I’ve lived my life in wonder and search of unexpected pairings; I was the first girl in line for bizarre and unique infusion restaurants and am obsessed with designers who blend radically different vibes into a seamless look. I love when someone discovers these things aren’t just merely complimentary, yet fuse so fantastically in spite of their contrast.


And I found all of that in Java Burrito.


© Harbour Affair Productions / Celia G Photographie


Those who follow along on Harbour Affair know that Java Burrito is a happy place within my happy place of this blessed little island; it’s where I schedule most of my brainstorming meetings with clients and fellow creatives. The vibe is hip. The coffee is outstanding. And the food… I mean, Y’ALL.


My weekly (okay, maybe every other day…) visits to Java Burrito started early in our arrival to Hilton Head. It was lonely running my business out of our tiny condo. Not having much luck with big chain coffee places, a quick search brought up JB Company. A coffee AND Mexican fusion eatery? SIGN ME UP. I’ve always been a “local coffee shop gal” when it comes to getting work done – the white noise and hustle of the patrons’ busy lives makes me feel connected and oddly focused when it came to remembering what it’s all for. And again, the food (seriously: Y’ALL). Even when I went through some nutrition counseling with a dietician recently and was put on a bizarrely restricted diet for a time, Java Burrito was my little oasis: I could get an approved lunch there without feeling like a weirdo (have I mentioned I’m a sucker for customizable food?). Over time, it became that neighborhood spot I would run into friends, clients, and community leaders – I find myself saying “Hi!!” to someone I know pretty much every time I go these days.


© Harbour Affair Productions / Celia G Photographie


And the best part?

I don’t feel like a beached whale after a good meal there; the ingredients are fresh and mostly locally sourced. They have unique things to add to your tacos or burritos like zesty diced peaches and rosemary potatoes. And if I’m going to splurge on a fancy coffee beverage, that’s where I go. My recommendation? The Honey Lavender Latte, made with real lavender from France and local honey. Not bad – just perfectly boujee.


The Honey Lavender Latte from Java Burrito || © Harbour Affair Productions / Celia G Photographie


As my hiney began to leave an imprint from my frequent visits to Java Burrito, I got to know the employees and the owners there (most who know my invasive questioning know it leaves you no choice). I was weirdly fascinated by Frederika, the hip, savvy blonde behind the magic of Java Burrito (and of course her husband, Michael, too). We’d find ourselves among the other local lady entrepreneur circles and eventually began chatting more and more about #BFGs (“big ‘effing goals”) and young professional/self-employed life on the island. Our stories were eerily similar in how we came to “find” our place here, from seemingly “once in a lifetime” opportunities that horribly fell through (and them turning out to be BIG blessings in disguise) to eloping to a seaside escape to constantly wondering “what DOES this little coastal community need now? 10 years from now?”


Frederika & Michael Fekete of Java Burrito || © Harbour Affair Productions / Celia G Photographie


I finally got to schedule a time to chat with Frederika and Michael and talk more about their business practices and what gets them excited to come to work every day. And they are pretty much there EVERY DAY (I know this because I always see them there… and I’m there pretty much… well, you know…). It’s evident that it takes a LOT of work to run a business like this and that it took even more work to get it off the ground (when they started Java Burrito, it was right after the economic downturn). And now, it’s one of the THE local hangouts while also a “must do” for visitors.

What’s their secret?

Happy Hour, anyone? || © Harbour Affair Productions / Celia G Photographie


What’s something you’re most proud of?
We are most proud of being able to support local agriculture and local businesses through keeping our farmers close!
Who is someone who has been a big influence on where you are now?
An amazing man that we are so lucky to have in our lives, Alan Wasserstrom. His wealth of knowledge in business and the food and beverage industry is an incredible resource that we are beyond grateful for.
Describe what success means to YOU.
Don’t wait for opportunity, create it! Success is not what you have, but who you are.
What is something you’re really excited about with the store?
Excited for this next chapter of Java Burrito…the staff, the growth, the reputation…there is so much excitement coming our way. Stay tuned!
If your business had a theme song, what would it be?
Spice up your Life -Spice Girls
Describe your perfect day in the Hilton Head-Bluffton area.
Hanging out with our dog, Bouvier. Cooking, gardening, drinking coffee and working out.
What mantra/quote/concept has been most important to your success?
Nothing worth having comes easy. That applies to everything. It’s all in the details.

All the colors of the (healthy!) latte rainbow: Blue Majik, Green Matcha, Tumeric, & Beet Root || © Harbour Affair Productions / Celia G Photographie


It’s true – no detail goes unnoticed at Java Burrito. Frederika and Michael are also incredibly humble, always insisting their success is largely due to their rockstar staff and dedicated patrons. The friendly vibes radiate through the little cozy restaurant; and as a lonely new-comer to this island, it was needed so badly at that time. Even moreso now, between the chaos and mile-a-minute pace of life currently, knowing I can pump the breaks and get a fresh lunch (or breakfast… or dinner.. or #alloftheabove) with an authentically friendly smile has become so important. Indeed, it’s a big reason I constantly run into friends and make new ones. Okay, and the food is a serious plus.


So, I welcome one and all to come enjoy the comfort, wonder, and deliciousness that is Java Burrito.
Because coffee, margs, tacos, and wifi are all we really need in life, right?


This bag is TOTES adorbs… and can hold approximately 32 tacos. || © Harbour Affair Productions / Celia G Photographie

See y’all there, fools. Literally.

Hugs & High Fives,


{Visit Java Burrito at Village at Wexford and check out their Instagram for the latest news on new concoctions.}


UPDATE: Check out this article in the Island Packet where “Best Things South Carolina named Java Burrito the #1 place to get a margarita?
I must say, I whole-heartedly agree; happy hour just got a little more special, y’all.

Cheers! || © Harbour Affair Productions / Celia G Photographie


In moving to the Lowcountry 2.5 years ago, I found myself in a place that was beautiful and generally pretty friendly; but having come from a city where I spent years building friendships and getting involved, it was tough not having that “community.” Trying to figure out my business in a new place was daunting, and I felt I was forever “on.” You know what I’m talking about – that sense of smiling through the anxiety and never letting people know you’re totally FREAKING out on the inside and asking internally Pleeeeease be my friend. (And putting on pants – I didn’t go into #creativeentrepreneur to put on PANTS so much!)

In navigating the social media landscape of the area, I stumbled on a page for Gigi’s Boutique of Bluffton. Their stuff was ca-yute. And it definitely had a special touch of the Lowcountry style I was so eager to adopt. After an early morning of meetings and errands in Bluffton, I decided to pop in there and check it out.

Instantly, I felt welcomed. And relieved.

It felt familiar, cozy, and with no pretense. After so many interactions that felt stiff with a Botoxed looking smile, I felt a sense of ease walking through the door at Gigi’s. There was no judgment when I admitted I just wanted to aimlessly browse and no pressure when I eventually did take a handful of items to try on (because, c’mon). They gave me honest opinions when things jusssssst weren’t working. The “small talk” wasn’t forced or weird – I felt like they really wanted to know more about me.


And of course, THE CLOTHES. And the shoes. And the accessories.




The styles felt fun and effortless. The prints were bold and colorful while their collection of neutrals felt classic and chic. And duly impressive are the more upscale styles seamlessly paired along more youthful pieces – and price points for us gals on a budget but also to #treatyoself. I found it amazing the variety in there while also feeling so cohesively “Lowcountry chic.” I also loved they supported so many small and local brands in their store.

I began to find myself popping in there more regularly, of course to explore their new goodies (my girl Katie who works there will get you in BIG trouble with all she posts on Instagram stories) and also to get the latest on what’s going on with the ladies there and the Bluffton area in general. The more I got to know them, and specifically the owners and also sisters, Anna and Emily, I discovered more and more of the Gigi’s story.


They grew up in Bluffton, surrounded by family and loving life in the Lowcountry. However, something was missing in their little coastal community, and they saw an opportunity to bring a unique shopping experience to the area. Armed with a love of family, the community, and fashion, Gigi’s came to be. Wanting to know more, I recently had a chance to spend the morning in the store with them and ask them more about their “success story” and what they love most about what they do.


Emily, Gigi’s of Bluffton


Anna, Gigi’s of Bluffton

Why did you choose the Hilton Head-Bluffton area? – Bluffton was an easy choice. Being born and raised here, we wanted to open something our small town didn’t have. This town is our home.

Describe what success means to you. – We love our store, but we’re family first. Success can take on different meanings different days- getting laundry completed and dinner on the table is definitely a success to us. Making it through a challenging parenting day is success!

What is something you’re really excited about with the store? – Our 10 year anniversary is this Fall and we’re so excited! We opened in 2008, right before the recession really hit. Those were some hard times and we honestly weren’t sure if we would be able to make it. But going through all of that makes this 10 year anniversary even sweeter so we’re planning on a big Lowcountry style celebration.

If your business/store/product had a theme song, what would it be? – “Life’s a Dance” – John Michael Montgomery: Life’s a dance you learn as you go. Sometimes you lead. Sometimes you follow. Don’t worry about what you don’t know… The longer I live, the more I believe you do have to give if you want to receive. There’s a time to listen, a time to talk and you might have to crawl even after you walk.

What mantra/quote/concept has been most important to your success?  – There are a few we could choose from here, but we wouldn’t be able to keep up the business without the employees. So, though it may sound simple, “treat people the way you would like to be treated.”


In collecting their answers, it confirmed what I already knew in my little blonde heart about Gigi’s: Treat everyone like family. The guests, the employees, the vendors, the mailman… y’all, when I was there that morning, they were wishing Good Morning! to the lawn people blowing the leaves outside with a big smile.



And, of course, they just “get” my favorite looks:
(*major probs to Katie M. who helped get me in-front of the camera)






Little did I know that over the course of the last 2.5 years I would be able to shop for pieces that were just perfect for events and travel, but also that I’d feel supported in my endeavors and make new friends. It truly is the best time of way to feel fabulous. Because being nice never goes out style.


Hugs & High Fives,



PS. Bonus: This scarf pattern is called “Celia” – I think it’s pretty on point. 😉




I was recently in conversation with my friend, Katie, who manages one of my favorite boutiques in the area (heyyy Gigi’s Bluffton); we were doing the usual gushing over upcoming possibilities and life in the Lowcountry at our mile-a-minute pace, her end sounding far more sophisticated with its hint of Southern charm. I rattled off all the #hashtag2018goals and word-vomited my ideas and thoughts I had for the New Year all over her (sounding more muppet-jacked-up-on-too many-lattes), and eventually turned to her and said: “Katie, what about you? What are ‘Katie’s big goals’ for 2018?”

With a big breath in, she eventually breathed out:

“I really just want to be the best at my job.”

With the tires of my thought train screeching to a halt in my head, I asked her what she meant.

To be a great manager, a productive team member, a good steward of the boutique’s brand, to love on her clients, to enjoy the process, to make processes better and stronger, to “be” in the day to day of her work.

Whoa, Katie. Whoa.



Y’all, I’m a notoriously creative personality with too much access to coffee and information. Thanks to the world wide web and social media machines, it’s only gotten worse over the course of my life. I constantly have about 15-20 creative/product/event ideas raging through my head at any given time. What’s more challenging is that I can I can almost “see” – y’all, sometimes even “feel” what those ideas could be in real life… and it’s gotten to be exhausting, almost debilitating. Repeatedly I’ve “wasted” late nights researching and long drives home in the car thinking through action steps and ideas and marketing (you wouldn’t believe how many times my brain wants to incorporate used-car-sales-wavy-arm-tube-guys, which I discovered, are called “air dancers), but then I quickly get snapped back to reality with a glance at my already overflowing To Do’s and disaster of an email inbox. So I file the idea away in the already overstuffed “Someday” tab, trying to refocus on the tasks at-hand while the ideas keep creeping in my head like Gremlins fed after midnight.

In years past, I was “that girl” who treated every job as a “pit stop” to the next big promotion or finally getting to #soloprenuer status once I made the decision to go out on my own. Reflecting on my past job lives, I’m not sure I wholly gave of myself or really enjoyed the opportunities to learn and grow from those jobs because I had my head in the clouds and one foot out the door. Sure, I worked hard to produce the best work and most efficient results, but I’m not sure I “enjoyed the ride” (or having a paid-for benefits package).

And yet, I always demanded more of myself. I never felt like I “made it” or was truly accepted in those realms – and more so, even now. It seems today in my current “job” that everyone else is constantly announcing something “exciting” or “cool” or “special” in their meticulously minimal studios in an effortlessly J.Crew styled ensemble drinking an $8 dollar coffee with a foamy silhouette of Beyoncé on it while I’m frantically trying to maintain my current workload at a messy desk like a muppet-meets-air-dancer chugging stale coffee out of a cracked tumbler I refuse to throw out while in my 2nd (3rd?) day old stretchy pants.

And to be quite honest, I thought that was part of being a “successful” person.

I thought unless I had a million ideas and said yes to everything and continuously kept churning out new ways to do things and adding more to my plate and doing a million things at once, I wasn’t doing “it” right or satisfying my “creative” self. When asked about what I was up to or plans for the upcoming frame of time, I felt and spoke in such a way that I was doing was working towards the next big thing – never really realizing that I very well could be in that space already, missing out on an opportunity to enjoy the current “big thing.”

And because of that, I felt this constant need to do more, caught between saying “yes” to things that maybe I shouldn’t have but yearning yet so fearful of putting in the work towards the ideas I was REALLY excited about with a collaborative entity, or that I just couldn’t get out of my head – or more importantly, out of my tiny, weird little blonde heart.

It was a big reason my word of 2017 was “Responsibility.”

It’s a bigger reason my word for 2018 is “Space.”

While I’ve long contemplated Katie’s sentiment, I never really gave it pause nor attention. Yet hearing the words out-loud suddenly hit home.

How can I capitalize on the knowledge, growth, experience, and relationships I’ve built over the last few years and take heart in knowing big things ARE happening?

How do you “enjoy the process” without freaking out about the future?

Why is it a bad thing to actually like our job or our role or be happy in the process?

How do you live life like an air dancer, throwing your hands in the breeze with an excited smile, letting go of trying to “make it” and focus on bringing joy to those around you?

These are serious questions I have with myself, people.


I’m still figuring it out, but I will say this:

I believe the Universe does want us to succeed, if our hearts are in the right place. It wants us to hear the message whether in a quiet moment catching a spectacular sunset or an excited, mile-a-minute conversation. Happiness and joy are not exclusive to those who seemingly have endless resources and it all “figured out”; but until we can learn to appreciate it, cultivate it, and send it back out in the world or share it with those who need it, the journey’s like paddling upstream (which yes… I have done… and it’s no fun). This includes appreciating and getting excited for my fellow #bossfriends in their meticulous studios with artistic coffees, because we’re all in this journey together – and I think I like my worn-in, dog hair-covered stretchy pants just fine.

To all of you inspiring me to be the best at what I feel I’m here to do and be okay with just “being” once in a while, I give you my very best air dancer salute.

Hugs & High Fives,




I’ve never been much of a “New Years Resolution” gal. Partly because most of major life happenings and shifts into big changes have happened in the late summer-early autumn months, so turning the page into the next year was merely a nuance of writing a new number at the end of the date. More importantly, it was the grand epiphany that one never needs to wait for a date or new anything to seek what’s in one’s heart and strive for self-improvement that made resolutions specifically on January 1st all the more silly.

And yet, I found myself needing something to launch me into the new year (other than shopping for a beloved new yearly planner, which yes, I do spend an absurd amount of time researching before buying). I’ve noticed over the last several years, each passing of the 365 days has been marked by some repeated big lesson or feeling or ah-HA! moment. In December it always – somehow – managed to come to a sweeping crescendo, and I took the bottom line into the great unknown as a tool and/or guide into the bold new year.

I began my “Word of the Year” tradition three years ago as at that time it became a trendy alternative to the resolution train; I loved it because it made so much sense. Instead of coming up with a boat-load of rules and restrictions, a simple “word” guides feelings and actions in a more objective kind of approach. When faced with a decision, one can ask: Does it align with my word: __X__? Yes or no? Weirdly enough, these words always came to me in big ways and I never had to overly research or think about it (which is great because I used up all my extraneous brain power on planner purchasing).

In 2015, it was Simplify: Cut the fat, get focused, learn the meaning of “No,” and quit doing a million things at once distracting yourself from what you’re REALLY supposed to be doing (and what REALLY makes you happy).

In 2016, it was Joy: Seek purity of heart and a lightness around hobbies and goals and pursuits, staying connected to the big picture and the “why” of it all.

In 2017, it was Responsibility: Stay committed to my vision & goals and the people who are supporting me to get there. I only have so many “yes’s” to give, so choose wisely – and give fully into each of those yes’s with gratitude.

In 2018, it will be:



Yes. Space.

Yes, I definitely gave the Universe a “whaaaaa?” face when it hit, too. I even ignored it; and when it wouldn’t leave me alone, tried to fashion it in a more sexy word: intention, focus, time-management, etc. But it persisted, and it insisted: Space.

And then I totally cracked up because it was all too perfect, speaking simultaneously to my overtly Type A self and inner emerging woo-woo girl (not to be confused with “woo girls,” you HIMYM fans).

I mean, how am I really supposed to invest in my business, my relationship with my husband, my little Lowcountry community, my friends near and far, and my family, AND enjoy all of it when I don’t hold space to do so? And how do I hold space without taking out all my favorite multi-colored Sharpies and sticky tabs and planning well ahead so I don’t give away space I’ve committed to the above mentioned priorities? I MEAN it’s like my inner Monica Gheller* and Dharma* (of Dharma & Greg) totally collided and my new planner has NO IDEA what’s coming! {insert heart-eyes emoji}

*PS. Sorry to you youngin’s who may not get the early 2000s references but GET ON IT because you’re missing out.

Harbour Affair_Hilton Head Island

So, why “Space”? The vast, infinite void often scared me because it looked like “nothing.” If my calendar wasn’t full of To Do’s and appointments and deadlines, I didn’t feel like I was being productive or, that dirtiest of dirty words, “successful.” Sure, I would schedule in a day “off” but even then it was a time to do the things I didn’t think were priorities because they didn’t directly make me a profit or inch my status up the social ladder. I sacrificed sleep and spending time with family and friends to cram in workouts and laundry and got into a BAD habit of saying I could “squeeze” in another quick project or favor into the time & space I had originally carved to start putting my personal projects and goals into action. “Space” on my calendar became my greatest fear: 1) it made me feel unimportant, and 2) it meant I actually had to face these bizarre callings in my heart and my gut, raging like sugar-induced toddlers begging for attention and to be set free. There are a lot of ideas I see and feel – by GOSH, I can feel them, y’all! – yet they still were marked by a host of unknown variables, so I filled the space, instead, with plenty of easy ‘known’ ways to make money and feel busy.

The weird part is, I don’t regret those choices and experiences. I’ve learned the lesson well enough to where I can no longer ignore it, and I know the Universe/Big Guy/Higher Power of Your Choosing was setting everything up for the next big leap. The “Space” is an opportunity to dive deep, going beyond the surface level and seeing the wonders hidden in the tiny moments of the unknown, having faith they will be filled with progress and potentially other opportunities I haven’t even considered yet. It’s staying true to the responsibilities I do have in front of me, holding that space to better give them what they need. It’s finding the joy in the journey and letting go of things that may no longer have that inherent joy anymore, and being okay to say good-bye and surrender the “FOMO” for something greater. It’s strategizing more actionable ways to simplify, knowing when to say HELL YES! and politely smile and shake my head “No.”

It’s a new adventure, both grounded in knowing the time has come to push things into the next level and having everything you need to do so – and waiting to see what new worlds await me in that vast, expansive, unexplored atmosphere.

And just for kicks, maybe it’s a chance to invest in a pair of moon boots and see if NASA would accept a 30-something into their summer camp programs.


photo shot by Whitney of W Photography

Sky’s the limit, as they say.

To infinity and beyond, my friends.

Hugs & High Fives,


PS. For those who were wondering, the planner I bought is from MochiThings and simply called “The Large Monthly Planner.” It’s simple, it’s understated, it’s HUGE, which I like, and has lots of room for planning and notes.


It was a clear, full, wonderful afternoon. A day that was warm with the tinge of fall buried itself in the flashes of cool breezes. That morning I had traveled a few hours to do a photoshoot, one of my biggest gigs to date, and has just finished the session followed by an amazing late lunch with a longtime co-worker and friend. The photos, the conversations, the feeling of living into my professional goals… I had gusto! in my heart and an air in my chest. As a bid my friend adieu, I looked up the nearest Starbucks and headed over to back up my photos and get a caffeine boost for the long drive home ahead – and, of course, get my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season.

My newfound confidence emitting proudly from my very being, I quickly found myself in conversation with the barista who started it all with, “You look like you’re having a great day!” This young lady was one of the brightest people I had ever encountered.  Literally, I felt like there was a glow about her that whenever one found yourself in her radius, one couldn’t help but stand taller and smile a little bigger. Even in the busy afternoon post-school, mid-afternoon-need-my-coffee-NOW craziness, she treated every customer with a heartfelt concern and respect. She had long blonde hair in a ponytail that bounced as she walked back and forth to prepare coffee creations, and a perfect red lip I will never be able to pull off. She handed me my PSL with a laughy smile and the encouraging words that one day she’d see my photos somewhere big time and be able to say, “I met her!” I’d have jumped over the counter to give her a hug if I wasn’t draped in camera/computer gear.

I made myself cozy at a little table just outside. After a while of getting into my workflow, I get interrupted by a guy dressed very confidently who had loudly pulled up in a bright blue car that obviously was designed to garner attention. He comes over to my table with a friend floating behind him and asks, “Hi, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to bother you – but I just have to tell you, you are really beautiful.” “Um, okay, thank you for that.” “Can I get you anything?” “Nope, I’m great, just needing to get some work done here.” “OH, well, excuse ME for trying to do something nice.”

I chose to keep my face buried in my computer and to ignore any further conversation. He persisted.

“You got a man?”

I waved my left hand at him with my shiny, albeit a bit dirty wedding bands, careful to never look up from my computer.

“So, you like d*** then, huh?”

My face started burning with fury and embarrassment, but I wouldn’t stop typing or staring into my inbox.

“Fine. You stupid b***h.”

He and his friend scoff and move past into the cafe. A little pissed and a little shaken up, I wasn’t sure if I should stand my ground and keep working or run to my car and get out of there while I could, knowing he had to come back out.

By this point, a few more patrons, mostly women, had made themselves more comfortable outside around me. I hoped their presence meant he wouldn’t have the gall to come back to say any parting words. Instead, several minutes later, the sweet blonde barista hurriedly came marching out, the bounce in her ponytail now a heavy, forceful swish.

“Did that man harass you?”

“… yes.”

“He’s causing problems inside, too. Don’t worry, we’ve asked him to leave and we’ve called the police, they’re on their way. Can I get you anything?” she asked with a cracked smile and a quiver in her voice. Returning the cracked smile, I shook my head silently.

Minutes later, I hear muddled angry tones coming from inside the location, followed by the guy and his friend busting violently through the entrance. As expected, he comes up to my table on his way out:

“You f***ing snitch. You tried to tell on me? You’ll be sorry. You stupid b****, you’re about find out what d*** is good for you.”

Angrily, he stormed off to his car with his friend in tow. No one said a word to me. No one went after him. A crowded coffee shop full of people, and we all watched it go down. We went back to acting like it never happened literally the second he got into his car.

Too shaken up to get any further work done, I packed up my stuff and ran into the bathroom to splash water on my face to cool the burning sensation on my face and blot the pools of angry tears welling in the corners of my eyes. I pulled myself together as quickly as I could and heavily stepped out of the restroom, checking to see if that horrible blue car was still lingering in the parking lot. The blonde barista quietly leaned over the counter, noticing I was wide-eyed and frozen: “He said some really awful things in here,” she said, biting her perfectly red lip. I knew he said them to her. I wanted to jump across the counter even more now, wanting to give her a hug but badly needing one myself. “I’m so sorry,” she winced, no longer able to put on a smile. “Me, too.”


This is by far not the worst I or that blonde barista and I endured in this realm; it’ll be far from the last time, too. I have countless stories and know many other women who do, too. Though it’s been a year since this happened, it’s something I think about often, about how I should’ve handled it better, how no one raised eyebrows or questions. How people think that harassment and abuse only happen in the dark and with strangers and behind closed doors, involving power struggles and alcohol and opportunities for bad decisions to happen. That this guy was just “crazy” or high or not willingly acting in his right mind because, obviously, no one wanting to get away with what he did would ever do something like that in the middle of broad daylight in good conscious…

When I saw there was no evidence of that blue sedan in the parking lot but the lights on the cop car did show up, I bolted to my car. I bolted in hopes that if that guy saw me, he wouldn’t try anything with the cop car in the parking lot. I also bolted because I didn’t want to talk to the cops. I didn’t want to relive the last 15min, I didn’t want to repeat what he’d said. I didn’t want to think about his face and have to describe him.

I think about it more-so because I felt like I had no one to talk to about it. I didn’t want someone to say, “I’m so sorry that happened to you” or “Why didn’t you react _x_?” and have to explain myself. I didn’t want to acknowledge how scared I was, constantly looking over my rearview mirror for the entire 3 hour drive home, sure that the flashy blue car was “crazy” enough to follow me home. I didn’t want to admit how little I let this person made me feel after having one of the best and biggest days of my professional life. I felt like I had let that barista down: I could get in my car and get far, far away. She had to find the resiliency to remain collected through the rest of her shift, probably too scared herself to return to work the next day knowing he could be back at any time.

My story is not unique. It’s not going to move mountains or inspire or infuriate anyone enough spur a major change. It’s not the darkest, most shocking, click-bait story I could tell from my trove of experiences. It’s not suggesting I felt like I –had– to share it or that one is a lesser part of the cause if you choose not to.

But, maybe, my story will spark a conversation. Maybe it’ll be a piece in the larger momentum that does ignite a paradigm shift. Maybe it’ll reveal pockets of peace and safety through friends and communities and families. Maybe, just maybe, we can normalize respect and kindness instead of “joking” or “craziness” or “he was _x_” or “they didn’t mean it like _y_.”

I’m not sure exactly how I feel about the #MeToo movement. It’s a upsetting to see it so prevalent, also to not feel surprised by it… but, oh, how inspired I am to see other women — colleagues, mentors, younger generations — pushing this conversation to the forefront. Sharing so boldly their stories. Asking to make it stop. Asking to be heard. Asking the individuals responsible for the horrible behavior to recognize their actions and demand more action on the true guilty parties. To ask to no more being labeled the “victims” and “survivors.”

Please, let’s keep this conversation going.

Thank you to those who have shared and brought this conversation forward.

To that bright, wonderful young woman at Starbucks: Thank you for sharing your light with me even when you felt scared and defeated, too. I won’t let you down again.

Hugs & High Fives,