Today marks one month until I leave South Florida! February is an exciting month for me and it’s definitely crunch time. Thinking about how much I still have to do before I leave is kind of overwhelming, but I feel like I’m making some important steps in the right direction on a daily basis. My last month in Florida is packed, not only with pre-trip agenda, but with a lot of fun as well. Last weekend I met some of my girlfriends in Tampa for my good friend Courtney’s bachelorette party, which was great. I lived in Tampa for a while before moving to Fort Lauderdale and absolutely loved it. To me, it is the perfect mix of small town and big city, complete with a fantastic array of bars, restaurants, outdoor activities and awesome people; I always enjoy going back. Courtney’s wedding is this weekend in Jacksonville and I’m so excited to spend time with some of my closest friends from FSU. We only get a chance to all get together about once a year and it’s always so much fun. The reunions will continue after that when I get to hang out with my best friend Emily, who recently moved to Philadelphia; she’ll be in town for business. We lived across the hall from each other freshman year of college, were fast friends, and became roommates a couple of years ago when we ended up getting jobs in South Florida on the exact same day about a year after graduation. I can’t wait to have my froyo buddy back in town. 🙂 And lastly, next weekend my Sommelier friends are throwing me a going away party with an awesome theme: each person has been assigned a place that I am visiting and has to bring a bottle of wine and an appetizer from that country. Rumor has it that there will be extra points awarded for dressing up in something traditional from your chosen country…I hope the winos are ready, because I was given USA and have a pretty sweet cowboy hat in mind… 😉
I also have some really exciting news on the blog front…I have chosen a designer! As with a lot of great things as of late, I found Jenna with Q.A. Design while randomly surfing the internet one lazy afternoon. I have been on the lookout for a designer for quite some time, but haven’t had much luck for various reasons. I immediately fell in love with Jenna’s designs, which are a chic combination of art and structure, and was thrilled to find out that she is very reasonably priced and accepting clients. Over the past few weeks, I have sent her a few ideas that I have in mind, and will receive my first draft on the 13th. I can’t wait! The only set-back is that Q.A. Design only works with Blogger format and because I use WordPress, I had to find someone to convert what Jenna creates into the correct format. Luckily, I had just the guy in mind and he’s kindly agreed to help me out. Actually, Brent is kind of a gem. He has his own blog, has traveled extensively, and (along with one of my good friends from FSU) runs a couple of hostels in NYC. All of that on top of the fact that he’s a Nole alum himself and a super nice guy who’s doing me a huge favor makes me really excited to get to work with him. If you’re heading to NYC, be sure to check out Hostel Kids for a great place to stay. Brent has shared some stories with me about their guests; it’d be impossible not to have a good time in their company.
I mentioned a couple posts ago that I received my WWOOF Australia book, and I want to elaborate more on what an incredible organization this really is. The book, which lists thousands of ads for hosts at every different kind of farm you could imagine, is so much fun to look through. But if you’re like me and you have a specific type of host you’d like to connect with, all you have to do is email the WWOOF office in the country you’re visiting, let them know your preferences, and they will email you back within a day or two with the list of hosts within the book who match what you’re looking for. When I received my list, I spent an entire afternoon at Starbucks sipping on a soy misto, highlighter in hand, giddy with excitement. I have since decided that the best way to tackle Australia is to line up WWOOFing adventures throughout the South, rent a car upon arrival, and drive up and down the coast visiting the wine regions, working and learning about winemaking. I can barely concentrate just thinking about how amazing it’s sure to be. If you would like to join me somewhere along the way, let me know; we can start our very own WWOOFpack and really get things going.