Taking a Gratitude Chill Pill

Taking a Gratitude Chill Pill


I was full of worry today.  All the “What if”s any new business-owner, traveller, woman, or human could imagine began floating through my over-analyzing brain.  I did this all worrying while listening to a back episode of the wonderfully inspiring “The Lively Show” podcast.  Right in the midst of my “What if” panic attack, Jess Lively said “let your ego totally get a chill pill.” Is that not the best?!

She reminded her listeners that one moment is not necessarily any better than another moment, but right now it is the only moment we have.  This one is good enough.

My ego’s best chill pill is gratitude.

I was flooded with gratitude for this moment I’m living in.  I don’t need to be the best.  I don’t even need to be one of the best.  My ego tells me that I do.  But it’s wrong, and it needs to chill.  All I need is to be fully awake in this moment.  The rest is just details.  Maybe I’ll never be a massively successful anything, but I will have been grateful for and aware of the beauty life kept handing me.

My friends, my cup overflows.  I’m bursting with thankfulness this Thanksgiving for everything this year has given me.

— I graduated with my beloved English degree this year! I wanted that degree since I was a young teen. It took me a while and some twists and turns, but I did it.  gratitude

— I went to New York City for the first (but definitely not last) time.Times_Square

— I co-hosted a local event for young women to inspire creativity and embrace our worthiness.


— I went on a Mexican cruise with my family.


— I started a career as a freelance writer and editor.  People pay me to write and edit things for them. Whoa!

— I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time.


— I moved to Costa Rica right next to the beach.  Enough said!


— I took so many lovely yoga classes.

— I’ve read books that opened my mind and books that entertained me.

— I’ve started new friendships and deepened others.

— I fell more madly in love with The Boyfriend – and by moving to a foreign country together, grew and strengthened our relationship. He’s just marvelous.


So my ego needs to chill a bit.  Instead of a panicked “What if…?!?!?!” – I’m flipping the script and saying, “Look at what life has already offered me!”

Have you been there – when your ego freaks you out and convinces you that you have to do everything and be everyone in order to have a full life? Does your ego need a gratitude chill pill too?  Welcome to the club :)

The truth is, doing everything and being everyone will only get you into a harried mess. We need to drown our ego with gratitude for everything we already have and who we already are in this very moment.  Let’s practice.  Just leave a short (or long!) list of gratitude in the comments!!  Let’s fill up the comment section with a gratitude overflow.

Happy Thanksgiving, reader friends.

Tay xo

Fear Is Not Allowed to Drive

Fear Is Not Allowed to Drive


I think it’s safe to say that people are scared. Seriously, just spend 45 seconds scrolling through Facebook. Beneath the political attacks and sarcastic quips are flesh and blood people who are scared. And we all handle fear differently.

That’s what terrorism is, after all, terror. When countries like Lebanon and France experience terrorism, we get scared. We’re afraid terror will knock on our front door. That all makes sense.

Fear isn’t the problem; it’s natural. The power we so easily hand over to fear is the problem.

People ask me all the time: “Aren’t you scared, Tay? Living in a foreign country? Starting your own business weeks after graduation and depending upon it solely?  Traveling outside of resorts?”

My answer is simple: I am scared. But something scares me more – the idea of fear taking the driver’s seat in my life and the idea of hiding away from all the interesting goodness life offers too.

You see, life is scary anyway. It does not matter how “safe” you try to live, what you avoid, and which people you do or don’t allow in your country – life is dangerous. I could die choking on food or driving my car to work or getting cancer even if I eat kale. I could get raped in my own bed with the doors locked. I could fall while cleaning my house and die. I could live the most monotonous life and avoid all scary things and keep strange people away and still die, still be hurt, and still have heartbreak.

The fact that life is scary spurs me on to live a wild, full, interesting, and wholehearted life – not because I’m oblivious, but because I’m totally aware.  BECAUSE this world is terrifying, I will not let fear take control; if fear leads, I will miss out on all the truly wonderful things of this world in the process. Fear also won’t stop me from doing what’s right.  If my odds of dying from unintentional poisoning are 1 in 109, you better believe that fear of death won’t stop me from standing by my belief that love is the only way.

You know what the ultimate sad irony of fear is? When we allow fear to take the driver’s seat, we forfeit living in order that we won’t die – and we die anyway! It’s guaranteed.

Terrorism’s goal is to bring terror. We cannot let these disgusting people win. Of course, we must mourn with those mourn, we must pray for those who are persecuted, we must stay intelligent and alert. But we cannot allow fear to drive the cars of our own lives, our countries, or our world.

How about, instead, we feel the fear (because we will, it’s a human emotion), but do the right thing anyway. Feel the fear, but not turn that emotion into hateful spewing. Feel the fear, but stay open-minded. Feel the fear, but keep truly living an interesting, meaningful life anyway.

Feel the fear; do it anyway

Feel the fear; do it anyway.

I may never be able to erase feelings of fear in my life, but fear sure as hell isn’t going to drive.

“Dearest Fear…You’re not allowed to suggest detours. You’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude, you’re not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.” -Elizabeth Gilbert


Why This Feminist Loves Female UFC Fighters

Why This Feminist Loves Female UFC Fighters

I don’t like violence. I’m a liberal-leaning moderate and a pacifist.  And I don’t even really like sports.

But I love UFC.  I just do, okay?  There’s something about the determined physical preparation, sportsmanship, and mutual acceptance of “we’re gonna beat the crap out of each other” that feels entirely different than any form of senseless violence or cruelty.

But you know what I really like? Female UFC fighters.

I watched Saturday night’s fight from a local sports bar in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.  The place was packed. As I drank my 5th mojito of the night, I cheered wildly for the final two fights – both done by the ladies.

Yes, WOMEN were the main event on Saturday night.

You see, I looked up at these female UFC fighters and acknowledged that we couldn’t be any more different – their bodies are monuments to the fact that physical strength is not monopolized by men, they can throw punches and kick like nobody’s business, and they’re famous sport stars.

I’m more of a yoga girl.  Sun salutations are my jam.  And I really really don’t want to get punched or even do the punching.  I like hugging.

But, we’re a lot a like too (I won’t be posting any pictures as evidence, because my muscles are nowhere to be found. Doctors tell me I have them, so I just believe them). We are women. Sometimes we cry when we are disappointed; sometimes the tears just flow because we are so happy. Sometimes we do badass things; sometimes we paint our nails.

Mostly – we are each fiercely chasing after the lives we want to live.

And that, right there, is feminism. Feminism is not that all women should be alike; feminism means each and every woman should be able to do whatever the hell she wants.

  • To some women, that looks like having lots of kids and staying home to raise them.
  • To some women, that looks like being the CEO of a company.
  • To some women, that means traveling the world being a freelance writer.
  • To some women, that looks like being in the main event at a UFC championship.

Like Amy Poehler says, “Good for her, not for me.”  We don’t have to have the same talent sets of other women in order to be excited for their achievements and victories. We don’t need to have the same passions as other women to realize we are all in this together.

You see, women don’t do so well when they’re put in a box. We are too unique, too complex, too interesting, too talented for that crap.  (Unless, of course, that box is octagon in the UFC.)  But when we not only have the full spectrum of rights and opportunities to do what we want AND the support of others cheering us on, there’s no limit.

I grew up in a sports loving family, so I know that the multitudes gather around sports that typically only have men. Saturday college football, Sunday, Monday, and Thursday NFL. Baseball season. Basketball season. Sure, there’s women’s basketball, golf, and other sports, but women still don’t get primetime sports viewership.

But on Saturday night, in a PACKED bar in Tamarindo, Costa Rica, I saw men and women go CRAZY over a UFC fight – fought by female UFC fighters. I got a glimpse into what it must be like to be a little boy with eyes glistening at the sight of a really cool sports hero. I’m 24 and realize my chance at a sports career has always been zilch, but I got to look at these strong, passionate women and say, “Wow – SHE is my sports hero!” – not because we are identical (we aren’t at all), but because she is a fellow woman being awesome, doing what she loves, and owning her own individual story.

And that, folks, is why this feminist loves female UFC fighters.

How to Eat Gluten Free in Airports

How to Eat Gluten Free in Airports

I never knew if readers really cared to know how I manage to travel while having to eat Gluten Free, but since my “How to Road Trip Gluten Free” article is the #1 read article on my blog right now, I’m assuming there’s a market for it!  😉

Airports can sometimes feel like the worst nightmare for Gluten Freers.  Outside of limited dining options, the thought of getting “glutened” and then going on a plane is terrifying.  I’ve been there.  But traveling is too fantastic to let Celiac or an intolerance get in the way.

After many, many flights, I’ve figured out a few things about Gluten Free eating in airports, and I’ll share my top tips with you!

How to Eat Gluten Free in Airports


1. Research the airport first

The easiest thing to do is Google your airport before your trip.  Some airports already have a listing of restaurants with Gluten-Free options.  Or you can get a list of food spots at your airport, go to their individual websites, and see which have Gluten Free food (and which take contamination into consideration!)

Of course, this is only possible in large airports with restarants/fast food options.

2. Ask for help

Do not ever be afraid to ask.  I’ve known that embarrassing fear of coming across as high-maintenance.  But you aren’t high maintenance; you have a real health condition.  Recently at Philadelphia’s airport, I asked around for a great place to have a Gluten Free dinner.  Turns out they had a restaurant with heavenly Gluten Free EVERYTHING – calamari even!  And I got to wash it down with a Gluten Free hard cider.

If I hadn’t asked, I would have never assumed the bar-like restaurant would have had anything to offer me.

3. Use the “corner store”

Most airports have some sort of 7-11-esque pit stop.  You can often find snack food there.  Packaged snacks and produce can be safe bets when you have no other option.  Grab a back of Gluten-Free certified chips (here’s a list of Gluten Free products by Frito Lay), some fruit, a dairy (yogurt or string cheese) and a protein (you can often find hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerated section).

This is not necessarily the healthiest, most filling, nor the most desirable everyday meal, but it will tide you over until you’ve arrived at your destination.

4. Know your airline

Some airlines offer Gluten Free snacks and meals.  Of course, you will want to double check the ingredients with the staff and trust your gut, because mistakes can be made.  But many airlines pride themselves on offering options for all their fliers. Remember to request your meal BEFORE your flight.  Call ahead.

Here is a great list of global airlines and what they offer their Gluten Free guests.

5. Bring your own

When in doubt, just bring the food yourself.  Even toss a cooler bag in your carry on and add some safe and filling food from home (just leave behind the stinky stuff…don’t be THAT person.)  If you have any liquids, make sure they stay under the minimum liquid requirement of 3.4 ounces.

Of course, this takes some planning ahead.  But when you’re hungry and actually have safe food to eat, you’ll be happy.

Eating Gluten Free in airports may not be so glamorously last minute or spontaneous, but it is definitely doable.  Have you had a great or terrible experience of eating gluten free in airports? Let my readers know in the comments!

For more Gluten Free travel tips, including “How to Road Trip Gluten Free,” CLICK HERE!

When You Run Out of Gas, You Need a Person

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This is me and my friend Bethany. Bethany is an amazing photographer and beloved friend. We went to the Yellow Conference in Cali earlier this year. The road-tripping was just as fun as the conference.

That is until we started running out of gas on our way home.  *see picture*

Apparently when two women get chatting while listening to the lovely Sam Hunt sing to us on the radio, they can sometimes forget that cars need gas. A simple blip in memory that could happen to anybody, really!

We found ourselves in between Baker, California and Primm, Nevada. If anybody has driven this route, you know it’s desolate desert of over 50 miles between both spots.  We noticed the lack of gas half way in between each town. 25 miles one way, 25 miles the other way. Bethany’s car is fancy with a gas gauge that tells you how far you have on your tank of gas and what gas milage you’re getting.

We had about 30 miles of gas left to go.

Either way, we’d cut it close. So we decided to move forward! We had 30 miles of gas and only 25 miles to drive? We’d be FINE, I kept reminding my sweet driver friend. (It’s possible I reminded her SO much it sounded more like personal reassurance than a statement of truth. *see picture*)

A few minutes in, we realized the gas tank’s “miles to go before you die in the desert” gauge was plummeting MORE QUICKLY than the miles we had actually driven. Before we knew it, we had the SAME number of miles to drive as miles of available gas.

We freaked out, ok. Just picture two 20-something girls in this situation. That, my friends, is exactly what it looked like. We may have been slightly dramatic. *see picture* I was trying to figure out the exact MPH that made us the most gas efficient according to the gauge, so I was screaming, “Go slower!” “No wait! TOO SLOW! Speed up!” “No, slower, we need it slower!” We turned off the music and A/C and saved our water bottle for our inevitable demise.

Then, miraculously, as if God himself decided we both should live long and prosper for another day, we saw an old gas station out in the far distance. If we had decided to turn back instead, we would have never made it. But we were saved. Saved by the rickety old gas station not found on a GPS.

We laughed about it later like, “yeah, we totally knew we’d be fine the whole time.”

You see, sometimes in our lives, we run out of gas. Not car gas, but emotional stamina.  These are the moments brought on by hardship when our energy and willpower are totally depleted. We’re stuck smack dab in the middle of a desert and we don’t know whether to turn back or keep moving forward.

All we know is we’re hot and dry and screwed.

But let me tell you this: when you run out of gas, you need a person.

If I had been driving home alone that day, the fear and irrational thoughts would have been out of control. I probably would have turned back and gotten stuck in the desert heat with little water. I needed my friend to get through it together.

When we run out of gas in our lives, we need a person in the car with us. We cannot face our own demons, make hard decisions, survive heartbreak, or even make it back to safety completely on our own.   When we are at the end of ourselves, we need somebody to pick us back up. We need somebody shouting crazily “Go faster! Now slower!! FASTER!”

We need a person.  Or a few.

A good friend we can trust and be vulnerable with.  

Don’t try to do it alone.  

Be brave and reach out to people.  

Make car-driving friendships that can stand the test of running out of gas.  

The kind of friendships that encourage you to keep moving forward.

Invest in your friendships, search out the good ones.

It’s not that we are weak; we just become so much stronger when two or more strong people join forces.

Eventually, you will make your way to your own blessed “gas station,” because life is full of highs and lows, goods and bads. Then you will realize you’re going to be just fine (which you will be!).

You and your person can look at each other, laugh, and say –

“Yeah, we totally knew we’d be fine the whole time.”