Monday, December 16, 2013

That Time I Decided to go to Graduate School: The First Semester

It's unbelievable to me that 4 months have gone by. Four months of classes every Monday and Wednesday, of team meetings, homework, social events, new friends, new stress. I finished a take-home final exam for my other class on Sunday night.
I guess you are wondering how it went? I'll use one word to summarize: fine. I am still so excited about this opportunity and recognize how fortunate I am. I also owe myself some credit; I worked really, really hard to get here. I am proud of myself, and continue to be shocked and amazed at what I manage to accomplish in a day, a week, a few months. Sometimes it's hard to remember, and usually I doubt myself, but look at where I am now!

I thought the hardest part about starting school was going to be actually getting out of my office and going to class, and then staying awake for 2.5 hours while someone lectured. How wrong I was.... that's hands down the easiest part. The hardest part is preparing for class. Reading the materials in advance, studying the case, taking notes. I'm not talking about flipping through 30 pages of material 15 minutes before class starts. I'm talking the hours spent reading, analyzing, and figuring out what it all means. That is hard.
This semester we took 2 classes: Data & Decision Analysis and Marketing Management. We also have a 1-credit project based class that extends through each semester of our first year. Marketing was great, relevant, and relatable. DDA was miserable for me. I couldn't figure out what it meant, how it applied to me, or how I would ever use it in my job. The 1-credit class (Management Practice) was basically a consulting project and an insane amount of work.
So what's next? A couple of weeks off, and then we're back in action on January 7. It's really not enough time off if you ask me. Next semester is going to be even more challenging for me. Operations, Accounting, and Finance, plus Management Practice. I'm hoping that something speaks to me in at least one of those classes, because right now the only positive will be when the semester ends. Speaking of, we're done at the end of April, and then summer semester starts mid-May. We do have a spring break, but I'm sure it will be largely spent on that pesky 1-credit class. Or at least I hope it will, I don't want to put anything off. Playing catch up while working full-time is not easy, and I have a feeling my travel schedule next year is only going to increase, not decrease. Plus we're already planning #kanda2014, a return trip to Iceland, and possibly a long weekend in Italy. Lifestyles of the poor and infamous? :)
In general, I'm feeling good. I am still slowly making friends. It makes me smile when I see sub-groups of people doing fun things together, even if I'm not invited. I continue to receive accolades at work, I'm excited about what I'm doing at school, and somehow my personal life hasn't taken that big of a hit.

I'm looking forward to the next couple of semesters, continued friendships, maybe even some budding romances! Stay tuned.... going to graduate school is a decision I make every. single. day! :)

image 1 2 (source: don't know)

Friday, December 6, 2013

Today, she would have been 89

My dad called me on the morning of October 23 to tell me the news I have been hoping I wouldn't hear for a much longer time. My grandmother had passed away in the middle of the night. The next 24 hours were a blur of work, tears, travel, and family. I feel so fortunate that all 4 of us were able to jump on planes almost immediately. It really solidified how many wonderful people I have in my life that were willing to step up, take over, and let me completely disconnect for a few days to spend time with my sweet, sweet family.

We flew the next day, and that Thursday night, we tried to forget why we were all together. The 5 oldest grandchildren, her 2 daughters and their husbands had a smashing time together. Laughing, telling stories, and just enjoying each other's company. At one point I teared up, turned to my oldest cousin and said "she'd be so mad, but she's so happy." "Not until tomorrow Kathryn. Tonight is for celebrating. But you're right." And then we got rip-roaring drunk and neglected to eat dinner, but it was so, so, SO worth it. Family time is the best, even under the worst circumstances. 
The next few days were hard. I sat in a corner for the first 45 minutes of her wake. My stubborn cuss of a grandmother didn't give any of us the chance to say goodbye. But in that time, I realized maybe that's okay. I've realized that she's actually always there. She's laughing as I send ridiculous text messages to cute boys. She was watching and shaking her head while my cousins and I drank ourselves quite stupid. She's holding grandpa's hand and walking on the beach, picking up shells and having picnics. She's writing love letters and thank you cards and cooking in her kitchen high in the sky. I am sure she is passing along a disapproving stare, thinking about how proud she is of her 9 successful, driven, determined, dedicated grandchildren, and missing her pup.
I didn't realize I would miss her this much, miss her voice and the way she cut off all of our conversations and how she'd spend hours doing arts and crafts with her granddaughters and her lemon cookies and climbing the sand dunes and every other memory. But what makes me tear up the most, what has brought me to tears late at night under my covers is how happy I think she is. Her heart hurt so terribly before she died, and I just know that she's happy again. Her suffering ended, and I really and truly think that when she walked through the pearly gates of wherever she went, my grandpa and my uncle were there to greet her, and I can just imagine that instead of saying hello, she spit out some sassy comment and hasn't stopped.

I miss you, Gram. Keep watch over all of us, and let me know you're there every now and then. See you when I see you. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I challenged my family to a Christmas Day 5k

The rules are there are no rules. Everybody has to participate, everybody has to finish, but there are no winners and no losers. Some will walk, some will run, some will train and some will not. I am going to have sweet prizes for everyone who finishes.
I needed a little oomph going into this holiday season, and a reason to get back on the wagon, if you will. I can eat and drink as much as I want when I'm doing cardio exercise regularly, which might explain the extra cushion I've inherited in the last 5 months, as I'm pretty sure the last time I found myself in a gym was about that long ago. #brokenfoot #notagoodexcuse
So, that's that. Our 5k is just for our little family, although if any of you find yourselves near Lake Hartwell on Christmas Day, you should by all means join us. We're a pretty fun bunch!

Monday, December 2, 2013

The City of LOVE

For the second year in a row, I spent the last weekend in October in Philadelphia. One of my best friends from work is in his 2nd year at Penn, and another one just started, so I was able to see 2 of my favorite people in 1 weekend. We celebrated Halloween dressed as a cookie (with a mouse counter-part a la if you give a mouse a cookie), a Wal-Mart employee, and a minion (with many other minion counterparts). We started the night catching up and reminiscing while getting ready, went to another friends apartment for a little pre-party, and then scurried off to the big party. 1,000+ MBA students in a large club... crazy things can happen. We found ourselves in the middle of the dance floor yelling and screaming and jumping and dancing and singing along. I had yellow smiley face stickers with me due to my costume, and successfully "stuck" everyone around me. In fact, people were coming up to me and ASKING for stickers. My costume was a complete and total success, and I'd highly recommend. Vest purchased here, stickers purchased here. I wore a sparkly white Old Navy t-shirt and a pair of shorts, plus my favorite boots. Comfortable, a little revealing but nothing skanky, and creative. Checks all 3 of the boxes for a Happy Halloween!

I woke up on Friday and knew my friends had schoolwork and other commitments, so planned to spend the day with my girlfriend who flew in from London. We met up for lunch and paraded around Philadelphia. We took each other's pictures in front of the LOVE landmark, had way too much fun viewing the Liberty Bell, poked around on the country's oldest street, and then deemed ourselves tourist-ed out and plopped down at Khyber Pass Pub on 2nd Street for a couple afternoon cocktails. I had taken the day off work, and usually taking 1 day off means not really taking a day off at all. This time, though, I didn't check or respond to emails, I didn't take phone calls, I enjoyed a true vacation day. Let's be clear, I certainly paid for it later, but at the time it was worth it to be completely present with a delightful friend. At the end of our afternoon, another friend picked us up on her way home and we headed over to their absolutely gorgeous loft in Fishtown. I gotta tell you, the more I hear and see of Philadelphia, the more I love it. In part because it's completely different from Atlanta and the south, and in part because so many people that I love live there.
Friday night I found myself back with my work friends for a family dinner and the most entertaining game of Cards Against Humanity. We stayed up far later than we should have laughing until we were crying, rolling on the floor because our stomachs hurt from the belly laughs the game brought on. It was the best medicine I could have imagined, being completely uninhibited with friends who take me for what I am, love me no matter what, and push me to be the best person I can be.
Saturday morning we woke up late and lazed around. Anna had to go in to work, Andrew had a paper to write, David & Ali had beer games to attend, and I had a brunch to be gettin' to! The girls all met at Honey's where we gabbed, ate, spilled coffee... all the things you'd expect. After brunch we meandered over to Whole Foods to pick up the necessitites for a homecooked dinner, grabbed a fresh juice to make us feel like we were eating healthy, and decided to check out the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We spent a solid 2 hours in the museum looking at the art, nearly getting kicked out twice, laughing until our sides hurt, and just genuinely enjoying a Saturday afternoon with no plans, no places to be, no agenda... just being. It was glorious. We literally got kicked out of the museum at closing time, and of course no trip to Philadelphia is complete without a detour to the Rocky steps and statue. Somehow it didn't surprise me that there was a huge line waiting to get a picture in front of the statue, so we killed some time taking group pictures in front of the museum. It was the perfect time of night to capture our silly friendship.
It still blows my mind that I met these women on a soul-searching trip to Costa Rica, and they have somehow etched their ways into my life, into my every day. Sometimes you meet people and have a connection, but as soon as that event is over the connection fades. Not this time, and for that I am so thankful.
The trip continued on from there - another night in cooking dinner and spending time together. Another brunch with friends and old coworkers. Mani/pedis and shenanigans. Fried pickles on a plate. Moving my flight back 4 hours just to grab the last remains of the weekend. And a businss class upgrade on the trip home, on top of a weekend that already had more cherries-on-top than I could have imagined. It's weekends like this, both home and away, that remind me of all the goodness in my life.
This fall has been tremendously challenging. Going back to school, traveling way too much, losing my grandma, weddings, birthdays, work overload, and so many other things. Sometimes, all it takes is a word, or a picture, or a memory, to remember that every single minute is worth it because I love what I am doing, I love the life I am so privileged to live, and I chose it. I chose where I am, who I am, and who I'm doing life with and I have pretty darn good taste. <3 p="">

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

This place is completely magical to me, and this year, just like every year, we have so many reasons to be thankful. True friends, precious family, time together, new opportunities, exciting adventures, and so much more. I tend to obsess over how fortunate I am to be living this life, and Thanksgiving is just another opportunity for me to be so pleased, so thankful, for everything I have. From our house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving. xo.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Missing Gram

I was cleaning up my cell phone contacts last night and came across my grandma's contact information. I felt paralyzed. My heart physically ached. It's not the first time this has happened. I pulled out my phone in the car the other day because I had some time to spare and planned to call my grandma. The realization that I couldn't do that literally stopped me in my tracks. I'm not going to delete her contact information just yet. It just doesn't seem right, so instead when I see it, or when I feel the pull to talk to her, I'll close my eyes or look up and know she's there, thinking of me and cheering me on.
To Those I love and Those Who Love Me

When I am gone release me, let me go
You mustn't tie yourself to me with tears,

Be thankful for our many beautiful years.
I gave you my love.
You can only guess how much you gave to me in happiness.
I thank you for the love you each have shown,
but now it's time I traveled alone.

So grieve a while for me if grieve you must;
then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It's only for a time that we must part;
so bless the memories within your heart.
I won't be far away, for live goes on.
So if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you can't see or tough me, I'll be near;
and if you listen with your heart,
you'll hear all my love around you soft and clear.

And then, when you must come this way alone, I'll great you with a smile and say "Welcome Home."
There is not really much of a point to this post other than to do a little grieving through writing. And to tell my grandma that I miss her, I think about her often, and I know she's watching. I think my heart will keep hurting, but I guess that's to be expected.

Friday, November 15, 2013


For the love of all things, please follow @mommasgonecity on Instagram you are seriously missing out on the beautiful relationship between a baby boy and his baby puppy at naptime.

I've loved her blog for a while, but these pictures slay me. Anyone else's ovaries hurting? EV better be careful else I may come home with a pup. No babies, but puppies are so not out of bounds.
Photo credit obviously belongs to Momma's Gone City. I'm just dying over the sweetness.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Theater tickets!

Early this fall, Mandy and I were strolling through one of the many art festivals in Piedmont Park when we stumbled across the Broadway in Atlanta tent. Only a few minutes later, we were Fox Theater season ticket holders!  Then we proceeded to spend the rest of the afternoon perusing the artist's fares and soaking up the end of summer. It was a brilliant day that I continue to reap the benefits of!
We've attended 1 of the 6 shows and so far, so good! I am really, really excited for Book of Mormon, but I'm also really excited about getting out and doing things that I enjoy! It's such a special Thursday night treat, the tickets weren't outrageously priced, and it would make the perfect date night. I have to admit though, it's doesn't make for a bad girls night either!
What have you done lately for yourself that you are excited about?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Leopard print is my love language

Purchased this in Iowa
And I don't want to steal pictures from someone else's blog because that's creepy but this vest is so damn cute, I can't get over it. I have on a gray shirt, dark jeans and black wedges.
Let the fall leopard obsession continue!
Ps - fashion blogger I am not. Don't judge.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The right kind of weekend

I've been MIA and I owe y'all a bunch of updates but for now all I can think about is how excited I am to be spending the weekend in Philadelphia. I have had a hellish 4 weeks between work, class, my grandma passing away, doing homework, group projects, and traveling extensively. I'm just mentally, emotionally and physically spent. I had no idea I would be feeling this way when I planned my trip but sometimes timing is awfully uncanny...

These dudes are some of my favorite people around and I'm actually thinking I may cry seeing them. I'm tearing up just typing this! I can't explain it but you know those friends...the ones that just like you for YOU and ask nothing more than for you to be YOU. That's them. 

And then, if that weren't enough, 3 of the girls I met when I went to Costa Rica live here and another is flying in from London. I mean, y'all, FROM LONDON!! FOR ME!! And the others but come on. Costa Rica was such an incredible, life rebuilding experience and I can't wait to catch up with these ladies. 

This weekend I have such high expectations and I know they will be met 1000 times over. 

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Well played, Google +Plus

It was the perfect fall weekend. I'm trying really hard to be better about writing, documenting, sharing, but it's a challenge. Just know I miss all you imaginary people that I really know IRL (in real life, duh), I miss baring my soul to you and obsessing over how much I suck at running and discussing intimate details of my still non-existent love life. I feel it in my bones, the feeling is mutual. And don't worry - the documentation is still being captured for the world to see on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc, etc, etc.
But I am here to tell you about the newest, coolest thing Google +Plus has done. Or really, the only cool thing it's done that I know of.  

I might have had a (lot of) mini photo shoot this weekend with some of my favorite people. The pictures by themselves were adorable and hilarious, the pictures in sequence on my camera were amazing, but the best part was when I uploaded them to Google. Somehow they documented my relationship with WVP (beautiful man in blue, pictured below) better than I ever possibly could have myself.

So we start out with a series of 6 photos (I think the minimum is 5), and the below 'clip' is what it gave back to me, automatically, with no prompting on my part, after I upload to my photos:
Love this. Love the pictures, love the video, love our smiles, love how happy we are. This little sequence captures the essence of us. I had one of the best weekends in recent memory and I really have this guy to thank, and now Google just put the frickin' cherry on top.
I'm on to their game though, they're trying to get me to forgive them for doing away with my Google Reader. Nice try, but you'll have to do better than a measly picture video to win me back completely!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Big plans for October

Remember when I did the Lenten Adventure? I've been missing it a little bit. I've been missing structure, some sense of boundaries, rules, something to keep me in line. I thrive on routine, on the comfort of knowing what is coming next. And sometimes I let that all fall by the wayside just for funsies, and I have to rein myself back in. So, I'm re-adopting a few (just a few...) of the things I added or gave up earlier this year as part-challenge, part-being true to myself. It just needs to be.
1. Cheese - it's got to go.
2. Daily exercise - it's got to happen, broken foot be damned.
3. Church on Sundays - no brainer.
4. Snoozing the alarm clock - case and point, I should be at work right now and instead I'm working on my couch...
5. Making my bed daily - such an easy, satisfying chore.

We each have different coping mechanisms to deal with life, and creating rules for myself to live by is one of mine. Whatever works, I say, and I know this works for me. I haven't decided if I'm just going to do this for October or for the rest of 2013, but I'll report back.
What's the last thing you did in your own best interest? I also took myself home on Friday night rather than going out to another party and I call that a success by every count imaginable.

Friday, September 20, 2013

BB Cream... pass

I know I can be dramatic sometimes (who me?!), but I was so excited about BB Cream. I love me some color. And then it proceeded to ruin my skin more than any PMS or pre-teen years could. Seriously! I had more pimples than a 13 year old boy, and they were the nasty kind that actually, physically hurt. It took me a few days to figure out exactly what was going on, but I identified the culprit and have since moved on. I guess lesson learned - if you have sensitive skin, BB cream is not for you. I can do a lot of terrible things to my skin (not wash it, mainly) and have it be fine, but I guess BB cream is where it draws the line. So now I know.
Sorry, BB Cream, I tried, and now I have 6 store-brand and 1 designer brand tube of pore-blocking gunk to contend with. Anybody looking for a freebie?
PS - Sorry I trashed your pretty image, Whit.
PPS - I had the exact same thing happen when I took Biotin, but worse
PPPS - I did find an amazing sunless tanner that I have big plans to post about, thanks to my new favorite blog

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bloggy Makeover Time!

Ya'll may have noticed some changes 'round here if you click over frequently. I enlisted the help of my sweet friend Nicole to give the blog a makeover. We went back and forth on iterations and exactly what I was looking for and I pretty much love it. We're still working on some small tweaks like photo size and colors in different places, so bear with us. Maybe I'll have her do a guest post about some of the magic behind the scenes... would anyone be interested? I know I would, but not sure anyone else cares.
I think my favorite feature is the "Life, One list at a time" but honestly, I love the whole header.
In related news, I've been working some Pinterest magic on recipes, attempting to get my DIY on, and generally wreaking havoc on my own life. I bought season tickets for the Broadway Atlanta series, so I guess I'd consider that a win. I'm trying to do more activities that are cultural and fun and don't involve a hangover. I know, so grown up and responsible. Let's see how long it lasts... 

School is moving along, my foot is still broken, and I'm still single so really nothing all that new around here. I guess this is why I resort to a blog makeover as good blog fodder. Sorry if you were expecting more.

Upcoming travels: Houston, Dallas, Miami, Philadelpha, and maybe San Fransisco, although that one might have to wait until 2014. Also planning #kanda2014, we're thinking 10-12 days in Greece & Macedonia in between my spring and summer semesters. Ambitious, yes, but since when has that stopped me? One of my friends also went to yacht week in Greece late this summer, so maybe I'll just steal his idea instead of coming up with my own.
Anyway, that's life in a nutshell. I found my holiday party attire so one of these days I'll get around to posting that. You're all going to love it and be totally shocked that it's a Jessica Simpson number. I just love her clothes and shoes and her (even though when I think of her I think of Jessica & Nick & chicken of the sea... or is it tuna?)
I digress. Bye!

Monday, September 9, 2013

It only took 27.5 years...

I haven't posted about this yet because I guess I have kind of been in denial. But, it's starting to really impact me and what I can/can't do so....
I broke my foot while I was traveling for work in Texas a month ago, and I've been on crutches and then in a walking boot ever since.

To answer the most common questions, no I wasn't really drunk, I broke it stepping onto and tripping over a curb, and yes it hurts.
The 2 biggest disappointments have come in the form of exercise: no triathalon at the end of this month and no tennis this fall. I knew the tri would be out as soon as I broke it, but I was really optimistic about the tennis season. Unfortunately after seeing the doctor for a follow-up last week, I got the bad news that I would be in the boot for another 3-4 weeks, therefore ruining most of the tennis season. And who is to say I'll actually be healed by then, anyway? I guess it's better to just sit this one out, but it totally sucks.
The doc did tell me I could start doing some swim workouts and "light elliptical" (whatever that means), so looks like I can at least start getting a little exercise. I mean, let's be honest, I love a good reason not to workout, but my pants don't love it so much. So, clearly I started researching a good workout plan and voila! Ya'll know I'm obsessed with these little 1-page simple workouts so I couldn't resist.

My favorite elliptical workouts via Pinterest 1 2 3
I'm also going to add in some arm workouts, probably more in the form of these pagelets that I can save to my iPhone and access while I'm already in the gym. Seriously, I'm a huge fan. Whoever invented them gets major props from me.
So there you have it. It took 27.5 years, but I finally have my first broken bone and it is no fun. I will say, I am eternally grateful I'm not in a cast and that I didn't have to use the crutches for very long. Although I probably could have avoided the arm workouts if I'd kept up with crutches... so not worth it. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

The end of the monogram saga

I've been obsessing over monograms for a while. I took to the Twitters to complain, too. Sorry about that...

A few weeks ago I found a Groupon for one, and it finally came in the mail. I love it! I ordered the rose gold 18" extra-small monogram from and it's wonderful! A little larger than I was dreaming and hoping for, but after 3 days it's grown on me.

I even bought one to give as a gift! Guess you'll have to wait until the holidays to find out who it's for.

Have you purchased anything lately that you are just obsessed over?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Graduate School: The First 30 Days

Well, I'm officially a month in and I haven't quit yet and I haven't gotten kicked out yet. I'm going to go ahead and call that a win. But I won't lie and say it's been a piece of cake, that going to school 6 hours+ a week on top of working 50-60 hours a week on top of traveling twice for work is NBD. But I did it!

The first couple weeks were orientation - learning the ropes, what is and is not available to us, meeting faculty, and trying to get to know nearly 100 of my newest, closest friends. Then we moved into refresher courses. Back to basics: Excel, statistics, probability, all that jazz. It was helpful, but since I only took the GMAT about 6 months ago, I felt recently refreshed on the topics and so didn't feel a strong desire to brush up on my skills. It was a great option (mandatory or not) to have for folks though, and I'm glad I participated even if I didn't have to.
We also did a Birkman Assessment, which told us about our personalities at work (and presumably school). One of the professors walked us through our individual results and shared how to apply that to group work and team environments, both through the MBA program and in our professional careers. I have done Myers-Briggs Step 2 a couple of times at work and found similarities in both. Ultimately I think the Myers-Briggs assessment was more indicative of my personality traits than the Birkman was, but there were certainly some indications on the Birkman that I won't be ignoring! I think (and I don't know this for sure) the program office also used our Birkman 'scores' to divide the entire class into teams for the semester.
Which leads me to the one of the other interesting components of  my first year in school - teamwork. Like I said, our whole class was divided into teams of 5-6, and we were given a problem to solve (with some help at first, but later on we're pretty much flying by the seat of our suit pants). Based on initial interactions, I think I pretty much won the team lottery, but let's see what I'm saying in a few months. We are focused on a project for a client on campus for the first semester, and had the client present to us in the middle of the month. In the spring and summer, the client and team will change, as will the level of direction and instruction from the professors. These projects will be a challenge for me because it is so parallel to what I "do" on a daily basis. I use the word "do" lightly because really, it's what I tell other people to do, not what I execute myself. I think I have a false sense of my own capabilities and knowledge, which I'm going to be forced to temper when it comes down to the nitty gritty getting my hands dirty. Let's put it this way, I know what Excel can do and I know people who know how to make Excel do those things, so in my head it means I know how to manipulate Excel. Professionally, that's plenty. Academically, that's BS!
So now what?
Actual class started on Wednesday. I'm still figuring out the internal sites, remembering to print all the papers in advance of class, and determining what the best way for me to stay organized is. Do I really have to carry all this crap around with me? Mind-boggling, honestly. But the answer is yes, I do. And therefore I need notebooks, pens, pencils. My computer, a mouse, a thumb drive.
I've got to figure out how to take notes, type on my computer, and not get caught up in doing work. I've already decided that my cell phone needs to stay tucked away safely in my bag, or even left in my car. Otherwise it's too distracting, too easy to get sucked back into work issues while I'm supposed to be soaking in new information.
But I am excited. I have met some great people who are from all over the world, working in every industry imaginable, living in different parts of this city that I love, and each bringing an amazing set of skills to the classroom and to our larger Evening MBA team. I can't wait to see what the next 3 years have in store, as I think they will be some of the best yet. Stay tuned!
Previous Graduate School posts: GMAT, networking, essays, why?
images 1 2 3

Thursday, August 29, 2013

My Best Friend's Goin' to the Chapel

It's hard to believe her wedding is here. It seems like a million years ago that we were turning 18 years old, falling in and out of love, driving back and forth between Athens & Atlanta for unforgettable college nights but then it seems like all of that was only a few days ago.

And now she's marrying Richard, who wasn't her high school sweetheart but maybe he was even more. He was her best friend through high school and through college. Every time I came to visit, I'd ask when they were going to start dating, and every time I'd be met with an exasperated eye roll and sigh. And then at the end of their senior year something changed, and they haven't looked back. Over time, he just became part of Sydney. Her other half.

Sydney is the friend I always dreamed I would have when I was little. The friend who has known you since forever. Who knows your family, your secrets, and every single possible bad thing to know about you, and loves you anyway. Who knows exactly what you're going to say, how you're going to react, and who lets you just. be. you. I don't ever have to explain myself. She's been there for just about every milestone in my life - breakups, falling in love, bad decisions, amazing successes, family emergencies, middle of the night panic attacks, you name it. She's been there, supporting me, loving me, probably wanting to strangle me, but always, always, always there.

Our lives have been weaved and intertwined so intricately that I wonder where I'd be without her. Even as adults, somehow, by fate or intention I'm not sure, our lives continue to connect. We live 1000 miles apart, separated by rivers and timezones, and nothing has changed. Because that's Syd - faithful, constant, unwavering, steady, reliable, and everything you'd want in a best friend.

Syddo, I couldn't be happier for you. You are truly the best friend I dreamed about as a little girl - the best friend I'll have my whole life. You are a part of my family, part of who I am, and I'm so proud of you. Best of luck to you and Mr. O as you continue your life together. Because really, it's not just starting. It started so long ago that it seems like that's the way it's always been. I love you.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

My Thoughts on Seeing a Therapist

Taboo topics, for the win.
Yep, I see a therapist. I have for about 8 months now. The last time I was there she kinda-sorta tried to break up with me and I straight up told her no. I get it, she's having a baby soon and needs to figure that out and I'm not exactly high priority on her list of patients when it comes to real medical need, but she's pretty dang high on my priority list when it comes to doing real life so she isn't going to get rid of me that easily.
I started seeing her last December when my uncle got really sick and my family got overwhelming and my anxiety went through the roof. And we got into a sweet routine. I go in ~every 10 days, we talk for 45 minutes, she gives me some excellent perspective and I carry on with my life (and presumably she with hers.) I've told her about that pesky friendship that keeps popping back up - she's totally not a fan but she gets it, and she claims I've come a long way. She was one of the first people who knew about graduate school. I felt safe telling her because she hardly knew me then. She asked constantly about the Lenten Adventure and for the first time in 8 months, I sat in her office and sobbed a few weeks ago.
You may wonder how I found her... I googled. And then I called around. I knew I wanted to see a female, and I knew I was looking for someone who specialized in anxiety, relationships, and general life stuff. I also didn't really care what type of degree she had, so long as she was certified to see me as a patient. I wasn't sure the difference between a licensed counselor, LPC, LMFT, etc, and I figured it probably didn't matter so long as I found someone I clicked with. I 'interviewed' one woman to see if we'd be a good fit, but turns out she didn't take my insurance so I had to move on. My current doctor isn't particularly convenient (her hours are only 9am-5pm, so I have to take 1hr off work each week to see her) but for some reason I just felt like it worked when we first met. So we kept meeting, and a few weeks in she asked me how I felt things were going and I was honest; I felt really comfortable with her, felt like we had really established a good cadence for our appointments, and I really appreciated her perspective and oppenness with me. So we keep on keepin' on.
I think this happens, where people get attached to their therapists. I'm officially attached to mine. I don't particularly need her. My anxiety is under wraps mostly. My family is sane. I have a good routine that is only going to get more structured, not less. I feel appreciated and valued. But she is now part of my people. I just enjoy talking to her. I enjoy her perspective, her support, her calling me out on my antics. I like trying to predict how she will react when I tell her something. I genuinely enjoy therapy sessions because it's like talking to an unbiased friend. I think that's what it is designed for, but I also think therapy (seeing a therapist/psychologist/pyschiatrist) will be a different experience for everyone. Just like no 2 people are the same, no 2 experiences will be either.
So that's that - it's why I see a therapist, and why I'm not the least bit ashamed of it. No one should be. We all need somebody to talk to, who is on our side, always ready to help us stand up and be the best we can be. I'd encourage anyone who is considering it to take the leap. I was nervous at first, but it's been nothing but positive. I'll be right here cheering you on and hoping you find something and someone as wonderful and helpful as I have.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Google Reader 4 Life

Google Reader, I miss you.
I'm currently using The Old Reader, but I don't love it, and I really don't love it as much as I loved Google Reader.
RIP Google Reader (and damn you, Google), you are still loved.
Just in case you aren't following me all over the internet: Instagram. Twitter. Pinterest.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Favorites

Visiting these jokers for Halloween. It's going to be friend super overload and I.CANT.WAIT.
Orange is the New Black. Hop on the bandwagon, it's worth it.
I found a Groupon although secretly I still want the BaubleBar one.
Print - Wish. Dream. Do.
Etsy finds. (thanks Whitney)
Owl Utensil Holder
Owl decor. This little dude sits on my mantle. I have another one from Typo on my dresser in my bedroom, and can't forget my ($50) Scottish owl pillow that I had to have. Obsessed.
Your turn!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Recent Reads

I haven't posted a "What I'm Reading"-esque post in ages. You can always check in with me on GoodReads, but thought I'd share the last few books I've read and loved, plus any pertinent thoughts.

  • Summer Rental, by Mary Kay Andrews -- excellent beach read, I found myself interested in picking it up frequently, but could easily walk away when I needed to be productive
  • Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns, by Lauren Weisberger -- the sequel to The Devil Wears Prada (also made into a movie); this one was long and drawn out and really the only reason I finished it was because I had a 4 hour plane ride home followed by a day at the lake with my parents. Cute, but way too long.

  • Matched, Crossed, and Reached by Ally Condie -- one of my recent favorite genres, teen dystopian novels. The first 2 were great, the 3rd one took forever to get through. I recommend them if you are into this type of book, but don't expect the last one to be nearly as exciting as the first two (or others like them)!
  • Jesus Land, by Julia Scheeres -- truly a fascinating read. If I were really good, I'd have done some research after I read the book to find out how much is true and how much was fictional, but I didn't. Guess what I'll be doing later today?
  • State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett -- a friend's mother recommended this and it was one I truly couldn't put down. I guess it's another "I should do more research on how much truth is behind this book" but all in all, highly recommended. I think part of why I liked the plot so much was because of how completely unrelatable it was. Never in a million years would I find myself in the environment described in the book (or any of the above books, if we're being honest. That's why I love to read -- getting lost in the truly fictional)
Tell me, what are you reading?
It's truly one of my passions, and although my free time is scant these days, I have a feeling it's one of the things I'll carve out time for regardless of what's going on around me.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A few humble brags

I've rambled incessantly about how much I love my job, how much time and effort I put into it, and how it never really feels like work because I enjoy it so much. And all of that is 100% true nearly 3 years later.
I started as an assistant, not knowing what the heck I was doing, who I was working for, or what "consulting" meant. 13 months later I was promoted to associate, which meant that I figured out the definition of consulting and impressed a few people along the way, but really my job hadn't changed much over the course of a year.  On July 1, 2013 I got my second promotion, to coordinator. If I hadn't thought about it much, I'd say my responsibilities still hadn't changed, my title hadn't changed other than the official position at the end, but that couldn't be further from the truth.
Over the last 33 months, I have learned an entire business. I have met and cultivated relationships with 300+ people. I have had first criers, second criers, and many more criers in my office (usually me). I've sassed senior executives, cursed crazy assistants, thanked heavens for incredible colleagues, and wondered where I'd be without a boss who believed in me. That promotion in July meant more to me than any yet, especially as I look back on how far I've come in 33 months.
Then, last Friday, I was honored with an award in recognition of my individual excellence and outstanding contributions along with 15 of my most esteemed colleagues across North America. I had no idea this was coming, and received nearly 100 congratulatory emails throughout the day. I couldn't stop smiling. What a special, joyous occasion, to be recognized and applauded for doing something that I cherish. For being trusted so completely. I just couldn't believe how many people noticed.
My wish for you today is to tell someone how much you appreciate them.
Even better, show them with a card, flowers, or some little trinket that they will put on their desk and treasure. It doesn't have to be a major award or accomplishment. Most people are just looking for a little reassurance that they are doing the right thing, that you are proud of them, that their contributions mean something.
Thank you, most wonderful place to work, for recognizing and appreciating me.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


It all started in college when a certain un-named friend of mine met a guy who had worked previously as a radio intern and got the nickname "Joe with the Big Junk." He told her (in detail. on their first date!) about how he got the nickname, the details of which I will spare you, but it started a trend among our friends (or probably just between us) of adding people in our phones, mostly dudes, in that naming convention.
It's a fun game, especially as you are kind of getting to know someone. And even more especially if you are getting to know more than 1 someone's at once. I don't save anyone in my phone until I've come up with the perfect name.
A few examples:
  • "Jesse Plays Paintball" - a guy I dated who told me in excess about his paintball field.
  • "Matt from Tennessee" - pretty obvious, and I don't remember anything about him so being from Tennessee must have been the most outstanding thing about him
  • "Ryan the Hasher" - this phone number is probably 3 years old but I still remember quite a bit about this guy. His #1 passion was 'hashing' And I wonder why it didn't work out...
  • "Crazy Matt with the Ex" - pretty self explanatory
This is not a way to keep people straight. It's just a way to remind myself of who they are and maybe something memorable about them. Online dating can be hard enough, the last thing you need is to ask someone for the 3rd time what they do for fun. And when you meet someone out at a bar, well... any memory is better than no memory.
Does anyone else do this? Or something like it? Please tell me I'm not alone...