Monday, April 28, 2014

Mother's Day Necklace Giveaway: Alison Storry Jewelry

Soooo....did you get your mom a present yet?

Or...maybe you are a mom and you think you deserve a little sumptin' for yourself? Or...maybe you are none of the above scenarios but you still want something shiny in the mail? Cool. You got it.

One of you lucky cats can win this lovely rose quartz orchid flower necklace from Alison Storry Jewelry:

You can see the full etsy listing here. Here's a few details:
  • Gold vermeil bezel set rose quartz
  • Gold vermeil orchid flowers
  • 14k gold filled chain and clasp
  • Length of necklace: 16 inches plus a 1.5 inch extension

Enter via the rafflecopter widget below! Giveaway ends in a week, on Monday, May 5 at 11:59pm. Open to U.S. residents only.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Workin' hard for the $

If you're going to work in an office again after a long break, pick one that feels like Disneyland.

...Disneyland minus the asinine lines and crowds (though there is a lot of people here), so mostly just the fireworks and pineapple dole whips parts of Disneyland. That pretty much sums up my feelings. I am loving the free food, the people, the work environment/ethic in general, the bicycles, and all the random treasures I come across (like the hammock chairs in a nearby meditation room, and a giant blue chair, pictured below.)

I've also been doing a good job of getting my coworkers to like me by accidentally dropping rainbow sprinkles all over the carpet at the entrance to our workspace last Tuesday. I just have a flair for decorating, you know? (Sorry, no pictures of that shenanigan. But I did involuntarily squeal when it happened, so no one could possibly miss it.)

It feels good to be on a schedule, using my brain again.

My year of freelancing/Ralph Lauren-ing was a crazy, chaotic, amazing adventure and I think a much-needed break for my wiggly little soul, but there are definite downsides to having little structure (see: weird sleep habits, poor eating habits, loneliness without coworkers, general wandering and confusion, etc.) I feel like I'm actively using my brain all day again, building relationships with new and awesomely diverse people, eating like an adult, and so on.

Now if I could only remember how I used to handle all my errands/chores with a typical M-F schedule, that would be useful. My apologies go out to my laundry, physical fitness, anyone's birthday I've missed, texts/emails I've neglected, and so on. But that's what Saturdays are for, si? I'll get back in a rhythm soon, and the first step is to explore the gym/fitness classes available to me at work. Work out in the middle of the day? Shower at work? These are new adventures I plan to tackle. In the meantime, there's the treadmill desks around the corner from me.......right by all the snacks. #problems

With my new, structured schedule I'm just feeling more motivated about life in general again. I'm making all kinds of goals like "only drink Dr. Pepper once a month" and "make a personal financial plan" and "actually sit down and plan my Iceland trip" and "shop for a car before the current one breaks for good." There's something about a structured life that kind of clears the head and motivates the soul, even amid all the chaos and growing To Do list.

I wish I had an inspirational quote to put here, but speaking of work.... #endafternoonbreak #bye

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Letters to Grandma

I heard that my grandma wanted two things at her funeral: a bagpiper to play Amazing Grace, and for said bagpiper to flip up his kilt at some point for entertainment value.

I couldn't make it home to see it for myself last month, but word is that at least one of those requests was fulfilled. I'll let your imagination decide which.

Isn't she pretty? And check out that middle name. You better believe I'm owning that in a big way.

I got the greatest box in the mail from my mom yesterday. Half of it contained Easter candy, half of it contained Grandma-related items, and the other half was full of crinkly pink confetti that took over my living room and clothes. (Try not to do the math on all those halves.)

My grandma had exquisite taste.

Her house always smelled like perfume and potpourri, and her furniture was always the stuff my vintage dreams were made of. Don't even get me started on all the details like the lace curtains and various knick knacks. For a girl who's always had, um, elderly taste in home decor, it's always been a magical place that I'd replicate in a heartbeat in my own home. When I had a pet pig in college (yes), she gifted me an excellent painting of a pig to match one hanging in her own house. It's been on the wall of every apartment I've had in the last 7 years, and is one of my best conversation starters.

Grandma also collected bears. My aunts sorted them out recently and gifted one to each of the grandkids. Mine arrived in the box from my mom yesterday...apparently they all decided the Traveling Bear was the one for me. Couldn't guess why ;) I think she is lovely and she lives in my living room now.

One of the best parts of this box in the mail was the collection of letters that I'd sent to my grandma during my lifetime.

A couple of them were from when I was old enough to write them myself, but most were the type that I'd obviously dictated to my mom and then signed my own name on. The letters included a treasure trove of eloquent thoughts from my young mind. For your entertainment pleasure:
Dear Grandma, 
I miss you. I like you. Do you miss Daddy? I'm happy you are going to come see us. I like your kisses. You can watch "The Little Mermaid" with us. How are your dogs? I go to the nursery at church. Goodbye. I can write my own name. I love you!

Various other letters included references to The Little Mermaid. What's funny is that I only vaguely remember watching that movie, while the rest of my childhood is a blur of Land Before Time on repeat. And it's true about writing my own name, look:

My favorite other letter was literally just a page on which I'd drawn a flower and written every letter of the alphabet I knew at the time, which was primarily E's and O's. In good news, I was totally ready for a handwritten rendition of Old MacDonald.

Also, totally planning on making that same request for my own funeral about the bagpiper....and the kilt.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Times & Seasons & Potato Weeds

I seriously thought it'd been like 5 days since I last wrote a blog post, but it turns out it's been....a week and a half. #oops

Sometimes I go through phases where I blog every day, or at least a few times a week, and then......then there are the week-and-a-half gaps, haha. If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you'd know I'm not *totally* dead to the online world right now. Sometimes I feel like I need a specific reason or event or insightful thought explosion if I'm going to write a whole blog post, which is probably why I get a bit neglectful over here when things get crazy (see: new job that I'm still over-the-moon happy about, friends in town last weekend, various happenings in my dating life.....ahem...)

I'm all about times and seasons in life.

Sometimes I think we get super stuck on continuing to prioritize things just one way, even if it doesn't make sense anymore. One thing I try really hard to do is to constantly reevaulate the WHY of each of the many many many many things on my task list. For example, at the beginning of the year, I decided to start training for a half marathon in May. Guess what? It's May next week, and I'm nowhere near 13.1 miles of in-shape-ness. I felt really stubborn about giving that one up, but a couple months ago when I realized I wasn't looking forward to the race enough or even enjoying the process of training for it, at all, I decided to let it go. I took a long look at the running portion of my life and realized my "happy zen" in that department right now is just a few casual miles a week. Since I'm working really hard this year on proactively eliminating guilt from my life, I refused to let myself feel like a quitter for that. I just recognized that I'd made the decision to start training in a different time and season, and then....things changed. And same goes for other areas of my life. And that's OK :)

One of my favorite stories about times and seasons goes like this:
When I was growing up in Lehi, Utah, USA, my family had a garden large enough that we rotated the corn and potatoes every year. One day my father told me to weed the corn while he weeded the potatoes. As I worked my way down a row of six-inch-high (15 cm) corn, I found a solitary potato plant growing larger and more beautiful than any of the potato plants on Dad’s side of the garden. I called to him and asked, “What should I do with this?” 
Dad barely looked up. “Pull it.” 
Believing he hadn’t realized I was pointing to a potato plant, I objected, “But Dad, it isn’t a weed. It’s a potato.” Again, without looking up, he said, “Not this year. This year it’s a weed. Pull it.” So I did. 
Since then I have often pondered the wisdom of my father’s words. I have come to realize that obedience is not just making a right choice but making a right choice in the right season. (source)
Don't worry, I'm not saying that my blog is a potato weed :)

I just know that one thing I never want out of my blog, or anything else in my life that I love, is for it to feel like a chore or an obligation. I want to be here, be present, at whatever level works best that week or month or year, because it's what I really truly want. And don't worry, I still have a big fat crush on blog world, so there's not a single chance in h-e-hockey-sticks I'm going anywhere :) I just want my words and my presence here to be intentional. And right now, I can't really say if that will be a quick update every other morning with random short stories from my life, or something more like this once a week. I guess we'll see how it all plays out. Following my heart and my gut and stuff :)

Love you all and it's so, so good to write to you this morning. And life is so, SO good right now.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

My Hippie Parents.

This week has been abbbbsolutely nuts!

In good ways, but crazy ways. First, the news about my fantastic new job! (See here, if you missed it.)

Second, been busy suddenly wrapping up my contract gig with Ralph Lauren on a week's notice. Thankfully my boss was SUPER nice about that time crunch, which took some weight off my shoulders! I love it when people are nice humans, even when they might have reason to be a little put off. Three cheers for nice humans!

Third, my car decided to overheat last week. You'd think that after 15 years of living (8 with me) and 208K miles, she'd have a little spark left in her, but noooooo. (Sarcasm. I know I'm lucky she's lived this long!) Anyway, point is, she needs *a lot* of repairs. I opted to just fix the essential ones and bought myself 2-3 more months so I can shop for a new one instead of sinking more money into the ol' gem. Quit while I'm ahead, ya know? Here's what else I know: I think most cars are ugly in their own various ways. I've never paid attention to cars, but now that I am, turns out I don't like most of them. haha. I'm working on that. And you know what? Not to be cliche, but I want a friggin' MINI Cooper. So now you know where my heart is.

Fourth, you're probably wondering why the title of this blog post is about my parents and I've yet to say anything about them at all. So we'll end on this note...

This morning, my mom posted this photo on Facebook and said, "I have never participated in TBT, throw back thursday, but here goes......"

I feel like this photo needs no more words. Thank you and goodnight.

Monday, April 7, 2014

And now I work at......!

(note: I am a contract employee via Adecco)

To me, Google is the Disneyland of employment.

Consistently ranked the #1 place to (amazing) food...happy, hard-working people...colorful bicycles...interesting decor all over the place (including a slide and a dinosaur)...conference rooms named after YouTube videos...nap pods...gyms...did I mention all the free meals...seriously, it is the ultimate dream. Like the magical unicorn of jobs. The energy on a Google campus feels like walking down the Main Street of Disneyland. And it's been *my* dream to find a way in, ever since I moved here and actually met people who work there, and discovered that no one from the inside had anything bad to say about it. IT REALLY IS AS MAGICAL AS THEY SAY.

So you can imagine my more-than-a-little-totally-over-the-moon excitement when I officially accepted a Google (contract via Adecco) job offer today!

I kid you not, I think I was prancercising down the streets of San Francisco when the phone call came. My role is in the People Operations (aka HR) arena, and it's a temporary gig for the next few months. (A HUGE thank you to my friends Brian and Anna for referring me and then pep-talking me through the interview process.)

I've had mooorrreee than my fill of temporary/contract gigs over the last year, so I've mostly avoided them like the plague as my Ralph Lauren gig drew to a close and I began looking for the next thing. But I always said that Google would be the one place I'd make an exception for on the contract/temporary front, just to get my foot in that magical unicorn door. (Let's be real, they probably have a door somewhere with a unicorn painted on it. I wouldn't be even slightly surprised.)

So, there you have it! I feel so grateful...and relieved! Oh my little heart, so relieved. The last year of my career life with all its ups and downs and hopes and rejections has seriously worn me emotionally thinner than thin. Like pancakes are thin, but then there's crepes. Like that kind of emotional thinness. (Look, Google didn't hire me for my analogy skills...just go with it.) I've been wanting/needing/hoping for a "win" for some time now. Win, indeed! Time to refatten my soul. (This analogy is getting weird, but...they do say the "Google 15" is a thing with all that free food. Can I apply it emotionally?)

I've had a few different potential job opportunities over the last month, and as I've navigated the interview processes I've really been praying and trying to focus on my gut feeling. And when a couple sort-of-OK job offers came, I considered each of them....but my overwhelming, clear feeling was "Just keep waiting." And I was like "I'm hella tired of waiting, but gosh, OK." And when the chance to interview with Google came, I was a little afraid. Because, I went through 6 rounds of interviews with them last year only to get turned down -- and it kind of crushed my job-hunting soul at the time. But that little voice said, "This one is right," so I trusted that (and also threatened to throttle that little voice if it was lying to me) and went for it. And what do you know? Sometimes when life seems to shove you off a cliff, there is that safety net waiting after all :)

And now I will celebrate by getting crunk on apple juice, whatever that means...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Giveaway. Glamping. G...engagement.

I guess I should start by saying I didn't actually go glamping (glam + camping = luxury camping with electricity and fancy house-tents = glamping), and no "engagements" doesn't actually start with a G.

But, oh well. Because, alliteration.

Here's some things that ARE true:

1. GIVEAWAY. The rafflecopter widget has spoken and there is a winner for my Anjolee Jewelry giveaway! (drumroll please) The winner is.............Kristin C., AND a great story! Because actually, the rafflectoper widget proclaimed Derrelyn P. the winner. Here's the great story that will give you all the feels: I emailed Derrelyn to tell her that she won, and she was all capital-letter excited about being a winner....BUT, admitted she actually isn't a jewelry person. And then, asked if she could give her winning entry to Kristin, mama of adorable twin boyz and a little girl on the way, because "I have a feeling she would love the heck out of this, plus she could really use something to make her pregnant self feel extra beautiful right about now." I mean....all the feels, right? Since I was making the rules, I decided that giving someone else your winning entry is absolutely acceptable. And so I got to write a really nice email that made Kristin's day. And then my day was also made in the process. Derrelyn, you won life this week!

2. CAMPING. On Friday I up and left town. Unplugged, turned my phone off, left town, went into the woods, and....I realize this is starting to sound like the beginning of a bad horror film. If the horror film was titled "It was all awesomely fun but the night temps were so hellishly cold that I slept not a wink and the birds were really loud" then yes, it was a horror film. Luckily, all the parts besides the freezing/not-sleeping aspects were so top notch that it all evened out in the end. Also, I climbed a tree. You may enjoy some photos below! If you have trouble finding me, I'm the one hiking in the unearthly neon shirt.

3. ENGAGEMENT. My bestest best bestie, Kelsey, has a ring on her finger! (A good ring, see it HERE.) Although it happened last night, that precious soul decided to announce it to the world today, on April 1, because she likes to be difficult. Ha. But, it's true! She's engaged. And I would say a lot of nice things about how I met her my freshman year of college, 9 years ago, and we still talk every single day like our lives depend on it (because they do), and I'd also add some smushy thoughts about how she and her beau are just my favorite people together and they've been dating for 3 years and I am just so so so happy but.....if I were to get into all of that, it would probably turn into multiple paragraphs of nonsensical inside jokes about Celine Dion and my eyes would start leaking and you'd all awkwardly leave the room. So mostly, just BE EXCITED and stay tuned for more rambling about that as the wedding approaches in June. Bridesmaid Round 14, baby! (Who are we kidding, I've had my dress for 3 months now.)

And now here's some camping photos. kbyyyyye