Friday, May 30, 2014

Letters to DC: Sweaty Man at the Gym

Dear Sweaty Man at The Gym:

Could we talk for a minute how you are ruining the time I spend in the gym? I used to actually like going to the gym before you started to show up and leave your GIANT pools of sweat on the floor. This is just a personal opinion, BUT I am pretty sure that working out for 2+ hours while you are drinking beer and energy drinks isn't exactly doing your body a lot of favors. With all the sweat you are leaving on the floor around the elliptical machine, I would highly suggest drinking some water rather than your quad, triple-extra-large Starbucks coffee canned beverage (or a beer like you had a few weeks ago). 

Also, if you are leaving pools of sweat (and I mean POOLS) around the machine you were using--be polite and wipe that nastiness up! Better yet--why don't you bring some bath towels and lay them on the floor considering how much you wick off of your toxin fueled body. are working out wearing that Belly Burner?!?

Another request...could you please change your clothes (that are dripping sweat down the hallway) before you go and sit on the weight machines and leave pools of sweat there as well? 

Well thank you for considering my requests. I hope to see you in the gym soon, perhaps with some water, bath towels and an extra set of clothes. Happy working out!



Wednesday, May 21, 2014

If You Don't Like Kale....Try, Try, Again

Kale and I didn't start off on the right foot. 

I read about this "amazing", "life-altering", green of a million health benefits and ran right out to the store to grab a giant bag to incorporate into my smoothies. This was before kale was splattered all over every trendy restaurant's menu and before you could buy it at Trader Joe's- so I was a little....uneducated about the green. 

I dragged that big giant bag home, read that I should pull the leaves off the stems and toss a good hearty handful into my blender with my fruits and chug it down with a post-workout smoothie.

Well THAT was a mistake.

I remember I vaguely interpreted that disclaimer about the stems being super bitter and that a little kale goes a long ways in a smoothie. I ended up washing the smoothie down the sink, throwing the remainder of my kale in the trash and vowing that glare at any person who exclaimed "I LOVE kale!". 

I avoided it for a few years, steering away from it on menus, in smoothies, and it certainly never graced my grocery basket ever again. 

Cue a dinner at Mintwood Place and sharing an appetizer of burrata, kales, hazelnut, apple & tamarind with friends. The crunch baked kale was outstanding. Dare I say I got territorial over the appetizer. Fast forward and a friend brought a kale and brussel sprout salad to a super bowl party. Again...delightful. 

It finally occurred to me that my initial interaction with kale had been a rushed, brash experience that resulted in a less than warranted aversion.

Looking for some healthy, quick snacks I can make to munch on while I am on marathon calls for work, I decided to jump on this kale chip bandwagon (making sure to truly remove all those stems!) and have found a new craving that isn't a samoa girl scout cookie.

Not to be a sell out....but... I LOVE baked kale chips. 

Watch out world...I may just buy a yoga mat now. 

If you are looking for Kale inspiration, I found mine here, and here

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

These Are Some of My Favorite Things

♥ I found the most adorable Boise coasters that I framed for my office during Christmas. I just found LadyBugPress on etsy, and she has save the date coasters that are adorable.

♥ Sending flowers is always such an expensive and disappointing experience. You end up spending way more than you anticipated and then your gift usually arrives and looks nothing like what you ordered. Makes me interested to try the affordable and well rated Bouqs (Hint: Boyfriend, hint, hint).

♥ I've been trying to find the perfect new duvet or coverlet for our guest bedroom (my office) for months now. While these don't come in a color I am excited about for our room, I really loved them and the look. 

♥ I bought these today in an attempt to have some light colored pants in my wardrobe. They are some of the most comfy pants I have ever purchased. 

♥ Slurpees have long been a favorite treat of mine, but for some reasons the "7evs" near me gross me out. This neat trick looks like a fun way to get my frozen coke fill. 

♥ This might be my new go-to baby gift for friends who have new little ones. How much fun to have something personalized! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

My Scary Age.

I am nearing the final weeks of my life as a 27 year old. The days of thinking 25 was old, were I was supposed to have this neat, organized, and pristine life, seem like a laughing matter now as I stare 28 straight in the face. When I passed 25 and looked at my life to see that it bore very little resemblance to what I thought it would be, I kind of shrugged my shoulders as thought "Well, that was funny, but I'm still young...pllleeennnttttyyy of time".

Then two more years sailed by.

The panic has started to rise in my throat.

Laugh all you want. Say how young I am, how much life I have to live. I know. 

But it has nothing to do what others think, and entirely to do with what I think. 28 is my scary age. 

I feel like I'm failing. That I've done something wrong to be at this point where I feel empty handed. I don't want to grow older when I am fearful that the moments I want most are moments I don't, and won't have.

Again, laugh all you want, but I am worried I won't ever have kids. I'm terrified that by the time I get married (if I get marred), settled somewhere I actually am happy to live and acclimated to married life, that opportunity will just that much harder to come by. It seems silly, but it is a really true, deep rooted fear. My whole life I've been told how maternal I am, how great I am with kids, how "mom-like" I am, and yet I am lightyears away from having a life that I would even want to bring a child into.

See!? This is my scary age....because my head has become scarily unhinged and crazy.

It was almost easier when my idea of "adult life" was a closet full of heels, the ability to have a stocked kitchen in which you cook amazing meals for dinner every night, and a social life where you had cocktails and coffee dates every evening. All of this desire to be settled, and to feel like I am not just myself, but part of a unit that will become its own little family, is scary, daunting and emotionally exhausting.

I am trying to embrace the idea that adult life is about filling your life, your surroundings, and your heart with the people, places, things, and memories that make you happy. Leaning on that for your contentment and measure of success.

I'm focusing on accepting. Accepting...that I can't control parts of my life. I can't control that I'm not engaged, or married, or having kids. I can't control what other prioritize, or value. I can't control the really load sirens that blare by our apartment all day and drive me bonkers. I con't control that we have mice that hide behind my coffee maker. I can't control or change someone's mood. I can't control that people get sick, and hurt and that there are just some really awful things in the world.

I am trying to shift my focus on what is in my control. Go and buy a dog, move back across the country to be near family and friends and the scenery that makes your breath catch in your throat. Stop worrying about what your resume will look like if you switch jobs again, or if you don't have matching furniture. Eat lucky charms for dinner, and wear clothes that you bought at Target (in the clearance section), and you cross your fingers that your 19 year old car will last another couple thousand miles before you need to put all that money that needs to go into it.

Smile and graciously accept another year of getting older because it will be ok. 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Atlanta: The Spence, Trey McIntyre, and Baseball

Trey is doing a farewell tour since he has called it quits with his full-time dance company. I've cried just about every day since it was announced. 

The BF knew how much this has hurt and suggested we take a trip to see a final show so I could mourn the loss of one of my favorite pieces of dance the world. We settled on Atlanta and selfishly did so for the addition of some good food and a baseball game to make it a complete weekend. 

We left DC bright at early (maybe not bright- but certainly early) on Saturday morning and were in Atlanta before brunch time had passed. After a brief stop to grab some metro cards (way to go Atlanta for a way better ticket system than DC!) we headed to our hotel and checked-in. A brief nap and a little research we set off to track down some pancakes at Ria's Bluebird. Now I am not much of a pancake lover. I typically opt for bacon, eggs, hashbrowns-those types of things. However, these pancakes were supposed to be epic, and throw in the words "caramelized bananas" and I was sold.

They. Did. Not. Disappoint. Be still my heart-- they were phenomenal. By far the best pancakes I have ever  had. Epic. The bananas created this amazing syrup that I would have drank from a cup if given the opportunity. 

On our way back to the hotel we wandered through a beautiful historic cemetery and also wandered a bit farther than anticipated to see Coca Cola world (can we say diabetes? It was a zoo, but with 9 million bottles of soda and overly caffeinated children). After our minimal sleep the night before, we opted for pulling the black out shades and napping until we had to get ready to go to dinner.

It is no secret that Richard Blais is at the top of my list for favorite celebrity chefs (ok...I'll be honest...he IS my favorite...I mean...can you blame me?!). 

SIDENOTE: I am practically bff's with Richard's sister, so it is just a matter of time until we get to meet.

Anyways, back to the trip. We had been long awaiting an opportunity to eat at The Spence.  It was phenomenal. Even just going to Atlanta for that meeting was entirely worth the trip. Not only is the food fantastic, the space was beautiful, the staff was friendly, and the cocktails were delish.

Did I mention that my love of keys was indulged as well!

Oysters & Pearls

Fried Olives

Bone Marrow

Beet pasta

Short Rib

Sweet Potato "brulee"

And of course we had to have the table-side liquid nitrogen ice cream dessert (how could we not after watching Blais on Top Chef!?!)

The Spence dining room is sunny and beautiful!
Couldn't get enough of the key!

We ubered back to the Rialto Theater, just in time to grab our tickets and make it to our seats for Trey. I can't even begin to tell you about the performance. It haunts my thoughts. 

We saw The Vinegar Works, a work commission on part by the Rialto, which was eerily beautiful and satirical. When Trey nails it--he nails it.

We also were lucky to see Mercury Half-Life, which took my right back to the first time I ever saw work by Trey in a cramp studio theater in Boise Idaho. I remember getting chills. It was the first piece of dance I had seen that made me realize that dance was so much deeper than movement with meaning. His choreography is human, relateable, and emotionally pungent. I can't shake some of the movement that I swear will be seared into my memory forever. It was almost as good as that first time I saw him. Forever I will think of The Reassuring Effects of Form & Poetry, but Mercury half-life was in its own realm of wonderful.

It was a good goodbye. I cried. No joke. Its a close to a period of my life that has such fantastic memories tied to it. I do hope there will be more of TMP in the world, and hopefully some more dance too.

 After a night of emotional recovery- we woke up and headed for a Braves baseball game. All I can say is....Tomahawk chop.

We avoided getting drenched in a horrible rain storm, made it back to the hotel, grabbed a snack and then headed back to the airport to get back to DC so we could pack up and both leave on work trips the next day!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bumps on a Log

The BF's mother came to visit us for Easter weekend, which was such a treat. Typically holidays pass and I hardly even pay them notice. When you don't have family near, the idea of big celebrations and doing all those traditional things just isn't as fun. Having a guest made it feel like a holiday for once, which was really nice- even if we didn't do traditional Easter things. 

One of the days of her visit we drove her to Harpers Ferry, which is one of my favorite day trips in DC. We went a few years ago for an inaugural car ride in the BFs new car and had a fantastic day enjoying the little town. 

It was a bit more crowded and busy this trip, but we had a pleasant lunch and got some quality time out of DC (which we all know how much I enjoy that!)

What was really incredible was when we were walking from the car to the main street (you do have to park about 1/2 mile away) we walked along a stream/waterway area and I spotted a little turtle sunning on a log. A few feet further and we saw a huge turtle slowly swimming underwater! We were able to see 15-20 different turtles either swimming or basking in the sun on logs as we walked into town. 

My favorites where a row of turtles on a log that all lined up in size order! It was pretty stinking cute!

We walked around, hand lunch, checked out the historic church and then on the way back to the car, we saw that these bumps on a log had only attracted more friends! Still in size order too...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

What is it like to Work from Home?

It has been about 7 months since I started my new position and have started working from home. I had a bunch of preconceived ideas about what working from home would look like and I always get asked some of the same questions I had thought about when I considered a work from home position. I figured I'd open it up and tell a little about my day-to-day and some of the realities of working from home.

Working from Home FAQs:

Q: "Don't you get distracted? I could never work from home because I would be doing laundry, watching TV, cooking dinner, etc.!"

A: Some days are certainly harder than others, but I am generally so busy that getting distracted isn't really a problem. I am sure it also helps if you like what you are doing. I also have enough work that if I do have an off day, I pay for it working late nights and early mornings to get caught up. A few months in you will get into a schedule that works best for you and if you want to contain your working hours to daytime- then you will easily be able to tune out any potential distractions.

Q: "Do you get to work whenever you want? I would work all sorts of crazy hours if I got to pick my schedule."

A: I certainly have a lot of flexibility with my schedule, but when you work in a customer/client facing role- you need to maintain hours that make you available to your customers during their hours. I do work some varied hours, but that is more to make sure I am staying on top of everything, but if I want to get a little later start than normal, then I just plan to work a bit later in the evening to make sure I get everything done.

Q: " Don't you get bored and lonely? I would miss working with people."

A: It is a bit strange sometimes. I've only met my co-workers a handful of times, and my manager and I have had to build our relationship through phone calls. That being said, I really enjoy the interactions I do get to have with people I work with and it is critical that you take advantage of ways to stay connected. Make sure you learn about people on a personal level, and pick up the phone for some of those items that could be done through email, but those interactions go a long ways. On the getting lonely piece. Nope, not at all. I talk to people all day long, and my productivity has gone through the roof now that I get to control when I talk to people and in what medium. Overall, this hasn't been an issue, but I do know I have to put in some effort to grow those relationships a bit more than if I were in a traditional office.

Q: "Do you go to coffee shops and work from there?"

A: 99% of the time I am camped up at my desk that I've dedicated for work purposes. Training myself to know that when I am sitting at that desk, I am focusing on work helps me distinguish between work time, and home time. Depending on your job, I am sure you could work from a coffee shop fairly effectively. My position requires a lot of phone time, and I don't think to have to talk over the background noise. 

There is my stab at some of the questions I get! I am sure I will continue to hear and think of others that I will share. If you have a question- leave it in the comments or email me and I will do my best to answer your work from home questions!