Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is one of those holidays I actually really love but never do anything about it (besides use it as yet another excuse to inhale candy).

One of these years I hope to partake in several Halloween activities, but tonight I will be cleaning my apartment and watching a scary movie since I can only handle one a year. 

To all of you who actually do fun things, have a great time, and be safe:)

Monday, October 28, 2013

A glimpse into the life of . . .

          BRIDGET JOHN
I am especially excited for you to "meet" Bridget since she is a former manager of mine and someone I really look up to, both professionally and personally.

I was fortunate to work under her when she was the director of human resources at the Minneapolis Marriott. She has an incredibly kind heart but knows exactly how and when to be firm, and you can't help but to admire and respect her, no matter who you are (I saw this firsthand in a wide variety of people).

She is a fantastic HR professional and is now a senior HR generalist at Andersen Corporation, and what I really like (probably for selfish reasons so I feel better about myself) is that she didn't even know she was interested in the field until quite a few years into her career.

"For the most part of my career I always was an admin and really enjoyed it.  But somewhere along the way, HR interested me from a perspective of helping people. 

When I first started, I really enjoyed the variety of work – it was new and different. A lot of it was administrative, but then it progressed to me wanting to learn more and dealing with employee relations.  I started to take more responsibilities, and through feedback and self-fulfillment realized I was good and had a passion for HR. 

Through hard work, good work ethics and opportunities provided by my managers, I was able to develop my career successfully."

First job ever: Worked in college as an admin in the international office on campus and the audio visual department

First job after college: Receptionist at Minneapolis Marriott
Dream job: Working out of home.  Doing administrative work or something like a meeting planner type – but working out of home.

What advice would you give someone interested in pursuing the same profession? You have to like dealing with people.  Second, do not be so stringent on rules – treat them as guidelines for some occasions when it benefits you to partner with other departments to support a decision that makes sense. 
When its concerning legality or ethics, then yes, don’t budge.

What advice do you wish you could give your 25-year-old self, career-related or just in general? Choose a career that makes you happy and is fulfilling.  Tell your loved ones what you are feeling at the time and never miss an opportunity to say “I love you” to them.  Life is truly too short, so enjoy moments in your life completely and try not to take too much for granted.  If it’s true, tell your children you are lucky to have kids like them, and once in a while ask them how you are doing as parents.

One of the most profound things I learned at a later age that I would pass on to younger people is “the fact that everyone does it one way doesn’t mean it’s the right way.”

What hobbies and activities do you enjoy in your spare time?
-Watching my son play baseball and basketball 
-Reading a book on the deck, enjoying a glass of wine

What is number one on your bucket list? To travel to Ireland and watch U2 play in a small pub

Favorite ice cream flavor: Tie between cookies and cream and tin roof sundae 

Thank you, Bridget!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Favorites

First of all, I know my Disney trip is OVER. Back to reality.
But I am going to squeeze in just a little bit more in the form of some of my favorite songs, characters, etc. of all the Disney movies (animated, that is)! Maybe it will inspire you to take a little time to watch your favorite this weekend. Remember, you're never too old for Disney:)

Favorite. . .

Movie - Hercules

Sequel - Toy Story 3 (not exactly a sequel, but I'll let it slide)

Female character - Meg 

Male character - Robin Hood

Mickey & Friends character -  Donald Duck

Non-human couple - Wall-E and Eve

Sidekick - Genie

Villain - Hades

ABSOLUTE LEAST favorite - Chernabog - Why, Disney, why? From the music to the creepy little demon friends, this will never cease to terrify me.

 Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ten Random Things I "Learned" On My Disneymoon

A hopeless romantic sucked into any and every 'happily ever after,' ever since I learned what a honeymoon was I've wanted a Disney one, and a few weeks ago it finally happened! Sure, it was delayed three years, but it worked out better that way for us - we had more time and money, less stress before the wedding and something to look forward to and plan after the wedding.

Neither of us had been to Disney World before, and we ended up picking the perfect time to go. The longest waits we had were for a few character greets, but nothing was more than 20 or 25 minutes. We stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge for six nights, spent one day at each park, one day hopping around a little bit and one day at Universal Studios' Islands of Adventure. It was hot and tiring, but we were barely rained on just once, and it was SO. MUCH. FUN. :) I spent the week living in fairytale after fairytale, shutting out thoughts of anything else, and it was wonderful! Here were some of my favorite parts and 10 random things I learned while there:

Favorite rides at DW:  Tower of Terror, Test Track, Space Mountain, Expedition Everest, Toy Story Mania, Kilimanjaro Safari

Favorite rides at IOA: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Dragon Challenge, Incredible Hulk Roller Coaster

Favorite shows/events: Wishes Nighttime Spectacular (we ended up seeing it three times), Fantasmic, Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Favorite food: I gave myself zero limitations for the week, so I pretty much ate everything in sight, especially when we had a lot of dining plan credits to
use up toward the end. My favorite meals were the breakfast buffet at Boma (Animal Kingdom Lodge) and dinner at Sanaa (Kidani Village). I also fell in love with the Butterbeer at Harry Potter World and could really go for some right now!

Favorite character greets: My social interactions aren't great in the first place, so you can imagine how it was for me meeting people in costumes who can only gesture or actors deep in character.

Aside from that,the most fun to meet were Lady Tremaine with Drizella and Anastasia, Cruella, Maleficent, Stitch, Russell & Dug, Minnie and Gaston.

Things I learned

1. Everyone needs an escape at some point. There was such a wide variety of people there - all for different reasons, but also for very similar ones.

2. I am not patient. Even with the incredibly short lines we experienced, especially considering where we were, sometimes I was a liiiittle hesitant and just a little irritable when facing one. I can't imagine being there during the busy season. Maybe I should try it, though, to work on my patience!

3. I love rides! For some this is no big deal, but for me it is huge. I am deathly afraid of heights, so theme park rides have obviously never been my thing since even county fair rides left me in tears. However, thanks to Jared pushing me to get over it by experiencing Valley Fair a few times, I can now honestly say I love roller coasters. The rides at DW are fairly tame, and I found myself almost disappointed after a lot of them and looking forward to IOA because I wasn't nearly as scared as I wanted to be.

Dragon Challenge!

4. We truly are a growing species - at least where waistlines are concerned. Stated as a fact and not in any 'mean' way, people are getting large. This is something we're all aware of and are so used to, but once you start thinking about it you really notice it. Everywhere. I admit I made this observation while gobbling down chocolate cake smothered with Jared's chocolate gelato (he'd had "enough sweets for the day" - what?), but it hit me hard sitting across from a large family of five eating fried everything. The kids were so young and already so unhealthy, and it made me sad and promise myself I will not only encourage/enforce healthy eating when we eventually have children, I will be a much better example of it for them. What better motivation is there for developing healthier habits? Healthy eating, in my opinion, does include indulgences, though, so hopefully I'm not sounding like a huge hypocrite;)

5. I really love my husband:) 

6. That being said, it's probably a good thing our whole lives don't consist of us spending every single waking second together.

7. At the risk of sounding like the crazy cat lady I am, I sure do love my cats:) I missed them so much!

8. I really need to re-read all of the Harry Potter books. I can't tell you how many times Jared asked, "Do you even know who Harry Potter is?" after referencing different characters, scenes, events, etc. to me with only a blank stare in return.

9. I will not bring my children to DW unless they can walk ..a lot.. by themselves. I couldn't believe how many people had just babies and one or two-year-olds there. Why?

10. I have perfected an awkward stance to match my awkward personality.

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Friday Favorites

As long as I don't run out of topics, Fridays will be dedicated to sharing some of my favorite things. In spirit of this blog's one week anniversary, here are my top five favorite blogs. You may notice a similar theme among them:

1. The Hungry Runner Girl I constantly have to remind myself that I do not actually know and am not actually friends with the author of this blog. She has a very positive and inspiring outlook on life, even while going through a pretty dark time right now. A crazy good runner, she is training to reach her goal of running a sub-3 marathon, and she loves candy almost, if not as much as I do. She is also the mother of an absolutely adorable one-year-old! 

2. Carrots 'N' Cake This is the first blog I started following regularly. The author is a fitness and food lover and has become a CrossFit fanatic. She posts easy-to-make recipes, do-anywhere workouts, great healthy living advice and plenty of pictures of her super cute pug named Murphy.

3. SkinnyRunner Girl can run. She just completed her 51st marathon, and she doesn't even train year-round. She spends her summers in Alaska helping her dad fish. Addicted to shopping and pickles, she posts on everything from race recaps and weekly workouts to frozen yogurt trips and weekend getaways, showcasing her sense of humor and love for sarcasm. She is running in the Runner's World Festival this weekend with the two bloggers above, and I am super jealous!

4. Sweet Tooth Sweet Life She also has a very sweet personality and writes about maintaining a balanced, healthy lifestyle complete with workouts, family time, work, delicious food and now a baby! 
5. The Girl Who Ate Everything Pretty self-explanatory. How could I not love this blog, and how am I not related to this woman!? She offers a ton of easy, delicious recipes - well, they look that way, anyway. Even though I can't cook anything, I love to read recipes, and hers look like ones I could actually make. I just haven't tried yet. They're not exactly healthy, but healthy additions and substitutions could easily be made. She also just had a baby - her fifth one!
Have a great weekend! Hopefully you have time to check out these blogs!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A glimpse into the life of . . .


This incredible human being is a journalism professor at KU. She is one of the strongest, most intelligent women I know and also the mother of an equally amazing lady I was lucky enough to room with in college and call one of my best friends. Her wisdom could fill pages upon pages, but here are just a few words to help us get to know and learn from the fabulous Ms. Benson:

First job ever: The first job I was paid for was raking almonds on a farm in California's San Joaquin Valley.

First job after college/first "grown up" job: My first career was in nursing, so my first big-girl job was as a nurse.

Dream job: I do it every day. (Although, if I had the talent, I'd like to be a professional tennis superstar - even as an old lady.)

 What advice would you give someone interested in pursuing the same profession? Don't become a college professor unless you really like guiding young people through what often seems like "duh, no kidding" life and skill basics. Cultivate presentation and people skills - not just research skills - so you can help students learn. And remember you're there for them, not for you.

What advice do you wish you could give your 25-year-old self, career-related or just in general? Take chances. Then take more chances. Go and see the largeness of the whole. Be bold. There are few truly "good" or "bad" decisions. Mostly, decisions just are.Trust that the universe unfolds as it should.

What hobbies and activities do you enjoy in your spare time?
Tennis, running alone (or with my daughter), learning a little about a lot of things.

What is number one on your bucket list?
A larger bucket.

Favorite ice cream flavor: Lemon sorbet. (It has sting in its tail, just as I do.)

Thank you, Kerry!

Friday, October 11, 2013

When you feel like your world is falling apart. . .

When you feel like your world is falling apart and all you want to do is crawl into a hole to forget the world and be forgotten . . . 
I suggest you go for a run. I don't care if you run one or 10 miles, but I guarantee you will feel like a completely different person when you're done. Seriously - runner's high is not a lie:)
Grab your phone or iPod or whatever cool kids use to listen to music today (I still use that tiny little guy in the picture), crank up whatever song you're feeling at the moment, and just go. Do not be embarrassed by your song choice; no one but you will know what you're listening to. I recently ran the first three miles of a run alternating between just two songs: Taylor Swift's "Today was a Fairytale" and Faith Hill's "Cry." I am not kidding. Strange, I know, but apparently that was what I needed because it ended up being an awesome run. No shame.
Very few feelings measure up to losing yourself in a run. And the beauty of running is that almost everyone can do it. It doesn't matter how big or little you are, how fast or slow, how far you go or how you look. I run for many reasons. Some of these are:

-to clear my head and literally think of nothing at all
-to think through every possible solution to a problem I'm facing
-to pray
-to push myself as hard as I can to experience leaving my comfort zone
-to work through anger, sadness or frustration
-to relax and appreciate the scenery, my health and the simple joy in feeling movement
-because I ate a package of Oreos

One of my favorite things about running is the fact that while I'm doing it, all of the things that usually seem to matter don't at all anymore, and for those precious minutes or hours I am whoever I want to be in my own little world. I'm not just the 25-year-old intern or that weird girl who works at the gym.  I'm not scared or confused or insecure.

I don't care that I didn't get everything crossed off my checklist that day or that I should actually be cleaning my apartment. I don't even care that my love handles are feeling a little too bouncy or that I'm being passed by men much older yet much less sweaty than I am. I'm confident, motivated and free, and this fresh, new mindset remains for quite a while even after I'm done. 

Unfortunately, I seem to lose it after enough time passes, but I am convinced the more I run and experience this, the more likely this attitude will stay for good and cross over into all aspects of my life. Running does countless things for your mental and physical health, and I can't think of anything better to help you gain a better perspective on whatever you're facing. You may not like it right away, and it's obviously not the end-all solution, but I do promise it will refresh your mind and make you feel 10 times better. A run is one thing you'll never regret.

And, okay, since it is me talking, when you're having one of those days (or weeks..or months), I also recommend diving into one of these:

This literally tastes like frozen heaven. If you have not tried any of their flavors, go get one. Now. My two favorites are the sea salt caramel and the coconut. I promise they make dark days a little bit brighter. BUT, make sure you go for that run first!