I’m Still Dateable, Even Though I Don’t Drink

HuffPost Personal

We chatted for three hours over coffee on a foggy San Francisco morning. His bright eyes flickered as he told me about his recent hiking trip through New Zealand. I related, shared my own New Zealand travel stories, and fought the urge to imagine us rolling around in a large hammock off the shores of Papua New Guinea. I believed we would definitely see each other again and felt grateful to have met someone so easygoing.

Who Am I to Be Skinny?

HuffPost

I’ve fallen in love with NBC’s, This is Us. On the surface, This is Us is a show about a family. If you watch it, you will find this beautiful story has more to do with self-worth and how our relationships, especially with our parents, shape us.

The incredibly talented Chrissy Metz plays Kate, someone who has battled her weight since childhood. In Episode 13, Kate joins a weight loss camp. In a yoga-type class with her campmates, she bangs sticks in unison with the group on the ground.

5 Things that Help Us Get Right with Fear & Anxiety

Elephant Journal

I live in a rural area in Marin County, California, where raccoons frequently claw into garbage cans along the block.

Sometimes, I hear a mild thud in the night and know I will wake up to find tossed cans and hummus smeared across the driveway like frosting.

Last night, the thud woke me up at 3 a.m. and sounded louder than usual. Then, it continued in about five-minute intervals: a deep bonging sound followed by several quick ones.

My 40-Year-Old Face and Other Big Birthday Revelations

HuffPost

Birthday Revelations

I spend a lot more time looking at my wrinkles these days. I’m certain my forehead and neck have acquired at least eight new half-moon creases overnight. Vanity sometimes drags me into old photo albums, where I flip pages reminiscing and coveting my “younger face.”

My friend Laura and I recently shared plans to celebrate our fortieth birthdays that land three weeks apart this month. When I asked Laura if she’d reflected on our milestone and the years leading up to it, she admitted, “I’m really obsessed with my face.”

The 11 Things I Did NOT Need on My Trip Around the World

HuffPost

My Trip Around the World

My longest adventure lasted six months and brought a best friend and me through Costa Rica, Ireland, Scotland, Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, and Thailand. Like Cheryl Strayed's backpack in Wild, mine was way too heavy when I left.

Fortunately, it had wheels and could be rolled when needed. Six months worth of clothes, toiletries, and books simply made it impossible to zip the thing closed most of the time.

Navigating the Bumpy Road to ‘Published’

HuffPost

Bumpy Road

I’ve always visualized myself writing a book (said about 90 percent of the population). I just didn’t know what I’d write about until my life changed in October of my twenty-fourth year.

I watched live television coverage of the multicar accident for an entire day before recognizing my father’s Chevy pickup pinned between two semi trucks. A news reporter at the time, I narrowly avoided being assigned to cover the collision that killed my father.

The event, the way I found out, and our unfinished and sometimes tumultuous relationship altered me in a spider web of excruciating ways.

CrossFit Hell... of My Own Making

HuffPost

CrossFit Hell

"Quit fearing everything!" barks Aaron, my favorite trainer. It's 7 a.m., and I'm trying to conquer this 4-foot-high sit-ups contraption.

With both ankles hooked into holsters and my butt cheeks firmly planted on a shiny black cushion, I'm afraid to lean back onto nothing. So, I sit paralyzed, arms crisscrossed over my chest like a dead person, with Aaron staring at me.

"Seriously, Michelle. What are you afraid of? It's a sit-up," he says.

Surviving Houdini

Girls on the Grid

Surviving Houdini

The Houdini begins with what seems like a plan. You and a new dude agree via text to spend some time together Saturday afternoon. The deal is set, sort of. He asked you, but you have zero idea what the date will look like.

Will you take a stroll through the park, go to the movies, or drink tea in a warm café by the fire? You don’t know but trust that he’ll come through.

But actually you don’t. You don’t know this guy at all. Deep down, you’re wondering: What in the Sam Hill are we doing on Saturday, and what time should I be ready?

‘Text to Ya Later!’: In Defense of the Phone Call

HuffPost

In Defense of the Phone Call

Remember the days when you’d fall in love with someone and talk on the phone late into the night? Staring up at glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling, you believed those effortless hours of conversation confirmed you two were meant to be.

When the time came to hang up so that each of you could squeeze in a cool four hours of sleep, you’d play that totally not annoying “Who hangs up first?” game.

The Surprising Benefits of Vacationing with Two Kids

Girls on the Grid

Surprising Benefits of Vacationing

I recently traveled to Hawaii with a best friend and her two children, Makaio (9), and Keahi (7). I happen to really love these kids, so I was excited, but a little nervous about the early rise times. I also had no idea what it would be like to vacation for a week with kids.

As a 38-year-old woman with no kids, vacation to me usually means sleeping late, reading at least three books on the beach in a week (in between sleeping some more), and essentially doing whatever I want, whenever I want. As you can imagine, that is not what I experienced on this trip. What did happen surprised me.

Finding the Courage to Define What you Want in a Partner

Girls on the Grid

Finding the Courage to Define

Shortly before he ripped my heart out and held it in front of my face, my ex-boyfriend told me he loved how un-jaded I was.

“You’re so optimistic and open…so joyful. So many women out there are jaded bitches,” he said, before verbally beating me down to a shell of my former self. I’m just kidding. It wasn’t that bad. Maybe.

Honesty Still Exists, Even at the Auto Shop

HuffPost

Honesty Still Exists

My car guy, Dave, wears a curly brown ponytail that stretches down to his waist and glasses that kind of remind me of John Lennon. I found him through stellar reviews on Yelp. A free spirit, he’s undoubtedly the most unique mechanic I’ve ever met

Dave’s business looks nothing like your traditional automotive shop. Paintings of colorful swirls cover the windows on the outside of the building. Inside, Dave has eclectic posters with quotes and funny pictures hanging on the walls amidst countless plants and antique car parts plopped on the floor of the waiting area.

Always a Bridesmaid (11 Times)

HuffPost

Always a Bridesmaid

I’ll never forget my first time. I wore this drapey cream-colored promish dress. I think it involved a sash. At 21, I celebrated with the bride and other maids at some karaoke bar for the Bachelorette party. I gave the obligatory botched wine-soaked, half-crying speech at the rehearsal dinner. Headache pounding, I then miraculously made it through hair and makeup on the actual “big day.”

Walking down the aisle, gracefully carrying a carnation bouquet, I stared at my then boyfriend standing on the groom’s side fantasizing about our future wedding. A mere youngster.

The Too-Fast, Too-Soon Flytrap

HuffPost

Too-Soon Flytrap

A friend of mine fell in love. She declared it to the world through numerous romantic quotes and pictures she posted of her new boyfriend on Facebook. Their selfies show a couple beaming on day trips, hiking trails, and hammocks. The photographs, “likes” on each other’s everything, and “in a relationship” status are all too familiar. After knowing each other for a cool 11 days, my friend and her beau are happily stuck in the “too-fast, too-soon flytrap.”

Why Aren’t You Married Yet?

HuffPost

Why Aren’t You Married Yet

“Auntie Michelle, have you ever had a boyfriend in your life, ever?”

This question, from my godson, Makaio, could have sent me over the edge, but it didn’t. Kids cut right to the chase, and I happen to love this one so I couldn’t help but laugh.

Munching on French fries in the backseat of my car, Makaio stared at me perplexed. My laughter didn’t make sense to him, so he asked again.

“No, seriously, Auntie Michelle, did you ever love someone?” At nine years old, Makaio hasn’t seen me in love, because my last major relationship fizzled when he was just three.