Wednesday, March 27, 2013

wednesday wisdom from my best friend

photo source
I am grateful for good friends. The other day I was chatting with my best friend Sarah about a lot of things, among them, my frustration with not being able to fully explain some of the personal issues I'm working to resolve or improve. 

"Why?" is such a vexing question. Sometimes it takes a long time and significant experience to figure out why we feel or behave a certain way. Not knowing often makes me feel like less of a person or like maybe something is wrong with me. 

Sarah reminded me of my personal self-worth with these timely words of wisdom noted above: "Don't feel inadequate just because you can't come up with an adequate explanation for your feelings."

In the same conversation she also said, "I think sometimes Satan's tactic is to make us feel like less of a person because we have emotions that we can't really help or explain sometimes. But really, that's what makes us more powerful than he is."
A lack of knowledge doesn't equate a lack of self worth. We have to live and work through things without all the pieces. Answers don't always come. Who we are right now is just as valuable as who we were before and who we will continue to become. 

We progress and change, but our worth as individuals stays the same. It is infinite.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

a weekend of food, friends, and fun

Oh the wonder of not having to worry about school! This weekend I enjoyed fabulous food, friends, and fun. Friday night Brooke and I headed to the movie theater after work to see Admission with Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. We laughed our heads off. The rest of the audience was a little less enthusiastic. 

Saturday morning I woke up bright and early to meet up with Irish at Doughnut Vault. People lineup every morning for their delicious donuts. We waited in line for about an hour but it was well worth it. Until this weekend I hadn't had a good donut in this town.

Next we headed to Bel 50 for brunch. Absolutely superb. They serve artisan sandwiches on waffles, plus they have fantastic sweet potato fries. I would highly recommend checking it out.

With very full, satisfied tummies we headed back towards Michigan Ave. We perused Forever 21 for a little bit and then went to see Silver Linings Playbook. Jennifer Lawrence definitely earned that Oscar. Her performance was brilliant and Bradley Cooper wasn't half bad either. The storyline was raw, honest, and original. Absolutely flawless.

I'm not ready for it to be Monday again!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spring Break To-Do List

photo by Yui Otani
After my short presentation on my breast cancer story today (click here for full text), I'll officially be done with winter quarter. Hallelujah! I didn't think I was going to make it. This paper literally tried to kill me but I prevailed!

Next week is spring break and even though I'll be working my regular full-time job, I won't have to worry about school all week. Big sigh of relief. I plan on playing as much as I can and putting my extra time to good use.

Spring Break To-Do List
  • Read Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg and Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
  • Watch "Argo"
  • Take my unwanted clothes to The Brown Elephant
  • Go out with my friend Tasha
  • Have brunch with Irish to celebrate making it through winter quarter together
  • Update my resume and online portfolio
  • Make an appointment to get my bangs trimmed

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom: Quit Slackin!

Procrastination and I are too good of friends. We have a very dysfunctional relationship. And yet, I keep coming back for more. You can't get enough of what you really don't need.

It's finals week and my final story is due tomorrow at 11:45 am. Will I be pulling an all-niter to get it done? Yep. Is that completely my own fault? Uh-huh.

I've been working on it all month but it's hard to put forth the amount of time required in relation to my levels of energy and motivation. The combination of working full-time and going to grad school has kicked my butt this quarter.

Ready or not, in 24 hours it will be over! Now, quit slackin and make shit happen!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Going Red

The first time I went red was my last year of college. Inspired by the fabulous Kate Walsh and motivated by the need to change things up after a love life disaster, I took to the bottle. It was fun for awhile and then, come summer, I transitioned into blonde highlights.

By fall I'd moved from Logan to Salt Lake City and started a new job. More change meant another hair style. I went back to my standard, natural brown hue and chopped my should length bob into a pixie cut in an attempt to resemble Carey Mulligan's Vogue cover. Easiest haircut...ever.

When I moved to Chicago a year-and-a-half ago, I decided to grow out my Carey Mulligan cut. Combined with a botched haircut at the Aveda salon (most of the time their $16 grad student budget-friendly cut is fabulous, but this girl didn't know what the heck she was doing) and the glacial pace at which my hair grows, I'm still working on reaching my desired length. I can finally put it up in a high ponytail without bobby pins. Hooray!

Most of the time when I'm hanging out at home, HIMYM is playing in the background. I've lost track of how many times I've re-watched the seasons. Lately, Lily's hair has caught my eye. I especially love the hue and cut she has in seasons five and six. My hair isn't quite her length yet but it's getting there. On Saturday I decided to take the plunge and go red again. And....I love it!

I'm toying with the idea of getting some soft blonde highlights like Lily's for more dimension and depth. But, I don't dare do it myself and I'm not sure I can really afford it. I have several weddings coming up in the next few months so I don't want to botch my hair. We'll see how I feel in a few weeks.

If you're looking for good, DIY hair color I highly recommend Clairol Perfect 10. The shade on me is 5R Medium Auburn.

Friday, March 15, 2013

New York State of Mind

This week all of my posts have lent themselves to women's issues and overcoming mental obstacles. Today's New York State of Mind post continues with that theme. Enjoy!

"As a Girl Thinks" a series by Melanie Stone for The Daily Illini 

I met Melanie Stone last summer while interning for The Everygirl. I was instantly impressed by her ability to churn out clever, witty blog posts and find the perfect way to describe an element of a food or career feature. We bonded over finding J.Crew necklaces on eBay.

In this five part series for her university newspaper, Melanie shares her very personal struggle with an eating disorder. Her writing is honest and precise. This girl is not only a gifted writer, she's a wonderful, strong woman using her experiences and talents to enrich the lives of others.

"Where are the tweets that read, 'You’re beautiful as you are'?"

"When we, as women, choose to think differently about ourselves, our attitudes reflect those thoughts."

"'One of the most transformative skills to learn in life is to hit pause in the midst of a strong emotion, especially negatives ones, and reflect on what you are thinking at that time.'"


"TV's New Wave of Women: Smart, Strong, Borderline Insane" by Heather Havrilesky, The New York Times

Havrilesky provides a provoking, compelling argument that too many of today's heralded female TV characters are portrayed as "out of step with the sane world". Why does being a strong women translate into acting crazy?

"Alongside every coolheaded Peggy Olson, we get hotheaded train-wreck characters like Ivy Lynn of “Smash” — women who, like the ballerinas with lead weights around their ankles in Kurt Vonnegut Jr.’s short story “Harrison Bergeron,” can show no strength without an accompanying impediment to weigh them down, whether it’s self-destructive urges, tittering self-consciousness or compulsive pill-popping."


Does "Stress" Hide Deeper Social Problems? by Dana Becker, TIME Ideas

We are all guilty of chalking up our inability to handle our daily tasks due to the "stress" in our lives. If you're stressed it means you're busy, which means you're being productive...right? Becker explains there's more to it than that.

"Stress is now a protean concept whose shape-shifting properties give it tremendous versatility as a vehicle for explaining human dilemmas."

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Leaning In

Sheryl Sandberg's "Lean In" movement has me completely captivated. I even pre-ordered her book this weekend--a very uncharacteristic move for me.

My initiation occurred with the reading of the Levo League's blog post last week: "Why Levo is Leaning In". Next, I read the now well-known and widely criticized New York Times article: "A Titan's How-To on Breaking the Glass Ceiling". Then, I found Sandberg on TIME magazine's cover: "Confidence Woman". Suddenly the majority of my tweets reflected the hashtag #LeaningIn.

Is Lean In a modern feminist manifesto? I don't know yet and I'm not particularly invested in determining the accuracy of that label. It's not why I'm interested. For me, the "Lean In" movement provides means to identify the internal obstacles I face in relation to my ability to succeed professionally, as well as personally.

A key question Sandberg poses in her book is "What would you do if you weren't afraid?" This is a question well worth the asking, and one I pose to myself frequently.   

“Don’t let your fears overwhelm your desire. Let the barriers you face—and there will be barriers—be external, not internal.” - Sheryl Sandberg 

I'm very interested in identifying the internal barriers that hold me back. Those are ones I can control.

Being Mormon, I'm aware my views on family and career often differ from the average 20-something single girl just getting started. My deepest desire is to be a wife and mother. For me, that is the bottom line--that is what matters most. I greatly value education and contributing to society in a meaningful way, but having a high-power career isn't my number one, end-all goal. However, that doesn't mean professional success isn't important to me.

"For decades, we have focused on giving women the choice to work inside or outside the home. . . . But we have to ask ourselves if we have become so focused on supporting personal choices that we’re failing to encourage women to aspire to leadership." - Sheryl Sandberg

I didn't go to college to get married, what Mormons jokingly refer to as getting an MRS degree. I went to college to advance my studies and earn a degree. However, I always assumed marriage would come along during those years. I'm not sure what I thought would happen after graduation, but I know I didn't expect to face decisions about my future career alone.

Since graduating with my bachelor's degree in May 2010, I've struggled to figure out how to align my approach to my career in relation to my desire to become a wife and mother. I don't aspire to a professional position equivalent to Sheryl Sandberg. However, I want to do work I'm passionate about and challenge myself to take risks. Just because a high-profile career isn't my number one goal, it doesn't mean I can't or shouldn't excel and take on leadership roles in the workplace.

I see "Lean In" as an important piece of the puzzle I'm trying to solve. A new way to look and examine how I approach my life. We all deserve to feel empowered in all arenas. I want more experiences where I lean in rather than lean back.  

Additional great reads about Lean In and Sheryl Sandberg:

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom: Correct Your Mind

Self doubt. Fear. Depression. Anxiety. My mind is my biggest enemy.

The past few months I have been losing my battle against clinical depression. Part of it is the time of year (winter is rough), and part of it is where I'm at in my life. In an effort to get back on track, I finally took a bold leap and made an appointment to see a therapist.

I'm a strong believer in the benefits and importance of therapy but it can be very hard to help yourself, to admit that maybe you can't handle things on your own. Even though I've seen my fair share of therapists in my lifetime, it was still scary walking into a stranger's office and sharing my story, to begin to reveal my deepest issues and fears. However, finally choosing to do therapy again has also felt very liberating.

Therapy will help me regain my ability to manage my depression. I firmly believe that. I deserve to feel engaged in my own life. That's what I want the most.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Weekend Happenings...

This weekend I spent a little too much time having fun and eating good food rather than doing my homework. Oops! 

After work Friday night I went running with Tasha (Day 3 of C25K!). On my way home I stopped at TJ Maxx where I found a fabulous, sophisticated bedding set. I wasn't sure if I could afford to buy it, plus I wanted a night to sleep on the decision, so I decided to hold off on my purchase. I crunched the numbers and to my delight, new bedding fit into my budget! 

Saturday I returned to make my purchase. For $98 I got a new comforter, two pillow shams, and three throw pillows. I was very pleased. Harper, on the other hand, wasn't too thrilled about the new bedding. Whenever I actually make my bed she tries to be mommy's little helper and consequently, gets banished to her chair. 

In other weekend adventures I finally made the tomato basil soup recipe my mom told me about from Pinterest. So good! The soup has orzzo and Greek yogurt in it, which makes for a unique texture and flavor. Irish and I also tried a new place for brunch, Meli Cafe. The banana caramel pancakes were definitely worth the hour-long wait.

Two great weekends in a row. I'll take it.

P.S. Happy 176th Birthday Chicago!

Friday, March 1, 2013

New York State of Mind

images from story links below
One incredible story about the makings of a family. Another that gives a name to a cultural phenomenon. And lastly, an in-depth study that offers an explanation for why Cheetos are so addictive. Enjoy!

We Found Our Son in the Subway by Peter Mercurio, The New York Times
"We weren’t supposed to be there, two men, with a son we had never dreamed of by our side, getting married by a woman who changed and enriched our lives more than she would ever know."

Creating Hipsturbia in the Suburbs by Alex Williams, The New York Times
"These days, young creatives are fleeing a city that has become too affluent...Welcome to Hipsturbia."

The Extraordinary Science of Junk Food by Michael Moss, The New York Times Magazine
“There’s no moral issue for me,” he said. “I did the best science I could. I was struggling to survive and didn’t have the luxury of being a moral creature. As a researcher, I was ahead of my time.”