Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What I'm Loving Wednesday

It has been quite awhile since I have done a WILW post.

I'm loving...that things are really coming along at my Pop-Pop's house!  Hard to believe it was November that we were helping to gut the house.  It was just the beginning of December when I went to help him pick out kitchen appliances and counter tops.  And look! I can't wait to see it when it is all finished.  Pop-Pop is very proud that his new appliances and fixtures (and anything else he had the option on) are proudly Made in the USA!

I'm loving...this fabulous mascara.  I may start gifting it to everyone I know, that's how much I love it.

I'm loving...that I am half-way through recruitment at the chapter I advise!! Although, I am not gonna lie....this past weekend was ROUGH.  How was I ever able to function on so little sleep?  Just one more weekend to go!  It's a tiny bit bittersweet because this will be the last year I am advising this position.  But I am sure I will be one happy camper about this time next year!

I'm cute sorority apparel is nowadays.  The stuff I had was downright dumpy.  This were nowhere NEAR as cute as the stuff these young ladies have.  I think I need to start hinting that they should maybe get their advisors a new t-shirt every now and then....
I'm loving...that MVP was able to go up to see his sister last weekend and meet his new niece!  She is such a little tiny peanut and so precious.

I'm loving...the VW commercial that is getting so much buzz right now.  I seriously wanted to bust out one of these lines in one of my meetings today.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lashing out

In trying to get a tad better with posting here regularly, I thought an easy-peasy thing for me to post would be sharing products that I love.  I am a beauty product junkie.  It's bad.  As in, I have more products than anyone could use in a lifetime and may need an intervention.


I have a serious thing for lashes.  I am always obsessed with finding the latest mascara to try.  Well search for the perfect mascara may be over.

Hello Lashes from It Cosmetics

After seeing a demo on QVC (which, BTW, is one of my fave places to shop for new beauty products) I knew I had to give this sucker a try.  A 5-in-1  Mascara revolutionizes that claims to take the place of five products--volumizing mascara, conditioning lash primer, lash-enhancing serum, lash tint, and a lash comb/curler.  Sounded too good to be true....

But this mascara delivered and then some.  I am officially hooked on it.  Even MVP asked me if I was wearing fake lashes.  Granted, I don't think he even knows what it would look like if I had some false lashes on, but still...he noticed my eyelashes.  This is not a normal occurrence, people.  This mascara goes on easily, with the added bonus of a grippy texture on the wand handle.  The wand separates while adding some serious volume and length.  See that little ball on the end?  Perfect for getting some additional separation and definition.  And you can BUILD layers of this and never look like you have scary tarantula lashes.  

You can get one tube for $24....or if you are a smart cookie and shop the Q, you can get two mascaras for $29. That may be a little bit more that you are used to paying, but I PROMISE you, it is worth it.  This stuff is legit.  

The only downside (and it's a minor one)  is that there is no waterproof option.  I used to ONLY wear waterproof but switched a few years ago and found it really improved the health of my lashes.  They seemed to be stronger, not fall out as often, and just generally look better.  When I think I might need to power of a waterproof (rainy day, shed a few tears at a wedding, etc.) I just add a top my lashes off with Anastastia Waterproof Top Coat.  

So if you are on the lookout for a new mascara, Hello Lashes may be the last mascara you will ever buy!

Friday, January 25, 2013

And so it begins....

Most folks that know me IRL, and many of you that keep up with me here, know that I donate a lot of hours volunteering with my national sorority.  Whether it be the MANY hours spent advising a local college chapter, to time spent supporting  my local Alumnae Chapter in DC, it has become a big part of my life.

And today officially kicks off my "busy season"...formal recruitment.  I will spend the next two weekends spending most of my waking hours at the chapter house.  Many of those waking hours will be at 2, 3, 4 in the morning, when I technically *should* be sleeping.  I will play many roles in supporting the chapter in their efforts.  I will laugh, I will cry, and even though I may not want to, I will probably raise my voice at least once.  But at the end of these two weeks, the chapter will have 40 or so new members.  I will have 40 or so new sisters.  It's a pretty great outcome.

Anyone that has asked me why I do all this, has heard me say how grateful I am for the opportunity to give back to an organization that I feel like has given me more than I thought possible.

Many folks, even those that know how much I actually do enjoy the work that I do, think I am nuts.  Some days, I completely agree with them.  But the time that I spend on this is not different than time you may spend on a hobby or favorite sport.  It's not really time better/worse spent than watching your favorite guilty-pleasure TV show, or curling up with a good book.

It's something I do that makes me feel good.  Makes me forget for a few hours about all the headaches and difficulties at work.  Takes me out of my normal routine.  Makes me feel young and oh-so-very old all at the same time.  But it is something that is all mine.

The *me* of seven or eight years ago would have never thought all that much about my alumnae involvement with my national sorority.  That is precisely what makes the *me* of today a better person.

Confused?  Let me explain.

I have spent much of my professional life quickly climbing the ladder.  Over the years, it has not been unusual for me to work 60+ hours in a week or spend my weekends in the office.  Often, I’ve done both.  I was focused on sizing up the tasks at hand, working diligently to achieve my goals and then quickly setting new and bigger goals for myself. 

But something was missing.  While I was busy achieving professional success, I was neglecting my own personal enrichment.  That realization was an “A-HA!” moment that I could not ignore. 

It was at that point, I became involved in my sorority’s local alumnae chapter, which gave me that much-needed opportunity for personal growth.  While I enjoyed the philanthropic and social programming, it was simply making that connection back to my sorority that benefited me the most.  I met women who quickly turned from strangers into sisters.  I found myself remembering the life lessons I had learned early on in my sorority membership and was now seeing them in a new (and still very applicable!) light as an alumna. 
My experience inspired me to try and get others to drink the kool-aid reconnect too, ultimately establishing a Facebook group for the alumnae of my initiate chapter.   It has come to be a place for sisters to reconnect, and catch up on each other’s lives, families and accomplishments, as well as post information and updates from both our collegiate chapter and the national organization.  It’s been wonderful  to see people interested in what’s going on back at our campus and to see the undergraduate members reaching out to alumnae members.  

A few years ago, I was presented with the opportunity to become an advisor at my college’s chapter.   Over the last three years, I have formally served as the chapter advisor to the Membership (Recruitment)  and the chapter’s  Panhellenic delegate.  Within the last year, I have also had the opportunity to work more closely with the chapter to improve their alumnae communications and programming.  The chapter is now putting out a regular Alumnae Newsletter and has added a new program connecting chapter and DC-area alumnae with new chapter members.  And that’s just one of many wonderful things they have accomplished in the last few years.  I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with so many of the chapter’s members and continue to be impressed and proud of all they continue to achieve – including being number one in grades for this past semester!

The *me* of today is a better sister, employee, daughter, volunteer, friend and citizen because of my sorority membership, specifically my alumnae involvement in recent years.  I have had first-hand experience with how my organization can enrich and expand your life as an alumna member, often in ways I never thought possible.  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Clean Apartment = Clear Mind

Whenever I feel like I am in a funk, or I just need to get a new vibe going, there are a few things that will help me out without fail.
  • Cleaning
  • Organizing
  • Sprucing up the apartment
I am still in the process of cleaning up and re-organizing around the apartment.  Between getting ready for the holidays, traveling, and then returning after the holidays, the apartment was a total disaster.  MVP and I never quite see eye to eye on this sort of thing.  He's fine to let things go for a few days...just keep looking for what you may need back in your suitcase...wait until the weekend to take the decorations down and put them away.

Me?  Not so much.  I want to unpack and put things away immediately.  I can't wait until the morning to take out the trash if I know the garbage is full.  Pack up those Christmas decorations and put them away well before the ball drops on New Year's Eve.

But something I have found we DO tend to be on the same page about is sprucing up the apartment.

After getting TWO new large kitchen appliances for Christmas, I was going to do some shuffling and rearranging to find a place for everything.  Sometime over the summer, I had bought a buffet/cabinet for the dining room to give me some additional storage for things we didn't need daily, but still wanted quick access to.  MVP was thrilled to assemble that piece of furniture.  Kidding.  He wasn't a big fan of mine after he spent half a day on that project.

All of my cookbooks and food-related books were in that cabinet.  They needed someplace else to call home.....but where to put them.....

This sounds like, A VERY GOOD REASON TO GO TO IKEA!!!  Really ANY reason is a good reason to go to Ikea in my book, but that's just me.

Yes, those are our Mickey ears from Disney with our names embroidered on them.  The top shelf just looked a little naked, so the dang Mickey ears are living there until I can find something better.
We ended up with this red bookshelf.  I love that it is a nice accent color, and something a little different, but still not too "out there."  It also fit neatly back in a corner, so it wasn't really taking up any additional space, just fit neatly into space we weren't using.

A trip to Target the following day (Ikea AND Target in the same weekend?!?!  Living the dream, that's me!) had me absolutely ecstatic.  I had been thinking for awhile how I would love a nice serving tray to put on top of the ottoman in the living room.  Sturdy enough that you could rest a drink on it if you wanted.  And don't you know I found a perfect red one....on CLEARANCE!

Can you tell that red is a favorite accent color?

During that same trip to Target I ran into a coworker at my current job, a coworker from a previous job, my old roomie L, and one of my fellow Cookie Party contestants and her adorable family (actually, I just noticed that one of the photos you can see on the buffet next to the red bookshelf is from her wedding.) Who knew that a trip to target could be so eventful??

There is still work to be done at the apartment and some things I would like to organize a little better.  But having things neat actually keeps me calm and makes my mind feel clearer.  When the apartment is messy, I can actually FEEL my stress level shoot way up.

A place for everything and everything in its place.....  anyone else feel that same way?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Looking ahead - 2013

It's that time of year where we all take stock of the past year.  Reminisce about the good times and resolve to improve ourselves and the world around us in 2013.

I want to do that -- to join in the stock-taking and resolution-making I see and read about everyone around me doing.  So much.

But the past few weeks to the past month have been really hard.  My health has been off.  Way off.  I wish it was something easily fixed or quickly remedied, but that doesn't seem to be the case for now.  Some days are fine.  Some days - like many I have had this week - are far from fine.

Getting back into the swing of things at work only makes me feel worse about everything right now -- so many projects going on for me and no margin for error or any slip ups.  Which is fine, I am sure I can find the strength to get through it and handle it all.  But I just don't want to.  I want to bury my head in the sand at work and just hide.  Ignore emails.  Hope that people forget about things.  Because I am just not connected to my work right now.  AT ALL.  Which, in many ways, is worse than being stressed out or overwhelmed.  I just don't care about it all that much anymore.  I wish I could hit the lottery and not have to come back.  Not in the "take this job and shove it!!" kind of way.  But because I just feel so.....lost.  Not sure of what I am doing or what I should be doing.  Unhappy in my day in and day out.

Some days I feel so very alone in how I am feeling, although I am sure there must be other people out there that feel or have felt the same way.  I hope things get better or at least turn a corner for me, both personally and professionally.  But that just feels so far away right now.

Right now, about all I can do, is try as best I can to take each day as it comes and just hope to do my best.  And hoping like heck I can find better days ahead for myself in 2013.