Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Hodge-Podge

Today is Halloween. At my new job, my “team” had a hard time getting our act together, and I am embarrassed by our costume, so I’ll share with you this pic from Halloween two years ago when my department won first place!

We were a trailer park! We even had decorations in the hallway/cubicles and everything. This year my team is dressed as a bag of skittles. Each person has a different colored shirt with the letter “S” on it. Lame, huh? Well I was even more lame because I lost my "S" and my shirt so I dressed up as the Easter Bunny (AKA- I put on a pair of bunny ears and drew whiskers on my cheeks.) So there are 4 skittles and the Easter Bunny. The other departments are so creative and put on skits. I am really embarrassed. But don’t worry, I’ll make up for it when I go as a mime to the annual Hikey Halloween Party tonight.

Now for some random thoughts...

-Does it seem like we skipped fall? Seriously, it feels like it went from the 80’s to the 30’s overnight. I hate winter. I hate being cold. I hate not being able to wear flip-flops. I hate how it is dark by the time I get off work. (Counting down the days until summer!) I flippin hate winter!

-I am sick of all this political crap. I am sick of my friends spamming me with stupid untrue political crap on Facebook. I am sick of the political junk mailings. I hate the signs everywhere. I hate the political ads. I am ready for this to be over. I flippin hate the political bullcrap.

-I hate shots. I had my flu shot on Wednesday and I almost had a nervous breakdown. I was hyperventilating, sweating, dizzy and my heart was pounding. I don’t look at any of the needles and keep my eyes focused on the door. I start singing the Greek alphabet in my head. “Just a little prick”. Yeah right! That crap hurt! The poke hurt, the medicine going in hurt, and 2 days later it still hurts! And the bad thing is I think I am overdue for my tetanus shot. I flippin HATE shots!


-I LOVE this little black dress! Do I love it $98 worth? Probably not.

-Ever since I went to their concert the Sugarland CD has been in repeat in the little beetle-bug. My favorite is #17 which is actually a Matt Nathanson song called “Come on Get Higher”. (but shhh I like the Sugarland version better!)

-I used to HATE diet drinks, but I think they have improved diet drink technology over the last couple years. Now I love Coke Zero more than regular Coke. I love waking up to a Diet Mt. Dew caffeine rush. And there’s nothing like a frosty cold diet Root Beer. They also came out with a great diet drink this year called TAVA. The black cherry tastes just like a cherry soda! I also LOVE this Diet Cranberry Juice from Oceanspray. The regular is great, but the cran-grape version is da-bomb!

Tomorrow I start my 30 days of blogging in November. I have to blog everyday to be a part of NaBloPoMo. Plus it will challenge me to write more and hopefully make some more progress on The List. (Only 5 more weeks until the 5K and I am FREAKING out. I think I need a new training plan!)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Defining Character: Trust

Trust encompasses and affects so much. I am going to start here, but there are other qualities that encompass trust that I might explore in later posts.

When I looked up trust in the thesaurus other terms that came up were faith, belief, hope, conviction, confidence, expectation, reliance, and dependence. Trust can be used as a noun or a verb or even an adverb (as in “trustworthy”). I kind of think of trust as the absence of doubt. When I trust someone I don’t doubt what they tell me, what they would do for me, or their relationship with me.

I recently listened to an audio book called “The Speed of Trust”. This book was all about how trust can impact business. The author said when trust is high, speed goes up and cost goes down. One example he used is the airline industry. After 9/11, we all lost trust in our safety. In turn, cost went up and speed went down. It was a very interesting concept.

I think this can apply outside of business as well. When you trust someone everything you do with or for them is easier, faster, and doesn’t “cost” you so much emotionally. Think about your romantic relationships. When you yourself are trustworthy, and also trust your partner, you spend less time arguing about jealousy or suspicious activity and you aren’t worn out emotionally from worry or anxiety. Even in friendships, when you trust your friend everything is easier. You don’t worry about their intentions/motives, and you don’t question what they say to you, what they would or wouldn’t do for you, or what they are saying behind your back.

I value trust. I want to trust myself. I want others trust to me. I want to be able to trust others.

I think I am a pretty trustworthy person. I try to always keep secrets and do what I say I will. One tip I have heard is to say everything as if the person who you are talking about is right there in the room with you. But honesty is only one competent of trust. The other is capability. In other words I need to always do what I say I will do so that others can trust me.

Basically it comes down to 3 rules to become a trustworthy person:

1. No Lying- seriously just don’t do it. If you value your relationship with someone you shouldn’t ever lie to them (especially about the small stuff- it’s not worth it!). Because once someone catches you in a lie (even a small one) that doubt will poision their thoughts about you. They will never be able to fully trust you again and may start questioning everything you say to them.

2. No Gossiping- this is hard because gossip is a fine line. Is relaying a story gossip? Is it only gossip if it is bad? What about celebrity gossip? Should I outlaw that too?

3. No Bullsh*tting- I am very familiar with the bullsh*tter. I have known a few in my day and they suck. They are those people who will make you think that yeah they are going to that do that thing with or for you, but then they never do. It starts early for most guys in relationships when they say they will call you tomorrow and don’t. Then they wonder why we don’t trust them later on! Get a clue guys- we’re not mad because you didn’t call, we’re mad because you said you would and THEN didn’t! Quit bullsh*tting!

I am also very trusting of others (most of the time). Sometimes this can get me in trouble, but I like to think the best of people. So instead of trying to pull one over on me, why don’t you all jump on my bandwagon and try to be more trustworthy yourself. I think the world would be a much happier place!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fall Fashion (or lack thereof)

I wore open-toed shoes yesterday. The high was only 60 degrees and the low was in the 30’s. It is not summertime anymore and I need to get the appropriate clothing to face these elements. Most of what I could get by with is at least 3-4 years old. I only have one pair of closed-toe shoes in black (boots that are falling apart) and one pair of closed-toe shoes in brown (which are also falling apart). I have some long-sleeved shirts and maybe two sweaters and I am wearing the same thin Old Navy work pants that I have been wearing all year- which are also somewhat frayed on the bottom due to the fact that I am border-line midget height and the petite sizes are still too long. I guess it’s time I found a good tailor (and a money tree) to avoid this in the future.

One thing I do have is cute coats. I got my first pea coat about 7 years ago and I was in love. Cute coats are just the best. They are just so darn expensive for a really good, quality one that fits well. And even though that is the one piece of winter clothing I am not lacking of, it is the only thing I am drawn to in every catalog and website that I visit. I must resist the urge to drop all of my winter clothing money on an item I don’t even need!

So, I am going to start with the shoes. This is because A) I can’t make it by on these shoes much longer before they fall apart and B) no matter how much my weight fluctuates, my shoe size remains the same so I don’t have to worry about buying a whole new shoe wardrobe when I get in “the best shape of my life” (yeah, #1 on this list is looking to be the most difficult and time consuming one of all!).

I am having a shoe struggle however. I used to never ever wear anything without a heel (being a border-line midget and all). I resisted the Rainbow craze forever simply because I didn’t care how comfy they are, I need a heel dad-gum it! Then this summer I gave in. I live in those stupid shoes now. In fact I never realized how much pain my feet were actually in from constant heel-abuse until I wore the Rainbows for about a month. Now every time I wear anything else my feet hurt. And I don’t like it.

I have been browsing online and have seen some cute stuff, but now that my feet know what it is like to be comfortable I am afraid they will reject anything that isn’t just the perfect fit, and you can’t tell that from a website. I guess I am going to have to try to squeeze in a little shopping on my 30-minute lunch breaks. (Is that even possible?)

But I need some advice- now that I am looking for new shoes, should I stick to trying to find something cute in my old shoe crush style- the wedge, or do I venture into flat territory? Any other suggestions on some winter-friendly/work-friendly footwear?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Another Act of Courage- My Baptism

I can't remember a time I didn't believe in Jesus. I grew up Episcopalian and I was baptized as a baby. I went to a private Christian school when I was younger. Almost every summer I spent at least a week at various church camps. Towards the end of high school and throughout college however, I pretty much hid Jesus in a back corner of my heart. I was too concerned with doing all the things I wanted to do and fitting in. I never talked about God openly. Honestly…I was kind of embarrassed of Him. I didn’t want to be one of those crazy Christians that can’t have any fun (Just for the record…I still don’t want to be a "crazy" Christian and I still want to have fun, but that doesn’t mean I have to hide God in a back corner of my heart).

When I moved to Raleigh, I tried out a bunch of different churches. I was kind of close-minded about it, but I really wanted to find the right fit. A friend and I started going to The Summit in January and it was great. Really it is amazing. The worship music and sermons are awesome. Every week I go, I feel like I learn something new. And it is like you can feel God in every service. Since coming to The Summit I have come to realize I needed to stop living for myself (my wants and needs) and REALLY live for Him and not be embarrassed about it. I didn’t understand that my life wasn’t mine to live; it is His to do His will. I just need to surrender and He’ll take care of me. That change took place in me over the last year as I slowly realized and recognized that in my life and started to apply it.

I started thinking about joining the church and went through their information sessions. I love their mission- Love God. Love Each Other. Love Our World. But I was scared to death of the baptism thing. In fact, if I knew that the church was Southern Baptist from the get-go I probably wouldn’t have gone at all. (Those Southern Baptists are really crazy!) I didn't want to get dunked in a tank of water in front of a bunch of people. I didn't know how it worked. When I watched videos of baptisms I thought "My back doesn't bend like that", "what if I slip and fall", "am I going to look like a drowned rat and have to stand around freezing and wet in front of a bunch of strangers". But it was so heavy on my heart that I needed to do it. I told my friend that I wanted to do it the next time the church was doing baptisms. When I told her they were doing them this Sunday and I was going to do it, she said she was going to be out of town. I was so upset. I didn't want to do this by myself! But I decided to do it anyway. I asked another one of our friends to go with me (she had been baptized as a teenager, so she knew what to expect). I was scared she wouldn't want to go, but she said yes. It was set, but I was still freaking out.

Our pastor did a great sermon on baptism. As I sat there listening I was so ashamed that I was embarrassed about this. How could I not want to get dunked in a tank of water after all that Jesus had done for me?!? It paled in comparison to the ridicule and embarrassing things He went through for me and I was embarrassed about this one little thing He was asking me to do. I am so glad I made the decision to "come out of the closet" and publicly proclaim that Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I am no longer living for myself, but for Him in everything I do.

Strangely enough I was one of 140 people that decided to get baptized at The Summit yesterday. (I told you those sermons are good!) There are 3 campuses for a total of 7 services- so it’s not like 140 people at once, but still! Most of the people I saw in my service had not even pre-planned like I had and brought clothes. They just decided right then and there that it was what they needed to do. That is just amazing! (You can hear pastor JD’s sermons HERE or check out his blog HERE) It really wasn't that bad (no choking and drowning or embarrassment) and it was over in like a minute. But that one minute meant a lot in my relationship with God and showed me I need to be proud of Him and His influence in my life.

So yeah, now I am one of those "crazy" Southern Baptists too! It just goes to show you, don’t judge a book by its cover/name (or in this case- denomination!)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Defining Character: Courage

Merriam-Webster defines courage as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.”

My first post in this series was going to be “Trust”. But life throws you curve balls and today I discovered something in myself that I didn’t even have on the list. Courage. It is probably one of the qualities I need to work on and develop more, but I saw it today. It is there.

My work life is very frustrating. The marketing function at my work was broken before I got there. The department’s interactions and functionality is strained due to a lack of leadership and direction. I have only been in the position for 7 months and it has been a very HARD 7 months. I still want to find a way out of this situation, but that doesn’t mean I am going to sit back and be walked all over.

The situation came to a head today. I was discussing a broken process with my boss and one of my co-workers. Up until this point I have tried my usual route “kill ‘em with kindness”. But with this one individual, that just wasn’t working. I found the courage to stand my ground and demand a clear answer and point out the problem instead of skirting around it.

It wasn’t what she wanted to hear and she walked away from the conversation instead of facing the issue and compromising to find the answer. But it felt so good. I had the courage to stand up for what I thought was right! I had the courage to face a difficult and uncomfortable situation. It felt great.

I need to develop this courage more. I am normally more like the cowardly lion than wonder woman, but the cowardice doesn’t feel good. Bravery feels great. Once you get over that fear and stand up for who you are and what you believe, it feels great.

“Courage is not the absence of fear; it’s facing up to it”

Maria Shriver said on Oprah last week “You are the leader you have been waiting for.” I hope I have the courage and strength to realize this and stand up and be heard.

Here’s my action plan for developing more courage:

1.Do what I believe is right- In business you are faced with this challenge everyday. Marketing has always been the sales driver in an organization, so my job is to make the company more money. And money produces greed. And greed can make you compromise your morals. So I am constantly being challenged to walk a fine line. It can be tempting to cheat. But your gut knows when something is wrong. I need to take a stand when my gut tells me something is wrong.
2.Take more risks- If you fall, you fall, but don’t jump just because you are afraid. Just try to find out as much as you can about where you are jumping and then just do it. Life is not easy and sometimes I need to force myself out of my comfort zone more.
3.Admitting Mistakes- No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes and it is going to happen to me. Your natural reaction is to get defensive or make excuses, but this helps nothing. Be honest with yourself and everyone else when you mess up. It builds trust and solves problems more quickly. It’s not easy, but I am going to always try to recognize and admit when I am wrong.

I REALLY need to work on this in my personal life. But since it seems to come out more at work, that is where I am going to start.

What do you think? Any other tips for developing courage?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wedding Disaster

I would have to kill him...

Also check out the link to a sweet Barnes and Noble coupon and my review of The Secret Life of Bees on my Bookshelf Blog.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Intro to the Defining Character Series: Exploring Virtues

Something I have been struggling with in recent years is finding the balance of living in the moment and planning/worrying about the future. In fact I think that’s something almost everyone struggles with. But in your 20’s it is just more apparent because you have so many decisions to make all on your own. Work, Family, Fun…everything in your life is changing and being re-defined.

I have been thinking a lot about who I am exactly. What is important to me? Where do I want to be and how do I get there? How do I want to come across to people? What is important to me? (This is a big one because once I graduated and entered the working world I immediately lost A LOT of time so I now have to really prioritize…seriously can we just get 2 extra hours in each day…or move to a 4 day workweek?)

So…I am expanding #1 on my list. When I said “Get in the best shape of my life”, I was strictly thinking in the physical sense or my body. But I am expanding that to include the mind and spirit as well. I am going to take a deeper look at my character and work on getting that in shape too.

Definition of Character: one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual

First I am going to look at some virtues that are important to me:

(I may add more to the list later)

Each week I am really going to examine each or these virtues, why it is important to me and what I can do to incorporate each of these in my life even more. I think in order to strengthen your character, you need to work at it, just like you have to work at keeping your body in shape. Do you agree? What virtues are important to you?

In the meantime I am hoping to have an AWESOME time at this super scary haunted house this weekend! And I will be doing the Parade of Homes tour to pick out my new dream house. Something like this:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

30 Before 30 List Updates

Here’s an update on my “30 Before 30” list progress (or lack thereof) lately:

Get in the best shape of my life/5K training- I have taken 2 weeks off my trainging due to my hectic schedule and the blisters on the back of my feet. I am regretting it now because I can’t seem to get back into the swing of things. Last night I changed into my workout gear right after work and do you know what happened? I fell asleep on the couch. Until 9:00! Only 7 more weeks until the race! So I better get on it! If you haven’t signed up yet, go join our team now:

Jingle Joggers ROCK!

If you can’t be there, contribute to my fundraising efforts by clicking here

I have also started a diet. Diets are so hard, but I have to do something. I am not comfortable in my own skin. My clothes are too tight which causes me to dress frumpily. I don’t want to be a frump. I want to be cute! So don’t tempt me with anything I shouldn’t be eating, k?

Get a job I love- Well, you guys weren’t much help with my poll. Only 3 people voted- one for Marketing Superstar, one for Graphic Designer, and one for Store Owner. I have no freaking clue. I guess all I can do for now is to go with the flow since I have to pay my bills. I did sign up for an MBA Boot Camp course through my employer that I will be taking Nov. 3-7. Maybe that will give me some insight!

Pay all my own bills- I have made a decision. When my lease runs out on my beetle-bug in April I will not be getting a new car. This makes me oh so sad. I was looking forward to heated seats and an extended warranty, but for now I have to stick with old faithful. I am going to drive the 4Runner for a while. It is over 10 years old and I am afraid of it dying in the middle of the road, but it is what I need to do. I need to save more money and this will be a good way of doing that. I am going to take over my car insurance payments from my mom at that time and hopefully my gas expenses too so I can check this one off the list!

Grow a plant- I still have not gotten any tulip bulbs. Heck, I still haven’t put my laundry away or vacuumed in like a month, so first things first people! My light fixture in my kitchen has not been replaced. It is just the ugly fluorescent bulbs for now with no cover. At least I never have anyone come visit to witness this disaster that is my house. (its not that bad really, just needs a little work!)

Read the Bible all the way through- I told you earlier about an email service I signed up for that would email me some chapters each day and within a year Viola'!- I would have read the whole thing. Well, that didn’t work out as well as I was hoping. They had technical difficulties and I wasn’t getting the emails everyday like I should. So I am going to old fashion route.

I bought a new Bible- isn’t it pretty? It's pink...and brown but so cute!

And I bought a reading guide/journal to help me:

The rest of the stuff is on hold for now.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Small Town Mountain Girl

Sometimes I miss my hometown. I LOVE my little hometown of Morganton, NC. I always tell my mom how thankful I am for her and my dad moving there (if they wouldn’t have I would have grown up in Durham…talk about a different childhood experience!)

Life is different in a small town. There is only one high school team to root for. You can get anywhere in town in less than 10 minutes. You have small downtown arts and crafts festivals throughout the year. My town wasn’t so small that you knew everyone you passed on the street, but there was a good chance everyone you met knew someone you knew.

There are more local restaurants and less boring chain establishments in a small town. I loved places like the Emporium (RIP) where the walls were covered in quirky local abstract artwork. Or Judges, which is right on the Catawba River and instead of lousy elevator music and loud conversations around you, your meal is accompanied by the soothing rushing sounds of the water and your table is lit by the stars.

That was another great thing about Morganton. Life was best lived outdoors. From Lake James to the Greenway along the Catawba River. From Table Rock to the Linville Gorge. Everywhere you turned you were reminded of God’s beauty and grace through the landscape. The stars weren’t dimmed out by neon lights. The air even smelled different. The horizon line was gorgeous.

I miss Morganton. I miss the quaint downtown streets that would be lit up with the most adorable Christmas lights. I miss parades. Not the massive professional parades of the big city, but small town parades you could ride your bike in. I miss not being afraid to be out at night. I miss camping. I miss hanging out instead of going out. I miss nature. I miss an easier way of life. I miss the Burke County Fair.

The county fair is something much different than the humongous State Fair that is starting in Raleigh this week. We might not have had fried snickers, but you could at least walk around without getting claustrophobic and it didn’t cost an arm and a leg to go. In fact, I remember going multiple times to the Burke County fair while it was in town. I got to ride every ride and even try my luck at some carnival games. Here I’ll be lucky to see the pig races and try a funnel cake for less than $20.

But I am a city girl now. It was confirmed at the Sugarland concert in Roanoke Rapids this weekend with my aversion to the non-pretty people and abundance of camouflage. By my reaction to the open field instead of a “real” amphitheater and lack of “real” bathrooms or food facilities. It was confirmed. I do like city life. I like having 4 huge malls instead of just one wally-world. I like going to professional hockey games instead of the local pee-wee football game. I like having a plethora of upscale restaurants and bars to choose from. I like having a Target or Starbucks everywhere I turn. I like having so much at my fingertips. I have been spoiled.

But I’ll always be a small town mountain girl in my heart!

P.S. You know what else I miss? The 80’s…no, not really, but this video is freaking H-I-larious and just the little pick-me-up I needed on my Manic Monday yesterday, so I’m sharing it with you! I give you "Very Literal 80's Video"

Monday, October 13, 2008

Friendship Gender Gap

Last week I watched an Oprah show on how to handle sticky situations. The show featured two ethics experts: Randy Cohen and Faith Salie. On almost every situation that was presented to them, they disagreed. It must have been frustrating to the people asking for advice, but it was pretty entertaining for the rest of us and very interesting. Here are some of the situations that were presented to them (minus all the minute details.)

If a friend’s husband propositions you, should you tell the friend?
Randy said no.
Faith said yes.

If you found out your 12-year-old son was getting sexually suggestive texts from a 12-year-old girl, should you tell the girl’s mother (a complete stranger) what is going on?
At first they disagreed- Randy said yes and Faith said no.
But after discussing it, they eventually did meet in the middle and agree she should tell, but to be careful how she did it and to make sure she keeps the trust she has with her son so he will come to her in the future.

In a male dominated work environment, how can a woman let men know when they are being “total pigs” (sexist towards you and/or other women) without losing them as clients?
Faith said to try to use humor.
Randy said that humor wouldn’t work and you needed to call them on it when it happened.

If your friend is dating a guy you know is bad for her and she asks you what you think of him, should you tell her?
Randy said no.
Faith said yes.

There were some minor issues they agreed on, but I found their disagreements so interesting and indicative of the different “rules” and boundaries males and females have when it comes to friendship and communication. The woman seemed to offer advice that was much more open and honest in situations that involved friends and less so with strangers, instead choosing to remain neutral or compromise. The man suggested being less honest with friends so you don’t unnecessarily “rock the boat” with them, but being much more straight-forward and honest with complete strangers or acquaintances. So I guess the moral to the story is if you REALLY want to know if those jeans make your butt look big, ask your best friend, not your husband.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What do I want to be when I grow up?

One of the things on my list is “Find a Job I Love.” This is super important to me because I spend more hours at work than anything else, other than sleeping. I want to be passionate about what I do. I want to feel like I am contributing. I want to like my co-workers. I want to feel connected to people at work and feel like part of a team. I want to be creative and be able to implement my ideas. I want to feel like my work makes a difference. I want to own something. I want to organize. I want to change the way people think and behave. I want more.

I don’t want to just take up space in a company or be a cog in some corporation’s big wheel. I don’t want to dread going to work everyday. I don’t want to get involved in office politics. I don’t want to feel frustrated everyday. I don’t want to just clock-in and clock-out. I don’t want to be beaten down by barriers and strangled by red tape. I don’t want to push out more of what consumers don’t like. I don’t want to be short-sighted and completely profit driven. I don’t want to compromise myself to satisfy a corporation’s objectives. I don’t want to feel like an outsider. I don’t want to be unhappy everyday.

So I have been contemplating different career moves lately and here are the options I have come up with:

Chief Marketing Officer: I have been on the Marketing path for a while now. Started out as an Assistant moved on to Coordinator then Supervisor and now I am a Product Marketing MANAGER (yeah, whatever, titles can be deceiving folks. I had more authority when I was an assistant!) I do enjoy marketing and I am pretty good at it. I have a good blend of a creative and analytical mind which lends itself well to a career in marketing. I have especially enjoyed learning more about the Social Media Marketing Revolution and love how that will change marketing from a lecture into a conversation! But I don’t really like Corporate America. I am not good at politics. I don’t enjoy networking. I HATE cubicles. I feel like I am in the movie Office Space everyday. So I can’t decide if I should stay on this career path or if it is time for a detour. And if I decide to stay on this path should I try to learn how to fit the Corporate American mold better and make the best with where I am now or do I try to continue my search for a company I love and try to sneak my way into their marketing department? Or do I try to take it up a notch and study for the GMAT, apply to Grad School, and get my MBA? (By the way if I took this path I so want to go to UNC. Their program seems to be the best fit for me, is ranked nationally, and is in-state so it wouldn’t be overwhelmingly expensive.)

Graphic Designer: Another option would be to transition to Graphic Design. In the marketing world this is the aspect I love the most. Creating messaging and programs can be fun, but seeing it all come together into something that is tangible and visually pleasing is so satisfying. It’s the fun part. But I do understand that Graphic Designers can be pulled in a million different directions and it is hard to please everyone all the time. I can image that it can be hard when someone doesn’t like what you have designed. I also know it can be competitive. But I have really been looking into Graphic Design programs. I think the best option for me would be to take some classes at Wake Tech and try to get a Graphic Design Associate Degree or Certificate. Other programs are too expensive and take up too much time. The Wake Tech option would allow me to learn the basics and get my feet wet while still working full time. I just don’t know if that is the path for me. I have a good eye and understand how marketing objectives affect design, but I wouldn’t consider myself an artist at all (Unless doodling counts. I am a Master Doodler!) so would I really be good at it?

Professor: One way I thought of to escape Corporate America but still stay in Marketing would be to become a College Professor. I am an idea kind of girl. I love hearing different philosophies and people’s opinions. I love introducing people to new technologies and ways of doing things. I think I would love to be a mentor and feel like I was making a difference. This would require a lot more school, which means more expenses, but I think it would be really satisfying. But would it be worth it? Could I survive going back to school and not working for that long? Would I be able to pay back all the debt? Would I be able to face my fear of public speaking every, single day?

Real Estate Broker: So back in 2005 when I moved to Raleigh, I went to Real Estate school- actually passed (that crap was HARD!) and got my NC Real Estate Salesperson license. Just last winter I took the mandatory update class and now have my NC Real Estate Broker license. When I was a senior in high school I did my senior project on real estate. I love HGTV. I love houses.

In fact one of my favorite things to do is go to the Parade of Homes (which is going on now!). Back in Morganton the Parade of Homes was like 25 houses or so and you could tour them all in one day. They were nothing too extravagant, just really nice, new homes in the area. Here in Raleigh they have hundreds of homes to tour. The book of the homes is as thick as a phone book. You could never get to even a fraction of them all. They have multi-million dollar homes with 12 bedrooms, 15 baths, a cinema, spa, and 2 kitchens. But last year my favorite was the cheapest house we toured (still $500,000 and WAY out of my price range, but still within “dream” range). I just love it. But the real estate market is horrible right now (I am so glad I stuck with marketing instead of jumping into real estate back in ’05). But it will eventually get better and people will always buy and sell houses. Should I wait it out and put my Real Estate license to work down the road? It would be a good way to get out of Corporate America and “cube world”.

Store Owner: I would love to be my own boss and own my own store. I would love to be in total control. I would love to have that pride in something. It would be something tangible. It would also be a lot of work (but if it’s something you love it won’t even feel like work). It would be scary as hell and so complicated, but you can’t let fear stop you right? I had thought about different businesses I would like to start: a stationary store (I love invitations, cards, paper, ect.), a boutique (with my friend Kristin as my partner cause she is a fashionista), a marketing firm (Steph you in? We could hire Mikey as our art director!), or a franchise (a Cold Stone Creamery on Lake James was my latest vision). But the question remains: Would it work?

According to the Small Business Association “Two-thirds of new employer establishments survive at least two years, 44 percent survive at least four years, and 31 percent survive at least seven years, according to a recent study. These results were constant for different industries. Firms that began in the second quarter of 1998 were tracked for the next 28 quarters to determine their survival rate. Of special interest, the research found that businesses that survive four years have a better chance of surviving long- term. After the fourth year, the rate of firm closings declines considerably. Earlier research has found that the major factors in a firm’s survivability include an ample supply of capital, being large enough to have employees, the owner’s education level, and the owner’s reason for starting the firm.” But I still think this is the scariest option of all.

Homemaker: I used to think if I sat at home all day with some screaming kids I would lose my mind! I have already told ya’ll I am domestically challenged. I hate to clean (if you know of a good maid service or car detail place, let me know!). I have not been around kids a lot, so they kind of scare me. I don’t cook that much. (Cooking for one leads to too many left-overs. I cooked last night and I am going to be eating tacos until Monday!) But now the idea of running a household doesn’t seem so bad to me. It would be a full time job to keep the house clean, take care of the kids, scheduling, budgeting, procurement of goods and services, ect. My family could be my own little business. But is one income enough nowadays? But since this job requires A) a husband (with a job) and B) kids and I have no prospects what so ever for either of those, this isn’t really an option. But a girl can dream right?

So what do ya’ll think? What is the best option? Or am I missing something else I could be doing? Take the poll to the right or comment to let me know what you think!

P.S. sorry for such long blog posts lately...but these things take careful analysis and I like to look at all sides of a situation.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Things I learned this weekend...

- Laser Tag is completely AWESOME!

- I need a maid because I am A) domestically challenged and B) lazy

- There are more gangs than you can imagine in America and they are all A) violent B) drug infested and C) run from and/or started inside prisons. Gang related crimes should have stiffer penalties just like hate crimes or even worse (in my opinion)! (thanks for the education A&E's Gangland)

- I suck at putt putt...especially when there are hills involved.

- It is possible to sleep for almost 30 hours in one weekend and still be tired. (Especially if the dreams are good and you don't want to wake up!)

- I prefer my original Skim Caramel Machiatto to the drink of the season: Pumpkin Spice Latte

- The winner of the "Grow a Plant" poll was...Plant a seed! So I guess I am going to try to go pick up some tulip bulbs or something sometime soon. Who knows? I need to do more research.

- The 9 am service at church is mighty early, but isn't nearly as crowded as the 10:45 service

- I should have put voice lessons on my list because there are some mighty HOT guys in the choir at church

- I still hate Mondays

Friday, October 3, 2008

My Vote goes to...

(This is going to be a long one. This reflects my personal opinion based on what I could find about each candidate’s policies. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and this is not meant to start an argument. I’m just sharing my opinions and what I have found during my research.)

So I am having trouble deciding who I am going to vote for. The debates don’t help because it is all like a “he said/she said” argument and they go around in circles. I like all the candidates as people. I really liked McCain back in the day when he was running against Bush, but now I don’t know because I fell in love with Obama with his speech at the DNC during the last election (you have to admit he is a GREAT speaker!).

Here’s why I like Obama:

-Healthcare: I was afraid Obama was for a government-run universal healthcare program, but he’s not. He wants mandatory coverage for children, no mandate for adults. He is aiming for universal coverage by requiring employers to share costs of insuring workers and by offering coverage similar to that in plan for federal employees. If you have coverage through your employer already (like me), this shouldn’t effect you. But if you lost your job, it would make individual healthcare more affordable. It should make it easier for small businesses and self-insured to afford coverage. I am all for that instead of losing the tax exemption on my benefits that would happen under McCain’s plan. Taxes are complicated enough. I would rather just see the savings up front than figure out some credit thing.

-Gas Prices: Obama wants to tax oil profits and use the money to help fund $1,000 rebate checks for consumers hit by high energy costs and eliminate oil and gas loopholes. While McCain wants to eliminate the current tax break for oil companies, but lower corporate taxes across the board.

-Fuel Efficiency: Obama wants to double fuel economy standards within 18 years, offer a $7,000 tax credit to buyers of plug-in hybrids, mandate all new cars be flex-fuel capable, provide $4 billion in retooling credits and loans to help domestic manufacturers switch to more fuel-efficient cars, aim to get 1 million 150 mile-per-gallon plug-in hybrids on the roads within six years, support creation of more transit-friendly communities and level employer commuting assistance for driving and public transit. McCain has some similar ideas, just not as good in my personal opinion.

-Taxing Wealth: McCain wants to protect the wealthy people’s tax breaks and investment income. Obama does not.

-Social Security: Obama is against raising retirement age and Favors increasing the amount that workers making $250,000 or more pay into the system. He is Considering a plan to tax income over $250,000 at between 2% and 4% - half of which would be paid for by the employee and half by the employer.

-Personal Income Tax: Obama would Leave all tax cuts in place for everyone except couples making more than $250,000 and single filers making more than $200,000. Those high-income groups would see their top two income tax rates revert to 36% and 39.6% from 33% and 35% respectively. And their capital gains and dividend tax rates would also revert to 20% from 15%. He would also Introduce new tax breaks for lower and middle-income households. (Which all helps me because I will never make $200,000/year!) McCain wants to make the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts permanent for everyone and reduce the reach of the Alternative Minimum Tax (which is some complicated tax I can’t comprehend).

-Savings: Obama would require employers that don't offer retirement plans to set up IRA-type accounts, require companies to automatically enroll their employees in 401(k)s or IRAs (they both want this), provide a federally funded match on retirement savings for families earning below $75,000. McCain wants to encourage saving by keeping investment taxes low, which I kind of agree with, but seriously, that is just another way for the rich to get even richer- you gotta have money to make money type of thing.

-Budget Deficit: Obama would Enforce budget rules that would require that new spending be paid for by cuts to other programs or new revenue, Reduce spending on earmarks to no greater than 2001 levels and require more transparency on such spending, Help pay for new proposals by drawing down troops in the Iraq War, raising taxes on high-income filers and cutting certain corporate loopholes. McCain wants to stop funding for pet projects, and slow growth in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid spending (which all sounds nice but isn’t as solid as Obama’s plan).

-Iraq: Obama said he would have a complete withdrawal of combat troops by end of 2009. I am just afraid McCain would drag out this war even more. Think about it. That is his background and something he is passionate about. He would want to stay involved in all that for as long as possible and put most of his focus there. I am ready for some of the focus to come back to our own country.

-Energy Security: Obama wants to Work to reduce carbon emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 (McCain says only 60%), Invest $150 billion in renewable energy over the next 10 years, Allow a limited amount of offshore drilling (McCain wants to lift ban completely for a free for all out there), Require that 10% of nation's energy comes from renewable sources by 2013,and Aim to reduce nation's demand for electricity 15% by 2020. McCain’s solution creating more tax relief for corporations, government initiative and free market to foster renewable energy along with Constructing 45 new reactors by 2030 as part of a push to expand nuclear power production. I like Obama’s plan better.

-Death Penalty: They are both for it, but Obama wants to take measures to make sure we don’t put to death innocent people (such as video-taping confessions and interrogations).

Here’s why I like McCain:

- Education: McCain favors private school vouchers. He is for parent’s right to choose their children’s education (whether it be private school or home school or public school). Since I went to private school until 3rd grade and saw me and all my old private school classmates in honors classes once we got to public high school, I am all for private school (I want my kids in private school for at least a few years). I don’t want to be forced into a crappy school just because of where I live.

- Bankruptcy Laws: Obama want to make Bankruptcy easier by fast-tracking the bankruptcy process for military families, helping seniors facing bankruptcy keep their home, streamlining bankruptcy process for families recovering from natural disaster (that one is ok), and amending bankruptcy laws to protect people trapped in predatory home loans. It’s called accountability people and it’s not meant to be easy.

- Free Trade: McCain is for Free Trade. He would also improve efforts to provide retraining for those who lose their jobs due to imports. While Obama wants to renegotiate NAFTA, Opposes the free trade agreements with South Korea and Colombia, Supports steep tariffs on imports from China if the Chinese keep their currency from rising, and Increase and expand assistance offered to workers who lose jobs due to trade.

-Jobs and Wages: McCain would leave the minimum wage at $7.25 an hour, which is where current law will take it to by 2009. He would create a tax credit equal to 10% of wages spent on R&D and consolidate federal unemployment programs and reform training programs for job seekers. But Obama wants to increase minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2011 and tie future rises to inflation, double Federal funding to R&D and set up $60 billion infrastructure investment bank to help fund public works (like we need more spending). But I do like that Obama wants to establish tax credit for companies that maintain or increase the number of full-time workers in America relative to those outside the U.S.

I am split on their ideas on:
-Medicare (liked both)
-Foreclosures (liked some of each)
-Mortgage Fraud (liked both)
-Business Taxes (except McCain’s straight 10% corporate tax reduction)
-Abortion (I kind of like McCain’s restrictions, but no ban)
-Small Business (like some of each)
-Wall Street Regulations (I’d be ok with either)
-Iran (I can’t decide on this one)

They almost completely agree (only minor differences) on Gay Marriage, Global Warming, Immigration, and Stem Cell Research.

Here are a few other things I took into consideration:

McCain’s age: He is old. Well past retirement age. No one can know what would happen to his health over the next 4 years, but being older does put you at a higher risk for problems. And while Sarah Palin seems like a perfectly nice, strong, down to earth kind of girl, I DO NOT think she is ready to be President of our country at all. (And I find it very ironic that they complain about Obama’s lack of experience so much when she barely has any what-so-ever…Alaska really?)

I was swayed when I learned the McCain’s own 13 cars and the Obama family has one. Who needs 13 cars?

Oboma’s ads really try to get you to go to his website and see where he stands on the issues. They aren’t all attack ads, or out-of-context sound clips. From what I have seen he addresses the issues more.

Obama refused to accept money from federal lobbyists. Lobbyists are bad. They are short-sighted and have only their goal in mind (without looking at the bigger picture). They are the most selfish of selfish. They can provide you with good info on their cause, but don’t take money from them. It’s like legal bribery.

So…my vote goes to:

By the way, I think NC is officially a "swing state" and I love it. The candidates come here more to campaign! It makes me feel more like my vote will actually make a difference instead of us just being ignored. I hope we are always a swing state!

Oh and if you were not planning on voting or not registered, watch this:

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hilarity Ensues

So today in the blogging world I was reminded of some of my most craziest moments ever. I won’t elaborate on all these events, but here are some tidbits from my crazy 20something adventures for your reading enjoyment! (Mom if you are reading this, it was nothing really…I don’t drink THAT kids do this stuff sometimes unfortunately)

-I once fell asleep on the floor of a hotel room of some HOT Canadians that my friend and I met at the beach. We wanted to record this moment with the HOT Canadians with a cute picture that night. When the pictures were developed we realized what we thought were pillows we were laying our heads on was actually a huge pile of the HOT Canadian’s dirty laundry. So gross.

-I once hugged a tree in the font yard of our house across from campus for what might have been close to an hour one night…it kept me from falling over!

-A friend and I decided to rest for a few minutes walking back from downtown one night in a nice comfy yard. Our relaxation was ripped away from us when friend #2 informed us (by laughing and pointing) that we were “passed out” in the Chancellor’s yard!

-I once had to leave a Career Fair early because I wasn’t feeling well. I had to have my classmate pull over on the way home and threw up pineapple chunks (from the Career Fair breakfast buffet- bad, bad idea) behind the bushes in front of the Brewster Building on campus. I think some passer-bys might have been laughing at me.

-After a night of Power Hour for my roommate’s birthday, I had to be taken to Urgent Care to be re-hydrated and to stop me from throwing up. (I took on 3 bags of fluid in less than an hour) The doctor asked me if I was in college and I said yes- somehow that made it acceptable? (at which point my friends started giggling uncontrollably and corrected me by telling the doctor no, I was not a college student. I had graduated 4 years ago.)

-During a Manager’s Meeting at work, the VP of our department offered to buy me a drink. I was so excited…the upper-ups want to hang out with me! That is until the bartender asked for my ID (at our WORK function…seriously…we don’t have any underage managers). All I had on me was my room key. I should have said “Oh that’s ok, I’ll have a Coke.” But no, I hauled my butt all the way back up to my room to retrieve my ID and returned 20 minutes later looking for my free drink.

Just for some balance, how about some non-alcohol related funny moments...

-On one of our first dates, my ex-boyfriend took me back to his place and proceeded to show me his wedding album- something he got to keep in the divorce. Um…awkward turtle…no…awkward elephant! And unfortunately I was completely sober for this.

-Just recently I accidentally locked my cat in a closet for almost an entire weekend.

-In third grade, when I transferred to public school, a boy asked me if I would "Go with him". I said "Go Where?" (I didn't know the slang term for boyfriend/girlfriend was "going with each other"...I didn't get asked that question again for 2 years- which is a long time when you are in elementary school!)

Well, that’s enough for one day. I assure you my friends (you know who you are) have WAY worse stories, but I don’t want to embarrass them here. And I know that this post might make me sound like a drunk, I’m not- REALLY! If you consider that these things happened over the course of 7 (or more) years, it’s not so bad- REALLY! Thank goodness I have (somewhat) outgrown these hijinks!

Don't be a Jonze!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I am so loving this new line Dooney and Burke emailed me about today:

But seriously...I could barely afford ONE of your purses! Don't tempt me with more!

I picked my Bible verse to memorize for my study group this week:

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps." -Proverbs 16:9 (NIV Version)

Don't you just love this? It so explains Life.

Awkward Animals- I thought this was something my friend Jess made up, but it's not...everyone is doing it. Urban Dictionary has like 7 definitions for "Awkward Turtle". Here is my favorite:

During an awkward moment, this hand gesture is used to mark the situation as awkward, and, depending on the situation, makes it more awkward or clears the air. The awkward turtle is made by putting one hand on top of the other with the thumbs sticking outward and rotating forward. The speed of the rotating thumbs depends on the degree of awkwardness.
Boy- "I love you."
Girl- "Um...that's cool..."

I should have figured Jess would be up on this kind of stuff...she does have the Urban Dictionary Flash Cards! But the most fun part about awkward animals is making up new ones: Awkward Moose, Awkward Kitty Cat, Awkward Octopus...I have many, many more in my reproitre- thanks to Jess!

And I would so LOVE the 2009 Urban Dictionary Day-to-Day Calendar! Got to have something to put a smile on your face at work!