Teamwork

It takes a team to stay sane in our house at the moment. The kitchen table is covered in seaglass projects in progress. I launched my Etsy store this week and I am cranking out mobiles to keep it well stocked. Thank goodness Matt is supportive in me spending every spare second working and is helping out as my official shipper!

Our living room and new guest room, while not actually in construction, are staging areas for renovation materials, tool, barrels of demo debris, and storage for lots of furniture. Things are basically a wreck! And we are still smiling. Matt has been removing the built in closet storage in the old guest room closet…the closet that will go away this weekend to make room for more kitchen! Storing all our furniture has been a challenge without a garage (one of the major downsides of our house).

This morning I was rushing out the door to work, and did not have time to eat breakfast. Matt had made me eggs and toast and I was trying to do it all. Shovel in eggs while buttoning up my coat. How did we make it work? I asked him to blow on the eggs while I ate so that I could get them down as fast as possible. Teamwork at its finest.

Happy Friday.

Notes to Twenty Sixteen

Yesterday I met a friend for coffee. We met in our go-to coffee shop for an hour of laughter and talking, catching up about holiday travel, to-be boyfriends (her) and spouses (me), art, photography, plans for the future. It was wonderful. I have made these metups a priority since starting my daily trek into the city. Living on Vashon has been isolating in good and challenging ways. We are farther away from old circles. At the same time, life is changing for those circles. New jobs, kids, relationships, and life pull everyone into every more complicated full days. It is hard to make time for weekend meetups regardless of how close our homes are. That said, our friend social calendar has been pretty void. Coffee dates and lunches with girlfriends are my go-to social engagements and it is truly a highlight for me. Major priority to continue this year.

While waiting for Sheryl to arrive, I pulled out my little purse notebook to jot down thoughts. Years ago my friend Jenny gave me a small green notebook, and I have carried in my purse ever since. It does not get much use, but does contain some pretty significant notes, doodles and thought streams. It is always there when I need to jot down ideas. I filled a page with what is roaming in my head…a good thing to get down so I can actually focus!

So what I am focused on? Well, work is good and new. I have a new boss and a bigger team. After a year of challenge with too many tasks outside of my wheelhouse (both skill and interest) I am invigorated to tackle more projects that are what I love to do this year. This new team needs my skills for their projects, and they want to take the stuff I hate! Win win!

Second, art is constantly on my mind. I am thrilled to report that I have officially applied for a business license (!) and am going to be kicking off my Etsy store and possible local sales as soon I have enough inventory built up. I am thrilled, excited, ecstatic, energized by this. I needed a creative outlet more than I realized. Much more to come in the next weeks and months. Stay tuned.

I am also constantly on the ideation track for our home projects. Last weekend we designed a new fireplace. And built-in bookshelves. Now I need to buckle down and find some more matching kitchen cabinets to finish our space. And source some more locally produced reclaimed brick veneer. All these ideas are leading to more excitement about reclaimed building materials in general. I seem to always come back to old buildings, reclaimed materials, historic remodels…a slow backburner idea for a possible future career path.

Random: we started growing our own mealworms yesterday. Chicken food! Matt says he could become the Vashon kingpin of mealworms.

And finally travel. We love to go and explore new places. In 2016 we have NOTHING on the books. There are a handful of exciting destination weddings in the wings so that may be what we build around. Alaska in June is sounding very likely. Travel budget was eaten by remodels so we are trying to plan on a major budget. A good challenge but takes up brain space.

We are thankful that we are in good health going into 2016. Feeling strong and capable and happy. Matt loves being home and I love that he is embracing that role. Yesterday he deep cleaned the fridge! I am feeling thankful for health insurance so I can get my sore neck spot looked at next week. I am feeling grateful for being near family so that we get so see them more often. 2016 is going to be a good, full year.

PDX: Channel Your Inner Hipster

Hipster I am not. I would venture to say that hippie is more my style, but even that does not quite fit. Vashonite does. Again, hipster: not so much…and this week it was obvious! I spent two day in Portland for work and boy did I feel like I stuck out! I spent a meal texting my best friend in Madison, WI, about the awkwardness and we at least decided that my bangs were an asset.

Oh Portland, what a wonderful city. Friendly people, amazing food, great cocktails, awesome public transportation and yep, a great close flight from Seattle.

On Tuesday I visited with good friends from my masters program at BGI, going out for good food and good drinks. I learned that house punch of the day is a major “thing” at least in the places we went. Served in course in vintage pressed glass cups. I am pleased to report that pickleback is also now part of my vocabulary.

Wednesday I was at work events all day, with a few hours in the afternoon to find my hotel, grab dinner and pop into a few neat shops downtown. I texted my friend Alana for a dinner suggestion and found myself at what felt like the ultimate “Portland” place: Clyde Common. Communal tables, an esoterically vague and intriguing menu (thanks for the description inspiration Jenny!) and a very ironically hipster wait staff. Thank goodness I felt cool with my new bright orange clutch and bangs. Only JUST cool enough to pull off a solo dinner though.

Dinner was amazing: a happy hour green salad with a super good dressing alongside a lemon/ginger/honey cocktail. Super summery…great for the 90+degree day. I was seduced by many things on the menu, but ultimately went with a plate of pickled beef lips with marrow cream and cucumbers and a plate of raw cow milk cheese with honey, rhubarb compote and beet bread. And why not apricot upsidown cake for dessert? It was such a good meal. I just wish I could have shared it with someone else!

After such a long, hot day I feel quickly asleep in my airconditioned hotel room. Sweet talking the desk clerk got me a great room on the 21st floor of the Hilton with a stunning view of the West Hills. But I did not sleep too well. I never do without Matt.

Two days was enough and it was time to go home. Thrusday was a MAX ride to the airport followed by the short flight back to Seattle.

It was 20 degrees cooler and much more comfortable when we landed! I worked for the afternoon and then met Matt in Georgetown for a great dinner date (thank you Travelzoo coupon deal!) at Via Tribunali. Then a quick zip in a car2go back to West Seattle in time to catch the ferry home. HOME! Ah, nothing beats it.

This weekend is the Strawberry Festival on Vashon and we are not leaving the island. Not that we would want to with all the fun stuff happening…but if we tried it is a nightmare ferry line. We plan to go the parade, eat street food, shop for some local art and prepare for our summer BBQ next weekend. Busy weekend ahead!

Leveling Up

On Tuesday afternoon I sent Matt a text: “I’ve leveled up!”

I had just completed a hour long conference presentation that was a great success alongside a high profile group of leaders from my company. And I had held my own. It felt like I earned my entrance to a new level of professionalism.

The extra boost of confidence from (my first!) new blazer may have helped.

It was a great weekend of work travel that did not feel that much like work. I saw friends, worked out of our really cool Spokane office building, spent time with inspiring people, stayed in the wonderful Davenport hotels, and ate SO MUCH epically good food. And really good wine. Bonus: I got to see my Alma Mater, Washington State University!

It was a weekend that affirmed that I am on a good path, and one that fits me well. I am learning all the time, and more importantly, figuring out who I need to learn from in order to grow in the direction I want.

After this trip to Spokane and Moscow, I have a new list of to-check-out places for my Eastern WA friends:

Spokane:

Davenport Hotel and Tower: I stayed in both and think they are both wonderful…Tower is a little quieter, better for working in the rooms but the Historic one has more charm and much better room service options

Clover: great local food restaurant. It is in a house so super funky cool vibe to go with amazing food.

Latah Bistro: this place is essentially in a strip mall but the food is OUTRAGOUS! We shared a feast of bread/cheese/nibbles and then shared 3 entrees for the table…and wine, and dessert. The pile of mini chocolate cakes…to die for. Go. It is so good.

Moscow, ID:

Nectar: this great wine bar and bistro was such a treat. Everything on the menu looked good, but I had a flight of sauvignon blanc (found a new favorite wine!) and a really good trout dinner. So good.

Stitch Fix Box Two

Few months back I tried Stitch Fix for the first time. It was fun but the pieces have not made their way into my totally mainstream wardrobe. Regardless, I figured good, detailed reviews (and sending them to my blog post review) would help them hone their picks for my style and body.

Enter: box #2.

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It arrived Wednesday but I waited till Thursday to open it on a night when I did not have class. On top: a great blue patterned casual dress. The fabric felt great and I immediately slipped it on. It is not what I would usually pick, the these pics do not really do it justice, but I really liked the way it felt on! Perfect dress for a summer event or baby shower etc. It looks better with my hair up too. One con: the hemline pattern was not cut quite straight, but it is so small it will probably not even be noticed. I would have like it to be “right” though. KEEP! (Emily Geo Print Drawstring Dress)

Good start!

Item #2 was a bold lavender flowy shirt. I have tried on tons of flowy tops and, well, they have never been that flattering or well fitting. This one fit though! I really liked it…almost wish I had another one in another color! Keep! (Colibri Solid Tab Sleeve Blouse)

To go with the lavender top….JEANS! Super dark skinnies (I am in desperate need of new jeans) that slipped right on, were high enough rise to flatter, and did not gap at the waist! Score! They were LONG too…enough for a cuff. KEEP! (Adorra Skinny Jean)

Man, I was on a ROLL! I also decided to keep the price sheet unopened so that I was looking at the pieces un-swayed by the price tags.

Item #4 was a dress. The first thing I noticed was the bright bold colors, and then the great feel of the crepe-ish fabric. It felt cool to touch, like it would feel awesome in the summer. I slipped on the dress and liked the way it fit and felt, but was concerned it was a bit “young” looking. I was not sure I could picture it as an office outfit, which is really my goal with these fixes. On the fence on this one. (Daphne Scalloped Colorblock Dress)

The final piece was another dress! (I love dresses and wear them 4-5 days a week) This one was also a bright salmon color (lots of pink and springy colors in this box) and had a really cool neckline. I was excited to put it on, especially since the fabric was a very soft flowy silk. Cons: exposed zipper (apparently this is a thing…I am not a fan) and it is a dry clean dress. Fit: a tad big on the top. Verdict…I still loved it. It felt professional and feminine and really quite “me”. I decided that the seams were easy to alter, so it was a keep. The zipper was ok too . KEEP! (Kellyn V-Neck Shift Dress)
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Humm, so now the decision. I was still on the fence about the scallop edge dress, but after re-trying it on with a cardigan and heels decided to keep it. You get 25% off if you keep all five pieces so really it was “free” if I did that. So yep, this fix was a total win! All 5 pieces are going to get great mileage in my closet, and give me some more feminine pieces to play with. And new jeans! Woohoo!!!

Next fix: June 11. I hope I get some more great pieces! Armed with new jeans and three new blazers I feel ready to mix and match with more fun pieces. I would love a maxi dress (or two?) and some work dresses. I like these but they were almost too short for my taste. Can’t wait for the next box!

Want to give it a try? I highly recommend it! If you do, please use my referral link 🙂

https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/3354856

Oh Texas

I am in Houston once again. As if these two weeks were not full enough (regular class + work + 5 extra FULL days of class), Sunday I jumped on a plane to Houston for two days of meeting for my grad internship. So here I am, in a grey 72 degrees with humidity while my parents have over 1 ½ feet of snow! It is a productive and fulfilling trip (complete with room service, a nice hotel and AMAZING corporate gym + pool) but it is hard to be away from home for so many days in a row. I am so excited to be home on my little island to process all that has happened this week!

My perception of work swings week to week. I am working hard to define my path forward and where that will be best facilitated. I ran across a dream job description last week which gave me inspiration to get more stepping stones in place to get there. Lots of movement. Lots of emotion. Not enough mental space to hold it all!!! June is going to feel so good!

So yea, in general all is well. I feel grounded and more in control of my path. I feel articulate in what I want. And I feel valued. And enjoying room service in Houston.

Life is full. 

Presence

Last week I took an amazing facilitation course. Connecting people with different ideas and different perspectives to create something new is my calling. I love it. And facilitation skills are key to being effective. This course: awesome.

On day one we did an interesting exercise. What does it mean to by truly present with another person? We were to stand in front of another member of the class (that we did not know) and just look at them eye to eye and experience the…well, experience. It was crazy. We stood there for 17 minutes and it felt like 5. Uncomfortable, disconcerting, calming, embarrassing, flattering. We all ran a gambit of emotion and thoughts. But you know what? It taught me something about how I normally am when I thought I was present in the past. I move my eyes too much, think about other things. This illustrated to me the value of just being with someone else. Powerful. And changing.

Since that exercise I have shifted my focus to this intention: presence.

I am  navigating crazy stress and too many things to juggle. Extra classes. Work. Travel. Catch up on homework. There is a lot…and I am working hard to just be present with it all.

Today I worked from home. Cranked through some back burner work. Checked over 10 things off my list. Called my mom. Talked to an alum about a job dream. Finished our taxes. Ate mac and cheese.

Presence. It is amazing what you can get done when you stop worrying and let yourself just be.