Catching Up

*Image from southernpiphi.tumblr.com

*Image from southernpiphi.tumblr.com

Why have I been MIA for the last month? I had a medical procedure the first week of February and the recovery was significantly more extensive than I expected. It was rough. Real rough. I didn’t leave my house for two weeks and I didn’t even think about it. If I wasn’t a clean freak I probably wouldn’t have showered during that time either. All I wanted was my pillow and pain meds.

I’m happy to report that I’m officially back in the land of the living and my does it feel good. I’ve been doing very exciting things. I want you all to know that. Driving, going to work and eating in a restaurant. Big stuff.

While I was cooped up in the house I watched a ton of TV. (Why do all my friends have jobs during the day? Man, you know you’re a grown-up when…) I had to find some way to pass the time. I watched Mad Men, Friends, Downton Abbey, Grantchester, Nashville and The Good Wife. Movies I watched included Baby Mama, Boyhood, Jerry Maguire and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. Thank goodness for Netflix and my iPad.

I went back to work this week and although it proved challenging at times, I managed and it felt good to be out in the world doing something for society.

While I realize I’m talking a lot about TV, have you guys started watching House of Cards yet?! I started last night and watched a little this morning. Oh man! I’m super surprised, but I’m loving it. Not where I thought the show would/could go.

The weather here in Portland is so glorious! Feels like it’s spring. While the sunshine is nice and the warm weather is fun, I personally like a good cold winter. Last year this month we had snow! Went for a walk this morning and can admit that the sun felt so good on my face.

Glad to be making progress and even in the last two days, legitimate strides.

Stay tuned to the blog because next week I have a dear friend who will be guest writing and she will be sharing her tips for how to live and work abroad. She has some great insight into this area and I look forward to sharing her thoughts with you.

Happy weekending dear readers!

27 Things

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Today is my birthday. Well actually, it’s my golden birthday. I’m 27th on the 27th. For golden birthdays, the tradition is to do things in the set of the number of your golden birthday. For instance, if you’re turning 10 on the 10th, you play 10 games, or eat 10 mini cupcakes. Well, the problem is that 27 is a lot of anything! So, I’ve decided to do something different. I’ve made a list of 27 things that I will do in my 27th year.

Ready for the list? Here it is!

  1. Cut more than 5 inches off my hair.
  2. Get a facial.
  3. Make a major life change.
  4. Eat a new type of meat for the first time.
  5. Move out of my parents house.
  6. Host a dinner party by myself.
  7. Read “Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World,” by Michael Hyatt.
  8. Read “Millionaire Teacher,” by Andrew Hallam.
  9. Learn how-to become a retirement saving queen.
  10. Go to a Blazer game.
  11. Visit The South.
  12. Eat a crawfish.
  13. Go on a road trip with the Bestie.
  14. Learn to play a song on the ukelele.
  15. Go see The Decemberists in concert.
  16. Start using my commute time in the evenings to listen to a podcast.
  17. Try whiskey.
  18. Take a stranger out for a meal.
  19. Do a random act of kindness for a stranger.
  20. Run a 5k.
  21. Meditate at least twice a week.
  22. Wear only dresses for an entire month.
  23. Go on a date with a guy who is not “my type.”
  24. Go to the Oregon Coast.
  25. Go to The Ace Hotel in Portland with a friend and take pictures in their photo booth.
  26. Become more knowledgeable about a historical figure.
  27. Go to a Duck Football away game.

Stay tuned!

As I check each one off my list, I’ll keep you all updated. Here’s to a great year!

Take Care of Yourself

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Victoria (at right) with her mother on a hike.

By Victoria Barrett (My Bestie!!)

For me, self-care is analogous with self-discovery. In the past few years, I’ve served abroad in an orphanage, completed grad school while working at a community mental health center, and now serve as a foster care counselor. While these experiences fulfill me at the core of who I am, it is easy to feel drained emotionally and physically, necessitating the need to care for myself.

Let’s first establish why self-care is important. For many of us, it seems as though we are drawn into our careers because it prods and pokes at a special place within us. In the mental health field, professional clinicians notoriously fail at self-care. Often compelled to a helping profession because of personal suffering or walking alongside another’s pain, clinicians may find it easier to care for someone else than to focus on their own problems.

It is beautiful and even necessary that our callings are sparked by personal passions and significant experiences that shaped us. This makes us good at what we do; but it becomes dangerous when the very thing that brought us into our careers is neglected. It results in ineffective results. When a baker loses sight of their joy to create, their baked goods may become mediocre. When the electrician’s concern for broken systems dwindles, his repairs may be insufficient. When my compassion and desire to help is not renewed by self-care, I lose desire or motivation to nurture my core passion to bring healing to others.

Self-care is important because it honors my unique gifts, it revives my sense of purpose and productivity and it provides me with fuel to make a difference. It seems that is may apply to any professional, as we all have unique gifts and an ability to produce positive change – but what does this actually look like?

Here are a few thoughts and tips I’ve learned along the way.

  • Know your worth. Give up control. Ask yourself if you really believe in the need to care for yourself and honor your personhood. Do you believe you are worthy of care? Are you willing to release control enough to rest and enjoy life? If not, it’s pointless to consider what self-care looks like for you.
  • Know yourself. Grow in your ability to know yourself and what you need. Feelings and emotions are wonderful gifts that notify us of our deficits and show us what is working and what makes us tick. Listen with curiosity to emotions and your body. When you feel exhausted, ponder what energizes you. When you feel unexpectedly emotional, what kind of space do you need? When you can’t focus on anything, what is your core saying you’re not giving enough attention to?
  • Know your friends. Relational connections care for our soul like nothing else because we are relational beings. Know who you can go to when you need someone who just gets you. What friend loves going out and will enjoy that tasty drink with you when you need to be rejuvenated by fun and exploration? What friend can you listen to and serve to experience the life-giving joy of being a helper?
  • Know the source of your hope. We need self-care because we cannot control what drags us down. Ultimately, we cannot let go, we cannot rest, and we cannot find ourselves valuable unless we know what or who we can hand control over to, who can give us rest and who defines our value that motivates us to care for ourselves in the first place.

Victoria Barrett lives in Nashville, Tennessee where she works as a foster care counselor. She graduated from Wheaton College with a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. 

Beginning a 5-Year Journey

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Today I embark on a 5-year journey. I picked up this journal a couple months ago at Paper Source and I’m seriously so excited to begin it.

Here’s what it is. It’s a journal for the next five years. Every day, there is a space to write one or two sentences about that day. I’ll do that every day for five years.

Who knows what will happen in the next five years!? Whatever it is, I’ll be documenting it. Love it. Away we go!

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21 Wonderful Things That Happened in 2014

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Wow. 2014 is wrapping up. What a year it’s been. So many exciting things happened both personally and professionally. Here are my highlights.

1. Snow came in February, which meant several days off from work for me. Also, the snow just makes everything so beautiful, so pretty. I hope we get some snow this year. I feel like I live in Narnia when it snows. So magical.

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2. I think I can! I think I can! I overcame my fears and went to my first conference. Going to some of the networking events was a little (really) terrifying, but I jumped in with both feet and ended up having a ball!

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3. One of my dear friends is Jessi (with the red boa). We work together and I just love it when co-workers turn into friends. She is a gift to me. We celebrated her 30th birthday this year with a “Roaring 20s” party and it was a wonderful evening.

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4. I went and watched my dad blow glass for the first time. In summary: Super dangerous and very impressive.

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5. I made a new friend. A good one too.

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6. The parents and I took a magical vacation to Hawaii. It was so restful and so beautiful. Take me back! Please and mahalo.

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7. My college roomie and her sweet son (to whom I am auntie) came for a summer picnic on the lawn at my work. Love her dearly and so proud of what a wonderful mother she is. Seeing her as a mother makes my heart happy.

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8. Celebrated the marriage of a childhood friend meant celebrating with old friends too. Being with people you’ve known your whole life is so lovely. Seeing their dreams come true is the best.

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9. Came home from work one day this summer to find my four-year-old little friend playing on her new toy up and down our street. She insisted I join in on the fun. How could I say no?! Love being friends with children. Makes life sweeter (and a whole lot more fun.)

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10. Our department at work was moved into an old house which mean that I got a whole room to myself. Which meant one thing, decorating! Had fun with this one.

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11. Celebrated one year working at Multnomah University with dinner at Nostrana. Best Portland restaurant. Period.

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12. I participated in my first promoted post by prAna here on the blog. It was such a wonderful experience and I look forward to the next one. Definitely a Communication Rhodes milestone.

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13. An EPIC season of Duck Football with the father. Can’t wait for the Rose Bowl and then hopefully we’ll be headed (me and the father too) to Dallas for the National Championship. Fingers and toes are crossed!

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14. Went to the ballet with these two dear friends. Such a treat.

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15. Pitched a story to The Oregonian and it made the front page. (Still doing happy dances about this one.) #cantstopwontstop

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16. TSwift moved to New York, rebranded herself and made a new album. It’s still in my car and can’t stop listening to it. If you ever see a crazy fool dancing her heart out during rush hour traffic, that may be me and TSwift is entirely to blame.

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17. Attended the Naval commissioning of a dear childhood friend (The Bestie’s little brother.) So incredibly proud of him and know for sure now that our nation has our BEST people in the armed forces.

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18. Celebrated at an office Christmas party with a co-worker who has become a cherished friend.

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19. Developed an addition to Good and Penty

IMG_369820. Celebrated Christmas, (as always in our house) Danish style, which means we celebrate on Christmas Eve with pork roast for dinner, church service, presents and rice porridge before bed. Yummm! God Jul!

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21. My cousin Mimi from Denmark arrived and she’ll be living with us for a whole five weeks!! Wish she could stay forever. Best Christmas present. I was planning on including a picture of the two of us here, but poor thing got super sick once she got here. Good thing she’s here for a while. Here’s a photo of me waiting to greet her at the airport.

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Thoughts On Being Bossy

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When Sheryl Sandberg came out with her book, “Lean In” it started a conversation and then a movement encouraging women and also young girls to embrace their inner bossy attitude. The idea is that little girls who are bossy, grow up to be great leaders.

I honestly don’t agree with this at all. This conversation has created a whole lot of confusion about the difference between leadership and being bossy. In fact, Sandberg has created a whole campaign around it.

This topic is often on my mind because I spend a lot of time with children. I adore children and enjoy spending time with my friend’s children. Bossy children are easy to spot. “Go over there!” Give it to me!” “Come here!” A bossy child is one who is demanding and is not using their manners. For children with which I have permission from their parents to correct, I’ll reply with, “Please come with me over there.” “Please share it with me.” “Please come here.” Let me tell you, it doesn’t change dependent upon gender. Both boys and girls can be bossy. This is not a behavior you want to let go. You want to nip it in the bud. If you don’t then these children turn into adults who are inconsiderate and downright rude who are a pain to interact with in the workplace or work with in any compacity. You definitely don’t want to be friends with these people. You know who I’m talking about. I guarantee you are already thinking of a handful of people.

President John Qunicy Adams described leadership like this, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” What a difference that is from being bossy! I am all for encouraging and fostering leadership in young girls, but this is very different than being bossy. People who are bossy do not inspire people. They may motivate people, but not in a positive way. More in a fear-based way.

I think that at the root of this is a misunderstanding of the real meaning of words.

Leadership= To go before or with to show the way; conduct or escort;to conduct by holding and guiding

Bossy= Given to ordering people about; overly authoritative; domineering.

See how these are different?

As a communications and journalism major in college, I believe that words are important. They mean things! Equating the word leadership with bossy is frankly so silly. It’s much like the overuse of the words amazing, wonderful, etc. in our society. When you really look at the true meaning of these words, you see that they shouldn’t be used so frequently. I am the first to admit that I do this too much myself. This is an area where I need to grow.

We need to encourage leadership in young girls. We need more women who are strong leaders. This doesn’t mean excusing bad behavior with the idea that being bossy is a good thing. It’s not.

The Hunt For The Best Tinted Moisturizer

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I’ve been on the hunt…for the best tinted moisturizer. The hunt began several months ago when my favorite one was discontinued by Serious Skincare. Boo. I am not a fan of change, but suddenly I was forced into looking for a new one.

I don’t wear a lot of make-up. My typical make-up routine consists of: tinted moisturizer, concealer (if needed), a little dust of powder foundation, bronzer and mascara.

So you can see how important a good tinted moisturizer is! It’s the base for everything. On the weekends, I tend to use only tinted moisturizer and mascara.

Back to my search. I decided to buy a handful of different ones, rotate them and then determine my favorite one. I bought three, one at a drug store and two at a department store.

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Estee Lauder DayWear
This was the splurge one at $50 at a department store. Woof. Now, that being said, when I use this one, on a regular basis, I can legitimately see it improving the condition of my skin. It provides good coverage. Downside, it rubs off on clothing and other things. If the price scares you, look for it on RueLaLa. (Need an invite, click here.) I’ve seen this product on there multiple times for $35-40.

MAC Prep+Prime
This one is best applied with a make-up brush. If my memory serves me right, it was $35 at a department store, which as far as I’m concerned is reasonable. This one provides fantastic coverage. It’s the clear winner for coverage. This is probably the one I will continue to buy going forward.

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB
This one wins for most affordable at $8 at a drugstore. While it may be the most cost efficient, it isn’t the best one. It provides decent coverage, but the others provide better coverage. Not always, but in this case, you get what you pay for.

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