Jason and I have officially reached the point where eloping sounds like a great idea.
Just imagine it. We would be able to have a private ceremony… no fussiness about picking bridesmaids, and matching dresses, and who stands where, and so on…. just Jason and I.
We would be able to have it as lengthy or short as we want, I could still wear a pretty white dress, and we would have complete control. It would be intimate, and special, and something that only he and I share.
Plus, it would take away a lot of the expenses. Let’s face it, that is one of the biggest appeals to eloping. Even if we had a big party to celebrate when we get back… no sit down dinner means less mulah.
So Jason and I actually really considered this idea. But don’t worry, we decided against it. Why?
I could feel the heartbreak coming from my family and friends.
I know, I know. A wedding is not supposed to be about everyone else. But it actually is…
Part of a traditional ceremony includes your close family and friends. Why? Because all of the people that you surround yourself with are the people that lead you to this very moment in your life. Marriage is not only about the union of two people but the union of two families. If we didn’t have our families and friends up there with us, it wouldn’t feel like a real union. When I marry Jason, I don’t just accept Jason in my life. I am accepting all of his friends and all of his family to become a part of my life, too.
Plus, this day means a lot to not only Jason and I, but to our parents. They are overseeing their children walk through a huge milestone. When I discussed eloping with my father, he said, “So your Poppy and I won’t get to walk you down the aisle?” In that moment, I knew that I had to include them in my ceremony. I would be truly letting down my family if Jason and I were to run away.
I didn’t actually want to elope, I just had to pinpoint why I was feeling so anxious about having the ceremony so publicized.
After chatting with many of my friends about this, I came to my first conclusion that I am just fearful of hurting anyone’s feelings. I am stressing out about the bridal party. I have had many friends in my life, and they all mean something so special to me. I value each and every one of my friendships. Whether they are the type of friend that I only talk to every once in awhile, or the ones I talk to every day… I don’t want to leave anyone out.
I also hate the thought of lining my friends up, and making them buy expensive dresses, and the whole nine yards…. I know this is a normal thing, but I feel so strange about it. I just wish it were simpler.
We are still struggling to figure out the solution to this issue. We have been through many ideas and alternatives. Nothing seems quite right yet. I am a planner, I like to know every detail of every day, so this is very frustrating. I would love a simple answer, but I know it won’t be simple.
But what does feel great is knowing that we don’t have to do anything. We don’t have to play by the rules if we don’t want to. Sure, we want to include our family and friends but Jason and I can do so however we please.
Naples, Florida is my hometown. Unlike most of the population, I was born and raised here. I have been called “a rare breed,” a “unicorn” and other strange things because of where I was born. You see, most people migrate to Naples from up north. But not me– I’m truly a local! Naples, Florida is mostly a vacation spot, and I will admit, it is a beautiful place to vacation. I wanted to create a guide to this beautiful town, something from a true native and from someone who takes pride in their hometown.
If I had a three day weekend, and I could spend it however I would like in Naples, this is pretty much how it would go.
Begin your day how it should always begin — with a cup of coffee, of course!
Head over to Kunjani, a locally owned coffee shop and art gallery. The mother and daughter duo that own the shop and very sweet, and very kind people, and they create a peaceful ambience in their shop. According to their site, they “constantly strive to make a long lasting positive impact.” This is the kind of place where you can sit for a while and hang out, whether it be outside on the patio, or inside their gallery.
When you’re done enjoying your coffee, take a stroll across the street to Waterside Shops. There are some great stores to shop in, and a few great restaurants too. You’ll find high-end stores like Louis Vuitton and Gucci, as well as stores like Ann Taylor, Pottery Barn, and Anthropologie. (PS- there’s a new Free People here, and it is beyond gorgeous!)
Plus, its a generally beautiful walk through the shops. You’ll see gorgeous water features, and you might even spot a few local pups walking around.
You can grab lunch at Waterside at True Food. This place is delicious, and full of lots of healthy veggie options! They also make some awesome cocktails, (I highly recommend the ginger margarita) and have a great outdoor seating area.
Another option for lunch would be to grab some Pub-Subs (especially if you have never had them before– you won’t know what you’re missing until you have one!) Publix subs are sort of a Florida tradition. I’ve linked the closest location here.
If you’re looking for a healthy snack or juice, check out Delicious Raw on your way to the beach! Delicious Raw says, “Our drinks are unharmed by additives, preservatives and pasteurization, which otherwise destroys natural nutrients in juice products bought off the shelf. Nothing is hidden – what you see is what you get.”
Looking for a place to grab an acai bowl? Delicious Raw has some great ones, but you can also check out The Bowl over on Pine Ridge Road.
After you’ve decided what you want for lunch, you’ll head over to Clam Pass for an afternoon at the beach. (I mean, what is a true Florida day without the beach involved?!) Parking is $8.00, so be ready with cash for that.
You can take a tram down the boardwalk or you can take a gorgeous leisurely walk down to the beach, both are pretty enjoyable. (PS- If there’s no parking at Clam Pass, make sure to check out Seagate Beach, just down the road.)
Once you’ve had just about enough of the beach, and you are ready for dinner, rinse off and head over to Mercado.
You’ll want to start at Masa for dinner and margaritas.Their happy hour is 3pm-6pm on Fridays, so catch it if you can! They have $5 bottled beer, select wines, and select margaritas, as well as a $6 food menu. Their guac and chips are amazing, and I highly recommend their Quesadilla con Camarones or their tacos! (PS- This place isn’t super Vegetarian friendly, but you can always substitute things to make it work. We are Peskitarian, so we eat fish while we are here.)
After dinner, have fun exploring Mercado. There are tons of places to check out. But let it be known, many places in Mercado turn into a club-like atmosphere after dark. You can grab a drink and a cigar at Burn, or grab a boozy milkshake at The Counter, whatever your heart desires. If you aren’t feeling Mercado, check out the live music until 10pm at Paradise Wine across the street! The dancing is so much fun to watch, and if you’re feeling up to it– or if you have a little too much wine — jump on in!!
After you explore, try and get a seat at at Jane’s on 3rd for brunch.
Jane’s has great food, and great service. Plus, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house, this place is adorable!
After you are full, make your way over to the Botanical Gardens to explore for the morning. This place could really take a while to go through, it is HUGE! It is truly a Naples gem.
For the rest of the afternoon I am going to give you two options:
Option #1 – Relax:
Take a stroll down 5 Ave, and grab some Afternoon Tea at Brambles Tearoom. This place is seriously adorable. I am not much of a tea drinker myself, but I highly recommend the Velvet Fog.
After that, just enjoy 5th Ave. There are lots of little shops to look in, and there is a great park just behind 5th. (Cambier Park) Often times, they have Art Fairs and concerts going on there during the weekend.
Also, don’t miss one of the best ice cream spots in town, Regina’s!
Option #2 – Adventure:
If you’re up for a little adventure, and feeling a little outdoorsy, head over to Bayfront where you can rent kayaks! Have fun exploring, and make sure you wear your sunscreen!
Get cleaned up and ready for dinner.
Tonight you’ll be eating at Campiello‘s on third for dinner. It’s a bit of a splurge, but it is one of the most well known amazing dinner spots in Naples. It is very delicious, and the atmosphere is breathtaking.
After dinner, go out for drinks on 5th!
Places to try:
Hob Knob: Great drinks, live music, lively youthful atmosphere
Bar Tulia: Small bar, mostly filled with locals, with excellent cocktails. (I recommend The Last Dragon)
Wake up slow and enjoy your morning, then get ready for brunch at The Continental. (They don’t open until 11am, but it’ll be worth the wait.) This place is known for their steaks, but they serve a mean brunch too! Plus they have live music!
Get ready to see an amazing show at around 2pm. The Naples Players has matinees every Sunday. You might be thinking… a community theater show? But, really, you have to trust me. These guys are top notch- every show I have seen there has been truly wonderful. The people there are really passionate and they really put so much time and effort into their work. (PS- I basically grew up doing shows in this theater, so I am a bit biased. But don’t take my word for it– go see a show! Seriously!) Check out tickets and show times here.
After the show, enjoy your last moments in Naples at The Pier for sunset. (AKA – the most “Naples” thing you can do)
Yay! Spring! I haven’t done an outfit post in a minute, but the season shift is definitely inspiring me.
I found this adorable top on a recent trip to Target. Who doesn’t love Target? I went in there for groceries and came out with clothes and decorations for my office… funny how it always seems to work out that way…. I swear, Target is so dangerous.
I loved the details of this top and the vibrant colors. I HAD to have this guy. I have to admit, I have been on a black on black on black kick lately… but this meets in a happy middle place for me. I’ve still got my comfortable black, but with some pops of color. I paired it with black jeans and cuffed them at the bottom.
My favorite part of this top is the little tassels on the tie in the back. What a cute detail! Go Target! (I swear this isn’t an ad for Target 😉)
This inspired my shoe selection: Lace up pumps with tassels on the ties on the ends. These guys are definitely my new favorite shoe, and can really snazz up any plan-Jane outfit.
Feeling truly inspired and refreshed for Spring— heading out on the town with my girls in this little number tonight
Many of you know that I recently took on a second job to save up some money for Jason and I’s wedding. So, I work full-time at my regular job, and then I was working on the weekends too. Meaning, NO DAYS OFF. I enjoyed both of my jobs, so that wasn’t the tough part. The tough part was never having a day to myself.
Before having two jobs, I was really living for the weekends. Not to say that I don’t have fun at my job, because I very much do. However, after I would get home from work, it was like lost time. I didn’t really do much with my nights except for relax. It is always good to take a few nights to relax, or else you get overwhelmed. But what is the harm in having some fun on a week night? When I didn’t have my weekends, I had to fit in my social time elsewhere. I had to figure out how to NOT live for the weekends, and just LIVE.
Recently, Jason and I have been making a real effort to do some fun things during the week to keep us going. We want to live every day, not just on the weekend. Every day should be fun and enjoyable, work or not. Why are we only living two days a week?
So tonight, Jason suggested we make Tacos for Taco Tuesday. We thought, why not make an event out of it? We had a family dinner with his parents and even invited a few of our friends over for tacos and margaritas. Can’t beat that for a Tuesday! Why wait for a Friday to celebrate?
Beat the mundane weekly schedule, and go do something fun– during the week!
You might be thinking… wait I have to have my nightly routine, I can’t go out and spend the whole night with friends. Okay, I hear you. I like to have my night-time routine, my outfit picked out, my tea at night, my face washed. I like to feel prepared for the next day ahead. That’s fine! You don’t have to be elaborate and celebrate all night to have fun. Have a glass of wine with your girlfriend, make a special dinner with your significant other, take a yoga class with friends. After that you can focus on the day ahead, you certainly don’t need all night to do it.
Live every day! Cherish the moments with the ones you love.
Just a little motivation to keep your wheels spinning, even during the week.
Finding the perfect balance between being on-spot with work but also enjoying your personal time is tough. How do you avoid the burn out?
Because I am young, I feel that I am career driven, more than any other area of my life. I have so much to learn and so far to go. I am constantly taking classes to improve myself, and I put my all into work. On the other hand I recently got engaged, and enjoy spending time with not only Jason, but my family and friends too. So how do you find balance?
For me, finding this balance wasn’t the easiest. A year ago I decided had to change my focus and my entire career in order to achieve any balance at all. Now that I have some balance, I have to keep working at it or it will slip away. My work-life balance will obviously change over time, according to what is happening in my life. I will have to adjust my sails when I get married, have kids, advance in my career.. this will all change the way I structure my life.
It is a tricky balance, and it will be ever-changing, so I wanted to get some input from some of the most successful ladies that surround my life. How do you do it?
1. Trust and Rely Others:
My good friend Sharon, who has worked her way up to be extremely successful in the hospitality world, said that in order to have a home life, she had to put trust in her team. Sharon said, “Being able to “disconnect” when I leave the office, for me, means mitigating those concerns that keep successful people up at night. I put the majority of my energy into putting kind, strategic, energetic people around me. While I have many goals and “stakeholders”, my associates come first. I ensure their work environment is fun and inspiring so they can focus on the operation. I always like to say that no one cares about what you know until they know how much you care. My team is my family; they inspire and uplift me and I do my very best to do the same. I recognize their accomplishments and offer resources when they are struggling. This enables me to walk away each day and know that they will put forth the same effort I do. You cannot do it alone and no great leader should try. I measure my success based on the success, happiness, and growth of my team.”
When asking my best friend’s mother, Sue, how she stays successful at work and also balances her home life, she said, “It is about making mistakes and learning from them…”I had to learn to balance family and career. Not an easy task. I was lucky in many ways as I had a partner who was willing and able to pick up any pieces I couldn’t. Parenting was a balancing act that took a lot of organization but I made sure there was no disappointments in my beautiful daughter’s world. “
I loved this bit of advice, and I think it ties in well with how Sharon responded. You have to put your trust in others. You can’t do everything yourself. You have to trust your team, whether it be at work or at home. They can handle it when you aren’t able to be there. They can cover any stones left unturned, and can help you create the type of life you want to live (if you let them!)
2. Draw the Line:
Knowing when to say no is difficult, especially when you are just beginning your career. I struggled with this in my first job, always taking on crazy tasks that led me to work well into overtime. My friend Nicole, who now works at one of the best PR/Ad/Marketing/Design agencies in the St. Pete and Tampa Bay area, had the right idea when she said to know when to draw the line. She said, “My first job out of college threw boundaries out the window. I would get texts from my boss at 11:00 pm or even 6:00 am demanding to know what the status of project XYZ was. After only two months I was sick with anxiety and depression. I walked away two months later (having only been there a total of four months) knowing that wasn’t the life I wanted for myself. I very strongly believe that once it starts affecting your health, you have to leave. End of story.
Now, Im lucky enough to have a job with an incredible team that has only ever supported me and helped me to grow in my position. I would never have ended up at Hype Group if I hadn’t stood up for myself and left my first job. Drawing that line in the sand can be terrifying, but a wise person once told me that sometimes you have to go through the fire to be truly prepared for what lies ahead. I can handle (almost) anything my job throws at me now. So speak up, ladies. Don’t shy away from hard work, but draw that line when you know it’s being pushed too far.”
3. Plan for all aspects of your life.
When I had my retail job, I felt like all I would do is work and sleep and eat and repeat. I had a crazy retail schedule and I felt like I could never see my friends. Then, my friend Meredith suggested that I actually schedule out times to see friends. With my work schedule, I would usually have time in the mornings, and so why waste that time? I began scheduling time to grab coffee with friends instead of sleeping the morning away. What a difference! Meredith, who is an Admissions Counselor for a private college in Florida, said, “A big part of finding balance is scheduling fun time, in the same way I block out time for a meeting or work event. If I have friend dates and family time to look forward to, I have added incentive to get through my errands and chores (and my work day)!”
4. Know yourself and your limits.
When asking my best friend’s mother, Sue, how she stays successful at work and also balances her home life, she said, “Knowing my limitations and how to work with them.” I loved this advice because usually you hear people say, “The sky is the limit!” But realistically, everyone has their limits, its is how you handle them that makes the difference.
5. Know that it’s okay to make mistakes.
Sue also said her success was defined by “Making mistakes and learning from them.” Sue said, “In my early twenties I was successful because I had to be. I was independent, living by myself, working two jobs and trying to make my way in this world. I went through a few relationships that were not good choices for me until I found the right guy. Success in those days was making mistakes, picking myself up and keep moving forward until I got it right. It was probably the hardest time in my life. Living from paycheck to paycheck relying on only myself and my abilities. However it gave me a great foundation for the years to come.”
6. Work hard for the things that matter.
I think it is really important to identify what the most important parts of your life are. Then, you can really structure your work, and free time around that. Sue said, “Marriage, a child and a career is the biggest balancing act women are faced with. Each one is a full time job within itself. I put so much time and energy into parenting and my career I did not have much energy left for my marriage. There are times you don’t realize that you are unsuccessful in something until it is too late. This was almost the case here. I found myself faced with an area that was going to require time and energy. Time and energy I didn’t have. But I dug deep and found it. It was hard work. I went from a balancing act to a juggling act. How did I do it? I’m not sure, but I did. My marriage survived and now 30+ years later I would have to call it a success.”
It is so important to give time to the things that matter in your life. Working hard at your career seems obvious, but don’t forget to work hard on your relationships too. In the end your relationships with others are so much more important.
7. Leave work at work and home at home
When asking my own mother about how she keeps a successful work-life balance, she simply said, “Leave work at work and home at home.” Which I thought was interesting, because that getting increasingly harder with modern technology. When I wake up in the morning, I check my emails, and I check my social media campaigns to make sure nothing went haywire while I was asleep. Its a habit, and I would like to think of it as a good one.
I really thought on it, and I think that the term “Leave work at work and home at home,” doesn’t have to be so literal. I am perfectly fine with making sure everything in my work world is running smoothly when I am “off the clock,” but I have to draw the line somewhere. When I am out with friends, or spending time with Jason, or my family, I shouldn’t be checking my work emails, or checking up on the latest advertising campaign. We have to switch off sometimes, we have to absorb our “out of work” world to the fullest potential. You should put just as much effort into enjoying your relationships and home life, as you do enjoying your work.
As you all probably know, I proudly identify myself as a feminist. A feminist is simply someone who believes that men and women should have equal opportunities and rights. (No fluff or politics added.)
The idea of taking a man’s last name when you get married has lived as a tradition within the patriarchy for quite some time. When you dig into the history of why women take a man’s last name.. it is anything but feminist. Historically, a woman would take a man’s last name because women were thought of as a man’s property. (Which I am definitely not a fan of…) When looking at the subject from the perspective of the church, a woman would take a man’s last name because when you marry, you become one. (And I am not in the business of loosing my individuality.)
Marriage certainly does not represent the ideas of property and loss of self today, but we still have the tradition lingering around. So the question is…what does it represent today?
Many feminists would probably question why I would want to take the Blount name and give up Faulconer for good… but to be blount… becoming a Blount is so meaningful to me. 😉
I don’t want to change my last name because I have conservative, traditional, or religious reasoning. Jason has told me on numerous occasions that he doesn’t care what I choose to do, so his feelings don’t weigh in…. but I will most definitely be becoming a Blount.
I am choosing to become a Blount because:
1. We are not becoming one, but we are becoming a team.
“We are a team,” is something that I say to Jason often. He and I are both pretty stubborn people, and don’t like to ask for help. However, life isn’t always easy, and sometimes you just need to ask. It is reassuring to remember that both of us are both working towards a common goal, and we are there to lift each other up. When we get married, we don’t plan on us mushing into one. We fell in love with the separate people that we are, and that will not change. I will stay Megan, and Jason will stay Jason. But, we are both on the same team, and now we are making it official.
2. I do not feel dominated by my man.
I do not ever ever feel as though Jason tries to show dominance over me. Jason is my perfectly balanced counterpart and treats me as an equal person. If I did feel threatened, or feel like I was being diminished, I might put up a fight to keep my identity as a Faulconer. However, I don’t have any kind of insecurity about my relationship with Jason. I certainly don’t feel like I am going to be any less equal if I change my last name to Blount. We are a team, we balance each other, and…
3. We are becoming a family.
The most important part of my marriage to Jason is that he is becoming my family. We will be The Blounts, and our children will take our name. I don’t look at it as taking his last name, I look at it as Blount becoming our family name. Honestly, if I had some sort of attachment to my last name, I might consider asking Jason to take my last name, but I like the sound of Blount better! (And that’s perfectly fine!)
Ultimately, changing your name is an extremely personal decision. I don’t think it should be determined by societal pressures from either side of the fence. I don’t need to keep my maiden name to keep my individuality, and I don’t need my last name to feel equal to Jason. I also don’t need to change my last name because of tradition, or because it is what I am “supposed” to do.
I am changing my last name to Blount because it makes sense for both Jason and I. Jason is my home, and my family, and we are both so happy to commit our lives to each other.
When I talk about meditating, I usually get one of two reactions. The first being a weird look, and an eye roll, or the second reaction of curiosity and confusion.
Listen folks, meditating is not always sitting in a seated position with your fingers making a circle at your knees. It is not always magical and spiritual, and full of insight. It is not always chanting OM loudly with crystal bowl music behind you. It is actually not as mysterious as it sounds.
Meditation is different for everyone. Sometimes it takes time to figure out what works for you, and that is ever-evolving. Something that worked for me two months ago might not be applicable to me today. Recently, the only time I have been finding to meditate is right before bed. (Yes, sometimes I catch myself falling asleep, whoops!) So, I typically lay down with palms up with a guided meditation in the background. See, Jason on the other hand, he gets freaked out by guided meditation (don’t ask me why) so he does better in silence or with gentle music in the background.
You have to find what works for you. If I have time, I love to do chakra balancing meditations with a guide. (PS- there are great guided meditations on the Podcasts app!) But realistically, I don’t have time to do a full-blown guided meditation every day, or every week even. I do, however, try to make it a point to meditate every day. Think you don’t have time for that? That is EXACTLY why you need it. Ease yourself into it… You can “meditate” while you shower, while you drink your morning coffee, before you fall asleep. Ideally you would be sitting still, and resting your body. I realize that sometimes life doesn’t hand you the time to zone out for an extended period 0f time, but you truly owe yourself 10 minutes a day. Work with what you have.
So wait, how do you do it?
Again, there are multiple kinds of meditation, but this is how I like to do it:
– Lay or sit in a comfortable position
– Make sure your phone is on silent, but play some tranquil music in the background.
– Gently scan your body to see how you are feeling
– Focus on your breath. Feel your lungs fill up with air, and then empty again. Listen to the rhythm of your body.
– Keep in mind that meditation is not the absence of thought, but simply learning to let your thoughts come and go with ease. You are bound to think of something while you sit there in silence, but meditation is learning to let go.
– When you find yourself too deep in thought, focus on your breath. This will help your mind relax a little.
– Another way to stay relaxed and keep your mind off things is by “shutting down” each part of your body. Start with your toes, feet, ankles, legs, and move your way up to total relaxation. (Although I will warn you, this usually puts me right to sleep!)
So meditating isn’t this big weird mystery. It is just being still and quiet to let your body, mind, and spirit connect.
Meditating is checking in with every aspect of your being to make sure you are on the right track, to ask yourself if you are acting like the person you want to be.
Saturday was an encouraging day for women in America. 2.9 million women were said to have marched across the world yesterday (according to politicususa.com), which is incredibly impressive. It is said to be the largest one day protest in U.S. history. That’s the power of the internet at work, folks.
Jason Easley of Politicusus said, “An estimated 60,000 people marched in Atlanta. 250,000 are marching in Chicago. There are estimates of 250,000 people in Boston, and 200,000 more in Denver. In New York, the estimate ranges from 200,000-500,000. City officials estimate that 500,000 people participated in the main march in Washington, DC. In Los Angeles, the estimate is anywhere from 200,000-750,000. There were also protests of 60,000 in Oakland, CA, 50,000 in Philadelphia, 100,000 in Madison, WI, 20,000 in Pittsburgh, 20,000 in Nashville, TN, and 60,000 in St. Paul, MN.”
In little old Collier County, a small version of that march happened, and I have never been so proud of my home town. This March was truly inspiring, and gave me a breath of fresh air. It felt so good to know that I, as a woman, am supported by my own community.
(Photo above courtesy of Victoria Surr: Collier County)
For those of you who don’t know, the Women’s March was for those who support equal rights for every woman and every human being who wanted to march for social justice. This was not an explicit Anti-Trump march. Rather, it was a march to tell the world that we will not let discriminatory policies be passed, and we will not give up our rights as women and as human beings.
Let me make this clear: I marched because I stand for equality. I stand for equality for every race, color, religion, sex, gender, and sexual orientation. I marched because I want every woman to have equal opportunities to men, because that is not the reality for many women across the country and the world. I marched because I believe it is a woman’s choice to do what she feels is right for her body. I am fortunate enough to have the choice, and my insurance covers my healthcare. Unfortunately that is not the case across the country. I march for the people and women who do not have the means to get annual check-ups and examinations because healthcare is too expensive… and they have to choose between food for their children or a visit to the doctors… and to those of you who are worried about women and children in other countries who do not even have as many rights as us here in the U.S…. we marched for them too. On the Monday after the march, Donald Trump signed an executive order to take away funding for international programs giving parenthood planning, HIV testing, and health screenings if those programs also help women with abortions… even if our U.S. dollars are not being spent on abortions. This is exactly the kind of thing we are marching against. Yes, we are concerned with women around the WORLD, not just here in the U.S. This march extended far beyond the borders of our country.
I did not march because I am not personally heard, but because others are not heard. I did not march because I feel like a second-class citizen, I marched for those who feel they are. I marched for every woman who has been sexually assaulted and raped, and had to stay quiet. My marriage to Jason will never be questioned by the Supreme Court, but my very good friends still do not have that same security, and so I march.
I am fortunate enough to have grown up in an environment where I was told that I can be anything I want to be some day. I have a great job, and I am covered by health insurance. I am supported by both of my parents, and I was never told that there was a limit in what I wanted to get out of life. I am so lucky, and for no reason…. because the color of my skin, the town I grew up in, the education I could afford, the success of my parents. I did not march for me. I marched for all the men and women across the world that do not share the same luck.
If you don’t agree with me, if this upsets you, its okay. Protests are not meant to make everyone feel comfortable.
The Collier County site said, “We want to send a clear message to our community, that we are standing together in support of equal rights for all women, minorities, and immigrants. Women’s rights are human rights and as people we all deserve to be treated equally. We will not tolerate hatred, racism and sexism and we will fight for respect, dignity and justice for all. Our community is a welcoming community to all people and we want to keep it that way. Together as a unified community we can do it. It’s time that we get out and make our voices heard, it’s time that we join forces, it’s time to stand up for what we believe in. One fight – One voice – One people.”
Equality. That’s what I came for. Equality for all.
(Photo above courtesy of Jeanie Camosy: Collier County)
Unfortunately I came a little late to actually march in the streets because I wasn’t feeling too well, but I stayed around Cambier Park to see all of the different organizations that attended, and to hear all of the speakers. I went alone to this event because everyone that I knew that would be interested was working. 🙁 BUT I never felt alone while I was there. I saw some old friends and I even made some new ones!
(Photo above courtesy of Victoria Surr: Collier County)
Men and women, young and old attended this march. Muslims, Christians, Jews, black and white all came up to speak and represent our community.
Groups like Planned Parenthood, National Organization for Women, Coalition for Quality Public Education, and SWFL Showing Up for Racial Justice, and more were all there gathering new members and speaking about how they reach out.
They also had the Women’s March in DC live streaming, which was awesome to get to see.
It was great to see our locals coming together in unity to stand for something we all believe in. I truly didn’t expect anything like this to happen in my community, which is made up of mostly conservatives. So this was a pleasant to surprise to see.
(Last five photos above courtesy of Victoria Surr: Collier County)
My favorite part of the day was when my Dad called me. Now, my Dad is a pretty conservative man, who unfortunately voted for Donald Trump. He and I always have interesting political debates. But my Dad called me towards the end of the event to let me know that he was proud that I was standing up for what I believe in, and that he fully supported me and women’s rights. (Yay Dad!) In the same moment, a man was getting up to speak at the event. His message was to remind MEN that this is their battle too. We are only strong when we stand together. Gender equality is not only a battle for women, but for men as well. Men, stand strong with your ladies! It was a really happy moment for me.
It was great to see our locals coming together in unity to stand for something we all believe in. I truly didn’t expect anything like this to happen in my community, which is made up of mostly conservatives. So this was a pleasant to surprise to see.
When I got home, I was really happy to see all of the photos on my feed about the marches in other cities! I have friends scattered across the U.S. and it was super cool to see what the march looked like across the country. In fact, it was truly amazing to see all of the different stories from all around the world after the march.
My girl Carly in St. Petersburg, FL with her friends:
“It was a privilege to stand with other men and women who are committed to fighting for justice in our country. As exhausting and scary as the election season was, it was so energizing to see 20,000 people march in solidarity for equality and truth, right in my own city! I felt so lucky to be surrounded by friends, and to have my hand held by a man who loves and supports me and this movement. Women are powerful, and this march showed a glimpse of what we can do – when we stand together.”
Victoria Surr and her father at the March in Naples, Florida:
Cathy Doherty alllllll the way from Ireland to little old Naples, Florida:
“As tourists from Ireland, it was a privilege to support. We had marches in Ireland. Take nothing for granted!”
My good friend Laycee and her fiancé Ruby, who were unable to march, because they were on a plane home from California:
“We are unable to march today, so we rock our pride shirts while we travel back home. We can’t help but feel so overwhelmed by all the people coming together today and we truly wish we were marching in the streets with everyone”
Adnerb Ettecuod from Naples, Florida:
“I am so hopeful. I feel so much better knowing all of these smart, creative and passionate people are out here with me. “
My friend Jacqueline from Asheville, North Carolina:
“I marched last Saturday in Asheville, 28 weeks pregnant, thinking about my unborn baby and the world he or she will grow up in. Especially if she’s a girl. I want her to feel valued and respected by those around her, safe when she walks down the street, and in control over her own body. I also thought about the expense of maternity care. I have good insurance and it’s still expensive. Look up online what it costs to deliver a baby, it’s crazy! I want under privileged women to have access to birth control, maternity care, and financial assistance when caring for an unplanned child and I’m 100% ok with my tax dollars supporting that through Medicaid. Just a few of the reasons I decided to march. I also want to be able to tell my child that I participated in the Women’s March and that he or she was with me.”
Chloe Fishell-Creviston from Naples, Florida:
“After Friday left me feeling so shitty and defeated, yesterday let me know that there is still hope and change can be made. I live in an extremely conservative city and couldn’t believe the number of women AND men who turned out for this march. This is just the beginning!”
My great friend Alexander in St. Petersburg, Florida:
“It’s a beautiful day to smash the patriarchy!”
For those of you who came, marched, and conquered, I encourage you to look at this: https://www.womensmarch.com/100/
It isn’t over yet. Yes, we’re successful in raising awareness, but the real battle is in the policy and how we can make a difference. Check out 10 Actions for the first 100 days Campaign to see where to start.
Night time is my sacred time. It is my time to relax, re-energize, and wind down.
If I can recommend one thing, it is to make time for yourself to settle in and have a restful night. Don’t run yourself down to the last moment until you fall asleep. Use this time to re-build yourself. It does wonders for me.
5 Ways to Have a Better Night
1. Prepare for tomorrow.
If you don’t prepare for the next day, it will be chaos. I also find that my mind will continue to spin unless I have settled everything that needs to be done in the morning. Pick out your outfit (and try it on if you have to). Get your lunch ready. Prep your cold oats if you want. Pack up your bags. Be kind to yourself. I am not a morning person, so I know that if I have a ton of things to do, I will be STRESSED. I make it a point to avoid that at all costs. So, as Scar would say, Be Prepared! Once you are done, let tomorrow go. Think about the here and now. You won’t sleep if you are stressing about the next day’s events.
2. Count your blessings and review your goals.
It is so easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day life and really forget what your big picture is. I try to make it a point to mentally go over my big picture goals are, and what I am truly grateful for. This helps me stay a little bit sane, and helps me keep on track with where I want to be. This also helps calm my mind at night, when I do the most overthinking.
3. Pamper yourself. (Treat yo self)
Do this however you like. I like luxurious bubble baths, they’re my guilty pleasure. I love laying in steaming hot water while I read or mediate. Brush your teeth, paint your nails, rub on some coconut oil, love your body. ALSO, wash your face! Give yourself the royal treatment. You don’t want to skip this process for beauty and emotional reasons. Let your skin breathe overnight by making sure that all of your makeup is off, it will make you feel fresh and clean. (Also, duh, if you leave your makeup on you get wrinkles and pimples, and no one wants those.)
PS- If you haven’t learned the magic that is Mario Badescu, you’re welcome. I haven’t tried a product that I didn’t like from them. Plus they are cruelty free!
Burn some candles, start up your diffuser, make some hot tea. Give yourself time to unwind. It is much easier to fall asleep when you put yourself in that mindset. You are getting ready to rest for 7 or 8 hours (hopefully), let your body get prepared to do just that. Get all snuggled up, read a little bit of your favorite book, watch your favorite show. Relax. I find that I often miss this step because I run out of time, but it truly makes a world of difference.
Once you have set your alarm (and checked it three times if you’re a freak like me), and have settled everything for tomorrow, put it all down. Be with yourself for ten minutes. Let your body and your mind connect, and just check in with yourself. Sometimes this is the best way to get myself to fall asleep!