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3 Wonderful Classes I’m Taking

9 Jul

This morning, I’m on vacation!  I’m sitting outside on the back porch of a house we rented in Long Beach Island, New Jersey.  It’s 6am east coast time and I’m watching the sun rise over the dunes in front of the ocean. I put some pics below.

Now that I’m on vacation, along with sitting at the beach (already got red) and eating off-KETO diet, I love spending the early morning hours learning.  I just finished lesson 7 of a great class I’m taking online with the app and website called Creative Live.  Joyce Maynard is teaching “Writing Your Story” and it’s excellent!  It’s on writing memoir-style.  Being old, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to actually LEARN from a teacher.  So it’s a real treat to learn from an excellent, passionate teacher.  Check out this website if you’re interested in photography, art, design, music, money & life classes.  Varys in cost.  This class that I’m taking is fantastic. 

I also joined Masterclass which is badass learning for all kinds of interests.  Once you belong to it, you can take as many classes as you want.  Classes by Malcolm Gladwell (!!!), Alice Waters and a ton of other experts teaching in their field of expertise.  I finished Gordan Ramsey’s class and I’m on to Alice Waters.

How to Tie a Summer Scarf

3 Jul

The other day, I cleaned out my scarf drawer that contained literally THOUSANDS OF SCARVES.  I folded them somewhat the same and made the drawer look so nice.  But in going through all those scarves, it made me mad to think I could only wear them in the fall or winter.  Why not summer? ok, maybe not the heavy plaid ones, but the light linen ones?  But how do you wear one when it is hot out and you really don’t want something heavy around your neck?

First of all, this video is a little dated but my favorite video ever on folding a scarf.  Yes, at one point in my life, I did follow along and tie all the ties.  Subscribe to Wendy’s IG or blog – she’s awesome.

Second of all,  these are some great looks!

 

This is from The Darling Detail.

 

Then there is this from GlamRadar.com

I’m digging it.  Might give it a try.  Will probably last 5 minutes around my neck, just sayin’.

I LOURVE this one by Lands End!  Plus I think I’m going to buy the scarf!

There you go!  Now go and be safe this mid-week holiday celebration.

sometimes you gotta just float!

29 Jan

Just some musings on Tuesday evening.  I am obsessed with my morning routine.  It looks like this:

  • Wake up before or at 5 am
  • Rinse face and go downstairs to office
  • Do bible study (via bible app on phone)
  • Read devotional: my utmost for His highest (been reading every year for 15 years and counting)
  • Write in my new productivity journal  – see what I have here
  • Write out my daily work and personal to-do
  • Read Brendon Buchard’s High-Performance Habits bookSidenote: I also have the audiobook so I can finish listening to it in the car!
  • Meditate using app on my phone – 5 min top focused on mindfulness
  • Pray – 5 minutes top
  • Skim about 100 blogs in my full FEEDLY app (this is my “tv”)
  • Catch up on news by reading the annoying “THE SKIMM” email blurb or flipping through Flipboard app
  • If I’m being honest, and I am, I spend a good 15 minutes flipping through Instagram at the end

Then I get ready and start my day!

However, admittedly, at the end of the day, I get simply exhausted with how creative, cute and clever everyone is on social media.  I’m overwhelmed with the number of “good advice” business books I read and how much I have to remember in order to perform at the highest of levels.  Instead of feeling inspired or motivated, I’m just damn tired.  Even though all of it is something I want to do.

At night, I have to give myself a break and just mentally float.  Have you done that?  I close my eyes and think about nothing at all except floating atop the warm water. I know that sounds stupid but it is a great way to disconnect from distraction.  I visualize my hands dropping under the water and then resurfacing.  I feel the sun hitting my face and top of my knees.  I clear my head.

Then I get up at 5 am and do it all over again.   

2017 WISH, I MEAN, GIFT LIST

28 Nov

my mom used to say that as a child i could want to buy something in a gas station.  i don’t understand why that is even worth mentioning.  duh. of course i could!  i think the important thing for all my loved ones around me to grasp about that statement is that shopping is a PASSION for me and has been since i was a child.  in a gas station, no less!

is it shallow to like…things?  i say no.  i say it plays a part in cultivating, evolving and curating your style.  i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again – i LOVE it when someone says to me “THIS IS SO YOU!” that means i’ve developed a style and look that people pick up on.

my good friend, jackie grubb marshall, is so thoughtful and has always through the years given me things even outside of birthdays and holidays that were “so me.”  for example, she got me slang flash cards that i have hung up in my last 3 office walls.  also, white porcelain bulldog salt & pepper shakers and a pillow with our dallas zip code on it.

anyway, back to shopping. this list started as a place for me to gather things i saw on-line that i wanted to buy myself or someone else.  i started it a while ago and after looking at it, think that you might like some of these as gift for someone over the holiday.  here is a link to the whole collection.

APRES SKI DRINK COASTERS

for all design lovers, dig on these coasters that are $35.00 for 50.  i use paper coasters i snag from hotel rooms around the world for bedside drinks, sink-side glasses and as spoon rests in the kitchen.  i love the font on these.  get them here. 

TRIBE OF MENTORS by TIM FERRISS

by now you know what a big tim ferriss fan i am.  i carry tools of titans around with me everywhere i go which is not easy because it is a million pages long!  his latest book just came out (dying to buy!!) and it is all life advice by the best in the world. $17.85 buy it here.

BECAUSE JESUS EATS WITH EVERYONE picture

i love this picture and everything in this store.  Jesus wasn’t about exclusion, He was about inclusion and love.  and he eats with everyone! this sign is $130.00 and you can get it here.

CARBON STEEL GRIDDLE PAN

i just read about this in this month’s bon appetit magazine’s gift guide.  it says: “A carbon steel pan gets ripping hot super fast and retains heat evenly, just what you need for getting that crispy crust on the outside of your smash burger or the golden-brown exterior of a perfectly-cooked pancakes. And, just like a cast iron, you can stick it directly into a wood-burning fire or on top of your grill.”  $31 (on sale!)  get it here

PALOMA TURTLENECK SWEATER

i’m a sucker for white in the winter and nothing looks more chic and comfortable than this oversized sweater.  i like all three colors it comes in, actually.  now that i think of it, i like every single thing in anthropologie. every damn thing.  $130 buy it here

WATERMELON SLEEPING MASK

supposedly, this is what will give you that dewy, fresh glowing skin you covet.  quite the buzz on this mask you apply at night (like a moisturizer) and wash off in the morning or use as a 10-minute mask. $45 – run, don’t walk here.

happy shopping!

al capone, 75 years of Buick history in one family + me

1 Oct

this morning i woke up at my usual time of 4:45am.  does that mean i’m getting old?

i like it anyway because i get so much done.  sometimes i tell myself (quite literally) to chill out and just read or something.  today, i pulled out a box of old photos and there was a folder on top.  it was a draft from an article my dad wrote (i helped) for a publication.

if you’re into cars, in the business or not, you might appreciate this.  i didn’t know my grandpa but he was a pretty cool dude including being Buick’s General Service Manager for the whole country but also when he was single, he fixed Al Capone’s henchman’s cars.  #badass

but the most fun for me today (already) was reading this.  most of all because i could hear my dad’s voice in this draft below.   he wrote this about my grandpa.  if you’ve ever had someone you love for years and years pass away and then read something they wrote and hear their voice in it – it’s like they are reaching out from the grave and talking to you.

here you go – it’s three pages.  this was published in a couple of car publications.  for those of you in the business that think i’m just another ad chick that doesn’t know anything about anything – know that at my very core i come from 75 years of very smart and passionate car people!  🙂

 

making inspiration real.

19 Sep

sometimes i’m overwhelmed by inspiration.  ha.  what a problem to have.

i mean it.  of course, i seek it out.  my rss feed, podcasts, flipboard all stream inspiration constantly.  i love it. even the music i listen to during the day is what i call “epic inspiring” – check it out here.  helps keep me in the zone as does the geranium essential oil i infuse my air while working.

it is a basic need that i have to be inspired. to remember the dreams i have for myself.  to hold on to them so no one takes them away.  to fine-tune them and evolve them and push myself to limits i didn’t know existed.

here are 3 other (somewhat surprising) things that can be inspiring:

DISAPPOINTING NEWS

i don’t always follow this, mind you,  but it’s important to note.  how can you be inspired by the disappointing news?  if the news relates to you like:

  • lose your job
  • didn’t get that house you wanted
  • test results weren’t expected
  • trip was canceled

then allow yourself to feel the news.  kick, scream and know that “it sucks.”  then be inspired by the fact that this is what is called a CLOSED DOOR.  and a closed door, to me, is an opportunity to find your real calling, a better house or even avoid unseen disaster down the road.

i’ve seen this played out many times in my life and in others.  about 20 years ago, our ad agency lost all the

about 20 years ago, our ad agency lost all the buick business.  i was 3 of about 15 people left and had to let go many of my colleagues and friends.  it’s easy for me now to paint you a picture of what happened with one of those people:

LET GO:  someone who reported to me, who took the job to learn from me and who had taken a step backward in her career to do so. THIS STUNK.  for both of us!

NEXT STEP: she considered this an opportunity to follow one of her favorite bands to NYC and at over 35 years old, up and moved herself to NYC.

WHAT HAPPENED:  became a VP at the world’s largest ad agency working on a global account.  Way surpassing me and the agency that let her go.  whoop!  whoop!

true story.  you know who you are.  

(then there was the guy we let go where we found a pot “bowl” in his desk drawer after we cleaned it out.  probably different story for him…)

THE ORDINARY AND MUNDANE

when things are ordinary and mundane – it means you are not present in your own life.  it means you are on auto-pilot or simply don’t think big enough for yourself.  maybe things happen to you versus making things happen.  just saying.  maybe?

when things are this way, it is an opportunity to be inspired by this:

someday, you will wish for the ordinary and mundane things in your life!

wait, did that depress you more?  sorry.

i meant.  WAKE UP!  here are two ways to drive to work:

  • get in car, buckle up, listen to news, yawn, drink coffee, get to work or –
  • get in car, buckle up, listen to inspiring talk or music, be interested in what is going on around you on your drive.  appreciating the crisp fall weather, the smell of pumpkin syrup in your coffee, smiling at the driver next to you.  noticing the older woman waiting for the bus hunched over made you sit taller.  saying a prayer and thanking God for the car you are driving, the family that loves you and the full day you have ahead of you.  calling an old friend just to say hi before work with a quick ‘HEY THINKING BOUT YOU message, get to work

and lastly, get inspired from:

PEOPLE WHO DO NOT HAVE YOUR BEST INTERESTS AT HEART

how is this inspiring?

be inspired that you recognized this fact about them and be inspired to move on and not care.  put on your blinders. be inspired to get focused, get energized – this can be one of the best motivators.  the day you finally realize that what other people think about you matters very little.

 

 

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.

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 7.39.58 AM

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.

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!

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 2.41.34 PM

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.

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!

 

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