Work and Money
How My Mission to Make New Friends Turned Into the Career of a Lifetime
Once upon a time, I would spend my days staring out of my office window at Biscayne Bay and Miami’s skyline wishing I wasn’t trapped at a desk all day. I was pretty good at my job in the corporate world. I started when I was 17 years old and only knew office life. I reported directly to C-level executives, got along with everyone well, and didn’t totally hate my job — but more importantly, it never occurred to me that I could do something else. One thing I did know was that if I was going to spend my days at a rather boring corporate accounting job, then I wanted to have a fabulous social life outside of work.
Living in Miami makes it easy to have an active personal life, but my current friends just weren't going along with it. Their idea of a fun night out typically included 2-for-1 margs at Chili’s or Outback and I was craving so much more. My “aha” moment came in December 2015 during Art Basel. Art Basel is a really big deal in Miami. The city comes alive with art, tons of parties, galleries, pop-ups, and events.
I had convinced a group of my close girlfriends to head to the Wynwood Art District with me for the evening. We grabbed tacos and drinks at a local hot spot and then I received a message from a new acquaintance who, based on my social media posts, noticed I was in the area and offered me (and my friends) tickets to a nearby gallery party with an open bar. I was so excited to do something fun and I approached my friends with the idea. They weren’t interested, and instead wanted McFlurries from McDonald's. Within 20 minutes we were not at the party but sitting at a McDonald's a few blocks away. That was the moment I realized I needed to make a change.
"If you’re ever doubting where you are in life, just know you can absolutely change it, but it’s up to you to make that move. It’s scary, but I promise it’s worth it."
The next day I set out to attend multiple events related to Art Basel by myself, with the challenge that I would speak to at least three people at each event. I was painfully shy and this was terrifying to me, but I knew it was the only way I was going to be able to make new friends. As luck would have it, at my very first event, one of the people I spoke to was the owner of a popular local food blog, MIAbites. We connected on social media and a few weeks later, she posted that she was looking for new contributors to her site. I had no formal writing experience, but I knew I was a solid writer — in fact, I used to write research papers for other students in college. I wrote my first article about the best desserts in Miami. I should also probably mention that I had my own baking business out of my house, so I knew a thing or two about desserts. The article did well — it was one of the highest performing pieces on the website. That’s all it took for me to start a weekly column called Saturday Sweets, where I featured different dessert trends, recipes, and pastry chefs around Miami.
At this point I was working my day job, attending events and restaurant tastings, going home to write about them, and figuring out how to make cakes for my clients. I knew burnout was coming, but I was so happy with my new social life that I just kept pushing. After 10 months, I made the leap and quit my corporate job. I had spent the last 12 years in the corporate world and knew nothing outside of it. I wasn’t prepared, I hadn’t saved any money, and I had no backup plan — but I believed in myself and knew I could make it work. It wasn't easy, and many days it still isn't, but it was totally worth it.
Now, 5-plus years later, I’m a food and beverage and travel writer who constantly has a calendar full of plans around the world, writing about things I love, and making new friends every day along the way. Most days it’s still crazy to me that I get to call it “work” and it pays my bills. I write for more than a dozen publications both print and digital, including Forbes, Eater, Thrillist, Fodor’s Travel Guide, Time Out, Tasting Panel Magazine, American Way, and more. I'm constantly on the move and I have friends all over the world who are ready and excited to be part of my adventures.
If you’re ever doubting where you are in life, just know you can absolutely change it, but it’s up to you to make that move. It’s scary, but I promise it’s worth it.