaped like lovely curving women. I want to taste the language on my tongue; Turkish and Azeri are the only 2 languages I’ve ever dreamed in besides English. I want to remember how to say “nasilsin” and “san nasilsin”. Watch the flash of the women’s eyes and the dance of their long dark hair. I want to sink into Turkey and its passionate self.

And this last is for Aussa, who inspired me. I saw a picture of these tents in the Smithsonian or Town and Country (can’t remember which) when I was probably 10-13 years old, and I’ve wanted to sleep in one ever since. Maybe it’s the tie-in to my precious Lothlorien, where tree-living is their life. It’s unsure where they are located. Some say California. The more sure location, however, is in Bavaria.

And so with that, I leave you until our next “picture vacation”! I hope it was as refreshing in the midst of your week as it was for me!

Quarter Life Crisis

If you are feeling trapped and dissatisfied, have recently experienced a complete change of life direction, and are in your mid to late 20’s, you might be experiencing a quarter life crisis.

10 Signs You're Having Your Quarter-Life Crisis

Common side effects of quarter life crisis include:

A sudden change of mind on career paths.
A drastic move across the country/world.
Breaking up with longterm boyfriends.
Feeling stifled, stir-crazy,  and unfulfilled in your current life situation.
Wild-eyed dreams of entrepreneurship.
Sudden indecision about your life goals.
Dramatic moments of wondering “what does it all mean?”
Paralyzing depression at all the options available to you.


Recently, I have found myself in the grips of quarter life crisis. Don’t think that’s a thing? Well, apparently, you have never been 25 years old.

I didn’t see it coming. Maybe I should have. After 23 months of alcohol sobriety, and 22 months of love addiction sobriety, all that inner work was bound to change my outer landscape eventually. I was bound to dig through all that shit and find out that what I’ve been striving for isn’t what I want, in the end.

When you’re in your addictive cycle, whether it be love or alcohol, all you see is the illusion. For me, some of that illusion was hard work that in my mind, I “had” to do or “should” do. It was this illusion of what I needed to be for others (or for my internal critic) that often led me to drink or to acting out with men. I was so in tune with this that I never got the chance to see who I really was outside of all my ideas of who I needed to be.

“You have to be a good daughter. You have to take care of this person all the time. You must stay married, it’s God’s will. It’s your job to just suck it up. You shouldn’t say that. You should do this.” Blah. Blah. BLAH.

I put myself in a cage. I was the small woman building cages for everyone she knows, from that Hafiz poem. I built a nice little cage for myself. One of my favorite songs for years was Simon, by Lifehouse:

“Catch your breath, hit the wall,
Scream out loud, as you start to crawl
Back in your cage the only place
Where they will leave you alone.
‘Cause the weak will seek the weaker til they’ve broken them.
Could you get it back again?
Would it be the same?
Fulfillment to their lack of strength at your expense,
Left you with no defense;
They tore it down.”

Well… recovery started doing something, both addiction recovery and the EMDR work I did. The walls became doors. Unlocked ones, because I’d found the key.

Imagine my shock, recently, when stepping outside the door I found a different world than I knew existed. Kind of like that movie The Truman Show. My life was totally scripted, and then I saw the cracks. And then I completely left that life.

So it should be no surprise I’m having a quarter life crisis, I suppose. But it still took my breath away in a slightly frightened, slightly anticipatory way when I wrote these words in my journal on the way home from Mexico:

“I think I’m going to at least defer my graduate school acceptance.”

Best gif to describe what everything inside of me did after writing that?

(yes, I have used this before. my blog, my rules!)


“If I’m not going to be a therapist… then WHAT THE F*CK am I going to be???”

I have been gearing up to be a therapist for 10 years. 10 years is a long-ass time for a 25 year old. That’s when I was 15, folks. Only a wee babe just out of the womb, practically. And now my plans for the past 10 years are suddenly just… not plans anymore?

Cue quarter life crisis.

The last two weeks have been a strange mixture of totally stoked and abso-freakin-lutely terrified. I have some ideas of what I want to do. Actually, the problem is that I have TOO MANY ideas of what I want to do.

I could be a photojournalist. I could be a life coach. I could be a cultural anthropologist. I could be a full time writer. I could be a  marketing consultant. I could be a wellness consultant. I could be a travel writer. I could learn graphic design.

Ai yi yi. With all these beautiful things, how could I ever decide? Thus, I’m trying to just sit in the space and see what happens. That’s what my sponsor told me to do, so I’m trying to take advice. Just sit with it and see what comes up.

I have 3 things I’m holding onto as a guide. I mentioned them in my Mexico post. 3 passions that make me feel sparkly and alive.


Whatever I do, it needs to mix these three, somehow. I don’t know what it looks like. But these are the things I love. (Suggestions are VERY welcome!)

So, despite the anxiety of feeling like I’m at the crest of a rollercoaster… I’m stoked. The world is my oyster. I can do anything, it seems… and with so many things that I love, the future looks extremely colorful.

Crisis? What crisis? THIS IS AN ADVENTURE!!!

Quotes Picture: it's a dangerous business, frodo, going out your door if you don't kick your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to


If you are experiencing symptoms of quarter life crisis, ask your doctor if New Opportunity might be right for you. Side effects may include heart palpitations, nervous tremors, adventure, drastic change, and excitement overload. New Opportunity is not for everyone. If you have a stable career that you love, a boyfriend who is a potential life partner, or feel fully satisfied in your life, New Opportunity may cause extreme mood swings, depression, or anxiety. However, if Quarter Life Crisis has recently struck you, stagnancy is optional. New Opportunity can give you that push you need to get going and change your life. Try it today!


Today is my birthday and I am 25 years old.

jane bday

So that means I can do whatever I want in this post.
(Because who doesn’t do this on their birthday? Source)

(Or this, for that matter… Source)

But don’t worry. I have some thoughts to share too, now that I am a whole quarter century old.

Actually, the truth is that I have a list. Because at the end of the night, while I sit here in my apartment (with my shiny new wifi!) I realize there is so much that I don’t know. Karen Perry over at Mended Musings wrote a post recently about 20-somethings and all we think we know that we don’t. All of our brash self-confidence. I took this to heart. This is true. I am brashly, brazenly self-confident sometimes. And as Karen so nicely points out, I don’t know everything. Even if I behave like I know it all (sorry to all of you who have experienced this firsthand!). So I decided to make a list of some things that I would like to learn. Considering that I am 25 today, I figure making a list of 25 things is rather appropriate.

1.How to continue maintaining a sober life.
-Considering that I am sober from 2 addictions, I want to continue learning how to live a sober life. I am definitely NOT an expert on this one.

2. How to let go of making sure everyone else is okay, ALL THE TIME.
-Now, I realize this is a life-long proposition. I am not going to learn this in a day. But I don’t have to be in charge of constantly making sure everyone else is okay. That is not my job. I may have learned it darn well in my family, but that’s not a behavior I want to talk into the rest of my adult life.

3. How to forgive, but still have boundaries.
-Also easier said than done. But I don’t want to be a permeable membrane, as I am apt to do. I want to soften my heart towards people, yet still be clear and aware of when I need to set up limits. It’s a hard, hard thing to maintain.

4. How to let go of perfectionism.
-Also a long-term commitment. My pledge with this is to be more and more compassionate with myself as I make mistakes, instead of having a harsh, punishing viewpoint. One little piece at a time, though.

5. How to believe I’m not a bother.
-One of my most deeply ingrained beliefs? I am a bother. I should not ask for what I want because it’s bothersome and it won’t be done anyway. I should be very, very small. Unseen, almost. Creeping around on the edges of life. NO! I will not accept this anymore! However, neither will I spew myself all over everyone ingloriously like I did while I was drunk. Nope… what I want is to learn to courageously voice what I need and want, and to believe my truth is valuable and treat it as such. (which does not include verbal vomiting it over everyone when I’m hammered)

6. How to have good boundaries.
-I know something about this. I’ve been working on this one for about… oh, 3 years now. Am I good at it? Ha. No. I hate conflict. So I avoid boundaries like the plague sometimes because I believe they will cause conflict. I would like to change this belief.

7. How to handle conflict without completely losing it and thinking I will be abandoned.
-At the bottom of every conflict is the idea that you will leave me forever. I would really enjoy learning how to have conflict in which I learn how to trust someone’s continued presence (or to be okay if they leave).

8. How to meditate.
-Also a work in progress. I meditate almost every morning and night. I miss some in between (see no. 3… working on letting that be). I know a few things about it. I do breath meditation, mostly. Sometimes I meditate with a mantra – “Om shanthi.” My biggest goal though is to be in more silence and less thinking.

9. How to be an effective therapist.
-I may be a psychology B.A., but I am not a licensed counselor and won’t be until after a Master’s degree. So this is something I need to learn skills in. 🙂

10. How to date like an adult.
-As a love addict, I have never had this one down. Me and my ex-husband never really dated, per se. We hung out. I am not down for that anymore. At least, not at first. I want the classic dating experience, and I would like to know how to do that. I’ve spent the last almost 2 years learning. Now just for some practice…

11. How to behave with a bit more selflessness.
-Believe it or not, I have it turned to the Laurie channel over here about 3/4 of the day. I’d like to try and give up another slice of that pie to someone else’s mind and thoughts.

12. How to speak another language!
-I think it’s unforgivable that Americans only learn English. Therefore, I am breaking the mold and want to learn several other languages. I’m starting with Spanish, because it’s the most marketable AND will probably be the easiest for me to learn. Thereafter, I want to learn Arabic, Turkish, French, Italian, and Icelandic. I am certainly ambitious, but hey. I hopefully have at least another 50 years to take this on.

13. How to be a good wife.
-After being married once and learning some ways not to be, I would like to try it again. This time, I have no fantasies about how easy of a road it would be. I know it will be hard. But worth it? Most likely. So I’d like to try.

14. How to lose my fear of economic insecurity.
-I am in constant fear over my finances. I want to be at peace. Working on that by doing the steps… but hopefully I can do some other things as well.

15. How to write and publish a memoir.
-Also in progress. I will admit this loud and clear: I have NO IDEA HOW TO STRUCTURE THINGS. And learning is hard. It’s a swift kick in the ass. But I want to figure it out.

16. How to be a good mom.
-I definitely don’t have this figured out, and I didn’t have a good model (as my mom would also freely admit to you). However, I don’t think I could get to age 50 and not have had children. I think something in me would deeply regret that. So, being a good mom is something I definitely don’t know how to do, and would like to learn.

17. How to backpack.
-I am an avid hiker. The next step for me would be learning how to backpack, which I think sounds like the most fun ever. Staying outside overnight? Sign me up!! Do I know ANYTHING about backpacking? No… I almost don’t know enough about hiking haha. Just barely enough to be smart (like that one time I got 3/4 of the way up a 13,000ft mountain and had only 6oz of water on me for sustenance… yeah…).

18.How to travel well.
-I’ve had some issues with culture shock my last couple trips. I am not sure what happened. But I’d like to learn how to effectively deal with whatever is triggering my culture shock issues, issues I never had until I went to Turkey with my ex-husband in 2011.

19. How to use an Aeropress.
-Yes, I, the coffee guru and barista extraordinaire, do not know how to use one of these:

20. How to travel to Antarctica (without getting drunk).
-The disclaimer is because I’ve heard the only thing TO do in Antarctica is to drink. Now just to find a sober girlfriend to go with so I have someone else to not drink with. And also I have no idea how to get to Antarctica so this is relevant.

21. How to start a literary group.
-I really need people in my town to talk about literary, intellectual things. I know people exist that want to talk about these things. I want to talk about books by Rilke, Hafiz, Rumi, Neruda, Whitman… all of those. And what we think and learn from them. So I guess a mystical poetry group, then. Yeah. I need to know how to find people who also want to actively be in this group. It would be ideal if they were also my age… I don’t know ANYONE my age who talks about these things and it’s driving me crazy. (not that I don’t love all of you other people NOT my age who actually do like these things, I do… but yeah)

22. How to grow my own food.
-In my heart, I am an obnoxious vegan. I watched a video of animals being kept in inhumane conditions yesterday. And I cried. However, my actions don’t always match my passion. I’m sorry, dear animals. I did eat fish tonight for my birthday. I do mostly eat vegetarian, but honestly, I would feel so much better about my food if I could actually grow it. I want to learn how to do this and how to create a sustainable garden (with compost and all).

23. How to do energy work.
-I recently had some energy work done. And to be truthful, I knew that I could learn to do it, too. I am a deeply intuitive person. As the work was being done, I could see it happening. That’s the best way I have to explain it. My eyes were closed, but I could see each dimension as they were mentioned and had a clear picture of each. I constantly “see things” behind my closed eyes that are completely real. I saw when my great-uncle visited me the night he died, to say goodbye, for instance. I also consistently know things about people before they tell me and I am really in touch with people’s energy – whether they are growing or stagnant. Because of this I really think I’d like to learn how to do energy work – in a clean, helpful way.

24. How to become an accomplished, flexible yogi.
-I have been really bad with keeping up with my yoga habit. However, it’s something that brings me inner peace and balance. I would like to become better at it. I’d like to improve my postures. I would really like to learn how to do headstands. 🙂

And last but not least, 25.
I want to learn unabashed audacity. I want to live in full spectrums of color, with abandon. I want to defy gravity.

Thank you to all of you, my lovely readers… Some of you have become dear friends, and I know my life would not be the same without you. I’m so grateful to each of you for following this little space on the internet!

I have a strange sickness today.

It’s called “I’m sick of my ego so I’m crashing it into a large cement wall.”

I could write you an elegantly edited, scripted, neat little post but again, I’m crashing my ego into the wall right now. So this will not be elegant or pretty. It might be spiritual. But you can call my shit on that one too if you want. I may very well be wrong.

Yesterday I had a great conversation with a dear friend about boundaries. I always need that reminder. Pay attention to my internal compass and don’t just get blown wherever the wind takes me. It’s difficult, and I always have to remind myself about it. So anyway my friend said something that really hit me square between the eyes. “People do everything because they want to be everything.” I guess it was a Mark Nepo quote. Ouch. Of all my boundary problems, that is the one I have done the least work on.

See, things easily and quickly interest me. It’s the “ooh, shiny!” syndrome. I am getting a degree in psychology and plan to get a masters in Counseling or Social Work. I play guitar and sing. I sometimes like to paint. Ask me if I’m interested in dance and I’ll say yes. Look through my art boxes and you’ll find framed photography. Am I interested in cars? Sure am. I would love to know the underside of an engine backwards and forwards. Snowboarding? Definitely. You’ll find a 2008 NeverSummer in my closet. Hiking? An enthusiast. Do I climb 14ers? Yes of course, and I should have a goal to climb more. Do I like rock climbing? Yeah sure! The rush is awesome. Travel, you ask? Talk about “ooh, shiny.” My next idea of a place to go changes about every month or so. My newest obsession is doing a trip with the Adventurists, who specialize in crazy trips. Just my thing. Do I like sports? Eh no but I really should pick a football team to root for…

See my problem? My interests are broad.  But SOME OF THEM are only broad because I want everyone to like me. I want to be everything. Yes. It’s true. I’ve even told people that I want to climb Everest. (Really? If that’s not ego-driven… I don’t know what is)

Lately I have been feeling the pull to stop it. Stop being everything and just be what I want to be. The truth is, out of that long list of interests, there are only really two big things that attract my attention and intention. My degree. And Travel.

It pains me though to even think about letting go of some of those interests. I have a lovely voice! I really do like playing guitar. People have told me that I should go on The Voice or American Idol. But you know what. I. just. can’t. do. everything. And I love my music, I do. But my favorite memory of it is not singing up in front of a bunch of people. It was in the back of a decked-out hippie van with a small group of friends, where I could sing a lullaby over them like a gift.

I like rock climbing. Do I love it? No. What if I let it go? Well… then what if… I lose something that could have been awesome? Come on Laurie get over it. When it comes to hiking, hiking is a nice hobby that I can hang on to without really losing myself in it. Maybe when I have more money I can splurge on more gear. Maybe I’ll get into backpacking at a later time, again, when I have more money.

Snowboarding – it’s great. It’s lovely to ride through the trees and hear the swish of a board underneath. Everything is so quiet. But honestly, snowboarding is so damn expensive. “But you’re in skiing Mecca!” I can hear you all exclaim. All the out-of-staters, anyway. A ticket to Breckenridge? $90. For a day. A season pass to a good group of mountains will run you at the VERY least, $200, if not somewhere close to $600. It’s outrageous.

I think one of the biggest problems I’m having with having such a broad range of interests is, I don’t have the money to put into all of them. I really can’t be everything. I have to choose which things are the most important to me and go with that. So far in my life, I’ve prioritized travel. I’ve gone out of the country every year since 2006. It’s a big deal to me.

I feel like my little sister Rachel. When she was two years old, she looked up at my mom and said, “BUT MOOOOOOOOM… I CAN’T DO ALL SEEZ SINGS!!!”

I just can’t. My ego is so disappointed and in a sickening fashion, does NOT WANT TO GIVE THEM UP. Hence, the crashing it into the wall thing. Which yes, is a little extreme. I do feel compassion, yes I do. My little ego is so frail and so scared. But I really can’t do everything and I have to make some priorities and decide who I want to be. Especially when it comes to monetary things. Do I want to take a trip next year? Because if I do, I need to save some money for it. And that will mean that some of my other interests will fall by the wayside. The big question is, can I actually handle saying to someone, “No, I’m sorry I can’t go snowboarding with you. I’m trying to save my money.”

I don’t know. That sounds so painful. Icccckkk. Ego, honey doll, I promise you… everyone does not have to like you for you to be okay. I’ve got you and that’s all you need to know.