Remembering Ginny

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Cinco de Mayo is not for me what it is for most people. It’s my Grandma Virginia’s birthday. She passed away when my dad was only 19.

Having never met her, I don’t know much about her, but from what I do know, I’m sure we would have been the dearest of friends. She loved her family, was very affectionate and loved to bake.

She was working at a doughnut shop when she met my grandfather. I often think of that moment, like something out of a movie. Her in her bakery uniform and my grandfather strolling in looking only for a snack. I like to think it was the perfect “meet cute.” It must have been because just a few weeks later, those crazy kids drove to Vegas and got hitched.

She and my grandfather had two sons and raised them in southern California. She ran a strict but loving home and always had some delicious creation coming from the oven with country music on in the background.

Of all the people in the world dead or alive, I’d love nothing more than to have a day with her. Mom and Dad say I look like her (minus nose-got that from my mother’s side) and I must admit that when I look at our pictures side-by-side, the structure of our faces is very similar.

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Born in the 1930s, I wonder so much about her life growing up. Being a teenager during the war, did she lose friends who were drafted and killed? What role did she play in the war effort back home? Was she scared? How did it shape her? What was it like growing up as a young woman in the 40s and 50s? If we did sit down and talk, what would she say about me and my life?

Tonight the parents and I went out to dinner and gave a toast up to Grandma Virginia, or “Ginny” as she was known to her friends.

Here’s to you, Ginny.

Miss you.

Monday Motivation

I start my new job today and I’ll be honest, feeling a little nervous y’all! Painted my nails last night and laid out my outfit. Funny how I can be in my late twenties and still have those school girl thoughts of “Will I make any friends?” “Where will my desk be?” Time to put on a smile and take that first step.

*Image from ahouseinthehills.com

*Image from ahouseinthehills.com

 

You Are Worth It

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You are worth it. If there’s something you’ve been dreaming of, something you want to do, but fear is holding you back, let me be someone to tell you to have 30 seconds of courage and go make your dreams happen.

Three weeks ago, I quit my job. Yep. Just like that. I just did it. Now while the series of events that happened happened very quickly, it was not a decision that I made hastily.

You may remember that when I celebrated my golden birthday in January I made a list of things to do this year. Well, I’ve been crossing off items left and right. (More on that in a post coming up next week.) When I sat down to make the list, it forced me to do an inventory on my life and I realized something. I wasn’t very happy professionally.

While I appreciated my job and the opportunities it gave me, I didn’t feel that I was growing. At this stage in my career I want to be reaching and reaching and soaring and I wasn’t. The first open window into what could be came when I was recruited for a job at an international PR firm. I went through the interview process “just to see,” and ended up being reminded of how starved I’d been. When I wasn’t offered the job, I was so disappointed. Once I recovered, I set my mind and my time to looking for another job.

I applied for dozens of jobs and landed a couple interviews. I also began setting up informational interviews, emailing my contacts and networking like crazy. Just a couple weeks later, one of the jobs I’d applied for contacted me and requested a phone interview. Of all the things in the hiring process, phone interviews terrify me. I feel like it’s so hard to have a good conversation with a complete stranger, let alone make a connection over the phone so they’ll want to bring you in for an in-person interview. From the phone interview to the two in-person interviews, the entire process was just SO easy. I’m not saying this to boast, but to say that it was just such an exceptional fit. I was looking for something very specific (to work on a team of PR pros and to be mentored and led by a seasoned PR pro) and I interviewed them just as much as they interviewed me. While this is a world-renowned agency, I initially wasn’t sold. I had lots of questions. In the end, we all just fit. It was a perfect fit. That’s why it was so easy.

So you’ve heard the professional reasons I was looking for something else, but there were also some personal reasons as well. The only reason I’m even bring this up is that it affected the timing. Three weeks ago yesterday, I quit my job. I quit my job with no job offer waiting.

Gulp. I know, right?! It’s honestly the bravest thing I’ve ever done and one of the things I’m most proud of in my life so far. How many of us are unhappy with our current situation, but can’t seem to muster the courage to just do what we want to do! I’d thought (and prayed) about my reasons, the circumstances and what I’d say for weeks, it just took 30 seconds of bravery to do it. It was hard, I’m not going to lie, but I’m so so glad I took charge and made a proactive decision to have the life I wanted.

Moment of honesty: After I quit my job, I couldn’t stop thinking, “OMG! I just quit my job! Did I just do that? O.M.G” It’s definitely not something I thought I’d ever do.

Ready for the crazy blessing part? The very next morning, not even 24-hours after I quit my job, I received an offer from the “perfect fit agency.”

In between I’ve had some glorious time off and I feel so rested, restored and ready to start at my new position on Monday! Having this job actually provides everything that I want out of my life both personally and professionally right now. The agency’s offices are in my hometown, so I am exchanging a 45-minute commute for a 5-7 minute one. Next month, I’ll be moving out of my parent’s house and into my own place!! (Seriously, get up and do a happy dance with me on this one.) While my parents are legit amazing and have turned into wonderful roommates, I’ve also been through a long season of illness in the last four years and being able to move out of that with improved health and a new job is HUGE.

There’s been so much change in the last month, I find myself overwhelmed with blessings. An abundance of blessings.

My take-a-way for you is a Henry David Thoreau quote, “Live the life you imagined.” Make a plan, think it thorough, muster those 30 seconds of courage and go do it.

You’re worth it.

Lilly at Target: One Wild Ride

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Oh my word. I had no idea what I was in for. When I woke up Sunday morning at 5:30 a.m., I checked activity on social media surrounding the Lilly Pulitzer for Target event on. I jumped out of bed, hopped in the shower and got ready. I donned a Lilly outfit from head to toe (of course) and woke up my Dad. (Very key component. This needed a team.)

The week before I went online and took screen shots of the items I wanted, arranged them by category (women’s clothing, outdoor entertaining, accessories, etc.) and printed them out.

Target was set to open at 8 a.m. and we arrived at 7:20 a.m. to find two people already in line. I was third. Whew! The fourth woman arrived and we all began to talk about our love for Lilly. In all honestly, it was a really fun bonding moment. Twenty minutes later, 15-20 people arrived. The four of us in the front decided we needed a plan and before I knew it, someone suggested an alliance. “Like Survivor!” I exclaimed. We all agreed and before I knew it, we formed an alliance. Here was the plan-Go in and grab as much as you can, all that you want and then some. Then, after you’ve collected, meet in the men’s department (set aside and away from the crowds) and go over our items. Anything we didn’t want, or clothes that didn’t fit, we committed to giving or trading to one another.

I handed my dad his shopping list and I had mine. We went over the prioritized items. Eight o’clock came and the doors flew open and suddenly I was running. Why? Because everyone behind me was running and I was not about to let them beat me. I grabbed a bag from accessories and darted to the women’s clothing section. There were two racks. Two racks! That’s it! It was complete mayhem. I remember seeing a darling button-up that was on my list and there were less than 10 of them on the rack and several women just ran and grabbed at them until only an XXL was left. I looked around and just grabbed everything in my size. My shopping list went out the window. Adrenaline was running high. I went into the dressing room and tried on my items. Score! They fit! I came out of the dressing room to find the ladies in my alliance gathering in the men’s section. As I walked over, I spotted my dad strolling down the aisle, calm as day with…a basket overflowing with home items! MVP of the sale ladies and gents goes to my amazing daddy!

The ladies in my alliance and I gathered and went over our items. Anything we didn’t want we offered to the group or placed in an extra basket up for grabs to alliance members. One woman so generously gave me a set of printed drinking glasses so I could have a set of eight.

In addition to my alliance, my other strategy was to wait outside of the dressing room to get first dibs on go-backs. That’s how I scored my maxi dress. A girl walked out with it over her arm, telling her mom it didn’t fit her. I asked about the size and asked if I could have it and she graciously said yes! Confession: I was so happy I asked if I could hug her and she obliged. I thankfully got most of what I wanted and then some, but it really did take a strategy and a polite yet  determined attitude.

A Lilly Lady is kind, gracious, patient, poised and is always a class-act. This is why I was so sad to see some truly rude behavior at the sale. One woman in my alliance said that while she turned to look at something else, another shopper stole something out of her cart! Not OK. I thankfully made it out unharmed and didn’t have any items taken.

Here are some of my favorite pieces I came out with.

Cloth napkins

Cloth napkins

Throw pillow

Throw pillow

Lunch plates

Lunch plates

Strapless maxi

Strapless maxi

Drink stirrers

Drink stirrers

Resort pants

Resort pants

Printed glasses

Printed glasses

Did you go to the sale? What was your strategy?

Thoughts On Courage

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I’ve been thinking a lot about courage lately. Sometimes I envision courage as something heros have, like soldiers or emergency first responders, not something that I could ever have, but I think I’m wrong. While the people I mentioned certainly do have courage, I think we all have it in us too.

We all have courage and the capacity to overcome incredible obstacles. In the last four years of living with chronic pain, I’ve learned a lot about suffering. Most of the time, courage is simply getting up and being willing to start a new day. Because of this season of my life, I have a heightened awareness of myself, my weaknesses, my strengths and also what I’m capable of. What I’ve learned is that I’m capable of far more than I could have ever imagined. In fact, I believe we all are.

We are all more brave, more courageous and more resilient than we think we are.

I see that our 20s are certainly a time of figuring this out. We start careers, we get married, have children, learn to raise children, we change jobs, we move, we lose friends and we gain new ones. It’s a time of testing and a time of incredible growth, all while trying to figure out who we are and what we want in life.

So go do that thing you don’t think you’re brave enough to do.

You can do it. You can do anything. You’ve got what it takes.

Be brave.

Here’s the tricky part: You might step out and do something you’ve always wanted and you might fail. Here’s where courage comes in. In my experience, courage is doing something brave even though you know you might fail. If you have an opportunity for bravery and don’t act on it, you’ll never know. You may not think that you can move to a new country, but you can! You may be questioning if you’ll be able to be a good mother to that kicking baby inside you, you can! You may be wondering how you can go for that dream job, but you can! Our 20s are a time of great change and success amidst change requires courage.

Take a deep breath, center yourself and be courageous.

You CAN do it.

Someday Shoes

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Kate Spade Charm Heel

Kate Spade Charm Heel

Symbols of hope are different for everyone and different for every circumstance. Contrary to popular culture, my dream job is to someday be a wife and mother. Let me tell you, being single in 2015 is tough!

My parents and I were in Seattle this weekend visiting some family friends and they, like my parents, are in their 50s and they were all remarking on how millennials don’t even know how to properly date. You’re tellin’ me! This old-fashioned girl has not found dating easy.

While in Seattle I did a little shopping at a Kate Spade store (and thoroughly enjoyed the 25% off sale this past weekend!) While in the store, my dad picked up a pair of shoes and said, “These are cute and look like something you’d wear.” “Dad, those are my someday shoes. Those are the shoes I will someday wear under my wedding dress.”

I first saw these shoes several years ago and when I saw them I thought about falling in love, walking down the aisle at my wedding, rocking my children, cooking dinner barefoot in my kitchen and swinging on my front porch swing with my husband.

Yes, I got all that from shoes. What can I say, I’m a dreamer.

I’ve learned in my twenties that life does not always happen the way you think it will. That’s OK by me. I know I’ve got high standards and I’m willing to wait.

Waiting and dreaming…of wearing those shoes.

 

How-To Succeed With Informational Interviews

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*Image from bestfriendsforfrosting.com

*Image from bestfriendsforfrosting.com

If you’re in college, now is the time to be doing informational interviews. Why? Because while there is not a job on the table during informational interviews, it’s not uncommon for one to be presented shortly thereafter (and graduation is just around the corner.)

At a minimum, a good professional has a network that he or she can rely on for support and recourses. You have to start somewhere and a great place to do that is with an informational interview.

If you are beyond college, but have never done an informational interview, I highly recommend that you do, even if you’re currently employed and love your job. You never know what will happen in the next six months.

For tips on informational interviews, check out my series on the topic.

Informational Interviews: What and why

Informational Interviews: Preparation is key

Informational Interviews: What to wear

Informational Interviews: What to ask

How-To Write a Thank You Note

 

 

 

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