Tuesday, May 10, 2016

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Friday, March 11, 2016

This is goodbye from Destination Unknown

It is time to say goodbye to all of you! That's right, this will be the final post from Destination Unknown.

I've been struggling to keep my blog going over the past couple of years. Perhaps it's due to the public nature of my profession, the lesser anonymity in a smaller community, or maybe, like my dear friend Heather pointed out, maybe I've found my Destination - It's happiness.

No, things aren't perfect, far from it. But I'm technically in a good place and it will get better.

I'm in love, to a good man, and my heart is in a safe place. I have reached one of the heights of my career - I actually get to run a museum. I'm getting paid to write. My blood pressure has been normal for over a year. I've dropped 20 pounds and counting... you know.. 43 is not looking so bad.

I started this blog in August of 2009. I was 36 years old. Newly married to the egyptian, and honestly, I was in a good place then. If you go back and read, that slowly began to crumble. The whole failure of that cultural fusion of a marriage was documented for the world to see. You were there when I lost a job for the very first time. When I had to move back home. While I struggled to find work during a recession for over 9 months. (Which to this day is the darkest period of my life.) How I was able to rebuild and reestablish myself in my hometown. The joy of unpacking my things out of storage after 9 months. The divorce. The loss of another great job. (Again - none of these were through any fault of my own (job wise).) Then starting a brand new job and going on the date with my SG (and btw, his name is Tim. The egyptian was Yasser.)

I shared my heart ache over the loss of friends or the distance from people I loved. I shared my cancer scares, the meningitis, the anger over political issues, etc.

For those of you who have been on this journey with me over the years, I thank you. I used to get almost 50,000 views a week. That was pretty special, considering the only wares I'm peddling was my life's story. I'm not going to delete my blog, however, in a week or so, I will unpublish it and save it in a draft for me. Sometimes, I might want to go back and read my little journey. My Facebook fan page will be deactivated in about a week. I want to give any of you who might actually still be reading a chance to read this.

If you ever find yourself in Macon, stop by the Cannonball House on Mulberry Street. Ask for Nicole. Let me know you are a reader. Would love to shake your hand.

You can follow me on instagram. There is a button on the side bar, as well as Twitter. Heck, you could even follow me on Facebook.

Here's hoping the future is just as bright. You never know... I could always come back and reinvent my blog. But I doubt it will be anytime soon.

1900 blog entries.
Over 8 million views.
Most searched word: Fried Pickles
Most viewed Post: You'll Thank Me Later on December 10, 2011. 205,228 views
Much love to each of you. I leave you with a simple...

Until next time.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

To Shut Down or Not to Shut Down?

I've been doing some serious debating over the past year. I question whether I want to blog anymore.
It used to be fun, but lately feels like a chore.

That's not good.

Over the past month, I've posted videos about women's issues in honor of Women's History Month, and I noticed that I've lost 33 followers during the past few weeks.

I used to write so my good friends could keep up with me when I lived in Birmingham, as a way to stay involved in my life. I've since moved home and probably see everyone even less than I ever did before.

I'm not sure I want my life to be such a public display as much as I use to. It's something I struggle with. I might want to save some stories for myself. Maybe my memoirs? Who knows.

I rarely get comments or feedback or letters. About 4 years ago, I would have dozens of comments and conversation with people about the various topics. Zip lately.

It's like I'm just writing to the wind, which is fine, but I can do that in a notebook at home.

Maybe that's what I'll do.

I'm going to make the decision this week as to whether I will keep this. I will shut it down, and also deactivate the Destination Unknown Facebook fan page. It's not really all that necessary any more.

I do have my other website, but that one will strictly become my travel log. Nothing personal, just showcasing interesting places to visit. Simply because I travel so much.

If you want to follow me there, it's nicoledestinationunknown.com. Maybe it's time to just start over. I've been at this since August of 2009, almost 7 years. I think it has just ran its course.

Time to move on. Keep on keeping on.

I'll let you know what I decide.

Until then,

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Finding my Zen

I've been a little quiet lately with my writing because I have been slam packed with activities. Not only the events and what not, but battling bronchitis and I had three teeth extracted. Yes, three. Luckily, they are on the bottom left hand side. I will eventually get an implant and a bridge to fix it all up, but for now.. and we're talking it's been over a week, I must heal.

I feel terrible. Still.

Luckily, I was able to get away last weekend to the cabin. I needed to restore some sense of balance into my life. Working on all speeds, deeply medicated, was not easy.

We had a huge event at the Cannonball House - complete with reenactors. We did our monthly story time which was Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. The kids got to dress as pirates, it was a hoot!

On Friday, SG's mom and I drove around some old country roads and came across this abandoned old church. Circa 1870. Good stuff.

Then, of course, there was the business of life. SG had a few projects he wanted to work on around the cabin (those pics coming soon - but the door is now RED!) I had to work on four freelance writing projects. Which in turn just kills my spirit for blogging. But hey, I have to put bacon on the table!

I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the videos I've been posting. It's good stuff!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Are You A Leader?

If I could pick a team of women to be my fantasy besties, I think Sheryl Sandberg would be at the top of that list. She happens to be the COO of Facebook and an incredibly intelligent and relate-able person. She seems to get what it means to balance a work life, as well as a personal life, and I like that. If we have to pick a mentor in this world to look up to, I think she has done a great job of sharing her thoughts on the topic of women as leaders.

I think I was always a leader. As they say, "She gets it from her mama." My mom is a force to be reckoned with. She is a take charge-take-no-prisoners type of leader. I, on the other hand, have the ability to do that, but I choose to put a splash of sugar in with it. Why?

Because I like to see people succeed. I really, really do. I like to help people strategize their lives and figure out the best course of action with the tools they have available. Heck, that's how I live my life.

March is Women's History Month. We take a moment and remember the women who have come before us and made such a difference in how the world works. I like that. However, just like I was in college, I am more interested in what we are doing now. I enjoy history and I find it interesting - hence the whole museum bit. But I LOVE doing something now, not just regurgitating what someone else did. (ie - I am also a journalist.) Journalism is history in the making, and I have always gravitated toward the trailblazers. All month, I'm going to share inspirational videos and memes and posts about strong, vibrant women. I have always wanted to lead, it's in my blood, and I've been blessed with an opportunity to run a museum.

Did you hear me? I get to run a museum!!! The little girl in me still gets giddy about this. I did it - I really did it. I achieved a goal. The funny part is, it was just a whimsical dream, you know the kind? Where you make a list of everything you would love to become one day, and this happened to be one of them. I'm an Executive Director. I still have to pinch myself.

My mom is an Executive Director. My sister was an Executive Director. My father was a supervisor. Most of my dad's side were military. It's just in our blood.

I want to see more girls strive to make their dreams come true. I really, really do. Whatever that looks like. I also want to see women strike a better work-life balance, something I think Generation X values. If you get a chance, watch the following video. It is inspiring and says so much. Meet my fantasy bestie - Sheryl. She's one smart cookie.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Tales From A Nonprofit Director

Someone once said to me, "Man, you've got it good. Working for a nonprofit must be so much fun."

And it is. But it is not easy. Now, before I go into this long diatribe about how hard my life is and how many hours I put in, please know, I get it. I get that there are a LOT of perks. As with any job, there are pros and cons, but unlike most jobs, my world is a whole lot more fickle and revolves, my dear ones, around you. Yes, you.

I've worked in nonprofits for many, many years. Even in college, my part time jobs were with nonprofits, so that means for 25 years of my life, the whole "serving others" bit has been in my blood. (Outside of that short stint in television, this really is all I know.)

Wherever I work, there is always a mission. Our mission is basically our purpose or service. When I worked for the Girls Scouts, it was to improve the character and empower girls of all ages. When I was with the American Heart Association, it was to encourage people to live longer, healthier lives. When I worked for the Tubman Museum, I worked diligently to educate people about African American art, history and culture, and now, my sweet readers, my job is devoted to acquiring, conserving, interpreting, and exhibiting artifacts reflecting Georgia’s heritage from the antebellum through reconstruction eras. I try to engage and inspire the community by presenting authentic and entertaining educational programs, exhibits, and special events through a wide range of events.

I'm not doing it for me. Heck, I already know this stuff. I'm at the museum more than I am at home. I offer these events, programs, tours for YOU. It's all for you.

I live in a community where showing pride in your city and promoting what is good and just is our raison d'etre. When I got hired, we had a hand full of solid programs and very little movement toward growing and expanding into our community. We needed support. Just like at every other nonprofit I have worked for, I worked hard, with our staff, to create program, events, and pull out little intriguing nuggets to share with our community. The key here was to engage my audience.

That requires creativity, time, and a whole lot of trial and error. We stuffed our program calendar with offerings, and now we offer just about everything under the sun. These fun events take up a majority of mine and the staff's weekend time. It takes months of planning, begging, borrowing, and pleading to make these "little nights out" for you and your loved ones happen. If you don't support the nonprofit, it will be all for naught.

As I sit here, typing this quick blog post out, I'm trying desperately to keep my eyes open. I'm running on antibiotics, pain pills, and about 4 hours sleep. I had some dental work done last week (emergency,) and I had a huge event all day Saturday. I stood at our front door, smiling and chatting it up with hundreds of people. I talked so much on Saturday, that at 3:15, when I wiped my mouth thinking I had a little bit of saliva, realized it was a little blood from the procedure. I left, only to go lay my head down for 30 minutes, then got dressed and headed out to be a celebrity judge for a local college's talent show/musical revue. I got home just before midnight.
I was wiped out.

I came into work today because I knew I had a lot to do... for you. I wanted to make sure the museum got cleaned up from the Saturday event. I wanted to work on ordering more items for a big party I plan to throw in April (Beards, Bourbon, & Bacon) and yet.. I really need to be laying down and healing.

But I can't. I have a party to throw for you.

But the question is... do you support what I do?

I had someone come look at the house for a wedding, and was quickly informed that they did not want (for their reputation,) to be associated with the Civil War. I quickly explained what our house was about... and knowing I am offering this person the lowest rate in town for a wedding, and for them to still sort of wonder...

It's exhausting.

If you say you want a good life for your family and you don't take advantage of what community groups are doing for you - then shame on you. People like me are busting our bottoms to make sure your quality of life is extraordinary. We give everything we have to only have you come up and ask for free tickets or for us to donate something, or to maybe even come to YOUR EVENT. When did you reciprocate the favor?

Next time you pick and choose events to attend, remember, there is a real life human being behind that computer skin who is trying to make your life better. Will you show your appreciation by participating?

Yes, I get to go to a lot of parties and mingle with more important people than the average person knows, but I work a lot of hours. These parties are work. The conversations, the grinning and bearing it when you hear something offensive, the begging for money or collaboration.. it's all there for you to see and take advantage of.

I suppose my hope is, each of you will one day take the time and actually support a few events. Show up to a few activities, and keep living your fantastic life.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

HEAL Thyself

It started with a little drainage, and turned into bronchitis.

Aint nobody got time for that. That damned bronchitis tried to ruin my Valentine's Day and Birthday weekend at the beach. Luckily, one of my board members was able to arm me with the good stuff.

Thank goodness, it's over. But now I have this terrible toothache.

Unfortunately, I don't have dental insurance.. sooo.. it's clove oil and motrin.

But enough with my problems. Let's take a look at the special weekend.

Okay, okay, enough with the questions, friends! No, I did not get engaged. Let's move on...

Friday night we piled into the car about 6:30 and headed Southwest for Mexico Beach. I drove the 2 hours to the farm, then we drove another 3.5 hours to Florida. Around 7ish, we decided to stop for dinner in Alabama, and I am so glad we did! We stumbled into this awesome little Mexican restaurant.

I enjoyed a chili rellano and SG got the Texas fajitas. It was a wonderful meal! The service was excellent, the place cute on the inside. We both decided that this would be a must stop by when we are traveling. 

By the time we got to the beach, it was around 11pm est. We basically crawled into bed for a nice long night's sleep. The next morning, we got up and headed over to a local dive in Mexico Beach called The Fish House. Always a great place to go for breakfast!

He opted for a heavy meat omelet, and I went for cheese eggs and a side of fruit. It was one of those perfect, relaxing breakfasts where we held hands and laughed. Great conversation with the man you love is the perfect way to start a trip. After breakfast, we headed over to the Dollar General market and did a little grocery shopping, followed by another stop at a Piggly Wiggly in Port St. Joe. My gift to him was to cook paleo meals the entire weekend (outside of our going out to eat.) I did my research a week before and was armed with my grocery list! 

We even stopped by a little arts & crafts/farmer's market across from the Old Governor. I bought a hand quilted cap, strawberries and zucchini.

We headed back to the house for a nap, and I later, I cooked a delicious lunch. It was a watermelon, strawberry, caprese salad with balsamic vinegar. Delish. 

We took yet another nap. (I told you I was loaded up on meds,) and little did I know, while I was resting, SG had made dinner reservations for our Valentine's dinner. We got dressed up and headed over to Apalachicola. We stopped in a great little coffee shop called the Apalachicola Coffee Company for cappuccinos. 

After the coffees, we drove over to Antonio's on the Bay. A lovely Italian Restaurant. I would HIGHLY recommend this place. The view from the restaurant was beautiful!

We started with: Antipasto Italiano. The restaurant describes it as: 
Antipasto means "before the meal" and is the traditional first course of a formal Italian meal. Our traditional antipasto includes cured meats such as prosciutto, salami and soppressata, then anchovies, roasted peppers, olives, artichoke hearts, fresh mozzarella. 12.45 

Of course, we enjoyed our drinks. He had a dirty martini, followed by a glass of Riesling, I had a Bellini. Next came about TWO baskets of bread with the oil & vinegar.

 Followed by our entree's. I had the Melanzane alla Parmigiana: The dish is claimed by both Campania and Sicily. Melanzane alla Parmigiana (or eggplant parmesan) is a very famous Southern Italian classic dish. Made with layers of eggplant, tomato sauce and grated parmesan cheese, then baked. Served with a side of pasta. 19.45 

While he had the Penne all ‘Antonio: Penne is a type of pasta with cylinder-shaped pieces. Penne is the plural form of the Italian penna, deriving from Latin penna (meaning "feather" or "quill"), and is a cognate of the English word pen. Chef Antonio’s best pasta creation, Penne Pasta sautéed in a light pink, cognac sauce with scallops and shrimp. 19.95

And in classic style, we ended up swapping meals. lol 
Following our entree, we went for the dessert. I had the Tiramisu:  Layers of espresso drenched lady fingers separated by mascarpone cream and dusted with cocoa powder. 7.95
While he went for the Bavarese al Cioccolato: Bavarese Chocolate is soft, tasty, and fragrant…I love it! To simply say that it’s good is really an understatement.

I hardly remember driving home. I was basically in carb coma. Talk about the perfect Valentine's gift! We had been going so low carb for months now, it was just too much. You know how romantic it was? We got home about 9:30, I walked into the bedroom, put on my pjs and went to sleep. Oh yeah. Good times. 

The next morning, I awoke, definitely fatter, and made a beeline for the kitchen. I made a high protein, healthier breakfast casserole. It was spicy havarti, sausage, eggs, and cilantro. We loved it!

Afterwards, we wanted to take Gypsy to the beach, so we packed up the chairs and headed that way. Just one block from the house and I noticed a coffee shop! I HAD to stop. 
We grabbed out lattes and headed down to the Gulf. 

After Gypsy's nice long walk, and me trying to catch up on my magazine reading, we headed back to the house, where I whipped up the next paleo lunch!
This time - cilantro, cucumbers, red onions, lime juice, sea salt, and olive oil! YUM!
Followed by:

Paprika chicken in a Butter, garlic, white wine and thyme sauce with a side of spinach. 
We were in paleo heaven! lol

Which caused us to nap and for me to develop the world's worst headache.
It was so bad, I thought I had meningitis again. Seriously.

Valentine's was a good one. Plus, he got me a book I was dying to read:
We got up the next morning and headed back to Georgia. 

That Monday, we sort of laid low and relaxed. On Tuesday, we had my birthday dinner and I got a Samsung Fit Gear from him, a nice wooden laptop desk from his mom, and a $25 gift card from his sister. 

This past weekend we worked on his house - he's trying to decide whether to sell or to keep.

Decisions, decisions. 

So with that folks, I turned 43. 
Nothing special. I was sick. Ugh.

Oh yeah.. and I started a commercial website. Oh yeah I did. Know all of the inside scoop you get? Well.. with all that I do, I've decided to turn it into something else. Please consider following that blog:
It's fairly self explanatory.

Until next time. 


Interested in purchasing ad space? Your ad could be RIGHT HERE.
Email snicoleabdou@gmail.com for more details.


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