Meet Alex Christensen Oleck. I met Alex the first day of college at Indiana University, we were to be living on the same dorm floor and shared an affinity for Friends, sleeping in and really good times. If memory serves correct, she was rocking an amazing set of bangs, blonde highlights and braces. Our friendship turned best friendship, turned chosen sister continued to flourish through our years in school with Sex and the City marathons, trips to bars, trips abroad in Australia and get real conversations. Alex reminds me to be human, while still letting me fly my freak flag via neon legwarmers, lime green high heels or Elvis-inspired gold sunglasses - worn all at the same time, at night, on a Tuesday. Currently rocking life as a travel agent, a newlywed, a radical best friend and a dog-mother, she is and always has been a Blisscrafter through and through.
What rocks your bliss? Two words for you. PASSPORT STAMPS. I have a serious case of wanderlust that started my Junior year of college when I studied abroad in college (with Jacki!). Those train doors opened on a Wednesday of Orientation Week and I stepped out to see the sun soaked Sydney Opera House to my right and the Harbour Bridge to my left and I tell you, my life was never the same. I'm on a constant quest of exploration around this beautiful world of ours. What fills me up inside is the ability to witness a new place, people, or culture with my own eyes. To step foot in a new land or help other people do the same, is my absolute favorite thing to do. I owe who I am, how I feel about myself, and how I see this world to the places I've been.
Describe your perfect day. While I have already made it abundantly clear that I love nothing more than touching down in a new country, I have an equal amount of love for my home life. For me, that balance is hugely important. I will also say that my perfect day is seasonally dependent. First and foremost a perfect day must always start with sleeping in. When I'm finally ready to peel myself from my feather bed and down comforter, breakfast is a must. I love getting up and going to breakfast in my sweats. Then the most important decision of my day occurs. Bacon and eggs or bacon and pancakes? The dilemma rocks me every single time. Bacon though, always a constant. Now as lazy as this may seem I love nothing more than coming home and taking a nap after breakfast. Yes, I just got up and the only activity I took part in was eating but this is my day so no judgment right?! The rest of the day is followed up with one of two things. My husband is out of town a lot for work so when he is home there is nothing I love more than relishing in the opportunity to spend time with him and our two furry pups. We inflate the air mattress, put it directly in front of our tv, and have a monster snuggle sesh while binge watching our favorite shows. Combine that with a pup snuggled at my feet, one delightfully snoring on my chest, and two more meals via delivery man savior (there is no moving on air mattress day) and you have my favorite combination of events...or non events as it were. Now if, heaven forbid, it's actually nice in Chicago, we swipe out the air mattress for towels on our little beach on Lake Michigan, the puppy warmth for UV rays, and the delivery food for favorite books. My evening, regardless of weather, would 100% be spent doing anything at all with my best friends. Since this is my day, we will ignore the geographical factors at play in that my best friends do not live near me and pretend for the sake of argument that they do. My day would end with laughter that makes your cheeks sore with the people that mean the most to me in this world.
Share a huge goal you are rocking. See above. PASSPORT STAMPS. I went to 3 new countries last year and have plans this year to do the same. It is a goal of mine to get to two different countries every year. I'm ok with a repeat if it's one I love dearly but I'm very eager to add new horizons to each year of my life. In connection with this goal, I work as a travel consultant. The lovely part about this is whether or not it's me going, I am always immersed in travel and the joy I feel in relaying my experiences and making similar experiences attainable for others.
If you could get on a plane right now where are you going? I have two top contenders at the moment. I'm dying to do a mission trip and a safari in Africa. My husband works with a nonprofit in Uganda called Field of Dreams that helps provide opportunities for orphaned children by way of soccer and education. We really want to get over there to experience the work first hand. In combination with that trip I'm also looking to do a safari in Kenya and some beach time in Zanzibar. If not Africa, then I'm looking to go back to Asia. My husband has never been and I really want him to see Thailand. My vision board at work has a picture of Angkor Wat on it so combining Cambodia and potentially Vietnam in that trip would be a dream!
How do you handle setbacks? Dependent upon the size of the setback, a good vent session and some tears are generally in order. I'm a big believer in crying. It's not so much that things even upset me that greatly but the catharsis of it all is very powerful for me. There is nothing better to clear my mind than to wash my frustrations and fears away. Phone calls will also go out to my mom and best friends to get their opinions. Those opinions always help provide me with direction and give me that support and encouragement that we all need from time to time. Once I have cleared my mind, to do lists are a MUST. There is nothing like checking off some little boxes to get me back on track!
3 ways to rock the self love. 1. ME time. My alleged 40 hour work week never seems to be just that. I'm sure everyone can relate. Between work, home, and family responsibilities, life can be a little exhausting from time to time. There is nothing more crucial to my existence than holing up on the couch and watching a load of reality tv. I love to turn my brain off and indulge in the trashiness of it all!
2. Bookstores. It became a goal of mine a few years back to own a house with a book room. Not a library if you will because that sounds a little too stuffy to me. I want a room that is covered in wall to wall books and travel photos that are displayed on the cutest bookshelves with a giant chair and ottoman at the center piece of the room. Upon the creation of this goal came the realization that I do not own enough books to make said room happen. When I'm really wanting to show myself a little TLC I let myself go and buy some books, preferably at a used bookstore because I love thinking about where my new book has been. The fact that I can't read as fast as I purchase is another story all together!
3. My friends. There is nothing that makes me love me more than when I'm in a room surrounded by the most incredible people. My friends are hilarious, and ambitious, and thoughtful, and creative, and adventurous, and one of kind. Nothing gives me more of an ego boost than when I realize that these wondrous people love me just as much as I love them. Awesome people attract awesome people so therefore... :). Did i mention tooting my own horn?!