ecommerce manager job opening

We’re hiring an Ecommerce Manager. Lilac and Lilies Boutique is the industry leader and we are expanding our online business! Work with one of South Florida’s premiere fashion boutiques!

(Part-Time, 25 hours +/- per week, WORK FROM HOME 80%)

NOW YOU HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO JOIN THIS WORLD-CLASS TEAM in FORT LAUDERDALE, FL.

Here is what we are looking for:

Lilac and Lilies Boutique is seeking a creative, highly-motivated, and detail-oriented ECommerce Manager to join our team and perform the following:

  • Maintain current online product listings and ensure accuracy.
  • Secure all product images. If vendor does not have the image, reach out to local models to shoot.
  • Create new product listings with product descriptions.
  • Monitor merchandise pricing and adjust as needed.
  • Optimize listings and keywords planning to maximize sales and ratings.
  • Ensure all orders ship within the appropriate timeframe.
  • Directly assist customers with post-order issues, including tracking and potential errors with orders.
  • Identify, evaluate, and execute initiatives for increased operational efficiency.
  • Understand and optimize conversion paths to increase add to basket rate.
  • Help expand various product to additional marketplaces such as Amazon.
  • Consistently monitor and analyze inventory allocation levels across platforms; recommend re-order levels.
  • Run a series of daily and weekly sales activity reports, proactively addressing areas of concern

Here’s what you need:

  • SEO proficiency – keyword planning, backlinks, hashtag research, meta data, meta tags, tagging
  • Light Photography / Photo Editing Skills
  • General awareness of Fashion trends
  • Office Software proficiency
  • Online Shopping/Merchant Services Experience Preferred but not required

The good news is we are a rapidly growing company with a history of steady growth over the past 9 years. We have aggressive growth plans for future online expansion.

WORK FROM HOME (most of the time.)
You will need to work from our Fort Lauderdale location an average of twice per week but 80% of this position can be performed in a home/office.

That said, this opportunity is not for everyone. The environment is demanding and does have substantial deadlines necessary to satisfy our aggressive growth plans.  What this means to YOU is that you will be joining a culture that is:

  • FUN but Fast-paced
  • Demanding of excellence
  • Undergoing change and Continuous Improvement
  • Expecting your very best.  Period.

If this sounds like the kind of job that you are skilled for, the leadership that you want to work with, and the challenge that you’re not intimidated by~ super.  We want to talk to you too.

Please EMAIL your resume to Michelle@LilacAndLilies.com along with a cover letter outlining why you are the best candidate for this position. If your background meets the ideal fit for what we are looking for, we will be in touch right away. (EMAILS AND DIRECT MESSAGES ONLY, NO CALLS WILL BE CONSIDERED.)

I was recently approached by United Airlines to film a segment called “Three Perfect Days in Fort Lauderdale,” which will air on all United flights on August 1.  As a Fort Lauderdale native and self-appointed expert, I was absolutely THRILLED. First off, I feel incredibly honored that they asked me to be their hostess for the day. Secondly, there’s nothing I love more than sharing all of the amazing spots our city has to offer. Between our pristine beaches, boating canals, luxury hotels and restaurants, there truly is no other city like Fort Lauderdale (if I should say so myself).

When not I’m not at work, I tend to be more introverted, which a lot of people don’t really know about me. I enjoy doing things geared toward home, and health and wellness play a huge part in my everyday life. In this city guide, I tried to include all the best that Fort Lauderdale has to offer while also showing a bit of my personal side.

Here’s how it all went down!

1. The day started off at the store where we spoke about my experience owning a local boutique for more than nine years. It was very special to speak to the cameras (and the world) about why this passion turned project holds a special place in my heart.

michelle dimarco

2. We then headed over to my favorite coffee digs, Brew Urban Café. The funky space has a sprawling, Instagram-worthy book collection and is hands down the best coffee shop in Fort Lauderdale. Not only do they serve locally grown ingredients sourced daily from vendors within the community, but the quality of their coffee and pastries is simply unparalleled. It’s the perfect place to come, sit back and listen to local music while getting some work done. My go-to order? A vegan muffin and cappuccino. It does not disappoint!

michelle dimarco

3. Following my religious caffeine fix, we headed east to the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. Here, we were greeted by Denyse, the curator, who graciously gave us a tour of the whimsically-designed house and the owner’s private art studio. She also gave us a tour of the beautiful gardens, including one of the finest orchard collections in the U.S. This was such a treat as I’ve never come across so many orchid variations in my life! We also encountered some resident wild monkeys roaming freely on the grounds, which was an experience in and of itself!

4. After Bonnet House, we went to the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale on the one and only Las Olas Boulevard. Here, I spoke to the museum curator about their new exhibit, which highlights Paris and New York City from the 1890s to the 1920s through breathtaking photographs and art. It’s no secret I love the city of lights, so this was an absolute dream. The exhibit shows how the invention of electricity impacted artists, which you can actually see in the paintings. Pretty cool! The exhibit won’t be there for much longer, so I highly recommend seeing it before it’s too late!

michelle dimarco

5. We then headed south to the recently opened brewery, Tarpon River Brewing. Tarpon River is actually located in the historical 1920s stable belonging to the Snyder family of Fort Lauderdale. As a result, the brewery has a distinct Old-Florida design with reclaimed and restored barn wood. I got to interview the owner and we tasted a variety of beers, including clean lagers, mixed-fermentation sour beers and barrel-aged ales.

michelle dimarco

6. After working up an appetite, we grabbed a bite to eat at El Vez, a Mexican restaurant on the first floor of the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel with stunning hand painted murals. Created by renowned restaurateur Stephen Starr, El Vez showcases classic Mexican fare with an emphasis on Baja-style cooking that celebrates the fresh seafood of our city. I got to chat one-on-one with Executive Chef Steve Menter, and he had us try some of the restaurants signature dishes including the most delicious guacamole, tacos and nachos.

7. Perhaps what makes Fort Lauderdale so special and has given it the name “Venice of America” are the numerous intercostal waterways. I wanted to make sure this was included in my tour, so we hopped aboard the super convenient Water Taxi. Not only did we have a front-row seat to mega yachts and mansions (what a treat!), but we avoided traffic and got to the other side of town in record time.

michelle dimarco

8. My tour of Fort Lauderdale ended at Rooftop 1WLO, Downtown Fort Lauderdale’s first ever rooftop bar, which is elevated above Las Olas Boulevard and the New River. My girlfriends met me here for some hand-crafted cocktails made by the BEST mixologists. My favorite drinks are the “What the Matcha” (New Amsterdam Vodka, matcha powder and green chartreuse) and the tropical “Kiwi AF” (Mount Gay Rum, kiwi, mint, rosemary and Cointreau), which is especially refreshing on a warm summer night. There truly was no better way to end my Fort Lauderdale tour than toasting to this beautiful city!

michelle dimarco

This week I thought I would address a topic that needs much addressing: social media influencers. Have you ever scrolled through Instagram, gone down the rabbit hole, and started to compare yourself to them? Trust me, I get it. From “my life is so boring,” to “wow, my closet really does suck,” to “I desperately need to lose some weight,” I’ve been there. It’s so easy for us to get caught up in this spiral of negative thoughts.

I’m pretty sure all of you are familiar with the term “influencer.” After all, it’s 2018! But, if you’re not, an influencer is someone a brand pays to promote their product, service or experience. This is usually done in exchange for a product, coverage, promotion or direct payment.

Before I delve any further, I just want to say I don’t have any issues with influencers. I’d be a hypocrite if I did. My boutique Lilac And Lilies has worked with numerous influencers in the past and we’ve truly benefited from our collaborations with them.

Having experienced this tradeoff firsthand, I can safely say that successful influencers are some of the hardest working entrepreneurs I know. They practically work 24/7, creating content, negotiating deals and signing contracts at all hours of the day. They also have to present a “perfect” life, which is a full-time job on its own.

However, we need to start looking at influencers for what they are. They’re advertisers. Plain and simple. Think of when you flip through the pages of Vogue and come across a high-fashion advertisement. Do you look at it knowing it’s clearly an ad? The answer is probably yes. You’re fully aware that the image has gone through plenty of retouching and post-production so that it can best sell a product.

Now think of when you come across an influencer’s profile on Instagram? Do you look at their photos the same way you’d look at an advertisement in Vogue? Probably not. I know I don’t. But they’re the same. Both the fashion model and influencer have been paid to present a “perfect” persona.

Yet, we still mentally categorize these influencers as normal people. We classify these photos as “everyday life pictures” and group them together with our family and friends’ pictures. Even worse, we group them together with our own photos. This then causes us to compare ourselves to them, which is essentially comparing our lives to content that is very styled, very edited, and very planned, no matter how candid it may appear.

While we can’t always control what we come across on social media or what we are exposed to in life, we can control how we perceive things. Next time you find yourself comparing yourself to an influencer, make that differentiation between “real life” and “advertisement.”

I’d like to end this post by stressing just how impactful words are. Just look at the term “influencer.” The word alone is incredibly powerful. The term “influencer” implies that they influence you to do something or believe in something. However, we ALL have influence, whether we’re a social media influencer or not. We have influence over how we react to something. We have influence over our own thoughts. We have influence over our own actions.
Next time you’re scrolling through social media, I encourage you to influence yourself to look at influencers for who they are. Your self-esteem and happiness will thank you for it.

Xoxo,
Michelle

If you haven’t made plans for Memorial Day yet, it’s time to get started. After all, the holiday weekend is right around the corner. In the past, I’ve typically stayed in my home base of Fort Lauderdale. It is no shock that I love everything about it: the businesses, the people, the atmosphere… everything.

However, I’ve also had the opportunity to travel to different places for Memorial Day weekend. I always think it’s great to escape for a few days and truly unwind. After all, there comes a time in every business owner’s life where you just need to disconnect. As an entrepreneur myself, I know how important it is to take a break from creating, building, growing and learning. Here, I’ve come up with a list of my top five Memorial Day destinations.

Riviera Maya, Mexico

Riviera Maya’s name alone brings up images of pristine water, white-sand beaches, sun-drenched days and margaritas. It’s true— you really can find all of these here. Make a trip to this oasis for a whiff of the Caribbean and a taste of the good life. Most all-inclusive resorts offer some really great rates over Memorial Day weekend since many Americans tend to stay a little closer to home. Yes, please!

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Forget Palm Beach or the Hamptons. Cape Cod is the real playground of the rich and famous. Think the Kennedys, Robert De Niro, Meryl Streep and Taylor Swift. From politicians to actors to musicians, everyone has purchased a home here. And it’s for good reason. Although the water may not be warm enough for a swim, you can still enjoy a stroll down the beach and visit some of the area’s stunning lighthouses for a beach vacay unlike any other.

Palm Springs, California

I know what you may be thinking: do I really want to spend my Memorial Day weekend somewhere that doesn’t have a beach? Don’t fret. With a variety of dining & spa options, Palm Springs is the perfect destination for the long weekend. Soak up some sun and sip on cool cocktails poolside at one of the city’s many stylish boutique hotels. Memorial Day also marks the end of bearable temps out in the desert, so many properties run great specials over the holiday. Who doesn’t love a good deal?

Miami, Florida

This time of the year in the Magic City typically means comfortable temperatures. My personal favorite place to stay? The swanky, yet approachable Soho Beach House. However, be warned: Memorial Day weekend happens to fall during Urban Beach Week, which draws over 300,000 participants to South Beach. If crowds aren’t your thing, head on over to the Brickell area. With a plethora of shops and waterfront restaurants (hey, American Social), you won’t be missing out.

Austin, Texas

Last but not least: Austin. With its Tex-Mex joints, bustling music clubs and scenic walking trails, this city is making a name for itself. Not only does the Texas capital gets some of its best weather around this holiday, but Memorial Day weekend kicks off the boating season. Head on over to Lake Travis or enjoy a swim at Lady Bird Lake.

I hope my suggestions help! Let me know in the comment section below if any of you will be visiting these places to celebrate Memorial Day. Cheers to the long weekend!

Xoxo,
Michelle

 

Photos: JetSetter.com

I recently sat down with Thrive Global to share my top “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me”. Read the interview below or click here to see it on Thrive.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Michelle DiMarco, a South Florida based small business owner, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Michelle’s award-winning boutique, Lilac And Lilies, just celebrated its ninth anniversary in business and is dedicated to sourcing up-and-coming designers from both coasts. Her female entrepreneur film, Small Business, Big Dreams, was screened at The Palm Beach International Film Festival, and her blog aims to help women achieve daily inspiration and success in the retail industry.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?

I was just coming home to Florida after graduating from FIT and didn’t really know what I wanted to do. I knew one thing and that was I could never see myself working for someone, and I wasn’t afraid of hard work. Asking myself “what if” or “I wish I would have” wasn’t an option. So in 2009, in the midst of a recession, I decided to open Lilac And Lilies Boutique. We are now in our 9th year, and I’m proud to say we have been featured on major television networks and received numerous awards throughout the years.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

When celebrities come to the store is always equally funny as it is interesting. Shaquille O’Neal, Jason Taylor, Dan Marino, Kathy Wakile from The Housewives of New Jersey and the cast of Basketball Wives of Miami have all been to the store. Watching these celebrities interact with customers and our staff is most definitely interesting.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

What I think makes Lilac And Lilies stand out is that I hand pick unique styles that I personally love and curate them into an ever-changing, always growing collection for our fashion-forward clientele. I want my shoppers to stand out as individuals on a daily basis through my selections. At Lilac And Lilies, you can expect to find reasonably priced and sought-after dresses, tops, skirts, and jackets nestled among embellished displays of accessories, gifts, and other stylish curiosities.

Our unique shopping experience is enhanced with in-store stylists, designer trunk shows and monthly special events designed to connect like-minded women. We pride ourselves on extending a family-like atmosphere to each customer. Many of our customers have been shopping with us for years. We have seen them get engaged, married and have children.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

When I was first beginning my career, I crossed paths with a businessman named Ronnie. He believed in me enough to want to become my business partner and has been instrumental in helping the company grow.

I remember this story like it was yesterday. I was attending my first tradeshow (mind you it was during the recession) in New York City, and the odds were against me. The wholesale vendors were hesitant to sell to me because I was brand new and a lot of other stores were going out of business. It was almost impossible for me to place orders. I called Ronnie from a bathroom hysterically crying. He said to me “Wash your face and get back out there. I promise you one day they will know who you are.”

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

How are we making a difference? I ask myself and our team that question often. We have built a following on our social media platform and we use that platform to raise awareness for various organizations and charities. I also love to share my personal and professional trials and tribulations with other women. I use our blog to give back knowledge, encouragement, and inspiration. I also use the platform to showcase incredible people who are redefining roles and doing amazing things.

Personally, I volunteer at Kids In Distress, and I am on the board of The Humane Society of Broward County. I am very aware we are in an over-saturated market that is not need-based, but want-based. To earn a living off of what we do is a blessing, and giving back is the least I can do.

Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?

The Power of Positive Thinking, by Norman Vincent Peale.

I was taking a course at FIT and it was a recommended book on our list. I read it, reread it and made flash cards. It has helped me tremendously, and it trains your brain to think in a more positive way in every aspect of life. I have this book on my kitchen countertop, and the flash cards are taped in my bathroom as a daily reminder. It’s my bible.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. You will experience some dark and lonely times. When you start a business you must give it your all, often sacrificing time with friends and family.
  2. Never ever burn bridges.
  3. Cry when you have to.
  4. Surround yourself with people who believe in you.
  5. Some people will be waiting to see you fail. Believe in yourself enough to prove them wrong.
  6. Bonus: When time allows network as much as you can.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

It would be my dad. I’d want to tell him that I created a pretty amazing business.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

michelle dimarco

Those of you keeping up with my blog know I recently touched upon the topic of loving yourself. This year, I promised myself one thing: I would love myself unconditionally (quirks, flaws, potty mouth and all) and practice self-care to its fullest. With all this self-acceptance and self-awareness came the realization that I needed to face something I’ve been putting off for far too long: freezing my eggs.

Quite frankly, the thought of freezing my eggs scared the living daylights out of me. While the option for women to freeze their eggs is thrown around far too casually, I knew what going through this process would entail. After doing some research of my own and falling victim to the rabbit hole that is the Internet (WebMD, anyone?), I came to the blunt realization that this process would be anything but easy.

Egg-freezing essentially means doing a round of IVF (short for in vitro fertilization) without the embryo transfer at the end. You first start off by taking 1-2 weeks’ worth of birth control pills to temporarily shut off any natural hormones, followed by 9-10 days of hormone injections. Yes, that’s right: injections. These injections are meant to stimulate your ovaries, stop them from releasing eggs, and then finally, with an ovulation trigger injection, ripen the eggs that’ll be collected with a needle under deep sedation or general anesthesia.

While many women get along with this process just fine and are able to carry on with their daily lives, unfortunately many aren’t. As someone who has health and fitness down pat (or so I’d like to think), I prioritize feeling healthy and strong. As you can imagine, exposing myself to any physical pain wasn’t something I was necessarily looking forward to. Not to mention, egg freezing comes with an incredibly high price tag and no guarantee.

However, just when I thought there was no way I could undergo this process, I kept reminding myself just how much I wanted this. After all, this is something I had thought about for years, not just days. The reality is I’m in my upper 30s and single. I was constantly worried about how the sell-by-date on my ovaries might not exactly fit in with my future plans to have kids. So, scared out of my mind but clinging onto how badly I wanted to have the option of being a mom someday, I underwent the process.

Was it pleasant? No. Was it worth it? Abso-freakin-lutely.  As soon as it was done, I was overcome by an overwhelming sense of peace. For the first time in what seemed like forever, I stopped hearing the ticking of my biological clock in the back of my head— tick, tock, tick, tock… I felt as though I could truly relax without having to worry about never being able to have kids of my own. This sense of relief alone made the choice and investment to freeze my eggs priceless.

With that being said, I’m not 100% sure I’ll ever use my frozen eggs. For all I know, I could meet my prince charming tomorrow, get married and have little Michelles running around. But, should life continue taking me in the direction it’s headed (hey, no complaints! I love the life I’ve created for myself), my eggs will be there for me to use.

All in all, I couldn’t be happier to have frozen my eggs. The whole experience was very empowering for me as a woman. I know now that I will never have to sacrifice having a family or being a mom, and there’s something pretty damn powerful about taking control of your own future.

michelle dimarco

Although it may not seem like right now, summer is right around the corner. With the arrival of the sweltering heat will come the days of sleeveless tops, short shorts and well, you guessed it: bikinis. That’s right, the highly dreaded bikini season is upon us, which you’re probably well aware of thanks to that itty-bitty bikini set taunting you from your chest of drawers.

While there’s nothing inherently wrong with wanting to look good this summer, you shouldn’t miss out on the fun pool parties and boat days just because you don’t want to show some skin. Us women are too quick to shame our own bodies, when all our hips and curves really need is just some little TLC.

This year, I want to share my tips and tricks with you all on how I take spring cleaning to a whole new level. Not the normal extravagant cleaning of my closet, but the spring cleaning of myself. My mind. My body. My soul.

It’s important to realize that detoxing is not about changing your body. Rather, it’s about changing your lifestyle to feel more confident in your own skin, no matter what you are (or aren’t) wearing. Regardless of your age and lifestyle, detoxing is beneficial for EVERYONE. It’s not a one-time fix, but more of a kick-start to taking care of yourself for the long haul.

I know changing habits can be challenging, but the results are always well worth it. Look at it this way- if we aren’t challenging ourselves, are we truly reaching our greatest potential? Probably not. So, let’s start looking at spring as our time to push ourselves to be the best version of ourselves possible.

These are my fail-proof tips to not only looking good, but FEELING even better:

1. WATER. WATER. WATER. Remember when your mom used to tell you to drink 8 cups of water a day? Well, she wasn’t kidding. Not only are the health benefits of drinking water endless, but it’ll make your skin look radiant. If you’re someone who doesn’t like drinking plain water (trust me, I get it), I recommend infusing it with tasty natural ingredients like lemon, kiwi and mint.

2. Get on your feet! I absolutely LOVE the feeling after an amazing workout class. Orange Theory and Flywheel have been my saviors. These classes break up the usual routine of going to the gym and using the machines by yourself.

3. What you put in, is what you will get out. If you’re putting foods in your body that are filled with carbs and unnecessary sugars and/or fats, you’re not going to feel so good. For me, eating lean proteins gives me the satisfaction of feeling full along with the incredible benefits of eating clean.

4. Get hot and steamy… with The Yoga Joint. What else would I be talking about?! Doing yoga in a heated room forces the heart to beat faster, which gives you an amazing cardio workout in addition to sweating out all of the toxins in your body!

5. Last, and most importantly, rid yourself of toxic people! Surround yourself with people who want you to succeed. That crew is the one you’ll want by your side all spring (and summer) long.

By following the tips above, you’ll successfully shift your focus this spring and turn your dial towards YOU. If that means reading more, meditating, or even a walk on the beach, do it. Whatever makes your soul flourish, commit to it.

Here’s to all the rose we’ll be drinking poolside looking caliente and feeling the most confident we ever have in our bikinis!

Xoxo,
Michelle

Since I became an entrepreneur, people always ask me, “how do you deal with the pressure, people, challenges, relationships, family, etc.?” The answer is, I don’t . At least, not all at once.

When I began my journey as a small business owner, it felt like the entire world was on my shoulders. I was dealing with the stress of becoming an entrepreneur, figuring out finances, challenging myself personally, maintaining relationships with friends, family, and a significant other, all while making sure I look fantastic every day (look good = feel good, right?).

I hate to break it to you (and myself), but those pressures never stopped. I still deal with them to this day. The only thing that has changed is how I go about dealing with them.

I’m a fashion girl, I always have been. So I had to make this work in my Louboutin loving brain. I made shoe compartments. Hypothetically. Okay, I made shoes for my brain. Am I sounding crazy yet? I used compartmentalization to cope with everything that was going on around me. I imagined my brain to look like a free-standing shoe compartment with a pair of shoes in each slot that represented a part of my life.

Cue inner-voice:

“Let’s put my family shoes next to my boyfriend shoes….hmm no, that’s too risky. I’ll put my boyfriend shoes next to stressing-about-finances shoes! No, that doesn’t seem right either.”

I decided that no matter where the shoes were placed in my compartment, I would only wear one pair at a time, hence dealing with one issue at a time. Essentially, I made time for myself to deal with every single one of the stresses in my life, but never had to deal with them all at once.

The reason I’ve seen my business grow with success and my personal life flourish is because I recognized and embraced the fact that I had several full-time focuses, but only a limited amount of emotional and mental energy to devote to each one. With this tactic, I never really felt burnt out or on “E”. There’s not enough tea or yoga in the world to make my problems go away, so I decided to rock a pair of my “shoes” for only short amounts of time so I can continue walking- strutting my stuff through life.

How to do this for yourself? You, my sweet reader, are going to be okay. Follow these 5 steps:
1. Visualize your shoe compartment. Isolate each pair of shoes (issues) from each other.
2. When you wear a pair of your shoes, really focus on it, but only for a short amount of time.
3. Take baby steps. Don’t jump too far ahead the second you start to see progress.
4. Take the shoes off, stretch, put the next pair on.
5. Say “no” to a pair of shoes that doesn’t deserve a compartment on your brain.

“Life is short. We can live it lost in our own thoughts, or we can choose to be present, moment to moment, watching as life unfolds around us.” -Headspace

xoxo,
Michelle

I have a love for many things. Wine, clothes, Chanel and puppies, but my love for traveling solo is one that can’t be compared. You might be thinking “Oh hell no. I can barely go shopping by myself.” Fair enough! It’s a scary thought, but have you ever considered embracing the challenge and learning more about yourself in the process? I can attest, it’s pretty amazing.

Traveling with people gives you laughs, memories and a deeper connection. So, you’re wondering, how could traveling by yourself even compare? What if I told you that those memories and those laughs by yourself are way better? Girl, I know it sounds crazy, but trust me.

I have memories of extraordinary, eye-opening solo trips that no one will ever get to fully understand because it was MY experience.

Not only did I find that traveling alone wasn’t sad or worthy of someone’s sympathy, but it was also the trips on which I learned the most about myself and the world. I didn’t have anyone telling me what to do or begging me to try that one thing. It was just me and my experience. There is something so beautiful about that.

There are a ton of reasons why people might travel alone – they might want to do a little soul searching or need some time away from everyday life. I have traveled around the freaking globe by myself and each trip has served a different purpose.

I traveled to Thailand for a spiritual journey where I visited an orphanage and rode on the back of an elephant through the river. Who else can say that? That trip was one I will never forget and taught me so much Yes, I was scared of the unknown and putting myself out of my comfort zone, but I did it. I now have memories in pictures that you can see but only I can relive.

I journeyed through Europe just to, well, live it up… literally. I call Europe my party place. I am by no means a crazy partier. Let’s be real, I’m in bed at 9 p.m. most nights. I do, however, like to occasionally treat myself to a good time, and Europe is just the place for that. Yes, I may have skinny dipped at a secluded beach on the Amalfi coast, and that’s perfectly fine. I embraced living in the moment.

Traveling alone can be a whirlwind of unexpected emotions. I’ve been in many situations during my travels where I have been scared, lonely, uncertain and frustrated. What is important about those moments is that I got through them. Most importantly, I got through them alone. If it had not been for those times when I felt afraid or homesick, I might not have the same outlook on life I hold now.

Whenever I think there is something I can’t accomplish, I look back on those times I was alone and uncertain, but found my way through it.
After traveling through countries where nothing seems familiar, not knowing a single word of the language and finding your way through foreign streets to a beautiful destination, you will realize there is nothing in this world you cannot do.

I love that saying “What will you do with your crazy and beautiful life?” I can look back and say “I wasn’t afraid of taking chances, I learned to love myself and took a leap of faith.” Can you say the same? I challenge you to book that trip you have been dreaming of and stop waiting on your girls or your man to say yes. Just do it. By yourself.

Have you taken a solo trip? I would love to hear about your experiences in the comments below!

michelle dimarco

Oh February, you are deemed the love holiday. Is it just me or do you have a love/hate relationship with this month too? I mean, if you’re in a relationship you can’t wait for February. If you are single, like me (Heyyyo, let’s get to drinkin’), you hate this month. This past year I promised myself one thing: I chose to love myself and practice self-care.

This isn’t the superficial sense of self-love, like exercising regularly and watching less of that trashy TV. I already have that covered. I mean to fully love myself–inside and out.

I asked myself a while back, “Are you proud of where you are today?” Sure, I have an amazing career and business to back me up, and I have had great opportunities but that isn’t really the meat of the question I was asking myself. The question was, “Am I proud of who I am and where I am?” The answer then was no.

In that moment of realization, all the obstacles I had gone through came rushing to my head. I might have cried for my failed relationships and second all the hardships I have encountered, but in the end, I cried hardest for the person I never allowed myself to become.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but in that moment of asking myself that simple question, it all clicked. I chose to start living up to my own potential. To start making myself proud. To start living my truth and not anyone else’s. To truly have self-love unlike anything I have ever experienced. To be the Michelle that I have always wanted to be.

When I first thought of this, I panicked. I mean to love your entire being you have to open up wounds and revisit battle scars that you promised to never look at again, but that’s the beauty of it all.

I wanted to love myself to the point of waking up every morning with a heart overflowing with gratitude for all I was blessed with in life. To love myself unconditionally–quirks, flaws, potty mouth and all. To love myself the way I hoped for someone else to one day love me and unafraid to show it.

I am now strong enough to look back at my past and be like “Michelle, you handled that the best way you could and look where you are at now.” I love that about me. I love my scars and I love the woman I am today because of them.

That’s not to say that life is fine or that I don’t still experience struggles. I experience thoughts of self-doubt on a daily basis. I always think of the “what ifs” that have no right to take up headspace.

Self-love is a process, one that will never be truly complete (wine has become my best friend). There will always be more I could improve on, more I can learn, and more kindness I can show to myself and others.

In the vein of extending that kindness to myself, I constantly need reminding that yes, I am deeply flawed in many ways, but that is what makes me human, and I deserve love anyway. My own love.

I am still on the path to loving myself and to knowing and living my truth. I can say in all honesty that I love myself now more than ever, and I know I will come to love myself more deeply in the future. It’s a freaking process that I have learned to love.

However, no matter where I am in the process of self-love I have to remember…

I am enough and I am loved.