There's No Place Like Home

Hello friends, fans, and followers. I write this to you from Fort Lauderdale airport. NYC obviously heard me complaining about how I didn’t want to leave South Florida and decided to help me stay here longer by raining so hard that all flights in/out of the area have got massive delays. Thanks, I guess? Although being stuck at an airport with terrible wifi isn't exactly what I was hoping for. Le sigh.

ANYWAYS. I just spent 10 days in sunny South Florida visiting old friends, places, and memories. And it was probably the best vacation I had in a long time. Although vacation seems like the wrong word, because the entire time I was down there I simply felt like I was finally back in my one true home. Florida has a strange way of doing that to me. 

I kicked my vacation off with my best bear in West Palm Beach at her parents’ house. We spent Memorial Day Weekend with some quality beach time, delicious beer, fancy feasts, and more gossip and girl chat than we should admit to. So that was pretty ideal.

After a few days in the suburbs, we packed up a car and headed down to our beloved Miami. It’s the place we first met and fell in best-friends-forever love, and we hadn't been down here together in close to three years. Needless to say, this trip was long overdue.

A very good friend of mine was going to be out of town and lovingly left me with keys to his downtown Miami apartment, so our living arrangements were set (complete with this awesome view). 

But I also decided to indulge and get myself a rental car. If you’ve ever been to Miami, you know that having your own wheels is crucial. Well, this was my first time having my own vehicle since I moved out of the 305 four years ago. And it was BLISS.

I jumped at the chance to take all of my most favorite drives around the city: to Coral Gables, to UM campus, to Key Biscayne, to Miami Beach, and more. I could've spent the entire 6 days just driving around in that car. There’s something about cruising around Miami with the windows rolled down and the volume turned up that will always make me feel right at home. 

On my way back home from a paddle boarding session on Key Biscayne, I had the wind in my hair, the sun on my face, and it really felt as if I had never even left. When I stopped at the local Publix to grab some groceries and successfully gave directions to a stranger in Spanish, I started to REALLY become convinced that I had never left and that the past 4 years in NYC must have been a very elaborate dream. A very, VERY elaborate, bank-account-sucking dream.

Isn't it strange how a place that you only lived in for a few years can feel so much like home? I suppose it's more about the life that I built in that place than the place itself. Miami was the first place I had lived without the safety net of my family. It was the first place I had the freedom to establish myself as the person I really wanted to be. It was the first place I built my own home in, had my own car in, held down my first industry-related job in, had my heart broken in, and more. It is the place where I really grew into myself. And for that reason, it will always hold a very special place in my heart.

I don’t know if it was the intense sense of independence I felt all week, or just being back on my old stomping grounds, or the high of too much vitamin D and sunshine I seemed to be riding, or the love I felt being surrounded by so many of my favorite people, or a combination of all of the above, BUT…. it’s been a long time since I’ve felt this healthy, productive, motivated, and just generally happy. 

I’m coming back from this trip feeling totally refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to hit the ground running. And boy-oh-boy do I need to hit the ground running. This month is jam packed with setting up a new business, moving to Jersey, and bringing on a few new clients for my digital strategy business. BRING IT, JUNE.

As sad as I am to be leaving South Florida, I am very, very excited to get back to reality and start shifting into the next chapter of my life. This trip has been a perfect reminder of all the things I’ve already done, how far I’ve come, and just how many people (near and far) there are in my life who have ALWAYS supported me and continue to do so.


Miami, no matter what, will always feel like home to me. And there’s no place like home.

I will miss my South Florida fam tons, but this little bear has gotta get back to her NYC grind. The sooner I get back to my grind, the sooner I can come back down and play some more. What better motivation could I possibly ask for?

Soaking up some last rays of sunshine,
xx Nik

TunesDaze: May 2015

Greetings from sunny Florida! I hope that you guys all had a fantastic Memorial Day Weekend filled with relaxation, chilled beer, and delicious BBQ.

It's the last Tuesday of the month (how did we get through May so fast?!) so I'm here to share some of my favorite tracks from the past few weeks. Don't forget to check out the tracklist below and share your musical obsessions in the comments!

Need fresh tunes on the reg? Follow me on HypeMachine to stalk my musical discoveries as they happen.

xx Nik

1. Feeling Myself (Marlin Remix) - Nicki Minaj & Beyonce
2. Peanut Butter Jelly - Galantis
3. Prints of Whales (feat. PB Kaya) - TACHES
4. Found Your Love (feat. Heir) - Oliver Nelson
5. Something About You - Hayden James
6. Hard Twelve (The Ante) - Beat Assailant
7. Bitch Better Have My Money (Claude VonStroke Remix) - Rihanna
8. Embrace (feat. George Maple) - Goldroom
9. Crank It Up - HI-LO
10. 2AM (Matoma Remix) - Astrid S.

An Open Letter to Traveling N00bs

I absolutely love going to places around the world, whether they be near or far, familiar or new. What I could do without, however, is the grand spectacle of getting from point A to point B known as “traveling.”

Traveling is the bane of my existence. If there’s a Kickstarter out there for teleportation devices, please link me in the comments so I can throw all my dollars at it. Seriously. I yearn for BEAM ME UP SCOTTY days more than I want world peace or free health insurance. I will also accept a private jet and/or airport. Just get me away from all these people who have apparently never been on an airplane before.

You know who I’m talking about….

It’s that family with 3 kids under the age of 10 who can’t figure out how to collapse their new stroller. Yes, papa bear. This TSA line is the perfect place to try and figure it out for the first time. Please, take your time. Your screaming children aren’t bothering any of us at all. 

It’s that middle aged man who forgot to take off his shoes. And his belt. And he left about 53 cents in change in his pocket. And his laptop is still in his bag. Along with two half-filled water bottles. 

Or my personal favorite: that sugarbaby and/or trophy wife who decided that her 5 inch stilettos with 60 different clasps and buckles were the PERFECT in-flight footwear. And of course she needs to wear EVERY PIECE OF JEWELRY SHE OWNS… because they totally match her outfit.

I can’t. I simply cannot with these people. But because I was raised the right way, I simply stand in line quietly, as patiently as I can, while furiously texting my best friend in all caps like “THESE ASSHOLES.”

Over the weekend I migrated from my beloved NYC to my equally beloved South Florida, just to put this rant into context for you guys. And for all the times that I’ve held my tongue, I’d like to take a quick moment today to unleash all that bottled up rage in the healthiest way I can think of: with a mental health Monday post. 

Here we go.

To the families: I try. I try really hard to be patient with you guys, and I definitely have some sympathy for you. Traveling with kids is never easy. But as a child that traveled all the time across the globe, I’ve definitely seen the right way to do it (thanks, mom & dad). And you, my friends, need a schooling. I understand that your children are probably exhausted and bored, but you know their triggers best - so anticipate them! Bring coloring books, toys, games, favorite snacks, etc. Turn travel into a wild adventure game. Explain what is acceptable behavior BEFORE you leave home, so that expectations are clearly defined. Pack smart and make sure everyone is dressed comfortably and appropriately. A little bit of foresight goes a long way when you’re traveling with babies.

I don’t remember my first few trips to India because I was too young, but I can only imagine the struggle my mom had. Two toddler kids, six suitcases, and traveling alone. When I was old enough to, I took on the task of making sure my little brother was preoccupied enough and well-watched so that my mom could tackle the big stuff like navigating the airport, finding our bags, clearing customs, balancing our luggage on those rickety carts, and searching the crowds of people for our relatives. So much as the inkling of a temper tantrum, and I’m pretty sure my mom would have been the first one to throw me off the plane. 

To the people who seem to have never gone through airport security before: Get a clue. That’s basically it. I mean, aren’t there enough signs posted everywhere for you to understand that your laptop needs to be out of your bag, your shoes need to be off, and that your pockets need to be empty? I’m also pretty sure that TSA agents are constantly screaming reminders. And in case you’re illiterate and/or deaf - please take a hint from EVERY SINGLE PERSON AROUND YOU removing their liquids, laptops, shoes, wallets, belts, loose change, phones, etc. Common sense. Do you has it? *eyeroll of the century*

To the sugarbabies/trophy wives: Now, I’m not saying that you have to go full frump for a flight with your honey, but there’s a way to be sensible fab. Grab yourself some designer flats and save the next level bling for all the fancy dinners you are inevitably on your way to. Come back down to planet earth, sweethearts, and realize that your fabulosity cannot come at the price of my sanity. I’m all for looking and feeling your best…. until it gets in MY way. #realtalk

I think what I’m really waiting for is the day that airport TSA asks the important questions like “Are you traveling with any children?” or “How many times have you flown in the past two years?” and then separates people into different screening lines based on their answers. I am 100% pro that kind of profiling.

Traveling with kids? Please proceed to our families-only line, complete with cartoony TVs to keep your kids from screaming/running around and guide them through the screening process. Senior citizens? Please proceed to the slow and steady line, where you will find our most patient screening agents ready to assist you and speak in varying volumes. Sugar daddies and trophy wives? Please proceed to this handy lounge over here so you can strip down out of your shoes and jewels. Business people, students, and solitary frequent fliers? Please proceed to express checkout, you brilliant motherf*ckers. 

Basically, what I’m saying is that TSA should hire me to restructure their systems and processes. I guess this is just another struggle in the life of a hyper-efficient digital strategist. Le sigh.

Trying to remain calm,
xx Nik