SEPTEMBER JAMS – playlist for the weekend

18 Aug

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you’re going to love this playlist, i promise.  just start at the beginning and roll through it.  i’ve searched and stolen and sung and smiled in the making of this.

play it this weekend and add songs to it for me.  i made it collaborative.

happy friday to you!

 

oh my chicago. how i loved you

13 Aug

RETRO POST! this was one of my first posts back in 2011.  Oldie but a goodie…

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so i can’t sleep or i guess i should say i woke up too early – like 4am too early.  is this what happens when you get on the wrong side of 40?  oh well, my  mind is going like crazy with the scent of possibility for the day.  so i’m cruisin the world wide information superhighway and i find this great article over at apartment therapy.  i realize that THIS IS MY OLD BUILDING ON ASTOR TOWER IN CHICAGO!  those of you who knew me then will see it too!

from apartment therapy: Teresa Goldberg’s apt

this is a bertrand goldberg designed building and i loved staying here for 6 years to death.  the first place i had was on the 7th floor.  look at this place!!  i lived here from about (fuzzy on dates) 1994 – 2000.  this is about as elite as you can get in chicago – in the gold coast – one block off lake shore drive right by all the action on rush and division streets, around the corner from oak street beach and i could walk to my job at j walter thompson on michigan avenue.  i absolutely loved living here.  the second place i had in this building was on the 5th floor.  it faced astor street, one of the finest streets in chicago and i could see lincoln park.  here quickly (have to start my saturday!) are some experiences i had in this phenom building:

Continue reading

back to school

10 Aug

i miss going back to school.  not the school part, but the new clothes part.  my memories of back-to-school shopping are vivid and thinking back to that time makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

there are a few places in life where you feel totally yourself.  where it’s safe to be silly and maybe even a little bratty (if called for) and be surrounded by unconditional love.  back to school shopping with mom and my sister was one of those times.

starting in grade school and going pretty much into college, the three of us would designate a day in August to hit the stores and pull together outfits for the coming school year.  the excitement started in late july when the august issue of seventeen magazine was sent to the house.

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it was thick with serious knowledge and crisp pages of what we were to expect for style that season.  that magazine sat in its wrapper on the kitchen counter like a present i was too excited to open.  when the time was just right, i’d take it upstairs, close my door, lay on my bed (on my stomach), open it up and slowly review each ad and editorial.  only after i was done and i’d let some time pass would i let my little sister take a look.

we were totally spoiled.  i’ll admit that right now.  it was the one time of year where we just went crazy and stocked up on all the fall and winter clothes, shoes, bags – everything.  it was GIRL POWER all the way and dad always insisted on a fashion show once we got home.

so to understand the comment i made above about back-to-school shopping and being totally yourself – you have to know joan.  joan is my mom and you can read more about her here and here.

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my mom doesn’t mince words… at all.  she tells it how it is.  not one of those people that will say “looks so cute” and then say in her inside voice “not so much.”  her inside voice is her outside voice.  and the best part about that is she is my mom.  not someone who could be swayed by other intentions.  i know my mom has my best interest in mind.  so B-T-S shopping became this time of extreme family bonding. we laughed, joked and threw clothes over doors.  we tried on millions of clothes. the best was all three of us getting in one dressing room.  sometimes we laughed so hard that we had to gather ourselves together – wiping smeared mascara and tears from our eyes before exiting the stall. 

mom would sit on the little stool and direct:

“katie, give that top to amy, that color looks better on her.”

“amy, those pants are very slimming but the top is too short.”

“amy, stop standing on your tippy toes and making that silly face.” <laughter>  

“oooh  oooh, i like that!  that is cute, let me get more colors.”

together we went through the preppy phase where it was all about wide wale corduroys, button-down shirts and penny loafers. then we struggled through the grunge phase of ripped jeans.  we trampled through the limited and the limited express.  in high school, i ended up working at the limited because i knew their inventory better than they did.

we always had lunch at the food court and did a recap of our purchases and then hit it again.  at the end of the day, we got a diet coke at the mcdonalds drive through, went home and proceeded again to take inventory of our purchases by laying everything out by outfit on mom and dad’s bed.  only then did we start to think about which one would become the big FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL outfit but we had time for that.

my favorite part of the day was at dinner when at the urging of my mom, my dad would INSIST on seeing everything in the way of a fashion show where he would put on some duran duran or loverboy <whatever us kids listened to> and we’d parade up and down the stairs and into the family room, pivot, step up on the mantel and show off our goods while dad ooohed and ahhhed.  it made us laugh because we knew it wasn’t his cup of tea but he always played along.

how very blessed i was to be able to do that and have those clothes but most of all it’s the memories i cherish the most.

Word.

7 Aug

maybe you had to hear these as much as me?

cook it: crab cakes w/lemon dill sauce

4 Aug

cook it this recipe is designed for the person or couple who wants to cook but have a hard time deciding what to cook and frankly, how to cook.

sometimes you just gotta say “cook it!” and dive right in.

it is the perfect time of year for this recipe!

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this is a perfect recipe to do this saturday.  so read the recipe, buy the ingredients and then saturday mid-morning, after you’ve slept in a little bit and had your coffee:

grab all your ingredients

read the recipe again

put together your mise en place and

make your sauce and your cakes

then you just put them in the fridge.  when dinner time rolls around, well, aren’t you fancy?!  just pop those cakes in the oven, prepare a little baby spinach salad with a light vinaigrette and plop two cakes down on top, swirl your lemon dill sauce on the side and you’ve got one hell of a dinner.  easy.

this recipe is from my wonderful sister-in-law susan who is an excellent cook.  check out the video she filmed of her making these for us at the bottom!

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yield: 4 reasonably sized people

prep time: 30 min

total: 2 hours and 30 min

lemon dill sauce

get:

mayo – 1 cup

buttermilk – 1/4 cup

dill – 2t chopped fresh

italian parsley – 1t chopped fresh

lemon zest – 1 t

lemon juice – 2 tsp

garlic – 1 clove minced

make: combine all the ingredients above in a bowl and stir well.  put in fridge and let it chill out.  sauce will thicken as it chills. 

crab cakes

get:

butter – 3t

scallions – 3 chopped

red bell pepper – 2t chopped

garlic – 1 clove minced

heavy cream – 3t

dijon mustard – 1t

egg – 1

italian parsley – 1.2 t chopped fresh

cayenne pepper – a dab’ll do ya

bread crumbs – 1 cup

parmesan cheese – 1/4 cup

crabmeat – 1 lb.

make: melt 1t of butter in a skillet over medium heat.  

saute’ the scallions, pepper and garlic for about 3 minutes. in a bowl, 

mix together the cream, mustard, egg, parsley, cayenne pepper, 1/2 the bread crumbs and the vegetables you just sautéed.

gently fold in the crabmeat.  form mixture into 8 patties.  

in a mixing bowl, combine the remaining bread crumbs (1/2 c) and the parm cheese.  pat this topping onto both sides of the patties.  refrigerate until firm – at least 2 hours. 

you can cook these on the stove in a little bit of oil or bake them which is what we do. 

top each patty with a small pat of butter and bake at 400 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.  serve on a bed of spinach with a dollop of lemon dill sauce on the side. 

are you ready to impress your loved one with this awesome dinner?  here is susan making both the lemon dill sauce and the crab cakes.  make them this weekend and post a pic to instagram and tag me.  i dare you…!

3 fabulous + easy chicken meals

2 Aug

wanted to share with you a delicious + easy way to stretch out a chicken dinner.  this is great for:

it’s too easy to get into a habit of ordering take out or running through whole foods to get something quick and somewhat healthy to eat. but why?  i’ve got something more delicious and quick and easy for you.

so… meal #1.  go to a specialty grocery store on a sat or sun morning and get a couple of marinated chicken breasts. you’re going to get 2-3 meals out of this so buy accordingly.

you could marinate it yourself and if you do there are some good marinades here and here.  but if you’re busy – why?   if you live in texas, go to central market where they have a lovely choice of millions of kinds of marinated chicken breasts.  maybe not millions.  In Detroit area go to papa joe’s or here in Madison, go to metcalfs.  you know what i’m saying…

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meal #1 -DINNER –  grill or bake those chicken breasts, add rice and simple roasted vegetable.  done.  easy.

(SIDENOTE: to roast your vegetables just heat oven to 400 degrees, wrap a cookie sheet with tinfoil, throw some cut up brussel sprouts or broc or cauliflower (um yum!)  a drizzle of olive oil, some kosher salt and sprinkle of pepper, toss, throw in oven. watch them after about 15 minutes and take out when crispy with blackened edges.  if you want to get fancy, throw some of this on the veg before roasting.  i’m always fancy and i love this spice!)

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ok that wasn’t the fun part.  big whip, you’re thinking.

so now, you should have some extra cooked chicken breast.  cut them up into tiny bite size pieces.    put them in a airtight container.  i start my year with tons of these.

meal #2 – LUNCH THE NEXT DAY – Chicken and cheese quesadillas!  oh, these are so good and actually kind of fun to make.  buy flour tortillas and keep them for exactly this purpose.  these can be as healthy or fat-laden as you want them to be.  the technique is the same.  the tortilla has to be big enough to fold in half.

here is the step by step:

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  • get a big fry pan  – i use a cast iron skillet
  • spray it with PAM and also drop a pat of butter in there. get it nice and hot!
  • take your tortilla, and put a thin layer of cheddar cheese on half
  • top with your leftover chicken
  • cut up some green onion and sprinkle on top of that
  • finish with a little more cheese.  this is key – there must be cheese on the top and bottom – that’s the glue that holds everything together.
  • Fold it in half and put in the pan.
  • VARIATION: you can also use two tortillas like i show above.  as your butter melts, swirl one tortilla around in the butter and pull it out and place butter side up on a plate.  put another tortilla down and fill cheese- chicken-onion-cheese and place the other tortilla butter side up on top.
  • let the tortilla cook for quite a while.  i wait until i smell slight burning… but you don’t have to do that.  then flip!  take a big spatula and flip quickly using your hand as a guide.

meal #3 breakfast

use that small amount of chicken breast you cut up to throw in scrambled eggs.  chicken and scrambled eggs?  yes, you heard me correctly.  lots of protein in the morning is super good for you and keeps you less hungry throughout the day, says this.

let me know if you try the quesadillas!  i adapted my technique from the one and only pioneer woman here.  she rocks.  i’m making shrimp ones later today!

5 things i’ve learned during my career

31 Jul
i’ve had a career in advertising over the past 24 years (i’m old!)and i’ve learned a thing or two that i’d love to pass along.  i’ve been mentoring and talking with girls in college and it made me think to do this.
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1. don’t become irrelevant.  

work hard to stay relevant.

and what that means is less about keeping up with the jones and more about staying knowledgeable and curious. this has always been a big deal to me.  it was when i was young and now that i’m in my 40’s.  it should have been a big deal to brands like radio shack and blockbuster video – right?

in my career of advertising this couldn’t be more true.   it’s important to be up on how marketing is evolving and being aware of how consumers are communicating with brands is changing.  when i hear people in business almost brag about not being in touch with social media it makes me sad for them.  it’s sad because it’s like saying “no” to knowledge.  when i hear that someone is too busy to learn modern technologies to better their lives, i know they are slipping down the path of not being relevant.  and that is their personal prerogative, but for my career, it has served me very very well to strive to be relevant.

2. be passionate

if you don’t have passion for what you’re doing, then you’re going down the wrong path. turn around.  change.  figure it out.
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we were made to do what we are passionate about, you know.   you can’t hide passion.  it doesn’t matter if you’re running a company or driving a bus – passion AFFECTS people.  it gets you noticed – and not from your words, smarts or know-how.  people feel passion and passionate people always win.
one time, ROF and i went to the nespresso store to buy espresso.  it was our first time in the store and we were helped by dan.  let me tell you, you would have thought that dan owned nespresso and was part-timing in the store in paris.  he was fantastic.  he gave us an experience of the store that will make us come back for sure.  he knew what he was talking about but delivered it in a way that got us excited about coffee.  he bagged our coffee, taught me how to really make espresso (whoops, doing it wrong), made me a coffee and gave us his opinion on machines.  we can’t wait to go see dan again when our coffee gets low.  be dan.

3. have a POV

this is the difference between an A and B player in business.  one of my favorite bosses and people of all time told a group of people this and it has always stuck with me.  when you think about it, it goes along with having passion.  having a point of view spiked with passion is awesome.  kinda like this:

knowing when to speak up with your point of view is key.  just because you have one doesn’t mean the people around you want to hear it or you should necessarily express it.  but always have one.

how i start to get a point of view on something is i run it through this filter:

– do i know anything about this subject?  
no – read up + formulate.  
no – don’t care (by the way, this is a POV too)- does it ladder up with any of my morals/values/beliefs i have in general?

throughout life, you will be strengthening and building upon the point of view you have on things.  as i get older, i find that my POV on some important topics changed just because i experienced something first hand.  for example, you can have a POV on how to react to death but until you experience the death of a loved one, you can’t truly have an opinion.</

4.  be a great leader

you don’t have to be a boss to be a great leader.
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this comes from the POV that to whomever you come in contact with on a particular day, be an example of love.
people can hear advice and reprimands and they can do a to-do list but they FEEL love.  just like they feel passion.  being an example of love means simply caring about people and their lives.  and i do believe that to be a quality of leadership.   even though we’re talking about a career, work is just a part of life.  if you care about the bigger picture – the person – the smaller picture – work – always benefits.
whether you are the boss, the entry-level person, the walmart greeter, the cashier, the fashion icon – you can be a leader.  lead with love.  i personally follow the tenets of servant leadership.
always lead with love.

5. be true to yourself

why is this good career advice?  i don’t know, really.

what i do know is that throughout my 23 years, i haven’t always been true to myself.  like most people, you just want to do an outstanding job and when i was in my 20’s, i was willing to stay the late hours to get the job done.  i went in on the weekends and checked voicemail constantly (before mobile phones, if you can imagine that!)  And there is nothing wrong with that.  working hard is good!
but if you’re in the game long enough, that work hard philosophy evolves ever so slowly.  going the extra mile for work can, if you’re not careful, turn into sacrificing what you really want in life.  WATCH THIS!  it sneaks up on you.  a mid-life crisis can ensue where your old self – the one that was there all along but got smooshed down way low- says WAIT A MINUTE!  HOLD UP! i’ve been working so hard my whole life but i’m not doing what i’m passionate about!    what happened to…me!
i’ve seen this happen with colleagues and friends and it’s such a wonderful thing to see their real passion come out when they choose to pursue it.
thankfully, i’ve always been very passionate about my career and what i’m doing.  working with creative people, leading the way in new technologies, having a strong POV and striving to be relevant have been cornerstones for me the past 24 years.  
i can’t wait to see what the next 25 years hold.

travel: up north

30 Jul

in my teens and 20’s, i wrote in a journal almost daily.  i would describe in detail where i was, what i was doing so that when i read it later on in life, i would be able to go right back to that very place.  and it worked.  so i’m going to do the same here.

last week i posted about beautiful door county, wisconsin.  well, i haven’t even left my new home state and can post again about “UP NORTH.”  this isn’t my first time up north.  in fact, we’ve been going up north since i was a kid living in michigan.

that phrase means something totally different to my dallas and texas friends than it does to my wisconsin friends.  so come with me to where i am right now…

go on.  close your eyes.

ok, can’t read and close your eyes at the same time.  i get it.  read on…

it’s 7am on sunday morning.  i’m sitting in my favorite reclining leather chair in front of a big picture window.

it’s 60 degrees and the end of july.  i am listening to the massive eagle mamas (or dads, geez, i don’t know!) talk to their babies.  

i’m watching the eagles fly around  – like that is just normal to see.  caught one with my camera:

we’re at a place, i would call my very happiest of all places.  up north.  in this case, we’re in a town my husband and i will never be able to spell without help: minocqua.

that is to give you an overview.  we’re about 3 hours north of madison.   here is a better view:

we’re talking lake after lake after lake (called a chain, because many of them are connected)

this is such a different kind of place.  for example, it’s not a one week vacation that forever lives in your head afterward (nothing wrong with those!)

this is where i truly feel appreciation for our country, God and a place that is just part of who you are.  if you have a place up north and are reading this right now, please leave a comment at the bottom if you agree or add to what i’m trying to describe.

this does a good job:

back to me describing what’s going on right now.  so i don’t forget…

coffee just finished brewing in the kitchen that is a couple rooms over.  that faint, welcoming smell is amplified by the cool summer morning breeze whafting in from the picture window.  the sound of birds waking up, eagle babies screaming and just now i can hear a motor boat in the distance getting closer.

ROF and i dream about having a place up here or near hear or…just north someday.  where we can play euchre (another freaking word we can’t ever spell!) with our friends placing bets with apple pie shots,  heading to one of a million supper clubs like we went to this weekend:

what is strange about my love of up north is that i’m a big city girl.  having lived 11 years in downtown chicago, i could (and have) written about the joys of the big city.  

but in my ripe old age, i’m leaning towards the north.  but i tell you… nothing beats both!  going between the action of the big city and the serene up north is something people have done for ages.  a girl can dream.

have a great sunday!

5 ways to get ready for guests

29 Jul

are you a planner?  if not, hosting out-of-town guests would be daunting.  even though they may be low maintenance, it never changes how special i want the time to be.

so i thought i’d write out how i plan since i’ve had several friends ask me for advice.

first, start a pinterest board for your event.  even if it is just a dinner.  make it private if you don’t want people to see.  or not.  pinterest is hands down one of the best places to get recipes, decoration ideas and thoughts on entertaining – everything!

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second, having a game plan is key.  it’s funny how this spilled into my work as well.  i’ve seemed to become a stickler on timing and i’m like that at home too.  it’s not enough to have a couple recipes printed out and the ingredients.  ROF and i found that out the hard way when we made boeuf bourguignon with my sister.  we found out that the mushrooms had to marinate for like 8 hours and the beef had to cook for 4.  we ate at 2am in the morning (and after 3+ bottles of wine) – so timing is everything.

be crazy about it.  i keep my game plan in an app called evernote.  that way i can replicate it.

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I have a notebook called visitors itineraries, then inside it is the event like “christmas 2017” and then inside that i have folders for grocery list, menu/recipes and game plan.  the plan tells me exactly when to do something and that way i can plan ahead and make sure food gets hot to the table on time.  i am very literal – kind of like an idiot talking to herself…-

“take meat out of fridge at 3pm”

“put meat in marinade at 3:30pm, preheat oven 400”

“meat in oven at 4pm”

“cook at …..”  you get the picture.

third, do as much as humanly possible in advance.  make the salad dressing, trim the veggies, bake the cake – anything at all that can be done in advance – do it.  this is something my mentor (from a distance), the barefoot contessa, has said many times.  make it in advance.  in fact, her new cookbook is all about doing just that.  unless the cooking can be a fun group activity and you’ve got some casual, hang-around-the-house-time, limit what you’re doing while your guests are there.  of course, this depends on the guests you’re having.  if it’s family or close friends – have them join in and help – no biggie.  if it’s more formal, don’t be chopping the veggies while your guests feel helpless staring at you!

51hcOrWFjQL._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_fourth, set up a bar away from the kitchen.  it’s where everyone congregates and if you’re trying to get food prepared, it can be challenging to work around everyone.  don’t feel as if you have to have a fancy bar.  anything can become a bar.    the more quirky, the more fun it is.

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get a big basket and fill it with basic booze, couple bottles of wine, already open, glasses an ice bucket and some lemon/lime wedges – there you go!

fifth –just work your plan.  when i have guests for a couple of days, just extend the itinerary and the plan.  i typically have a lot of fun with our guests…ha… and can forget that i’m supposed to make the breakfast casserole for tomorrow!

hope this helps!  please add any tips you have.

best flank steak recipe

27 Jul

just in time for the weekend and back by popular demand…

need a “go to” steak recipe?  this is it.

i call

 it the “girlfriend steak dinner” because it’s what ROF served his girlfriends if they made it to date #4.  i know this because one saturday while we were visiting in his kitchen (let’s call this date #5), his friend came over and asked if ROF had fixed me “the famous flank steak yet.”

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huh?

ROF’s face turned a shade of red i hadn’t seen before as he tried to shrug the comment off and grab his friend in a head lock to shut him up.

the previous weekend ROF had indeed fixed me this famous flank steak recipe along with his butter noodles and some nice red wine.  evidently this is what lover boy did to pull out all the stops for his lady friends!  i’m glad that those lady friends now are my mom, sister and his wife!

well, here it is.  transcribed from a handmade and passed down cookbook.  you can’t go wrong.

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ROF’s GIRLFRIEND FLANK STEAK

2 tsp unseasoned meat tenderizer

1 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp dry sherry

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tsp salt

1 tsp accent seasoning (see photo below, in case you don’t know what i’m talking about)

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honey (to drizzle on steak)

  • pierce surface of flank steak at 1 inch intervals with sharp fork.
  • combine ingredients except honey
  • put steak in pan flat and drizzle with honey on both sides
  • put steak in large baggie and pour ingredients over steak and let stand at least 1 hour at room temperature
  • grill meat over high heat for about 5-7 minutes on each side (use a timer, flank steak is bad when well done!)
  • slice with sharp knife into thin slices carving at an angle against the grain

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IMG_5122518b32b3aeeca5f0762bea7edb0fee8ffor more steak ideas from ROF, click here!

travel: door county, wisconsin 

24 Jul

looking for a peaceful, beautiful summer vacation? head to door county, wisconsin.  where? DOOR COUNTY!  yes- trust me.  


egg harbor, fish creek, sister bay- just to name a few of the quaint cities that seem to just keep coming as you drive along the coast.  yes, I’m talking to you, dear texas friends. when it starts to simmer in dallas – head north! the high today was 78 degrees.  

but, don’t take my word for it.  they say that door county is the “cape cod of the Midwest“- read it from:

travel and leisure magazine

new york times

the travel channel

new jersey dot com

i love the midwest.  love.  the crisp morning air, the twists and turns of the drives, the lush green summers and the distinct evolution of the seasons.  it’s part of who i am.  my mom, ROF and i spent a weekend here in door county recently.  here are our snaps. 

stay: orphan annie’s schoolhouse in bailey’s harbor.   Beautiful, renovated schoolhouse with attentive owners and comfortable accommodations. 


eat: fish boil at white gull inn


 coffee: bearded heart coffee


4 reasons not to strive for perfection

23 Jul
striving for perfection has always been seen as an admirable goal.  whether it’s getting into the right schools, cleaning your house just right or toning your body, perfection is what we want.  or is it?
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here are four reasons not to strive for perfection:

1. when we are hyper-focused on perfection, there is a chance we may miss the things that would truly make us happy.

In her 2012 article in Harvard Magazine titled “Effortless Perfection”, Isabel Ruane wrote:
“Last winter, I had wondered how I could ever reconcile my guilt at having relaxed my work ethic with my certainty that doing so had allowed me to grow in other ways. I had worried about where my duty lay: to Harvard, for offering me an education and paying a great share of its cost; to my parents, for raising me, guiding me, and making sacrifices for me; or to myself, maybe more in need of reflection and friendship than a spotless transcript. Now I realize I was worrying about the wrong “duty.” My duty to the world isn’t to be perfect. It is to take care of myself as best I can so I can give back to the world the love and care it has given to me. If slacking off was what I needed to make myself happy and available to help others, then this decision reflected no disrespect for my parents, for Harvard, or for my own work ethic.”
 

2. perfection is subjective and abstract.

there is nothing wrong with having personal goals and wanting to achieve them.  i try to achieve my personal best every day.  with my career, with my personal life – everything.  having goals is what guides my day-to-day living.  on sunday, i write out goals for the week and if i achieve them- to me that is perfection!  But this is MY personal best with which i connect with perfection, not yours.

it becomes judgement when we start projecting our “strife for perfection” on others.

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perfection is subjective because with social media and just media in general, everyone can photograph and video their best foot forward – always.  some blogs that i follow, you’d think they only live a life of crisply curated +  snapped recipes and coiffed living rooms.  they can build the perfect career and host the perfect dinner party – NO! – not a boring dinner party but a bollywood-themed movie night complete with belly dancers. to me, the takeaway is  that they are PERFECT.  and that un-truth can bring someone down.  ok, sometimes i’ve been brought down by it.  ok, sometimes i contribute to it.  <sigh>

so good for danielle guenther  who photographed brilliantly the not-so-glamourous life of parents.  she says “capture the moment, because in the end, all we have are the memories.”

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 and lastly…

2. perfection is unattainable.

you’ll never get there – ever.  as a Christian, we believe that only Christ is perfect.  why oh why can’t i remember that?
“I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection.
Excellence, I can reach for; perfection is God’s business.” 

4. if you strive for only perfection, you may fly by the lessons that failure teaches us. 

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”
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spicy pickle gin martini recipe

21 Jul

you know you’re already thinking about happy hour.  whether it’s you and your sig other or maybe you’re looking for something swank to kick off a dinner party this weekend – this is your drink!

recipe:

1-2 oz dry gin

splash of dry vermouth

splash of juice from jar of  spicy pickles

get a martini glass and fill it with glass and ice, set aside.  in a martini shaker, pour in gin, then dry vermouth, then spicy pickle juice.  give it a good shake.  empty glass of ice and water and pour your drink.  garnish with spicy pickle.   enjoy!  for more ROF cocktail videos, click here

 

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RUM AND PUNCH

14 Jul

https://youtu.be/C9aFIERW6kg

sunday chilled

2 Jul


1. i can’t stop listening to this guy.  amazing for background music while you work.  helps me focus.  the song “primavera” rocks my world.

2. no business is safe. mark my words… this is only the beginning.  imagine what will happen in retailing when Amazon’s competitiong starts playing ball more in the US.  note that the competition is not current American businesses that just may move too slow, be too cumbersome or just plain too comfortable and blind to see the future.

3. just bought these. now i can’t wait to sleep.

4.  watch this to see how to pull together a make shift counter bar for a dinner party. 

5. my sister-in-law (and bestest of friends) used this cookbook to whip together many of the recipes she served at her dinner party friday night. don’t be scared that it’s vegetarian because the recipes are on fleek!


6. i have never heard someone say this about friday and i completely agree!  
happy 4th!

the only grilled shrimp recipe you’ll need

29 Jun

run, don’t walk to the store, buy what you need to make this today.  i found this awesome recipe here .

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HONEY GARLIC GRILLED SHRIMP

1 bottle (8 oz) Italian salad dressing (get the good stuff) 

1 cup honey

1/2 tsp minced garlic

2 lbs uncooked medium shrimp peeled and deveined (we didn’t use frozen) 

that’s all the ingredients folks!

combine the salad dressing, honey and garlic and set aside 1/2 cup for later.  pour the marinade into a large baggie and dump the shrimp in.  put the baggie in a casserole dish so you don’t dribble in the fridge.

**see my note below on how long i marinated the shrimp in the fridge.  directions say for 30 minutes, but i did overnight + a day.  no biggie here.  reserve the 1/2 cup marinade reserve and put that in fridge too.

drain and discard the marinade.  throw the shrimp on the barbie and throw the reserved marinade on top of it.  this is what ROF did although the recipe called for much more delicate maneuvers.  worked for us.  grill on each side only about 1 – 1.5 minutes per side.  when they start to turn white but get that nice honey char on the outside – they’re done.

we had couscous and grilled corn on the cob on the side.  plenty left over for lunches the next day.  i also picture this to be a fantastic appetizer.

easy, flavorful + scrumptious grilled shrimp!  my new shrimp go-to recipe.  i can’t believe i just used the word go-to.  i hate that phrase. #saveit #loveit

if you try this, snap some pictures so i can fancy this blog up with some step by step pics.

moving outside your comfort zone is living!

29 Jun

the other day i was cleaning out my office closet and came across all the journals i wrote in my 20’s.  there are tons of them.  all funky colors, dog-eared and written in different color inks.  i love these books.  i can transport myself back to my 20’s which were oh, so far away <sigh>

i don’t often open them up and read them, but when i do, it makes me smile.

may 13, 2001

today was an excellent day.  this whole weekend was wonderful.  it’s not too often i write about such great times.  i usually am too busy having fun to sit down and write about it!  today i had my ‘level c’ improv performance on the main stage at second city in chicago!  on the main stage!  it was awesome!  the place was packed full + we rocked it.  everyone laughed!  i think i am still nervous.  the lights, the stage, the people – !

i remember that like it was yesterday.  it was so much fun but completely + utterly nerve wracking at the same time.  i felt so alive and present because of it.  i found these pictures:

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all in all i believe i took 40 weeks of improv classes.  it sure did get me out of my comfort zone.  it certainly helped me learn how to present with confidence and conviction in my ad meetings.

to be a person living with passion, you have to get out of your comfort zone.  for some that means jumping out of a plane.  for others it means taking a walk after dark.  doesn’t matter.  do one thing today that is out of your comfort zone.  otherwise you may grow old just “being.” you may think there is nothing wrong with just “being” but i say you will never know what you were meant to BE without stretching past what you know.  just do it.

i would love to hear about something you did that was outside your comfort zone.

party of one

27 Jun

if you have to eat alone, do it with confidence and have fun.

here are 4 things you can do other than stick your face into your mobile phone and text people stupid things:

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  1. sit at the bar.  don’t be afraid, ladies.  men have this down but they don’t own it!  move in and make the space yours.  great way to meet new friends and at least exchange words with the bartender.  at the bar, you can check out other loners and try to guess their story.

Screen Shot 2015-08-14 at 1.19.10 PM2. write.  i actually did this a lot in my single years in my 20’s and 30’s.  grab some paper and writing utensil and write about what you see, where you are (like literally…where you are) what you’re feeling and what is going on in your life.  these are great to put away in a box and open it up years from now.  i have a ton of stuff i wrote as far back as 25 years ago and i can read it and totally remember what i was up to… because i wrote it all down!  also, it makes you look important.  the guy next to you at the bar is thinking ” she must be an author!”

3. strike up a conversation.  if this sounds terrifying to you – all the more reason to do it.  everyone is afraid of person-to-person conversation now.  everyone texts!  what will you say?  here are some great openers:

  • been on any good vacations lately?
  • fred, it’s great to see you!  oh!  i’m sorry, you’re not fred!  (the embarrassment wears off quickly and you’re left chatting it up)

4. be observant.  just look around and think of it as an adventure.  you can only do this if you’re uber confident because everyone else will rely on their trusty cell phone and google stupid song lyrics or worse, the menu at the restaurant they’re sitting at! <gulp>  pull your shoulders back,  sit up straight, smile.  order a drink and enjoy it!  check the room out, chat it up with the wait staff.  boy this sounds stupid doesn’t it?  i take this all for granted for as much as i (used) to travel.  i realize their might be some women out there that don’t have to eat by themselves.  and that is fine but if you get the chance DO IT.  it may be an adventure.

the grass is greenest where you are now.

25 Jun

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i’ve been accused of having a positive attitude.  i’ve heard it several times over the years.

i’m not sure if that’s good or not, but i would say that it beats the alternative.  there is nothing i hate more, in business or life, than a complainer.  actually, that’s a lie (i don’t hate liars…ha!) i hate whiners.  everyone’s got to complain now and then.  that is just venting, letting it out – letting it go.  that, every now and then, is no big deal.  it’s whining that i can’t stand.  don’t whine in America.  go whine in a country where your freedom is limited, go whine in a place where you don’t have a choice.  i’ve been in a leadership position now for over 15 years and my advice to someone who whines or gossips about their job is – for crying out loud – leave!

my positive attitude stems from this: the grass is greenest where you are now.

think “what if.”  this just doesn’t have to do with your career but your life in general.  think to yourself “what if this is as good as it gets and it is only my attitude that sucks?”  do a check on your attitude and outlook on life in general and if the answer then is – no this truly sucks, then move on.  it’s taking ownership of your life.   by switching your thinking that the grass is actually greenest where you are right now should change your perspective from pointing to external circumstances and pointing the finger at yourself.  how am i in control of this?  

“i know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor”  – Henry David Thoreau

i think it’s important to be hyper self-aware before you make sudden moves.  my positive attitude stems from the question i  try to ask myself: “did i make a positive contribution to my surroundings, my goals and my team today and did i do my very best in this situation?”  i’ve trained myself to think this way.

it also stems from something i learned in advertising almost 22 years ago: a good account executive shows what they are made of when they are under fire.  i learned that when i was 22 years old and it stuck with me.  when the shit hit the fan, i wanted to be the leader -even if i was the intern! –  that rose above the anarchy (that ad has to go out tonight!! the client hates the font, the meeting was moved to today, she quit and went to the competition!!!) and said “BUCK UP, LET’S DO THIS AND DO IT WELL!”

while i may have a positive attitude most of the time, it doesn’t mean i’m a pushover or pollyannish.  but it does make me realize that someone’s else’s crappy or bitchy attitude probably has more to do with their outlook on life than on me.  <hopefully!>

if you don’t already, start thinking about your life in the terms that the grass is greenest where you are right now and see where it takes you! oh, and read this book asap.  i promise it will change your life!

happy tuesday!

25 things to do with blueberries

24 Jun

if you’re like me, you walk into whole foods or your local grocery store of choice and walk right into the fresh produce section.  there sits beautiful mounds of blueberries all nicely packaged and wrapped with care.  i tend to daydream as step closer to them – thinking of all the hard work that went into getting those blueberries to us.  you know… how they have to  be picked, sorted, packaged, shipped and then they have just a few days (if that) of shelf life.  yes, i know, that goes for all produce.

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but i never end up grabbing a pint because i  just can never finish a whole one and they end up going bad.  and then i feel guilty.  so i walk past the blueberries and think …next time…

NOT ANY MORE!

i’ve specially curated a batch of 25+ blueberry recipes for you from some of my favorite bloggers and pinners.  don’t miss the one here – a hysterical v-logger that i love!  those little blue nuggets of goodness will never get wasted now!  i’ve only collected recipes that look good to me and that i would make.  or i liked the name of the recipe like cloufouti.

here are 5 blueberry recipes and for the rest, go to my dedicated pinterest page here.

be sure to click on the “by” for the recipe.

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baked blueberry oatmeal

from cupofjo blog

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blueberry chopped chicken salad

from us highbrush blueberry council

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blueberry sauce crepes with honey whipped cream

by diethood.com

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summer corn + blueberry salad

by food.com

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blueberry lemon cake

by food52.com

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 1.18.39 PMand if you’re looking for 25 things to do with peaches…. click here!  or check out this awesome recipe for a tried and true delicious peach cobbler recipe.

DRINK RECIPE: THE TIDAL WAVE

17 Jun

back again by popular demand is our weekly drink recipe by ROF.  if you are headed out to a sporting event, sitting by the pool, hanging out on the lake, this one is for you.  recipe is below the video.  enjoy!

 

the tidal wave: makes 2

1 wheat beer

2 shots of vodka

3 oz limeade or lemonade

squeeze of lemon

mix all together and pour in two glasses over ice.  garnish with lemon.

love you woody allen. yes, i mean it.

14 Jun

listening to harry janes & his orchestra – the i’ve heard that song before” – takes me right back to age 22 when i first realized that woody allen’s movies were the slice of life movies i loved.  especially this song in hannah & her sisters.    i know. i know.  lots of controversy on WA.   i don’t care.  you know why?

oh these movies are so good.  but let me explain why.  these aren’t cliff-hanger, sensational movies.  no.  these are really deep “love ’em or hate ’em” character movies.  it’s honest.  they are hard to watch sometimes.  once again, they are a bit slow but it’s meant to be watched like you are just an observer – a fly on the wall.

i probably have written this before but i got into woody movies from an awesome class i took at columbia – urban life in media & film. thought it would be a blow-off class.  not so much.  but when we watched the movie MANHATTAN in that class -that was it for me.  done.  sold from the opening scene:

at 24 years old, i can’t even believe how much i watched his movies.  to the point that my clients gave me as a going away gift, a CD collection of all his movies (love.) 

take this scene my chicago roommate and i watched over and over again in his movie HUSBANDS AND WIVES.  i think judy davis won an award for this role.  this scene comes from her first date after she separated from her husband who was cheating on her.  her acting is brilliant, funny and sad all at the same time.

but my favorite movie of all time is annie hall.

la dee da.  the greatest part is that annie was from… wisconsin. chippewa falls.  i love it.

well, i just heard that song.  and this is what i thought about it.

happy wednesday.

NATIONAL GIN DAY!

10 Jun

let’s celebrate with a GIN GIN drink recipe from COCKTAILS WITH ROF!

 

1oz dry gin like Bombay

1oz gin liqueur

Juice of 1/2 lime

2 slices of peeled cucumber

3-4 fresh mint leaves

Splash of ginger ale

put all but ginger ale in a tall glass and muddle it (smoosh it with a muddler), pour over ice, top with a big splash of ginger ale and garnish with a slice of cucumber or lime.

Enjoy!

music you must immediately add to playlist

30 May
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if you know me, which you may and may not, you know that one of the key tenets or drivers in my life is music.  always has been and always will be.  read here and here if you want to know more.
certain songs or albums hit repeat or epic status with me every now and then.  it’s those songs i can remember exactly what i was doing, who i was with and where i was.
ok. quit the small talk and get to it.
i’m in love again.
spoon’s new album (is it new? i’m usually a little late to the game!) is unbelievable.  but the song CAN I SIT NEXT TO YOU is epic.  i would love to link to the video but it’s a little weird.  but play it like, real loud.
in your headphones as you tackle the treadmill, as you commute in the grind,
as you stretch in the morning and say your morning THANK YOU FOR BEING ALIVE prayers.
ROF, be warned, this is the new foster the people repeat craziness you endured when we first got married.  
it’s in here if you want a listen:
back to the more important 10 WAYS TO SAVE THE WORLD reads.  i’m hoping to make your day brighter with this quick add.
happy tuesday!

hello in the hotel

27 May
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checking out of our hotel this morning, i was running behind as usual.  had to fill my coffee up some more for the hour trip to INDY.
a woman about my age was filling up too.  she asked how i was doing this morning.  i said so far so good.  how about her?  well, it’s early but (little laugh) going well so far.  i put a pump of hazelnut sugary badness in my coffee, threw a lid on and wished her a good rest of the day and left.
small interactions happen like that all the time, right?  stupid for me to write about. WRONG.  they don’t happen that much anymore.  are you a talker to strangers?  or can you go through your entire day without interacting with anyone?  why did this small nicety chit chat at the hampton inn coffee counter capture my attention?
because we don’t do it.  ok.  i don’t know about you.  but i don’t.  i’m going to pay more attention to talking to strangers – more specifically, being nice to strangers.  why not?
last night when we were checking in to the hotel there was this HUGE storm.  it had tornados and it was real dark.  i was scared to death because i have always been terrified of storms since i was little.  grow up.  anyway, we couldn’t check in because there was a woman trying hard to get a hotel room for her family.  she was all in black, in tight shorts and a tank top with a chain securing her wallet to her belt.  Her husband was wearing all black too, heavily pierced and spikes and was playing with their kids.  she was holding up the line. the storm was coming.  i needed a sip of wine to keep my nerves in balance.  ROF and i were making comments about the family to each other once in our room but it made me think.  i said “what if they couldn’t get a room this late on a holiday weekend because someone in their family died and they were in town dealing with that?” ROF agreed and our comments ceased.
you never know when you can be an angel to someone just by saying some kind words.  i’m going to try!

MOVING + CHANGE

30 Apr

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”– Eric Roth, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Screenplay


today’s SUNDAYCHILL read is about change.

tomorrow movers come and we’re moving to wisconsin. this isn’t a surprise to many of you, my friends, because for the last year i’ve spent 80% of my time commuting from texas to wisconsin.  thats a lot of time on a plane. in january, i was home for 4 days total.  

bottomline, we wanted to see if the job i took (which catapulted me in a new direction) would be one that would be a good fit for both ROF and me.

it was.

ive moved my entire life.  here are the places I’ve lived (that I remember): cleveland, boston, grand blanc mi, brookfield wi, naperville, il, cincinnati,oh, chicago (3 different places over 11 years, dallas (7 different places over 14 years), birmingham mi, now madison. 

3 things i love about moving and change:

  • KEEPS YOUR EYES AND MIND FRESH AND AWAKE everything is new.  like everything.  i’m talking about – going to your fridge and pouring a little OJ in the morning – that’s a new experience.  it cleans out your brain from daily habits and gives you an opportunity to build new ones.
  • MASSIVE EXPLORATION TRIPS ROF and i have a blast hitting the road and checking out the sites.  we love finding hidden gems, talkative bartenders and doing new things. 
  • EXPANDING YOUR CIRCLE OF GREATNESS i have some pretty unbelievable friends. i was able to connect with many of them over the past few weeks.  and together ROF and i know some really cool people that we love very much.  that group is going to grow with this move.  hands down, our favorite part about moving to michigan was getting to know my cousin and his family real well.  also getting to know ROFs college friends the holbrooks and my boss ron and kathy better.  when you are on your deathbed it is these friendships you remember, not the power point presentations you put together – right?

so tuesday morning think of us making the commute one last time via two day car trip with pup in tow.  we will miss being close to my mom and our friends but we’ll be a short 2 hour direct flight away.  

Xxoo

WIN-WIN NO-FAIL ROASTED ASPARAGUS

19 Apr

raise your hand if you love asparagus!  

if you didn’t raise your hand, it’s probably because you don’t cook it the right way.  no offense.

my friend, terry brown of roswell georgia, showed me the easiest, most fool-proof delish way to roast asparagus (or any veg!).

 

500 degree oven

spray pan with pam

arrange your asparagus on sheet pan, sprinkle with kosher salt

5 minutes.  done.

BE YOUR UNAPOLOGETICALLY WEIRD SELF

18 Apr

i think you could safely say that i’m obsessed with this book:

hands down, most actionable book i’ve ever read.

i’ll get back to that.

when i was a kid, my brother and sister and i used to have to walk our lab, maggie, out “to the dirt” to do her business.  it involved hooking her leash up and walking through our large backyard to a big empty space with just…dirt.  doing this at night before bed was never fun and we used to argue about who had to do it.  plus, it was a little bit scary.  strange noises and it was dusk or dark out.  i’d throw my ski coat on over my long minny mouse nightgown with the ruffles around the bottom and begrudgingly take my turn.

when maggie and i got to the dirt and she was sniffing around, i would stare up at the sky.  and as a young 8 or 9 year old i would look at the stars and think to myself  i can go as far as you are high in the sky.”  i had this in me that life isn’t something that just happens to me but something i make happen.

i still believe that.  forty-some years later.  there is something that drives me forward.

in reading this book, i discovered that (i think) what i might have in me is two-fold:

a) a God-given ability or drive to serve but not sure what that is yet (itch that hasn’t been scratched)

b) driven to discover what my PEAK PERFORMANCE level is. 

more on that later.  the sub-head to the book is:

the tactics, routines, and habits of billionaires, icons, and world-class performers.

like, why wouldn’t you want to study this?  my favorite part of the book is that it is written simply (even though it is HUGE) by highlighting these habits from tim ferriss’ podcast notes.  which is how i take notes.  so it is easy to quickly glean these tactics.

so in re-reading the section on chris sacca (for the 10th time), i love what he told a graduating class in a commencement speech.  he told them:

“Weirdness is why we adore our friends…gets us hired.  Be your unapologetically weird self.  In fact, being weird may even find you the ultimate happiness.”

damn, that is the truth.  and no one tells you that until you’re older.  you’re in grade school and high school and peer pressure is so huge.  you want the same brand shoes, the fancy purse or the house in the hills. because that is what everyone else has.  i remember those days of fitting in being the most important thing ever.

flash forward to now.  i don’t like my closest friends because of that stuff.  i like them because they ADD something to my life or teach me something or they show me how to think differently.   maybe they have experiences that are different from me.  weirdness.

i was super inspired by reading this.  chris sacca is an early stage investor in dozens of companies including twitter, uber, instagram, kickstarter and more.  he is a recurring guest shark on shark tank.

weird is what makes you…well…you.  and while i’ll be honest, fitting in was always very important to me (validation?) but that little girl in her micky mouse nightgown with her ski coat wrapped around her shivering out at “the dirt” looking at the stars knew something too.

weird, isn’t it?

 

INSPIRED: ALICE IN PARIS

16 Apr

oh wow, i can’t even tell you how much i love this.  

as you probably remember, i love the movie AMELIE.  it’s in my top 5 (maybe 3) favorite movies of all time.

if you haven’t seen it yet and consider yourself a friend, watch it. watch it now.  anyway… i bring this up now because there is a tastemade series called ALICE IN PARIS that is for sure modeled after this movie. i can’t tell you how much i love this.  take a look – they’re short…

ok, here’s another.  love her.

i’m so inspired.  why? well, i’m going to tell you:

  1. i’m relatively old.  i know what i know. i have loved content and writing and creative things for all of my <40 cough, cough> years.  we get used to 30 minute sitcoms and writers spelling stuff out for us and it is SO BORING.  this is quick, fun, a little hard to understand but easy to follow – different.
  2. who doesn’t love this city?  paris is so alive, so vibrant and beautiful
  3. this is informational!  if you are going to paris – go to one of these places! look at all my exclamation points!
  4. she is so much fun.  not your typical beauty but darling nonetheless and that is so refreshing to see
  5. love the format, the colors, type, short intro and little snippets at the end
  6. if you’re not hip to TASTEMADE, get into it! say goodbye food network channel and cooking channel – this is how it’s done.

until next time, stay inspired!

 

the community tree of remembrance

30 Nov

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i’m on the board of an organization called Faith & Grief Ministries, Inc.   it’s a ministry of compassion and connection.  it is non-denominational because grief knows no denomination. it just hurts.

during the holidays, it is especially harder than usual to work through the loss of a child, a husband, a wife, a mom, a friend – any loved one.  it’s a season of contradictory sensory feelings.  your eyes see a beautiful lit tree but your heart hurts.  your nose smells cinnamon and sugar breakfast smells and your body feels the welcome chill in the air but your mind remembers being with your loved one during this time.

Faith & Grief Ministries, Inc. was launched in 2008 and it’s near to my heart for two reasons: first, i grieve my dad’s death in 2005 and one of the wonderful women that started the organization married ROF and me: fran shelton.  it started by hosting luncheons for those hurting over the loss of a loved one to share and heal together.  to date, there are more than 700 individuals have benefited from these events.

this year, the organization wanted to help those in dallas that are grieving.  they are placing a tree of remembrance in thanksgiving square in downtown dallas and from december 1st – december 21st you can sign a ribbon with the name of your departed loved one or one in honor of first responders on july 7th and other events close to you.

on december 1st, a multi-faith service of remembrance will be held at thanksgiving square and the Community Tree of Remembrance will be lit.  on december 21st, the longest day of the year, another service will be held at 6pm.  get more information here.

here is a news story that was recently on FOX NEWS:

if you have lost a loved one, you could benefit from this organization.  i spoke at one of their luncheons a long time ago and while it’s a room full of extremely sad and hurting people there was a feeling i couldn’t put my finger on.  i felt shared compassion, hope and relief. for all of us to be strangers but share this common journey that many of our other friends don’t understand is oddly comforting.  i urge you to check out the resources here.

i can speak with certainty that God is working through my dear friend fran as i’ve never met someone with so much passion to help others grieving.  if you’re in dallas, i hope you take advantage of these services and the ribbons honoring your loved one.  if you’re not in dallas, i hope you find some comfort in your community during this holiday season or use this non-profit’s resources.

what’s up wit me?

5 Nov

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hi.

it’s been so long since i’ve posted anything of true substance i bet you’ve gone away.  come back, cuz i’m back!  i started a new position on january 1st this year and have been heavily consumed with it.  i’ve decided to re-energize and focus this personal blog because it’s so much fun to write.

my life has changed a great deal over the past 10 months and i’m thankful to say for the better.  actually, better isn’t the right word.  i’ve always liked where i was but i guess the direction i’ve been going has just been right and built on top of what i’ve had before.

does that make sense?  saying “better” implies before wasn’t great.  which isn’t the case.

moving on… (geez)

in any case i’m happy.  real happy.  happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect.  i hate the word perfect because perfect =  boring.  it means you’re done – poof- it’s perfect.  perfect can be a napkin that you fold into a duck for a dinner party like – now that’s a perfect duck – but not applicable to your life.

being happy means that i’m recognizing and basking in the fact that i’m:

  • surrounded by great people. people that make me laugh, challenge me to be better, love me and want to call me early on a saturday morning to talk.  people that are thoughtful towards me by doing things like filling my car with gas or dropping a postcard from their travels in the mail to me.  people that appreciate the ideas and thoughts i bring and the work i do.  people that inspire me  – to practice yoga, to write and create.  people that are just damn cool – they get promoted, start a business, entertain effortlessly and are great at what they do.  these people do things with their lives that egg me on – run marathons, throw a charity event, throw a martini party, buy a new house and are just plain inspirational.
  • loved deeply and love wholeheartedly. i’m so glad i waited 39 years to get married.  my dad told me since i was way young to never settle.  he was talking about getting married – because he knew several men through work and the years that got divorced and the woman didn’t know what to do. he swore he would tell me “how men really were”  which he didn’t (what does that mean anyhow) but nonetheless i waited until i knew i wasn’t settling.  and i got a winner! 
  • loving my career and the direction it’s taken.  i did the same thing for 24 years.  worked my way from an intern at JTC Advertising on wells street in chicago to soon-to-be partner in a marketing venture that starts january 1 complete with 24 clients ready to go.  this shit is real!  what has driven me throughout my career is my love of marketing, being relevant to consumers and working with excellent clients that aren’t afraid to pave new roads with me.  i’m so passionate and driven about what i do that it makes every day fun to be alive.  i know.  i’m super cheesy.  shut up.
  • having fucking fun!  yep, just dropped the f bomb because it’s my damn blog.  i travel in one of the most beautiful places on earth, meet up with ROF in detroit to visit great friends, madison to visit great friends, chicago to visit great friends, florida to visit great family, atlanta to see great family.   as most of you know, we don’t have kids and guess what?  at 40 something years old – ROF and i are having the time of our lives.  we play cards (i’m winning…), get room service at fancy hotels, enjoy each other’s company without watching TV (unless we’re binge watching breaking bad), go to football games and cabins up north and the hill country down south.  we made salsa in santa fe and learned about wine in paris.  we laughed at a cramped comedy club in new york and played gin in toronto.

i felt like writing all this down because i know that happy will change as we get older.  i know that unhappy times are near.  and hopefully i am equipped to handle those times.  i can think this way for many reasons – first off – i always have.   second off – i had the experience of watching someone i loved die.  not a lot of people can say that.  make shit happen… today!  it’s getting your head around the fact that every second of every day you have a choice.

and people close to me know that i say this all. the. time. 

you have a choice to:

love where you are RIGHT NOW, not where you want to be

leave your shitty job

do something fun

kick needy people out of your life

decide you need boundaries that protect you

go on a dating site

say – THIS IS NOT GOOD FOR ME.  I’M OUTA HERE

wake up and be productive

wow. this is really a lot for a saturday morning.  (sigh)  look forward

 

drink it: blood orange martini

29 Oct

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hey!

happy saturday night.

watching the cubs game (sniff), drinkin’ this spooky blood orange martinis with my girls – amy & ruby.

dropping a huge steak on the grill.

life is good.

i hope this finds you well.

happy halloween + go cubbies!

MAKE IT:

  • 1 shot vodka
  • ½ shot limoncello
  • ½ shot ginger liqueur (expensive, but you’re reuse making this)
  • 1 – 1½ shots fresh squeezed blood orange juice (found them at Central Market)
  • ¼ shot simple syrup (make it here or buy it!)
  1. Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add ingredients and shake well. Make sure you make a face while you shake and hold the shaker like i do.  That’s just for fun.  Strain in a martini glass that you’ve filled with ice and water to chill and then throw it out before you pour the drink in.
Original recipe from cocktailsdrinkrecipes.com

cook it: yogurt parfait with mint and pistachio 

25 Aug

if you’re like me, you eat the same breakfast every morning.  except those days you get the bacon, egg and cheese mcgriddle from mcdonalds…just kidding…of course i don’t eat that crap!

this week’s episode of COOK IT comes with a tasty twist of routine.  it’s the best combo ever.  watch my lovely sister (in law) and one of my bestest friends prepare this scrumptious delight.

making martinis

20 Aug

and you thought you knew how to make a martini…🍸

throw around words like “dirty”, and “up” with confidence.

by popular demand, here’s ROF’s martini making magic for your drinking pleasure!

make it happen today

10 Aug


MOST PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO DOWN SHIFT THEIR FOCUS AND DRIVE ON A WEDNESDAY – YOU BETTER HUSTLE.

GET AT IT

YOU ARENT EVEN CLOSE TO WHERE YOU WANT TO BE YET.  STRIVING AND DRIVING IS WHAT KEEPS US PRODUCING.


have a great day!


JUST WAIT. IT ALL GETS BETTER. I KNOW.

5 Aug

i grew up in the midwest.  in ohio, michigan, Illinois and wisconsin.  in fact, I went to three different high schools in three different states.  


and i’m not sure how to describe it, but it just feels like home in the air whenever I land up here. the smell in the air, the beautiful scenery and it seems like my body instantly recognizes the familiarity or connection.  last week we were in michigan and this weekend we are in upper wisconsin.  yep, it is 60 degrees right now – jealous my fellow dallasites?


i straddle living “in the south” and working “in the north” and have the unique perspective of getting the best of both worlds.

i love where i am in life. and if I had a child in their 20’s struggling with their career or situation i would have the unique ability to give sage advice. 

i guess that’s called getting old.  

the advice is this. just wait.  life changes.

15 years ago i worked at j walter thompson in chicago and was single.  i worked with clients in wisconsin and traveled the whole state.  i kept a journal and it was filled with pages of loving my life and job but, truthfully, being painfully lonely.  i never thought i would meet someone.

flash forward 15 years.  now, i am on the client side (same client!) and married to my very best friend.  had to go all the way to texas to get him but it was worth it. this weekend I get to show him this beautiful part of the country and smile, thinking about my 30 year old self.  oh what good comes to those who wait!

hustle and hit it in august

1 Aug

thanks gary vee for an inspiring message this morning – the 1st of august. 

Inspirational Gary Vaynerchuk Quotes

Wake up before everybody else and work into the night. Hustle” 

“Skills are cheap. Passion is priceless.” 

“No matter what you do, your job is to tell your story.” 

“Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, what do I want to do everyday for the rest of my life…do that.”

“There’s no reason in 2016, to do shit you hate. NONE.” 

“The truth is that finding happiness in what you do every day is so imperative.” 

“You didn’t grow up driving…you figured it out.” 

“All your ideas may be solid or even good .. But you have to Actually EXECUTE on them for them to matter.” 

“Love your family, work super hard, live your passion.” 

“I’m just always looking forwards. I spend very little time, looking backwards” 

“Effort is grossly underrated.” 

“Live your passion. What does that mean, anyway? It means that when you get up for work every morning, every single morning, you are pumped because you get to talk about or work with or do the thing that interests you the most in the world. You don’t live for vacations because you don’t need a break from what you’re doing—working, playing, and relaxing are one and the same. You don’t even pay attention to how many hours you’re working because to you, it’s not really work. You’re making money, but you’d do whatever it is you’re doing for free.” 

“I put zero weight into anyone’s opinion about me because I know exactly who I am. Can you say the same? When” 

“I failed all my classes and that’s why I’m winning. In hindsight, the fact that I was considered a failure for the first 18 years of my life has become the foundation of my success.”

“Stop focusing on dumb shit. Don’t be afraid to break things. Don’t be romantic. Don’t take the time to breathe. Don’t aim for perfect. And whatever you do, keep moving. Reread this a few times . . .”

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Cook it: gazpacho 

27 Jul


get it:

4 vine ripe tomatoes, skin removed and chopped

1/2 cucumber, diced

1/2 green pepper, diced

1/4c red wine vinegar

1/4c olive oil

1 tbsp black pepper

1 tbsp garlic powder (we love bolners fiesta brand)

2 c zing zang bloody mary mix

6-46 dashes of tabasco

make it:

prep all your ingredients. Put them all in a bowl.  add more of what you like and less of what you don’t. mix well.

cover and put in fridge for at least a couple hours – these folks need to spend time getting to know each other in the bowl.

when ready to serve, you can serve as-is or puree half of it in blender and pour it back in the bowl. Gives it a more soup-like texture but with some chunks.  serve in a bowl with dollop of sour cream, some croutons and chopped scallions.

75 things to do with peaches

25 Jul

i have written over 350 blog posts in the past 5 years and the blog post i did on 25 things to do with peaches is still my biggest hit.  i think it comes up organically in searches.  so of course, i’m no dummy, i’ve upped my game.

this is a post on 75 things you can do with peaches.  ha.  this is going to sky rocket.

it is summer after all, and really nothing beats a perfectly ripe, juicy peach.  except maybe crisp michigan roadside corn.  yes, that’s a type of corn.

 

peaches

i’ve curated 75 things you can drink, eat and make with peaches.  you can grill them, mix them with savory items like pork chops or wrap bacon around them. you can make smoothies, salsa and jam.  you can drink them up in lemonades, tea, slushes or make a peach collins.  pair peaches with bourbon, bacon, vanilla, crab and ham.  it’s really quite versatile.  you can even make it into a sugar scrub and smear it on your face.

i’d rather each peaches though.  remember this recipe?

you can write about peaches, like this:

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or change your name to “peaches”

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or you can learn about peaches.  here are some cool facts you’ll feel smarter for knowing:

  • the top four peach-producing states are california, south carolina, georgia and new jersey
  • this fruit is a member of the Rosaceae family and is a close relative of almonds
  • a large peach has fewer than 70 calories and contains 3 grams of fiber. It’s also a good source of vitamins a and c
  • it is a good stress-reliever, helps to reduce anxiety – it is often referred to as the ‘Fruit of Calmness’ in hungary
  • in the world, china is the biggest producer of peaches and italy is the second

who knew?  now you do.  so go make some of these delicious peach recipes right now – before peach season runs out!

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XXOO

the 5 best reads in the morning

23 Jul

this sounds ridiculously optimistic, but i can’t wait to wake up in the morning.  not because i can’t wait to run on the treadmill or make my first cup of coffee (nepresso, yum) but it’s because i can’t wait to dive into the 45 minutes i give myself to read in the morning.  here are the 5 best things.

this is my morning routine for reading articles and news (books are for night time reading) and i can’t wait to share.

1

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TWITTER.
i’m a twitter lover.  the best way to get a hold of someone – really anyone.  i’ve given entire talks on the positive attributes of twitter.  i skim it first thing in the morning and look at the trending hashtags to quickly see if i missed anything overnight.  sometimes it’s scary because a hashtag takes you right to the people involved in whatever is going on and you get this much bigger sense of what is happening versus just watching a newscast.  i’ve gotten to know some great thought leaders via twitter just by reading them and retweeting.  they see that i forwarded their work on and then check me out.

twitter

i could go on but we have four more apps to read…

FLIPBOARD.

flipboard was designed to read holding your phone in your one hand.  you use your thumb to flip through the stories and click to read more.  you can follow thousands of topics and people – friends and writers.  you can organize categories for yourself and it’s easy to share articles and quotes.  i read a ton of stuff on productivity and leadership here. i find that INC has the best stuff to read .

flipbook

THIS IS HOW I HAVE IT ORGANIZED ON MY PHONE…ha ha

my mind

MEDIUM.

oh my goodness.  my newest favorite obsession.  i can’t wait to start writing here but reading is just too much fun.  for example, just read this article here that i found – SO GOOD.  people are so f*ing cool!  i consume this content like peanut butter on the tip of my dogs tongue.

mediumHIGHBROW. 

this is a website that you can sign up to get little “bite sized” lessons every day from a short-lived subject of your choice.  i just started a SEO “class”.  you get this delivered into your in-box every day at a time you choose.

highbrow

FEEDLY.

some people watch tv shows, i read my feedly rss app religiously.  this is all fun stuff – nothing too deep.  i follow hundreds of my favorite bloggers for interior and graphic design, beauty and fashion (you don’t think i know how to dress this fashionably on my own, do you?) and recipes and food.  it’s like a little present waiting for me every morning.

sometimes i get so excited to read it that i put it off – so i have something to look forward too… i’m so stupid.  love it!

Texture feedly

TEXTURE.

you know how much i obsess over magazines, right?  if not, read here.  oh, or here.  and i am blown away how awesome reading magazines is with this great ipad app.  it not only gives you hundreds of magazines monthly at or before they are on the news stand but they summarize the top reads from most of them and puts them in a highlights section for you.  AND (this is best) you can search across ALL MAGAZINES.  yes, i get all in a wad over this.  i can search CHICKEN and anything written about chicken across not only all the magazines but…wait for it…. all issues of magazines.  like a GAZILLION recipes on chicken come up.

that’s it!  gotta go read!

cook it: chicken florentine artichoke bake

21 Jul

cook it

thank god the weekend is almost here.  i’m ready for it.  while i haven’t been traveling too much this month, i find it hard to work from home.  anyone else think that as well?  i seems i need people, action and inspiration.  that’s why it was so much fun to have my sister-in-law hang out for a while this summer.  we had a lot of fun together.  we cooked up a storm, both at home and while taking a cooking class at sur la table.  

this week’s episode of COOK IT is a casserole and it’s perfect to make on sunday.  just saying that word, casserole,  is comforting.  one dish of love wrapped up with all the things i love.  pasta, artichokes, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, paprika.

just kidding, who loves paprika?

Cook

chicken florentine artichoke bake

6 servings

get it:

bow tie pasta – 8 ozs

onion – 1 small, chopped

eggs – 2

butter – 2t

milk – 1 1/4c

crushed red pepper – shake

dried italian seasonings – shake

chicken  -2 c cooked + chopped

monterey jack cheese – 2 c, shredded

artichoke hears – 14 oz can

spinach – 10 oz , fresh

oil packed sun dried tomatoes – 1/2 c drained and chopped

panko  bread crumbs – 1/2 c

paprika – 1/2 tsp

parm cheese – 1/4 c

do it:

preheat oven to 350.  cook pasta according to directions, drain.  in medium skillet cook onion in 1 t of butter over medium heat about 5 minutes, stir every so often.  remove from hear, set aside.

in a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, seasoning, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper.  stir in chicken, cheese, artichokes, spinach, tomatoes, half of the parm cheese, pasta and onion.  get in there with your hands and stir it up – a spoon can’t do it justice! transfer to a 13 x 9 baking dish.

fix a glass of wine.

bake, covered for 20 minutes.  in a small bowl combine remaining parm cheese, bread crumbs, paprika and 1t butter melted.  sprinkle mixture over pasta.  bake that puppy for 10 minutes more until golden!

eat it!

here is susan showing how to make it!

adapted from better homes and garden

3 apps, 3 podcasts + 3 instagrams

10 Jul

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three apps

remember:  this app automatically populates where you are via GPS.  just enter the person or thing you want to remember and when you return to that place, the “remember” app sends you a notification with what you had entered.

use it:

  • when you want to remember a bartender or waitstaff person’s name at a new or favorite restaurant.  the app will send a notification when you walk back into that bar.
  • when you meet someone new.  while you may not be going back to that conference again, you might remember that you met the person there.  so the app remembers that person’s name and information and stores it under the conference name so you can grab it.  “who was that SVP we met at the IMG conference…”

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medium:  thanks lori for introducing me to this one.  it’s one i read every morning.  the app describes itself better than i could:

At Medium, we are creating a network that enables people to make an impression on others. To make them think or change their minds. To teach them something or connect emotionally. Where the quality of the idea matters, not the author’s qualifications. A place where conversation pushes ideas forward and words still matter.

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li.st: i’m having fun discovering new content with this app.  i especially like following mindy kaling and bj novak on this app. here is what it is in their own words:

With li.st, you can:
  • Get inspired by travel recommendations, reading lists, recipes, and life musings.
  • Share your experiences and opinions through richly formatted lists with text, photos, and locations.
  • Request lists from your friends and your favorite musicians, athletes, and public figures.
  • Find the most popular, exciting, and useful lists from around the globe.
  • Search the topics that matter most to you and save lists for quick access.
  • Stay informed and up-to-date with news summaries, film and music reviews, TV highlights and more from top publications.

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3 podcasts

podcasts have gotten so much better lately.  maybe because serial was so successful.  it sure makes doing anything – walking, driving, trying to fall asleep… more fun.  here are some podcasts i like:

dear sugar: plain and simple, it’s an advice program.  people email real life and relatable situations and cheryl strayed and steve almond respond.  it’s entertaining and i love the research they do to answer the question. they will bring someone else on the show that has been through that particular situation and give their 2 cents.  pick any of these that strike your fancy.

embedded: another great offering from npr.  this podcast takes a story from the news and digs much deeper.  listen to it from the start, to “the house.”  you can listen in here.

this is your life with michael hyatt: 10 million listeners can’t be wrong.  michael hyatt is a best selling author and the founder of a leadership development company. he covers topics like how to be more productive, how to merchandise your blog and yourself and many other topics.  the free content he puts out is amazing.  he is your virtual mentor.   i recently bought his latest book and loved it.  it’s about coming up with a plan for your life.  i’m all about planning and this was right up my alley.  check it out.

3 instagrams

here are three outstanding instagram accounts to follow.  why?  because i like them.

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if you like sushi and new york, you’ll love following bond st.  the best sushi restaurant i’ve ever had the pleasure of dining.  check out this fish!

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so much fun.

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do not follow if you’re hungry.  best snaps ever.

 

over and out!

early morning emoji banter

26 May


can’t blame him- my coffee is the best!  Yes this really happened this morning!

inspiration for today

15 Apr

today i’m in naples, florida with people I love. ROF arrives today and i can’t wait to see him!

i’m thinking about my wonderful aunt jeanie.  she passed away on wednesday. i loved her.  I used to stay at her house in columbus ohio when i handled the buick account at JTC Advertising.  she was always so excited to see me and hear about what i was doing.  she and I shared a love of books and movies.  she had so much life and interest in people and places!

she also could play the piano so well.  i snuck a video of her playing the last time I saw her.



i’m thinking of her sisters- my mom and aunt sally- and her kids, my cousins and her many grandkids.

oh! here are some things i’ve been meaning to tell you.  pass it on + be inspired!


  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

favorite instagrammers

8 Apr

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for me, instagram started out to be just an app to run a filter through my photographs.  i didn’t pay attention to the fact that other people could see them.

IMG_1578but that was 6 years ago and now instagram is a tremendous marketing tool.  like they say, a picture says 1000 words!  and people are sooooo creative.  here are just a handful of people i love to follow:

CHRYSTAL PEARL

her instagram is so inspiring.  even though i plan to eat a cinnamon bun as big as my face that ROF got me from bucky’s, i love to stay connected to her.

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PARIS IN FOUR MONTHS

carin olsson has the most beautiful photos of paris.  my heart skips a beat looking at them.  i’d love to go there again.  live there?  in a hot minute!

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OVERHEARDLA

ha.  they just post stuff they overhear at bars and cafes all over LA.  or they take submissions.  pretty funny stuff.

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BONDST

best sushi in the united states of america.  hands down.  if you are ever in NYC – eat here!  but they also have a very creative instagram feed.  i’m drooling.

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100LAYERCAKE

amanda dawson, co-founder and CD of 100 layer cake in los angeles has an awesome feed.  i want to jump right into any of her photos.

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what are your favorite instagram feeds?

listening to this…

7 Apr


hey! happy thursday. i’m jetsetting around wisconsin this week…it’s almost spring!

here is what I’m jamming out to in the rent car this week.  don’t get all crazy and shuffle it.  start at the top the ole fashioned way.

on the #road: 3/16/16

16 Mar

snapshot:
rockford, il

COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT

hotel restaurant

seriously – no one here…

except the waitress, who is from Mexico

we bonded because I knew the word

si.

red wine, first and only glass, listening to “baby it’s cold outside” on stereo

christmas in march.

awesome day today on the wide open road visiting kind, smart, cool 

  
clients, well, peers now – not in agencyland anymore.

reading a sassy book, sending friends goofy dubsmash videos and winding down from a day that started at 3am. get to see my husband AND niece + boy tomorrow! 

 #perfect

#grateful

moodboard

13 Mar

i found this awesome site to create moodboards (super) easily.  it’s fun to do and bring your visions to life.  check it out here and see my dream bedroom and office boards below.

dreamy bedroom (2)working from home (4)

3.inspiring things 4 thursday

3 Mar

it’s important to be inspired. being with someone, watching something or remembering kind words is like a glass of cold water on a hot, humid day. they comfort but can also lead the direction to a bigger vision for yourself or for the world.

here are three inspiring videos. watch when you can, you won’t regret it!

and the last one deserves a little dialogue from me.  this video really spoke to me.  i absolutely love how she dug into what she needed to feel complete and then turn it into something that benefits others.  i think about this daily…constantly.

“my own definition of success has become more than anything about freedom to do different things…”

that sounds like such a luxury, doesn’t it?  true freedom?  but the new thinking for me is that i can have that luxury.  i’m not putting kids through school, i’m not saving to pay for weddings.  it doesn’t mean changing lifestyles, it’s about changing mindsets and taking your abilities to a whole new, exciting level.

 

heart attacks + fries

22 Feb

happy new year!

yes, i realize that it’s almost march but i haven’t posted since december.  i got a new job and started it in january and have been running ever since. (new job is awesome, by the way)

right now, i’m on an early morning delta flight out of dfw headed first to minneapolis and then to duluth. the cabin in this small plane smells like freshly brewed coffee and morning breath from the several men around me sleeping with their mouth wide open and head back.  from duluth i will rent a SUV and drive an hour and half to ashland, wisconsin.  otherwise known as God’s country.  look it up on a map.  it may be only 6 degrees up there but i consider it to be a huge perk of my job to experience the beauty which is northern wisconsin. then i turn around and drive back, stay by the airport and am on an early morning flight out of duluth to minneapolis and land back at dfw tomorrow at noon.

living healthy.

so at my age (46) i just realized i could die someday.  as a gen x’er (i’m stereotyping) the thought of dying or coming up on serious health issues could not have been further from my mind.  i was invincible and could smoke as much as i wanted (after all, the kids from my favorite movies did like st. elmos fire and singles.)

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drink wine as much as i wanted like carrie bradshaw in sex and the city and not care about how it affected me and my body.

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now i know.  and it’s a sobering fact of life.  you get old and your body and organs go along for the ride.

my brother who is four years younger than me had a couple massive heart attacks around thanksgiving. they had to shock him 19 times and his heart stopped beating for over 15 minutes.  my brother and i have a very strained and challenging relationship but it has made me sad for him.  it has made me think of me too.  that maybe it isn’t enough for me to just drink my trader joe’s super green powder drink every morning and “try” to walk 30 minutes before slumping back in front of my computer for the rest of the day.  maybe i have to do more and maybe it’s urgent.  maybe i better stop thinking that all there is what makes me happy now and think about the fact that what i do now will make me very happy in the future.

so i’m not a complainer or a whiner, i’m a doer and so i got a physical.  i’m on a plan to lose weight and eat right.  it is not going to be easy.  in fact, i forgot about eating right when i ordered a BLT sandwich and fries at st. pete’s dancing marlin this weekend. i only ate half.

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baby steps.

i also have a cardiologist who is going to run all the tests and wants to see me every 6 months.  she’s awesome.  my mom had her first heart attack at only 49.  and i’m 46.

it’s a journey,right?  that’s what they say.  i hope that i can do this and have encouragement along the way.

happy new year!

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