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???


    First tim-ed.

    This morning.

    Corn beef and cabbage is simmering away in my beloved crock pot as I type this to you from my cubicle 23 floors in the sky.  It is the first year that it isn't Mom making it.  Truly embracing my Irish roots (that would be potatoes), I do believe this trumps making my own turkey.  Isn't it funny how much weight the little things carry sometimes?

    Do something for the first time today.  The first time may not always be the best, but it will never be the same again.
    And green is the color of new beginnings, what better day to start something new than on St. Patty's?


    Baby Stepp-ed.

    I had a bit of a rough day yesterday and decided the best remedy was a home-cooked meal and one of Dad's pep talks.  Sure enough, Mom's spaghetti bolognse and Dad's sage words did the trick.

    Here's what he said:  This is just the beginning.  Building the foundation for the rest of your life is often the hardest, and the least interesting task, but certainly one of the most important.  It can only get bigger and better from here.

    Look at everyday as a challenge.  You may not make much, or feel that you do much (of importance, at least), but this is just the beginning.  Imagine how exciting it will be when you get out of the ‘foundation building’ and start putting up the walls…and then eventually, decorating the walls just the way we like them.  You can’t decorate a wall before the wall is built.  Though I hate to say this, you’re going to have to take baby steps.

    And so far, you’ve taken some great baby steps.

    As if those words weren't enough,on the morning commute I read the following quote: “That which is around me does not affect my mood; my mood affects that which is around me.”  The sun is shining, the world is vibrant, I am ready.

    pic: weheartit


    Question-ed: Love vs. Duty

    This weekend I felt as though I was sitting at the round table convention of real people.  My friends the doctor, the teacher, and the actor, (and me, the bookbinder) sat at brunch discussing the life decisions that stood in front of us.

    The doctor talked about choosing a specialty.  Do I choose the path that I know I love, that I know I'm good at, but that I know will rule every free moment of my time, leaving very little room for anything else?  Or do I choose the path that I could enjoy, am marginally good at, but will afford me room to have a life of my own?

    The teacher talked about getting her masters.  Do I pay $30,000 a year for a two-year program that will exhaust me mentally and financially and move me back to a city I don't want to be in, but eventually get me a license to do what I love?  Or do I stay where I am, do what is stable, but is not my passion?

    The actor talked about auditions.  Do I continue to go after my dream of being a star, though I know how largely unrealistic that can be?  Or do I settle on my comfortable path of studies and gallery work that pays the bills, but will never fulfill my desire to be on the big stage or big screen?

    And I spoke of the bookbinding business.  Do I continue to turn page after page in my tiny cubicle, learning different techniques of the same skill because its safe, because I don't know what else I could get paid for, because I'm scared?  Or do I give it all up, start over from scratch and pursue what I love, even if that meant giving up my free hour for my blog?

    It shouldn't have amazed me that this question was so universal, but somehow it did.  This eternal question of love vs. duty seems to apply to everyone, regardless of their profession.  However, despite the universality of the question, it seems that the answers are as different as open heart surgery and a lesson plan.  And so the doctor, the teacher, the actor, and the bookbinder went on their way into the beginning of the week in search of answers...



    Walk-ed a mile in her shoes.

    I've always wanted to be one of those fabulous New York women who goes to late night dinners and cozies up in a dark booth with her fabulous friends and a balloon goblet of wine the color of deep burgundy, laughing with big wide open mouths, and whispering secrets you'd only share with each other.  All in delicious plum suede pumps.

    So, tonight I've decided to be that woman.

    We've made a late reservation at Buddakan and laid out our Friday's finest.  I have every intention of taking a post-work nap, leaving myself plenty of time to shower and sip a cup of steaming cinnamon coffee while I apply my makeup and slip into my fabulous, but perfectly understated, black dress.  How blissful?!

    Every once in a while we need a night where we can pretend we're everything we wish we were.  Every once in a while we need to walk a mile (or a few blocks) in someone else's shoes.  And tonight, mine just happen to be fabulous.


    Because moments are meant to be savor-ed.

    Today, I hope you...
    Smile so much, there's time enough to count teeth.
    Laugh so hard, there's no need for exercise.
    Savor every little bite of a favorite treat, completely without guilt.
    Dance in the mirror, and love what you see.
    Accomplish something you always thought impossible.
    Find out that what you hoped for was true all along.
    Make every moment, every tiny moment, yours.
    pic: weheartit


    Well Travel-ed.

    A psychologist, Abraham Maslow, created the famous hierarchy of basic human needs in his 1943 paper A Theory of Human Motivation.  Essentially, he concluded that we all have needs on five different levels:
    1. Physiological
    2. Safety
    3. Love, Affection and Belongingness
    4. Esteem
    5. Self-Acutalization  
    While I generally agree with his theory, I do believe he left out one very important basic need--VACATION.  Just like we must give our muscles, and our eyes, and our brain a rest, we must give our souls a rest.  There always seems to be a sort of guilt associated with doing nothing throughout the day--unless, that is, you are on vacay.  We all need an opportunity to breathe and reboot, get away from our daily routines, and take in a change of scenery...some more than others.

    I happen to be one of those 'others.'  That being said, I'm off to Colorado for a much anticipated family ski trip, where I will eat, sleep, breath (#1), wear a ski helmet and abide by mountain rules (#2), spend quality time with extended family (#3), improve my ski skills (#4), and contemplate the promotion that was offered to me yesterday (#5).  See, vacation (#6) really IS a basic need!

    Do you think HR would consider this a valid argument to extend my 2 weeks?

    pic: weheartit


    Another year pass-ed us by.

    Today is Daddy-o's birthday, so naturally we will celebrate with sushi, wine, and Mom's homemade pineapple upside-down cake.  I can't think of a better way to spend a Tuesday evening in March.  As I've mentioned, I love my parents.

    Ironically, the milestones of my life are not marked by my own birthdays, but often by those of my parents.  With every year that passes, they are one year older, and I seem to be one year farther away.  This is surely the natural progression of life, but for a species that nutures it's young even well past the legal marker of adulthood, it seems bizarre that we are able to put so much space, both physical and spiritual, between ourselves and our parents.  Today has granted me the opportunity to reflect on my relationship with my Dad.

    Dad is...
    • Corny jokes
    • Random, unexpected compliments
    • The $20 casually slipped into my purse before I leave
    • A mid-day email that recounts the sports scores from last night
    • The evenings of take-out suppers that Mom would never have sanctioned
    • Late night algebra tutoring sessions
    • Cheering at the finish line of my first half-marathon
    • My protector
    • The simple answer to the toughest question.
    • Always there.


      Lov-ed you ever since.

      I'd wish upon a star, but none as bright as you.
      I'd wish upon an hour, but none of them will do.
      I'd pluck a flower, but none smell as sweet.
      I'd give you my forever, but you know its yours to keep.

      What gift is left to give,
      To the man made of dreams?
      When all that's left to give,
      is what's left of me.

      I'd say a little prayer, but God already knows.
      I'd tell you a story, but you know how it goes.
      I'd kiss a million frogs, but you're the only prince.
      I loved you from the start, and I've loved you ever since.