The trouble with trouble


I will spend most of the next three months traveling alone in Asia and Australia, so I thought it would be a good idea to take a self defense class.

We did not practice any physical defense moves. Instead we sat down in the middle of the ring and talked. My Muay Thai coach, Neil Jansson from OC Muay Thai, schooled me on how to avoid trouble. 

Neil is a badass. He has trained the Filipino Army and is in peak physical condition with only half a lung on one side! His focused and controlled mind and body is an inspiration. Here he is doing a handstand.

He believes that any self defense move has to be practiced a thousand times before it becomes a natural instinct. He correctly pointed out that one day of lesson would serve no use.

Here is what he advised:

10 | Dress Accordingly 

Don’t draw attention by wearing tiny shorts while everyone else is wearing pants. Be conservative and blend in with the people around you. Duh! I know not to dress like I am going to the club, but I never realized my workout shorts were a problem! Time to re-think my packing list...

9 | Keep it Short

Keep interactions friendly, but brief. Make others feel like you don’t quite have time, so you are free to disengage quickly.

8 | SCREAM! 

If you are in immediate danger, scream and run towards a crowd.

7 | Peak hours

Avoid early morning, even if the sun is up, and late nights. Be out when everyone else is out. I added a photo of me in Singapore at 4am. Yeah, not so smart…

6 | Hotel location

Do not stay in a remote area. Pick a hotel in a busy part of town.

Neil has lived and worked in the Philippines with Camp Jansson training the army. 

Neil has lived and worked in the Philippines with Camp Jansson training the army. 

5 | Put your phone down

Be alert and scan the room. Once you feel safe, then check Instagram. 

4 | Let ‘em Have it

Help them steal your purse! Drop it and run. Better they have your junk and you still have your health. Neil told me a story about his stay in the Phillipines. Thieves would come from behind and cut the strap of unknowing tourists' fanny packs. The signs warned to let it happen and not turn around, in fear that the thief would stab you to prevent their face from being seen! Yikes. 

3 | Friends

Make a trusted friend and stick together.

2 | Drink Alone

Lay off the hard stuff when out and about. Save the booze for a safe situation with friends and family, not strangers you just met. 

1 | Avoid the Club

There are places where trouble loves to find company. Steer clear of the night clubs and Lady Boy Drag Shows (go with friends!) and you’ll save yourself a ton of trouble.

These are all so obvious, but ring true now that I am about to jaunt off to Asia solo. All I want to do is make jewelry, not get into trouble! Thanks for the lesson Coach! 

Day Tripping in Austin with local gal Sarah


Here I am with one of my best friends outside of Jo's!

Here I am with one of my best friends outside of Jo's!

LOCATION: I'm a Colorado dweller who's spent her life traveling and growing up in Austin, Texas and London, England.

CURRENT GIG: Studying all of my passions, including fashion merchandising, business, and Spanish, at Colorado State University - GO RAMS! I also am the Marketing and Social Media Intern for Rising Blue!

FAV INSTA ACCT: Steffy Degreff from @steffyspandcs - she has a precious dog, adorable husband, and killer sense of mixing vintage with modern pieces

WHERE DO YOU WANT TO TRAVEL NEXT?  BALI!  Or South Africa, which is also on my bucket list!

Follow Sarah @sarsparz




I love a good, local coffee in the morning to get my day started right.  The famous Jo's Coffee is located on South Congress, one of my favorite places to hang out, day or night!  They have delicious drinks and nibbles to fuel you for any morning activity.  I'm also a huge fan of photo opportunities and Jo's has a great one.  Along the side of the building there's an inspirational splash of street art, reading "I love you so much", so grab your sweetie/best friend/pet and get a picture before you head out on your adventures!



For lunch you definitely want to make a stop at Hopdoddy.  Known for their scrumptious and unique burgers and beer and their fresh ingredients, it's a popular stop for anyone; you'll see a mix of families and businessmen alike enjoying a hearty lunch.  You'll find any and every ingredient in the Hopdoddy kitchen - from sprouts to honey wasabi to their infamous "sassy sauce" it'll be a party for your tastebuds!  



If you know Austin at all you know how serious we take our Tex-Mex, especially our tacos.  At Guero's Taco Bar you'll get great food and great vibes! They also have a robust gluten free menu. It's always bustling so be sure to grab a margarita and a seat among the awesome decor.  Fun fact: Guero's is a favorite hot spot for many famous people, including Bill Clinton!




One of my favorite places to hang out in Austin is Rainy Street.  This unique spot is ideal whether you're looking to bar hop or find a place to sit and chat with friends and strangers for hours.  Most of the bars are refurbished houses - which means you might walk through white picket fences and living rooms to get your drink!  There's always live music in Austin and Rainy Street is no exception.  You can't visit Austin for the day without hearing some great music!




I absolutely love vintage shopping and finding ways to mix pieces from the past with the present, whether it's clothing or home decor.  One of my favorite places to shop for treasures is South Congress.  You could spend hours in Uncommon Objects, a giant retail space filled to the brim with exciting knick knacks.  Whether you're looking for unique pieces to spice up your bedroom or large statement pieces of art, Uncommon Objects has it all!  My favorite store to shop for vintage clothing is New Bohemia.  They have incredibly friendly staff and awesome tunes that make sifting through their colorful racks an absolute joy!     






Shoot me a message if you want to share a day trip in your city! xx Mary

Travel like a gangster

When I travel, I always get sick. To help ease the pain, I dress like a gangster. My efforts to stay healthy have the bonus effect of making me look weird, so then I don’t have to endure hours of grueling small talk.

Here are five items I wear on (or apply to) my face while traveling:

In my carry on. Not pictured: a pair of panties to change into later, my iphone, chargers, water and peanut mm's.

In my carry on. Not pictured: a pair of panties to change into later, my iphone, chargers, water and peanut mm's.

1. Headphones I use Bose AE2 headphones to listen to Miles Davis or movies. I also travel with the Bose mobile headphones for later in the trip, but the big ones eliminate more chit chat! I put them on before I board. Walking through an airport with Kind of Blue on makes for a surreal experience that I highly recommend.

2. Sleep Mask I like this mask because it is made from foam,  doesn't press against my eyes, and makes me look like Batman. I wait until I have boarded to wear it ;)

3. Scarf If I learned one thing from my old boss Gabe, who owns the delicious brewery Mucho Aloha, it is to cover your mouth and nose with a scarf during flights. The scarf traps your breath's moisture, keeping you from drying out. Plus, it keeps out nasty plane germs. 

On the way to France in the winter, I used a rayon/ silk blend scarf. When headed to the tropics, I use a sarong that I can later use as a cover up. I have a silk one on here, but it sucked because it kept slipping.

4. Mints Singapore Air served salmon during one of my flights. It was fantastic, but breathing fish breath into my scarf for the next seven hours was not cool. Keep mints on hand! 

5. Cleansing Wipes every meal, or after every nap, or heck just every hour or so, I use a facial wipe. Keeps the face moist and clean. I like Burt’s Bees The girl next to me wiped her seat down with a sanitizer wipe, which is also a great idea. 

On my way to Tokyo

On my way to Tokyo

Don't be afraid to look gangster-ish to stay healthy and happy while flying. Just know that everyone else is sleeping off dramamine and engrossed in edited versions of scary movies to care or even glance your way. 

Remember, luck is only found when being pursued.

Happy Travels,


Trip around the world for $140


Here is how I will be flying around for three months, touching ground in five countries for $140. Impossible, right? Nope, you’ve just gotta know how to work the system!


Free Miles

We booked this flight using United frequent flyer miles. We needed 80,000 miles. Here’s how we got 'em:

  • United Mileage Plus Credit Card - gives a 50,000 miles bonus
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card - gives a 40,000 mile bonus

Boom. 90,000 United miles just by spending what we usually spend anyway. 

Squeezing The Miles 

When using frequent flyer miles on United, they let you book an “open jaw,” which means you can leave from a different airport than where you landed. So, I’m landing in Bali, but departing from Sydney. This is sweet, since I don’t have to waste miles on the small flight from Bali to Sydney. 

The Open Jaw

  • Flying from Los Angeles to Bali, Indonesia
  • {OPEN JAW} - I'll book a cheapie flight to Brisbane, then make my way to Sydney
  • Flying from Sydney to Los Angeles with a stopover in Tokyo

United also lets you have a “stopover,” which is a layover that lasts multiple days. In this case, I get to stop over in Tokyo for nine days without paying any extra miles! It’s like a free trip!

The Stopover

  • On my way to Los Angeles from Sydney, I have a 9 day stopover in Tokyo

Long Layover

  • 7 hours in Bangkok, Thailand







Life change

I have been sleeping on the idea to be my own #girlboss for at least the last 2 years. Dreaming of quitting my day job to build a legacy and well Friday I did it! I resigned, both to my boss and my dream.

Today my dream of running my own company is coming to fruition as a plan has been drafted, tickets booked, and with my families support I am ready to take it on.

My goal is to build beautifully crafted, high quality jewelry for my like-minded amazing girlfriends. I will be traveling around the globe to find talented artisans to help me manufacture my designs and posting about my adventures here. Follow me, let's be friends!

I am so excited! I cannot wait to share my treasures with the world and make lasting valuable friendships along the way. Yew!!