Thursday, February 28, 2013

Music Musings: Elenowen


A few weeks ago I discovered Elenowen, a husband-wife musical duo. I can't get enough of their smooth, folksy sound and poignant, deep lyrics. This is my kind of music--Indie soul. Is that a real term? Probably not.

"The singular power of Elenowen comes from the bond that can only exist between two people who’ve known – and loved – each other for most of their lives." quote via their Facebook page  

My favorite song is "Flying for the First Time". I constantly find myself humming it throughout the day. I love how the lyrics convey the complicated mix of strength, vulnerability, and fear we experience in life.

Since my discovery of Spotify I don't buy a lot of music, but I snatched up Elenowen's EP album without hesitation.  Check out the music video and lyric video below. Amazing.

Run - Music Video

Head to My Heart - Lyric Video

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom: Ask

It's hard to ask for what you need. I'm not very good at it. Often times I'm willing to give a lot to another person but assume that someone will not do the same for me. That I'm not worth it.  Why would someone want to help me?

I think being able to ask for what you need is a great sign of strength and self-worth. We all deserved to be listened to but you have to speak; otherwise, people won't know how to help you. My aunt has always encouraged me to share my needs with the people I know and love. She reminds me that people aren't mind readers and we have to be vulnerable to progress.

Ask for what you need. Give people the opportunity to say "yes" instead of automatically assuming "no". Open yourself to the realm of possibility.

Bottom line...listen to Oprah and my aunt on this one. They're right.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Oscars

Sunday evening I accompanied my dear friend Irish to an Oscars viewing party at Rockit Bar & Grill, hosted by Michigan Avenue magazine. Irish is interning for Michigan Avenue right now and asked if I'd be her plus one. Naturally, I said yes.

We navigated the altered red line route and arrived right on time. Rockit has an urban, rustic feel accented by rich, dark wood and antler chandeliers. Upstairs in the lounge, flat screen TVs lined the perimeter. Mini Oscars statues graced the tables and booths. One may or may not have come home with me.

Irish introduced me to her coworkers and found a quiet back wall to people watch and down the delicious appetizers brought out by waitresses in tight black t-shirts. Slider cheeseburgers, truffle fries, crispy shrimp salad. We tried everything. No shame.

Famous film critic Richard Roeper hosted the event with Billy Dec, Rockit's owner and CEO. Twitter was a big part of the night's festivities promoted by the hashtag #rockitoscars. I took to the twittersphere and was re-tweeted by Rockit a few times. Kinda cool.

I wore kitten heels and my feet were killing me after less than two hours. I don't know how the stars do it. I read on Twitter that the first thing Adele did when she walked off stage after singing Skyfall was kickoff her stilettos. My kind of girl.

While we enjoyed the event, Irish and I aren't big party girls or late-nighters. After a few hours we headed back to her apartment, grabbed Cheetos and ice cream at the 7-Eleven, and watched the rest of the Oscars from the comfort of her bedroom.

Oscars Highlights: So happy Jennifer Lawrence won. Could she be more adorable? Anne Hathaway's first dress was HORRIBLE but I'm happy she won Best Supporting Actress. Adele rocked it. Loved the Les Miserables performance. I definitely need to see Life of Pi, Argo, Lincoln, and Silver Linings Playbook.

P.S. I love the red carpet. In my online perusing I stumbled upon this awesome project by The New York Times. Check it out!

Jennifer Lawrence image / Oscars logo image

Monday, February 18, 2013

Thank you, Honest Abe

The final hours of President's Day are fading away but I didn't want to pass up this opportunity to give a shout out to Honest Abe. I've always felt a special connection to Lincoln. Genealogically speaking he is my cousin. We are related to him through his mother's line, the Hanks.

Growing up I was obsessed with history, particularly the Civil War period. In second grade when it came time for each of us to do a report on an American president, guess who I chose? In fact, my teacher saved Lincoln especially for me because she knew how upset I'd be if I didn't get to research and write about him. I was quite proud of my presidential lineage and never missed an opportunity to inform a classmate.

Going to Washington D.C. when I was seven-years-old made me more happy and exuberant than a trip to Disneyland. That's how passionate I felt about Lincoln and American history. My adoration for the man continues today.

Thank you, Honest Abe for showing our country what it means to be a leader. Thank you for having the courage to fear God more than man. Thank you for doing your duty no matter the cost.

Happy President's Day!

Friday, February 15, 2013

I've Got the Love

Despite the fact that I've never really had a Valentine, I happen to love Valentine's Day. Hearts galore. Candy. Yummy sweets. Pretty cards. Everything the color pink. What's not to love?

Seeing men carry flowers home to the ones they love makes me smile. Passing crowded restaurants on my way home makes my heart swell.

I'll always remember walking to the bus last year on Valentine's Day morning and seeing a dad and his son putting the finishing touches on his Valentine's before heading off to school. Such a precious sight.

I've never been a V-Day hater. February 14th isn't a day I loath or despise. No pity parties for me--I save those for other random, non-special days throughout the year.

Some people say we shouldn't need a specific day to prompt us to show someone our love. They hate the commercialism and unrealistic expectations the day seems to bring. They have a point but I subscribe to thinking why is it a bad thing to have a day set aside to do a little something extra?

Nothing extravagant is required to show true love. I may not have romantic love right now but I have family and friends I love deeply. I try to embrace any opportunity I have to show them how much I care.

Bring it on St. Valentine.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wednesday Wisdom: Faith

It's scary to have faith. I like to plan and be sure of my next steps into the future. However, I've learned life doesn't work that way. Sometimes faith really is your only available transportation. You don't move forward by standing still in the present.

Right now I'm trying to have faith that I can make progress. I'm not stuck. Change is possible.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Prayer Works. Miracles Happen.

Layoffs. Downsizing. Restructuring. February 2012 President Obama wasn't necessarily winning favor in the economy department. PEMCO Insurance didn't escape the trends.

My dad wasn't supposed to take that long walk down the hall to an empty chair and have his fate turned upside down. He's a survivor. An innovator. Best man in his division. Fifteen years of dedicated customer service and leadership.

Sure I'm his daughter which means my view is biased, right? Well I'm also a working professional and analytical thinker. I don't exaggerate. You don't layoff Mr. PEMCO.

Eight more days and it would have been exactly one year since Mr. PEMCO got the dreaded call. Enterprise Services was no longer unscathed. The victim: my dad.

For the past eight years my dad threw a paper route every morning to make ends meet. Forget the cute boy on the bike chucking papers onto porches. 3:00 am every morning. 200+ papers. Snow storm. Torrential downpour. Nothing stops the paper.

No man takes his role as a provider more seriously than my dad.

Hours of networking, resume tweaking, and phone interviews. No job prospects. My parents couldn't afford to stay in our home. The backup plan became reality.

They decided to move to Utah and live in my auntie's basement apartment. Start over. It was a hard decision but they knew it was right. Peace amidst uncertainty is possible.

December 18th my dad should have had an interview at CHG Healthcare, number three on Fortune's list of 100 best companies to work for. A Christmas miracle.

The day after my grandma died the interview was canceled. CHG had reached their hiring quota for the year. Call back after the first of the year.

January 2013 comes and Patty, the fantastic CHG recruiter my dad worked with, is no longer with the company. Multiple phone calls and mixed correspondence later, a new recruiter sends my dad a generic rejection email. He's crushed.

This morning Patty connected with my dad via LinkedIn. She called him five minutes later. Could he come in for an interview at 2pm? Yes. Less than five hours later my dad got the call we've waited almost a year for.

A simple text: "I got the job!". I burst into tears of joy. I forgot what it's like to have good things happen for my family. The last year has been rough.

Hope can be restored. It's true--Heavenly Father doesn't give us more than we can handle. Most of the time we just don't know our limits. I think that's part of the plan.

February 18th my dad will start his new job as an account manager at England Logistics.  

Prayer works. Miracles happen. Life really can change in just one day.

Friday, February 1, 2013

New York State of Mind

 Why You Won't Be the Person You Expect to Be by John Tierney, The New York Times
"People seemed to be much better at recalling their former selves than at imagining how much they would change in the future."

Make Me Worry You're Not Ok by Susan Shapiro, The New York Times
"The stark, painful, inappropriate confession is the most essential part, the meat and potatoes, the soul and the sound bite, the raison d’ĂȘtre."

Writing About What Haunts Us by Peter Orner, The New York Times
"Our imaginations sometimes fail us for a reason."