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Wait it's 2016?

Abigail Diaz

It has been a year since I launched shopgirl blog. I didn't have many "blog" specific posts, but I was able to create content across all my interests monthly and to me that is an accomplishment. The first blog post was about new year’s resolutions and I am so happy I was able to do the two things I had set for myself. First, to have the blog and second to travel. My second blog post in the following month was about challenging myself to be more approachable, especially to women. BINGO! I nailed it and I am so happy I can say that this year I was beyond fortunate to meet some amazing women who I consider friends. I would like to take a moment to give a special shout-out to them and share a sweet sentiment about each one.

  • Julie Julez- One of the wittiest people I know. You are so talented and thank you for being FAB!

  • Claire Siegel- Another witty smart-ass, who is freaking gifted in all things health and food.

  • Lauren Brod- This year our love was rekindled and you are on the path of greatness #soproud.

  • Erin Kronberg- You are so sweet and welcoming. I love how you are a connector, never change.

  • Chelsea Coffey-  Kind soul. That is you dear friend, stay golden and keep your vibe alive.

  • Isabel Protomartir- Fabulous energy! From the moment I met you I wanted to know you.

  • Erika Kwee- BOSS. You truly are a talented writer and gifted photographer, so much respect.

  • Megha Tejpal- A true pioneer for someone who is going after it. I can't wait to see what's next.

  • Morgan Jankovic- Talented chef and amazing aura. I'm truly enjoying getting to know you more.

So what’s up for 2016?

This year I am launching LUSH PUFF, my new small business that will provide Houston with organic cotton candy. I am so scared but I have to try, and having these ladies in my corner will ease the fear of going for it.  My second goal is to buy a home and lastly to make it on The AMAZING RACE. It has been my dream to compete on this game show since I was 16 and I need to do it! Those are my top 3 goals for 2016, let's see if I can accomplish them.

What are your 2016 goals?


Dear 30

Abigail Diaz

Dear Abby,

  Well you have made it to the Big 3-0. Bravo to yourself and all that you have been through. Growing up life was not the easiest, but you always seemed to look at the bright side of things. Here is a quick letter to remind you of what you have accomplished when you find yourself in the low. 

Childhood was daunting as your dad checked out, and your mom was left to raise four kids alone. With limited support, your mom made due. School was never your strong point as you were  struggling with dyslexia but you never gave up; you just learned to work with it. Relying on extra curricular activities to help you find a bright side to school, and to help grow your leadership and communication skills. Graduating high school would be the one time in your life that you felt you didn’t want to grow up.

Your early twenties were a challenge as you were broke, had a good twenty extra pounds on you and could not find a job after graduating college. But, you still could not shake the feeling that this could not be it for your life. A year would go by before finally landing a “real” job. You went from working at a car wash to teaching, all the while, never losing sight of your goals. At times it seems hard to envision your future, since you still don't know what exactly you want to do. But you do know the feeling you want to have when you wake up. Empowered, happy, and curious.  Now you work in a field you love and respect. You don’t see your job as a job, and you wake up everyday loving what you do and the people you meet.

My advice to you Abby, now that you are starting your next chapter: don’t loose the drive. Be even more intentional and direct with your wants and expectations. Remember you only get one life and time does not wait for you. Stay true to yourself, never alter your character, and always remember that everything happens for a reason. Now go be the women you know you can be and stay humble.



PHOTOS: Fredis Benitez

Elephant Princess

Abigail Diaz

Once in a lifetime you get the chance to experience something one could only imagine. Yesterday I was granted the opportunity have that rare moment. With the help of my friends at Audley Travel, I experienced a life-long goal of my to ride an elephant. Although this may sound silly since there are chances to do this back in the States, I wanted to do it in the animal’s natural environment and so I could feel like an “Elephant Princess”.  

Patara Elephant Farm allows visitors to experience this magical moment in a way that others do not. Upon arrival, guests are immediately greeted by one of the handlers.  Unlike many tourist attractions around, the farm will not allow more than twenty guests to be at the farm at one time. There is an orientation discussing what Patara does, ranging from rescuing, conservation, research and health. Afterwards the group is split into half and paired with an elephant for the rest of the experience and the elephant’s owner. My elephant’s name was Bang. During this time all visitors have alone time with their elephant and the owner as it is important to gain the animals trust.

This is where the fun starts. The owner teaches the commands and how to feed the animal. The idea of putting my hand in the mouth of an elephants whose mouth is bigger than my head is a bit terrifying and exciting at the same time. We are then taught about the health of the elephant. I was the lucky one to demonstrate how to inspect the elephant’s health. With the assistance of the owner, I was asked to count the number of droppings Bang had in one of the piles and to pick one of them up. At first I thought it was a joke, but ironically it was not. So I did as I was asked, I picked up Bang’s poop and inspected it. While the owner spoke everyone observed to see that the coloring was right, the smell was not too strong and when broken apart that the dropping was to fall apart easily. Concluding the inspection I was to clutch Bang’s poop and see if any liquid would fall, this act shows that the vital nutrients and water intake is stable. This was an exceptional moment.

After concluding the health discussion, we were to follow the elephants into the local lagoon, where we would get in the water with them and bathe them. This part of the tour really separates Patra from the rest. It’s not everyday you can say, “I bathed an elephant. “

To conclude the tour, everyone hops on the backs of their elephants to return to the base camp. Riding something so large is very surreal. You realize that you will never look at a wild animal the same and you come back appreciating the size of these beasts and the power they hold. I would recommend anyone visiting Chiang Mai to reserve his or her spot at Patra Elephant Farm.