Stopp-ed at a Crossroad.

Every once in a while, life brings out the flashing lights, waves its arms, and screams into the megaphone, "YOU ARE AT A CROSSROAD!!!"

As we all well know, life can be pretty discreet most of the time, hiding some of her biggest changes in a smile, a missed bus, or an exam score.  Next thing we know, we're married to the smiler.  Or we meet a very important stranger at the bus stop.  Or we qualify for admission into a school we never expected to get in to and end up following a new life path.  If life made us aware of how big every decision we make really was, existing would be pretty exhausting.

So, instead, she picks her moments.  And these are the times times when she pulls out all the stops.  For some reason, life decides this is a decision she's going to let you make.  Perhaps to her, they are the small things.  'My lease is up, where will I live next?'  To us, it's a huge decision.  A decision involving contracts, and movers, and more money than we sometimes can afford.  To her, this is a minor detail.   Her work involves the little things that fill in all of the other moments of our existence.

So my round-about advice is enjoy the 'big' decisions because perhaps they are the smallest ones you'll make.  And what seem to be the most insignificant ones--smiling at a stranger--could change the path of your life forever. 

So, YOU ARE AT A CROSSROAD!!  Life's little inside joke to make you feel important.  No matter which path you take, it will all work out.


Smok-ed Apple Pie

Sometimes I wish there was a purely healthy form of smoking.  Is that weird?  Perhaps as dangerous for your health as lighting a portable scented candle. 

Standing on a chilly street corner, waiting for the bus, I think 'Wouldn't it be great to have something warm to puff on? Wouldn't it be sexy to be surrounded by a cloud that smells like cinnamon and cloves and apple pie?  And in the next room I enter, everyone would take a deep breath--of me--and smell home?'  There's no need for addictive chemicals or harmful additives; it would be like the perfectly ripe, juicy fruit in a world of sticky candy.

These apple pie cigarettes would of course only work in the winter.  Who wants to puff on a garden stick in the middle of summer as sweat drips from their brow?  Like mittens or earmuffs, the scented sticks would serve only as a means for warmth, company, and fragrance.  Like a smokey perfume that passes the lonely hours by your side.  Wouldn't that be nice?


Addict-ed to Love, and TV.

So a few months ago, I signed up for a Netflix account.  (I know, I know, I'm a little slow.)  Ever since, the boyfriend and I have become complete junkies.  So much so that last night, I took the next step and upgraded my account.  It's a dangerous addiction.

Our main staple is, of course, the famed series, Mad Men.  We have come to love Don Draper and his debonaire, alcoholic, chain-smoking ways.  But, to make things worse, last night we discovered Dexter, the relatively ground-breaking series about a serial killer that choses his victims in the name of making the world a better place, essentially eliminating the bad guys one villian at a time.  Though Dexter can be a somewhat dark and disturbing show, we are both now sucked in.

Surprisingly, last night's episode evoked a rather interesting thought.  Dexter comes across a villian couple--two individuals who are in cahoots on a terrible human trafficking plan, but who also happen to be in love.  Just before he kills and dismembers them, he poses this question: "How can two people as awful as you two still be in love with one another?"  In rushed gasps they both mutter that they share the same dreams for their lives--in this case the dream was to obtain obscene amounts of money no matter what the cost--but the idea seemed to stick with me.

What if the reason a relationship works is because the mutual dreams line up with one another in such a way that a unified bond is undeniable.  Like the way the proteins of DNA match up because their physical and chemical properties just seem to work with one another, what if we work with our romantic partner because all of the little nooks and cranies of our beings match up with theirs? 

As a test, I asked: "What's your life dream, babe?"
In his characteristic simple eloquency, he responded, "I don't know, I'd like to just be happy.  Doesn't really matter how, I just want love and happiness and a couple of kids."

Huh, maybe Dexter is onto something here.



This weekend felt like a vacation.  We ventured no further than a few miles from home, but I felt like I couldn't have been farther away from real life.  Here are a few tips I used this weekend that may help to reproduce that staycation feel.
  1. Find a really awesome staycation partner who is available all weekend (hint: boyfriends work perfectly for this).
  2. Make a pact that you will only plan when it feels natural.  No need to map out every detail of Sunday when it's only Friday afternoon.  Minimal preparation may be required, but the minute planning feels exhausting, give it up.  This especially pertains to the small, minute details.  It doesn't really matter if you shower then have lunch, or have lunch then shower.  You'll figure it out in the moment.
  3. Incorporate family (or friends who feel like family) for part of a day.  In our case we brunched and explored with mom and dad.  It was the perfect way to introduce new conversation.
  4. Do something active.  Shoot some hoops, play a game of tennis, go for a walk.  Doesn't matter what the activity is, you feel better when you get the blood moving.
  5. Pick one day to forgo primping.  Ladies, this means no makeup, no blow drying, just au naturale.  Gentlemen, put down the razor.
  6. Buy yourself something small, but special.  I chose a new bag, he picked up a few pairs of work pants after I told him his butt looked even better than usual in khaki.
  7. Cook.  It doesn't have to be anything complex, but make sure to prepare at least one meal from scratch. Not only is it healthier for your body, it gives a great feeling of accomplishment and togetherness.
  8. Snuggle, cuddle, bury yourself under covers.  
  9. Find at least one hour to be awake and a alone.  Do whatever you like with that hour (read, go for a run, play that new game on your iPhone), but do not allow any interruptions.
  10. Drink wine at lunch.  No, I'm not promoting alcoholism or other unhealthy habits, but instead I'm endorsing any activity that feels special in it's own right.  
Let me know how it goes next weekend.

pic: weheartit 


Controll-ed Freak

So a lot has happened since we last spoke.  For one, I'm actually enjoying my job, which perhaps in part explains my blogging absence.  It is amazing what a little recognition and an extra responsibility or two does for the morale. 

I also have been working on a new mantra: Don't fight it.

In the past, I spoke about energy.  I explored the idea that we only have a finite amount of force that we can dedicate to the world.  Sometimes we unnecessarily spend energy on things we cannot control.  I found that I was spending a lot of time and energy on trying to change a world that was built with me in mind.  And believe it or not, life is pretty self-sufficient.  You don't have to plan out every minute of every day because life will figure it out without any help from you.

But life can also be pretty cooperative.  When you come up with a reasonable plan, it will allow you to take the reigns and make it happen.  So, in essence, we just have to figure out where we want to use our energy, because life will take care of the rest.

This may be a bit of a weird stretch, but think of it like your respiratory system.  Your lungs will continue to take in and exhale air regardless of whether you tell it to.  But, you can also make a conscious effort to take a big calming breath.

Do not fight what you cannot control.  But take control of what you can and use it to your advantage.

I'm sure this is the slogan of some 'take back your world' seminar that I am too cheap and too cynical to pay for, but I'm owning it and living it anyways.

There are so many times when I fight things that have not even happened yet or that will happen regardless of what I do.

Once you understand that sometimes there are things that you simply cannot change--and that this is okay, in fact, it is normal--you can go about changing those things that you can.  Just accept that, for some reason or another, this world was made for you.


Tuck-ed away for a rainy day.

A good friend just made a bold move to pick up her life and shift it to the West Coast in pursuit of sunshine, happiness and truth.  A fellow blogger, and often the source of inspiration for -ed chronicle posts, she asked what had happened to my blog.  The last post published in late June.

"I'm just kinda...happy." I replied. 

When you think about some of the literature world's best known authors, one can conclude that happiness is not the best inspiration.  It is rare that a masterpiece sprouts from bliss.  Instead, one's best life work often is born from inner turmoil.  Think Poe, Hemingway, van Gogh.

But, she offered an interesting thought.  Happiness is a fleeting thing.  An entity that changes with the seasons, the circumstances, the hour.  It is important to preserve it in whatever form you can so that you can still find it in those moments it disappears.

What is it that makes you happy?

A feeling of accomplishment, acceptance, self-fulfillment?  Coming home to a big smile and loving arms at the end of the day?  Savoring the little things, without losing sight of the bigger picture?  Whatever it is that makes up your version of bliss--save it.  Tuck it away in a pocket for a rainy day.  Because sometimes it's just as difficult to find as it is to keep.

Wishing you bliss, Thursday evening sangria and tapas, and everything you're looking for.



At work we're doing mid-year reviews.  It's easy to look back on the past 6 months and pick out the trademark events that chart your progress professionally.  Earned revenue, profit margin, inventory.  Business is meant to be measured quantitatively.  But how does one measure a personal life.  In daylight, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee, in inches, in miles, in laughter in strife? (Rent reference).

I thought it might be a fun exercise to try.  In the past 6 months...

1.   I have renewed a lease, signing on for another year in this magnificent city we call NYC.
2.   I said my first whispered 'I love you' to the number one man in my life.
3.   I made a trip back to my favorite country in the world, and climbed (in a cable car) to the highest point in Europe.
4.   I skied, I beached, I hiked, and I rollercoastered.
5.   I saw two friends wed, and one baby cousin born.
6.   I said goodbye to the best puppy there ever was.
7.   I lived through the best birthday party and worst hangover of my life.
8.   I witnessed my first grand slam. (Go Posada!)
9.   I enjoyed 5 days in paradise with 5 of the best friends a girl could have.
10. I learned that sometimes, you just have to have faith.  And a cupcake.
11. I shared birthdays, paid visits to out of town friends, and encouraged the dreams of those around me.
12. I took the time to breath it all in because life really is measured in daylight, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. 

Take a mid-year life inventory.  It's amazing how much you've done. Cheers to another brilliant six months!

I promise I'll be back again before then, though.


Balanc-ed in moderation.

Ah, it is amazing what a restful weekend can do for the soul!  Sometimes there is nothing sweeter than being in bed by midnight with tired legs, a fully tummy, and a happy heart.
Today productivity started strong, and lagged after lunch, though I don't feel bad about taking a little me time today.  The attempted theme of this week is balance, what should be a life theme, I think.  And so I will give myself some blog browsing time if it means I'll bang out the 30 grant payments waiting to be processed tomorrow morning.  I will take the trip home tomorrow night for dinner with baby sis, and maybe fit in a tennis session to feed my need for a good run around before bed.  I will skip the gym for a catch up session with the girls later this week.  I often get lost in the 'need to do,' 'should really,' and 'wish I did's of life.  It's time to recognize the 'sure, why not's.

It doesn't matter how many times it is said, we always forget that the to do list will be there tomorrow.  A good life, like a good drink, should have equal parts sweetness, tart, and spice.  May you be drunk with happiness this week.  But remember, all in moderation.


Undecid-ed: Lame or Not?

It's Friday evening and the greatest decision of the week stands before me.

Do I catch up on a sleepless and workout-less week of vacation with a long run, a dose of exploratory wandering in a new neighborhood in search of a good cup of coffee and a quiet spot in a corner cafe to do a little studying before stumbling home under the bright NY weekend sky to bed?


Do I rally the troops, attend a small dinner party with friends and friends of friends which will inevitably turn into a drink party with dancing, joking, and general tom-foolery?

Essentially, do I spend the evening in my own company or in the company of others?  It's a tricky answer.  Some nights, a solo date is the perfect way to spend an evening, but other nights it can be disastrous for the human psyche.

The greatest decision of the week: to be lame or not to be lame?

pics: weheartit.


Peak-ed into the Future.

As my plane landed last night, a sinking feeling began to grow in my stomach.  A sinking feeling that it was over; that our vacation was coming to a close, and reality would tuck away all of the good things in life until the next time we hit the beach.  And a sinking feeling that I'd never leave again, forgetting that I'm lucky enough to have another trip planned two weeks from now.

How do our brains have a way of making everything so final sometimes?

Today sitting at my desk, I had to remind myself there will always be a next new big thing.  That just because one event, one experience, one day is over, it does not mean that there won't be an even better one to follow.  There will always be something to look forward to, no matter how small.  In fact, life isn't always about the big things.  It's about the anxious feeling of cracking open a new notebook on the first day of class.  It's about the dizzy laughter you share over crisp white wine on the first days of summer.  It's about the hugs you get walking through the door back home. 

Life's landscape is not a steady climb, but a jagged, twisting path dipping into valleys and soaring to the peaks above the clouds.  The best climbers understand that there is just as much beauty in the valley as there is from the top.



So this past week, the boyfriend and I have been preparing for a wonderful tropical getaway.  There is, like with any trip, lots to be planned, plenty to be packed, and errands to be run.  Of course I have a million questions and reminders for him, and he, as always, has encouraging words.  However, the questions, reminders, and kind thoughts are never exchanged and so the annoyance with one another under minute stress begins to mount. 

"Why won't he return my calls? Doesn't he know we have to make a plan?!"

"Why didn't she respond to my text?!  I need to know how many bottles of sunscreen to pick up at the grocery store!"

In the chaos of preparation, our phones decided to stop communicating with one another.  (Thank you, AT&T). I would send a text and he would never receive it.  He would call three times, but my phone would never ring.  So while we are both frantically running around getting ready for our Saturday departure, the annoyance of no communication grew larger and larger.

When we finally figured out the real reason neither of us had heard from one another, it was a bit of a relief. 

You know the standard break up line: "It's not you, it's me?"  I'd venture to guess that most of the time, "It's not you, and it's not me, it's really just the situation."  Often we confuse being angry at the person with being angry at the situation. 

I hope the boyfriend will remember this when we are rushing to the airport Saturday morning.  Please remember it is not me that is crazy, it is the situation. It is the 3 cramped train rides it takes to get to the airport.  It is the rushed removal of clothing and shoes as I tiptoe barefoot through security.  It is the long lines and anxious holiday crowds, that make me crazy.  It isn't me, it's the situation.  I swear.

So next time you're angry with someone, stop and think.  Is it the person or the situation you're angry at?  Once you've determined that, you are free to take your agression out on the appropriate party. 


Season-ed with Love.

Weddings, weddings, everywhere!  The season is definitely in full swing and you can smell it in the air.  Between college friends and family, old friends and office acquaintances, lately it seems everyone is tying the knot and pledging their love to one another.  Perhaps I notice it a bit more than usual since I'm of the age where it's something I think about too, or perhaps I'm of the age where I know more people old enough to wed.  Either way, this wedding fever, though a bit exhausting (and draining on the wallet), is quite a delightful maladie.  After all, is there any better disease than lovesickness?

I'll be sharing some fun photos from the wedding we attended this past weekend.  Congrats, Val & Joe!

Sidenote:  Wouldn't it be just absolutely heart-wrenchingly perfect to be proposed to here?  Hint. Hint.


All Book-ed!

It's official, I've booked my flight to France!  Per my boyfriend's lovely invitation, I will depart June 18 for the land of mountains, friendly French faces, and stinky cheese.  Please excuse the beginning of many a daydream post.

I imagine myself meandering through mountain trails, picking fresh goodies and breathing in deep gulps of crisp alpine air, then unpacking a summit picnic and digging my toes into the cool dirt, all the while stopping for quick bisous from le garcon.


Help Request-ed

Dear Friends,

I need your help.  Lately work has been a real struggle and I can't seem to get back on my feet.  The little work I have on my plate is far from fulfilling and the rest of the time I try to fill the hours with other tasks, but can't help feeling like I'm wasting my life sitting at this desk.

I need some serious motivational tips.  How do I go about getting back into that place where I feel satisfaction from my work?  And/or how do I go about making a move towards finding the right work?

Life is all about asking the right questions.  Help me find the right answers.

Love always,
Your chronicler in search of her -ed.


Well Advis-ed.

A very dear friend introduced me to Ben Casnocha's blog this morning and I would be doing you a disservice if I didn't pass it along. Ben currently has a fantastic post about what one might do if he were given the opportunity to live his life anew: commit more errors, eat more ice cream, take few things seriously, run more risks, etc.

A little tidbit of advice that I also gained from Ben's latest tweet is the following:

"Keep two lists: What gets you up in the morning? And what keeps you up at night?"

I believe that the answer to both questions is the same for me: the thought that something bigger is out there.



Strung out and start-ed anew

A few realizations I came to this past week:
  1. I need one weeknight to take a 'me' break: organize paperwork, spend time reading on the couch, try out a new recipe, have a special dinner with the lovely roommate, etc.  As much as I love a great weeknight workout to unwind, a day off does me a lot of good.
  2. I need to stop asking too many 'big' questions at once: thoughts about the future tend to snowball.  Though it's important to ask these questions sometimes, I need to avoid overwhelming myself so often and spend more time enjoying the present. 
  3. Dance parties are good for the soul: this weekend a few girlfriends and I turned on some '80s music after a dinner of margaritas.  We jumped around, waving our arms and tapping our feet like pre-teens at a Jonas Brothers concert.  What sweet release it was!
And now, looking back at my realizations, I realize that perhaps the string is wound just a little too tight.  I know I've been trying to slowly unwind, but maybe it's time to cut the string and start anew.

Snip, snip.


Les Petits Learn-ed Scholars

At times the world may seem an unfriendly and sinister place, but believe that there is much more good in it than bad. All you have to do is look hard enough. and what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events may in fact be the first steps of a journey
Lemony Snicket

Found this quote on Lindsay's blog and it made me think of the days when I used to tutor two children down the street in my college summers.  We would sit in the cool air conditioning, elbows supporting our heavy afternoon minds and read the entire series of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.

I remember the little "o's" their lips would make as they read, and the quizzical looks that would cross their faces when they came to a tough-to-sound-out word or a puzzling plot twist.  I would wait, give them some time to work it out in their own way, and more often than not I was pleasantly surprised by the discussions they would initiate.

Though I am a lover of literary classics, sometimes I find the best messages are in between the sticky pages of children's books.  Le Petit Prince taught us that "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

Thank you, little ones, for teaching me more in one summer afternoon than any degree ever could.



Isn't it funny how finite the space in our life can be?  We pack it to the brim with responsibilites, and relationships, and passions, and when we try to add just one more thing, one more drop, a little spills over and we have to take something out of the cup to drink it all down.

I'm sorry to say that is what happened with you, dear -ed chroniclers.  I filled my life with family road trips, and work projects, and book club, and late night phone calls, and early morning gym sessions.  And before I knew it, I'd gone a week without a hello.  Though I'm sorry to have neglected you lately, I am not sorry that my life has been at the brim.  A full life is a happy life--and I'm not just talking about activities.  A life full of love, and laughter, and little e-mails 'hello' is the happiest of all.

You only have one life, and who knows how tall the glass will be.  Fill it until it spills over, and then gulp down the delicious nectar squeezed out of every experience.  Trust me, there's room for a walk in the sunshine, and a margarita with the girls among your laundry and grocery shopping.  And I guarantee, your thirst will never be quenched until you drink every last drop, every last drop, every last drop.

pic: weheartit


Week, End-ed.

Finally, this long week has come to a close and I can look forward to a mini-break filled with the following:

An hour alone with my book, uninteruppted.
(No, that's not me.)

A birthday meal of shrimp and grits with Mom & Dad
(Happy Birthday Mommy dearest!)

Massive Crumbs cupcakes for Mom's sweet tooth.
A race along the river, baby sister's in the Big East!

 A long drive home in the rain, 
listening to Mom's jazz music.

 A lazy Sunday evening spent under the covers.



Sometimes we all need a mental health day.  A day to dump all of our thoughts out on the table, sort through them and only let the good ones back in.

If I ever needed one, today would be the day.  For some reason, my brain switch turned on last night.  You know the switch that all of a sudden causes your mind to run a million miles a minute, carrying frantic questions from one side to another, bouncing off the sides of your skull before landing on your tongue and bursting into language?  Next thing you know, you're asking questions like "where do you see us two years from now?" and "will it ever feel like it's enough?"

And the truth is, when we ask these questions, no answer is ever going to be the right one.  Because the truth isn't enough: "I love you." and "I don't know."  And a lie is a lie. 

If only we could learn to let life live, without questioning every next step.  If only we could unload all of the anxious thoughts and nagging questions, turn off the switch, and trust it.




The countdown has begun.  Fourty-five days from today, I will be lounging on a beach chaise, tropical rum punch in hand, boyfriend, good book, and good friends by my side. 

Fourty-five days seems like forever, but it also is the perfect amount of time to focus on sculpting the bikini body I picture in those beach dreams of mine.  Yesterday began lent #2, except this time I'm not sacrificing for God, I'm sacrificing for me, which ironically is a bit more difficult.  After overdosing on chocolate post-Easter, I've decided to give up sweets and junk food of all kinds, promising myself a good workout at least 4-5 days a week.  Though it's a bit of a vain project, I know it will help me think, move, and feel better.

During my project, I've quickly realized what is effective and what simply won't work.  It is essential to set a goal, lay out the exact parameters, and challenge yourself to meet the goal.  Without a conscious effort, nothing can be achieved.

It's also important to track your progress.  An analysis of how you're doing serves as great motivation to keep going.  So on that note, I've started using the Self Magazine food/workout log to track my caloric intake and burn.  I highly recommend signing up. (It's free and easy!) 

What are your springtime resolutions?

Ah, spring, what a perfect time to eat like a rabbit.


Thought, provok-ed.

"Too old to be an acrobat, too young to die." --from this month's book club pick, Let the Great World Spin.

When we're young enough to do it all, we can't see it.  When we can finally see it all, we're too old to do it.  The world works in frustratingly mysterious ways.  What will you do in this world of trapezes?




Last night at dinner, the topic of conversation turned to books, the book business in particular.  As I sipped my dirty martini (divine!) and he threw back a Sam Adams, questions and ideas flew back and forth across the table.

For the first time, I really had the opportunity to explain the publishing industry, and to my surprise, he had a genuine interest in all that I said.  Finally, when I paused to take a breath (and guzzle a bit more vodka), he leaned in.  "You should write a book, babe."

It's always been a dream, one I assume most bloggers share.  Something I've always hoped to do.  Number one on the bucket list.  However, it's always been a bit of a silent dream.  Not one I'm willing to shout too loudly.  But, hearing it out loud from another's lips made it seem more concrete.

"I will."

Sometimes all it takes is a bit of encouragement; the wings of dreams don't work without a little wind underneath them.  So, I encourage you to surround yourself with people who support you and the things you love.  They just may be the ones to make them happen.



I fear-ed it was so.

So this morning was eventful.  I almost died on my elevator ride to work.  As the metal box shot 23 stories into the sky, slammed into the ceiling barrier, and then clamped the doors shut as I hung in limbo between floors, I, unlike most normal people, thought 'sweet! material for my next blog post!'

Later on, I got to thinking about fear.  I've never been afraid of elevators, or heights, or strangers.  No, my phobias are a bit more unique.  Like my fear of birds, and divorce, and boob sweat.  Or my fear of cutting my finger on aluminum cans, replying all to an email that was meant to be private, or being told I'm an awful writer. We're all afraid of something.

And it's true that fear is the best motivator.  I can imagine if I were afraid of plummeting 23 floors to my death that I would be able to claw those elevator doors open with my bare hands.  I think the best we can do is learn to play off our fears, use them to push us to our potential. 

What will fear do for you? 



Rust-ed out.

"It's better to wear out than to rust out," Mom always says.

Go a mile further.  Reach an inch higher.  Hug a second longer.
And above all, love.


Rest-ed in Peace

This weekend I had to say a very difficult goodbye.  Dixie, our 14 year old Golden Retriever, started having seizures Friday night and by Easter morning it was clear she would not ever return to her bubbly self.  Despite her age, she always acted like a puppy, so to see her unable to even lift her head when we put a piece of chicken to her nose was devastating.  Thankfully, and perhaps by some cosmic miracle, all members of our family were home for the holiday and able to be in the room with our girl when she took her last doggy breath.

In a way, I believe her passing on Easter was symbolic.  We always said she was a saint--the back door left wide open and she'd sit at the top of the stairs, watching the chipmunks patiently and protecting her family from intruders, never once wandering off or harming a soul.  She'd rest her nose lovingly in your lap after a long day to let you know someone was there when you felt alone in the world.  She'd gently nudge your elbow for a pat because there was never enough love to go around.

I love you my poopy pup, my baby girl.  May your heaven be filled with filet mignon, long walks, and plenty of sloppy love.


Questions Answer-ed by More Questions.

This morning I bumped into a friendly co-worker in the ladies' room.  I asked her how she was, and she paused for a second before replying, "I'm alright."  Feeling like there was something behind this response, I pushed a bit further.

"Just alright?"

She promised she'd send me a link to a video she had watched earlier that morning and I would understand.  About an hour later, this link popped up in my inbox and I ate up the 15 minute video of a commencement speech by Steve Jobs.  I highly recommend taking the time to watch this inspirational clip--but beware, it will make you think.

Basically, his message to the graduating class of Stanford was to seize the day.  Do what you love. And live every day like it was your last because one day it will be.  These are all old adages we've heard a million times before, but for some reason, they sounded fresh coming from him.

So this is my challenge to you.  Answer this question: If today was your last day, would you want to do what you did today?

Simple enough, right?  The answer will certainly guide you to the next question.  The real question is how will you answer that?


Fir-ed Up.

So yesterday's post got me thinking.  How does one go about making a career change, especially in the beginning?  Is it trial by fire?  Throw a bunch of resume darts into the air and see which ones stick?  A tactic I imagine to be beyond frustrating, inefficient, and yet, logical.  Or, do you plot and plan with painstaking caution until you've pinpointed the exact career fit, then track down the VP of the department, and stalk them until they  give you a job in the mailroom and encourage you to work your way up?  Again, frustrating, inefficient, and yet, logical. 

No, none of these seem quite right. 

What I do think the best tactic would be is to use your web of contacts to get a foot in the door.  This is, by no means, a new idea.  Networking is as old as the invention of fire.  'Yo, that dude is cooking his food? I need to meet him and learn his skills.'  (Yes, cave people are thugs in my head.)  I do believe what a lot of today's career specialists leave out of the networking equation is the idea of selective networking.  Sure, I believe you should always be kind to those around you.  Strike up a conversation in the elevator.  Have good manners.  But, when it comes to getting ahead, the people that can get you where you want to go are the people that had the resources to get there themselves.  (Think of the cave man and his fire.) 

So, once you have an idea of where you'd like to go--or at least a vague idea of where you don't want to be--come up with your selective networking strategy.  Who has the resources (and perhaps the professional expertise) to get you in the right conversations, in the right social circles, in the right frame of mind?

I've tapped a few of my resources lately, but I'd love to hear what you all are doing to make your way into your dream job.  If only life were as easy as being the dude with the firewood.  Now, you have to be a five-star chef with a restaurant metropolis, your own cooking show, and a publicist to be 'the dude with skills.'

Did this (cough) light a fire under you to get networking, ahem, selectively?


Shar-ed the Love.

The boss is out and I've been taking advantage of the free time to obsessively check my Google Reader feed.

Who knew that my dream job was waiting for me just around the next cyber link?  I've always wondered, how could I (realistically) combine travel, food, writing, and romance into one career that--and here's the key part--I could actually get paid for.  The only solution I kept coming to was a sugar daddy.

But, it looks like CNN has found it for me--a professional honeymoon tester.  Travel to luxury, exotic locals with your other half, write up a review, and move on to the next hotel suite, Mai Tai in hand.  Yes, please!

I have a hard time believing this is actually a real deal, so if you have another solution for me, or encouraging words to go ahead with the webcast application and start convincing Frenchie to quit his job, I'm all ears.

In the meantime, show me your love by spreading the love.  The more readers I have, the closer I am to my goals.  Would you be so kind as to pass this link on to a friend who hasn't yet experienced the -ed chronicles?  Because, after all, we're all in search of something...

pic: weheartit


Believ-ed in Truth.

My weekend in a nutshell: sunset bus rides, pink cherry blossoms, national monuments, fresh seafood, and family. Leave out the lost wallet, ex-boyfriend sighting, and massive Sunday hangover and we have a winner.

The truth is what you believe, and I believe life can be beautiful despite itself. And so it is.



the best and worst aspect of life's design is that there is no instruction manual.



Happiness, Project-ed.

I was feeling a bit like I was sleep walking through the day so, this afternoon during my lunch break, I took a stroll through the bookstore downstairs.  While I was perusing the new releases, I stumbled upon a table that seemed to be entirely covered in books on finding happiness.  Happiness at Work, A Course in Happiness, The Nine Rooms of Happiness, and the one that caught my eye: The Happiness Project.

Perhaps the recession has left us all in search of something uplifting.  But, generally, I feel our society is down in the dumps.  And re-reading the first sentence of this blog post, I realize I might be too.

Flipping through one of the above-mentioned titles, I came across the following piece of advice: "Take an inventory of your life.  Make a list or description of what you have going for you.  Then make a list of the all the 'ifs' you think would make you happier--the 'if' I had this, then I'd be happier.  I'm not usually a believer in self-help editorial, but I was feeling particularly needy today, so I figured I'd give it a try.

So here's my inventory:

I am 23 years old, living in New York City on my own paycheck.  I'm a pretty decent cook, I can run a half-marathon, and I have a steady job, a fabulous roommate, and a boy I love who loves me back.  My family is supportive and involved in all that I do, and my friends know just how to bring the light I need into my life.  I know how to speak French fluently, and have a wonderful vacation planned for late May.  Writing comes quite naturally to me, I was born with a fairly proportional body, and luck usually seems to be on my side.  I accept that I am not perfect, but try my hardest.  Life in general, has never really been that hard.

And here are my ifs:

If I had a higher-paying job, then I might be happier.
If I had a more fulfilling job, then I might be happier.
If I had more time to travel, then I might be happier.

The result:
If I focused less on the ifs and more on the nows, then I might be happier.

Huh, maybe there is something to this happiness trend after all...
Book club, anyone?


Wip-ed Away.

So this weekend I had my first cry in front of the boy, which is always a bit of an awkward step.  However, considering that we're almost at the 6-month mark, I feel entitled to a few tears.

And, I was actually quite impressed with myself.  It was surprisingly dignified, not messy at all, and extremely short lived.  In a moment of weakness, I started talking about my beloved Grammy who is going through a bit of a rough time these days.  Before I even realized, one crystal tear glided down over the bridge of my nose as I lay my head on his chest.  The jig was up.

Without an ounce of hesitation, he reached down with the pad of his thumb and smoothed it across my cheek.  "Tu es trop belle, ma puce."  This time, that was all it took.  I know there will be bigger speed bumps down the road, messier cries, sadder episodes.  But I have a thumb to wipe away the sadness.  And that's worth more smiles than I've ever known.



Grammy, belov-ed.

I’ll never forget the day I found my first best friend.  We were out for ice cream one sticky summer afternoon, and my heart was beating fast in anticipation as we waited in a line of screaming kids with sticky hands and mud-spattered clothes.  While in line, I squeezed my friend’s hand and smiled, exposing my missing front tooth.  Finally, we were next.  While I stood on my tiptoes to gaze at all the flavors, she ordered for us.

“I’d like strawberry in a cone,” she began, pausing to glance back at the flavors nailed to the wall of the little gray shack.  I didn’t hear her finish ordering because by that time, I had two scoops of ice cream in my hands, and nothing else mattered to me.  Hardly able to contain my excitement, I gave a hard lick and watched as a ball of pink tumbled to the dirt.  As the tears swelled, I clenched my fists to keep from wailing, but just then my grandmother held out her cone.

“Here, you can have mine,” she said softly.  I looked at her, amazed that she would give up two scoops of strawberry heaven and hesitantly grasped the wafer cone.

Giving up her ice cream cone was not my grandmother’s most honorable action.  Throughout my life she has been by my side, holding my hand, giving me strength, and teaching me lessons without intending to.  That day, she taught me the value of friendship, a lesson that I consider one of the most important in life.  Radiating with strength, elegance, and kindness, my grandmother has been a continuous inspiration, reminding me that life is all about little pleasures and good friends to enjoy them with along the way.

A few years ago, she asked that I try on her wedding dress.  I pulled the yellowed silk gown over my head, smoothing the torn lace while she and my mother snapped photos.  My grandmother has always wished to be at my wedding, but because she is now 92, and battling the late stages of severe Alzheimer's, I don't know if this dream is realistic.  However, whether or not she is sitting in the church, she will be with me—in a piece of yellowed lace sewn over my heart.


Nothing Achiev-ed.

5 o'clock. It's quitting time.  Lots done, and nothing achieved.  The real goals I shall save for this evening:

Have a really good, belly-aching laugh.

Eat a light, belly-pleasing meal al fresco.

 Enjoy a glass of crisp Sauvignon Blanc at a sidewalk cafe. And wax poetic.
 pic:weheartit, 20 under $20

Take a long walk in the cool sunset residue. His hand in mine.
pic:weheartit, remember him?

Gear up (aka loosen belt) for Macaron Day on Saturday...what a delicious idea!
 pic:weheartit, Macaron Day

Enjoy your weekend! What will you accomplish???