As time goes on…

About this time of year I start thinking about my birthday.  It’s still over a month away, but it’s out there.  And this makes me think about the passing of time.  But this is not a post about me getting older, necessarily.  It is a post about other things getting older.  Really, I just have a lot of random things to say, and I like a theme.

  • My car is getting older.  I passed the 100K mark on Molly Mazda several weeks ago and there are a few cute quirks she’s acquiring in her old age.  Typically the blinker lever shuts itself off after a right or left turn.  Molly no longer does this after right turns.  I have to pop the blinker lever back up after right hand turns or I’m that irritating lady driving for miles while signaling.
  • My dye job is getting older.  It’s time for my bi monthly hair dye job, which I do myself with boxes of dyes from Walgreens.  And instead of my medium red standard color of late, I picked up a lighter strawberry blonde color.  I’m enjoying the lighter color I have right now as the last round of red has faded.  I thought I’d keep it going for the final summer hurrah and then go back to my red ways.
  • Dawson’s Creek is getting older.  Yet, that is not preventing me from burning through it on Netflix.  I cancelled my cable two weeks ago which means I explore all of the options available to me on Hulu and Netflix and thought the time seemed right to visit the kids from the cape.  Dawson’s Creek started when I was a freshman in college and I remember watching it pretty religiously in the dorm for the first few years, but fizzled out on it as I got older.  I’m in Season 5 now, they are in college and I’ve never seen any of these episodes.  I’m completely  suckered in and I am in love with Pacey Whitter.  I’m sort of craving some high school style, romantic-y angst in my life right now.
  • My stack of magazines is getting older.  I had a pile of magazines that measured just about 4 feet tall.  I am a dog-earer.  I read through magazines and dog ear pages I want to come back to.  I dog ear a recipe I want to try, beauty products I want to look into, shopping websites or resources that I need to bookmark.  I’ve delayed just tossing them into the recycling bin because I need to review the dog eared pages to see if there is anything I’m still interested in.  I just unearthed the December 2009 Real Simple magazine.  There is still a foot of magazine to go through.  Yikes.

    The pile of things I’m keeping around. To be filed…

  • My favorite gray tank top from Old Navy is getting older.  It got a hole in it.  I know it’s a $5 tank top from Old Navy, but it’s comfortable and I like it and now it has a hole in it.  The hole is in a spot that is obvious, right above my belly button.  Not something I can pretend is not there and keep wearing out in the real world.
  • My wall decor is getting older.  Back when I lived in Chicago there was this quirky store that sold quirky things stationery and decorating related.  They had drawers full of old (vintage) flash cards.  I bought some.  I thought they’d make a cute collage on a wall and last spring when I redecorated my living room I finally got around to putting them up.  Earlier this week I came in the living room to find that one was falling off the wall.  I thought about taking it as a sign that I needed to redecorate the living room, or at least change up the art work on the walls.  I decided that sounded like a lot of work, so instead I’m going to take it as a sign that I need more tape.

Whoops. Need tape. Not new decor.

And there you have it.  The list of things that are getting old around here.  And yet, I’m not so worried about being one of them.  I’m getting better, not older.

Photos from Color Run!

Here are the pictures from the Color Run!

At each kilometer a dozen volunteers with squeeze bottles full of color went to town on the runners who came through.  That got you hit with some color, but the real color bomb came at the after party.  That’s where the color cloud party was.  Everyone had packets of color and you threw them up in the air and at each other while loud pop music was playing and everyone was dancing and laughing and throwing pink and yellow and green powder at each other.  So silly.  So fun.

I feel pretty

 

I cannot stop looking at this picture.  I did the Color Run this morning.  And it is indeed the Happiest 5K on the Planet, as advertised.  I met my sister there and once the race started I ran on my own.  I came in just under 34 minutes which I’m very happy with.  I danced in the color cloud after party.  I met my friend Billy there who is always up for crazy events like dancing in a color cloud post run.  And I have pictures of all of that, and I’ll share them later tonight, but for now, this picture.

I came home covered in color (clearly).  My hair was in pigtails for the race and I had this Color Run sweatband on.  But each time I caught myself in the mirror, the first thought I had was that I looked pretty.

There’s an ongoing joke in my family that I’ll check myself out in whatever reflective surface is near me, so it isn’t a surprise that I was taking glimpses at myself, especially since I looked a little foolish.  But as I took the sweatband off, and the pigtails came out, and I began slowly stripping out of color coated clothing only to find color coated skin, I kept smiling and stole glances of myself smiling.  And I still thought – I look pretty.

Maybe it’s confidence – I’m happy I ran the whole race.  Maybe it’s just that it was indeed a fun morning and I’m glad I drug myself out to do it.  I don’t know exactly.  And laugh all you want, my family would all be rolling their eyes at me, but I just couldn’t stop looking at happy me in the mirror covered in color and thinking – I look pretty.

I don’t have that thought when I’m all made up all the time.  Only when I’m covered in neon corn starch that is starting to dye my skin like camp tie dye shirts.

More photos to come…just wanted to share my mini obsession with my own reflection.

Blog Hopping

I start with what I have in my Google Reader.

Then I read comments on an interesting post.  Then I click on the author of a clever comment.

Then I check on a few blogs that aren’t on my Reader list, but I know are interesting.

Then sometimes it depends on my mood – do I want to browse party blogs?  Fashion blogs?  Fitness blogs?

And then sometimes I come across a great article that makes the blog hopping all worth it.  I highlighted some passages I thought were most interesting – it was stressing being witty with each other and being kind to your partner.  It’s about the continued conversation.  The older I get, the more I get it.

I Don’t Believe in Date Night

BY Raluca State

I don’t believe in date night.

It’s not that the idea of three hours of child-free, wine-fueled conversation in an overpriced restaurant with candlelight doesn’t sound lovely… it does. But the pressure that comes along with it – the notion that this three-hour, once in a blue moon pause is going to save or strengthen a marriage – is a hard pill for me to swallow.

I believe in everything that happens in between date nights.

I have been married to my husband Chris for almost eight years, but we’ve been together for 18. I am only 34, so you do the math. I’ve loved this man since we were kids. Ours is a relationship that our friends hold up as an example of happiness, equality, love, friendship… and most of the time, I understand why. And I can tell you, it’s not because of date nights.

It’s because of regular nights. When we put the kids to bed, turn on some music, pour some wine and eat by candlelight. It can be Monday, it can be meatloaf, we can be talking about the mortgage. But it’s always meaningful. And more importantly, it’s routine. We do it all the time.

It’s because we go to bed mad. I don’t believe that everything needs to resolve itself before we fall asleep; in fact, I tend to have a much more levelheaded reaction to most of our arguments after a good eight-hour sleep. And let’s be honest, there’s something incredibly fulfilling about turning to face the wall in a huff and not looking back.

It’s because we tweet. Let’s be honest – the persona you put out there on social media is often times the life of the party, just a little bit wittier and funnier than the one sitting on the couch at home. Why not invite your spouse to meet that side of you again?

It’s because we don’t keep secrets. Not our own, and not anyone else’s, either… at least from each other. I have found that discussing your girlfriends’ issues when it comes to marriage, infidelity and relationships with your partner can help the two of you gain more perspective – putting yourselves in someone else’s shoes to see how you would react makes it a lot more likely you won’t end up there.

It’s because of our record collection. Because we pull out our wedding song on the regular (Lyle Lovett’s ‘Nobody Knows Me’), we crank the hip hop songs that we danced to when we first met, we play the ’80s hits that defined moments in our respective lives – and then laugh about them.

It’s because we spend time apart…even when we’re together. We both work from home so while we are merely 10 feet apart all day, we spend most of that time not talking to each other. Except on Twitter.

It’s because, apparently, when we do talk to each other, it’s with respect. A friend was at our house for a BBQ recently and remarked on how kind we are when we talk to each other, even when I am asking him to take out the trash. She said she could see there was a mutual respect and kindness there in every little interaction. I gave her another glass of wine.

It’s because we try really, really hard not to fight in front of our kids. If we feel something brewing and consciously decide to discuss it later when the kids aren’t around, guess what? We usually never do. Things pass, emotions cool off and we are all better for it in the end.

So I don’t believe in date nights. I think you should focus on your marriage when you’re in the house – no waiters, no specialty cocktails, no skinny jeans and heels. I believe it has made my marriage stronger. I believe it has kept it secure through ups and downs. I believe it can help you have fun with your partner again. And I firmly believe in saving the cocktails, waiters and skinny jeans for girls’ night out instead.

Featured image by Sequins and Candy Photography

Untitled

Raluca from WhatWouldGwynethDo is a full-time mommy, blogger and career gal “striving for style in the land of sippy cups and see saws.” She writes about life as a multi-tasking mama to two who balances conference calls, cookie baking and a healthy handbag obsession without batting an eye…because it’s usually half closed from exhaustion. You can also follow her on Twitter @wwgwynethdo.

A lovely evening

It was 75 degrees outside when I got home from work and it’s only continued to cool down.

I didn’t have anything to do tonight or anyone to be accountable to.

I was exhausted from a weekend of people and a day without my glasses.

I opened windows.

I toasted a bagel and smeared it with almond butter and honey.

I read some blogs while a HIMYM repeat was on, and it was a good repeat.  One from last season and Ted is sad and yet ever-hopeful over his romantic life and realizing he will never have Robin.

Then I laid down and watched an episode of Downton Abbey.  I’m in season 2.  I love it.

Now it’s dark out and breezes cross my bedroom and bring the smell of a sage candle I have burning on my dresser.

It’s early enough that I can go to bed and still get 8 hours of sleep EVEN WITH getting up at 6am to run.

It’s been a lovely, quiet night.  One of those nights where I don’t know if I’ve said a word out loud since 5:30pm when I left work.  (Is it aloud, or out loud?)

And I found this lovely blog post about a lovely birthday party and it was only after I looked at all the pictures I realized it was a party in St. Louis! I don’t think the birthday I have coming up in 6 weeks will be quite this lavish, but one day…

All images are from the Hostess with the Mostess blog and complete details about this party can be found here.

Such a wonderful cake, love the name written on the side.

Perfect colors for my fall birthday

Fancy.

I miss hosting dinner parties.  Real, grown up dinner parties with menu cards and elaborate table settings.  I remember one I threw in Louisiana and I carved out the tops of apples so a tealight candle would fit perfectly inside.

Somewhere, in a parallel universe, today is my 7th wedding anniversary.  I briefly spoke to Ex Husband earlier and we decided our parallel universe selves would be out to dinner, most likely a dinner of many courses with paired wines, and we would have found creative ways to give each other the traditional 7th anniversary gift, which I’m sad to say is copper or wool.  It was always fun to incorporate the stodgy old traditional gifts into something thoughtful.  Although, Ex Husband said something about giving me a bag of pennies.  Unless these were very thoughtful pennies from years that were meaningful to me/us, I’m sure this would have not gone over well.

I think I would like to have marvelous parties again.

I also think I will watch one more Downton Abbey episode before bed.

I will sleep, perchance to dream…of dinner parties and parallel lives.

 

 

Strengths Finders

This is a story about things I’m good at and things I’m not.  (Editor’s Note: I know – all I really write about any more are school and running.  This post will be no different.  If you’re not into that, you should stop reading.  I won’t take it personally.)

To begin, you should know I facilitated a brief workshop on the Strengths Finders assessment this morning to a group of Human Resource leaders where I work.  Quickly, SF says you should work to grow in your areas that are your greatest strengths instead of areas of deficit.  If, on a scale of 1-10, you are a 3 in math (like me), you can work and work and work and MAYBE someday I’ll get to a level 5 mastery of math.  It will never come easy and I’ll probably never enjoy it.  If I focus my energy instead on something I really demonstrate an aptitude for and work towards mastery I could reach a 10.  What’s better; to give  so much energy to something that will produce level 5 results or to give energy and be energized by the work I can provide level 10 results with?

At my last school residency weekend we were assigned the big end of semester project.  With only 2 weeks to do a fair amount of work and a group of 5 classmates I had not worked with before, I had medium expectations for my group.  I was not sure how we were going to gel PLUS I was in North Carolina for a week with little access to our assignment which is the time frame we had to get our draft together.  I presented a kind of risky change to our assignment after we got our draft feedback and the team rallied around it.  And everyone got to work.  And we worked hard.  And I can honestly say that project would not have come together the way it did without a contribution from each and every one of us.  It would not have been as complete, as rich, as layered, as pretty and as innovative as it turned out.  I spent a LOT of time on it last week.  We got draft feedback Tuesday night and completely changed strategies after that and it was due Sunday.  This project pitted the three groups in our class against each other for the first time, and I can honestly say that “winning” did not cross our team’s mind.  Or, if it cross my teammates minds, they didn’t mention it.  We talked about pleasing the client, about creating the right document, about learning how we could do it different, etc.  We never talked about “beating” anyone.

Monday night, the client was joining us on a class conference call to announce her choice for winning proposal.  I had a happy hour cocktail with my cousin after work and picked up some ice cream from the local dairy ice cream shop on the corner to bring home to eat while we got the news.  Because as much as I didn’t think about winning during the assignment, all I could think of once it was submitted was, “It sure would be nice to win so we know our work was worth it.”  I rushed in my apartment at 3 minutes to 8, grabbed the laptop, and furiously dialed in.  The client was kind and didn’t make us wait long before she announced that my group had been selected as the winning proposal.  I happily ate my ice cream.

And the strangest thing has happened the last two days.  You’d think I’d be so glad it’s over and done and that project is put to bed.  But I was really enjoying the work.  And I was really proud of our project.  And I’ve been visiting it.  I know – that’s so weird.  But I open it up in Google Docs and just look at it.  I’m not ready to let it go.  I was really happy working on it and hard our work was rewarded.

Tonight, I had a 5 mile run on the schedule.  I mapped out a course, had the ipod charging all day and left my house this evening to embrace the miles.

Blech.  Whatever.  I got 3 in.  Then I came home.  Blech. No need to elaborate.

Strengths Finders says that the definition of a strength is as follows:

Talent (natural ability) x investment (time, knowledge) = strength

They say the talent is your multiplier.  Let’s do some math.  (Simple math, because I’m bad at it, remember?)

Creating proposal for Organizational Development Summits

Talent – 8 x Investment – 10 = 80

Running

Talent – 3 x Investment (….here’s where it get’s tricky.  Am I bad at running because I’m not investing the same amount of time in it?  Even if I dedicated that level 10 Investment in it – the best I could ever be is a 30.  OR, maybe I do have some talent at it, maybe it’s buried deep within me and it’s a level 8, but I’m only putting a level 5 amount of investment in it.  BUT, wouldn’t I want to put more time to it if it were something that I felt good about?  BUT, I do feel strong when I conquer a run.  I’ll never forget the first time I ran 4 miles.  It was amazing.  I thought I could have run around the world.  It did make me feel strong.  Sigh.  Welcome to my brain.)

 

So – here’s me post kind of lousy run.

I’m sexy and I know it.

And here’s to tomorrow.  Another day.  Another run planned.  I’m going to go to bed with visions of finishing in my head.

Sarah

Don’t look back, you’re not going that way.

::illustration by Mary Engelbreit::

A year ago today I was fired.  It’s pretty much one of the scariest things that can happen to a single girl who is a terrible financial planner.  It was a pretty terrible day, followed by many bad days to follow where I just hung out in my bed under the covers.  And I’d be lying if I said I’m not still a little angry and bitter about the whole situation.

But then, one day, I got out of bed.  And I applied for grad school.  And being in grad school may have helped me become a more attractive candidate.  Because a year later I’m getting my Master’s in a program that makes me so happy and I am working for a receptive boss who is letting me slowly teach him Google technology.

Speaking of this Master’s program, I know it’s the right one because yesterday, seven text books arrived in the mail, and it made me happy.  If it weren’t for this giant project due for my current semester that is due on Sunday, I would have curled up and started reading one of them.

Textbooks!!

I ran 4 miles yesterday.  That’s good.  Tomorrow I nedd to run 5.  1/2 marathon is closer than I’d like to think and it’s time to get super serious about training.

It’s time to get back to said school project.  Semester ends Monday and I will be ready for the break.