The time I said “EXPLODE” to homeland security


So there I was at the Denver airport, heaving my bulging black suitcase onto the conveyor belt for the x-ray machine. This was just my carry-on – my REAL bag (a behemoth red Samsonite) had already been found 6 lbs. overweight at the ticket counter, leading me to put on my boots and jacket, stuff my curling iron and jewelry into my purse, and relegate various items of detritus to my smaller suitcase.

As the carry-on inched toward the x-ray machine, the TSA agent observed the swollen vessel, and made a comment that he didn’t know that it would make it through the machine.

“I know!” I laughed. “It’s about to explode!”

And right then and there, all of the air was sucked out of Denver International Airport.

The silence coddled the word like an overindulgent mother.



I literally clapped my hand over my mouth, realizing what I had done – and then I sprung into action.

“Haha, I mean explode with my stuff. My STUFF – nothing dangerous, nothing sharp. I mean, except for high heels! Haha!”

No one else was laughing.

“Ma’am, we’re going to need to take a look in your bag.”

I was led to a sterile table where a blue-gloved person (man? woman? man?) asked, “If I open this bag, will anything harm me?”

“No! No, not at all,” I rushed. “All that’s in there is shoes. Oh, and a bunch of computer things. And I guess some snacks.”

Snacks is right.

The agent slowly, hesitantly, cautiously unzipped the suitcase, and beheld the contents.  “Ma’am, why do you have so many energy bars?”

Full disclosure: in my bag were hundreds of LÄRABARs.

“Well, those are for my co-workers in Nashville.”


And then, without further prompting, it all came tumbling out. “I resigned with the company – just last week, actually. I’ve been working for an email marketing company that’s based in Nashville – but I’m switching jobs. To LÄRABAR, actually. They’re based in Denver – I live in Denver. I just wanted to bring my Nashville friends some bars – as a little farewell, I guess.”

There it was. And there it is.

The suddenly indifferent agent waved me through security and all the way to Nashville, where I’ve given the bars to my friends at Emma – an understated thank you for the three years of support, camaraderie, and friendship they have given me.

Come January, I’ll join the marketing team for LÄRABAR, a brand that I have been evangelizing on my own for years. I am leaving an incredible company for another incredible company, which is not lost on me: this basically makes me the luckiest girl in the world. This is one of those moments where I can look back and see how the complicated, jagged-edged pieces have fit together perfectly, creating a gigantic flashing arrow, pointing me toward this next step.

So my suitcase may be emptier – but as much as my heart is tempted to feel the same (after all, I am giving up what has been a very good thing), it’s actually full to overflowing. I will spend the next week with some of my favorite people in Nashville, and then gently close the door on what has been a beautiful season in my life.

The goodbye is bittersweet, but the future feels warm and bright. In fact, my heart is exploding with sprinkles.

Just don’t tell TSA.



  1. Kerry on December 14, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    Oh, wow! I’m getting all teared up reading this, sweet Annie! May God richly bless you in this new adventure in your life!

  2. Carin on December 14, 2011 at 8:54 AM

    The perfect announcement.
    So excited for you…

  3. Christina on December 14, 2011 at 9:19 AM

    But at least you’re, like, the prettiest would-be terrorist ever! Not helping? Okay then …

    In other news: YAY! Larabar! So glad you can shout it from the roof-tops and celebrate in the blessings of the past and of the future all at once. I am in fact noshing on a Larabar at my desk right this very moment(of the Key Lime Pie variety) in celebration. You can add “aids morning sickness” to Larabar’s list of marketing tactics …

  4. Emily on December 14, 2011 at 9:21 AM

    Oh Annie! How exciting!!!! I wish I could hug you!

  5. bob on December 14, 2011 at 9:28 AM


    Now you are a *full-time* paid songwriter!

  6. Ginger on December 14, 2011 at 9:30 AM


  7. Hope on December 14, 2011 at 10:11 AM


  8. Maria on December 14, 2011 at 10:51 AM

    Ha! Explode! I once packed all these cute little travel bottles of the necessary liquids and was very proud to show TSA that they were all under 3 oz. However, I had a larger bottle of face lotion (not cheap) that I couldn’t live without so I wrapped it in a T-shirt and put it in the suitcase. Obviously, they saw it on the scanner and pulled it out. I tried a very 90’s-sitcom “Oh my! How did that get in there!” And the lady looked at me and said “Trying to smuggle it, eh?” Neutrogena has never made me feel like such a criminal. Or a bad liar.

    Ironically, I was on my way TO Denver that trip. :)

    Congrats on the rad new gig!

  9. Shannon on December 14, 2011 at 11:21 AM

    Hooray! I’m glad you weren’t detained and I’m super excited for your new career adventure. I LOVE Lärabars. I asked if they’d send me a samples for my clients and they totally did. I keep a bunch in my doula bag. Great little snacks for women in labor. Ha! Great company!

  10. Lindsey on December 14, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    Congratulations! Larabar is obviously very smart…and their products are SO TASTY. Your song touting their product was the best marketing campaign I’ve seen.

  11. Shanna on December 14, 2011 at 11:42 AM

    Annie. That is AWESOME! I remember when we sat in the park eating Baja Burrito, you were wondering what the next chapter would be and when it would begin, and now here you are, scaring TSA workers with your wonderful news. I am so happy for you. And happy for Lara Bars. Good things ahead.

  12. Bethany on December 14, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    Congratulations!! It’s going to be great! Marketing for a product you love and really believe in is so fun.

  13. Bree Jeffries on December 14, 2011 at 3:26 PM

    This is incredible! Such a great story and a very creative way to share your news and joy with us! Congrats, Annie!!

  14. Mary on December 14, 2011 at 7:30 PM

    Brilliant idea: Let’s swap work swag. I could use some Larabars, and you could probably use something (anything!) from WS!
    So happy for you!

  15. Tad on December 14, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    I like you. You’re funny.

  16. Peg on December 14, 2011 at 10:03 PM

    Fabulous Annie – what fun news. You’ll be terrific. Hope marketing brings you to Seattle

  17. Brian Vasey on December 14, 2011 at 11:47 PM

    Tell the truth. Have you actually won a Pulitzer Prize before? You should have. Do they give Pulitzer’s for blogs?

    Congratulations! Good news is always fun to read. (Even better when it’s so well told).

  18. linda on December 15, 2011 at 9:14 AM


  19. Emily from Seattle on December 15, 2011 at 12:54 PM

    Whenever my family and I were bored waiting for delayed flights, we’d sit around and come up with things you shouldn’t say in an airport….while we were in the airport. :P

  20. Kelli on December 15, 2011 at 12:59 PM

    The first part was hilarious.

    I’m not so amused by the second part. UGH. I’m so happy for you and so sad for me, I’m going to miss my work BFF!!

  21. sassy b! on December 15, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    yay! MY heart is bursting with sprinkles because I’ll get to see and work with you everyday. so so so excited to have you on the team! xox

  22. Andrea on December 15, 2011 at 3:38 PM

    Oooh, Annie. You are too much. Congrats on the new job – I just introduced my parents to Larabars this weekend.

  23. Juliette on December 15, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    First of all– this kind of thing only happens to you. Which is why you’re never ever allowed to stop writing. :)

    Second of all– best horror story turned amazing revelation anecdote of all time. I’m so glad it happened this way, hehehe!!!

    Third– you’re incredible. Just amazing. I’m so happy for your and so over-the-moon that i get to be your friend. :) Larabar has no idea how good they’ve got it.

  24. Anna Marie on December 16, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    that’s so cool and exciting Annie! The Larabar has been my snack of choice thru my whole pregnancy. I love the cherry pie one!
    best on the new journey!

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