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I don’t know if it’s because I slept through New Year’s Eve or what but all I want to do is think about my 2017 travel plans.  I’m feeling ALL the wanderlust this month.  I really wanted to try and get away for the long weekend, but I couldn’t find any good deals that I wanted to pull the trigger on.  I will be traveling a lot for work next month, so I guess I should enjoy being home for now.

2017 Travel Plans – Definite

2017 travel plansP I N I T

  • Albion, Michigan (twice) – Next month, I’ll be taking some of our scholars to visit Albion College and compete for scholarships.  We stopped by there last fall when we were in Detroit for NCAN, but it’s going to be completely different to be there in winter!  Thank goodness for my Peuterey coat that I scored on super sale last year.
  • Bloomington, Indiana – I’m going to be a guest of IU admissions at the end of February.  I’m hoping that I’ll get to see a couple of my favorite kiddos, but this is going to be a quick trip, and again… thank goodness I have a real coat.
  • Hilton Head, South Carolina – One of my good friends is getting married in Hilton Head in April and I’m a bridesmaid!  Not only am I super excited to celebrate her marriage, but I’m also super excited to visit a part of the country I haven’t seen!
  • Europe 2017.  This should really go into the pending category since I haven’t nailed down the details, but we will definitely be making our (now) annual European adventure…  Like last year, we’re planning on visiting some new places and returning to some favorites.


2017 Travel Plans – Pending


  • San Antonio, Texas – I have two conference proposals pending for TACAC this year.  It’s a super conference between three area ACACs, so I’m not sure what to expect, but I think I’ll see a lot more people that I don’t normally see at TACAC.  I’ve been to San Antonio a couple times, but I think it would be fun to go in the spring!
  • Washington, DC – I have a conference proposal pending for the AP National conference in July.  While July in DC sounds awfully steamy, I wouldn’t mind visiting!  DC was the first place I traveled on my own when I was 15, and it was what convinced me that I wanted a career that benefited the public good.  I was going to be a scrappy street lawyer and advocate for the homeless.  I couldn’t believe how many homeless people were in DC.  I remember being particularly ashamed of that when I was in high school.
  • San Diego, California – NCAN is in sunny San Diego this year.  I’m planning on putting in a proposal again this year since I enjoyed presenting there last year.  I haven’t been to San Diego since college, so I would love to explore the gaslamp district and see some sunrises on the beach.
  • Boston– I’m sorry, have we met?  I go to Boston (Cambridge?) at least once a year… I’ve got two conference proposals in for NACAC, so I’m hopeful that I’ll have yet another excuse to spend some time there.  I’m also planning on attending the same conference that I have attended for the past two summers as a participant…. still have ultimate #profgoals to get on staff one day.

2017 Travel Plans – The Blog

I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to figure out how I want to document our travels for the blog.  I really love being able to share more pictures, so I’m going to continue posting my Saturday best travel photo series.  It pushes me to work on getting my pictures edited and keep them from just living on my computer.  I want to share them with others… because photos are definitely where I draw my travel inspiration from!

After thinking about how we travel last month, I think I’ve come up with how I want to share our favorite things.  I know that how we travel isn’t for everyone, so I’m currently hammering out an introduction to it… so stay tuned for that.  I’m hoping to share it on #WanderfulWednesday soon!  In the mean time, tell me what your travel plans are for this year (and if you have any suggestions for me)!!


Wanderful WednesdayP I N I T

Isabel, Marcella, Vanessa, Lauren

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  • Jasmine - So many fun trips coming up!! I’ve heard good things about Hilton Head! Hope you post about it. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Van - Looks like you’ll get to see quite a lot of the US this year! Would love to see some of these places too 😉 For now, I’ve only got the first half of the year covered since we’ll be moving in the summer but until then, there’ll be two major Arctic trips coming up and I’m so excited!!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - Wow you have so many things coming up! I like your travel posts. I never have anything to comment since I don’t travel but I enjoy looking at all your photos 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Lauren @ Bookmark Lit - Omg Hilton Head is one of my FAVORITE places. I’m looking to move there for a few months, within in the next year or two. Sounds like a great year of travel!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Elizabeth - 2017 is looking like another busy year for you travel wise! How fun that you have a mix of new to you locations and familiar places in new seasons.

    I can’t wait to hear about where your European adventure will take you this time! William & I are hoping to do a trip similar to the one you took in December in the next couple of years.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley @ The Wandering Weekenders - That’s so exciting that you have the opportunity to go to so many conferences so you can travel to so many fun places. After visiting Europe last year we couldn’t say no to making that our big trip this year! I feel like once you’ve been bitten by the bug you always want to go back!ReplyCancel

  • Marcella ~ WhatAWonderfulWorld - Wow, what exciting plans for the year ahead! There is nothing better than having lots of exciting trips to look forward to, it really keeps the travel wanderlust going 🙂ReplyCancel

  • cara - Sounds like you’re gonna have a busy year with traveling, but lots of exciting visits! Hope you have fun on all of them!ReplyCancel

  • Olya @ The Siberian American - I’ve always wanted to go to Hilton Head! What a gorgeous place for a wedding. I can’t wait to hear where you decide to go in Europe! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Kelsey - All of your travel plans sound super fun!! I love San Antonio, DC & San Diego!!!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah CC - I’m from Michigan! Enjoy the snow, haha. I was in Hilton Head a few years ago, it’s nice but was a bit too preppy/touristy for my taste. We really liked riding our bikes along the beach though, the sand is so hard that it’s really easy!ReplyCancel

  • Kat - You’ve got so many plans for 2017 already! And I love that lots of them are travel plans. You’ll be busy. I haven’t planned trips apart from one to Sydney this month. I’m waiting for my visa extension to be approved and it seems like tempting fate to book anything else before then. #wanderfulwednesdayReplyCancel

  • Katie Elizabeth - Is it sad that the trip I’m most excited for you to take is to Albion?!? Can’t even wait!!!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad - You’ve got some great trips coming up! I’d be very interested in finding out more about the places in the US you’ve got on your list, I love travelling vicariously through others! Where will you be headed on your European trip?

    With our move to Sydney this year (everything crossed for that visa) we have zero travel plans as we are in SUPER budget mode. So unless work send me somewhere else, our list looks like Sydney, Sydney, Sydney. I’m really very ok with that!ReplyCancel

  • Ali - What an exciting year ahead!! Where in Europe are you planning to go?? 😀 I’ll definitely check out your Sunday photos too – great idea! I always find it hard to know what to do with all the pics on my computer and am still editing from years ago!!ReplyCancel

  • Allison @ Becoming a Traveling Family - I love reading about other bloggers’ travel plans. It gives me inspiration for my own travels. We have four trips planned for this year with one pending. We’re leaving on our Bahamian cruise in a few weeks and we’re also heading to Puerto Rico, Seattle/Vancouver, BC and Disneyland later in the year.ReplyCancel

  • Kelli {A Deeper Joy} - If you come to San Antonio, please let me know so we can meet up! 🙂ReplyCancel

I hadn’t planned to get political up in here but I just finished another big deadline. And, I had post inauguration nightmares last night… so I’m going to get political up in here.

journey of doing - post inauguration nightmaresP I N I T

It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling with the post-election world.  I’ve seen things get really nasty on my Facebook page when I post things that I believe in.  And, it makes me really sad.  But nothing – and I mean NOTHING – makes me as sad as reading about the complete and utter fear that has filled the minds those beautiful children that I get to work with.

We have this group of scholars that we affectionately call the unicorns.  They are our unicorns because they started their college and scholarship application process during the summer.  They willingly showed up at school before it started to work on a long shot scholarship.  They have written more essays that their peers.  They’ve applied to schools all across the country.  They have refused to accept the status quo or what people say is good enough for them.  They worked so hard that I told my advisor that I wanted to be the final set of eyes on their November 1 applications.  That way, if things didn’t work out, I knew that I had done everything I could to help their success.

Their November 1 applications were bright-eyed and optimistic.  They talked about their dreams with the cavalier idealism that only seventeen-and-eighteen-year-olds can possess.  They were excited about what the future holds.  It was a beautiful time to be a college advisor.

For some of them, those early applications worked out.  For others, we had to keep applying.

For the last month, I have been working with the unicorns exclusively.  A dark, dark tone has settled over their applications.  There was palpable desperation.  A need to get out of here.  A need to feel safe.  A need to know that someone cares what happens to their lives.  It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  It’s sad.  It’s terrifying.  And, it’s not okay.

People.  Wake up.  Regardless of how you feel about undocumented families, you should realize that it is inhumane to banish people into the shadows.  You can try and take the “high ground”, but you need to know that the REAL reason they are here is because the U.S. government refuses to hold employers accountable for hiring them because we like cheap labor.  I promise you – throw ONE white collar executive in jail for refusing to use an e-verify system, and you could end it… but the truth is that people don’t REALLY want that.  And so we do nothing about it.  DACA was a humane response to the problem.  It wasn’t a pathway.  It didn’t give them benefits.  But, it allowed them to live without fear.

Instead of doing something about the problem, we banish people into the shadows.  We force them to live like Anne Frank and her family did in under the nazi regime.  We accept their tax dollars (and they pay a lot because most pay self employment tax rates), but we don’t provide them benefits.  We justify to ourselves that it’s okay.  That we’re doing them the favor.  We have an entire group of people who live in constant fear, and we’ve decided that’s okay.

A few years ago, I worked with a student who told me stories of being terrified (at six-years-old) that immigration would show up at her elementary school and take her away.  She told me stories of shaking in fear anytime she saw a uniformed officer at the grocery store.  This student had earned a full scholarship to one of Dallas’ most prestigious private high schools…  She commuted two hours each way for that education.  She was extremely smart and very rational, but she lived in constant fear for herself and her family.  She didn’t make the choice to come here, but she made the best of what was offered to her in hopes that it would stabilize her life.

A few weeks ago, I was visiting with one of my students who is a junior at one of our flagship universities (which she has entirely paid for with private scholarships).  She told me about the heartbreaking conversation that she had with her little sister after the election.  Her little sister called to ask if she would take care of her and let her live with her if something happened to mom and dad… and she had to explain that she wasn’t protected either.  So now, the little sister, who is a U.S. citizen, is forced to live in fear of what happens if her parents are taken away.

And the cycle of fear continues.

As I read the following short answer this weekend, I was overcome with grief (again).  This.  This is a kid that we’re marginalizing right now.  This is a kid that we’re saying doesn’t belong (while our president-elect brags about grabbing women by the you-know-what).

I have lived in the United States illegally for more than fourteen years. Fourteen years of living in fear that my whole family could be deported. Fourteen years of believing that I won’t be able to attend college because of my immigration status. Fourteen years of believing my efforts at school won’t count and that I will end up with a job that won’t fulfill my passion for helping others tell their stories.

Despite these fears, I try to see everything in a positive light. I refuse to let my fears define my outlook on life. I am not a criminal. I believe in hope. Dallas has given that to me; I was raised in a blue city in a big red state.  Dallas provided me a sense of community and security and that’s what I want to contribute to [college].  I want to be an ally and advocate for others. From supporting women’s rights and protecting victims of sexual assault to helping tell the stories of those marginalized by society, I want to ensure that students like me receive the same opportunities afforded to their more privileged peers.  I want to be a voice for change.  


The thought of what happens to THIS KID is what gives me nightmares.

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Riomaggiore Harbor Photos.jpg

journey of doing - riomaggiore cinque terre photos

journey of doing - riomaggiore cinque terre photos

journey of doing - riomaggiore cinque terre photos

journey of doing - riomaggiore cinque terre photos

For more Riomaggiore Cinque Terre photos (and tips & tricks):
why you need to stay in cinque terre, making pesto in cinque terre, cinque terre trip planning,
manarola cinque terre photos, riomaggiore cinque terre photos, cinque terre hike photos, monterroso al mare photosvernazza cinque terre photos
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We made it to the second Friday of 2017.  I’m happy to report that I’m no longer freezing ($1,000 later), no longer sick, that I got a shout out from UChicago for my work, and it’s been a productive two days!  All of our schools are back in session, so work is plugging right along.  Today, I’m linking up with Amanda and others to tell you all about my Friday Favorites… also known as the bloggers that keep it real.

journey of doing - Friday Favorites: Bloggers that Keep It RealP I N I T

Bloggers that Keep It Real:

  • Life According to Steph – You already know Steph from our seasonal goal link ups, where she and I both own our failures and successes… but she’s one of my favorite reads.  Whether she’s on her soapbox advocating for women’s rights, dressing up my favorite pugs, amusing with Sh*t MFD says, or instagramming the most beautiful sunrise photos from her shore house, I can count on SMD to make me nod my head in agreement (or shake with laughter) almost every time she posts.  She’s also someone I can send my amazing ASP moments to and know that she “gets it”… which is pretty cool.  (I have a small list of people that I share more than what’s on the blog with because I know that they love the work that we are able to do with our kiddos.)
  • Katie Elizabeth –  I want Katie to be my neighbor.  Seriously.  (Now that she’s been to Dallas… maybe we can start working on that.)  She’s got the cutest little daughter (and pup – love that Brady-B.. even if he eats all.the.socks.), she always looks cute and comfortable (#goals), and she wrote one of the most honest posts I’ve ever seen about her post-partum experience.  I’m not a mommy, but I know a lot of my friends have struggled with feeling alone and I admire that Katie was willing to put it out there so others wouldn’t feel the same way.
  • Lisa Loves John – Lisa’s another blogger I want to be my neighbor.  She comes up with the coolest DIY projects (like this wreath!)… and she and her husband (with a little bit of family help) did the paneling in their baby’s nursery completely on their own (again, #goals), and she comes up with the most tasty looking treats that are usually a combination of being efficient and being crafty.  Who doesn’t need a little more of that in their life?!
  • September Farm – Karli’s blog cracks me up.  I definitely think that we could be friends in real life.  I love that she doesn’t take herself too seriously.  I love that she’s crazy talented in design work. (seriously – how does one learn these skills?  All those chromosomes?  Totally missed me.)  I love that she can throw epic parties (on a farm no less).  I love the faces that the Turtle and the Muffin make.  They are seriously the biggest sasspots.  And she just rolls with it.
  • Not Entirely Perfect – That’s right.  I’m rounding out the list with another Steph.  (I do what I want.)  You know those people who have a system for everything?  I’m pretty sure that’s Steph.  She’s a minimalist, but she’s totally relatable.  I have a goal to create my own 101 in 1001 list (she’s on number 2) because she makes it seem totally possible to accomplish 101 things.  I’m obsessed with her new house (and how she keeps it organized), and I LOVE how supportive she is of her significant other’s big career change.  Her twitter feed also keeps me laughing, as she’s usually live tweeting one of those keeping it real moments… like responding to people who are WAY TOO LOUD on public transportation.

Obviously, I read WAY more blogs than these 5 (and I read a lot of different blogs for different reasons)… but these are the ones that I *always* leave unread when my bloglovin reader starts to pile up…  Who are some of your favorite bloggers and why?  Anyone bloggers that keep it real that I should know about?!

karli + amy journey of doing - Five on FridayP I N I T christina + april + natasha

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  • Katie Elizabeth - You are the best!!! Researching houses in Dallas now… 😉 Off to check out the rest of these fabulous ladies! Happy Friday!ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - hahaha I DO live tweet all my annoying train moments. I keep saying I’m going to spend less time checking twitter, but I will never stop tweeting how annoyed I am at my fellow passengers. Like common sense goes right out the window. Thanks for including me on your list 🙂 I’m honored. And there’s some others I don’t know, so I will go check them out!ReplyCancel

  • Leslie M - YAY YAY YAY for the UChicago shout-out….well deserved! And that headshot looks perfect! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • SMD @ Life According to Steph - Aw, thank you so much. You’re the best.

    I’ll be checking out some of your others that I’m not familiar with!ReplyCancel

  • Victoria - Hi! I clicked over to your blog because of your profile photo.. anyone who has beautiful travel photos is a kindred spirit, and then I saw that in your about you said every occasion requires a dress, and I couldn’t agree more! Nice to meet you! XO 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Kelsey - These are all great bloggers! Katie is a must-read for me!ReplyCancel

  • Olya @ The Siberian American - Congrats on the shoutout from UChicago! That’s so exciting. I’m so glad you’re feeling better, too! These are all great bloggers. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • chelsea jacobs - Life According to Steph is my fave. She cracks me up!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Elizabeth - I love finding new blogs to read – thanks for the recommendations Sara!ReplyCancel

  • Live from Michigan!! » journey of doing - […] to the work I’m doing here, I’m sneaking in a lunch date with one of my favorite bloggers that keep it real […]ReplyCancel

Seeing as how I’m still down for the count (but rocked a parent presentation last night!), I thought I’d share some fun facts/quirks about myself.

journey of doing - 10 on Tuesday: Sara behind the blogP I N I T

Side note: I got asked for a bio and professional headshot for a feature from a university (read here!)  This is the closest thing I found to a headshot.  I should put that on my to do list once I’m well.

  •  My staff affectionately (and not so affectionately) refer to me as Mama Gator, Head Gator, and just plain Gator.  This has a lot to do with how I unapologetically pursue college access.  It doesn’t bother me a bit.  I even have my own emoji.
  • I hate running.  Sometimes I view it as a necessary evil (HIIT)… in which case, I will usually jack up the speed on the treadmill to impossible speeds to make it end faster.  I’ve always wanted to become  a runner.  I never will be a runner.
  • I have a degree in Petroleum Engineering.  I was one of 5 girls in the department.  I carried a pink messenger bag, wore dresses to class, and epitomized all things girly.  You think Elle Woods didn’t belong at Harvard law?  You didn’t see Sara in engineering school.
  • I have been actively doing community service on my own since I was 10-years-old.  Helping others is a HUGE part of my being, and I’m so grateful that I landed in a career that allows me to do exactly that.  All day.  Every day.
  • My husband and I have streamlined our daily lives in such a way that we can rarely find things to improve.  (I, however, can always improve on streamlining my work.  It’s an ongoing battle.)  One way that we’ve done this is to minimize our wardrobe choices.  My husband has three outfits.  I’m not quite there, but I’m close.  Laugh away, but it has helped clear the clutter of my mind.
  • I am most comfortable when I’m wearing a dress.  I’ve gotten into the habit of wearing casual clothes to the office if I don’t have meetings, but I always feel like I’m pretending.  I generally need to be wearing a dress to feel like I’m ready to start the day.
  • I get really nervous before presentations, but once it’s game time, I’m completely on.  I love presentations.  I gave a parent presentation last night, and it made me wonder why I can’t just give presentations every day.  I think that could actually improve college access… because I’m pretty sure there’s not a question I can’t answer.  Do you know how weird that sounds?  I’m an expert… in college admissions.
  • I am annoyed by aggressive drivers.  I don’t think I’m ever in so much of a hurry that I need to cut anyone off, flip them off, or make them uncomfortable with my driving.  I hate it when people do that to me.
  • When I get anxious or nervous (read: before presentations), I’ll pop my earphones in and jam out to music.  Sometimes that’s Disney music, other times it’s Eminem’s Lose Yourself (because I think I’m tough?  Idk…), and sometimes it’s T-Swift’s Shake It Off… either way, I’d probably be embarrassed if you grabbed my earphones to see what I was jamming to.
  • I’ve been trying to practice mindful meditation for the last six months.  I’ve heard that it can decrease your stress level and retrain your brain.  The problem is… I erupt into giggles halfway through.  Maybe it’s an inability to be comfortable with my own thoughts, but I just can’t ever get past the giggles.

In other fun news, this weekend I rediscovered the “blog” (live journal) I had throughout college.  There may be some fun #TBT posts coming your way.  In spite of all my angst, I was insightful occasionally.  I also made myself laugh with a series of passive aggressive emails sent to the group for one of my senior projects (who refused to meet or do work. Hrmph.)…. which, you guessed it, are chronicled on the blog.


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  • SMD @ Life According to Steph - I would rather do anything else in the world than a presentation.

    I also love dresses and overall feel the best in them.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie - I would have loved to see you in engineering school, I bet that was fantastic and you crushed the boys. Girls can do everything. And in heels.
    I want to wear dresses every day, I think I’m going to start doing that. I just never feel comfortable in pants, I need to phase them out of my wardrobe.ReplyCancel

  • Kelsey - Oh girl, I bet your pink accessories & dresses did stand out in engineering school but I think that’s fabulous!! 3 outfits?! Wow. I’ve minimized my wardrobe a lot and it really does help me get out the door faster. Once i get to my goal weight I’ll be able to do this more but I need a few more options right now while I’m in between sizes!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Elizabeth - I always start to dose off when I meditate because I relax too much!

    I love the gator nickname – what an awesome reputation to have on your team!ReplyCancel

  • Jasmine - I’m with you on running!! Tyler is a huge runner (4 marathons since we’ve gotten married!) and I’ve tried so many times and it’s just not happening. Now if only Zumba were as impressive as marathon-ing…

    “You think Elle Woods didn’t belong at Harvard law? You didn’t see Sara in engineering school.” – totally LOLed at this part!

    I think your walrus impression should be added to this list. 🙂

    These facts also just prove what I’ve always known about you – go getter with a big heart and a great sense of humor!ReplyCancel

  • Katie Elizabeth - Sara in engineering school might just be my favorite thing ever. Please bring back some TBT posts!ReplyCancel

  • Laura - I’ve reduced my wardrobe to 30 things and I LOVE it. The less decisions I have to make, the better.

    My sister is an electrical engineering major and I think there’s less than 20 girls in the whole major at Penn State!ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Martinis & Bikinis - Wow you have an awesome degree and made sure to show the rest girls can exceed too. I’m the opposite of you with clothing, while I like dresses for parties and social gatherings, I always wear dress pants and cute (collared) shirts to work. The office is usually freezing so I can’t do dresses or skirts. lol

    Love and appreciate how much time you put into philanthropy….I enjoy doing the same and with my new job we focus on the Wheelchair Foundation to provide mobility to people around the world among other local charities.ReplyCancel

  • Mackensey - Okay the thing about you in engineering school made me crack up! Too funny! I hate aggressive drivers too. It is snowing here today and at an intersection a pickup truck FLEW by me. Never mind that there have been a bunch of fatal crashes because the roads are so bad. Do you ever run outside? I used to absolutely HATE it, but I feel like nothing clears my mind better than a run outside where I am not timing myself and can enjoy the scenery 🙂ReplyCancel

  • cara - I love this so much! You are awesome to put it simple, Sara! And how lucky are all those students that you work so passionately to help! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad - We share a lot of similarities! I’m definitely a dress person, not a runner, am all about simplifying things (still a work in progress but moving in the right direction!) and aggressive drivers are just unnecessary. I had some headshots taken at work recently and I look awful in Yours is lovely! Share your secrets??!ReplyCancel

  • Kate @ Green Fashionista - Congrats on rocking your presentation, and I love how you were the Elle Woods of your program! Pure amazingness! Feel better gurlie <3
    Green FashionistaReplyCancel

  • #TBT: The Case for Free Speech on Campus » journey of doing - […] last week I mentioned some of the silly things I came across when looking at my old livejournal that I started in […]ReplyCancel