Well, there are only 2 days left in 2018 and as cheesy as it is, I wanted to share a few of my own personal highlights from this year. I tend to eye roll at the thought of “reflecting on my year” and “making New Years resolutions”, but after what one could describe as a tumultuous year, it just feels right. Though not everything on this list is super-positive (a lot of them are!), each thing brought me to where I am now, and for that I am grateful!! Here we gooooo!
Stepping Up My Activist Game
If you had asked me 5 years ago whether I would ever take an interest in politics, I might have spit my drink out laughing. But thanks to friends and family who inspired me to pay attention and get involved…you could say I’ve found a new passion. There is something incredibly patriotic about exercising my right to vote, and to speak my mind against issues I don’t believe in. This year I attended the March For Our Lives rally, advocated for Andrew Gillum in the midterms, and even got to see Chris Hayes do his show live from Orlando! ~swoon~
Christmas In New York City!
I must say my brother and I’s gift-giving this Mother’s Day was pretttty on point. We surprised our mom (a huge Harry Potter fan) with tix to check out Harry Potter and The Cursed Child on Broadway in NEW YORK CITY! Ahh. I will never forget her face when she opened those tickets. While we were there we got to see the Radio City Rockettes, and experience all things Christmas-In-New-York. One could only describe that entire trip as…magical.
Even with $0.00 in my bank account, when my girlfriends texted me earlier this year asking if I wanted to go see the Backstreet Boys residency in Las Vegas, my answer was an astounding, “YES”!!! I hustled and made it happen and had what one could only describe as a religious experience…It fulfilled every ounce of my 90’s-kid expectations, and then some.
Losing and Finding Bodie!
I must apologize to those of you who went through what can only be described as a traumatic experience with me this June….our dog running away from home….TWICE. Yep, that’s right. Bodie gave me enough stress in just 2 weeks to age me (and possibly you) by five years. The first time he decided to take an overnight trip across the street during a thunderstorm. Fortunately, a wonderful soul who happened to VOLUNTEER AT PET SHELTERS took him in overnight and found us on Facebook the next day.
The second trip was a bit longer…8 days to be exact. This time he found himself wandering through a forrest several miles from our house.
We posted, we went door-to-door, we hung flyers, and I even blasted it out on the radio. One Sunday afternoon we finally got a call from a woman who spotted him on the side of the road, which ultimately led to us finding him in a sewage pond during a rainstorm, and that good-samaritan ending up with a shattered ankle in a hospital. It’s actually somehow more bizarre than it sounds, so I made a Youtube video to tell the whole story….
Saying Goodbye to XL 106.7
I used to always tell Johnny how crazy it was that I —vividly— remember listening to him and Doc on my way to MIDDLE SCHOOL. I remember playing back the Johnny’s House podcasts when moving into my town house. When I had a sh*tty traveling sales job, I would turn on XL 106.7 just to make the car rides more bearable. So believe me, the magnitude of being given the opportunity to work at iHeart Media and with Johnny was not lost on me. It still blows my mind.
But as the saying goes, “all things must come to an end.” I spent five years hustling my way through morning radio, and in October this year decided I would need to say goodbye in order to continue ‘moving up the ladder’. While sleeping-in these past few weeks have definitely been ah-mazing, I will forever have a piece of XL in my heart.
Getting Our New Puppy!
I’m t-e-r-r-i-b-l-e at keeping secrets. Like, when someone tells me I have to keep something a secret for X amount of time, that secret is all I can think about. That’s what happened when we decided to surprise my dad with a puppy for Christmas. I knew a few weeks before hand, and was SOOOO excited to deliver the news. While we don’t get to bring this little guy home until January 11, 2019, the actual surprise was still a highlight in our year. Let’s just hope he’s not as good of an “escape artist” as Bodie!!!
Visiting My Hometown
Most of y’all know I’m a Southern girl at heart. So any chance I get to visit my hometown of Houston brings me an immense amount of joy. Not only do my aunt and uncle still live there, but my BFF of almost ten years does too. Every time we see each other, it’s like not even a second has passed. When I visited in October we took a trip to a pumpkin patch/ pig racing/ corn maze farm, and even got our *sses to a 7AM Beyonce-themed spin class!
Face Of A Feminist, The Podcast
In December of 2017, Laura and I were sitting in my damn-near 5sq. ft. apartment and decided we wanted to launch a podcast. She had already started “Face Of A Feminist,” but we wanted an outlet to not only talk about issues we think women want/need to hear, but to also gain experience in the podcast-hosting world. That decision led to a year full of challenges, growth, and memories I’ll never forget.
After a few months of podcasting, FOAF grew to an on-air radio show on Saturday mornings, “Live With Laura Diaz and Marissa”. Why did I make sure to include ‘Saturday mornings’? Because it turns out those two words led to an unforgettable interview with Andy Cohen from Bravo. Which then led to Perez Hilton sliding into my DM’s. And the rest, as they say, is history…
Sharing My Skincare Journey
Ohhhhh, Accutane. I guess you could say Accutane is the best AND worst thing that has ever entered my life. After years of dealing with persistent, cystic acne, I made the decision to start Accutane in April. I had done the research, signed the contracts, taken the online quizzes, gotten my blood drawn…the wholeeee enchilada. Despite being well-informed of the side effects and risks, a part of me still thought the hype was “dramatic”. I still never thought it could be as bad as they say.
I was wrong.
The first three months were bearable (see an update below), but the last two were insufferable. Words can’t describe how it affected my life. The joint pain made it impossible to walk upstairs to my third floor apartment. The dryness made my lips crack and bleed open. The fatigue made my 3AM alarms and 11PM night club gigs miserable. And the depression led me to have to drop everything to move back home with my parents. Ultimately I was advised to stop taking it immediately, one month before the course was finished, and the withdrawal effects put me in the hospital.
So obviously I would tell you it wasn’t worth it, right?
Well, I don’t know. After another two months OFF the medication I am feeling much better. My skin….OMG. It’s perfect. Not one single blemish in months. And all of those life side effects…well, maybe it was meant to be? I don’t know. I truly don’t know.
What I do know though is that my skin has never looked better!
Meeting Nora and the Nora Sandigo Foundation
In July I got a call from my friend Claire who was telling me about a woman named Nora Sandigo who was legal guardian to over 1,500 children down in Miami. These children are American citizens, but their parents are not. When the parents arrive to the States, they sign over legal guardianship to Nora in case they are ever faced with deportation. Incredible, right?
Turns out I already knew Nora’s story after seeing a news report on her the day before, and was just as blown away as Claire. We immediately called and asked what she needed.
After 3 weeks of a social media campaign/ beg fest, we raised almost $3,000 to buy goods to bring to Nora and her children. Though I haven’t been listing my highlights in any particular order…this one tops the list.
The success of that food drive inspired me to kick off 2019 by forming my own non-profit 501(c)(3) charity. It will be called Generation Giving, and I am ecstatic to see what we can give to those in need this upcoming year! For more information and to donate, click HERE.
So in short, it’s been a pretty eventful year. Thank you all for your support, love, generosity, and inspiration. Wishing you all a great 2019 and HAPPY NEW YEAR! <3