Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Who You Are, Who You Want To Be, Or How You Feel

I had an interesting conversation last night - and while we covered many topics, as we walked by Citrine (one of my favorite dress shops on State Street), it was noted that women fall in love with dresses because of who we are trying to be in it.

I don't necessarily disagree with that.

But, I think that woman should (and THIS woman does) fall in love with a dress because of how she feels in it - not because she's trying to become something other than herself. But, an interesting point was raised.

Do we as women choose our clothing to try and be someone when we follow the latest trends and buy labels or do we choose our clothes because they reflect who we are as individuals and because what we put on makes us feel confident and ready to tackle the task at hand whether it be a football game or a black tie affair?

The more I contemplate this, the more I think that many women tend to follow a trend or buy an outfit because it's the latest and greatest and think that when they walk around town in it they're in with the in crowd - which is ridiculous to me. Trying to impress people with what you have on means nothing if you don't have any substance or confidence beneath the latest Armani dress and Louboutin shoes.

Don't get me wrong, I'm a sucker for great fashion - and many of my friends think that I am ridiculous when I show up to a local, low key bar wearing a cute little dress or a great pair of heels. But I'm not trying to impress anyone, and I'm not trying to be anyone other than myself, I just feel great in it and when I feel great - and comfortable - in what I'm wearing I feel ready to take on the world. I feel confident and know that I can focus on what's going on in the venue I'm in and not have to worry about what I look like. When you find that, I think you're on to something - whether it's a great pair of jeans or a little black dress is up to you.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Thinking Less, Savoring Moments More

The printer is not working, my computer is atrociously slow today, it’s nice and sunny outside, and I am pondering life’s great questions; like why am I at work today and why is my nail polish chipping already when I just put it on Saturday…yes, I know, deep thinker.

I don’t know if it’s the springing ahead or if it’s a lack of sleep on Saturday night followed by an afternoon spent driving on Sunday that’s making me tired but I feel it today. My eyes are heavy and I could really go for a nap.

I could also go for a vacation. I have been craving a beach lately. Somewhere that I can lay in the sand, soak up the sun and have a drink in my hand (preferably something tropical and fruity). A place where flip flops and comfy cotton dresses are mandatory, the seafood and fruit are fresh and abundant, and the bars all have steel drum bands playing on outdoor patios till the wee hours of the morning.

2010 is starting out well. I’ve been insanely busy spending time with so many people I absolutely adore, meeting new people, getting to know people better, and just really enjoying myself. However, weekends that are packed with traveling, late nights, and lots of booze coupled with marathon training is making for a tired chick. This weekend I’m really looking forward to not having anything on my calendar (ask me again on Thursday and it’ll probably be full!). I plan on indulging in some yoga after a 12 mile run and just taking it easy. I’ve started a really good book (“Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx” by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc) and plan on spending a lot of time digesting it this weekend.

Since I’m on a random roll here, I am proudly announcing that I’m working really hard to think less and be in the moment more. I’ve been trying hard lately to not think about what is going to happen a mile down the road and to savor the steps that I am on right now. No one can predict what will happen in 2 days, 2 months, or 2 years and I need to stop worrying about and planning for things I have no control over.

My girlfriends tell me all the time that I think too much. And I do. A couple of weekends ago someone else mentioned it in a simple text message and I think that it has finally clicked. Don’t get me wrong, I still over think and think too much and too hard and too long about things I don’t have control over but I’m doing less analyzing – less trying to figure out what someone meant by a certain statement or what a certain action meant. I’m not worrying about people taking what I say the wrong way. I’m just trying really hard to be me and not worrying about what people are thinking when I say something silly or I dance a little too much or my hair isn’t perfect.

Saturday night I did just that. I said things that may have sounded funny but were true Jen, I danced my butt off and didn’t care what I looked like doing it, my hair was absolutely not perfect, and I may have had one too many gin and tonics. But I was me. I enjoyed the company of the person I was with immensely and I had fun.

At this point in the game I would normally start frantically questioning what was going to happen next, calculating moves and analyzing everything along the way. All in an effort to control a situation I have no control over…(ok, ok, I may be a bit of a control freak. Get over it.) Will I get a phone call? Should I call? Will I get blown off? Where is this going? What am I doing? Did I say something that I’ll regret? Did I send one too many text messages? How can I fix that? How can I make this progress in the way that I want it to?

The great thing is, I don’t feel like that at all. I had a fun weekend. What’s next? Who knows and that’s kind of the beauty of it…

Now, which way to the beach?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Random Thoughts This Week

*Sometimes silence is your answer.

*It’s ok to not relentlessly stick to your schedule as long as you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, changing it up can be a good thing.

*The Bayliss Bitch is indeed quite bitchy. (It’s a hill by the way)

*Hill running is mildly entertaining.

*Compromise is an art. When carried out well it can create a masterpiece.

*Our kids and teens need people to stick up for them. Without adults who are willing to help change a child’s situation they could be lost forever. It really does take a village.

*When your power wheelchair isn’t working and you can’t get out of your van, your first call is not often your state Senator’s office. However, if you do call, I’ll work to get you out.

*A Mary Kay business is not just “pink jars and pink cars” – it’s really about enriching women’s lives, making them feel beautiful inside and enhancing their self-confidence so that they can kick some major butt.

*It’s ok not to be “perfect” – if you don’t win that prize this month; you have the next month and the one after that waiting for you. Keep moving forward.

*I would like Michelle Obama arms, thanks.

*I’m not the girl that says “let’s catch up over dinner/drinks/lunch/etc” but really doesn’t mean it. I mean it. Sincerely.

*Some days you just need a pair of fantastic shoes to brighten your day.

*I LOVE this quote “I hope that my achievements in life shall be these – that I will have fought for what was right and fair, that I will have risked for that which mattered, and that I will have given help to those who were in need, and that I will have left the earth a better place for what I’ve done and who I’ve been.” As a policy maker at the County level and as a staffer at the state level, and in my daily life I try very hard to live by this motto. I hope that I will make a difference.

*I’m much more tired and hungry when I don’t eat a balanced diet.

*A good medium, black, ball point pen is my favorite. Right now I’m loving the Pentel tko – yes, I’ve thought about this.

*I’m not old enough to be a cougar. I’m a puma.

*I LOVE cards – I would take a card over a gift any day, but I ALWAYS have a hard time finding the perfect one for people.

*Parity for mental health is not just a want; it’s a need and a necessity. Improving coverage and access for people with mental illness will benefit not only the person but their family, employers, and the community as a whole.

*I LOVE my morning boot camp class at the Y. They are all SO great to hang out with (I mean work out with) at 5:15 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

*It's almost always better to leave well enough alone.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Catching Up...

My dear friend Jake sent me a wall message on facebook alerting me to the fact that I haven’t blogged since January 8, 2010. I think about blogging, a lot actually. Does that count? Jake would say no.

Here’s a whirlwind update of what’s been going on in my crazy life:

**I hosted a fab 5 course, sit down, Asian themed dinner party – Thai salads, egg and spring rolls, eddamame, miso soup, a wonderful chicken and veggie stir fry, almond cookies…and Katie made an amazing trifle! I LOVE hosting dinner parties. Jake could tell you about the one I threw senior year of college with an amazing lemon chicken and way too many blue raspberry vodkas and lemonade (the sole reason I have not drank once since).

**I connected with some of my FAVORITE Green Bay girls for our annual holiday get together! We met at Leslie’s in Waukesha…she and her husband just bought a new house and it was fun for her to show it off!! We had a wonderful time, eating and catching up and I got awesome drink glasses and a cocktail book from Steph during our gift exchange!

**My parents and sister ran off to Phoenix to watch the Packers lose in the playoff game – bummer for the Pack to lose but it was fun for my fam to get some sunshine!

**I took off for some sun of my own and headed to Los Angeles for a few days in January. It was a WONDERFUL trip filled with some of my favorite people, restaurants, and old haunts. It always feels like home to me when I go back – which says a great deal about my friends back there, seeing them out there is always wonderful and never feels like any time has passed.

**One of my BFF’s, Katie turned 30 and her dad turned 50 in January! Kate’s mom and sister threw her and Bob a surprise party in Monroe (where they live and Katie is from) – it was a BLAST! We ate, drank, and danced the night away! It’s always SO great to hang out with Kate’s family!

**I went to Kenosha at the end of January for the UAW’s Martin Luther King event. Jesse Jackson was the key note speaker. It was very interesting commentary on the happenings of our day – something that I probably should have blogged about when it was fresh in my mind!

**My nephew Braylen turned 1 on January 31st! I can’t believe it!! We had fun watching him dig in to his cake!

**Met Andy in Milwaukee for dinner at Benihana’s – neither of us had been there before. The food was good but I think I like the atmosphere of JMK in Rockford a little better…we went to Rock Bottom for a drink and then found The Newsroom – which is somehow attached to the Safehouse…it was kind of a fun place!

**My dad was in the hospital for a few days with bleeding ulcers. It was insanely scary at the onset – not knowing what was going on. I’ve decided that my parents are not allowed to get sick any more – ever. It was awful seeing him in a hospital bed!

**However, dad healed up quite quickly and they decided to take 11 days and head to Hawaii - I haven’t gotten through all of my mom’s 600 pictures, but it’s safe to say they had a good trip!

**I decided to start my own business! My friends, I am a brand new Mary Kay Consultant – and I’m off to a great start! I’ve held a couple of skin care classes already and am in line to win some great prizes, maybe I’ll even drive a pink car someday – regardless, it’s a great company to be affiliated with and a product I really believe in so I’m VERY excited for this opportunity!

**My friend Kris turned 30 mid February so we headed out to celebrate with drinks at Suds! (it’s so fun that I’m one of the last to turn, I’m watching what happens to everyone else ;) ha ha!)

**I saw “Valentine’s Day” with Paula and Renee from my office – we had such a great little “date night” – we had dinner and drinks and then headed to the movie – which, I totally loved – it’ll be an owner!

**Had one of my favorite dinners ever with Bridget, Amanda, and Krista – seriously I have not laughed so hard in ages – and the food was good (we ate at Quaker Steak and Lube which is always SO wonderful!). It’s so much fun to surround yourself with people who you can laugh with. And we laughed hard.

**Went to Chicago for a super fun night on the town with Mary, Ang, Kellie, and Suz and several other really fun people! The ladies are doing a stair climb with proceeds going to the American Lung Organization so they did a fundraiser at Casey Moran’s in Wrigleyville! What a great time – we sang karaoke, danced, drank, I even won a prize (and I NEVER win!) – it was a blast!

**The morning after Chicago I headed up to Milwaukee for brunch with Rachel in the 3rd ward, I really love the 3rd ward and it has been decided that I should like there because I have “funky shoes and I drink with my pinky up” (thanks Andy). We did a bit of sopping in some fun little boutiques and then I headed over to hang out with Ryan and Tilney for a tiny while before heading home. I was exhausted after only getting 3 hours of sleep in Chicago!

**I was recognized at my 1st Mary Kay meeting for several accomplishments (already – after only being a consultant for 4 days!) which was super fun!

**I’m currently getting ready for a party – “Mashed Potatoes, Martinis and Merriment” – Again, LOVE throwing parties and currently have almost 50 people that will be around hanging out eating, drinking, playing games, and having a great time! I’m very much looking forward to it!! I’ll even think about blogging about it when I’m done! ;)

I’m trying to get Jake to be a guest blogger so he’s not always disappointed by me by not having anything on here! I hope he’ll consider it, he’d be a great guest to have!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Maybe I'd Write More...

If my blog was fancier I'd like to think that I'd write more. I'd make it fancy, but I'm not very technologically savvy. Hence, no fancy blog. Hence, I don't write very often. That's a lot of hencing.

It's not that I don't want to learn how to make my blog fancier, I would. I just don't know where to start. If anyone has some mad computer skills can you throw them my way please? Thanks.

I've been busy in the first 8 days of 2010. Lots of things to do, places to go, people to see, not a spare minute to sit down and think about my goals for 2010 (ok, maybe I've had a minute but hello? I need to sleep!). I've committed to one goal. One. And maybe one is enough, but I don't think so.

What's the goal, you ask? Good question.

I am going to run 1100 miles this year. Yep, 1100.

I don't usually keep track of my cumulative mileage throughout the year. I write it down, I just don't add it up (I'm really bad at math).

My friend Krista ran 1000 miles in 2009. I was blown away by that, 1000 is a TON (she's awesome!). Then I got to wondering about how many miles I ran in 2009. Surely it wasn't anywhere near 1000.

After I added (and yes, because I'm bad at math I checked it twice!) I had 976 miles. 9-7-6 for the year. 24 short of 1000 (ha! Look at those skills!). Guys, had I paid any attention at all, I could have gotten my butt out of bed a time or two when I thought that sleep would be better than running, and I could have gotten there, no problem!

So, after realizing how close I came to 1000, I decided that 1100 would challenge me but was totally attainable.

Goal number 2, that I'm throwing out there right now is that I would like to obtain some better computer skills. Maybe a class on website design or maybe I should invest in a "Computers for Dummies" book. Either way, I should (and can!) learn how to make my blog a little fancier, because well, maybe I'd write more.

Apparently my 3rd goal should be to write more?!?!

I'm leaving on a jet plane (although unfortunately, I know when I'll be coming back again) heading to LA on Thursday - I'm hoping that I'll get in lots of journaling time (and maybe even some blogging time!) to figure out what I want to tackle in this new decade. I should also go back and revisit my goals for 2009 - I actually think that I did pretty well at accomplishing what I set out to do!

Here's to 2010 and whatever it may bring! I hope that everyone has a happy, healthy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas...

It's the best time of the year...

I don't know if there'll be snow, but have a cup of cheer...

While this is not my favorite Christmas song it's the first one that came to mind when I sat down to write about my Christmas this year.

The best thing about Christmas this year? It was simple. No frills. Just my immediate family, lots of food, wine, and hanging out.

While I dearly missed spending time with my grandparents and aunts and uncles, it was nice to take a nap when I felt like it, get in some good workouts, and not have to rush off anywhere.

Thusday I got to sleep in - it was SO nice to not have to wake up super early. I went to Ann's Iron Corps class and got a phenomenal workout. I wish that I was able to take it through the week! Kendra and I headed to Starbucks and chatted for 2 hours over coffee - it was a great day followed by wonderful food, a couple bottles of wine, It's A Wonderful Life, and merriment with my family.

Christmas morning we had to wake my niece up to open presents, but once she was up, she was ready to roll! She had a blast opening things, and playing with them, while my nephew really had no interest (I think that comes with being such a little guy!). It was a blast to watch her open gifts!

Santa was VERY good to me, as he always is (it's because I'm such an upstanding person throughout the year...) I got lots of things off of my mile long wish list and money to put towards a new bike so that I can start to take on Triathlons!

I also got to have coffee with a friend on his way out of town, it's always so nice to be able to catch up with people over the holidays!

Saturday morning I ran with Ann, we stayed inside because it was pretty snowy and slippery and did 6 miles on the treadmill. I know the 'mill will get easier as I start to do it more this winter, but I'm not even joking, it almost killed me on Saturday. It's hard to remember that I once did 15 miles (at one time!) on one last winter!!

Sunday I met Kendra at the Y and we got in a good swim and even kicked a little longer so we could chat!

I also managed to read 2 books this weekend (I finished Born to Run by Christopher McDougall earlier in the week too - seriosuly, read this book, even if you're not a runner. Read it.).

I read Push which the movie Precious is based on. WOW. The book was intense. And disturbing. And very thought prevoking. I would highly recommend it and would love to discuss it with anyone who reads it.

I try to follow up intense/more serious books something light hearted or fun! My parents got me the book Shoe Addicts Anonymous for their shoe loving girl and it was super cute.

I hope that everyone had a very enjoyable Christmas and has a happy, healthy New Year! I'm am certainly looking forward to another short work week and to moving in to 2010. I already have big plans for it...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Ain't Saying I'm Perfect, But I Promise I'm Worth It

I have this complex with trying to be “perfect.” Not in the since that I spend 800 hours on my hair or make up or that I am OCD about making sure I have the wrinkles out of my pants, it’s more in my actions.

I want to always do the right thing and say the right thing and when I don’t, or I feel that I don’t I spin in to this crazy tornado of continuing to try and explain myself until I’m exhausted and have to throw up my hands and say, whatever will be, will be.

I got in to a car accident last Wednesday night. I’m fine, my car is barely dented (you can’t tell unless you have your nose to the bumper), and more importantly, the other people are fine. The poorly salted/sanded/plowed roads in Madison were no pleasure to be driving in, BUT, it was MY fault. I get that. And I felt/feel awful.

I apologized profusely to the couple and told my story to the police and then, I got a ticket (well, I didn’t actually receive it, I was told I would get it in the mail…so I’m still waiting…).

I beat the hell out of myself for it. I cried over it and I didn’t sleep over it – mainly because I felt SO bad and SO guilty.

(My mom does say that this is the reason they never had to punish me while growing up, I knew when I screwed up and I would punish myself).

Earlier this week I sent an email to a friend that I felt was maybe misunderstood so, when I received an email back, I immediately called and tried to clarify – you know, just to make sure that everyone was on the same page. Unfortunately, the message I left was STILL not REALLY what I wanted to say and could have been clearer. Normally, I would have followed up with another email or message to further explain but this time I didn’t. I gave in to the “whatever will be, will be” mantra a lot sooner than normal.

I’ve always strived really hard to be very clear with people (I’m a serious over communicator) but to also make sure that people are always happy with me. The being clear part isn’t all that hard, but I want to make sure that people aren’t annoyed with me or mad at me and this is easier said than done, my friends.

Hello, my name is Jennifer, and I am a people pleaser.

The people pleasing business is not often easy nor is it a good way to go through life. I’m realizing that and I’m working on it. But it’s hard to up root 28 years of a particular behavior in a matter of months.

I also think I just care way too much. Yes, about how people perceive me, but also how people FEEL. I legitimately care about people – very deeply. This often leads me in to a world of hurt, but I can’t go about living my life not caring how people are feeling or wanting to make sure that they are happy.

I was talking about this with a good friend last night and Kevin got mentioned and after thinking about him and the mess that he was, I said “you know, I really hope that he’s happy.” Bridget could have decked me at that point (which I appreciate since it means she cares since he is a total jackbag). But I do. I really hope that he’s happy.

It’s just me. I throw caution to the wind when it comes to people. I love without abandon. I always want to make sure that people are happy with me and that they know that they can count on me. I want people to know that I truly care about them and the things that are going on in their life and most of all, I just want my friends and loved ones to be happy. And I don't think that this is a bad thing.

This is all great and lovey dovey and touchy feely but when I don’t know that people know that, I can drive myself (and others) a tad bit crazy trying to explain.

I need to be better at thinking before I speak. I maybe need to be LESS of a communicator. I need to take a step back and make sure that I am truly happy before I work so hard to appease others. But, I won’t stop loving without abandon. I won’t stop giving my all to people. I just need to be a little smarter about it and not beat myself up so much in trying to get there.

I’m working on it…because as much as I aim at perfection, I am far from perfect.

In quoting one of my favorite “yay me” songs “I'm slow to trust but I'm quick to love…I push too hard and I give too much…I ain't saying I'm perfect, but I promise I'm worth it”