wish you all a healthy, relaxing and wonderful start to a new year.
my husband sent me this text image today that made me stop and think for a minute. it said–
“…if someone came up to you and handed you a book and you started reading it and realized it was a book about your entire life, would you keep reading it until the end?…”
i immediately replied “yes, of course,” but then i thought…would I really? is my life that interesting or exciting that i would want to read a whole book about it? i am not so sure. but I want it to be – as much as possible. so 2016…I am living you like one really “can’t put it down” chapter!
i get really into this new years thing. i always think about what i did and did not accomplish in the last year and where i want to be in the next year. i love starting fresh and starting over. it’s a great time to renew everything and just get on the right foot again. i definitely started 201 with eating massive amount of pulled pork that we cooked in our new crock pot, so not off to the healthiest start, but…that is OK.
2015 was a seriously CRAZY, but incredible year. i made some of the biggest changes in my life yet. we moved with our new baby across the USA (on one very long and amazing cross-country road trip) to a very different place and lifestyle in Lake Tahoe, NV. we left our great jobs in nyc and are starting over out here. we are closer to my family now (like real close), which is really incredible. we have 2 feet of snow outside and a ski mountain minutes away. life is good. it was a scary 7-8 months here starting a new life, but i knew all would settle into place. i am super excited for 2016 to finally begin to get even more settled in our new home here in Tahoe.
and even more excited to start on a new career journey, following my passions of working for myself and working from home. more on that to come! for now, happiest new year to all. enjoy these last few moments of the holiday season. it went way too fast.
Many of you don’t know much about the real work I’ve been doing every day for the last few years. I thought I’d post this blog below as today is my very, last day with my company, Gradian Health Systems, that I’ve been with for nearly four years.
When I started at Gradian as a “Program Assistant” in early 2012, I had no idea how my life would change over the next nearly four years. What was a somewhat basic startup administrative job description became so much more over the years. It truly became my life – not a job. I never dreamed I would be working in international shipping logistics in 22 countries (from Somaliland, to Nepal to Haiti), shipping 132 anesthesia machines, posting blogs and tweets, sending newsletters, designing marketing materials, implementing new accounting and operational policies, helping to design our office space and helping to grow what was once an idea – into a global social venture. I really had no idea.
This week marks my final farewell to an almost four year adventure with Gradian. As I leave Gradian to begin new opportunities with my family (in our new home out West in Lake Tahoe, NV), I wanted a chance to thank my Gradian family for making this such an incredible, life-changing experience. I never imagined working with a more innovative, sharp, challenging and kind colleagues. I truly work with the best startup team in NYC. That also goes for all of the wonderful clinical trainers, BMETs, hospital administrators, logistics personnel, consultants and our hard-working manufacturer, that I got to work with daily. I leave Gradian knowing a wealth of amazing people all over the world (yes, I will take my family to Lake Malawi and gorilla trekking in Rwanda someday) – and knowing that the work I did every single day has saved actual lives. People often say at various jobs, “Well, it’s not like we’re saving lives here.” We weren’t able to say that – and that’s what made this job meaningful.
I wasn’t supposed to be in this field. I grew up studying musical theatre. I was going to be a singer/dancer on Broadway or something creative, but life really has a crazy way of taking you down the path you should be on. Ultimately, I had to find a way to pay my NYC rent, so I got a “normal” job as an Executive Assistant in a NYC hedge fund and realized I enjoyed “making things happen” for an executive or a team of people (and found out I was pretty miserable working in finance!). After years of feeling useless in an administrative financial office, I knew I needed a more creative and innovative place to work and I finally found that in Gradian.
The Gradian team (and for many years our CEO, Steve Rudy, and Vice President, Erica Frenkel) let me thrive and gave me the trust and space to be productive – making my own decisions (which was very new to me in the workplace) and taking my own risks on everything from how to get a 169kg medical device to rural Uganda to what expense software would work best for our team. Their support and dedication to bringing safe surgery to people around the world made the workplace a truly great place to be and helped me become passionate about this field of global health and global surgery, something I knew very, very little about pre-2012.
It all came full circle for me about a year ago, when I had a baby. I knew through many stories with our machine how important access to anesthesia was, but I just didn’t get it until I lay there in so much pain and was practically saved by an epidural. The work we do is life-changing and life-saving. As a new mom, I am grateful every day for the technology we have access to. The UAM was always very easy for me to get behind because it was so beautifully designed and made the lives easier for our colleagues in the hospitals we worked in. I am so proud of the work we did and I am leaving happy knowing that we changed so many lives.
So a final farewell and thank you to the amazing team behind the machine. It truly takes a village – from our incredible administrative staff who help to get our machine and trainers to hospitals around the world, to our technical staff who coordinate repairs and training on a machine that is urgently needed to save lives, to our market managers who help give more and more people access to safe surgery, to our executive team who tirelessly created this company from just a simple idea to what it is growing to be today and who made it a home for me for the last few years. I will be forever thankful for this opportunity (while also retweeting @GradianHealth on Twitter for years to come).
Thank you again – Steve, Erica, Lina, Ismael, Nicole, Margaux, Adam, Sadie, Moraa and of course, Richard.
And stay tuned for exciting things ahead. Let’s hope that when one awesome door closes….another one opens (fast)!
Anyhoo – I know that everyone always posts about what they’re thankful for around this time of year, but I truly can’t stop myself. I am thankful(beyond words really) for this past year and the extreme joy that has come into my life (by the way of Bear Ryan). We have this amazing little guy that makes me laugh my pants off every single day and I get to live near my family in what is the most beautiful place (in my mind). And so thankful we got to see the incredible USA as we ventured here over 3 weeks. I am a lucky girl.
While this beautiful life we’re trying to create is pretty darn great, it definitely has come with some stress. Making a big change IS NOT easy. It’s somewhat easy logistically (you put gas in the car and you drive away from NYC), but it’s not easy in many other ways. We have had to start over from basically scratch. Jobs, homes, the West Coast, making dinner – ha, not eating dairy for a year, everything. It’s been stressful at times and trying on our family, but every day I am so thankful for this choice. We are in just the right place and I am truly happy being here with my family.
I am also so thankful for all the people that supported us so much along this crazy journey. Telling us that we could do it and that we were awesome for making this leap. Those little comments made it happen for us. So thank you to all of you nice people out there! We truly have the greatest friends and family.
These Paris attacks are still just so unbelievable to me. And the Kenya attacks last April. These awful news stories are striking such a chord in all of us – causing everyone to quickly update their profile photo to the French flag, because this is a city we know and love, much like my old home in NYC.
My first trip to Paris wasn’t until I was 31, but it was probably my most favorite trip ever. It was everything and more that I had hoped for. I consumed pounds and pounds of cheese, drank a ton of good wine, walking down the Siene, had a picnic under the Eiffel Tower. It was all that cliche amazingness. And to think that it was the center of terror this past week is just so hard to grasp. I will be praying for Paris and for Kenya and for all the other places around the world currently experiencing any form of terror. This has got to end. My thoughts are will all of those who have lost loved ones.
First of all, I have tried to write this 3 times now and ended up bawling every time, like a huge mama mess — crying of happiness because I love being your mama so much and just disbelief that your first year is over. I will try to write this once more…
Wow. We really made it. I thought it would be nice to write you a letter each year on your birthday just so you know how much you mean to me and your Dad. It’s really hard to put into words, but I can try. I also just want to make sure I always remember some of the best things about your year.
I remember in February of 2014 when I sat in a doctors office for a routine checkup and found out I was pregnant. My life changed forever in that moment. And it was the best change of my life. What a ride this first year has been. From your birth at 6:40pm at NY Presbyterian Hospital (thank you dearest epidural) to walking up York Avenue in NYC home from the hospital (why did we walk home again?) to those 3 precious months I spent at home with you before returning to work. Nothing could have prepared me for this amazing journey and I feel like I have just started to find my groove in the last month or so. Being a mother is hard – very hard – but it’s also the most incredible, heart-always-bursting feeling ever. I am so grateful for every day I get to be your mom.
The day he was born. I had no idea what was in store…
On your very 1st birthday, these are some things I want you to remember about your first year:
You are the sweetest, most snuggly little boy ever. I never knew a human could snuggle as closely as you do. There is nothing like it. You love nothing more than curling up to mama (and daddy).
You have the biggest, chunkiest thigh rolls ever. They are awesome. But your tummy is pretty slim!
You still have not a single tooth at one year. But you manage to chew anything and everything when it comes to food.
You officially hate your crib. You love mama and daddy’s bed and we’re ok with that. Just don’t fall off again – that was bad.
You have traveled a lot in your first year. You flew from NYC to Tahoe at 2 months, then US Virgin Islands at 3 months and then 18 days cross the USA at 6 months. Your baby passport photo is the best!
You love anything and everything that has to do with the water. I think you will be a surfer. Or something.
You have equal amounts mama and daddy at this point. You can be really chill and quiet (like daddy) and then get totally wild and crazy like mommy was as a baby. Your hair is the same – straight up front and curly in the back. We love your mix of super sweet and silly.
You eat really, really fast. Always. And you don’t stop eating ever. You would probably eat food forever if you could.
You’re still nursing at 1 year and I am so happy I made it this far. There are so many times I am exhausted, but I look down and know this won’t last much longer.
You love climbing stairs. And climbing anything really.
Your laugh is hilarious.
You love riding in the car. You also like to fall asleep in the car which is a good and bad thing. Sometimes I need you to stay awake!
Daddy spent all summer of your first year playing with you while mama worked. We called it “summer of Josh.” But then he had to go to work…and that was a very good thing. But that summer was really fun and we had so many good times (and a few stressful ones…).
You cannot eat anything made from cows milk. This is not fun for mama who had to cut out all cheese, milk and butter for the last year. But I am grateful for it. But you really should start eating it soon…please…
You had some pretty serious separation anxiety for awhile there. You wouldn’t even let mama walk 3 steps away. It’s still hard sometimes for you but you’ve come a long way and we think it’s just a phase. But for awhile there, you just wanted mama. All day.
Your 1st birthday was spent with just close family and a couple of our new friends here at our home. We ended up having a “bear” theme (sorry), but it was very cute. You had a cake that mom worked very hard to try to make dairy-free. You loved it. A lot.
You moved from Manhattan to Lake Tahoe at 6 months old. This was a huge transition but we did it and you love it here. I think it’s the perfect place for you. You love hiking and going to the lake. You also love hanging with Grandma and Grandad and your cousins and Aunt/Uncle.
You just don’t want to sleep through the night yet. Mama and Daddy are VERY tired. I don’t think we’ve slept more than 4 hour stretches in months and months. It’s not easy, but we adjusted and we will get the hang of it soon.
You are a great napper. You always take your 2 naps a day. We don’t every want you to go to 1 nap a day. Mama likes when you do 2 naps a day so she can take a shower.
Your mom and dad are so obsessed with you that people think we are crazy 1st time parents. Daddy especially gets nervous about a lot of things. It’s all new to us. Thanks for dealing with our craziness!
It sounds cliche when you see other moms write this, but I truly love you more than anything in the world. I cannot wait for all the years ahead. We have so much fun in store and you’re just the most awesome guy ever.
Super excited to have our wild cross-country adventure story featured on Roadtrippers.com as a part of their “Extraordinary Journeys” online series (in collaboration with Holiday Inn). It was indeed one extraordinary journey (to say the least…) as we traveled for 18 days from NYC to our new home in Lake Tahoe with the little guy in tow. Such an incredible experience (and really a lifelong dream of mine to drive Route 66 across). Click here to read our story.
I’ve been struggling with where to take this blog for quite some time (obviously). “Manhattan Emily” doesn’t quite work for our new life living in Lake Tahoe. Just doesn’t flow…you know. I’ve also been struggling with what exactly I want this little blog to be. I try think back to why I started it. My goal, when I started this project over 2 years ago was simple – to write every day and see where it took me. I am ultimately a big computer nerd (some people used to call me “Data Jones,” I’m not kidding…) and I love writing and blogging, so I wanted to make a point to do what makes me happy every day. And I did that for a long time and I learned SO much about blogging and how much work it takes to keep up. It’s VERY time consuming. But I still seem to come back to this blog after time away and want to keep it up. I read this post recently from one of my favorite bloggers about how important it is for your blog to have a focus. Blogging about my baby, family, running, traveling, social media, food, Lake Tahoe…it’s just all over the place. So, I want to focus this little space a little bit more and that’s what I’m going to try to work on for ya. So, back to how I started with TOP 10 lists. I love lists and the ideas for them are endless. So, here we go…. TOP 10 THINGS I LIKE ABOUT LIVING IN LAKE TAHOE
Everyone (well most everyone) has some piece of outdoor equipment on their car. Whether a paddleboard, bike, kayak, canoe, skis…everyone is carting around some kind of awesome outdoor equipment. It constantly makes me want to get out and do something. I love that vibe.
The weather. This weather is CRAZY y’all. I really try to hold back from telling anyone on the East Coast what it’s been like, but man…it’s kind of nice here. Cool in the mornings – like 40-50 degrees EVERY morning. And then 65-85 every day. Usually in the 70s. And no humidity. California sunshine and blue skies will seriously help increase my happiness. When I hear about the humidity on the east coast, I remember why I always wanted to live out west.
Everything you need but still the small-town vibe. What a lot of people don’t realize is that while we’re in a small lakeside town, we are very close to two bigger cities- Reno is exactly 30 mins away and Carson City, NV, is about 20 minutes. There you will find the necessities — Whole Foods, Target, Trader Joes, TJ Maxx, Chipotle…all you need. As long as I can be within proximity to Targay, then all is good. Then it’s back over the mountain to our little small town life. And 2 minutes away from us is a massive grocery store/shopping, so that’s good to have too.
The small-town vibe. I always had a fascination with small towns. I actually always wanted to live on a Main Street. While this really isn’t the smallest of small towns, the area we live in (in North Lake Tahoe) is quite small. I have already run into the same people several times. The post office lady knows me. The grocery store workers – we’re on a first-name basis and the 4th of July parade down the main road was about the cutest thing ever. I like it. It’s quite a major adjustment but I am getting used to it.
The lake. The clear water. The insane views on every road. The endless scenery. That’s a given. This place is just surreal (scenery-wise) — every day. I keep praying that forest fires don’t ruin any of this. Or earthquakes. Because it’s real pretty.
Cost of living. It’s cheaper than NYC. A lot. Our place here is WAY, and I mean WAY cheaper than our little 1 bedroom in NYC. And we have a laundry room in our place – that’s enough reason alone, right!? But we do have car payments and car insurance now. Altogether, it’s cheaper than our previous life…and that’s a good thing.
It’s not NYC. When we talked about leaving NYC, we always said we would have to choose somewhere that was VERY different and equally as awesome. From NYC, we couldn’t move to Random-town, USA. It had to be somewhere exciting. So it’s been fun to discover a whole new, very different lifestyle. It’s been such a lesson to me that there is so much in this world to see. I don’t know how or why I lasted 12 years in NYC when there is so much out there to experience. NYC and its golden handcuffs…I swear! Although Disclaimer: I LOVE NYC to the moon and beyond and I will always miss some things about the city – mostly my close friends and Shack Shack (and the pizza). I will miss a lot, but it was time for something different.
Bear likes it here too.
The amount of things you can possibly do within 20 miles. Or within 5 miles. We have been running on trails for 2 months now and seem to come across a new trail every day that tops the one before. The trail options are endless. Every day after work it’s a debate if we’re going to – go to the beach, go hiking, go running, trail running, etc. The outdoor options are impressive to say the least. And it’s really a much healthier lifestyle having all that at your disposal.
My first paddleboarding (SUP) experience. Blissful. And Josh on Eagle Rock.
My family is here or…I am now near my family. I live in the same town as my family. It’s a very new thing to me, but it’s awesome. For so many years I didn’t live near one family member, so this is really nice. And it’s so nice for Bear.
Lots of tourism = good restaurants nearby. There are actually a ton of really good restaurants around the lake. The population in Tahoe triples (or quadruples possibly) in the summer and there are so many restaurants for all these people. We’re discovering so many new ones every week. Truckee, one of my favorite small towns nearby, has a row of GREAT almost-NYC type restaurants. There are some good burger spots, TONS of Mexican joints, sushi and lots of fun places on the water. If there weren’t a lot of “food options” here, I might not live here. Just sayin…
sunset on july 4th – waiting for the fireworks on the lake
Sometimes you take a random photo and it becomes so much more than that. These are three from a hike the other day (to Eagle Falls) with Josh, my dad and Bear and these photos, I think, are so beautiful. Ok, so they may have a filter on them, but barely…it’s not too hard to make a Tahoe photo look good. The scenery here is indescribable. I feel so lucky to be in a place now where I can look around and see this and not concrete buildings. I had to share these, because they’re pretty, right? And Bear’s hair is getting way long! And happy birthday to my dad. This was a pretty cool way to celebrate.
It’s taken me weeks to finally sit down and put some thoughts on to paper about our massive transition from NYC to Tahoe. I still have moments every day when I can’t believe we actually picked up and moved our entire life from Manhattan to this outdoorsy lake community in Nevada (and a mile from the California border). I think back to the last few months and it’s all really a blur. It was a much bigger move than I really thought. I’m proud of us for taking such a huge leap of faith and following our dreams. It’s really nice (and also scary) to start a fresh, new life. It’s a very new concept to me, but I can say I am officially happy here.
I mean, it sounds pretty cool – to escape the big city and start a simpler life somewhere very different. It sounds awesome. But it’s a major transition y’all. One that I’m still (and probably will be for a few months) adjusting to. I am really excited to be here in Tahoe but it’s just different – and I knew it would be. If I had a dollar for every person here that said to me “wow…now that’s a big move,” I’d be Richard Branson by now or something. We’ve been here just over a month now and we’ve seen so much in that time. Lake Tahoe has an incredible lifestyle to offer – especially for the little guy. Not only is it an outdoor enthusiasts heaven, but there are so many great restaurants and fun things to do within minutes (and Reno and Carson City are 30 minutes away, so if I need my Target fix…). And the super trendy mountain town of Truckee is nearby with a lot of great “nyc-quality” restaurants. This life is all so new to us though. We didn’t have a car for 11 years in NYC, so just driving around is weird. Josh says he misses walking everywhere. I do not. We still get lots of hiking and running in here, but just the daily walking to/from places in NYC is a bit of a change. As of now though, I am loving this “drive to the grocery store, drive to the bank, drive to the post office” ordeal. I missed that normalcy a lot (but ask me again in 6 months).
The first week or so here was actually not easy (although it might not look that way from the photos). Thank God my parents are here and let us stay there until we got settled — I will always be so grateful for that — but the first week consisted of rain nearly every day (and cold) which apparently NEVER happens in Lake Tahoe. (Although rain makes people very happy here, because they need it so bad. So, I guess it was a good thing, but tough for us because we couldn’t really get outside and experience what we moved here for.) I also started working from home the date after we arrived and as wonderful as that has been, it’s been an adjustment figuring it all out. And searching for a place to live. All with a busy, little 7 month old.
our first week here was cloudy, cold and rainy
our anniversary down on whale beach (byob!)
Then about a week later, that California sun started to shine and we started to see why we came here. We started running on trails, going to the beaches, hiking and to restaurants (where we could sit outside) and exploring this whole area. There is so much to see. My favorite thing is that everyone here has SOMETHING on top of their car – bikes, kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, ski racks galore….something. I love that. And every day, you see so many people biking up the mountain roads and paddle-boarding in the lake after work. It’s pretty cool and sure beats the 7pm NYC Bar Happy Hour. I’m shocked at how beautiful summer is here. I thought of Tahoe as a ski destination, but the summer is awesome and I might like it even better than the winters here. And the people are incredibly nice – almost too nice. It’s such a welcome change (and a bit weird).
After a week or so, we found ourselves a lovely 3-bedroom rental condo (please note: I’ve never lived in anything more than a 1BDR!) in walking distance to the lake (with a laundry room!) and close to restaurants/shops, etc. My favorite burrito place and sandwich shop are both about 2 minutes away and there are about 5 Mexican restaurants within a few miles. Enough said! With this condo, we got these little photo cards to two private beaches here that feel like heaven. One with a big pool right on the lake, both with bars/food, chairs, etc. It’s a nice perk…for almost half of what we paid for a 1 BDR in NYC (i.e., you should come visit us)!
Grilling on the beach on Josh’s bday weekend
I really like it here and hope we can make our lives work in this little town. There are so many kids and families here, so I think it’s the right place for us right now. Some people have asked me if I miss NYC and I can say honestly that I haven’t had much time to think about it yet. It’s such a welcome change that I don’t miss really anything yet (except our friends of course). Maybe ordering in on the Seamless app (and Shake Shack), but that’s probably it. Ask me again in the Fall or at Christmas, but those seasons here in Tahoe are pretty amazing too. I like change, but it’s just that – a big change.
Almost every day when I’m off work, we go down to the beach/lake, just minutes away (.8 miles actually), and I look around at people paddle-boarding, kids running around, people drinking beer at the beach bar, grilling out, etc., and I see Bear playing in the sand and it just makes me really happy. It’s going to be a good life for Bear and for us, I’m pretty sure. It’s definitely a transition time for our little family, but I think we will be just fine. I’ll let ya know!
Beautiful Chamber’s Landing bar…
Hiking with Dad on Father’s Day (this man hikes every day, y’all!)
My mom strolling Bear to our neighborhood playground with a pretty great view…
I definitely feel like some kind of suburban mom now, going to the pool and grocery store every day…and i kind of love it.
Bear is already getting into the Tahoe outdoors scene!
this photo makes me really happy for some reason…i think because it’s everything new york city was not. i will always love nyc, but i like this better these days…