Sunshine In My Soul Today

As more news of Hurricane Sandy starts pouring in, the stupider I feel about running around in my boots yesterday.  Sorry for being insensitive.

For those of you who have been affected by the hurricane, here's something to add a little sunshine to your day. My kids participated in a sing-a-long last week and "rocked out in mormonland" with the uber talented musician Mark Abernathy. The first song is Put Your Should to The Wheel (We all have work! Let no one shirk!) and next is the classic song There Is Sunshine In My Soul Today. Every time I listen to it, I smile.  I hope you do, too!

 Black and White Photo Credit: Mark Abernathy (photo taken during singing practice)


Assessing the Damage of Hurricane Sandy

really? 2 umbrellas, a hat, jacket AND rubber boots? yes. 
Luckily, we stayed warm and dry during Hurricane Sandy. My thoughts are with the people that didn't fare so well. 

I spent yesterday in the kitchen making pancakes, chocolate chip cookies, a stir fry for lunch, chicken, homemade guacamole, and baked tortilla chips for dinner. I made the mistake of telling Rob, "Ohhh, I could stay in this room all day." He rolled his eyes because it's so unlike me. It quickly turned into the catch phrase of the day. Every time he saw me in the kitchen he repeated the phrase in an exasperated voice.  It's how we'll remember Sandy.

This morning we finally got out of the house to assess the damage in Riverside Park. We gasped at a few trees that were snapped in half, but happy to see most of our part of the park was in tact. Jumping in mud puddles only felt right after being cooped up all day. 
My boots from LaCrosse. Review to come!   
PS Thank you so much for your support for Fred's Team
Since I posted my video three days ago, you all have donated a total of $1,035! 
Most of the donations came from people I've never met, 
ranging from $5 to a $250 anonymous donation. 
I am so thankful for your support.
Your notes of encouragement make me smile. 


Fred's Team: The Video!

And now for a Q&A about the video/marathon. I interviewed myself.  

Who directed this wonderful video?
The same person who gave us Sarah Mclachlan's commercial for battered animals, of course. Slow motion shots of dogs and cats, with her final plea at the end? Genius! 

About the slow motion shots. A bit much?
I was hoping for the Baywatch effect. Slow motion running always worked for them. I'll try anything at this point. Marathon is this Sunday and I have around $1,500 left to fund raise. Yikes. 

Yeah, it's coming up. Are you ready to run the 26.2 miles? 
Yes, I feel great! Can't wait!

What happens if you don't raise the $3,500 for Fred's Team?
Anything I don't raise gets charged to my credit card. There goes my first paycheck! haha

Why are your running for charity?
My mother died of breast cancer twelve years ago. I was 18 years old. I've been missing her lately and wanted to do something in her honor.  Raising money for cancer research makes me feel like I can play a part in finding a cure. For more details, check out previous posts I've written: Part One and Part Two

Anything else you want to say?
Thank you to all of the people who have already donated. Please consider donating here! If everyone reading this donated $5, I'd reach my goal today!


Chinatown Revisited

i just realized i took this picture (almost exactly) the last time i was here. 
A few months ago my friend Meggie took Ella and me on an amazing tour of Chinatown (Part One and Part Two). We went again last weekend, only this time brought the rest of the family. Even my sister Jeannine joined us!

While we did a lot of the same things, Meggie introduced us to some new things like warm soy bean custard and amazing beef jerky. The best I've ever had. I know, what about my vegan week? I found myself relating to this SNL sketch when I saw the beef. Forgive me. It was so worth it. I was starving.
Malaysia Beef Jerky Inc. 95 Elizabeth Street Suite A
He didn't like the custard, but I'm glad he tried it will such gusto. 
Fong Inn Too 46 Mott St. 

More pictures of Chinatown after the jump including crabs, dead fish, dried who-knows-what, and my sister. Wow, what an odd assortment! 


Tattoo Printable

I made this skeleton tattoo printable for Elizabeth Street yesterday. Here's some of the goofy outtakes from the shoot. I snuck Ella out of school (during her lunch period) to take these pictures. She was stoked. Afterwards we grabbed a quick meal and I brought her back to school.  On the way, she asked if I would ever need her help again. I think I could arrange that.


Scooter Fail

ella took this picture of me getting ready
Last night I was riding my scooter because I wanted to get to my apartment quicker. I was booking it in my favorite brown dress. It was just starting to rain and I was feeling more excited as I was nearing my house. I was almost home! I was going to miss the rain! By the time I was about 10 feet from my door,  something forced me to come to a quick screeching halt. I should have known. My dress was so tangled in the back wheel of the scooter.  I ended up carrying my scooter attached to my dress into my apartment building. Not to mention the 4 backpacks I was holding for the kids.

As I untangled the dress, I discovered the huge hole I just created. I pretty sure it's ruined, at least from the back. Looks great in the front still! 

It's just a dress, I know. But it kind of feels like everything in my life is getting all tangled up lately. I'm struggling to get everything done.  I'm either reaching my limit or over committing or not pushing myself enough. Do I just get used to this feeling?

I need to work out a routine to give my life more order. It would make everything so much easier. But, uggg. A routine. Such a drag. 


Kid/Mom Shoot

view of the office

I'm working on a story for Elizabeth Street this Thursday. I looking for a mom and kid (3 years and up) for a photo shoot! Anyone available for one hour between 10am-5pm? I'll have a make-up artist! Please contact me for more details if interested.


Health Coach

(Last year I took this picture of  my Pillsbury ad campaign gone very wrong. haha
I obviously never submitted my idea, but I enjoyed eating them!)
As if I don't already have enough going on in my life, Rob and I signed up to work with Jared Vaughn, a holistic health coach, for the next three months. He wants us to experiment with new foods, eliminate processed foods, and have a more plant based diet. This week we're vegans!

Foods I've discovered since becoming a vegan: 

Coconut: Anything from a coconut is amazing: the milk, the oil, the sugar. I loved the coconut milk yogurt and creme brulee I tried this week. 

Soba Noodle Stir Fry: I ate this the night before my 20 mile run. I felt great the next day. I'll definitely be trying that again.

Kale chips: Great stuff! Super easy to make.

I didn't realize how many foods vegans can actually eat. It's not that difficult after all. While I'm looking forward to eating meat again next week, I'm glad to have the experience. Losing five pounds in two weeks doesn't hurt either. 

The craziest thing is that we've discovered around five vegan/vegetarian restaurants within walking distance from our apartment. They've always been there, but we just ignored them. Of course I accidentally order the most unhealthy item on the menu (tempera/fried veggies ha), but I'm happy to know they exist.  

Have you ever experimented with veganism? It's interesting. I have to be honest, sometimes I'll try a food and think I just can't deal with this. Perhaps it takes awhile. Like the Green Goddess Smoothie? Oh my. Not happening for me. Not yet anyway! 


Punky Pumpkins

Thank you for all your encouragement last week. It was just what I needed to get through this very difficult time in my life ;). The pumpkins turned out badass because of you!!! 

Be sure to read the captions. I took decorating these pumpkins sooo seriously. My favorite was when I asked, "Who knew twine could be so edgy?" hahaha I think Rob's Pinterest boards are having a bad effect on me. Have fun reading my post. I'd love to hear your favorite lines. 

I get to use the company's Canon 5d Mark II camera at work! I'm in heaven. 

Elizabeth Street is giving away a $2,000 shopping spree at Armani Junior.  Enter here.


My First Post At Elizabeth Street

Last Friday, I spent an hour hanging out with the director and floral instructor from FlowerSchool New York for my first post at Elizabeth Street. I wanted expert advice for arranging flowers, particularly the ones from grocery stores pictured here. I love their ideas of selecting the best roses, buying the proper tools, a simple trick to knowing how high to make your arrangements and other great tidbits of info I'll never forget. I'm planning on silently judging my friends if I see them breaking the any of the rules. ha

PS I'm dying to take one of FlowerSchool New York's classes in January/February. I hear that's when they get all their spring flowers. Wouldn't that be the best way to cure the winter blues? I hope I can feature them again! Enjoy the outtakes! Oh, and thanks for all the help with the pumpkins last Friday! I've selected a few that I will feature this Thursday on Elizabeth Street. I'll link to you if I selected your idea :)


Day Three: Failure

I walked into the office today and thought I could whip up a quick DIY for Elizabeth Street. Their first! My concept: The other colors of fall. I decided to paint a pumpkin black and I fill it up with white flowers. I wanted a break from the oranges and yellows and maroons I've been seeing everywhere. Plus, I thought it would go well with their audience! Stylish moms in NYC love black! I would use the clean modern lines of my office furniture as the background. It would be so easy, beautiful even. But the reality? Black blobs.

Once I added the flowers, it ended up looking like a sad wedding DIY.  Too formal and serious for a silly holiday like Halloween. I worked on them all day and the results were dismal. The biggest embarrassment is that it was an office event! Everyone was laughing as they helped me carve and scoop out the seeds, even helped me paint. And eventually, they tried to make it work.  But it was no use. I still have time to save it before my first story is due on Monday. But oh my. It's going to need a miracle. Help me!

For comfort, I googled "failure leads to success" tonight. Over and over I read that it's more important to learn from mistakes than the actual mistake itself. And that Michael Jordan is the poster child for failure.  Always. Seriously--why is he always mentioned in failure essays? Surely, their are bigger losers than him to drive the point. 

The lesson I learned today was that I was over confident in my idea. I used up all my supplies before I made sure I knew the results. Next time, I'll start small.  

I'll keep you posted on where this goes. Whether it's the trash or the spotlight. I wouldn't want anyone to miss out on the fun!


My First Day of Work at Elizabeth Street

I forgot to bring reading material on the subway on the way to work. No headphones either. I could have just sat there, but I was too nervous. Instead, I wrote.

Going to my first day of work. I was planning on writing all ideas for Elizabeth Street in this notebook. But I can't think of any right now. Everyone is wearing a jacket. I got rid of mine on the hottest day of summer. It was from Old Navy over five years ago. The label always embarrassed me when I left it on a coat rack. Or worse at coat check. Really I wish

And then I stopped writing because I was boring myself over coats. I stared at the ads on the subway until my stop and walked to my office with enough time to buy breath mints.

I love the work environment.  The large windows, the art, the people. It's a great space. But beyond all that, my boss made me feel so valuable to the team today. My favorite was seeing my ideas put on the calendar. Now I just have to show em what I got. I couldn't have asked for a better first day. On my way home, I texted Rob some of the highlights and wrote that I finally didn't feel like a loser. He responded:

Cool. Now go get those kids so they can yell at you and bring you back down to earth :)

It took about an hour, but they eventually did just that. Little stinks. It's good for me though. At least I can handle their tantrums a little better when I feel like my life finally figured out how to get good.

Here's some pictures of my office.  Everyone forgave me for being such a dork. I wasn't brass enough to take one of my workspace and coworkers behind the bookshelves though. Even I have my limits. I'll leave that to my second day. ;)


First Day of Work: Learning Adobe Illustrator (just in case!)

In preparation for my new job, I've been studying Illustrator like crazy.  I don't know if I'll need it, but I thought it would be a good skill to have just in case.  

I've had Adobe's Creative Suite on my computer for months, but the programs overwhelmed me.  To figure it out, I signed up for one of Nicole's Classes. Her classes came highly recommended and I can see why. Alma Loveland, my teacher for Illustrator 101, thought of everything--a book, video tutorials, step-by-step written instructions, chat sessions, and feedback. I'm so glad I bought both the course and book. After one week, I felt like I could do anything! Billboards even! And then week two started and I realize there's sooo much more to learn.  Regardless, it's been fun downloading free fonts, testing my skills and experimenting with the programs.  I'm looking forward to signing up for Illustrator 102, Principles of Good Design, Typography, and Photoshop classes soon. 

Attention Stylists: Oxford heels or flats with the dress? I have both. Not the ones pictured, but close. 

Dress from Anthropologie, necklace from J.Crew, and shoes from Madewell and Urban Outfitters (a long time ago.)

Keep reading to see the rest of my Illustrator homework. The assignment was to make a typography poster. I made three: a Halloween poster and two posters with quotes on it. One from Woody Allan's Manhattan and another from My So-Called Life.    


Career Update: I GOT THE JOB!

Eeeek. Where did last week go? But more importantly: I GOT THE JOB!! A walk-into-a-cool-office, sit-at-a-desk-with-super-creative-people, have-a-salary-kind-of job!

I'm going to be writing, editing, suggesting and developing ideas for Elizabeth Street, a stylish website for mothers.  There's so many things I love about the site--the clean design, their fabulous interviews, and collaborations. I can't wait to share my ideas with the editors. I've been jotting them down in a notebook all week. I start Tuesday!

Remember when I wrote a Wanted Ad last year? Elizabeth Street is exactly the kind of company that I wanted to contact me. It took a year of growing my blog, becoming an intern, getting published a few times, and having a friend mention me in her interview (where the editors of Elizabeth Street discovered me) until I finally got the job I was hoping for all along. I couldn't be happier with the direction my career is headed. All the work I did to get here is totally worth it.

I'm glad I pushed myself to write even when I felt like I had nothing to say. It gave me confidence.  Now I know I can contribute to a company and create stories on days when I don't think I have it in me. Well, except for last week . . .

The last few days have been a whirlwind of getting everything in my life under control. My closets, my meal planning, my babysitters, my last naps ha. I have one last day off with my kids on Monday, and then I'm off to work--five days a week! I can't wait. I am soooo ready.

I'll tell you how my first days go as a working mother. Finally, a working mother! I love the sound of that.

PS Jordan Ferney took the above picture of me when I was in Paris a few years ago. One night she asked me what I wanted to be. I told her I really wanted to be a writer. Her response was something like, "You want to be a writer? Great! Call yourself a writer when people ask you what you do. Put it as your occupation on Facebook. There. Now you're a writer." She's the best at going after what she wants without making excuses. I love that about her. She's right--calling myself a writer actually turned me into a writer. This theory doesn't exactly fly for someone who wants to be a brain surgeon, but it works for most other things. What do you want to be? A runner? An artist? A baker? Consider yourself one and watch what happens! 
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