2016 Wrap Up….Thoughts on Life and (of course) Love.

Here we are at the end of 2016. I have been in a bit of a regrouping mode lately. I have been thinking about the blog and quite honestly wondering “what was the point?”. Then some little signs of inspiration magically came in. A high school friend reached out and said she is going to Lisbon in the spring, a trip inspired by my post. And then another distant friend said she and her husband are going to Bali, staying in the Bambu Indah (bliss!) and following my “guidebook“. Randomly, I got a note from a stranger that said my blog was “beautifully ballsy” and that “it is admirable putting a piece of yourself out there.” These well-timed pieces of encouragement changed my perspective – instead of feeling like a cliché “blogger”, I was reminded that writing and pursuing larger business dreams makes me happy. After a slower than expected start, I received a ton of holiday gift purchases on my website and notes from customers loving their items. So thank you for the boost – now, back to it!!  To the New York Times Modern Love editor, call anytime!

Finding love these days feels more complicated than ever; so many options and seemingly less possibilities. It is puzzling. There are days when my spirit animal feels more like Bridget Jones than Rihanna and I feel resigned to throw in the towel on love. And yet, I dust myself off and keep on trucking!

If you never go after what you want, you will never have it. Live without regrets. If you want it, fight for it.

Hope you enjoy the post below – it took me awhile find the thread on this one.

Recently, I met up with an old friend for a coffee “thing”. By old friend, I mean someone you reconnect with on social media who is not a stranger from the internet.  After we made plans, I couldn’t help but wonder – was this a friend date or something more? The ambiguity was killing me, especially given my history of epically horrid coffee dates: 

Rewind:  I met a 40-year old single dad on Tinder and quickly discovered we had the same birthday. I mean, Aquarius (sung with new age flair) – could this equal instant karma? We got to know each other by phone and seemed to hit it off, so when he suggested a date at Starbucks I was a little underwhelmed. Anyways, we met and before I could even properly doctor my coffee, I knew the date was a bust. It felt more like an interview. Upon realizing that I actually spent more time getting ready than I did on the date, I returned to my car, dropped my head on the steering wheel and let the horn honk for a good 20 seconds. Then and there I wrote off coffee dates.

So needless to say, as I rolled up to my aforementioned coffee thing/date, I was apprehensive. And then, a stroke of good luck – the coffee shop was closed (HALLELUJAH), so we decided on a glass of wine (my specialty) instead. And I am so thankful; the conversation was one that stuck with me.

The connection was easy and so we talked about our lives, told stories and laughed. We are both divorced and it was a relief to meet someone who understood what it means to start over. I shared my desire to ultimately find the right person and start a family, but since I cannot control when that will occur, I said my second best scenario is to fill my life with experiences. I was talking about a long wish list of travel destinations and describing a genuine American road trip when he interrupted with a simple question “…what are you searching for?” I fumbled around for an answer and then changed the subject.  But months later, I am still turning this question over every which way. It scared me because I really did not know the answer. Does anyone else feel this way?

“Have faith in your journey. Everything had to happen exactly as it did to get you where you’re going next!” 

-Mandy Hale

We work so hard to build the lives we “think” we want and then are confused when we still feel a void. For example, I am a person who has always (until recently) been coupled. I entered single life last year determined to find happiness through independence and adventure. Don’t get me wrong – I am endlessly grateful for my recent travel experiences and have a strong desire to travel more. It is a gross understatement to label travel “a distraction”. But in the same breath, as I thought long and hard about the nagging question above, I still felt a void.

And then it hit me.

Aha Moment: I finally realized that what I am searching for has nothing to do with wandering. As it turns out, I just want a really solid coffee date – companionship, good conversation and someone who makes basic life experiences better.

As the year comes to a close, I can definitively say 2016 was a time of change for me. I am a different person than I was 365 days ago and this girl is looking forward all that 2017 will hold.

Happy Holidays!


  1. Happy Holidays, Rissa. I hope you continue your blog – I so enjoy reading your updates. I wish nothing but the best for you – you are SO amazing. I miss you! xo

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