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November 2011

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The Hawaii Block, and How It Was Lifted

A trip to Hawaii has always seemed “blocked” to me: too pretty, too exotic, too far… too whatever. I never thought I’d get there.

Do you have blocks like that? Those things you feel you can’t have even though they’re technically within the realm of possibility and do-ability? I’m beginning to suspect that most of us do. Other blocks for me that I’ve gotten over have been living in New York and owning a well-fitting bra, both of which I TOTALLY do now, no big deal. Funny, right? A lot of people have one about finding love; I do it with lingerie and the 50th state.

So that’s why I put it out there at Mighty Camp that I wanted to go to Hawaii in 2012, because it’s a block for me, and a DUMB one, too; you know how to be the kind of person that goes to Hawaii, right? You buy a plane ticket to Hawaii.

Still, out of the five things from our Life Lists we were invited to share, it was my “reach”, because of how expensive it is to get there. A place to stay was taken care of, so I figured it would be a matter of putting bits of money aside here and there until the dollars added up for plane fare.


Daffodil Campbell – the very lady who offered her guest cottage in Maui to my then-pipe dream – tipped me off to fares on Hawaiian Air for $212.

Excuse me what?

My silly fears of going to Hawaii flipped themselves into fear at loosing that price, and I fell ALL OVER myself getting a ticket.

So, goodbye, Hawaii block! You will not be missed. And Alhoa Maui! I’ll see you in June.

P.S. For a small fee the airline gives the option of having a greeter meet you off the plane and put a lei around your neck. I was about to click past it, but… oh gosh, I’m crying writing this!… I remembered being young and thinking that was so cool, and a voice in my head, an echo of my younger self go, sighed “Oh please?”

I just couldn’t pass it up. It’s cheesy, yes, but WHATEVER.

I’m totally making “getting leid” jokes, too.

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Re: the Sanata Ana Winds: “YOU WOULD HAVE KNOWN”

After my post about the Santa Ana winds, Meg informed me that they are not warm, swirly breezes, but hot, gross winds that pummel through and, as a child, picked her up and dropped her onto a sidewalk. Totally not the level of crazy I felt, so this Life List item is officially unchecked. It looks like I’m just going to have to go back to California.

Oh well!

I also really want to see the dessert in the sun, too. I made the trip from LAX to the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs via a more populated highway, and we drove from the Ace Hotel to Phil’s house in LA the middle of the night, so I only caught glimpses of the wild John Wayne-looking landscape in the moonlight. I would have gotten out to run around in the dessert in the night as a consolation, but Phil pointed out that there are scorpions. And no thank you. So two more things to do once I’m there, now.

Even so: have amazing Mexican food in California? Finally see LA? Not on my Life List, but check anyway. I’m still dreaming of that burrito.

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Camp Mighty 2011 Summed Up

Oh, Camp Mighty. It’s hard to explain what it is because it is so much more than words can tell, but basically it was a weekend where we brought our Life Lists and focused on accomplishing things. From the website:

The objective is to improve your life until it cannot be further improved…The retreat gives you time to think about what you want, a team to help, and a pool. For floating.

Camp Mighty was a larger version of the Mighty Summit I went to last year, a life-changing event, as it was what started my business in earnest and what helped me realize on a visceral level that living epically is totally possible, even for little old me.

This year’s event brought into focus that I’m in a Good Place right now. My Life List is chugging along; I have successfully created the space for doing Amazing Things. The time is there, the room is there, the fortitude to press onward and accomplish is there. That didn’t come easily, but my 2010 goal of making my lifestyle such that I could Life List as I wanted was accomplished.

And it feels SO GOOD.

“So, Amber,” I asked. “What now?” Because, ok, excellent, but one can’t stop.

The larger conference was broken down into four teams; we met together and were encouraged to share five things with the group that we wanted to accomplish. Here are my picks, and if you can help with any of them, get in touch, please. It would be so nice of you.

  • Holi color fight.
  • Hike in Hawaii, jump off a cliff, and yell “Geronimo!”
  • Officiate a wedding ceremony.
  • Fly kites in a group of friends.
  • Be in a book club.

They’re all “doing cool stuff” things because that’s where I am right now: I want to have FUUUUUUNNNNNNNNNN! Wouldn’t you know: I was seated a few chairs over from two ladies who live in Maui – one of who is building a guest house.

“Hi,” I said. “I’m Amber, and I make an excellent house guest.”

“See you this spring?” she said. “I know a cliff you can jump off of.” (Later that evening we decided capes should also be involved.)

Someone else had “have a professional portrait of myself taken”, and, of course, I had my camera. The only thing cooler than having someone help you with a Life List item is to help someone else yourself. (A lot of people had this on their list, actually, but between timing and the rain, I didn’t get to snap as many faces as I’d have liked.)

Best parts: hugging people who have inspired me. And hugging people I’ve inspired. (So much inspiration!) And rocking out to the TonTons (plus chatting with the singer between sets – she’s adorable). And drinking champagne in the hot tub while chatting with super smart ladies. And the speakers. And dancing my ass off at the space-themed dance party, in my pretty space-themed dress. And soaking up the sun poolside. And road tripping with three hilarious gals from LA to Palm Springs, with a pit stop at In-N-Out (as one does when one is from the east coast and lands in California).

(My dress is from here.) (I totally brought my one-frillion dollar camera into the hot tub. I was careful. The photos were worth it. Don’t judge me.)

I did end up floating in that pool, too, alone on Friday night, with the rain in my face and my body warmed up by the hot tub. It was incredible, and an excellent way to think, by the way, should you have the opportunity.

“What next? What bigger? What more?” I whispered these questions to myself softly, but heard them loudly because my ears and my lungs were both underwater. You want to know what popped into my head?

Adventure. Business bigger.

That’s it.

Everyone who has heard the details of AMP growing the past year is astounded at the trajectory, but I still want more. I decided, as the pool wormed its way into my ear canal, that I will be consciously unafraid of making more money and getting more business. (It is terribly difficult to be consciously unafraid when your stomach is in knots.) I will take on larger, longer weddings, I will stop dragging my feet about offering customers prints and albums. And I will have more adventures, because those are rad, and I deserve them.

You all know me by now; you know I do not believe the “Universe speaks to us” or anything like that, but goddamn if there isn’t an unprecedented inquiry for a 120 person wedding sitting in my inbox as of 9:30 am Tuesday morning.

So I will open myself to adventure and success this year.

Oh man oh man. Here I go.

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Life List: Feel the Santa Ana winds – check! Update: uncheck :(

Update: I didn’t actually do this.

After Mighty Camp (recap soon) I drove two hours to hang out with my old friend Phil in Los Angeles, and he showed me around for a day.

As we were driving through Encino I rolled my window down.

“Is it too hot?” he asked and reached for the air conditioning knob.

“No. I’m relishing the thrill of driving with the windows open in November. It’s warm!”

“That’s the Santa Ana winds you’re feeling.”

And boom. Life List item done.

It’s Steely Dan’s fault. My friend Kevin made me a mix tape when I was 15 that had Babylon Sisters on it; I was too young to realize it was a song about prostitution, I just knew that I liked it, and that I wanted to feel whatever it was they were talking about. When I made my first draft of a Life List at 15, this item went on there.

I figured they were magical, as was the entire West Coast in my mind when I was that age. They weren’t, actually, but the Mexican I ate was, so I’m calling my whole 24 hour L.A. experience a win.

Thanks, Phil!

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