Miranda’s Cafe

Miranda’s Cafe. 

Miranda's Cafe

Miranda’s Cafe

I have found the most perfect, absolutely perfect, coffee shop. The coffee drinker in me is overjoyed, never wanting to leave this place, to stay here, caffeinated, forever. I am more than half attempted to ask if they are hiring, however, I’ll withhold my inquiry, at least for the time being. Can’t come across too strong straight off the bat, you know? 🙂 

I stumbled upon this place by complete accident (but isn’t that how all great places are discovered). As I had a long day of sightseeing in Chiang Mai (or more so, wat seeing), I was in desperate need for a large coffee.

 I had just finished up seeing one of the largest wats in town and decided to walk around the area to see what I could find. Chiang Mai is great in the fact that there is usually a coffee shop on every corner, and when I say coffee shop, I don’t mean your typical Starbucks (and no, not a Dutch coffee shop). These coffee shops are decorated to the extreme, really making their theme come to life, with coffee, tea and smoothies galore.  Miranda’s cafe is absolutely no exception. 

I would’ve missed the cafe had I not been paying attention or if I would’ve looked down at my phone for just a moment…I would’ve passed by it that quickly. Tucked away on a side street off of The Main Street where the Sunday night bazaar is located, the cafe had a small, completely charming patio, with about 5-6 small tables, just waiting for guests to indulge in this Chiang Mai treasure of a coffee shop. 

Light acoustic background music played over the speakers, and plants adorned the outside space. I noticed a small sign right outside explaining the story of Miranda’s cafe, and if I didn’t think I could fall more in love with this place, I did, then and there. I’ll let the story speak for itself.

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Walking up the few steps to come inside, the cafe almost felt like your great aunt’s living room. Board games were in no short supply, a china cabinet was lined with dolls and figurines, and a 50s style tv was propped up in the corner. In the middle of the space was a scooter decorated with flowers and a small carrying basket. 

The decor represents Miranda’s parents life journey, of all the things they loved and cherished, all blended into one. 


My intention by coming to this place (beyond needing a much needed energy boost) was to finish up the book I have been reading so I could exchange it for another book I found at the used book store earlier. Therefore, this was not going to be a quick coffee session, rather, coffee camping as I put it. 

I ordered a Thai coffee (70% espresso, 30% sweet cream, helllooooo productivity), and a mango bake. When ordering, I asked the lady behind the counter if she was the owner of the place, as many people who work in coffee shops are. My guess was right. She was in fact the owner, and I obsessed over her cafe for approximately 7 minutes until I realized I was coming off a bit….eccentric. I compiled myself and sat down to enjoy the best (and thus far only) mango bake and Thai coffee of my life. 

Miranda’s cafe

Simply being there made me feel like Miranda has welcomed me into her home, into her life. I felt like I’d suddenly become a part of Miranda’s journey. And any journey that involves coffee, I’m there. 

Onward! 
xoxo


 

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Starting over

Begin Again

 

Pai, Thailand

 

I’m starting over. Easy as that; nothing else to it. 

I’m sitting in the back of a 12 person van winding down a hill in northern Thailand, wondering WHY my blogging has been quite nonexistent. WHY am I not bogging? What is holding me back? Why am I so afraid to put my thoughts into words, my thoughts into writing? It’s almost as if I’m afraid of it, afraid of who is going to read my writing, apprehensive as to what other people will think. It’s all so silly really, especially when writing, blogging and more importantly sharing those passions became such a turning point for me. It was quite a monumental point in my life really, and I’ve subconsciously decided to forgo that because of some made up fear that someone out there will not like or agree with what I have to say.

As any good writer must do and has done, the only response that comes to mind, in such tasteful fashion, is screw it ( you can also insert similar R rated phrase here however I must at least keep this PG. k

I’m not afraid to share how I feel…because feelings make us real, make us genuine, make us UNFORGETTABLE. And in my own little way, that’s exactly what I’m striving to be…unforgettable, even if it’s simply my cat that thinks so. But then again, aren’t we all striving for the same.

I’ve come to Southeast Asia to understand what it is i want and what I really want to be doing. Traveling teaches you so much more than anything you could ever learn in a classroom, anything you could learn behind a desk. Not to discredit either of those things by any means, but it’s one thing to hear about it, it’s another to bare witness to.

My new journey has started, and there are miles upon miles of openness, opportunity and adventure below me, around me, within me. I will never be the person I was one month, six months, one year ago, and that is EXHILARATING. To know that I, through my own power, strength, determination, am making my dreams come true. I am not special and I am not above anything or anyone by pursuing this dream, however, I refuse, absolutely refuse, to settle for less than what I deserve. I’ve been there, done that, for far too long, longer than I want to admit to, and I’m finally in a place where my voice is heard, my opinion taken seriously, and my dreams, my goals, understood.

Chapter one, page one–complete

Now, let’s turn the page.


Remember to remember to remember

Be happy

Love yourself

Find your voice

Be well

We are all travelers

KEEP GOING

-Unknown

 

Onward xoxo

 

 

A Love So True

 

little girl

 

I’m In Love!

…No, not the kind of love you are thinking of. There are no glittery, diamond rings involved, no engagement pictures that look like they could have been swept off of a Pinterest Page, and certainly no long, confessional-style Facebook postings declaring my never ending, till death do us part, love. There is no white dress, no bridal shower being planned, organized, and color-coded, no cake that needs to be taste-tested. You see, I am experiencing a different kind of love, a love that is seemingly forgotten about, a love that is consistently brushed to the side.

I am in love, absolutely head over heels,  drunk in love, swept off of my feet in love…with the life I have created for myself. 

There I said it. There are no bells, whistles, or wedding bells involved in that statement, but yet, it is the truest, most organic, most powerful statement one can say (maybe next to “I do”). To love your life, to look at everything you have around you, to compare where you once were and where you are now, and to say “THIS is what I’ve always wanted. This is where I am meant to be”, well, there is nothing more empowering, nothing more liberating, than that.

Right now, I am at an age where many of my friends are getting married and taking that next step in life of either getting engaged, getting married, or having children. They are announcing their wedding plans, posting photos of their showers, and making sure that every part of the process is being documented and uploaded for the world to see (does an engagement even exist if you don’t post something on social media about it…haha, just kidding, of course). I am completely happy and supportive for those that know they are ready for such a commitment. This is what they want, and as I always say… to each his own. While I am no where near ready for any kind of commitment like that (hey, I can’t even keep my cat at my own apartment for goodness sakes), I have nothing but an undying respect for those individuals.

But then, naturally, as almost everyone does whether they want to or not, I compare their lives to my own. Why is my life not as “stable” as others my own age, why do I feel like my life has no real sense of “routine”, no real sense of “purpose”? I jump around from event to event, from meeting to meeting, and seem to always be going in a million different directions at once. I can’t even remember when two days were the same in my life, and every day seems to begin and end in a new chapter in my book.

But….I wouldn’t want it any other way. 

THIS is the life I have always wanted….one that is filled to the brim, the very tip top edge, of exciting, unique, and completely outrageous things. I feel like I am riding shotgun on a spaceship to Mars…it’s going a million miles a second and you don’t even have a spare moment to wrap your head around what is happening. You can’t even get up to use the restroom, because you are afraid you might miss a glimpse of a shooting star (or ET).  The ride might get a little bumpy, a little shaky, and the velocity might temporarily paralyze you, but in the end, this is the exact ride I want nothing more to be on.

No matter what happens in my life, I know that I will always choose happiness. I will always go above and beyond to make sure that no matter where I am or what I am doing, that I am in love with my life before anything else. While the idea of marriage is perfect for some people and for some lifestyles, I can whole heartedly say that it might not be for me…at least, right now anyways. The idea of traveling to India, wandering the streets of Tokyo, helping children in Algeria, visiting Elephant sanctuaries in Thailand…that gets my heart pumping and my bones rattling. Until the idea of marriage can do that, can make me feel that way I do when I think about the things I love, then for now, I am vowing to make sure I live the craziest, most unconventional life possible.

“I’m Restless.

Things are calling me away.

My hair is being pulled by the stars again.”

-Anais Nin

 

In A Fearless Fashion

Jump Into It

Jump Into It

Fear. It cripples us, blinds us, and holds our hands behind our backs. Fear paralyzes us into thinking we cannot do something before we have even begun, and it is the voice in our heads saying “No” when our hearts are saying “Yes!”. We retaliate against it, we push and we try to fight it with all of our power and might, and yet no matter what amount of energy or force we put behind resisting this idea of “Fear”, we continually succumb to its power. How do you fight in a battle that seems to be already lost? How do you muster the courage to halt the racings thoughts of “I can’t” and “I won’t”, and instead change your thoughts to “I can” and “I will”? Fear is a funny thing. It consumes us to the point where we truly believe we are not capable of doing something although everyone who ever accomplished anything started in the exact same spot. Fear belittles us, strips us of our confidence and courage, and ultimately has us wanting to hide under a rock, afraid and terrified of coming out from beneath.

But what if I told you that this can end? What if I said that there was a light at the end of this very dark tunnel , and that you are approaching that light right now? That “light”, is something I like to call “The New Year”, 2014. The beginning of a new story, the start of a new chapter. Make 2014 the year you Get Gutsy about the things that scare you, for the things that scare you are the things that will open your eyes to the world. Remove the word “Fear” from your vocabulary, remove the feeling of “Fear” from your heart, and replace it with the words “Getting Gutsy”. Through this, no goal will be too extreme, because you have the next 365 days to figure it out. The New Year is the open door inviting you inside to get gutsy about your life and to look fear straight dead in the eye.

Before I walk through that doorway though, I do need to pay my respects to the past year. 2013 was a year full of changes and much, MUCH self-reflection, both in a good and a not so good way. I discovered, the hard way of course (but isn’t it always the hard way), the price you pay for not listening to your gut instinct and for not listening to what your heart is really telling you. Don’t ignore that feeling, people! You feel that way for a reason, so act on it! However, on the flip side of things, I learned how to create my own happiness (let me tell you, easier said than done), and I put the pressure on myself to make things happen. I knew that the things I wanted weren’t just going to fall into my lap, so I made the decision to take matters into my own hands and actively pursue whatever it was that I wanted. In 2013, I became the creator of my own life (FINALLY!).

Boiled down, 2013 was all about me, in a more fearless form:) I traveled to Europe all on my own for a week filled with adventures and amazing new friends. I landed my first “big girl” job, I started blogging (and have LOVED it!) and volunteered with the Make A Wish foundation in which I have been afforded the opportunity to meet some truly amazing children who have touched my life in insurmountable ways. I traveled to New York City with one of my very best friends, went on a fabulous family reunion to the Caribbean, and learned how to dance the Argentina tango. I also really wanted to get into running, and as I have always been the leisurely running type (AKA I did a lot of the run/walk), I decided to push myself and to start running some races. I ran my first 10k in May, and then did three more before the end of the year (The Christmas Story race being my favorite!).

One of the most important lessons I learned in 2013 was that it is OK to grow apart from people. Sure, it’s not easy and it is certainly not what anyone wishes for, but in reality, it’s just life. And I think once you accept that, things kind of get easier. Because then the people you have in your life are the ones that you really want to hold on to and care about. As they say, quality over quantity, and that phrase could not hold more truth to it. The friends I have made this past year are people I know will be in my life for a long, long time (whether they want to be or not, haha just kidding), and I could not be more grateful that, if anything, 2013 has given me some absolutely terrific friends.

What’s in store for me in 2014? One word: TRAVEL. Anyone that knows me, knows that I am awkwardly obsessed with traveling, and taking the idea of resolutions to a larger scale, my life goal is to travel all over the world. But one step at a time I suppose, and since I cannot take off a year (or five) off of work to travel, I know that I’ll have to do it a little bit at a time. That said, I do have a pretty extraordinary trip planned in the summer, as well as some other travel plans up my sleeve that are currently top secret, but that will be another blog post for another day:)

All of my goals for 2014 can be summed up in the phrase Carpe Diem. I will seize every opportunity I can, in a most fearless and gutsy fashion. Nothing will slip by me unnoticed, and my life in 2014 will be lived with much laughter, dancing, and adventure. WITHOUT FEAR.

Getting gutsy is all about stepping outside your comfort zone to reach your goals. I’m participating in Jessica Lawlor’s #GetGutsy Essay Contest. To get involved and share your own gutsy story, check out this post for contest details.