1,000 People Bought Me a Pair of Boots

wpid-20130603_113238.jpgA while back, I wrote a post about pinpointing milestones that lead up to a major goal, and rewarding yourself when you achieve those goals. So often we set our sights high, and don’t celebrate all the little steps it takes to reach the final destination.

On a stack of note cards, I wrote out the my short-term goals for my novel and for my blog. Under each goal I wrote the reward I would give myself for achieving that goal. Then I stuck those note cards in a place where I could see them whenever I work.

One of my goals was to have 1,000 email subscribers to my blog. This past Monday, I reached that goal! As my reward I’m buying these pretty little boots I’ve had my eye on for months. Ye haw! I’m going to think of all my awesome readers whenever I wear them ūüôā

I cannot thank you enough for reading my posts. It makes my day when I get a notification that someone is following my blog. All I can say is thank you, thank you, thank you! If you happen upon a blog that you like, I suggest you follow it because you have no idea how encouraging that is for a writer.

Now the main question is: what should I reward myself with when I get 5,000 followers?!?

Fez was my favorite (inside the medina)

If you want to visit a city that has everything, go to Fez. The old city can be pretty overwhelming but it’s a fantastic place to take a seat at an outdoor cafe and people-watch. There are over 10,000 small shops in the medina, and they are all trying to get you inside, so it’s best to tour this city with a guide. The guide will keep¬†store owners¬†from pestering you and keep you from getting lost. After we walked for about two minutes I had no clue how to get back to our hotel.¬†We had professor from the¬†university give us a 6 hour tour for about $50 total.

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We never would have been able to find this stunning 700 year-old Madrasa (religious school) if we didn’t have a guide.

The thing that I found most incredible about this building is that all the decorations are verses from the Koran. Could you imagine studying something for hours each day and then seeing it in the wallpaper of your house, and in the patterns on your carpets? Talk about full-immersion.

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Any building with a green roof is a religious place. Fez is known as the green city because it’s the religious capital of the country.

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Fez is also known for its intricate tile mosaics.

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The Medina is constantly under repair because it’s so old. Half the ally ways look like this.

No trip to Fez is complete without a visit to the leather factory. They are still making leather the way they have for thousands of years. The men cover themselves in oil and jump right into the dyes with the leather. Since they use ingredients like pigeon poo, and donkey piss it smells pretty nasty.

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Full disclosure, this was the reason why I wanted to go to Morocco.

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They give everyone a sprig of mint to mask the order of rotting flesh and feces. It’s surprisingly effective!

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The soggy fur on the ground will be used for mattress filler.

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The hillsides are covered with drying leather skins. That’s what those red and white patches are.

It’s funny how even after you see how gross leather making is you still feel compelled to buy some leather. I ended up getting this pretty green number:

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My new leather coat from Fez!

In the next post I’ll show you some pictures from our visit outside of the medina.


Warby Parker; how all stores should be run

My new glasses.

You might be wondering why I’m writing about an eyeglass store on my blog that’s supposed to be about following your heart and soul (HeSo). I hate shopping for glasses, but I stumbled upon a store that made me enjoy the experience so much I talked about it for days afterward.

After doing some more research, I found out that this was definitely a HeSo inspired endeavor. The company was started by four friends who were tired of cool glasses costing so much. They opened up a store that would provide the designs that they liked for an affordable price, and they named it after two of their favorite Jack Kerouac characters. To add a cherry on top, they partnered with VisionSpring to provide glasses for people who cannot afford prescription glasses. For every pair you buy, they donate a pair.

Shopping for eyeglasses can be very stressful – you’re basically picking out a new feature for your face. I usually run into clerks who get pissy if I want to try on more than three pairs of glasses. A few weeks ago I decided I want an artsy looking pair of glasses, so I popped into the local Cohen’s Optical. I tried on every pair (to the sales clerk’s dismay) and only ended up liking one pair. Even after getting a $100 discount the glasses with lenses were going to cost over $400! That’s when I remembered a local news show that was highlighting an eyeglass store with a social mission. For every pair you buy, they donate a pair to children who cannot afford glasses. They have distributed over 150,000 pairs in developing countries.

I visited Warby Parker’s showroom in a trendy office space in Soho. One-half of the office was taken up by desks and people busy at work. The other half was the showroom. As soon as I arrived a friendly girl introduced herself and told me to make myself at home and try on any pair I like. The people helping were not pushy at all, but they gave honest opinions. At one point, I tried on a pair and the woman next to me said, “oh god take those off right now!” I appreciated the honesty. It felt like I was shopping with friends.

I stayed there for about an hour trying on every pair, and I never felt pressured to buy. They were playing awesome music and everyone trying on glasses was dancing around. When I finally settled on a pair of reddish-brown sexy librarian glasses, they suggested that I walk around the office and introduce myself while wearing the glasses to see if they felt comfortable. There are mirrors all around the place, so they told me to occasionally look up and catch a glimpse of myself with the glasses. That would give me a much better idea of how the glasses looked without posing.

I walked around the office, and everyone was so nice and they all seemed to really enjoy working there. One guy asked if I wanted to help with their bifocals project which just meant that he wanted to measure the distance between my eyes. Then he gave me a card for 15% off. Someone else gave me a lollipop. The lollipop threw me over the edge – I was ready to make the purchase.

The really cute thank you card that came with the glasses

I was afraid of how much it would cost because the place felt like a very expensive, trendy Williamsburg boutique. When they told me my total was $85 I asked them ‘how much do the lenses cost?’ She laughed and said that price included anti-reflective, polycarbonate lenses. I wanted to run out of the store before she realized that she undercharged me. Then I asked, ‘well how much does it cost to donate a pair?’ She laughed again and told me that was also included in the price.¬†I’ve never paid so little for glasses and actually enjoyed the experience.

My glasses arrived at my doorstep three days later with a great thank you note. They even called me that day to see if I received the glasses and if I was happy with them.

Here’s the extra cool part…if you don’t live in the area, they will ship five pairs to your house for free so you can try them on. I will never shop anywhere else. I really appreciate their work model.

So now without further ado, Here are my new glasses…

My new glasses! You can see my Reilly painting in the background.

We’ll take two…make that six


Do you ever catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and think, “I am such a stereotype?”

Last night Mike and I went to a Crate and Barrel wedding registry party. Even though I’ve dreamed of this moment since I first heard about Crate and Barrel, it was so hard to take it seriously. I felt like such a yuppie. We even dressed the part. And so did everyone else.

They gave us some snacks and drinks, then taught us how to use the scanner gun, and we off on our merry way.

There’s something so¬†bizarre¬†about registering for wedding gifts. A part of you feels like:¬†Wow we’re adults, we need to decide exactly how our adulthood is going to look – right down to the napkin holders.¬†


And then you realize that this milestone of adulthood is going to be paid for by others, which is about the most unadult-like thing you can do. Which made us really giddy.

Without the burden of having to pay for anything, we forgot all modesty and started adding everything we could get our greedy little paws on. “Sure we need a sausage grinder! In fact, lets get two.”

There were representatives from all the major appliance lines like Kitchenaid,¬†Cuisinart¬† and W√ľsthof. They asked us all these questions about our lifestyle as a couple, and I’m not going to lie to you, I felt the pressure to impress. To the knife company we said, “Oh I simply must have a good¬†serrated¬†knife. I bake bread every day and it’s so hard to find a good knife these days.” To the blender people we said, “Oh we make our own cat food, of course, so it’s very important that we find the right tool for grinding entire chickens.” To the popcorn machine sellers, “Does this come with a fluffer feature? I’m very concerned about my air-popped popcorn being extra airy.” With each statement about who we were as a couple, I could hear my voice sounding more and more¬†British, and my nose going higher and higher.

We couldn’t admit that we eat out most nights.

Now I know all of you are just dying to get us a gift (hahaha), so here’s our registry. It’s not much but we’ve been living together for over 3 years so it took a lot of effort to find things we still need.

Does anyone have any other suggestions for places to register? We thought about doing a smart registry (one where you ask for money for specific things like cocktails on your honeymoon, or the future toilet in your future first home), but I was shocked to see that those sites usually charge 7% commission for each gift.