Adios, Soflo - Dana Chirps

3 blocks from my place.

This post is a little all over the place because there is just SO much to say. About 4 years ago I knew I'd be leaving my job, and knew I was also ready to leave Virginia. With the exception of a few years in northern Jersey, I had spent my life in VA, and wanted a change. So I applied for jobs in cities I liked. My top choice was Boston, but I didn't get any bites. I ended up getting the most job offers in South Florida, and that is how I ended up here. 

Moving to a new city where I didn't know anyone gave me a certain level of independence, and confidence that I am not sure could have been achieved any other way. With my immediate family and the bulk of my network being 1000 miles away - everything was up to me. It's been both scary, and invigorating. I have zero regrets in moving here, and have largely loved this chapter in my life. 

But it's time for the next adventure, and I am moving. In fact, this weekend is my last weekend living in South Florida. 

My experience here has been a mix of highs, lows, and a ton of sunshine. There will be things I miss, and things I don't. In regards to the negatives, even though they were challenging, I know I ultimately came out on top. The negative experiences only made me better. 

The lows and things I won't miss:

  • The amount of shady people down here, especially those disguised as "friends." But thank you for teaching me how to use a very sophisticated filter to determine who I allow in my life. 
  • The dating scene. (Though I have a boyfriend now). But thank you for teaching me to be fearless in addressing BS head-on, and for helping me figure out what I wanted (or didn't want) in a relationship.
  • Phonies in the workplace. But thank you for reminding me that it's always worth the bumpy ride to rise above.
  • The blatant obsession (not to be confused with the general liking) of money, cars, plastic surgery, and material things. But thank you for showing me that "keeping up with the Joneses," getting tons of plastic surgery, and owning (or pretending to own) a lot of shiny objects is (sometimes) just a very glossy way of hiding other issues and insecurities. Even extreme wealth doesn't buy happiness. 
  • The glorification of cheating/affairs. But thank you for increasing my respect for those who are loyal (and proud to be) to their significant others.
  • Drugs... this particular low is especially targeted towards the guy that I was once set up with on a blind date. The pansy roofied me. I literally woke up naked and alone in a hospital not knowing why I was here (had no memory of the night). Thank God for my guardian angels, as what often happens when a girl is roofied did not happen to me. But thank you for showing me that for every jerk in this world, there are at least 10 incredibly wonderful people. (Side note: I was also delighted to learn that somehow even in my drugged state, I was still seemingly determined to stick up for myself - I was told I broke the guy's hand. :)) 
  • The traffic.
  • The "palmetto bugs." ::::shudder::::
  • Aventura, Doral, Kendall. (lol)

The highs (Where do I begin?!):  

  • I learned how to search, find, and set up my own place - it's an empowering feeling to choose your very own home, in the city of your choice.
  • My career in marketing is (in a word) thriving. I attribute a lot of that success to the opportunities I was blessed with while living here. I can confidently walk into any industry, speak to any stakeholder at any level, and can provide them with revolutionary marketing strategies and tactics  - this is a sentence I would not have dared to put on paper 5 years ago. I have also had the privilege of working for some true leaders (DV, looking at you), and met some AMAZING friends because of work (ninjas, TA, network/industry peeps, I love you).
  • The newfound confidence of being on my own led me to travel to 8 different countries in Europe, solo. 
  • The friends I've made here! My goodness, do I roll with an awesome pack! 
  • How international South Florida is. I absolutely LOVE this, and love that I've made connections with such a diverse group of people. I would not have it any other way. 
  • The weather, and the surrounding natural beauty. This. is. everything. Almost every single week I have had a "I can't believe I live here," moment. It is PARADISE, people! Dining outside, all year round. Going to the beach, all year round. Never having to wear bulky annoying layers. Folks, it's not as good as it seems - it's better.
  • The brightness - between the sunshine, the rays coming through my bedroom windows every morning, and the general affinity to neon colors down here... I just dig the vibrancy. 
  • Living three blocks to the beach. This has been an absolute dream. I can walk to the beach, and to some of my favorite restaurants, and bars. I can go for a run up and down A1A, with the ocean on my side the whole way. Every day is a beach day.
  • How active people are down here. It is so motivating and invigorating to see so many people being active, and taking advantage of their environment. Shout out boot camppppp!!!! 
  • The "only in south Florida" moments. 
  • Being a blonde in Miami.
  • All the bad drivers - I'll miss them because this will probably have been the only time/place where I'll get to be classified as an "average" driver. ;)
  • 94.9 - lovvvve my latin music in the morning!!!!!
  • Cheap hockey tickets.
  • Being able to keep close tabs and be involved with marketing luxury real estate here!
  • Basketball on the beach.
  • Publix, and the dude there that hooks me up with extra crab legs from time to time.
  • Having tons of things to do - paddleboarding, biking, nude beaches, shopping, bar hopping, exploring, road tripping, rooftop pools, rooftop parties, rooftop bars, everglades, Key West, Art Basel, festivals, concerts, kite surfing, boating, boat parades, boat parties, renting yachts, clubbing, you name it, Soflo has it.
  • Burger Fi, Steak 954/The Living Room, S3, Grille 401, Houston's, Sushi Rock, The Alchemist, Bulla, Park Tavern, El Camino, Neuvos Cubanos, Wynwood Kitchen and Bar, Lure, Tap 42, Rebel House, Elbo Room (lol), and a ton of other spots.
  • All the different areas - Jupiter, Mizner Park in Boca, The Ave in Delray, allllll over Laudy, SoBe, Wynwood, Midtown, Lincoln Road, Coconut Grove, Brickell, and Little Havana.
  • Knowing that no matter how hard you try there is always someone weirder in South Florida!
  • There is really nothing quite like a wild night in South Florida. Drinking, dancing, partying, and just having a fun time. 

Good grief, the good outweighed the bad BY FAR. On more than one occasion, I've compared South Florida to the kind of woman you'd say "Thank God you're pretty" to... but I really have loved my experience here, and feel so grateful for everyone that helped make it so wonderful. It has been such an adventure to chase South Florida's sunshine for almost 4 years. I will most certainly miss it, but am excited for the next chapter. Stay tuned to see where I'm headed! (Those that know - shhhhh!!! don't give it away!)

I will miss this.

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Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.