Friday, September 30, 2011

My first guest post!

Check it out, my first ever guest post is up at Kimberly Michelle! I was super excited when Kim asked me to write something while she was on vacation (though I'm incredibly jealous of her trip!), and I hope you go check out my ramblings on how well I deal with change (hint: not very).

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Prioritizing What's Actually Important

I've been thinking a lot about two different things and determining how they fit together so that they aren't diametrically opposed - family and career. I do not yet have kids, but I very definitely have a family. My main family now consists of me and my husband. My larger family with my parents and siblings and B's parents and siblings. Our extended families that go out even further. And my friends are another circle around that ring of extended family. My family is extremely important to me, because they are the most important people to me. 

But so is my career. Ever since I was younger, I've been working towards a goal of being able to support my family in the event that it was on me to do so. I've talked a lot with my mom about this, and how she always stressed the importance of knowing that you can provide for yourself and your family whenever you need to. And I absolutely love that I have succeeded in that goal (though I'll be honest and say it sometimes stresses the hell out of me. More on that in another post though). But it often feels like it's hard to keep your family a priority when you're also trying to do everything you can to further your career and do the best job at work you can. 

And yes, I know that this gets even harder once you add kids to the mix, which I'm hoping won't be too far into the future.

But I read a post from Callie at The Wannabe Athlete the other day (who I love - she's such an amazing inspiration as a working mom to me!), which really motivated me to think more clearly about my priorities and how I'm really spending my time. And in seeing how she framed her priorities, it gave me a new way of thinking in particular about how to make career and family work together. 

Callie's priorities are:


Here's the list of how my priorities look like after borrowing blatantly stealing from Callie:

Family - my family is everything, immediate family, parents and siblings, extended family and friends
Future - focusing on my future to create the best outcome for my family (which right now means focusing on my career)
Fitness/Balance - in order to have the future I want, I have to take care of myself, both physically and mentally (which is where balance comes in)
Finance - my finances must be in order, both so I can prepare for whatever will come in the future and so I can maintain a balanced perspective (this is such a huge source of stress for me, no matter how much or little income is coming in at any given time)
Travel/Adventure - because what is a future without knowing our world and having adventures?

My friends are of course incredibly important to me, but as I mentioned above, I consider them to be one more circle in my family priority. And my family will always be priority number one for me. 

But in thinking about my career in terms of what I'm prioritizing for my future, it makes it easier for me to see how it works in tandem with making my family a priority, rather than the two priorities working against each other. Everything that I do for my future career-wise is ultimately for the good of my family. I want to ensure that my family is provided for, but I also want to make sure that I'm in the best position possible to be flexible once my family includes children.

Fitness and Balance are included on my list of priorities because as I have gotten older I have learned just how close the connection is between my mental health and my physical health. When I feel good physically I'm a much happier and even tempered person. All of my irritabilities pop up ten-fold when I'm in pain or feel out of control with respect to my body.

Finance will always be a priority of mine because of how much it stresses me out. No matter what our income level is at any given time, I am stressed about our finances. I do much better when we have concrete goals in place and are actively making strides to reach those goals, and prioritizing this means that I make the time to plan.

Travel and Adventure are also priorities of mine because of how much I love to travel. For me, I want to see the world. I want to know that there are new adventures that we can take all the time, whether we're actively planning one or not. And I want to focus my travels not just on the world at large, but also on my own community here at home. Adventures can be had just down the street as easily as they can halfway across the world. I knew that as a child, and I'm trying to rediscover that as an adult.

What about you? Have you had to re-think how you made time and space for your priorities in order to have them work together instead of against each other? How did you do that?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Books I'm Loving

I like to do this periodically, both as a way to recommend new books in case anyone else is looking for a new read, and a way to look back at what I've been interested in.

We don't have HBO so I haven't gotten a chance to see this as a miniseries yet, but after everyone started talking about it (and always mentioning how good the books were), I figured that I should read the books while waiting for the show to come out on dvd. Turns out I absolutely love it. Even though it's a little bit darker than what I normally gravitate to, it sucks me in and I can't put it down. I'm halfway through the second book (this one is taking me longer as work has gone crazy and I don't have as much time to read which is so hard!). But I'm really looking forward to seeing where Mr. Martin takes this world.

I read Omnivore's Dilemma a few years ago and this has been sitting on our shelves with B reminding me to read it every so often. With the health issues I've been dealing with and the changes that I've made in my diet, I've been more and more interested in food and how I can make myself feel better (and I'll be honest, look better as well) by focusing on my diet. I haven't finished this one yet, but loving it so far.

And there's one other book that I've been reading, but I'm pretty sure that deserves a post of its own, which will be coming soon, promise! 

So what's on your reading lists lately? I'm a champion re-reader of books that I already own, but I'm trying hard to work on my Unread Library. Slowly but surely I'll get there (even though I'm not helping since I'm technically now buying the rest of the Game of Thrones trilogy...).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday, Monday

After an amazing weekend with some friends I have not seen in far too long, I got hit upside the head by real life today. Not literally. But you know, in that way that only a Monday back at work when everything hits you at once (and there's no more vacation in sight). So I already know this week will be tough. But I've got a couple of fun posts up my sleeves for this, and my first guest post goes live this week (don't worry, I'll let you know when/where once it's live).

So, here's hoping that the Monday blues don't turn into a week long funk! In the meantime, I'm spending my evening catching up on a few of my favorite shows - Project Runway, Amazing Race, How I Met Your Mother and whatever else we might squeeze in (yes, I like TV, yes, I watch quite a bit, and no, I don't care if you think that makes me shallow. Relaxing with my husband and puppy in a way that will be all but impossible once we introduce little kiddos into the picture makes me a happy, happy woman! Plus any time I can snuggle with my husband is a good evening in my books).

Hope your Monday was better than mine!

Friday, September 23, 2011

She's Married!

Oh wow. We had such an amazing time at my sister's wedding last weekend, and I haven't even shown you any pictures yet! I don't have any idea where September has gone, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be October before I know it. Since I don't have all of my photos on my computer yet, I'm going to borrow a few that my aunt sent me.

And also? I'm pretty sure that going to the first wedding after your own might just be the best thing ever. You get to relive all the fun moments of your own wedding with no stress! I had an absolutely wonderful time when B and I got married, but I'm pretty sure I had a lot more fun last weekend. I'll be back with more pictures soon, but can I just say, how amazingly gorgeous is my sister?? Love her and my new brother-in-law, and thank you both for such a great time!

*All photos courtesy of my aunt

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Weddings, Birthdays and Toast Writing

My beautiful sister is getting married this weekend! I am so excited for her and cannot wait to be a part of her day, as she was such an integral part of my wedding day back in February.

I am still trying to finish the toast that I'm planning on giving, but as I've been writing it I keep remembering all of the things we did growing up together, and it's a little bit amazing to see how far we've come since running around in the woods chasing our little brother (who's now taller than both of us).

The other part of this weekend is my birthday! Friday I turn 30 - officially leaving my 20s behind for a new decade (never mind those who say that I'm actually ending the decade with this year - I'm looking at it as a beginning!). I have always loved my birthday, though to be honest as the numbers get higher it feels a little bit weirder celebrating them. Due to distance I have not gotten to spend a birthday with my family in a very long time, so I feel very blessed to be able to spend the day with them this year. Even more so because we're spending the day in wine country. I think that's an excellent way to ring in my 30s!

This is the first wedding that B and I will have been to as a married couple, and while I won't be sitting next to him during the ceremony, I am very much looking forward to laughing and dancing with him all night long. These past 7 months have been pretty great for us, and I'm so excited to celebrate with my sister now and welcome her fiance into the family!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekend in the Woods: Dinner Time!

Finally, it was time for the meal that I had been looking forward to ever since we chose IslandWood as our venue - dinner!

Several months prior, we sat down with our coordinator at IslandWood, Marla, and the head chef, Jim, to plan our weekend menu, and specifically what the wedding dinner would include. IslandWood is focused on providing sustainable and local food wherever possible, so we knew from the beginning that we wanted this dinner to reflect the Northwest in winter time. Jim started by asking me about the feeling that I wanted the dinner to evoke. My answer was almost immediate - warm, friendly, homey. The type of food that you would have on a cold day in front of a roaring fireplace. And oh, did he and his staff deliver.

We had stuffed pork tenderloin, a whole presentation of arctic char, freshly baked bread with rosemary butter, warm rustic potatoes, fresh green salads and the best green beans I've ever tasted. It was absolutely, breathtakingly delicious. 

*Guest photo

And I could barely eat a thing.

My appetite had been completely sporadic since about a week before the wedding. Essentially I would be hungry until I was presented with the opportunity to eat, and then I couldn't eat a bite. Nothing would go down. So I tried to eat what I could leading up to the wedding, feeling confident that my nervous energy would dissipate by the time it was dinner after the ceremony and I would be able to eat as much as I wanted. Not so much. I had a bite of everything that was there so that I could at least taste it, but that was all I was able to force myself to eat. I had even done a good job with seeing most all of our guests by that point so we didn't even have to get up during dinner to go visit tables. But I still wasn't able to eat anything.

I know that everyone says to make sure that you eat at your own wedding, and if you can, I am a big proponent of following that advice. Unfortunately, it just wasn't a possibility for me that night which I'm still sad about, given how incredible all of the food was. Luckily, the staff at IslandWood very thoughtfully sent a huge plate of appetizers and a loaf of bread back to our cabin so I was able to eat a little bit more before I went to bed that night. 

My appetite didn't fully return for a good week or so after the wedding. I've never really had that total lack of appetite happen to me before, but I just wanted to let others know that sometimes eating on your wedding day doesn't happen for reasons other than time. And that's ok. 

As long as you also drink plenty of water!

*Unless otherwise noted, all photos by the fabulously talented Persimmon Images.

Want to catch up?

We bottle and seal our wedding wine.
We finish our projects one week out.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Years Ago

Ten years ago I woke up to a phone call.

I was a sophomore in college and was living by myself for the first time. Not exactly by choice, but living in a single did have its perks. Tuesdays were my busiest class days, with four classes starting at 9am. Since I was generally up late doing homework (or not) the nights before, I usually slept in as late as possible, rising with just enough time to shower, change and walk to my friend's dorm room to pick her up before walking to Astronomy, our first class of the day.

But that morning I woke up to a phone call.

It was my mom, asking if I'd heard what had happened. No, what? Planes flew into the Twin Towers in New York, another into the Pentagon. One tower had collapsed. Oh my god, the second tower is collapsing. 

Oh my god. 

What? No, wait, what? What do you mean? How could this have possibly happened?

I didn't know very many people in that dorm which was my home for a semester. I certainly had no idea where the nearest tv was. I tried to get on any of the news sites but nothing would load. I couldn't understand what my mom was saying while I fumbled at the dial on my ancient radio trying to find out what was happening, what had happened.

I sat there listening to the radio in my pajamas for an hour before realizing I still had class. I had no idea if it was canceled or not, but I wanted to be with friends, with anyone, not alone in my dorm anymore.

I caught a brief glance of a TV set when I got to my friend's dorm room - towers with smoke pouring out against a bright blue background. But wait, I thought they had collapsed? Are they still standing? No, this was what they looked like before they collapsed.

We walked across the main quad. Talking in circles. Who could have done this? How could this have happened? Are there any other planes out there?

The television screen in the Astronomy classroom was the biggest tv I'd ever seen. It was also the first time I saw a plane fly into a building.

My professor turned off the tv and still taught class. He said he had to, he couldn't not. I'm sure I took notes, but I have no recollection of what he taught that morning. I went to each class the rest of the day, not really knowing why, but not knowing what else to do. All of my professors were there. Some canceled class totally, some stayed. There was so much talking about what happened that day.

My dad worked in the tallest building in Seattle. They were all evacuated since no one knew if there were any more planes. There were no commercial planes in the sky for days. I remember the emptiness. Never before had the sky seemed so big, so clear, so empty without anything in it, not even contrails.

I know that my story is just that - a story of one person on a day. My husband lived in New York on that day, while I was 3,000 miles away. He has a very different story of that day. A family friend who would have been eating at Windows on the World except that his breakfast meeting was canceled has yet another story of that day. 

But this is my story. I don't feel that ten years has given me any clarity or profound thoughts of that day. Except that when I remember, all those details remain as sharp as they were the day I woke up to a phone call.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Time to Relax

Why do short weeks end up feeling so long by the end of them? It doesn't help that I have been counting down the days to Saturday. My birthday is coming up (yay!) but since I'll be out of town next Friday on the actual day for my sister's wedding (double yay!), I'm celebrating tomorrow night with some vino and very good friends.

But before that my college roommates and I are going to spend the entire day together before one of our own moves to Jamaica. Yes, Jamaica. We're so sad to see her go, but there are worse places to have to go to visit a person! Not sure when her last day in the NW will be, but since we all have crazy schedules we'll take whatever time we can get together. And did I mention that we'll be spending that time together in a spa? Oh yes. We will. Just the relaxation that I've needed!

I hope you all have exciting (or relaxing!) weekend plans ahead of you! Many people seem to be talking about fall and looking forward to cold weather, but after a few dreary months with high temps in the 60s, Seattle has finally decided it's summer with sunny days in the 80s and (gasp!) possibly even hitting 90. Our new place right by the water is the perfect place to take advantage of all that sun, so that's where I'll be come Sunday (you know, in between football games, of course!).

And don't worry - we've made some huge strides with unpacking (yes, I did use "we" incredibly liberally as it's really B who has done all of the unpacking), so I'm hoping to have pictures to show you sometime next week!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Weekend in the Woods: Cocktail Hour

Once we were finished with family pictures we could finally join our guests for cocktail hour!

Even though we'd seen a lot of our guests the day before at the welcome dinner or the bonfire, there were some guests who were only able to make it to the wedding, so I made it a point to try to seek them out first.

Seeing one of my college friends in particular was a wonderful surprise, as she had previously told me that due to certain circumstances she would be unable to make it to the wedding. I had hoped that she would find a way to come so I always kept her in the final tally of guests, and I promptly burst into tears when she ended up being the first person I saw when I joined the cocktail hour.

*Guest photo 

College roommates and wonderful friends. *Guest photo

After that, things were kind of a blur of hugging old friends, laughing with new family members and attempting to keep track of my glass of wine (which I failed at miserably. Luckily one of Mr. EB's groomsmen took it upon himself to make sure I always had a glass of wine in my hand so at least when I lost my glass somewhere I didn't have to wait too long for a new one to appear! And yes, he was also good about making sure I drank water in there, too!)

Law school friends (photobomb courtesy of my brother)

My new father-in-law!

Me and my dad. Love this pictures of the two of us.

Our family and friends signed our guestbook and left us advice, wishes and a few predictions.

And of course, they enjoyed the wonderful appetizers that IslandWood had set out for us.

Before long, it was time to make our way over to the Dining Hall for our spectacular dinner. 

My other wonderful roommates from college.

Kat and Justin grabbed one more portrait of me on the way there, and then it was time to eat!

*Unless otherwise noted, all photos by the fabulously talented Persimmon Images.

Want to catch up?

We bottle and seal our wedding wine.
We finish our projects one week out.
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