Getting down and dirty on a campsite was a brand new experience for me this past weekend. Summer vacation trips for the Piha clan consisted of trips to Lake Chelan's Campbell's Resort or two week sailing boat trips up to the San Juan Islands. While the boat trips definitely felt like "camping" - I now realize the the luxury of the Seattle Yacht Club outstations, a 40 foot sailboat, and eating dinner out every other night was far from "roughin' it. This past weekend I did the real camping thing and LOVED it. A few pictures from my adventures with some great friends. And if you were wondering, yes, I did take a shower using quarters and my hair still smells like campfire. Big thanks to Roberta and Patrick Armstrong, my wonderful Miami Hurricane friends who always let me tag along with their amazing family!
At 32 years old, I am a late bloomer when it comes to love. I wasn't the girl in high school who had tons of boyfriends - college either. I had a sharp tongue, the drive to be a career-minded individual and didn't want anything standing in my way - especially a man. My dating life was constant but always causal - there was no irking for "love" or "forever" talk. That changed as my career grew and I started achieving the things I had set out to achieve. I finally wanted someone to share in my accomplishments and my darkness. This constant state of being isn't always rosy. I began to long to find a partner (in addition to my female friends) who I could rely on through thick and thin. 3 or so years ago, I experienced a great bout of companionship - a relationship of 2+ years - that allowed me to travel the world, see new places, and provided every day company. I later learned it was wrought in superficiality, not the love I had wanted and quite empty of the feeling I so desired. After that, I asked myself, "will I ever learn what reciprocal love is?" I asked the universe to show me --- I was ready. And finally, it did. So at 32 years old, I know what this funny thing called love is. It is choosing the highest good for the other person. I found it in an unlikely place at an unlikely time. Guess that's just how love goes.
Dedicated to NDB.
Did you know that givers are happier people than non-givers? Jon Sundt was spot on when he wrote in The Huffington Post, "The old adage still rings true: it is better to give than receive. When we give back, we open our hearts, creating deeper connections with the people who surround us, using our passion and influence to improve lives and inspire more goodness in the world." Even those who have limited time and money can give a little too! Want an example? Each month I head to the Jewish Family Service Food Bank on Capitol Hill to deliver groceries to folks unable to shop on their own. The kind people I deliver to are always thrilled to see me at their door with bags in tow (and I think they must snicker a little while my petite frame carries bags full of cans up multiple staircases). With rising food prices, there continues to be a greater need for families to receive food bank groceries. JFS is currently looking for more home delivery volunteers. Interested? Contact Kevin Lugo at 206.861.3174. Note: You do not need to be Jewish to volunteer at the Food Bank.
Father's Day is just around the corner! Have you done your shopping yet? Not only do I have an incredibly supportive and loving father (Read about Papa Piha here) but I am also fortunate to be dating the most incredible father to two beautiful girls. Here's a few of my favorite gift ideas for those darling Dads. Happy Father's Day to all!
Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know
"Fathers be good to your daughters, daughters will love like you do. Girls become lovers, who turn into mothers, do mothers be good to your daughters too." - John Mayer
Sold at Amazon.
What man doesn't have a set of sterling silver cufflinks? Let me rephrase that - what man shouldn't have a pair of sterling silver cufflinks?!?!
Sold at Blue Nile.
They will be the most comfortable pair of sandals you'll ever step foot in - literally.
Sold at Sanuk.
DEWALT 1/2-In Cordless Drill/Driver Kit with Soft Case
For the man who is good with his hands - or likes spending a lot of time out in the shed building things for the kids.
Sold at Lowe's.
I consistently get asked, "who belongs to this remarkable PR team that you are a part of?" There are a thousand reasons I love working at Porch but as my boss Craig says, "it's all about the people." So here they are; the handful of people that have me running up the stairs everyday to work with a gigantic smile on my face.
VP of Brand Communications
It's a Craig Cincotta world and we just live in it. And by live in it - I mean that in the most excited of ways. As VP of Brand Communications, Craig is constantly pushing, inspiring and mentoring our team to not only be the best in our field - but even more importantly, the best individuals. When people say "your PR team is second to none" it is truly because of Craig's leadership as captain of the Porch PR ship. When Craig isn't Porchin' it, he's likely spending time with his lovely wife Melissa and dogs Fenway, Stella and Lady at their home in Seabrook, Washington.
As part of the PR team at Porch.com, Lauren is responsible for all local media relations, as well as assisting in all editorial syndication. Originally from Seattle, Lauren went to the University of Oregon where she received a Bachelors of Science degree from the School of Journalism and Communication. When she's not hammering away at another Huffington Post photo roundup, she enjoys traveling, Oregon Duck football games, and being with family and friends. Lauren is a PR rockstar, and I can't wait to see her grow in her career.
PR Executive Communications & Evangelism
When he's not "geekin'" out or strumming his guitar, Brock handles the booking of, speech templates and event coordination for all executive communications and speaking engagements. I also like to coin Brock as in-house video producer to Creative Director Jake Cooney. Brock puts on his TV producer hat and makes magic when he goes out on location to film professional and customer testimonials. CNN, watch out.
If there was ever a walking home improvement encyclopedia, Anne Reagan would be it. With a background in furniture and antiques, Anne has spent the last several years writing about home improvement and interior design for sites like Apartment Therapy and Get Advice. Anne has degrees in Economics and Art and enjoys combining her passion for design with solid data and research. At Porch, she is responsible for creating original content aimed at educating homeowners about the various aspects of home improvement. Helping homeowners understand the best projects to spend money on, how to find the right pro for the job, and providing daily inspiration and advice is the most exciting part of her job. Originally from Seattle, Anne has spent time living in San Francisco, New York and most recently, Singapore.
I take my vacations very seriously now. I used to travel quite frequently for pleasure, jumping at the next opportunity to see new places. Now, at 32 years old, if isn't work-related, I try be choosier about where I travel. To travel as frequently as I did cost a good amount of money and last year I decided it's time to build and save for my future - not for the moment. That being said, when I do get the opportunity, I truly take advantage of it. I try not to check email, social media and just live for the moment. Whether it was long walks on the beach, breakfast in town, or a massage - it turned out to be just what the doctor order. Cannon Beach was the perfect affordable getaway and I've compiled my list of favorites from a weekend trip that I'll never forget.
1. Dog's Best Friend: the beach? Take leisurely walks back and forth, even in the rain - it's lovely
and your pup will be thankful.
2. Wayfarer Restaurant. The portions are gigantic! Consider splitting an entree and ordering appetizers. Beware of the Margarita Bucket - it really comes in a pail.
3. Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters. For avid coffee drinks such as myself, make sure you get to this roaster early as it's the place to be in the am! I also may have just had the best rosemary and salt bagel and sun dried tomato cream cheese in my entire life.
4. Columbia River Maritime Museum. Learn all about one of Washington's most important industries. And it's not just because I'm a tugboat captain's girlfriend. The museum is one of the finest in the nation.
When I say I've gone Rachel Zoe bananas for BEVÉE, I mean it. The bag is of the highest quality and utility! The website states "BEVÉE creates luxury handbags and accessories that are as brilliant, beautiful, and versatile as the modern woman. With BEVÉE there is no compromise. Our 24/7 Sidekick wallet-on-chain boasts a full-sized wallet and holds everything you need, and nothing that you don’t. We say Wear it, Clutch it, Stash It! Or, you can ditch everything -but our highly coveted, detachable billfold –and dash!" And it's not just the bag itself that is perfection. The entire experience - from the moment you visit their website or "storefront" to the precious mints that accompany the first-class packaging of your bag, it is nothing less than the Monte Carlo of customer experiences. Congratulations to my friends and founders Sasha Muir and DT Levy, who have have developed a unique product for every woman. I have a hunch you'll soon be seeing these bags EVERYWHERE. I ordered the indigo trifold for myself and the black trifold for my Mom. What is your favorite color?
I haven't spoken about this publicly. But it's time for me to open my arms and heart to all the beautiful men and women out there who have been put down, belittled or (in extreme cases) emotionally abused by their partners (NOTE: I have not been emotionally abused). At one time, I thought I had the perfect life. I waffled through a long-term relationship never having the slightest indication that I would eventually have a bullseye on my forehead. Loving too much, trusting too much, and having learned now - not expressing myself loudly enough - was my modus operandi.
I had a thriving business, a loving family, supportive friends and had never once felt insecure about my place in the world. A strong work ethic, loving honestly and openly, and giving back to my community gave me great joy. I am not tooting my horn. I'm far from perfect. But I felt good about my accomplishments, circle of friends and coincidentally, my future.
Then, it happened. The words left my mouth before I had a chance to realize what exactly I was saying.
"I will leave before you make me feel inferior."
To my core, I stood by this mantra. I vocalized it. I had never tolerated being disrespected (or so I thought). But I didn't leave soon enough. I took hit after hit of criticism - allowing disparaging comments about how I dressed, the way I talked, and my circle of friends infiltrate my confidence and sense of self. I was naive to think that someone who said such hurtful things could still love me. I also didn't want to believe I was slowly being torn down - limb by limb - to make a troubled individual feel better.
I am opening up now for a few reasons. One, to let those out there who have been humiliated, chastised or are still suppressing their voice out of fear know that love means never having to cross that threshold.
Two, it is therapeutic to have a voice; whether that be blogging, public speaking or yelling from the rooftops. Do not bottle it up inside. Speak up, speak proudly and speak with integrity!
And most importantly, as the late Nelson Mandela said "it is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you."
For those who are unaware, I serve as Programming Chair for Fashion Group International, Seattle. This year, my idea to launch an Executives in Fashion Series came to life; bringing our members and non-members up close and personal with some of the most prestigious CEO's and VP's of Seattle-based fashion and retail companies. The series kicked off last week with Blue Nile CEO Harvey Kanter and will resume on May 21st with Julep CEO Jane Park.
Who would you like to hear speak?