The other day I was walking down a street in my neighborhood, lost in my own thoughts, when I suddenly stopped dead in my tracks.
I just watched the new episode of GIRLS, “Incidentals,” and really took to the scene where Hannah realizes that she makes actual decent money at her GQ advertorial job, even though it’s not something she ever thought she’d do or, gasp, enjoy. It’s a funny thing that whole making money thing…sometimes, especially when you’re in your early 20s, you hold down jobs that you really don’t like, or even actually HATE. I’ve done it…and I’m sure you know tons of others who have done it as well, and even though sticking with a job that you loathe sucks beyond belief, it DOES have its benefits. For example, back in early 2008 (pre-recession), I accepted a PR job that gave me a HUGE pay boost…we’re talking like HUGE, and I remember the feeling I had walking down the street in SoHo when I decided to pop into Bloomingales to buy myself a new purse. I bought myself the purple MARC BY MARC JACOBS DOCTOR’S PURSE (above, no longer available) that just made me simply smile. I was proud of the fact that I could easily drop a few hundred dollars on a whim, just because. Even though I had a job I didn’t really believe in or like, I was happy that I could afford the little luxuries I had always wanted for myself…and that’s something to be truly proud of, regardless. I still have the bag and I think it may have to make a wardrobe comeback in the next few months, just because.
What have you bought yourself as a “just because I rock” present?
I recently read a great post on one of my favorite blogs, ABeautifulMess.com, about her tradition of setting four SIMPLE goals for herself every Fall, to end out the year on a positive note before the new year starts in January. I set quite a few 2013 “goals” for myself and sure, I’m happy to say that I actually accomplished a few of them (e.g. finally putting together my gallery wall (!), paying off my credit cards, continuing to volunteer, getting my friends “just because” gifts, etc.) but there are still a TON that I wasn’t able to accomplish. I’m thinking now that maybe listing so many goals was a mistake and also VERY overwhelming, which is why I’m into the idea of these four profoundly simple goals that I can focus on in November and December. My goals are above…what are yours?
You can participate in the A Beautiful Mess 4 Simple Goals challenge as well! Its purpose is to challenge and remind you to create healthy, life-enriching habits during the busiest time of the year. If you’re game, here are the “rules”:
1. Choose simple goals that will make your life richer and happier on a daily basis. Choose things you may not otherwise get done but are not difficult to accomplish.
2. Do not choose result oriented goals. Choose activity oriented goals. For example, instead of “lose 10 pounds”, choose something like “eat fresh fruits and vegetables every day”. Get what I’m saying? Positive actions instead of just the end result!
3. Choose personal goals you believe will truly make your life richer just by doing them! They can be daily, weekly or one time experiences.
4. Choose a reward for each goal as it is accomplished! It can be a small or large reward—it’s up to you.
5. Blog about your goals, each one as you achieve it and a big post when they are all finished before the new year! Be sure to leave us a link to your blog in the comments section. I’ll be sure to share my experiences in a follow-up post before the new year and my 2014 goals in January.
As much as we all complain about the annoyances of social media (FOMO, over-sharing, etc.), it does have its upsides. I recently attended a little shopping event for my friend Beth Jones and she posted a group photo of us on her Instagram. Well, turns out that my long-time pen pal (circa HIGH SCHOOL) just so happens to know Beth (via a mutual friend) and immediately recognized me in the picture! She looked at who was tagged, saw my very obvious Instagram name and commented on one of my photos to let me know it was her, Kenna O’Leary, now Kenna O’Brien. I mean…I literally screamed with excitement. Funny enough, I had actually searched for her on Facebook a few times but since she is now married, the “Kenna O’Leary” search never resulted well. A quick back story, Kenna and I met because she won a ‘zine contest that Seventeen magazine had waaaay back in the day (e.g. the 90s). If you’re not familiar, a ‘zine was actually the FIRST kind of blog, basically a DIY magazine that was then photocopied and snail mailed out to subscribers. Kind of amazing to think about that kind of format now, considering how popular blogs are.
Kenna and I wrote each other (with actual paper and pen, btw) pretty regularly through out high school and the beginning of college but then lost touch. I basically chalk it up to the fact that I was doing the college thing (e.g. lots of partying) and Kenna was working at an AMAZING dream job: being a Barbie designer for Mattel. Yes, dreams DO come true guys. One of the things that initially made me adore Kenna is that she always pursued her dream and never cared what anyone else had to say about it. She’s three years older than me and, as Kenna said in her blog post about us, three years may have well been 30 when you’re in high school. Yet, I really looked up to Kenna and I still remember how excited I would get when I would find a letter from her in my mail box.
Back to present day, I quickly found out that Kenna now has a thriving party planning business and, of course, a blog to go with that business. I would expect nothing less. And, of course, I found a way to bring us back together! I’m working with a new website called WISHCLOUDS (more on that later) and they’re throwing a big launch party for Bloggers this week. I asked Kenna if she would help style the party up and make it really over-the-top (Kenna’s specialty), and luckily she was available. I haven’t seen Kenna since 2002 and I’m so excited for us to be re-united this Wednesday here in LA.
Have you guys been re-united with long lost friends via social media?
After an impromptu happy hour at my friend Sal’s house last week, I realized that I haven’t been doing enough personal posts. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t exactly ME who came to this realization but instead, it was Sal and Kristen doing a lot of “girl, you gots to write more personal stuff up on that blog! That’s what people want to read!” So yeah, I decided that I will dedicate one post per week to something a little more intimate than my beauty, lifestyle, shopping round ups, etc. Not to say that even those posts don’t exude my snark and self-deprecation, because oooh they do, but I agree with Sal and Kristen that the quarter life crisis is more than just the fun stuff- it’s the real stuff…and it’s who I really am.
Last night I went to my friend Jamie C’s “marriage celebration” and it was just the most beautiful thing. I’ve been having a weird time lately with the abomination otherwise known as “dating” and just seeing the love between Jamie and her new husband is completely and utterly inspiring; you can actually SEE how much they care about each other and that gives me hope and a mind refresher that I shouldn’t be settling for a guy who calls me a retard or doesn’t return my text messages (yes, at 30, I’m embarrassed to admit that the first part actually did happen recently).
Another exciting update (or maybe not so exciting, if you don’t get excited by furniture, like I now do): I finally decided to get a desk for my home “office.” What’s great about this “desk” is that it can (and WILL) also double as a dinner table, something that I haven’t had for the past four years while living in Los Angeles. Come to think of it, I actually didn’t have a table in ANY of my New York City apartments either, so I guess we could go as far as saying this is my first ever table purchase. Gemma, of course, made herself right at home. I’m not officially done styling my desk yet, but we’re off to a good start, no?
Something that only my close friends/family know about me: I volunteer once a week at a home for at-risk teen girls.
Not that I try to keep it a secret or anything…clearly not, since I’m now blogging about it. In fact, I’m actually quite proud of the fact that I’ve given my time for the past two years to teen girls who need it. But volunteering is something that is good, yet deeply personal (at least to me). There are really strict rules about what we can and cannot share with the girls, what we can and cannot give them as far as projects (nothing with glass or sharp edges) and, lastly, we can’t give them any personal information about ourselves. For me, the last rule is particularly difficult since, after two years, I’ve developed attachments to some of these girls. While I’m only with them for 1-2 hours per week, they’re allowed to be creative and free with me, which can sometimes spur emotions that they would otherwise keep hidden.
Growing up, I have a lot of great memories doing arts and crafts projects with my mom, a former art teacher, so it seemed natural to me to pick an activity where the girls (some of which don’t even have parents) would be able to do something similar. Anyway, the point of this post is this: it’s important to give back.
So many of us go through the motions and often feel all “woe is me” about things that are, sorry to say it, just not important. You know what a real problem is? Not having a place to live. Losing a parent to a gun shot wound. Being put into foster care because your parents are drug addicts. THOSE are REAL PROBLEMS. And believe me, I’m guilty of the “white girl problems” too, but every time I start to feel sorry for myself because I’ve gained a few pounds, or can’t afford a trip to Australia, I try to bring myself back to reality by thinking about the girls that I volunteer for. THEIR lives are hard, mine is not.
I encourage all of you to find an organization and volunteer, even if it’s only once a month..or even a few times a year! It truly warms my heart to see my girls and gives me a different perspective on life, honestly.