As we are now in the fifth month of 2019, I realize I haven’t officially declared my word for 2019 yet. This is the fifth year that I have forgone a more traditional New Year’s resolution and instead opted for a word/theme to set the tone for the year.

Last year, my word was boundaries after 2017 saw one of the hardest years of my life. Betrayal, heartbreak, self-doubt, chaos, triumph, beauty and a rediscovery of strength led me into my biggest growth year to date, 2018. I spent the majority of the year figuring out how to incorporate boundaries into my life. From work to friends and everything else in between, setting boundaries was harder than I originally thought it would be.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still learning about setting boundaries. Sometimes I’m great at it, and other times I’m awful at it. The difference is I’m conscious of where I need boundaries. I attribute a lot of this to finally getting counseling. A tough realization I had early in 2018 was that I should have visited a counselor after my divorce. I can’t help but think that if I had dealt with all of the emotions and pain then that I would never have gotten involved with certain people and situations.

Patterns are hard to break, but not impossible. You’ve just got to put the work in and not be afraid to have gut-checking conversations with yourself. You know the ones I’m talking about –- the ones where you ask yourself a question and you answer back.

I ended 2018 exhausted, but hopeful. 2018 was a huge growth year for me. I was the editor in chief of a an ill-fated but amazing magazine, I traveled to three countries, strengthened and made new friends, made better business decisions, and I even met a handsome man who showed me a level of kindness, care and respect I had never experienced.

So, it’s time to talk about 2019. My word for 2019 is open. I realize that after setting boundaries to protect myself, I still need to be open to things that will add joy to my life. Here is what I mean when I say open is my word for 2019…

Have an open heart, open mind, and open arms, but also keep your eyes and ears open. Listen to your gut, but let your heart lead you towards positive things and people. There is still beauty in the world, so seek it. Pay attention to the words and actions of others. Give people an opportunity, but if their words and actions don’t match up, wish them well on their journey, but don’t invite them to join yours. If it sounds too good to be true, it may be or it may just be that good. Don’t close off just because you’re scared. If there isn’t a mix of fear or excitement when making a big decision, don’t do it. You’ve fallen flat on your face before, but you picked yourself up. You can do it again.

Although I would have loved to bypass some of the pain in my life, particularly around relationships, I now realize that I was supposed to go through it all. Where would I be today if I hadn’t gone through the pain? I came out on the other side of it all and I proud of myself. I’m not perfect, but I own it all.

Cheers to a year full of openness and hope.

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For the past four years, instead of New Year’s resolutions, I selected a word/theme for the year. A way to set the tone for my growth, and for my sanity. Past words have included fearless, grace, my own name as I needed to get back to me after my separation, and last year my word was intentional. I selected my word for 2018 pretty quickly at the end of 2017, but it’s taken me a while to write about it. I wasn’t sure what to say or not to say, but I’ve realized this is my life and I can say whatever the hell I want. Before we dive into 2018 and my word, let’s recap 2017 so you can understand why I selected my word.

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January 1, 2017 marked my first full year of being out on my own professionally. That previous year, my year of grace, saw ups and downs and so many lessons learned as I embarked on working for myself. Leading into my second year, I selected the word intentional. During my intentional year, I had some of the most incredible experiences. I traveled, was able to go to a conference I’d been wanting to go to for years, grew my business and my writing portfolio, made money, cultivated some amazing relationships, and realized my dreams of becoming a magazine editor. While my professional and parts of my personal life were intentional and amazing, other parts of my personal life were intentional, yet were far from amazing.

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In 2016, I connected with a friend at a birthday party and started to see him in a different light. Although there were red flags from the start, I grew to really care about him and ignored my gut because, on paper, we looked amazing. We would have great times, then we would have horrible times. We broke up and made up and lingered in a grey area for far too long. What had started with such promise in 2016 ended for the final time in the summer of 2017 with hurt and confusion for both of us. I started to heal. I started to move forward. It was when I was getting my sparkle back that I was rocked with the biggest hurt I’ve ever experienced… while I was healing, he briefly became involved with someone I once considered a friend. He knew her and knew that she was a friend. She knew him and knew that he and I had talked about moving in together. I even texted her after the breakup for advice as she had gone through a breakup a few months prior.

I wish I could say that was the last time he or she hurt me, but it wasn’t. I won’t go into too many details, I’ll save that for the book I’ll eventually write, but I will say that the two of them coupled with a few other “friends” who weren’t really friends made me question my world. I had survived a divorce, but I think the betrayals thrown at me during the course of 3-4 months as 2017 came to a close hit me harder than I ever imagined possible.

I’ll be honest… I thought of leaving Charlotte. I was ready to head to a new city as my city was now tainted.  As someone who used to go anywhere and do whatever she wanted in the city she loved, I turned into a bit of a hermit. I turned down certain invitations, avoided certain places, I even took steps back from writing for publications I loved. I was ready to call 2017 a wash, but there was a different plan for me.

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This plan started with my mom. She told me to write down all the amazing things that happened in 2017 on one sheet of paper, and to write all the bad things that happened in 2017 on another sheet. When finished, I had written over 20 amazing things and only about five things, mosty names, on the bad list. I realized who my true ride or die friends are (in Charlotte and beyond) and they reminded me that I have the power to decide who my main, supporting, and walk on characters who usually get killed in episode 9 of a Shonda Rhimes show are in my story/life. (Please note that I would never kill anyone, I’m the person who rescues baby squirrels, but I’m a writer and fan of dramatic flair.) Then a few days after my birthday, a dream of mine was realized and I became the editor of Carolina Bride magazine.

As January 1, 2018 rolled around, I was able to say that my 2017 was intentional and that it was incredible. I have this amazing life, but I needed to learn some valuable lessons. 2017 taught me to…
1. Listen to your gut.
2. Let people earn the title of “friend” before giving him/her that honor.
3. When someone shows you who they truly are, listen to them.
4. When you find your true friends, your people, you tell them everyday how much you love and value them.
5. Learn your lessons and move on and move forward.

Now that you know the back story, let’s finally get to my word for 2018. My word for 2018 is boundaries. I realized I didn’t have many before 2017. I have an open heart and I love unapologetically. I want to help everyone, but sometimes that has been a detriment to myself and I mean this personally and professionally. The boundaries I am creating are both professional and personal. I want to work with people, companies and publications that make my heart happy. I want to have amazing experiences with people I love and live the hell out of this life of mine. I can’t do all of this by saying yes to things and people who should be a no. As my dad said, “you can’t fly if you are carrying too much weight on your back.”

I still believe in magic, love and goodness, but my rose-colored glasses are off and that’s OK. It needed to happen… I just wish it hadn’t involved so much heartbreak. But then again, do we truly appreciate the good times without the bad times?!?

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With and without.

My intentional 2017 started off with a bang. I picked up some new clients, a new part-time job, and some new writing assignments. If I wanted to make this a successful year, I was off to a good start. But something wasn’t right. I just didn’t feel like me. All this good was happening, but I wasn’t fully able to enjoy it. With the election, a dinged up heart, and horrible sleeping patterns, I just was starting to feel down.

Those who know me well, know that I’m a ‘pick yourself up by the bootstraps’ type of gal. I don’t let myself stay down for long. My year of intentionality continued with me creating a challenge for myself to get my head right. In February I gave up drinking and social media, specifically Facebook and Twitter.

Giving up drinking was easy. Although I love a glass of wine or a brilliant cocktail (Gin, I’ve missed you), it’s not something I tend to crave. It also helps that there are some amazing nonalcoholic options out there, like kombucha. I’m addicted to Lenny Boy’s Lost Rose kombucha.


Now social media… that was a little harder to give up. I realized how conditioned I had become to checking my phone and mindlessly scrolling through posts. People seemed more shocked by my giving up social media than anything else. Two of the most frequent questions I got was 1. do you feel out of the loop? and 2. how do you get your news and stay informed? I never felt out of the loop because friends would tell me about events, etc. As for the second question, I used this great invention called the Internet to seek out information, especially news and current events.

I learned some great lessons during my month of being ‘without’ and I had so much more time for work, fun, and for myself. I will definitely have to write something more in-depth about the lessons I learned.

Loving the idea of a challenge, I decided to keep challenging myself in different ways throughout the year. This brings me to March. March is less about going without something and more about adding things to my routine. For the month of March, I’m challenging myself to drink a shit ton more water than I do now, to listen to at least one record a day, and to workout 3-4 times a week.

I don’t drink nearly enough water during the day. When I get in my zone while working, I tend to not eat or drink until I’m starving or dying of thirst. Yeah, I know that’s not a good thing, but I’m working on it. I recently was gifted with my parents’ record player and their vinyl collection. I’ve been slowly adding my music to the collection, but I love the idea of getting to know my parents more through their taste in music. Yesterday I listened to Nancy Sinatra and today I took a tour of Motown and listened to The Supremes. During February, due to better sleep patterns, more time and energy, I started working out more. I lost 6 pounds and feel amazing. I want to keep up that momentum.


This year is about being the best I can be in all areas of my life, but, most importantly, this year is to remember that I have a pretty amazing life.

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With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about love. The funny thing about my thought process is that recently I was a guest on the Charlotte Magazine podcast #DiscussCLT to talk about love and dating in Charlotte. Far from an expert on love and dating, I was invited on because of an article I wrote for the November issue.

Even before this month, or the podcast came up, it felt like I couldn’t escape the word or the topic of love. In the past few months, I have been asked numerous times about my feelings about love. Does it exist? Do I believe in it? Do I want to fall in love again? Out of all the questions I was asked, the one that got me was about whether or not I wanted love in my life.

Even after a divorce and some breakups since, I have never once thought that I didn’t have love in my life. I have an awesome family, incredible friends, a fluffy and lovable dog, and I have my faith. I won’t lie to you and tell you have I haven’t had moments where I’ve wondered what the hell I’m doing in the romantic relationships department. There have been many times when I’ve thrown up my hands and said “I’m done,” but those declarations only lasted for a dramatic southern moment.

While my track record with love has had some hits and misses I don’t blame love for any of my bumps in the road. Love doesn’t hurt us, it’s people, situations, timing, etc. that hurt us. Over the past few years I have learned that love is more than just love between spouses or partners. To me the greatest love is love of self. If you can’t love yourself, how will you ever be able to truly love someone else?

Reading a book, listening to a record, cuddling with my fluffy and lovable dog on my green couch, and just being OK by myself and with myself is sometimes enough. And even though I happen to like myself, that doesn’t mean there’s not room for one more on my green couch.

So for all of the questions I’ve been asked about love, the answer is always yes.




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As the first month of 2017 comes to a close, I realize I haven’t declared my word or theme for the year. As I’ve said in previous years, I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, but I do believe in selecting a word or a theme to shape my year. A way to set intent for the year, which is ironic, because my word for this year is… Intentional.

In 2016, my word was Grace. That was the perfect word for my first year as a full-time writer and business owner. Grace got me through my personal and professional mistakes, successes, heartbreaks and triumphs. I learned I have a good head on my shoulders for business. I learned sometimes I have to say no to things no matter how much I want to say yes. I learned the importance of surrounding myself with amazing people. I learned that I am capable of loving someone even though I may get hurt. Through Grace, I allowed myself to grow.

Grace allowed me to grow, but my hope is being Intentional will allow me to succeed. I plan to be more intentional professionally, personally, physically, spiritually, mentally, and so on and so on. All of it. I want to be the best I can be for myself and for those in my life, including my dog, Smitty.

My Intentional 2017 has already started strong professionally, but not so much personally. This is why I’ve decided that I’m going to take the first intentional step for myself personally in February. During the month of February, I’m giving up alcohol and taking a break from social media. Time for a detox. Time to take intentional steps for me. I’ll still be on Instagram and I’m going to use the time to write more here. I realized I write so much for others, that I don’t write for myself much these days. Time for a change.

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I believe we all have certain paths we are supposed to take in life. Some paths may lead people to become doctors, teachers, or world travelers. Some paths may lead people to become parents, animal rescuers, or crusaders of causes. And there may even be a path for a thirtysomething writer with a passion for all things related to the ocean.

I fought my path for a long time. I always knew I would be a writer and my own boss. The reasons I knew all of this was because a normal 9 to 5 job never fit my personality, I like doing things my way, and writing always made me deliriously happy. Even though I knew these facts about myself I never fully accepted them or my path. Time for some honesty… fear was a huge reason I avoided my path. Fear of the unknown. Fear of going against the grain and doing something different. Fear of admitting to myself that I had made wrong decisions in my life.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” ~ Anais Nin

There was a time when instead of going down the long and winding road, I took the path of least resistance. I decided I could be happy where I was and I just needed to ignore the voices in my head telling me to be brave. Well, God had different plans for me. Whether you believe in God or not, I truly feel that if we are not doing what we are supposed to be doing, we will somehow be put back on our path. Usually, that process is a lot more painful than if we had stopped being fearful and stubborn in the first place (I’m totally talking about myself here).

We all will experience different paths in life. Some paths will involve careers, love, friendship, heartache, missteps, face plants, but everything will be worth it in the end. The path I am on now has broken and rebuilt my heart piece by piece, and I wouldn’t change a thing. Well, maybe I’d change a few things, but I’m trying to follow my path with a sense of humor and an open heart.


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IMG_3383I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, so for the past three years I opted to select a word or a theme to shape my year. In 2014, my word was my name, Erin. I had gotten so far away from who I was that I needed to get back to the heart of me. It worked. I felt more like me than I had in years.

In 2015, my word was Fearless. I did things that both scared and challenged me. I allowed myself to be vulnerable and to pursue my dreams. Well, 2015 ended with me leaving my job as a marketing director and going out on my own as a writer and a business owner.

Although 2016 is half gone, I realized I haven’t written about my word yet. This year, the word I selected didn’t come easily. It didn’t roll off my tongue and I didn’t have a big “a-ha” moment. My word came to me one day while I was reading. I kept seeing the same word scattered throughout the pages of my book. By what was probably the tenth time that I saw the word, I paused and said it quietly to myself. A sense of peace came over me and I let a small smile spread across my face. I found it. My word for 2016 is Grace.

Life, love, writing, and everything in between.

This year I’m going to make brilliant decisions and I’m going to make mistakes. I’m going to get hurt and I’m going to hurt others. I’m going to have adventures and I’m going to have missed opportunities. I’m going to laugh and I’m going to cry. I’m not perfect, and I like knowing that about myself. There is comfort in being imperfect.

I’m going to give myself the grace to learn from every decision I make, every person I let in my life, and I’m going to give that same courtesy to others. Grace is a gift that I plan to accept and to give.

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Music Monday: Nina Simone

A gorgeous tree outside my building

Although this weekend was chilly in the Queen City, it was gorgeous outside and I tried to take advantage of the sunshine. Long walks with Smitty and a little hike on Sunday at McDowell Preserve was a great way to clear my head and enjoy the sunshine.

IMG_5281One of the views at McDowell Preserve 

This weekend, I also listened to a lot of different music and rediscovered some classics. I was really feeling Nina Simone and that carried over to today too. What better way to get through a gloomy Monday than by listening to one of the greats? If you haven’t, you should absolutely check out Nina’s work. She was one of a kind and left an incredible legacy.

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Music Monday and Weekend Wrap-Up

Smitty is not feeling Monday at all.

Apparently, I needed sleep this weekend because I slept for 10 hours on Friday night and 11 hours on Saturday night. Full disclosure: I also took naps on Saturday and Sunday. I’m not sure if it is the time change, my hectic schedule, or the fact that allergy season is upon us, but I definitely needed the rest.

While this weekend was a delightful time for sleep and Netflix (I rediscovered Alias), I also did ‘things’. One of those things, is something I’m extremely excited about and happy to share. Two Bottles Wine Co., invited me to attend an information session about their company. The concept behind Two Bottles is to bring delicious wine produced by small batch, family owned wineries in Italy to consumers via online orders. The wines are currently unavailable for purchase in the U.S., and all have a unique story of how Two Bottles discovered the wineries. As a lover of stories, I was fascinated by the Italian adventures and relationships created by business partners Adam Hill, Katy Hill and Justin Gallo. I’m also incredibly honored to have been asked to write content for the Two Bottles website, which will be launched in the coming months. Keep them on your radar, especially if you love delicious wine and stories of far off adventures.

Adam Hill telling about the different wines being tasted  IMG_5241

This weekend I also tried ROCKSALT, a new restaurant tucked away behind a Charlotte shopping center with a great patio that specializes in sustainable seafood. The food was fantastic. I had oysters to start and then had their famous (that’s what our waiter said and I believe him) Chesapeake Crab Cake with cream spinach and a grit cake. It was amazing. The crab cake came with a Boo-Ya sauce (I did not make that up) that I want to put on everything. The food was amazing, but there are a few growing pains that still need to be worked out regarding service and timing, but that will get fixed in no time.


I did a closet purge this weekend, and I now realize that a good chunk of my neighborhood may have seen me dancing around my place like an idiot. My apologies for my singing (my dance moves are on point). One of the songs on repeat was a favorite of mine by Feist. It helped me clean yesterday and get up today, although Smitty was not feeling it. Enjoy and happy Monday.

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So much water, so little time

smittySmitty passed out after a long walk this weekend

Today marks day 10 of my month of no alcohol and I’m shocked at the changes I’ve already seen. Before I get to that, I’d like to say thank you for all the encouraging words and inspiring stories I’ve heard in the past few days regarding this reset. I love that people want to share their experiences with me. It’s very humbling and I don’t take it for granted.

So back to my month sans alcohol. It’s been 10 days and I feel amazing. In the past 10 days, I’ve lost weight without really trying, and I’ve noticed I’m sleeping through the night even with a million things on my mind. I’m also proud to report that my social life hasn’t taken a hit. This past Friday, I went with friends to the first anniversary party for Fahrenheit, a great restaurant where the bartenders will dress up your water with fruit so you still feel fancy at a party. The rest of the weekend consisted of dates (yes, plural), brunch with friends, and being outside enjoying the weather with my pup. 

A lot has happened in 10 days and I’m curious to see what else happens as the month progresses. In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be writing about my observations on things such as my energy level and my adventures in dating. I seriously think I’m a character in a weird Rom-Com movie and am waiting for Meg Ryan to appear at any moment.


farenheitMy friends and I with chef Rocco Whalen at the Fahrenheit anniversary party
Photo courtesy of Kseniya Martin

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