Thank you, 34

Guys!!!  It’s my last day of being 34 years old.  I didn’t even plan to blog today.  But I slept for eight hours and I’ve already finished my coffee, so I’m feeling a bit on-top-of-it.  I also just finished writing in the last two pages of my journal.  And it’s appropriate enough to share…

34, you’ve been good to me!  As I sip my morning coffee from my Zoey mug, the memories of this past year make me smile.  Just like the hand-painted crab on my mug, it, too, is smiling.

My 34th year has been about doing exactly what I want and even though that sounds very selfish (and much like a spoiled brat…hey, MOM–assure them I’m really not!) I’m not going to edit it.  Maybe it’s not a bad thing after all to do exactly what you want?

As I’ve mentioned before, this past year is all thanks to curiosity.  Live in Las Vegas?  Check.  Serve cocktails pool-side?  Check.  I planned financially and the abundance has been worth it.  These goals, dreams–as simple as they were–have brought me freedom.  Freedom to DO more, dream more.  The boundaries of the this-is-how-you-live-life box are fading away and I’m living my unique life.  I am living my life how it makes sense to me (and sometimes if I think too much, it doesn’t make sense AT ALL! but that is where humor and being okay with mystery takes place).  Mostly, I’m happy.  Some say “conscious” is a better goal to strive for.  I try to be conscious, too.  I realize how grateful I am for my life here.  I’m not sure if there’s a better feeling than that.

Curiosity-> Plan-> Follow Through->Freedom-> FAITH

Taking any and all of these chances WILL expand your faith in the universe, in God, whatever your higher power is.  I love this quote from Paulo Coelho in his book The Alchemist:

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.”

From my grandiose dreams to my simple visions, they all start with a feeling of future happiness.  I ask myself to picture a setting that I’d love, where I’d be happy and inspired on most days.  And if I follow this vision and start to build upon it, it also comes with a feeling of fear.  But fear really IS a compass, helping me go exactly where I want to go…to grow as a person, to become a better person.  The fear probably comes from the unknowing.  Type A personalities, go ahead and gasp (I did!).

To remind myself about my 2015 journey, and to encourage myself to keep planning a life of adventure, it would sound something like this:

There will be rewards.  There will be achievement.  The fear will disappear and you will find more confidence, maybe even more happiness than you imagined.  You will make a home in a place you’ve always dreamed of.  And it will even FEEL like home.  You will be surrounded by people you look forward to seeing every day, at WORK!  You will have days off.  And you will miss those people.  But you’ll also have the spare time to see your favorite nail technician Thao.  The one who makes you laugh as she shares her honest obsession with Taylor Swift and rap music.  Yes, very different, but she’s kind of like me because I like that, too.  She will talk my ear off, which works out perfectly because I like to listen.  And laugh!

You might just realize you’ve found a tribe of thoughtful, hard-working, funny and (bottom-line) loving people.  And whether they know it or not, you will call them family.  My Vegas Family.

And if you’re lucky enough, you’ll have a whole new year to dream, plan and live your life even better than you’ve envisioned it.

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.  It will not lead you astray.” -Rumi 

Here is a summary in pictures of living in Las Vegas.  Mostly in chronological order, starting with March 2015 when Mandi came to visit…

Hiking at Red Rock 
We easily entertain ourselves



Mandi’s 34th birthday (pictured above).  We danced the night away to a Throwback Thursday themed night at LAX nightclub.  This was her the next morning (below) headed to the airport..her smile really says, “I think I’m gonna die.”  Hangovers at 34 are brutal!!!


My dad came to visit! We had lunch at Yard House in Town Square.
The pool crew!


One of my favorite nights out. A little blurry, a lot of laughs! Downtown Las Vegas

The same night we went out downtown, we met some down-to-Earth, well-humored guys who happened to be part of Blue Man Group.  One of them lived and performed here  in the Las Vegas show and two others were part of their traveling show abroad.  They invited me to see the show a few nights later.  It was my first ever Las Vegas show and it did not disappoint!

These guys knew how to have fun!  My cheeks hurt from laughing so much…

New group of friends and another fun night. Thank you, Adrienne!!! Tao Night Club

March, April and May were very social for me.  My beloved sleep was thrown to the back burner and a few times I had the thought that Vegas would be the death of me!  Trying to balance work and fun in this city will surely test you.  But I made it through!  And I have more memories to smile about…

I think there was only one week in those three months where I didn’t have friends coming to town (gulp).  Fast forward to May and the Cunninghams arrived!  I knew I had to dig deep.  Jess and Joe never disappoint either! 🙂

Flamingo pool shenanigans:

Joe and his Firefighter Softball Olympics in Henderson, NV:

Go Team Gangreen! 
Jessica getting pampered by Amanda and me. Cheering for Gangreen is hard work!


Rallying for another night out…


Team Gangreen cheerleaders (groupies)

And then to close the month of May, Miss Emmers came to visit.  We had a little fun 😉

Welcome to *fabulous* Las Vegas, Emily!

Rock in Rio festival was amazing.  Some of my happiest and most hilarious memories are from this concert.  Thanks, guys!!!

When Spain, Germany, Argentina, Mexico and California unite: Rock in Rio 2015

And then, there was some calm (siiiiigh).  A little depression from all the good-byes but some definite “me-time” restored.  I soaked up wisdom over amazing pineapple martinis from Del Frisco’s Steakhouse with a few favorite customers of mine, treated myself to a Romeo Santos concert, and even bought a new car more suitable for long road trips.

New wheels and a few days off, I headed to the beach to see a few of my favorites!  Nate, Amber Jean and the Pacific Ocean…

Finally got to meet Baby Jules.  He is PRE-CIOUS (!!!), Amber!

The month of June brought a lot of back and forth travel from Vegas to L.A.  It seems when you do what’s best for yourself (moving to Las Vegas), then everything starts to fall in place with more ease.

Travel, coffee and bike rides…

Trips home to Seaside, OR and even a trip back to my ultimate paradise–the Dominican Republic–rounded out my summer and Fall 2015.  Nate, you make these trips happen and of course you make them memorable!  Thank youuuuuuu!!!

Cannon Beach, OR

In Seaside, we celebrated Nate’s birthday and enjoyed the beach volleyball tournament.

October 2015–the Dominican Republic



I love it here.  This is our yoga spot…


And what better way to snap back into reality then coming home and starting the holiday season?  Dear Lord.  I DO love the holidays, but I’m always glad when they’re over.  My favorite part about Christmas is Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” song.  Other than that, the season is a bitter-sweet.  The collective energy behind it all is nothing less than CRAZY.  I do enjoy my time with family and this year, Nate and I were able to see both of our families.  I knew it’d be a trek, but we did it!  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Mandi graduated from her nursing program, so we also threw in a trip to Tennessee.  Pictures to prove I survived it all…

December 2015–Bend, OR

Utah–NYE celebrations and a wedding to really finish off the year.  And myself.  I think I almost died….maybe I just wanted to.  I’m not used to 9 degree weather, whole body aches and a 24 hour pounding headache.  And no, it was not a hangover.  With some drugs and essential oils (thank you, Trish!!), I made it through!  Seeing Nate’s family was worth the effort and my health’s sacrifice.  The Younkers are a bundle of loving energy.


“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

-Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

35, I’m ready for you! x0x0, SG









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