Travel: Boise, Idaho

When I tell people we went to Boise, Idaho in Mid-March, I get some funny sideways looks. Yes, it’s true that by reputation, Idaho is more of an outdoor destination (if I were to go back I would spend all my time hiking), but we made the best of our trip by eating and drinking our way through the city and avoiding the not-so-great weather. And hey, when you have to check all 50 states off your bucket list by 2022 you’ll take what you can get!

Time Spent: 2 Days

The Adventure:

On a Wednesday evening my husband and I caught a the short, cheap $100 flight from Sacramento to Boise, and when we landed I couldn’t contain my excitement! There’s something about touching my feet down in new territory that livens my spirit. We decided to rent a car since we’d be driving to Seattle after our Boise excursion, and immediately we drove to 10 Barrel Brewing Company for dinner and some vacation brews. I always like to get a beer flight when trying new breweries, but the best surprise was the delicious falafel that I ate there! We decided to call it a night and head to our lovely Airbnb which was brand new, totally affordable, and super clean!

For our only full day in Boise I had planned to spend morning hiking on some trails nearby. The weather was NOT agreeing with us and our California blood (I know, I know what all of you in Massachusetts are saying about me in your heads). Instead of braving it in the 30 degree sideways rain and wind, we decided to grab a cozy breakfast instead at Big City Coffee and Cafe – it came well recommended and we were not disappointed! The restaurant was super cute and packed with locals (mostly college students from Boise State).


The rest of our excursions for the day included walking around the Idaho State Capitol grounds with a delicious cardamom latte from Coffee District House, finding the coolest game store ever and a modern fine gifts shope that I was obsessed with, and had a lovely farm to fork table dinner with Mike’s cousin Kayla at Fork Restaurant.


If you ever find yourself in Boise Idaho, you must visit the Boise Fry Company immediately. It’s funny because at first, I hesitated. We had already eaten so much in one day and had dinner plans approaching. But once I saw how fun it was to customize your french fry order at this place I couldn’t resist. First, you choose your potato type, your french fry “cut”, and THEN your endless options of dipping ketchups – blueberry, chipotle, parmesan truffle, sriracha…the list of options went on and on. Give me anything with truffle oil and I’m down!

For the two of us, my husband and I really appreciated the ability to disconnect for a few days from work and balance our lives. Boise was a fun new place to do it, and I hope some day I can revisit with my hiking boots or ski poles.



Travel: Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas is a culture rich, food mecca that I loved exploring and hope to visit again soon. I’m blessed to travel from time-to-time for work, and I like to take advantage of those opportunities during the evenings after hours to try new things. What makes Austin even better? The friends that I have who live there! Traveling not only opens your eyes to new things, but provides the space to reminisce on the old.

Time Spent: 5 Days

The Adventure:

As I walked down Congress Street from my downtown hotel to Hop Doddy Burger Bar I fell in love with the endless amount of restaurants, coffee shops, and boutique stores that lined the streets. This is one of my favorite parts about Austin – there seems to be endless experiences ready for a foodie like myself! Although I am not a huge meat eater, Hop Doddy was delicious. I’m not even kidding – I ate the best parmesan truffle fries of my life there – we ordered seconds! There was a great happy hour deal on drinks, and I enjoyed the black bean burger that I ordered.

Another great restaurant that I was able to visit was the Austin Beer Garden Brewing Co. My favorite part about it was what we like to call the “vibes.” There was live music, and it seemed like a popular spot for locals to come after work.

BUT HOLD ON FOLKS! Let me just tell you about my favorite restaurant that I went to in Austin. Your guess is probably a southern bbq joint, but nope. On Valentine’s Day a group of my friends from college ate dinner at Thai Fresh – a small, cozy Thai food restaurant where I had the best curry ever. To continue the celebrations, my friends took me to Gourdough’s for a past-time college tradition – donuts. These were not your average donuts! They were massive, and they were loaded. In our case, we got the “Son of a Peach” and the “Black Out” and I could only finish a couple bites of each. Gourdough’s definitely seems like an Austin staple!

I can’t finish this blog post without recognizing a cute little coffee shop that I visited with a friend early one morning before work – Quack’s 43rd Street Bakery. It was so fun to explore the outskirts of downtown because this particular area had an interesting mix of vintage-style businesses and homes.

Austin was almost completely a food and drink adventure for me, but I made sure to visit the flagship store of one of my favorite toxin-free and eco-friendly cosmetic companies – W3ll People. I had my makeup done with a nice little tutorial, bought a few things, and made my way as happy as ever. If you know me, you know organic and healthy beauty products are my fave!

On that note, I’ll end with a sweet little quote I found about Austin to leave you wanting to plan your next vacation there:

“There is a freedom you begin to feel the closer you get to Austin, Texas”

-Willie Nelson


Travel: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Days Spent: 5

The Adventure:

My trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico was a different style of vacation than ones that I usually take. 100% of our time was spent at our all-inclusive resort, and the relaxation was much needed! For the first time, my family and I travelled somewhere tropical for the Christmas holiday. I personally thought it was so fun to break from the norm, especially when the norm was 30 degrees warmer! In addition, we never left the campus and took full advantage of everything that the resort had to offer – from the pool and beach, to the unlimited food and drink, to the fun on-site activities.

Because we didn’t leave our resort, I thought I would take a different approach to this blog and teach you some of the ins and outs of all-inclusive resort life by sharing the top five things you need to know before heading into this style of vacation.

  1. Set your expectations, but roll with the flow. Staying for a week at an all-inclusive resort is much different than your average hotel or airbnb experience. There are many pros and cons, some of which I will share below, but it’s important to remember that you are on vacation and going with the flow will make your experience less stressful.
  2. Clarify how to make dinner reservations with the front desk. This is something that you will want to do upon arrival otherwise risk the chance that you will be eating the same buffet dinner for five days. Normally large resorts have 4-5 different restaurants to dine at during your stay.
  3. Participate in activities galore! One of my favorite aspects about all-inclusive resorts is that there is always a plethora of different activities for you to take part in throughout the day. I’m talking water aerobics at 8AM to theatre performances at 9PM. I’ve stayed at two all-inclusive resorts in the past, and some of my favorite activities have included sand volleyball, pool Olympics, and bingo – of course!
  4. Prepare for the language barrier. Wherever you travel internationally you will want to approach your trip with a few of the local phrases in your back pocket. However, sometimes there’s just nothing you will be able to do! A key thing is not to expect everyone to know English. When we were eating at our resort at a Mexican restaurant one night we ordered three margaritas and our server brought us back three tequila shots. Sometimes, it’s best to laugh in these situations and continue to go with the flow (as I suggested in #1).
  5. Research with the lens of quantity vs quality. I think one of the most interesting things that I have observed visiting all inclusive resorts in Mexico and Jamaica is that often times an extra large resort will mean that the management may have a hard time balancing the quantity of people vs the quality of the experience. When booking your stay, make sure that you understand how big of a resort that you are staying at as well as the price because the cheapest and biggest resort may not be the right fit for you. I felt that the resort we stayed at in Cabo San Lucas was the perfect size, and I would recommend it to those who read this post and pay serious attention to the ins and outs of all-inclusive resort life – expectation setting is everything!

For more information on where we stayed in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico visit the RIU Santa Fe website.

Working Remotely: Taboo or Totally Awesome?

It has been about four months since I transitioned to being a remote employee, working from my home office in Northern California with the closest office about two and a half hours away. As a part of my company’s workplace transformation efforts, our CEO would like to see 50% of his workforce remote by 2020. Why? Because according to our workplace website:

Flexibility is a key aspect of Dell’s business strategy that enables us to compete for the best talent…As part of our People Strategy, Dell flexible work options encourages employees to find new ways to work, and focuses on driving business results rather than looking at where work is done.

For me, being able to contribute as a remote employee is empowering. When life changes came my way, in this case moving out of Silicon Valley for a more affordable life, my company supported me through the ability to work from my new home. Our Chief HR Officer recently wrote an article for Forbes about “How A Flexible Work Culture Works for Everyone.” Within this article, he says “Flexible work is the new norm in the workplace, and it’s not going away anytime soon. By providing your teams with flexible work options that encourage collaboration, optimize productivity and allow them to follow their preferred work style, your organization will boost its competitive edge.” However, the question still remains: If companies are adopting these programs, why is this so taboo?

Allow me to be real for a moment. If I had a dollar for every person I’ve encountered that believed working from home is “hardly working”, boring, or lonely, I might have myself a good side hustle. My inspiration for this blog came from these conversations, and I thought it might be interesting to address some FAQs that I’ve received from my friends on social media to see what I can demystify about my own experience working from home.

Q: Since you don’t work in an office what do you do to make your space your own? I love this question! Before we moved, I knew that finding a space with an extra room would be a priority. Since then, I’ve been transforming our second room into my own ideal work space. It’s equipped with natural light, a standing desk, and my personal touches of inspiration. Here are a few photos of my office!

Q: Do you find it hard to stay productive while you’re at home? This question makes me chuckle. I think this question was asked so many times because one of the most stereotypical views of employees that work form home is that they do not do their work and lie around watching TV in their PJs. As you can imagine, this is neither professional nor ideal for someone that works from home. We’re busy. We have important jobs and projects to be completed. For me, being in corporate communications, I am always on the phone or chatting back and forth with co-workers. Like everyone (even those in an office), we all have our days where we don’t get enough sleep the night before, have back to back meetings for hours, hit a lull, or moment of inspiration that increases or decreases our productivity. While I do not need to throw on a dress and heels every day, I can promise you that I am still just as productive as the next person!

Q: Do you change the scenery from time to time and go somewhere else to work? Honestly, for the most part I stay in my office when I’m working. However, if I wanted to I could. I actually find that sometimes coffee shops are even more loud and distracting than your average office space would be.

Q: What is the work life balance like? Do you stop paying attention to emails at a certain time? Living and working in the same space makes being strict with your work-life balance very important. In my field, supporting an executive means there’s a possibility of a fire drill (a project popping up quickly) at any time. Here are a few ways that I personally take a healthy approach to living and working in the same place:

  • Take breaks: I like to go for a walk or out to lunch if my schedule allows.
  • Shut down on the weekend: I do not like to spend additional hours working on emails or projects on Saturday/Sunday.
  • Go to the gym: Once I’m done for the day, I’ll drive to the gym or run errands.
  • No emails on phone: Some of you may be surprised to hear this, but I don’t have my work email on my phone (GASP!) Because I am by my computer 24/5 there’s no need for it to be included on my personal device.

Q: What is your average day like? The average day fluctuates depending on how many meetings I have, who they’re with, when they begin, and what kind of deadlines I’m working with. From previous blog posts you’ve learned that I like to be aware of the sacrifices that others are making to meet with me – if they’re staying late or starting early, depending on their time zone. In response to the actual work, I find myself working on many projects at once – sometimes up to 20+ different actions a week.

Overall, as you can imagine, I do enjoy the perks that working from home allows for – a zero minute commute, my own tea/coffee, the ability to adjust the temperature, and so on. I will also say that I am not naive, and I know this type of set up will not work for every profession, but I am truly lucky it works for my own!

Thanks for taking a peek into my life as a full time remote employee. Let’s continue this conversation – feel free to comment below or message me separately!


The Role of the Communication Professional During Times of Change

It has been fifteen months since the acquisition of my company occurred. The amount of change has been inexorable – some positive and some negative, depending on the lens through which you see your life. Without giving everything away, this has been a year of sticking it out, seeing through the change, and making it work. It still surprises me when I look back to joining the company over three years ago, and assess where we I am today. Sometimes I think ‘who would have thought?’

Through the many types of changes I experienced this year I have seen strong and transparent communications become a priority. In addition, understanding the team member needs has been of the upmost importance as well. One of the first things that our new company did was to survey both pre-acquisition companies to understand their culture, and identify what values were the most important to them. How cool is that to be a part of the company that values their team members!

During this time, I have been reflecting on why having a communication professional on your team is so important during such times. Our team members have been going through a consistent and non-stop amount of change – new processes, new teams, new leaderships, new technology…the list goes on and on. I find communication professionals are vital to the success of the business: driving internal team member engagement, creating key messaging, supporting executives and their teams, and being an approachable, listening ear through times of change.

There are two important and specific ways that communication professionals can support their teams and executives through times of change. The first is through creating messages and making decisions that are audience-centric. The strategies you design and the campaigns you plan should be targeted at addressing the needs of the person reading, watching, and participating in your communication efforts. How can you do this and become more aware of your audience’s wants and needs? Here are a few ways:

  1. Ask them! Create an annual communication survey to receive valuable feedback that shapes your plans and programs.
  2. Create regular touch points. Meet and consult with stakeholders from your business regularly to have a dialogue about upcoming communications, share best practices, and most importantly listen to what is going on within their teams.
  3. Build relationships. Become a presence within your organization – one that has an open door policy, loves creative ideas, and has empathy.

The second role that a communication professional should play is to be a strategic advisor to your executives and teams. Being a strategic advisor means that you use your experience mastering the art of communication to advise your stakeholders on the best ways to communicate, whether that be how to create a vision deck for the year, how to host an engaging all-hands meeting, or how to plan and promote an event. Some of the key ways to do this are through creating a strong portfolio of work, building a relationship of trust, and by being yourself!

I count myself very lucky to love what I do, and I hope that some of these ideas are relevant to other communicators and business professionals alike. I’d love to hear from you!

Travel: Zurich

This Fall I had the pleasure of traveling to Switzerland on business, and as all of you know I never pass up an opportunity to see the sights when I travel. Four years ago I visited this beautiful country for the first time, and I was so excited to return. However, this trip signified something very special – my first solo trip internationally! I think about this adventure every day, and for those that follow me on Instagram you know I still have not stopped posting about it.

Days Spent: 5.5 days

The Adventure:

I waited with anticipation for my flight to Zurich from SFO, feeling ready to take on my first solo journey. With only a couple of days to explore on my own before the work portion of my trip began, I made myself a jam packed agenda that included lot’s of walking, tasting, and touring. Before I share some of my favorite parts of my trip, I want to share some insights:

  1. Zurich is a melting pot. Like Switzerland in general, there is a beautiful diversity there – you never knew what language a person would speak when they opened their mouth. Most of the time it was German, but seeing as Switzerland five countries you could never know for sure. Thankfully, everyone spoke English there so communicating was never a problem for me.
  2. Zurich is somewhere I could see myself living. Between the lovely city center, it’s surrounding neighborhoods, and hub for businesses, it seems like the perfect mixture of city and suburb.
  3. Zurich is surrounded by some of the world’s most stunning scenery. From the lakes to the alps to the bright green hills, I was in nature heaven.

When I booked my trip, I looked at the map of Switzerland and immediately began planning a way to check another European country off my list. To my surprise, I noticed a tiny country, the Principality of Lichtenstein, bordering Eastern Switzerland. I had to get there, so I booked a cheap day trip by bus which took me through Rapperswil, the road to the Alps, Vaduz, and Heidiland. A bus trip with other travelers was a great way to spend my time and meet some interesting people, especially since I was traveling alone. We didn’t spend too much time in Lichtenstein, but the journey there was worth the trip!

When I surveyed my friends and family for ideas on what to do and see in Zurich, I was surprised that nobody I knew had spent enough time there to give actual recommendations. Between the few that I did receive, and some extensive research, here are some of my must-do’s when you travel to Zurich:

  1. See Lake Zurich by boat. I found a lovely two hour boat tour around Lake Zurich that circled the lake and the many small towns that line it. I fell in love with each stop, and although I did not get out and explore, I knew that my potential vacation home could be on this lake 😉 It was beautiful!


  2. Walk through downtown Zurich & up to Lindhof Hill. Most of my time on this trip was spent wandering through the cobblestone streets, wide eyed and loving my surroundings. Around every corner was something new and beautiful – like a fountain full of roses or a river with white swans. Lindhof Hill had my favorite vantage point of the city, river, and mountains.
  3. Milch Bar. Right off the main shopping avenue, Bahnhofstrasse, was a little coffee shop called Milch Bar that was tucked away in a quiet quiet corner. I remember my feet being so tired from walking, and this was the perfect cozy spot to relax (and Instagram, of course).

    4. Sprungli Cafe. Swizterland is known for it’s chocolate. Have you ever heard of Lindt Chocolate? Well it’s made in a factory located on Lake Zurich! There are plenty of chocolate shops around the city, and I happened to stop into Sprungli one morning and did a little shopping 🙂 I may or may not have spent too much money on chocolate goodies.

The last time that I visited Europe was in 2014, and somehow between then and now I had forgotten what a magical place that it is. Now, after visiting Zurich, I’ll never forget!


Travel: Portland, OR

Ever since I moved to the West Coast of the United States I have wanted to explore Oregon and visit Portland. After last summer’s trip to the coast, I was anxious to plan my trip to the city. My opportunity was met this Summer after being invited to a wedding in McMinnville, OR which is about an hour outside Portland.

Days Spent: 4 days

The Adventure:

To my surprise, McMinnville, the town in which we stayed for the first two nights was famous for it’s wine trail – there were wineries and tasting rooms on every corner! Between wedding festivities, I had the pleasure of visiting Youngberg Winery, a stunning facility with an incredible vista – perfect for wine tasting. Lucky for me, they had free wine tastings on yelp, and I left happy with a bottle of Pinot Gris in my hand.

One of my favorite parts about the trip to Portland was the hotel at which we stayed in downtown off 3rd – The Society Hotel. I knew I wanted to stay somewhere a little bit eclectic, so we opted for this renovated sailor’s hotel in Old Chinatown. It had welcoming management, a rooftop seating area, views of the city from our room, and the cutest cafe on the 1st floor. We definitely picked the best spot for our first Portland experience!

I’m looking forward to my next trip to Portland so that I can skip the lines. We waited in many lines on this trip to try out all of the hot tourist spots, which wasn’t our favorite in the middle of a heat wave. However, there was one innovative spot that we loved and was worth the wait – Salt & Straw. The flavors were so diverse and delicious – we opted for a lavender & brownie cone + a ice cream flight with flavors such as rose & hopped cider.

A highlight for me was our last day when we visited the International Rose Test Garden, where there are over 7,000 rose plants looking and smelling good! It was so lovely to stroll through the rows of flowers, and take lot’s of photos!

While everything can’t be my favorite, I really enjoyed walking around many different neighborhoods within Portland, and visiting a few breweries like Fat Heads. Another great city checked off the bucket list!

Portland, OR = check!