they looked backward and said goodbye
one thousand and thirty six days ago i began my-roaring-twenties journey. believing my parents and friends were the only ones reading, i wrote honestly and passionately, sharing my fears and uncertainties. i was broken. lost. afraid. recovering.
my-roaring-twenties saw some of my darkest and some of my most beautiful days. through it all i wrote and my honesty paid off.
little by little this project grew. i conquered more fears and created more memories than i ever would have believed possible. slowly, and then all at once, more visitors came to my space.
you, my readers, believed in what i did. you recognized my mission to chase my dreams and through your support, challenged me to live an extraordinary life. you became loyal readers and virtual friends with whom i developed powerful relationships
what started out as a very personal journey quickly turned into a shared experience. writing is beautiful in that it allows us to discover how universal our feelings are. i was unprepared for how deeply this project would change my life and how public my experiences would become.
thank you for giving me the best years of my life. i hope you decide to join me on my next adventure as i continue living life louder.
let’s say goodbye to my-roaring-twenties and continue our journey on morecowbellplease.com!
i would like to take a moment to acknowledge some of you who made this journey extra special…
anthony sariyan who is the sweetest boy i have ever know. anthony read my blog start to finish when we started dating, helped me cross a ton of adventures off my dirty thirty list, and then convinced me to start morecowbellplease. every day he challenges me to be a stronger writer and human. i am the woman i am because of the way he loves me. this i know to be true. i have never been more excited to do anything than i am to marry you mr. sariyan.
jamie (mastrangelo) cawley who accepts me for who i am and loves me despite our differences.
ashley faye stewart who has believed in my writing and been rooting for me since we were five years old.
stacy lobosco who picks up the phone on the days my thoughts and fears are too scary and real to even write about.
danielle grace gaveglio who has been the single most loyal friend i have ever had in my entire life.
sarah flieger gang who even from a million miles away always knows when i need to talk about jesus, mascara, or shantaram.
diana leone who came zooming into my life like a cosmic explosion and was by my side on some of the most intensely beautiful moments i have witnessed.
lisa mary burns who fuels my creative energy with her own visions and beauty.
thomas anthony agustus brennan xii who consistently sticks by me and up for me as we prove over and over again that our friendship is more powerful than anyone will ever truly be able to comprehend.
heather meister who no matter where she is in the world finds a way to show me how much she loves me.
krissy sylvestri who is more herself than anyone i know and inspires me to be unique.
my future in laws and anthony’s entire family who reading my-roaring-twenties and support my decision to pursue writing more full time. i love anthony more than i knew possible. i am so thankful to be marrying into your family.
rebecca smith coyle who has followed my adventures and nudged me along since my project began. i am so thankful the interweb has allowed us to develop the special bond we have.
jaclyn noto who through her own words and honesty pushes me to be truer to myself.
bill cafferata and his wife star who live and die for bruce springsteen as much as i do and have always shown my-roaring-twenties insane amounts of love.
valerie elizabeth who reminds me to live life passionately and according to my own rules.
angela pepe-lage who ran a freaking marathon with me.
kathy dejesus who assured me i would one day be able to fly into crow pose.
jackie washburn and christy guillermain who hunted the northern lights in iceland with me.
lindsay mallak who kept the promise she made to me when she was five years old to always be my sister in another state. you are a woman of your word.
megan frieder who is even sexier sober.
tim roberts who is a fellow lover of life.
ercan bas and jaime whitley who both truly understand the joy and struggles of being a writer.
steven pricone for believing in me since elementary school and inspiring myself and thousands of students to chase our dreams.
joe bravaco for having faith in me as a writer.
joan olkowski who has been the driving force behind my new project and patiently explained everything to me step by step. and for fixing all of the mistakes i keep making on the site. you are a true artist.
aline tabibian, ani tabibian, sylvia sherwin, caroline tabibian, crystal dejesus, kate fix, noreen sheehan, karen auteri, kathy mccormick, andrew and krista bookstaver, the gutierrez girls, jeni mastrangelo, vitoria vilela, debbie robinson, suzanne dayeh, azarja van der veen, sean curry, emily flieger, lois hamilton, jen noto mckay, alyssa tomeo, bill cerone, lou and joanne robertella, kaitlynn pelio, the mallak family, laurel juliano, joe sabino, dana ash, mike and nicole serhat, aunt jo and uncle mike serhat, megan garrett, nicole izzo, cathy frieder, leslie mikhail, molly feldman, inna swenson, ellen finn, lindsay gellatly, genna rose, mr. and mrs. leone, jessica swanson, deb gaveglio, pattie monasert-westall, mike perottajames and kara isgro, jen salt and nate taylor, gail corbo, kristin curry, arianna ronci, matthew valvano, alison garrett hoch, barb and tom gaveglio, allison morrow, matthew warford, justin king, andrea sokolik, ashley and matthew johnson, june moffa, joanne and tom flieger, gina margaret, and dottie scaglia – thank you for consistently reading and sharing my blog, and for encouraging me to keep writing. you kept me moving on the days when it seemed too difficult to write.
to the people i do not know personally who continually come back to this space to read my story – thank you.
to everyone who ran with me, traveled with me, cried with me, celebrated with me, and got the living shit scared out of them with me – thank you.
blue oyster cult: don’t fear the reaper
it’s all happening!
i am thrilled to announce the launch of my new exciting project!
www.morecowbellplease.com coming soon.
"the way the wind blows through the trees, well hey that’s the way you belong to me." - bruce springsteen ‘the way’
i love you more than i can ever say. you made me an intense, crazy, passionate human. thank you for supporting and encouraging my weirdness.
(this picture is evidence you were hip before the hipsters. beard, plaid, stonewashed jeans… check!)
My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.
mission complete maya.
today we say goodbye to a fearless woman, a beautiful author and poet, and an unstoppable activist and humanitarian. maya angelou left the world a better place than she found it.
as a woman, and as a writer, maya angelou will always be one of my heroes.
a few weeks ago the mister and i spent a morning strolling around philly.
we were not feeling very touristy, so we skipped the liberty bell and went vinyl shopping on south street.
i always enjoy the vibrant graffiti and unusual street art in philadelphia and could not resist snagging some pictures.
one milkshake, two cheesesteaks, and three albums inside of four hours. what a perfectly delicious day.
great big thank you to our friend sean for gifting us these gorgeous shakespeare books. they appear to have originally been a part of the brooklyn library and date back as far as the eighteen hundreds. we already treasure these beautiful literary creatures!
lovin’, is what I got
by now, you may be familiar with my memory reel theory. i believe each human witnesses a series of defining moments as we cross over at the end of our days. i do not believe it to be so much of a ‘life flashing before your eyes’ deal, but more of a highlight reel of the moments which changed you. kind of like espn’s top ten.
i have collected about eight or nine of these treasured fleeting moments in my years on this globe.
sunday’s memory reel moment did not come during the race, or even as i crossed the finish line of the new jersey marathon.
once i (barely) completed my twenty six point two miles, i walked over to the reunion area. the screams from my people were deafening. a laughing cop opened the gate and let my mom run through the security area to hug me.
i saw all of my friends with signs, smiles, flowers, and tears. friends from wildly different stages of my life all laughing together.
some of my favorite people in the world were having a wonderful day without me and it was beautiful.
^^ i was pretty excited about the star shaped medal ^^
watching them find me in the crowd made every second of the almost five hours of running worth it. walking up to my posse is a moment burned into my soul.
my friends were calling themselves ‘team danimal.’ in the moment i knew it may be the truest statement ever spoken in the whole wide universe.
thank you ‘team danimal’ for cheering me on at the marathon and for cheering me on always. there is NO obstacle too hard or too long when you have a team like i have.
sublime: what i got
i’m so close to my goals i can almost pole vault over the goal post
on my first day of training for the big twenty six, i wrote it was, “cold as fuck.” that day in the middle of november, i had no idea how cold and snowy the winter would be or how upside down my life was about to become.
very quickly it got very cold. and then there was all that snow. one day in january it was so freezing i thought i developed frostbite on my fingers during a ten miler.
but despite the cold, there was beauty. my journey is documented in my journal with the words, “i fell in love with running all over again.”
“this run was therapy for me.”
“had a moment of feeling like everything is how it should be.”
“the sky is pink and gorgeous today.”
van morrison raves about october skies, but there is nothing quite as beautiful as running to exhaustion while it is snowing during a pink sunset in december.
still, training was a struggle. during these twenty four weeks my life has completely changed. so much has happened in the course of one hundred sixty days. i lost a job i loved. anthony and i celebrated milestone birthdays and got engaged! i traveled out of the country three times. i battled through a tumultuous break up with a girlfriend. last week i almost totaled my car.
and through it all, i ran.
at the time, i thought running was another obstacle to overcome, hurdle to get up and over. but now i see training for this race saved me. running got me out of the house and more importantly, it got me out of my head.
i wish i could say i went through these huge life changes with zero stress, but some days my anxiety got the best of me. some days it all seemed too much.
those days i would either attempt to console myself with popcorn and cheese, or i would run. most of the time a run would do the trick.
problems tend to seem a little smaller in the dead quiet of a winter afternoon.
yesterday i ran the final two miles of marathon training. i could not help but reflect on how different my life has become since i began preparing for the race.
as exciting as sunday will be, for me, it is not about the race. sunday will be about survival. i have battled through training, betrayal, and anxiety. i am a different beast than i was twenty four weeks ago.
twenty six miles is nothing.
bring it on long branch! SEE YA AT THE FINISH LINE!
rollin’ on the river
saturday was record store day.
naturally i woke up early and made as much noise as humanly possible until anthony woke up and got out the door.
we waited in front of sound exchange, a record store in wayne, nj with a line full of weirdos in the hopes of snagging a one day only release of creedence clearwater revival’s ten inch white vinyl of ’69 singles.
for an hour on saturday morning i drank coffee and chatted up the bruce springsteen fan in front of me about the darkness on the edge of town album. he told anthony and i stories about working in a record store in the seventies and about his extensive collection of decades worth of vinyl.
we fired off countless bruce shows where we rocked along with the e street band and compared notes about favorite songs.
we commiserated about being weird and then finding ourselves in the lyrics of obscure jersey shore bar bands. he talked about dramarama (originally from wayne, nj) and collecting rubber rats thrown by the good rats.
when the shop opened, the mister and i managed to scoop up three brandy new albums to add to our growing collection. superteam has been jammin out pretty hard since saturday!
long live rock and roll.
creedence clearwater revival: proud mary
fire all of your guns at once and explode into space
watching anyone dominate their craft fuels me. this explains my love of concerts, why i devour beautiful meals, and my compulsion to read classic literature.
watching my father shoot is like reading poetry.
through the years, i got glimpses into this society of gun owners, but it was not until i decided to go through the process of obtaining my license and purchasing a firearm for myself that i gained total admittance into my father’s universe.
i have been dying to bring anthony inside this world i share with the man who loved me first. i need him to understand the connection you can feel when you are side by side in a port.
anthony did shoot clay pigeons once, but an indoor range with super powerful weapons (and a future father in law!) is a whole different animal.
once through the doors, we quickly learned, gun for hire is not a place to be intimidated, but a place to learn. the nj indoor shooting range, focuses on education, reverence for firearms, and self-protection. gun for hire defines the ‘new school’ of gun training.
everything is bright, clean, welcoming, and safe. the staff is friendly, funny, and each member of the team has a clear and deep respect for the process. we had a great couple in the neighboring port offering us shots with their gun. when the girl nailed the bull’s eye we all cheered. it felt like we were in it together!
our time at the range could not have been better. after pops gave anthony a safety lesson, we shot my gun (.357 mag) and then had the opportunity to shoot everything from mild recoiling .22 handguns my father custom built, to tactical rifles and shotguns.
when we fired off enough rounds for the day, we walked over to the range’s rifle camp café to enjoy a delicious, freshly prepared lunch with my dad and the owner of gun for hire, anthony colandro. we were fortunate to meet massad ayoob, author and internationally respected firearms and self-defense instructor who was in house to teach a class at the range.
my dude could not have received a warmer or more positive welcome into the world of firearms. huge thanks to my dad and the entire staff at gun for hire in woodland park, nj for making this trip to the range one we will never forget!
if you want to learn more about this sport, stop into gun for hire. the staff is happy to address any reservations you have. if you are a first time shooter or a woman apprehensive about diving into this stereotypical “man’s world,” this is the place to go.
you are welcome to email me for more information or contact gun for hire directly at: 888.GUN.FOR.HIRE (888.486.3674)
steppenwolf: born to be wild
while i gather words to properly express the joy that overcame my heart when i brought my boy to his first gun range this week, please enjoy this video of me shooting an AR rifle.
you’re on a different road, i’m in the milky way
i imagined this icelandic trek to be about the mountains. my girlfriends and i would see the glaciers; finally chase the northern lights.
but it turned out, the alien landscape was merely a catalyst, a reason to come together with two women from two very different facets of my life.
this trip solidified my belief that i will always learn more about who i am, on a boat ride at midnight or on the wrong side of five am at a pub in the northern most city in the world, than i ever will in a traditional daily grind.
this excursion reminded me if a girl loses her passport at six am and throws on lime green socks and a smile to tour a geyser four hours later, hang on to her for dear life. (i had a different friend lose her passport while we were in ireland once. on the way to search for it, she sang at the top of her lungs. i have not loosened my grip on her.)
girls who can spend a day in the pouring rain, walking around a foreign country and still be jazzed to eat fermented shark or chili flavored chocolate, are my brand of human.
in iceland i remembered that talking about being simultaneously scared to death and excited for the future while sharing a bed with a girlfriend in a random city in a random country can be more enlightening than studying the principles of tao and more healing than a year of therapy (i tried everything.)
this journey confirmed my need to surround myself with girls who bring home pockets full of rocks, vintage pants, and jewelry found on the street, in lieu of cheesy traditional souvenirs.
i will continue to collect moments, not things.
my circle of creeps has changed a bit these last few years. the few and true guys and gals remain close by, while others have been easily swept away with the tide.
maybe these people changed. maybe i did. either way, there is a palpable shift. my last two treks to different parts of the world have reaffirmed all of this as good.
as i am settling into the woman i was always destined to be, my crew is becoming smaller but stronger. my humans support my constant desire to talk to strangers and find myself in bizarre situations.
they understand my need to put ocean rocks in my mouth and believe in this compulsion i carry to learn and marvel.
i need to be with friends who laugh at lost passports… who say yes to tasting whale meat… who climb to the top of the church for a better view of the volcano.
the weirdoes and free spirits are the ones who make me grow.
oh and if the opportunity presents itself to go to iceland - go. it is insanely rad.
icona pop: i love it
i will hold you up
rebecca and i shared a lot of classes in high school. i can vividly recall debating classic literature with rebecca and stressing out over ap tests together. through the power of social media, we reconnected and learned we have a lot more in common than we knew.
rebecca was one of the first vocal supporters of my-roaring-twenties. she is in that group of readers (i will call them my favorite) who not only reads, but writes back to me.
rebecca shared her own stories with me and has made this process of laying my soul on the screen a bit easier. thank you for being so candid with me privately these last few years rebecca, and thank you for agreeing to share your story with my readers.
I am so excited and honored Danielle asked me to share on my-roaring-twenties! Her request for me to guest blog comes at at perfect time, as I enter the last few months of my twenties!
I have had wonderful opportunities in my twenties. It is hard to believe that since graduating college in 2006, I have made three moves with my company. My journey has brought me to Central Illinois, Maryland (D.C.), and now Atlanta, Georgia. Not only have these relocations allowed me to grow my career potential, but I also now have work “family” throughout the country.
Through these moves, I have also had the most supportive husband a girl could ever dream of. Especially with this last move, he has been 110% behind my jumps and has put my career ahead of his own.
Now that we are getting settled in Atlanta, I am excited to throw my support behind him as he changes career paths from engineering to teaching. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to provide him just as much support in his new endeavor.
The last two years of my twenties have been filled with a whole new obstacle… becoming a mom. I always thought I would have kids in my twenties. It has been a hard reality to accept that it has been such a struggle for me and my husband. This definitely is not the road I chose, or one I would wish for anyone else.
Now that we are on this fertility journey, I am becoming increasingly thankful for the fascinating world of science which makes it possible for couples in all walks of life and with all types of struggles to start a family.
I am slowly coming to the realization that it does not matter how old I am when I become a mom. I will just be so thankful when that time does come. And I am trying to keep the faith that it WILL happen.
In the mean time, I will spoil my first “baby” with all the attention – my goldendoodle Dublin.
joe cocker: have a little faith in me
it’ll just be you ‘n’ me
on my very big birthday, in one of my very favorite places, my very wonderful manfriend asked me a very big question.
i could not have been more excited to say YES to spending happily ever after with this beautiful boy.
anthony hagop sariyan, you have made each day of the last year and half the best day of my life.
i am honored you have chosen me to be your partner in adventure.
you and me.
alabama shakes: hang loose
always be my baby
happy thirtieth birthday to me!
my mother continues to surprise me with her unwavering support and love. today she has gave me the best birthday gift i could have received. she wrote the words for my post. thank you ma. for everything these last thirty years and for the beautiful words.
When I was a little girl, I always knew someday I would have a baby girl of my own and her name would be Danielle. I ALWAYS knew…
30 years ago, today, she was placed in my arms and I knew I would love those squinty eyes and pudgy cheeks ALWAYS.
I always knew growing up she would be the best and the brightest, excelling at everything she attempted and rarely accepting “no” for an answer. I ALWAYS knew…
I always knew she was special. Whether she is perfecting a yoga pose, inspiring her friends, or saving the planet, she never quits-ever.
I always knew she would fight through adversity and come out on top. If she didn’t like a situation, she always found a way to change it and make it better. ALWAYS.
I always knew she would “roar” through her twenties and I can’t wait to watch her shine through her thirties because I KNOW she is going to do GREAT things.
I ALWAYS KNEW…
Happy Birthday my love, my life, my pudgy cheeked girl!
mariah carey: always