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Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Prodigal Sis Takes on Vacay

Whenever we have to say goodbye, I'm always reminded of that quote from A.A. Milne. The one that says, "How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?"

I'm an extrovert. I love people–always have. My family is certainly no exception.

And while there are, I'm sure, a lot of people who would rather jet off to a remote villa or cruise for vacay, a week in North Carolina's Outer Banks with my very favorite and inspiring people is as close to paradise on this side of heaven we'll get as far as I'm concerned.

It's been a busy season. The good busy. Graduations, birthdays, freelance opportunities, new projects and a few other big changes in the works.

More on that later.

I told myself that all I had to do was hustle. To make it through the first two weeks of June and a big work presentation for a statewide conference, and then I could relax.

The Sunday we left, I found myself sitting in our church service with my one-year-old son in my lap gearing up for the week ahead. In prayer, of all things, for the week.

If I'm honest, I'm not much of a prayer. Not anymore. After all, when you've wrestled with doubt for so long, it's easier not to. But something called out to me. It caught in my throat and made me hold my baby boy extra close and wish–no, pray–for a good, slow week.

And we had one.

We've grown up on this beach, my cousins and I. The whole week spurs a feeling of complete belonging and understanding–what's more, it's a great place to make big life decisions.

So, not only did my husband and I spend all day under our red and white striped umbrella, letting our toes squirm together in the little blow up pool we brought for our son, we also talked about the upcoming year. What his graduating means for our family. How our little boy is growing up so fast. How the last year of our lives feels as surreal as a dream.

The memories are foggy, but somehow, through one of the most emotionally challenging seasons, we made it.

Now I'm finding myself in prayer before everything, begging God for slow. Begging for the miracle of feeling time, of living on purpose, of appreciating every hour of this summer. Because, it's my favorite season and I don't want to rush through it like I have the last year.

I want it savored. Like how I feel in a place where I truly belong. And for now, that place is here. In this season, in this home, in this role, in our little family of three.

And there's nothing like spending a week with your favorite people to help you realize that.


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Playful & Strong: A Tribute to My Style Hero

I don't remember my first Kate Spade bag. 

That is to say, it's hard to remember which one came first. There have been so many.

My watch and day planner keep me on track.

My small leather purse keeps everything I need close at hand – red lipstick, wallet, spare pair of shoes for when my heels can't foot the bill.

My diaper bag with little whale prints keeps the chaos of new motherhood at bay. For the most part.

My wedding china is a symbol of the traditions my growing family will begin: the holiday parties, the graduations, the birthdays. It's there for the Big Moments: the creme saucers and cups with silver polka-dots.

Kate Spade is a part of my life. From the full-time marketer, to the out-of-office poolside cocktail-sipper. She's for work and the on-the-town fancies. For nights with friends, and mornings with coffee.

She was there on my wedding day. She was there when I brought my first child home from the hospital. She was there when I failed, when I overstepped, when I got ignored, when I did the right thing, when I got the job, when I popped the champagne cork...

And I am so incredibly sad she's gone.

I was introduced to her, I'm sure, by way of my aunts. Both of whom are the pinnacle of style and class. After all, having a Kate Spade purse, watch, wallet, what have you, was the grown up equivalent of stepping into your grandmother's work pumps or wearing your mom's opal ring.

It made you feel like every day was a special occasion. There was a sophistication, a dazzle, an identify you could fizzle into.

Having a Kate Spade made me feel like my dream of being a New Yorker of being an author, and having all the right, charming things to say at the drop of a hat, was attainable.

And it still does.

For so long, what's attracted me to her brand was her boldness. There was a place for me – a grown woman who still, sometimes felt like she was playing dress up in her mother's closet – someone who was happy-go-lucky, cheerful, and bright.

Life could be fun, captivating. Even for the unsure. Even for the nervous, the second-guessers, the naive and the ones who pretend to have it all together.

You don't have to put your sparkle on a shelf to do good work. There is a place for kindness, light and whimsy in the business world.

Today, I feel like I've lost a true friend.

Maybe even a little piece of myself. 

I didn't know this woman, but I've carried her with me – her frothiness, her color – in every season. And I'll keep her with me in the next and the next.

Because she is quick. 

And curious.

And playful. 

And strong. 

And I will always love every piece of her I'm honored to hold.


Thursday, May 31, 2018

My Summer 2018 Goals

Do you ever have seasons of life in which you feel the most yourself?

For whatever reason – pool lounging, beach trips, running at night to the tempo of crickets and fireflies – that time for me is summer. Cue all the High School Musical songs. So, if it's a time to thrive, it's time to push the limits on my status quo!

Here is a peek into my goals for Summer 2018:

Lose 15 Pounds

I feel like this is a goal for every season.

I've been tracking my weight loss journey since I stopped nursing on a new Instagram channel - and it's been a lot of fun! As it turns out though, I'm not one of those magical women who got super skinny after breastfeeding for a year. Nope. I tell myself I'm good at other things. Like picking out lip color and making the perfect book recommendation.

The magically losing weight? Not so much.

I've been really gentle with myself returning back to normal after baby and have lost a grand total of 25 pounds of baby weight after three months of Weight Watchers. For me, I love the program and it's flexibility. I love having something to track. And I love how even after I fall off the wagon for a day or two, it's never too late to start over.

Goal difficulty rating: 8/10

Run a 5K Race

I was my most in shape right before my wedding, about three years ago. Not only was I healthy physically, I was mentally and spiritually healthy, too.

The difference between now and then? Then I was running nine miles in 90 minutes without giving it a second thought. Now, I can't make it a third of the way without needing a break.

Training for a 5k is not difficult. It just takes time, patience and a rockin' running app. If you trust your training, it practically runs for you.

Okay, that's so not true. But you get what I mean. If I, the non-athlete, orchestra nerd from high school can pound the pavement, so can you.

Goal difficulty: 3/10

Use My Evening Hours More Diligently 

Guys. I seriously have such a problem with letting my nights get away from me. Lately, I've really struggled with staying up past 9 p.m. Being social, writing for pleasure, reading for pleasure,'s a mess. 

I did a video blog on the phenomenon, too. I need a system in place to help me be more wise with my time. There's grace, I know. But these e-books aren't going to write themselves!

Goal difficulty: 8/10

Get to Work Early

I'm a better worker bee when I'm at the office at 8 a.m. Plain and simple. I have big career goals and getting in the door and already an hour of work behind me by the time the traditional business day begins will only make me a stronger employee.

Complete a Draft of My Young Adult Novel 

I don't talk about my fiction work very much. Maybe it's because fiction, for me, is so much more difficult to write and even talk about than non-fiction.

When you write a blog about your life, the plot's been handed to you When you're sitting at the computer as an author, the story can take you anywhere. 

I have a tendency to be a little bit (okay a lot of bit) more particular about my fiction work. If someone dings my blog or essays it's easy to say, "Eh, it wasn't for them." But if someone critiques my fiction, the balm for the sting is a little harder to find.

This summer, I'm revisiting an old friend named Evie Tucker in a working manuscript I'm calling "Evie Tucker Makes Life More Better." The story is about a sixth-grade girl who's great at math and bad at English. She's finding her new normal after losing her mother. Evie, with her hot pink lab coat and engineering mind, creates little inventions to help make life a little easier for her dad and older brother.

I started the piece when I was pregnant with my son in hopes to write something that my kids would like to read one day. All-in-all, I have about 14,000 words of my goal of 65,000 by the end of August. Which means I need to write on average 520 words x day to have a completed rough draft by the end of the summer.

Goal difficulty rating: 7/10

So. Early to work. Running. Losing weight. And writing a novel. All in one summer. Not too bad, right?

I'm curious! Do you have summer goals? How can we encourage each other? Post in the comments and keep me in the loop! I'll be tracking my progress right here!
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