not for the faint of heart.

This might be a long one, but if you are a 30-something woman reading this, bear with me because you just might relate.

Through the years, I have always tried to stay fit, but occasionally, I will spice up my routine with a new fitness craze. I’m not trying to channel Patrick Bateman or anything, I just get bored with my usual running/bike/elliptical routine. I’ve tried barre, spin, step, Tae Bo, plyometrics, YouTube videos for problem areas, weights, zumba, and yoga. Well, today I tried something new: bikram yoga.

i mist say i was a little surprised with his choice of the tighy-whitey.

i mist say i was a little surprised with Patrick’s choice of the tighty-whitey.

Note, I will NEVER do the following trends: Cross Fit, Strip-aerobics, jazzercize, aerial yoga, or any kind of a boot camp. This list will probably grow in time.

Barre was awesome in theory. Every article I had read basically told me I would look like a supermodel by the time I was done. So, I went three times, until plantar fasciitis made its home within my foot. Anyone who has had the pleasure of that ailment knows the pleasure it brings. NextI’ll be a supermodel another time.

Spin I love. I began my love affair with spin in Chicago. It was the teacher, really, but I also liked the physical results. Then, I found a teacher here who used weights during, and was equally as fantastic and energetic as my Chicago spin instructor- so I was hooked again. Lately, I have not been because I’m just too damn tired to get up for the 7:30am Saturday class. I attempted to go this weekend, but having just got back from a trip- I opted for laundry instead and hit the gym around 11am. Hi treadmill, I missed you.

Step was a college thing. I used to do the advertising for Campus Recreation, so I took the classes of my friends who were studying to become instructors. It was fun. I fell a lot.

Tae Bo I don’t even remember when I did this, I think also college. Double and triple time killed me. Where is Billy Blanks these days anyway?

Plyometrics was awesome until a friend of mine broke his foot mid-class during one of the jumps. Yep, next.

YouTube I still do sometimes. I’m most recently in some pain because of this inner thigh workout. I did it twice this last week. Try it, you’ll see what I’m talking about. Then try it two days in a row. Ouch. I will probably do it again this week once I stop limping.

Weights is a “every once in a while” thing. I know I should do them more, but I also know that when I do them too much my arms make some smaller men jealous. No, thank you.  But yes, I can probably beat you in an arm wrestling match. Sorry, I’m German- it’s natural.

Zumba: I was laughing at my lanky body in the mirror the whole time. Seriously. I just kept laughing. There are mirrors everywhere! While I did find this fun as hell, I don’t think I would waste another hour of my life humiliating myself with just how white I really am.

Yoga was something I REALLY wanted to get good at. A lifetime of running without stretching has left my body a knotted mess of lactic acid. I have tried with individual instructors, small classes, beginner and advanced teachers- I just don’t think my body was meant to bend that way. I also got really creeped out when they touch your feet. I’m all set with their bendy ways. That is awesome that you can touch your toes- show off.

TODAY was going to be different. Today was the day I was going to do BIKRAM YOGA and be good at it! I would go to the whole 90 minute class, love the heat, sweat and feel amazing. I even convinced my friend Beth to go with me- which is a feat, getting her out of bed early, on her one day to sleep in. Sure, she gave me a few caveats: “Katie, it’s really hot.” “Katie, it will smell.” “Katie, when I pass out, you are carrying me.”

I lasted 34 minutes before starting to see stars and black out.

We left. Fuck you, Bikram Yoga. 

Guess I better update my iPhone with some new songs cause tramps like us, baby, we were born to run.  So true, Bruce, so true.

 

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#2.

Derek Jeter: His existence has caused me a couple of frustrations in my lifetime and I should be angry at this guy, but I’m not. Why? I’ll explain it all.

1. For some reason, the University of South Carolina lured many people from the greater New Jersey/New York area.  Many of them were my friends, and all of those friends LOVED baseball.  Side note: I also loved and adored my southern friends, but they were more into Carolina football WHICH ANYONE WHO KNOWS ME KNOWS I APPRECIATE, so watching baseball was reserved for the “yankees” of the school. I digress. Now, there will always be the rivalry within with The Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.  This caused for some interesting interactions at Sharky’s (I tried to hyperlink this to the site, but as anyone who has worked, drank or driven by could assume- they don’t have a website). One particular evening, I was feeling saucy and decided to take the bet of “whoever loses has to take a shot of the winner’s choice.” Well, we all know what happened during that game in 1999 (ACLS series): Thanks for the shot of Everclear, Jete. Ouch.

A term and nickname created by Southerners and Confederate Civil War soldiers for a personwho is from the North (Midwest/Northeast). It was especially given to Union soldiers who fought in the American Civil War, usually havingto go into into The South in order to engage the enemy in combat. The Union forces invading Southern territory and also incidents where a few groups of soldiers pillaged and destroyedproperty and people’s lives resulted in making this nickname derogatory by some.
Ex. Northerners and Midwesterners get called “Yankees” a lot by many Southerners.

2. During the summer of 2005, my friend Mardi and I found ourselves in the VIP area of Whiskey Park (I guess it is closed down now). Well, us and the entire starting line-up of the Yankees. Don’t worry, A-Rod didn’t stay, as he was leaving as we walked in the establishment. However, we got to bond with some Yankees, as they drank and made strange conversation. Jeter sat with his K-Swiss sneakers and proceeded to try to hook-up with one of our friends, until he decided he didn’t want to talk to her anymore and my glasses were more amusing to him. Mardi and I had successfully avoided direct contact with any of them, aside from conversation, and merely accepted the free drinks (you know you would have too). He asked if he could try on my glasses. Mind you- the seeing kind, not sunglasses; I’m not that hip. I said no, to which everyone laughed. He had a HUGE head, and they were new, so I wasn’t about to have them ruined. “Like he can’t afford to replace them,” I believe came out of Posada’s mouth, to which I snapped back “LIKE I AM GOING TO SEE HIM AGAIN?!” I finally caved, he tried them on, stretched them- tried to fix them and “snap.” Thanks again, Jete. Those were Prada.

Frustrations and BAD relationship stories aside (Mariah Carey), I have a lot of admiration for the guy. He is an amazing athlete and has loyalty to his team- and seems to be a regular guy from my interactions. Okay, so there was this moment:

ahh, memories.

ahh, memories.

Lately, the news (and his PR team) have done an excellent job at showing the “real” him. I gotta say, I respect it.  In this world of beatings, natural disasters, crazy people with guns and knives, war, and beheadings; I am appreciative of positive/happy and uplifting news. ESPN did a piece on him here.  But the thing that you know warms my heart is the recent Gatorade ad. My eyes watered. I simply LOVE this commercial. Watch it with the volume on.

His last game of his career in Boston is this Sunday. Bittersweet. It won’t be the same watching the Boston/New York games without #2, although now some of our rookie pitchers will have a chance to get better, without being scared as hell to throw to him.

I wish you the best, Jeter, and if you happen to read this post- can I have the money for those glasses?  Thanks.

 

 

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good karma.

kar·ma
ˈkärmə/
noun
  1. (in Hinduism and Buddhism) the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.
    • informal
      destiny or fate, following as effect from cause.

If I can remember anything from high school, it was the sole value my principal was trying to instill into the student body: integrity. For some reason, this was the one word I remember from every single time he would speak. He was that principal who would make the varsity basketball team practice on one half of the gym, so his spoiled, obnoxious sons could take foul shots on the other half the day before a game. I once got yelled at and called to his office for calling him an asshole, during class, for saying to Vanessa Kermick that women were never going to be as smart as men. I’m not even a feminist. I just remember the look on her face when he said it, and the words came out. My point in telling you this is that my principal wasn’t the nicest man, but he did teach me about integrity. Regardless, the word integrity has become part of something I have always admired in people- and the most attractive quality someone can have. Good thing Brad has more integrity than anyone I have ever met. Perhaps that’s why I love him so much.

With integrity, comes living your life well. Brad said something to me once that has always stuck out. “At the end of the day, the only one who has to look in the mirror at yourself is you.” So, for the almost three years we have been together, I have striven to live my life with the utmost integrity. Not for the return on investment, but because it’s true. I’m the one who has to look at myself at the end of the day. I can’t tell you how fantastic it has been to smile every day I do so.

This past weekend, however, I have learned that my actions have resulted in FANTASTIC karma! I shall relay the past 24 hours to you, as it’s insane.

This weekend, we decided to go to see Lady Antebellum, Billy Currington and Joe Nichols.

Side note: The history of the name “Lady Antebellum” stems from pre-Civil War, before the north won and celebrating the south.  A little surprised that name went over so well, especially given the omnipresent racial war. Being I was raised in NH, I didn’t know the meaning of the Confederate flag, much more than that was the decor of the Dukes of Hazard’s General Lee, but I learned very quickly the real meaning of it once college came. Don’t judge my lack of knowledge, my history teacher wasn’t that great- and New England tends to focus the curriculum on Paul Revere and the Boston Tea Party.

just a good ole boy.

just a good ole boy. Never meanin’ no harm.

First act of good karma: I was looking for a hotel room in walking distance to the venue. Not only did someone cancel 5 minutes prior to me calling, but the woman was so nice she gave me an additional $20 off the room.

Second act of good karma: It started to rain like something out of a comedy. We got lawn seats, and of course assumed that we would be in the 20th percentile when it said there was an 80% chance of rain. I went to buy us ponchos and of course they had just sold the last one. Well, the woman behind the counter gave me one look, and simply reached into her bag and gave me her own poncho to take. “Seriously? What will you use?” I asked. “I have an umbrella.” I was in awe of her kindness.

advice: invest in an umbrella.

advice: invest in an umbrella.

Third act of good karma: I only got one poncho, so when I walked back to the completely soaked and smiling Brad, I had nothing to hand him, but the plastic bag the poncho was in. He smiled and proceeded to poke a hole and place it around his head. The people in back of us then handed him a brand new poncho to use.

Fourth act of good karma: 45 minutes in the pouring rain came an angle in our sight with an umbrella. “I have two extra seats inside if you would like them?”  So then our luck moved to the 4th row of the upper section- inside, out of the rain.

you deserve to be inside.

you deserve to be inside.

Fifth act of good karma: I had new earrings in- somewhere in between my dripping wet hair and the slow process of it drying, my earring ripped out of my ear and dropped on the ground. I found it within 3 minutes, directly in front of me.

Sixth act of good karma: I was waiting in a very long line, in the rain, for the bathroom. Upon entering, even though I was third in line to go, the women in front of me insisted I go- for no other reason than I made them laugh.

When things go shitty in your life you can get angry at the higher power or everything around you, even reflecting and blaming within, but it is these little moments of happy that give you hope that good karma really does exist. Either that, or I am one lucky girl.  If I am being honest, it’s probably a little bit of both.

Hope your weekend was as nice as mine.

 

 

 

 

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beauty loyalty.

well, partners and stores of pretty.

well, partners and stores of pretty.

So, at this point, it is no secret that I like to spoil myself. HOWEVER, with that horribly superficial quality comes one of the most value to human beings: loyalty. If I like your store, your services, your products, how you treat me, and obviously the price point- I will be loyal to you forever.  There are now two places in Portsmouth, NH who have captured my heart.

I have been a loyal beaut-thusiast to a little store in Portsmouth, NH called Making Faces since 2006, when I first discovered it. After moving home from Chicago in 2012, it has been easier for me to show my support, but I have never valued anything more than my monthly-day-of-pretty with the store’s owner, Annie. She has corrected my skin and given it life again. Her staff, Michelle, Reese and Kristi have always made me feel welcomed and appreciated, while also putting me in front of the amazing products that make me feel, well, not so 36 (to put it bluntly). From Kate Somerville to stila, Butter, too faced and Fairy Drops, I am constantly in awe how effortless it is for one store to hold so much value in product- on top of the best customer service, taste and aesthetic advice around. They sometimes offer new and fun trendy clothes and jewelry, while always offering the amazing Naked Undies line of sexy/comfy lounge wear. Recently, Reese introduced me to my new favorite thing- Bare Minerals. She had taught me to use primer a while back, but it wasn’t until today that I broke it out. Holy difference! Thank you, ladies. I wouldn’t dream of giving my loyalty or face to anyone else.

New discovery that I will now be forever loyal to: Buff & File Nail Bar. Also located in Portsmouth, NH, B&F is part owned by a talented graphic designer I once met at a summer wedding years ago, Andree Van Oss. The decor is simple, elegant, clean and new. White and black, with only the pops of the highest end (and organic) nail polishes to add color. Lovely Amanda did my pedicure and no-chip manicure. I went with the new Chanel fall color “Vamp” on my toes, and a gorgeous tan french manicure on my hands.  Amanda was fun, as she sang along with the various mix of, what I can only imagine was a Pandora station of either Britney Spears or Madonna. Who doesn’t love getting their nails done while awesome 80s and 90s music is playing overhead?! I love my nails and I will definitely be back. They also have a fun (and always appreciated) policy that if a nail chips within 10 days, they will fix it for free. Score! Loyalty, earned!

Well, as I type this Brad just called. We have a HUGE bath tub in our downstairs bathroom-and he asked me to fill it up. Soooooooo, I think I shall put together some pina coladas and do as I was told. I wouldn’t want to disappoint him.  Don’t mind me if I end this post here- I’m sure you understand.

Don’t you just love loyalty?   :)

happy weekend, everyone!

happy weekend, everyone!

 

 

 

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obsessions.

Good morning! Sitting in bed, watching a rerun of MadMen and thinking about dinner last night at the York Harbor Inn’s Ship’s Cellar Pub. The food was amazing, as per usual, but it was the dessert that is lingering in my mind. So, I thought I would share that- and some other of my obsessions. Who knows, perhaps I will introduce you to something you didn’t know existed, or had yet to try. I’ll limit it to five.

Obsession #1. Flourless chocolate cake from YHI. After dinner, we ordered dessert to go. It came with fresh whipped cream and a raspberry sauce. Holy party in my mouth. Okay, I shared a couple bites with Brad- even though he had his own apple crisp. Dessert isn’t something I usually save room for, but in this instance- don’t mind if I do.

hello beautiful.

hello beautiful.

Obsession #2. J Lohr Chardonnay. The first time I had this wine was at a dinner with my roommate’s parents in Boston 2004. We were dining at Aujourd’hui, within the Four Seasons, before the Broadway show The Lion King. Looks like it’s just event space now, but it was a gorgeous restaurant. They ordered a bottle and I have been hooked ever since. It pairs wonderfully with seafood and Thanksgiving dinner.

buttery goodness.

buttery goodness.

Obsession #3. Fairy Drops mascara. I bought these yesterday from my favorite beauty spot, making faces, and I’m already obsessed. I have very thick, but short lashes. These make my lashes look like I got extensions! Apparently, the Japanese are the best when it comes to mascara. Who knew?! I found this cute YouTube video, which tells a little more about it in detail. Take my advice and switch brands.

lashes for days.

lashes for days.

Obsession #4. Pinterest. Need a recipe? Want a new fitness routine? Don’t know what to wear to that party? Not sure how to decorate the house for Christmas? Looking for a quote or new book? Curious what common birthday gifts are for men? Pinterest. I love searching this site and getting lost in the pins. Next time you are at a loss for words: Pinterest will come to the rescue.

search. pin. like. share.

search. pin. like. share.

Obsession #5. Netflix. I was angry, along with the rest of the world, when they jacked the prices and decided to charge for the home streaming. However, I have had a change of heart and now I can’t stop watching it. Brad’s son, Gunnar, was nice enough to put the Xbox downstairs. We watch at dinner time. Okay, I might also watch/listen to it on my commute to work…which may or may not cause my data usage to equal that of an entire family plan. I can’t help it! Netflix original series Orange is the New Black and House of Cards are amazing! I’m honestly considering cancelling our cable, as it’s basically useless to us now.

“a great man once said, everything is about sex. except sex. sex is about power.” -frank underwood.

“a great man once said, everything is about sex. except sex. sex is about power.”                                        -frank underwood, house of cards.

As I lay in my bed, petting my golden retriever (who isn’t supposed to be in the bed, but as Brad is at work- he won’t know) and looking out the window, two thoughts cross my mind: Do I go to the gym and try out that new fitness plan I found, or do I go downstairs and watch more Breaking Bad? Decisions, decisions. Either way, my lashes will look fabulous.

Don’t you just love lazy Sundays?

 

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sxm vacation.

the friendly island.

the friendly island.

Recently, Brad and I ventured out of the country to the island of St. Martin/Sint Maarten, for 8 amazing days.  We stayed on the Dutch side, and only visited the French side a couple of times. We met Wanda, the life-long bartender at the Buccaneer, steps from our hotel, and where we watched a World Cup futball match. I got heat stroke and thought I was going to be kidnapped the first morning of our trip. We swam in the sea and drank rum with the fish. I thought I would run through the TOP 10 favorite moments of the trip. Here goes…

1. 5pm the day before we left for the trip. I would say 3pm, as that was when I got the “I’m on vacation!” text from Brad, but that was actually a jerk move because it was then I had to stare at the clock for two whole hours until it was my time to shine. HOWEVER, come 5pm, I had absolute joy knowing that I not only worked my ass off at work, but I was about to be on vacation with my love. That was an awesome moment.

2. Our view from the hotel room.

enough said.

enough said.

3. The scooter. There are no words really to describe this, but I shall try. Imagine 2 fully grown people- one 6’5″ and the other (roughly) 5’9″ on a scooter built for one. This would have not been a problem if the island wasn’t filled with mountains, but it was filled with mountains. Rather than cruising along (which we did just fine going down hill), we ended up in a comical skit, many times, with the theme of “I think I can, I think I can” as we mustered 5MPH uphill. Here is the scooter (and Brad).  It doesn’t look as small as I describe, but trust me when I say we laughed a lot at this poor little thing’s expense.

the little scooter that almost couldn't.

the little scooter that almost couldn’t, at all.

4. The morning we decided to be healthy and hit the gym. We weren’t lazy the whole time while on vacation. We paid our “couple’s fee” of $10 and spent a whole hour getting sweaty! Well, I don’t really sweat, per se, but I totally ran 4 miles while looking at the ocean! Brad did a full body workout. Totally forgot to mention that when we decided to do this “athletic” activity, I couldn’t find my workout shorts. I opted for a black pair of Brad’s underwear and one of his huge t-shirts to cover the “obviously men’s underwear” characteristics. They actually worked quite well.  I found my shorts as I was packing for home. Figures. 

athlétisme (en francais).

athlétisme (en francais).

5. Anguilla and the catamaran. This was so well done I wish I had taken more pictures. $95 for a full day of open bar, snacks (which were amazing with Gouda, apples and baguettes), music, you’re on a freaking catamaran in the Caribbean, a gorgeous sunny day, snorkeling, a boat captain who I am pretty sure was smoking a joint (which was both entertaining to wonder if , indeed, that was what he was doing), a fully catered lunch with grilled and smoked Mahi Mahi, and two stops in the country of Anguilla. One on a little island off the coast called Prickly Pear, and the other on the actual island of Anguilla.

Side note: during the excursion to Anguilla Island (proper), a bunch of friends we had made, swam through a school of jellyfish and got stung. This prompted my panic attack…while swimming. I completely forgot how to swim, so I ended up doing this side-swim-half-dog-paddle thing from shore to the boat. Once on board, Brad let me know that he too was stung. This was the conversation: “I got stung too.” “YOU DID?! WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME?” (him, very calmly) “You were freaking out, I’m fine.” “I THINK I’M GOING TO PASS OUT.” It didn’t even hurt him. Figures. I digress. I will say, I have never seen so many people offer to pee on one another. It was sweet…

As I said, I didn’t take a ton of photos, as there was snorkeling, rum punch, jelly fish attacks, and applying and reapplying of sunblock involved, but I did take a couple.

IMG_1462  (Video of Brad waving at me after he hoisted the sail on the boat)

6. Bang bang calamari at the Greenhouse Restaurant. I WILL figure out how to make this. Here is the menu for the restaurant, but this is the only thing I’m going to tell you to order, and then order seconds when you are done. It tasted of a Thai peanut sauce with a kick of some spice I want to have over for every meal. I didn’t take this picture, this is courtesy of a blog,The Wandering Sheppard” I found online.

please sir, may i have some more?

please sir, may i have some more?

7. When we decided to go to the grocery store and have snacks and drinks in our room, looking over the balcony. This was nice.

:)

:)

7. The beaches. Because of the scooter, we were able to explore little beaches on the island that weren’t very populated. Okay, we might have visited the beach where there are people, but not very many of them have clothes on… but most of the island had these little spots with no one on them. And before you ask, NO, I didn’t take pictures. You weren’t allowed. Brad did have to tell me that I probably shouldn’t giggle if we were going to stay.  Brad would sleep and usually I would linger in the water until he would realize I was no longer next to him- and then he would come join me in the water. That was always a nice surprise.

"if there is a heaven for me, i'm sure it has a beach attached to it." -jimmy buffett

“if there is a heaven for me, i’m sure it has a beach attached to it.” -jimmy buffett

8. Laughing. We laughed a lot while on vacation.  That was awesome. I think we both needed that, as we both work a lot. To laugh and just be was really, really nice. One day on the beach, a woman asked what we had done since we had been on the island (this was like on day 6). I had to think about it because I really couldn’t think of anything “exciting,” especially when she kept naming restaurants and a rum factory and all these other notable things. I really couldn’t think of anything (past the scooter), but we just had a really nice time being together.  I think that is more important that having Clark Griswold’s schedule of stops along the way- don’t you?

9. Brad really liked this moment. He got my phone out to take it himself. We had many moments like this one, but this one stands out as it was his.

boat in the setting sun.

boat in the setting sun.

Obviously my most favorite I saved for last, as that’s what you do when you provide a top ten list…

10. Being with the man of my dreams on a island in the Caribbean for 8 days. Did I really have to spell that one out?

The last day, we went to breakfast and I saw this sign:

indeed.

indeed.

I don’t know that I will race to book a trip to St. Martin again. In fact, I’m pretty sure that we wouldn’t, as there are so many other places to see in this world. I think next trip will be someplace in Europe.

All in all, we went, we saw, we scooted.

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five years.

As I was driving into work this morning, I started to think about my sister. This week marks five years since her death.  I see the “national sibling day” posts on Facebook, with all my friends sharing them and showing love for all the world wide web to see. I see photos and posts of sisters and brothers loving each other and feeling “blessed” to have one another. I try to ignore it. I try to pretend that I am pragmatic and it simply doesn’t apply to me, but who am I kidding? This sucks.

When she first died I was so angry at her.  How could she be so selfish? How could she do this to my parents? How could she be so stupid, as to put herself in a situation that would cause her harm- and everyone around her pain?  The last conversation we had- she was mad at me.  The last time I saw her, she was mad at me. I said horrible things about her to anyone who would listen. I acted awful. I was blind to things going on around me because I was in such a state of hatred. Well, now that it has been five years, I can honestly look back and say that I didn’t deal with her death very well and I genuinely miss my sister.

token "kids in bath" photo.

token “kids in bath” photo.

I have always known that my sister and I didn’t get along. Anyone you ask who knew us both would say the same. I was the annoying little sister always getting in her way. I was the reason she had to stay home, so my parents could go out. I was the tattle-tale. Whatever- I was 5 1/2 years younger and looking back I simply didn’t understand how this “sister” figure could hate me so much.  She was like a foreigner in my home at times. But with as many things that I can think back on with pain, there are some memories that I can look back on and smile.  We had our moments. These are 5 happy memories of my sister:

1. She ALWAYS made Christmas special. Leading up to Christmas, it was almost like a campaign in my house for the gifts we would like to open come December 25th. We would start, depending on whenever the item would have been marketed through television, or whatever our friends had that we secretly coveted. Or whatever crazy idea was in our head that we had to have. We would pitch our ideas, much like Ralphie. Well, Jennifer had this skill of finding where my parents would hide the presents.  She would wait until my parents were gone out to dinner and she would take me on an adventure.  Mind you now I recall it they were always in the attic, but at the time I thought she was brilliant.  How did you know!? Then, on Christmas eve, we would go to bed, pretending we didn’t know what we were getting the next morning. Fast forward until the next morning: She would wake me up between 2-4am. She would lead me out to the living room to see what “Santa” had left for us. 100% of the time there were gifts that we had NO clue we were getting.  How did mom hide those from Jennifer?! My mom had this way of leaving some gifts unwrapped, our packed stocking and then the rest of the presents looking like we were the only house Santa visited. Jennifer and I would grab our stockings (that was all she would allow us to open) and empty them on the living room floor. We could eat some of the candy and then she would make us stuff them back up again, so mom didn’t know we opened them. It was usually around 4am at that time. We had permission to wake dad. We had a strict rule that we had to wait until 7am to wake mom, but until then we would watch cartoons with dad in the living room until she woke up. She made that morning special every year of my childhood. Even when she was 16, before she left for North Carolina. She would ignore the silly stigma of liking your sister not being “cool” and she would bring us back to our magical Christmas world. Nowadays, I try to wait until Christmas morning to open my gifts. I don’t look for them though because it’s just not the same.

i think this was in boston- at the kids museum.

i think this was in boston- at fao schwartz.

2. She was proud of me.  She always described me as 5’10”.  I don’t think I have to say how awesome this was, but every time I would walk into a room, she would have prefaced my entrance with the description that I was a 5’10” blonde, with green eyes and played men’s lacrosse. In later years, she would add “and went to college.” Note: I’m not 5’10”. I’m 5’8″ and change, and I only played men’s lacrosse for one year.  I did go to college, but she was so smart that if she had decided to go, she would have kicked ass. I was always sad she would brag about colleges she got into (BC and UNC-Chapel Hill), but then would be jealous that she didn’t go.  She could have gone! Side note: YES, my license says 5’9″, but I mean….I am basically 5’8 1/2″, so I’m not really lying, per se. :) …Oh, shut up. 

i feel like this is cruel and unusual punishment. alas, those hula skirts were around all the time- for many holidays.

i feel like this is cruel and unusual punishment. alas, those hula skirts were around all the time- for many holidays.

3. She could be mean to me, but you would get your ass kicked if you dared give a bad look in my direction. She declared it her sisterly right. Seriously, I have seen her punch out a boy at the bus stop for picking on me. Damn straight. Now, this isn’t admitting that I necessarily liked the way she would play little games like “if you ignore me for two hours, then I will play Barbie with you.” Or when we would play Barbie, she would take all the good new clothes and leave me basically with a naked Barbie, saying I was her servant.  But hell, when she would pay attention to me I soaked up every minute of it.

4. My father, her and I all have one thing in common: we can read a novel in a day or two. Her favorite book was “The Grapes of Wrath” and she would often comment that she had read it many times over. She was this beautiful crazy party girl, who was secretly smart. It was up to her and only her who she would let know that information. I was often confused when she would be so bubbly and play the ditz, when she was anything but that- truly. She had this Daisy Buchanan way of living- perhaps it was simpler to be the beautiful fool. I just hope people know she wasn’t a ditz.

dad was working on the deck. mom dressed me like my big sister. i was psyched, she was not.

dad was working on the deck. mom dressed me like my big sister. i was psyched, she was not.

5. My grandmother Lois’s house. My grandmother lived in Statesville, North Carolina. Often times during the July fourth holiday, we would travel down the coast and stay with her. The trips graduated to Myrtle Beach, but for this memory I will stick to Lois’s house (yes, we called my grandmother by her first name). Lois had a trampoline. It was a huge old rusty trampoline.  Not like the ones today with padding and and nets.  This was where Jennifer taught me to do flips, splits and crazy jumps that she learned from being a cheerleader. It was so much fun. Once, I accidentally triggered the police alarm in the house.  Well, Jennifer grabbed my arm and pulled me to the trampoline. I had more fear in me than I knew what to do with, but she insisted that if we just jumped and pretended that we had no clue what was going on, then no one would be the wiser. Police showed up and we just watched from the back yard. Dum de dum.  We didn’t do it because we have been here all along!  From finding my grandmothers “toy” collection (inappropriate, I know, but it was funny as hell at the time) to helping me catch fireflies- it was always fun.  Side note: Yes, there was the story when she first taught me to do a flip and my head caught between the springs. She left me there, laughing. Obviously, I escaped. So I guess I can forgive her now.

my mother had this phase of dressing us like amish children.

my mother had this phase of dressing us in traditional norwegian garb.

Bonus: Pillow fights. Jennifer would make it like a celebrity death match, but in our hall way, with pillows. She would come to get me in my room or downstairs. I always felt so lucky when she would come to get me.  She picked me to play with, yay! We would shut all the doors in the hallway and stand at either ends- pillow in hand. My mom would yell “GO!” and we would start in on each other.  No mercy. I feel like she always won, but it was so fun. It was our duel. I want to go as far to say as sometimes when we would fight in the real world, my mom would make us pillow-fight-it-out, in order to work it out. We always ended up laughing.  Nice work, mom.  :)

She picked on me for not being able to change oil in a car, claiming that there was no way we were related, but she would call me whenever she was sad. No matter where in the country we both were at the time- she would call. Those in our lives might not know that, but it’s true. I could play the “I wish…” game over and over, hell, anyone who lost a loved one too young probably can, but it doesn’t do any good. Five years this June 5th since I lost my only sibling and I’m happy to rise above the bullshit and finally admit I miss her.

Would have been cool if she were around- I’d totally give her shit for being in her forties. Hey, I’m still her little sister. You can’t take that away from me.  

proof she liked me.

proof she liked me.

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leo.

I have been asked why I love advertising so much, and where this love was rooted.  Well, I remember the moments exactly, actually.

Back story: My mother’s side of the family lives in Milton, MA, so I spent my childhood in the way back of a station wagon (or whatever the car was of the moment), staring at the sites from NH to Boston. If you know the drive (and did it in the 1980s-1990s),  then you might remember how long it was to a kid. Well, I remember something else. I remember the ads and billboards I passed along the way. Saugus, Route 1: the plastic cows and giant cactus at the Hilltop Steakhouse and the orange dinosaur, just at the road splits, at the mini golf place (that I swear use to be purple). As you enter the city and see the buildings, there was a giant inflated Pink Panther that sat on top of a building, and the multi-colored water towers, just as you pass the city behind.  An ad with a model in a pair of jeans on the side of a building.  My memory tells me it was Marilyn Monroe in Lee jeans, but I have Googled the thought to death and I can find no proof.  My memory is that the ad read something along the lines of “Our models can beat up your models.but as I said, I can’t actually prove that, and it may just be the memory of a six year old.  However- whatever that ad said, and whoever was in it, it stuck.  I loved everything about those bright shining images, and looked forward to them every holiday.

Fast forward to my sixteenth birthday. My mom, aunt and uncle took me to New York City.  We did the whole “tourist” thing, and I feel like I saw everything. From our waitress in Planet Hollywood telling us a story about how this guy, who plays Opera man on SNL, won’t stop calling/bugging her roommate, FAO Schwartz, The Plaza, Central Park, getting my make-up done by a make-up artists of the stars (or so she claimed), and seeing a very nervous Steven Spielberg inside Saks Fifth Avenue (with a woman trying on shoes, who was NOT Kate Capshaw).  And then: Times Square.  At the time, Calvin Klein was making it’s mark, once again, with a scantily clad model. You might remember him:

good vibrations.

picture this, but like really really big. good vibrations.

It was amazing and I was captivated by it all.

When I was in college, one of my favorite classes talked about the history of advertising.   It’s origin, the greats, the icons, the moment makers. I loved every bit of it.  I didn’t know what I loved most about it, so I made a point to have an internship in every angle of it. Television, radio, newspaper, media buying, creative, etc. I majored in it. I LOVED it. This will add a little more merit to the reference I made one post back, regarding me falling asleep in the front row of a lecture, by a major agency CEO. I tried writing a letter of apology, it was ignored. Life lesson? I have no idea, but it’s probably best not to have a narcolepsy phase.

Outcome: my resume was awesome upon graduation, and I had a broad knowledge of the ins and outs of the field, but I wasn’t necessarily amazing at any one aspect of it.  Most people focus on a specific thing, well I wanted it all.  I guess it doesn’t really work that way, unless you are a savant, but I have never stopped loving it.

a personal favorite.

a personal favorite.

When I lived in Chicago, one of the most memorable moments of that time was in an elevator. I was in a building in River North, heading to a top floor for a meeting.  The elevator stopped on a floor. The door opened and I saw this:

don't bunt. aim out of the ball park. aim for the company of immortals. -d.o.

don’t bunt. aim out of the ball park. aim for the company of immortals. -d.o.

Tears started streaming down my face like a girl at a One Direction concert. It was not only bad timing, as I was on my way to a meeting, but it was unexpected. Quit crying like a baby, Katie! I had the same experience upon looking at the Leo Burnett building for the first time. I can honestly say that aside from the view in my apartment on Lake Shore Drive, the thing I loved most about Chicago was the cluster of amazing advertising icons who graced it’s streets throughout history.

As of today, I have been in the “marketing” field for over 15 years. Yes, I count the time spent in college because I was working my ass off! I still love it. It’s certainly changed, and I can’t say the greats of today have hit the mark with every ad, I can say that the people making it should know there is a girl in Maine always appreciating the people who founded it for us to love.

hanging in my office, right now.

hanging in my office, right now.

A common question people ask is “if you could have (fill in the activity- drink, dinner, etc) with one person, living or dead, who would it be?”  Well, I think you know my answer: Leo, of course.

October 21, 1891 – June 7, 1971. American advertising executive who created the Jolly Green Giant, the Marlboro Man, Toucan Sam, Charlie the Tuna, Morris the Cat, the Pillsbury Doughboy, the 7up "Spot", and Tony the Tiger.

October 21, 1891 – June 7, 1971. American advertising executive who created the Jolly Green Giant, the Marlboro Man, Toucan Sam, Charlie the Tuna, Morris the Cat, the Pillsbury Doughboy, the 7up “Spot”, and Tony the Tiger.

I might have to bring some tissues though, for he doesn’t strike me as the type who appreciates a good cry.

 

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snooze.

if only it were this easy.

if only it were this easy.

I have never been a great sleeper.  Even when blessed with mono through high school and into college, I wasn’t a great sleeper.  If I nap, I wake up groggy- and can’t seem to get out of the dazed state.  If I am woken suddenly, then I am in a horrible mood (and might just let you know how much noise you are making through the old fashion way of yelling at you). I’m a light sleeper, so if even the smallest noise should grace my ears- I’m up.  When I wake up, I can NEVER fall back asleep right away, unless medicated. In college, I had a phase where I would fall asleep anytime and anywhere- this includes the following places: while in the front row of a lecture of a CEO from a major NYC ad agency, while studying in the library, during class, sitting straight up (while watching a movie), come to think of it- I fell asleep during every movie I ever tried to watch back then.

Funny story: The first time I saw Braveheart, my college friend Brandon was CONVINCED I was going to watch a movie, without falling asleep.  I was sitting on the floor and he was in his bed, an arms reach away.  Every time I would start to doze off, he would WHACK the top of my head and yell “WAKE UP, SCHMIDT!” Abusive? Perhaps. Effective? Definitely.  End result?  I have seen Braveheart. Thanks, Brandon.

it's all for nothing if you don't have freedom, err, and sleep.

it’s all for nothing if you don’t have freedom, err, and sleep.

I think too much, so my mind is never at rest.  I referenced my picky sleeping needs a while back, but needing the perfect comfort is only half my problem to a perfect sleep. Trust me, as annoying as it is to read this (I realize I sound high maintenance), it is more annoying to live through and experience personally.  I need the steady sound of my fan (even in sub zero temps outside), the perfect amount of blankets and my pillow just right: soft, but not flat, cold,  not rough to the touch and cushioned the back of my head into a perfect cup.  Good God, who the hell do I think I am?  It’s frustrating! 

Side note: before all you health nuts go crazy and judge my lifestyle (as I realize that affects sleep), know that I work out almost every day, do not drink coffee, and eat right (by whatever standards “eating right” are these days: no red meat, gluten free, organic, etc). I don’t eat sweets because I gave them up for lent (and slept this way even before giving them up), I haven’t been drinking since Brad gave up alcohol for lent (Okay, I have had some wine a couple of times, but a glass here and there does not make me an abuser of the stuff), and I go to bed reasonably early (8-9pm nightly). It’s probably stress related.  I digress.

Well, I have a new observation/frustration that I thought I would address: the snooze button. We’re all guilty of abusing it. We set our alarms for that perfect time, with our list of what we must accomplish in order to begin the day. However, come morning: birds chirping (don’t even get me started on nature sounds), cue soft music, and then it happens: the ALARM. Immediate response: snooze. You rest and relax as you realize you have more time to sleep, like finding a $20 in your ski parka, then just as your eyes shut again, ALARM. This process goes on and on for the next half-hour or so, completely debunking your original “get up and at ‘em” plan from the previous evening. So I ask this: why not just set the alarm for when you know you will get up?  Why put yourself through the pain of the ups and downs of the snooze, alarm, snooze, alarm cycle?  The whole thing seems like torture to me. Then again, we are human and drama is in our nature.

I’m not going to name names, but a certain someone did it for a whole hour this morning. If he were not so damn cute, and if I wasn’t happy about the fact that he was staying in bed longer, I would have complained- or even yelled.

worst invention, indeed.

worst invention, indeed.

End result: an hour lost of sleep, is an hour of snuggling gained.  Either way, I’m smiling.

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leukemia happens. #LynchStrong

December 26th, my cousin (technically would be my second-cousin, but I say simply “cousin” because we are close in age) was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. They told him he had the flu or a virus…a couple moments later he was rushed to Beth Israel Deaconess, in Boston, to immediately start chemotherapy.  Can you imagine being a recent graduate of college, just starting your life, and then being told you have cancer? I can’t even imagine, but I know I would not be half as strong as he is.  It’s amazing how strong he is, and how much support he has through this difficult time.  By the way, his name is Chris.

chris lynch, age 24.

chris lynch, age 24.

When visiting the family (my mom’s side) in Milton, MA recently, I learned that Chris went 36 days without fresh air during his first hospital stint. 36 days without being able to open the window, go outside, feel the breeze, etc.  Just listening to the process, timeline and everything he has had to go through to date (he starts yet ANOTHER (4th) round of chemo tomorrow) has put many things into perspective.  If he has a fever, they admit him for a whole week.  Even if the temp goes down, while in the office, in those first few moments of the doctor visit: one week admitted.  No questions about it- you have a fever, you have a new address and hospital food for a whole week. He next has a bone marrow transplant to power through (hospital visit length: 2 months), and then hopefully it will all be done.

Little aside: Because this happened right during the holidays, Chris was unable to really celebrate.  He was very sick Christmas Day and in the hospital directly following.  Anyway, when I walked into their house last weekend, I noticed the Christmas tree was still up. Apparently, they are keeping it up until this is all over. All I know is there are many people who cannot wait for that tree to come down.

Anyway, I am trying to raise some money for his family. There are like 8 of them who visit the hospital daily. Parking costs, at $10-$15 a pop, food, and other incidentals have been adding up.  Although they have amazing insurance, Chris is unable to work and the others are constantly taking time off work to be with him. It adds up.  I created one of those fundraising pages to help: #LynchStrong.  I made it a hash-tagged name so that people can share it easily (hint hint, if you are reading this, SHARE IT!). His parents set up The Friends of Chris Lynch Facebook page for updates.  Check them out, if you have a moment.  Also, a friend of the family, and Chris’s Godmother (Nina), has been selling “We are Lynch Strong” t shirts to raise money. I thought I would share some pictures of his friends wearing them: (let me know if you’d like one!)

Hopefully, the end of this nightmare will be soon and we can all relax on a beach somewhere.  I’ll bring the margaritas, and no Christmas trees allowed!

more friends of chris!

friends of chris

nina (the God mother) and her husband

nina (the Godmother) and her husband

friend annie o'rielly

friend annie o’rielly

the giles family

the giles family

chris's older brother, michael.

chris’s older brother, michael.

yep, we bought some too!

yep, we bought a couple too!

*UPDATE 10/22/2014.* A few weeks ago, Chris developed a lung infection, following a complete remission from the AML. The doctors had him medically sedated, so his body could fight the infection. While sedated, he developed blood poisoning. Not really much more you could do to his young, fighting body.

The eery part of it all is he held on though the weekend to see his brother, Connor, who is in college in NY. He also held on through Sunday, which was the benefit 5k #ALLinforChris, that many of his friends and family worked their tail off to put together.  Following the race and benefit, his family was called to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to say good-bye. From what his family said, the ICU nurses went above and beyond to make Chris comfortable.  They even removed all the tubes, machines and band-aids- covering him in a blanket.

Chris passed away Monday, October 20th at 1:10am, with his family by his side.

Donations can be made to the family through this site: #LynchStrong Leukemia Fund.

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