Friday, September 28, 2012

New York State of Mind: Hometown Journalism

photo by Mill Creek Multimedia
Today I'm sharing a heartwarming article written by Julie Muhlstein, a fantastic columnist from my hometown of Everett, WA.

Stories like this one are wonderful to write and even better to read. They give me hope and make me grateful for the blessings in my own life. I hope you enjoy Gage's story as much as I did. Happy Friday!

Everett Boy's wish to be a cop granted by Julie Muhlstein, The Herald - Everett, WA
In other news, guess what I'm doing tomorrow...going apple picking in Wisconsin! I'm so excited. Pictures to come on Monday. What are you doing this weekend?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

my mixtape for you

listen here
I love Spotify. You can access an endless variety of music without forking over a $1.29 per song (sorry iTunes). It's a great way to give a new artist a listen and check out all the songs on a brand new album before you decide to buy it. Plus, who doesn't love creating playlists! 

Today I thought it'd be fun to share the five songs currently at the top of my playlist. My mixtape for you if you will. How do you like to listen to music? What's your favorite song right now?

Monday, September 24, 2012

fantastic dresses to brighten a monday morning

photos via InStyle
It's a Monday if there ever was one. This morning I woke up an hour late. Then, when I went to catch the bus I found out it wasn't running due to construction. Can you say awesome with a capital 'A'?!

To brighten your morning and mine, here are my favorite looks from last night's Emmy's. Julianne Moore wins best dressed hands down. The color. The flowing skirt. The laid back hair. Elegant simplicity at it's best. Moore's ensemble emitted the same tone and splendor as Emma Stone's Calvin Klein frock at the 2011 Golden Globe Awards.

Ginnifer Goodwin's magnificent tangerine Monique Lhuillier confection was a close second for me. And although Julianne Hough resembled a shiny mermaid, I found myself completely on board with her look. Strange but true. It must be her fabulous hair.

What looks were your favorite?

Friday, September 21, 2012

New York State of Mind

A thoughtful analysis about preconceived, often prejudice, notions on leadership...
Must Great Leaders Be Gregarious? by Susan Cain, The New York Times
"We prize leaders who are eager talkers over those who have something to say. In 2004, we praised George W. Bush because we wanted to drink a beer with him. Now we criticize President Obama because he won’t drink one with us."
Another raw, poignant essay from Times' ongoing series about Anxiety...

Surviving the Pain at the Roots by Alexandra Heather Foss, The New York Times
"I believe that anxiety is the result of a violent culture where abuse has been so normalized it seems insignificant. We are told that to be strong means to suffer in silence, when strength really comes from giving our suffering a voice."
An engaging perspective on the motivation behind work and its relationship to leisure...

What Work Is Really For by Gary Gutting, The New York Times 
"Capitalism, with its devotion to profit, is not in itself evil. But it becomes evil when it controls our choices for the sake of profit."
A fascinating albeit disturbing article about the workings of child molesters, with the Jerry Sandusky scandal taking center stage...
In Plain View by Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker
"When monsters roam free, we assume that people in positions of authority ought to be able to catch them if only they did their jobs. But that might be wishful thinking."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom: Romantic Optimism

I wasn't a fan of Elizabeth Gilbert's book Eat, Pray, Love, but I completely identify with this statement. It sums up my experience with love. Too often I have fallen in love with a guy's potential rather than the here and now.

You can't change someone or make them progress faster than they're ready. You also can't propel two people to be at the same place in life if they're not. Despite my knowledge of these truths, I've fought like hell to disprove them. No such luck.

It's important to remain hopeful about love, but be careful not to deceive yourself into unnecessary heartache. There's no use running a three-legged race alone. It doesn't work. I've tried.

Monday, September 17, 2012

on my bookshelf...

Although working full-time and going to school seem to afford me little time to eat healthy and exercise, I've found myself reading more thanks to my one-hour lunch break and commute time on the bus.

Last month for The Everygirl Book Club I read Diane Keaton's memoir, Then Again. Like Diane's character and talent, Then Again is no ordinary memoir. Diane intertwines her mother's life story with her own, creating a beautiful tapestry highlighted by humor, memories, failures, and triumphs.

The Receptionist's cover might lead one to believe it's a work of fiction. However, Janet Groth's tale is one composed of fact and experience. Her prose captured me from start to finish. Anyone who is captivated by writing and publishing should read this unique biography.

I'll be delving into Mary Soames' memoir, A Daughter's Tale, this week. I discovered the book in the August issue of Vogue. Soames, Winston Churchill's only surviving child, was featured as part of the magazine's annual age issue. My interest was instantly piqued. Reading will now commence.

Friday, September 14, 2012

New York State of Mind: Lessons on Self & Country

photo by sophie takes pictures

Today I have two very different works to share with you. One--a poignant essay about self, the other--a moving photo essay dedicated to a greater purpose.

On Being Nothing by  Brian Jay Stanley, The New York Times

This thought provoking essay gives meaning to our individual need for self affirmation.

"If the world is a stage, then everyone’s an extra, acting minor roles in simultaneous scenes in which no one has the lead. With so much happening, society is poorly made to satisfy pride, but well made to satisfy interest, if we will only let go of our vanity and join the swirl of activity."

The Heroes of Ground Zero by Ron Beinner, Vanity Fair

This pieces combines moving photographs with equally poignant text.

"The firefighters and police officers who risked everything; the rescue workers who came from hundreds of miles away; the families who grieve; the leaders who rallied a shell-shocked city; the vigil keepers whose candles lit the night: These are among the images that will endure. This is the New York—and the America—worth fighting for, one not of skyscrapers, but of people."

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom from Katie Armour

photo by Maia Harms
"If you want to make a lasting impression, be polished, but still reflect your own, personal style. Try to remember that dressing is a way of honoring the occasion and showing respect for those you meet. You don’t have to wear a suit to look professional, confident, and stylish. Go for the classics, but always with a hint of flair.” - Katie Armour, Matchbook Magazine

Katie's feature on Refinery 29

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Remembering September 11

Pennsylvania Firefighters - photo by Jonas Karlsson via Vanity Fair
14 years old. Freshman in high school. 6:30 am seminary class. A plane flew into the World Trad Center. Piled into Ben's Dodge Spirit on the way to school. The Pentagon has been hit. First period biology class. The second tower has been hit. We watch the news in class. Lab is canceled. The rest of the school day is a haze.

Mariners game is canceled. No planes in the sky. An eerie stillness fills the air. Back home watching the evening news. Replay of people calling loved ones from Flight 93. Destroyed section of the Pentagon. Death toll rising. Two towers emitting billowing black smoke. People jumping to their deaths. Firefighters storming the area. Desperate faces.Wounded hearts.

11 years ago I witnessed, along with the rest of America, a life-altering tragedy. I didn't directly know anyone who lost their life that day, but I felt the pain of the nation. September 11 is a day that will forever be imprinted upon our minds. Let it be a day we celebrate the strength of America. Recognize the sacrifice of others. Give thanks for the blessings we enjoy.

Remembering September 11 is about honor, sacrifice, justice, and love.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Labor Day in Door County

Over Labor Day weekend I headed off to Wisconsin, the great land of cheese. My friends Charlotte and Colin took it upon themselves to organize a group camping trip in picturesque Door County along Lake Michigan. I'm so glad they invited met to tag along! The entire crew included: Me, Emily, Charlotte, Colin, Jamie, Jordan, Jimmy, Taylee, Bob, Brooke, Casey, and Elise.

Saturday morning we ventured out to Sisters Bay for breakfast at the legendary Al Johnson's,  a Swedish restaurant which houses goats on its roof! Emily, who grew up on a goat farm, was beside herself with happiness.

In the town of Fish Creek we took a nine mile bike ride to a lighthouse. About halfway through the ride Colin remarked, "I think I'm getting high off of this pure air." The rest of the afternoon was spent at the beach where Jimmy proceeded to do his best impression of a swimsuit model/baywatch girl. Hilarious. Once Bob, Brooke, Elise, and Casey arrived we celebrated sweet Elise's birthday with the entire crew.

Sunday morning we attended Church in a pocket-size building filled with friendly, devoted members. It's always refreshing to see that the gospel is the same where ever you go. Next, we set off for brunch at The Bistro. What should have been a leisurely hour filled with syrup and laughter turned into an epic ordeal. The Bistro should really change its name to The Bee-stro. Upon receiving our food, bees began to descend at a rapid rate. Charlotte's cherry french toast was a lost cause. We ended up moving inside and sitting at the bar. Come to find out, there was a nice hornets nest right above our table.

Tuckered out from our bee-filled meal, we returned to our cabins for a splendid Sunday nap. That evening we went on a hike to find a lighthouse in what Elise called "not a real place". Our hike required us to employ the childhood skills we'd acquired from days playing hot lava. The terrain was filled with muck resembling what I think dinosaur poop must of looked like. Even though we got dirty the lake view was worth it. We finished our busy day with an amazing meal at Shipwrecked. The sweet potato fries, pork butt sandwich, and root beer were beyond delicious.

The much needed long weekend was filled with good food, friends, and fun in the sun. It was wonderful to exchange buildings for trees and work for play. We'll be back Door County!

Friday, September 7, 2012

New York State of Mind via The Wall Street Journal

My first real introduction to the The Wall Street Journal was last summer when I was living at home in Seattle before heading to Chicago for grad school. My dad subscribed to the Journal so I had ready access straight from my doorstep. Knowing I was preparing to pursue a journalism degree, my dad encouraged me to read what he affectionately calls "a fantastic periodical." Insert snooty tone here.

While the paper's financial sections did not interest me, I made it a habit to read the "Life & Culture" section. One of my favorite articles from last summer, "Depression in Command", explores how depression impacted historically great leaders such as Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill.

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I battle clinical depression so whenever it is a topic of discussion my interest is peaked. This particular article provides a new perspective on how a perceived weakness can actually be the source of great strength.

Excerpt from "Depression in Command":

"Great crisis leaders are not like the rest of us; nor are they like mentally healthy leaders. When society is happy, they toil in sadness, seeking help from friends and family and doctors as they cope with an illness that can be debilitating, even deadly. Sometimes they are up, sometimes they are down, but they are never quite well."

"When traditional approaches begin to fail, however, great crisis leaders see new opportunities. When the past no longer guides the future, they invent a new future. When old questions are unanswerable and new questions unrecognized, they create new solutions. They are realistic enough to see painful truths, and when calamity occurs, they can lift up the rest of us."

"Their weakness is the secret of their strength."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Wednesday Wisdom: Fly Over States

photo by Clarissa Fidler

Listening to Jason Aldean's song "Fly Over States" makes me cry, every time, without fail.  It's one of those songs that touches me so deeply it's hard for me to fully express my emotions in words. Several road trips within the last two years have led me to appreciate what Jason calls the "fly over states"--land void of skyscrapers and retailers, timeless scenes reminiscent of the American West.

There's a different feeling in those little towns with funny names--one of simplicity, determination, and understanding. Like the weathered, well used barns dotting the horizon, the people are strong. I've met real farmers who plow the earth and bust their asses for you and me. It's not an easy life. You don't always reap what you sow.

If you question how people can live their lives in what we might call the middle of nowhere, take a ride across the Badlands. Spend some time basking in the beauty of a corn field. Breathe in the open space. I've done just that and now, I too understand why God made those fly over states.

Read the lyrics and watch the music video. You'll understand what I'm trying to convey. 

"Fly Over States"

A couple of guys in first class on a flight
From New York to Los Angeles,
Kinda making small talk killing time,
Flirting with the flight attendants,
30, 000 feet above, could be Oklahoma,

Just a bunch of square cornfields and wheat farms,
Man, it all looks the same,
Miles and miles of back roads and highways,
Connecting little towns with funny names,
Who'd want to live down there in the middle of nowhere,

They've never drove through Indiana,
Met the men who plowed that earth,
Planted that seed, busted his ass for you and me,
Or caught a harvest moon in Kansas,
They'd understand why god made those fly over states,

I bet that mile long Santa Fe freight train engineer's seen it all
Just like that flatbed cowboy stacking US steel on a 3-day haul
Road and rails under their feet
Yeah that sounds like a first class seat

On the plains of Oklahoma
With a windshield sunset in your eyes
Like a watercolored painted sky

You'll think heaven's doors have opened
You'll understand why god made
Those fly over states

Take a ride across the badlands
Feel that freedom on your face
Breathe in all that open space
Meet a girl from Amarillo
You'll understand why god made
You might even want to plant your stakes
In those fly over states

Have you ever been through Indiana
On the plains of Oklahoma
Take a ride

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

One Year in Chicago!

I remember seeing the Chicago skyline for the first time driving east on the highway. My heart started racing. We passed historic Wrigley Field, a mere 10 minute walk from my new apartment. Driving along famous Lakeshore Drive my eyes skipped furiously from building to building. Lincoln Park and Lake Michigan completed the breathtaking scene. I kept repeating, "I live in the coolest place ever!" Eloquent, I know.

One year ago today my dad and I made the final trek across Wisconsin, completing our four-day road trip to the great the city of Chicago. Our ride across the Badlands the day before was one I'll never forget. More on that tomorrow for Wednesday's Wisdom.

Time is a strange entity. It's both present and fleeting. We move forward even if it feels like we're standing still. I'm always afraid that a year from now I'll be in the exact same place I am today.

I never planned on going to graduate school, let alone moving to Chicago. Looking back on everything that's happened and changed over the past year proves my worry that I'd be in the same place was once again unfounded. That gives me hope for the future.

Some major highlights from my first year in Chicago include: adopting my cat Harper, making new friends, exploring the city with visits from friends and family, selling my car, finishing my first year of grad school, interning with The Everygirl, and getting my first full-time job with benefits, vacation etc.

Living the dream isn't perfect like the movies. It's messy, hard, and confusing. I'm still not entirely sure why I'm here in Chicago but I know that good things can and do happen.