Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Past, The Present, The Future

Hello dear readers,

It's been over two months since I last posted. And the posts before that have been spotty this past year. I started this blog back in 2010 as a place of self expression. But in that time a lot has changed that makes me wonder where a blog fits in my life and for what purpose. Now we have Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and much more to help share the story of our lives - both the beautiful curated moments and the silly "behind the scenes" honest moments of life. So what's the purpose of a/this blog? My life in photos in on Instagram. The everyday randomness is on Snapchat (or Instastories if you prefer). So what purpose does this serve?

Perhaps the problem is that I don't have a clear vision of what this blog could (or should) be. What is the strategy? What is the theme?

The original idea behind the title of the blog - Now Boarding at Gate G6 - is all about embarking on new adventures ... no matter what they may be. Adventure could take the form of international travel, but it could also be trying out a new recipe, exploring a new part of Minneapolis, starting up with yoga, or really anything else. It's just about life. But then again ... aren't most blogs? So what makes me different or special?

Nothing really.

If anything, I am probably less special. I don't have cute kids to take photos of and share my life as a mommy. I don't have a man in my life to share cute kissy photos or engagement photos or our silly couple adventures. While I enjoy fashion, I am not in a place where this blog can be all about style inspiration. I don't develop awesome recipes or craft. And to top all that off, the photo thing is a challenge. I actually love to take photos ... love it. And I am pretty decent. But it's pretty darn impossible to be subject and photographer both! I've been spending a lot of time reading other blogs recently and I feel like every single one either partners with others to be the subject of photographer, or they have a spouse or significant other that takes the photos, etc. But what am I supposed to do! I love the idea of taking photos (i.e. photos of someone around the Uptown Art Fair) ... but where do I find a subject?

See. I'm not that special.

But I am me. Just little ol' me. They say (not sure who "they" are though) that you should write about what you know. I think that was actually from the book/movie "Little Women" come to think of it. So what do I know? Maybe that will help me decide on a) if I should keep this blog going, and b) what the topic should be.

  • I know travel. I love it. I prioritize it in my life. I've been to 34 countries - some 4 or 5 or more times. I love going off the beaten path, trying new things and going on adventure. I love travel so much I even have symbols of it tattooed on my body. 
  • I know Minneapolis. I love this city, and I enjoy getting out and doing everything I can in it. From art fairs in the summer to theater all year to fun events to get you outside in winter, I know this city pretty well.
  • I know movies. I go to at least one movie a week on average. More during the awards/holiday season. 
  • I know art. I studied it. I love it.
  • I know how to lose weight. And gain weight. And struggle with my weight.
  • I know Whole30.
  • I know yoga (or at least I'm trying). I know cardio. 
  • I know how to cook a few things. A limited few things.
  • I know how to live my version of a full and rich life.
  • I know photography.
  • I know some other things too: the struggle of online dating, the challenges of being the only one amongst your friends not married or in a serious relationships, shopping, design, books, tattoos, organization, planning, how to make your own yoga mat drying rack (no joke, I totally DIYed that $hit), etc.
But for each thing I know there are at least three things I don't.

So, what should I do. What should this blog be about? Is there even a reason for it? Does anyone but my mom even read this (hi mom!)?

I'd like to continue blogging. I really would. Especially now that my MBA is done, I'd like to have a project. But I only want to do this if there is actually a reason for it. Because otherwise this is nothing more than an elaborate and digital "dear diary". 

So let me know what you think. I'm open to suggestions! Thanks all!

And now, I leave you with a few photos from my apartment. One of my new resolutions is that I want to get out my Canon more often for life in general. Recently I have only taken photos with it while traveling, but it takes such amazing photos and I wish I did more with it just around here. I am really made at myself for not taking it out at the Uptown Art Fair this past weekend. The colors, sky, and people watching would have been great for some photos! Anyway, I took the camera out today and snapped a few photos around the apartment for inspiration. 

Monday, June 6, 2016


I'm not going to get into the craziness that is dating in this day and age (that would require me quitting my day job and only blogging on that topic for the entire summer), but I do want to cover one specific topic: ghosting

The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just "get the hint" and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested. Ghosting is not specific to a certain gender and is closely related to the subject's maturity and communication skills. Many attempt to justify ghosting as a way to cease dating the ghostee without hurting their feelings, but it in fact proves the subject is thinking more of themselves, as ghosting often creates more confusion for the ghostee than if the subject kindly stated how he/she feels.

Carmen: How was your second date with Kyle?
Beth: I thought it went well, but I've texted him a couple of times since then and he's been ghosting me.
Carmen: What? I thought he was more mature than that..

In my dating experience, ghosting is everywhere. For example:

  • A guy I had been seeing for four months ghosted me. I do think it was kind of a mutual ghost, but I think it was more like 70/30 him ghosting me. 
  • Ghosting without even meeting is also a thing. Keeping a app or text conversation with someone you've never met going for days or weeks and then all of a sudden it stops and you get no response from the other person.
  • There is also the one I have most recently experienced which is a bit of a modified ghosting. I don't hear from the guy for 7-10 days and I pretty much chalk it up as "done ...moving on" only to get a text from him randomly (with really random content) after a week of no communication. And the cycle continues for multiple week. This one I want to say is a little more "sh*t or get off the pot",  but it has some elements of ghosting.
I'd rather just know if - in the iconic cliche - he's just not that into me. Get it over with so I can move on.

To close, please enjoy this video of "Ghoster's Paradise" to help articulate the point. 


I have something really important to share. I have recently been diagnosed (by myself) as suffering from FOMOOPP. Some of you may be familiar with the more general version of this condition known as FOMO. FOMOOPP is related, but more targeted to impacting a specific group of people – photographers.

FOMOOPP: Fear of Missing Out On Perfect Photo

This is a serious, but manageable condition. It usually flares up when traveling, but can be triggered at home as well. The condition has been exacerbated in recent years by the development of digital cameras and high capacity memory cards, as well as smart phones with cameras and large memory storage.

Symptoms include:
·         Taking multiple photos of the same thing from slightly different angles (this can be of “things” such as monuments, landscapes, etc as well people, including but not limited to: portraits, gym mirror selfies, group photos, selfies (in general)
·         Going back to the same place multiple times to take the same photo in slightly different lighting/cloud conditions
·         Constantly second guessing if you have the right angle/lighting/aperture
·         Downloading all photos at the end of the day when traveling to determine if the photos are good, and going back to retake the same photos with slight tweaks based on what you saw from the downloaded photos
·         Using the burst feature to excess (this can be both on DSLR and smart phone cameras)
·         Take the same photo with both a DSLR as well as your smart phone
·         Walking until you cannot feel your feet because you need to make sure you got that perfect photo
·         Never actually putting away your camera because you may miss the perfect photo

I joke … but this is legit. I definitely have a hard time with this when I am traveling, and my recent trip to Washington DC was no exception. I went back to the same spots multiple times to make sure I captured the perfect photo. I walked around the Washington Monument no less than 5 times over a 4 day trip to make sure I had the perfect photo conditions with monument/flags/clouds/lighting/etc. Then of course I gotta get it on my iphone too … in recular and square format. Ohhhh, and I better Snapchat it too!!! 3,500 photos later, and I’m sure I missed out on some good photos. Sigh.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Weekend in Washington DC

To celebrate finishing my MBA (and just because), I took myself on a trip to Washington DC for Memorial Weekend. I took the trip that everyone else takes during middle school at the age of 30 … without kids.

One of my goals has been to check some US/North America destinations off my travel bucket list, so last fall I did NYC and did all the touristy things I have never had time for on business trips. And this year it was Washington DC. 

I was there for 4 days and tried to check as many DC things off my list as I could, and I think I did a pretty good job! 
  • White House (outside only … they could not “accommodate” my request for a tour …)
  • Renwick Gallery 
  • Washington Monument
  • Lincoln Memorial
  • Vietnam War Memorial
  • WWII Memorial
  • Korean War Memorial
  • Tidal Basin
  • Washington Monument
  • The Mall
  • Natural History Museum
  • National Archives
  • American History Museum
  • Sculpture Garden
  • National Gallery of Art
  • Museum of American Art
  • Portrait Gallery
  • Shake Shack!!!!
  • Spy Museum
  • Capitol Building (tour)
  • Jefferson Library
  • Air and Space Museum
  • Smithsonian Castle 

Everything was great and I had a lot of fun. The only downside was the HEAT! It was so ridiculously hot and humid and full on sun the entire time. Just sweat dripping grossness. Then you would go into a museum where the AC was completely jacked up to super cold. BRRRR.

While I had a lot of fun doing all the tourisy things, some of my favorite things weren’t in the museums:
  • I stumbled on a Jazz in the Garden even Friday night at the sculpture garden. Thousands of people taking up everyone square inch of the grass, benches, foutains, etc enjoying good music live outside. It was amazing. Everyone had food, they had sangria stations so you could get pitchers for groups. Awesome. I got an ice cream and found a spot on the fountain and sat with my feet in the water taking it all in.
  • On the same night as the music noted above, I came across a movies in the park screening in a park right next to my hotel. I love movies in the park activities and ran across to the CVS and got beverages and snacks and sat down and watched Mr Smith Goes to Washington. How perfect was that movie choice?!?!
  • I did the Washington Bikeshare one day while there and had a great time biking around the mall and monuments. It was a great way to get around to some of the further out things (i.e. Jefferson Memorial) and just have some fun. 
  • On my last afternoon there I came out of a museum and it was pouring rain. So I ducked back in and bought a snazzy National Gallery of Art poncho. Once I was generally protected from the knees up and I knew my cameras and backpack were safe and dry, I had no problem walking in the rain, splashing in puddles and generally having a fun time.
  • The people watching was great! I noticed a lot more domestic US tourists versus international, thought I had a smattering of foreign languages (nothing like in NYC or LA or San Francisco though). There were also TONS (tons) of school groups there, all in matching shirts. And, since it was Memorial Weekend, there were a lot of veterans in the city and they were also visiting all the sites (particularly the war memorials). 
  • I also thoroughly enjoyed the food. I didn't go out of my way for restaurants, instead I opted for awesome food truck fare right on the Mall, Shake Shack, this awesome chain called Roti that I discovered (it's like Chipotle but with Mediterranean food!). I did treat myself to one nice dinner at a great restaurant called Founding Farmers. Great farm-to-table dishes with a fun atmosphere and great cocktails.   

Overall it was a great trip, just toooooo hot! I saw everything I wanted to see and if/when I make it back I would try and explore more of the little pockets I didn’t get to (i.e. Georgetown). But for now, I’m good. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

MBA ... Masters of Being Awesome (and also Business Administration)

Hi, my name is Iuli and I now have my MBA.

Woohoo! I started on my MBA journey five (5 … FIVE) years ago, and knew from the start that my mantra was going to be “slow and steady”. I wanted to get my MBA, but I also wanted to a) not go into debt doing it, b) still maintain the same standard of living I always have while paying tuition, c) not take classes during summer, and d) still have a life.

It took 5 years, but I have completed by MBA at the University of Minnesota Carlson School of Management and I managed to keep to my original standards. I paid for it all out of pocket (so no debt) while still traveling the world and still having time during the week for my life and hobbies, and while taking summers off. I never took more than two classes per semester, basically.

But now it’s done. I am officially smart. I have the paper to prove it. And I am so done with school! Forever. I now have my MBA in addition to my two undergrad degrees (BSB in Marketing and International Business and BA in Art History) and I am calling it. I don’t need any other degrees. From now on classes and school and continuing my education will be just for the fun of it!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Dear Men

Dear (Single) Men -

For the most part, you all suck. For one reason or another, you do.

Kind regards,

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Bumble Bumble Buzz Buzz

I've started dating again. Yay.

Two months in and I've gone on one first date. Not so yay.

Dating is fucking hard. Online dating is fucking hard AND annoying at the same time.

I had been doing OK Cupid in the past and decided to go that route again, because why should I pay to do this? Seriously. I am not invested enough, nor do I want to get married tomorrow (I'm lookin' at you eHarmony). But the problem with OKC is all of the unwanted and downright crude and inappropriate messages. I mean, these men don't even bother looking at your profile. They just message anyone and everyone! Pardon me from not taking time to respond to your message of "ur hot" and your profile that has one photo of you with a fish/deer you caught/shot and zero useful information about yourself in the profile itself. My bad.

So a coworker turned me onto Bumble. Why not. I didn't know much about it until I got down to actually trying it out. The good thing about Bumble is that women have to message first ... guys can't initiate the conversation. But I quickly realized the bad thing about Bumble ... women have to message first! Yikes! I don't love the idea of having to take the lead and open up the lines of communication. I feel like there is pressure for me to come of up with some awesome opening line/question/message! Eeeeeek.

Once I got over that however, I jumped in. After I matched with 8 guys (yay), I messaged all of them with what I thought were solid opening comments/messages that generally posed a question to get the conversation started. My initial messages showed that i definitely looked at their profile as i tried to pull from there for my comments. Boom. Then I sat back and waited for responses and to begin what I envisioned to be some awesome Bumble bantering.

And waited.

And waited.


It took 2ish days for the first guy to respond. How disappointing. After all that (over)thinking!

Here's the run down of what happened with the 8 guys:

  • 5 never actually responded back (which is highly annoying seeing as they obviously swiped right on me, so in theory they were interested, so WHY NOT RESPOND!?!?)
  • 1 responded and was impressed with my ability to identify an obscure place in one of this photos, to which I replied and posed a question, and then he never replied again.
  • 1 responded and then we bantered back and forth over the course of a week, and just when I thought we were at the point of meeting in person, he stopped communicating 
  • 1 unmatched with me and therefore disappeared from my queue 

So that was fun. Woohoo! So glad I am back in the dating pool just to go through all that.

Since the initial 8 I have connected with a few more guys. Maybe once a week I spend 15 minutes swiping left/right. Overall, the entire experience has resulted in ONE first date (and a subsequent second date with the same guy). We shall see how it goes with this guy ... more to come ...

Jump Around ... | Alps Edition

I like jumping pics. They make me happy. And on a recent trip to Germany/Switzerland/Austria, I said "I want to take as many jumping pics as I can". Because clearly I like making a full out of myself.

And yes, I am 30 years old. Don't judge me. I'm a kid at heart.

Enjoy :)


May 1st is just around the corner and with it comes a lot of excitement. I am (finally) at the end of my MBA career and only have 1 physical lecture to sit in next Monday before graduation mid-May. I am dating again (sort of). I just got back from any awesome trip and have more great travels coming up. My family is doing well. Summer is almost here.

But hovering over all all of the awesome that is going on in my life is an underlying disappointment in myself. In my inability to stick to a healthy lifestyle. January and February were so great with yoga and sculpt and good eating and cooking and running. And then $hit happened ... life happened ... and I fell off the wagon. Sure I still exercised, mostly yoga and sculpt (and A LOT of it). But as we know from the 80/20 rule ... you can't out exercise a bad diet. And that's exactly what I was trying to do.

So here I am nearly 4 months later. I haven't gained back all the weight, but I've gained back some. All because I seem to display a staggering lack of willpower.

I can sit here all day long and say "I can start up again any time I want and drop the weigh like *that* [snaps fingers]". And maybe I can. The problem is starting. And staying the course. So in other words ... everything.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Tea Time

Each afternoon I try and take 30 minutes to sit by the big windows at my office, enjoy my tea, and catch up on email. My zen time. 
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