This is The Day

I found this song via an M&M’s commercial years ago (pre-Shazam!). Inspiration comes from the strangest places and when I sat down to pen this entry I struggled to properly title it. I narrowed it down to three and polled my brother – he chose this one and then sang me the part that so perfectly summed up my feelings: “You’ve been reading some old letters…You smile and think how much you’ve changed. All the money in the world couldn’t buy back those days”. This IS the day and my life is really about to change.

One of the hardest things for me is adjusting to the real world when it does not go according to *Sam. Given my day job as a project manager you’d think I’d be agile as hell – ha, nope. I am a list person. I live and die by my lists and my spreadsheets and when things deviate it definitely takes me a little bit to recover and get my bearings back.

I’ve had my 1 yr/ 3 yr/ 5 yr plans circling in my head for some time now and one of the things I always considered was leaving the company I’ve been at since I was 21. How does one spend 13 years at a company this day and age? Crazy right? In the beginning this was the place to work for someone who wanted to be connected to the TV business without putting in the insane grunt work required to be on an actual production. I started in tech support and moved my way up from product to product finding my niche and creating a fan club. I will fully admit troubleshooting is not my forte; but I am a problem solver and I am adorable (especially on the phone) so I made it work.

After a brief hiatus where I flirted with LA I found myself tackling a new job entirely in a technical account manager team, then becoming a project manager. I built relationships with executives, I learned how to present to a large audience, I was responsible for a hefty portfolio. I came, I saw and after some struggles I conquered.

The culture at work has changed over the last year and I’ve watched people with more seniority than me walk away and start fresh somewhere else. Any time someone joked I’d be next I giggled and explained that I was perfectly happy where I was. I like my job, I like my boss, I like my clients – truth is I wasn’t in a rush to make my next  move. I had a plan. I had a checklist.

I mentioned on my blog that September has always been a huge month of change in my life and 2016 is proving to be no different.

Three weeks ago an opportunity presented itself that was just too good to pass up. I’ve said no to things in the past simply because I was too afraid I couldn’t rise to the occasion. I almost said no to this then I saw this in my TimeHop from my dear friend and official PhotoShopper, Tyler:

Yup. It’s time to jump. I know deep down this is going to be good for me but I’m scared. Petrified in fact. Can I be the person I am now in a different environment? Can I succeed some place new? I was supposed to hit my goal weight before I moved on so I could start fresh as a new, slim * Sam. I’m still pretty far from my goal weight, this is NOT going according to my plan!

You know I love a good horoscope and the week I waffled about moving on and accepting this opportunity I was presented with with:

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Kismet, I think! In order to process what I was about to do I needed 3 things (me and my checklists):

  1. A budget to ensure my financials were 100% sound. Thanks to my amazing financial planner this was easily handled and covered a myriad of situations. He’s a keeper. 
  2. A pro/con list of leaving. Thanks to my brother this was very simple. Pro list won by a landslide. He’s always been the rational one in our duo. 
  3. A goodbye letter that truly conveys my feelings about leaving. It flowed so easily it was scary and only needed one tiny revision. As always I start with a song (“Closing Time” of course) and end with a quote:

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That’s it.

As I move into this next chapter I will be a new *Sam. I won’t have the legacy I have here, but I also won’t have the baggage.  I’m not yet where I wanted to be but I’m so far from where I once was…. And I’m excited to see where I go next.

Cheers, to new beginnings and new, improved versions of yourself.

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The Secret of Life

I had so many songs to choose from when naming this blog but ultimately I had to go with the one that best sums up the person the post is dedicated to, my dad. He has taught me many secrets of life and I know he’s a big country fan so it’s a natural fit. Faith Hill’s “Secret of Life” is arguably one of her best songs. My favorite line “The secret of life is a good cup of coffee / The secret of life is keep your eye on the ball”.

I feel like I frequently talk about my mom and my brother on social media and in my blog but I rarely mention my dad; hence it’s about time for a post to honor the man I’m lucky enough to call my father. 🙂

If I was to sum my  Dad up I would say he is a recently retired fire fighter, loyal  Red Sox fan, very well-read, witty as hell and of course dashingly handsome (he is my dad, after all). He is the kind of person who hates BS, likes coffee flavored coffee, REFUSES to order a Venti/Grande/Tall (It’s a fucking large, call it a large) and has no use for things like tapas or charcuterie. He’s a straight shooter and always good for a laugh. Oh and don’t bother texting or emailing him – he’ll never reply. 😉

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I found this photo on Flickr – someone in Somerville had taken it as an action shot during a fire. Please note the icicles hanging from dad’s moustache! #badass

Growing up we didn’t always see eye to eye but he ALWAYS supported me in my crazy ideas from being the editor of the newspaper in high school or starting a music fest despite a plethora of administrative nonsense in my way to  ultimately pursuing a career in a field a little outside of the norm. He always said you have to like what you do because you spend a lot of time at work. That was the truth.

He taught he how to drive (and is 100% responsible for my lead foot! ;)), he taught me that being a good person is more important than being well-liked and most importantly he taught me that if I don’t value myself in relationships or at work I can’t possibly expect my boyfriends / friends / bosses to value me. Dad is a “what you see is what you get” guy and that often times reminds me that I don’t need to over-complicate every situation (something I’m famous for doing).

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Making silly faces because why not? 🙂

He’s the person who reads the directions  before building something (whereas I will just dump all the pieces out and hope for the best), he will check his math twice before cutting (fuck it, I’ll just cut and then whine if it’s not right) and he’ll always gather all the ingredients before he makes something (like his famous banana bread) whereas I much prefer to run around the kitchen screaming “OMFG where is the vanilla bean paste?!” (sidenote: if you bake please do yourself a favor and use vanilla bean paste in place of extract – the difference in flavor is amazing). He knows patience is a virtue while I think ‘hurry the fuck up’ should be a virtue. 🙂  He often reminds me that I should slow down….chill out….be patient. It’s qualities like these I hope I find in my future husband.

Thank you Dad for the life lessons that stuck with me, for being a no BS kind of guy and for always being up for anything from square dancing to helping me understand my 401k to driving up and down a highway road 43 times because I need perfect shots of highway lines for a school video. They don’t make ’em like you anymore! ❤

 

Better Days (And the Bottom Drops Out)

I distinctly remember buying the 1999 CD single when this song came out. “Better Days” was the only tune I knew from Citizen King (and still is to this day) but it was hella catchy and it became something I referenced when I was having bad days. Today wasn’t necessarily a bad day but it just seemed fitting. Runners up included “Spinning” by Jack’s Mannequin and “Bicycle Song”  by Red Hot Chili Peppers 

One of my fitness bucket list items for a while has been to try a spin class. Now, just to set the stage I am most comfortable in a fitness class (words my 2011 self would be floored to hear!). Zumba, Pilates, Barre, Yoga, TRX!, Kettlebells. HiiT – you name it, I’ll take a class with you on it. So a spin class seemed like a natural fit right? Sure! This will be good!

(my current favorite meme):

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My friend Meg (whom I have nicknamed Toasted Marshmallow because she has a tough exterior but the sweetest inside, love her) offered to take me to her Tuesday spin class taught by her friend Kim. Friends who support your goals are the kind of friends we all need!  Given I am a goal oriented person,  I had no doubt I would conquer this like I did TRX. I pulled up to the studio chatting on the phone with my BFF (Julie) with just a few spare minutes to meet Meg and set up. My parting words were “Wish me luck, I’ll totally own this! Text you later“.

Fast forward 31 minutes where I am calling her from the parking lot – in tears.

Turns out for as far as I have come, I did not own spin, it owned me. I lasted 15 mins (only 7 of which I was ACTUALLY spinning) henceforth known as “The Time Sam* Spun for 7 Mins”.  I can’t even articulate all the things that made the experience so miserable. But, given this is a blog I’ll try. I’m short (5’4″) and ALL booty / legs. My booty was very much not meant for those tiny seats. Like honestly, they are the size of the smallest sliver of a slice of pizza ever. Problem #1. Combine said fat ass with 70% of your weight being in your thighs/calves and it’s just disastrous. It took me forever to get in the bike and get “comfortable” (at no point was I ACTUALLY comfortable – but I kept telling myself I can do anything for 45 mins). Then once I was saddled in I couldn’t get past feeling like I was going to fall forward. Problem #2. Now we start spinning and I can’t seem to adjust to a place where I don’t feel like I’m about to be impaled by this fucking seat if I don’t fall forwards and go ass-over-tea kettle across the handle bars and into the adorable pregnant woman in front of me. Problem #3. And while I CAN stand I cannot stand AND peddle – how the hell are people this coordinated?!

I don’t consider myself to be a weak person – I can endure a lot of shit before I snap. Well, at minute 14 of being in this room I looked to my right and realized this jackass I dated was in the front row of spin class and the thoughts of this being the most miserable experience ever AND seeing him were enough. Fuck this, I’m out. I looked at Meg, mouthed I was sorry and I’d text her to grab dinner and I hightailed it out of the there. Also just for reference Kim was amazing – great at explaining things and very motivational. This awful experience is in no way a reflection on the teacher!

So I went to the parking lot and sobbed to Julie. Thank God for Julie. She assured me skinny people find spin hard – this isn’t just a fat chick thing. OK, good!

I drove over to the place Meg and I planned to grab dinner (sweet green – love their salads) and I was fortunate enough to catch the sunset from my car. The reason I love sunsets and sunrises so much is no matter how good or bad a day may be it always has a beginning and an end. I find that thought extremely comforting. Well, my day started great (barre belles class, breakfast with friends, great work meetings, exciting lunch meeting with my friend Nina) and ended with me in tears so I was rewarded with the most amazing sunset I’ve seen in a while – thanks Mother Nature!

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So I came, I sorta spun, I did not conquer. But, I tried. And at this point in my life I’m happy I even tried. Oh and I’m SO sore. My poor ghetto booty has never been this sore (and I’ve taken many a Booty classes!). 😦

Onward and upward – there will be better days, where the bottom does not drop out. 🙂

 

 

 

You Can Do It (Put Your Ass Into It)

It took me longer to pick the title for this post than it did to write it. I needed a song that conveyed encouragement, had a bangin’ beat and incorporated booty in some capacity. I really think this one is perfection – Ice Cube’s 1999 hit “You Can Do It (Put Your Ass Into It)” was a kickass track in it’s own right but then it was featured on the 2001 soundtrack for “Save the Last Dance”. If you haven’t seen the movie it features Julia Stiles (the IT girl of the 2000’s) and is all about her perseverance in dancing (and life). Every girl I know has seen this at least a dozen times and totally fell in love with Ice Cube because of the movie. 

One of my favorite bosses, Michelle, once taught me that leaders, like eagles don’t flock – that’s why you find them one at a time. That stuck with me and when I decided I needed a serious life change in September 2015 I decided Studio Poise and Danielle Roback (now Bradley, but always D-Ro to me) might just be the eagle I need. I was right; her fierce classes, amazingly supportive environment and no bullshit honesty was EXACTLY what I needed to get my butt in gear. I thought it only fitting to honor Danielle with her own little post as I hit my 1 year anniversary at my happy place.

I knew Danielle from the barre circuit (I may have even taken a class with her before she opened SP, it’s fuzzy now!) and I had casually taken her Zumba classes at SP here and there through out the last few years. But, I could never get myself to commit fully and in hindsight I realize it’s because I was at a different stage of life at that point. One of my current, favorite quotes:next level

So the version of *Sam that walked in to SP last year and then quickly became a regular was one who was ready to stop feeding off excuses and start actually changing. Enter: Danielle. 5’2″, NO bullshit, fierce as hell, hip-hop lover, total OG, 100% unique  (often imitated, never duplicated) and exactly the ass-kicker I needed. She’s not a coddler, she’s not even the most warm & fuzzy person I know when you first meet her (and I know she’s laughing right now reading this), she tells it like it is and she doesn’t sugarcoat. She got me outside of my comfort zone in so many ways – classes I would never do, moves I never thought I could do, eating things I never wanted to eat (like cucumbers and hummus!) and then finally she got me pulling apart the layers of insulation I had built from years of not liking myself but faking it anyways. I saw this on her Instagram with the caption “I can be that person” and decided to see if she was right.

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She was.

I started seeing her for private sessions where we would focus on nutrition, measurements, modifications, switching up my routine and hitting goals. I jokingly dubbed them D-Ro therapy because along with pounds and inches I shed so many tears – and so many ideals of who I was that I had outgrown. As it turns out, I can do SO much more than I give myself credit for! She’s been patiently waiting for me to come in to my own and cheering me on at each step of the way.  It’s nice to have someone you can trust 100% with the messy parts of a transformation. I never have to fake it with Danielle, I get to be unfiltered *Sam (so refreshing!).

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Please tell me this woman is not fierce as hell – I dare you. 😉 Also this picture hangs in the studio and I SWEAR every time I want to take a rest and not finish a set I look over and see her and think “Alright, alright, ONE more set!”.

One of my favorite Danielle quotes is “Keep your eyes on your own matte“. She meant it literally (we were doing as yoga segment and my eyes were very much on the matte next to me and not my own so my downward dog was sloppy and my wrists were hurting) but figuratively it applies to so much in life. Do you. In addition to owning the studio and very much owning every class she brings to the studio she is also a wife and mother. One of my favorite things about her is the brutal honesty you get about how hard balancing all those aspects of life is. She will never tell you things are a cupcake and her life is perfect. She jokes about the days she does not own – but she ALWAYS pushes everyone around her to LIVE life. And while you’re at it – don’t just settle, strive to be amazing. She posted this recently and it hit me so hard (and I thought of so many people who should read it): ❤

Ok life

I have never settled for “okay” in other areas of my life and I won’t settle for it now either. AMAZING or bust.

As this is a celebration of a year at my favorite place and an eagle who has made my journey that much better (I promise I am NOT cuing up to sing “Wind Beneath my Wings”) I thought I should share my next in the series of milestone photos. In July I lost “a Brittany” (118 pounds), today I am proud of say I have lost 145 pounds total since September 1, 2015….that’s more than “a Danielle”! 😉  Here I am celebrating this next milestone with one of the people I know the universe brought in to my life for a reason.

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Thank you Danielle for the booty kickings, real talk and encouragement – I’m so lucky to call you part of my tribe! ❤

 

 

 

 

The Lights and Buzz” (‘Christmas in California’)

Jack’s Mannequin/ Andrew McMahon was introduced to me by my friend Tyler and have become one of my favorite artists, especially during aimless drives! This post was inspired by The Lights and Buzz of LA along with one of the best aimless drive conversations I ever had.

One of my favorite past times is aimless driving with or without friends. There are few things that compare to clearing your head with fresh air, an amazing playlist and great conversation. I have had a dozen or so life changing conversations during aimless drives; three of which took place in my favorite home away from home, Los Angeles. The first was “You can’t love me enough for the both of us so we need to end this”, the second was “I don’t love you the way you want but I love you with everything I have” (different people) and the third was “Your job isn’t going to love you back – ever”. Are we seeing a theme here?

The third had the most profound impact on my life so I’d like to retell it now and hope I do it justice.

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It’s December 2012 and I am in LA for work. I’m in a job I’ve been doing for about 18 months and I am a complete workaholic. I’m putting in 60+ hrs a week, holding myself to impossibly high standards and constantly overcommitting to show my dedication. I’ve just met with one of my sites and it was an EXHAUSTING meeting. The kind where you go in with an agenda and a plan and come out looking like you were hit with a tornado and have a to-do list 5 miles long. I’m spent. I have 5 hours to kill until my dinner meeting with sales and my next client so I convince my co-worker Darren to hit the PCH with me for lunch and a drive. I am in love with the PCH, specifically the section that stretches from Santa Monica to Malibu. Perfect Pacific Ocean views to your left and then mountains on your right. If you time it just right you can avoid all traffic and just cruise.

We get Cha Cha Chicken for lunch (because I saw it on Food Network, of course) and play the “get to know each other” game you have when 3,000 miles separates your working relationship and the bulk of your interactions are around customers. Turns out Darren is the kind of person you can talk about almost anything with – politics, religion, love, self-reflection – nothing is off-topic or taboo. During lunch I ask 5 million nosey questions (because that’s just how I am). I hear about the great loves of his life, his career evolution and his own journey in figuring out who he is and what makes him happy. By this point I’ve forgotten all about that terrible meeting we both endured and I’ve officially relaxed.

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We grab an iced coffee and start our cruise down the PCH and a customer calls me. I get super manic about “how I didn’t do something and it might mean the person stops liking me and OMG I need to fix it!”. The look on Darren’s face might be emblazoned on my brain forever.

Do I really care THAT MUCH what this person thinks of me? Is my self-worth actually tied to be LIKED? Yes and yes. And so begins one of the most eye-opening conversations I’ve ever had with someone I’m only casually acquainted with.

Why do I need to be liked so badly?

What is the worst case scenario if someone DOESN’T like me?

How do I see myself?

How am I measuring my self-worth?

What makes me happy?

Why am I working 60-80 hrs a week?

What could I be doing with all that time instead?

Am I taking care of myself?

Why is busyness at work something I cling to like a merit badge?

Do I realize my job shouldn’t be an identifier in my personality?

It’s a sucker punch! How is the ONE thing everyone on my life respects and admires about me the one thing he’s tearing me apart for!? Who the fuck does he think he is?

By the time we hit Zuma Beach I have to pull over because I’m in tears. Good tears, bad tears – hard to say. He struck a nerve (something he has a history of doing it turns out, haha). But once I recover from my initial anger I pause…. Why am I like this? Where did this obsession with being liked, with being the model employee stem from? If I had to guess I would say work was the one place I had 100% control and could feel like I got back what I was putting in. I never had control over my weight, most days it controlled me. I never could control my romantic relationships but I could control my work. I could do everything in my power to make everyone I interacted with LOVE me and that would compensate for how little I loved myself.

All these years I spent throwing myself head first into work took their toll on my relationships, my health and guess what? My job doesn’t love me.

“Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.”

Truth.

We decide to drive back a different route, taking a road through the mountains instead of the coast. In my emotionally spent state I don’t think to mention my fear of heights to Darren. Soon we’re on a winding road I later learn to be Mulholland with no guard rails and I am white knuckled and panicked. Fuck! I can’t do this. But, I also can’t pull over and let Darren drive because there are a trail of impatient Californians riding my ASS. Guess what? I need to own it, I don’t have a choice. Metaphorically Darren couldn’t have timed this better, forcing me outside of my comfort zone and into a place where I need to trust myself and focus. I can’t think about work or my perception – I need to focus on not killing us both until we get to the flat section. Given you’re reading this, we survived. 🙂  Darren may have a few less hairs and I am fairly certain my guardian angel is bald but we survived. The rest of the night is a blur of coming to terms with the layers of insulation I’ve surrounded myself with being Sam* the workaholic.

And the outcome of that day took a few years to truly pay off but I got there. I stopped treating my job like it was my only priority. I got a life. I made it a life I want and I continue to refine it daily. Thank you, Darren – your wise words impacted me more than you probably knew! ❤

True Dreams of Wichita

When I was 17 I worked at Newbury Comics and so many of my favorite songs to this date were artists I discovered during this time. Soul Coughing’s “Ruby Vroom” will always be a favorite album of theirs. “True Dreams of Wichita” reminds me of aimless drives on summer nights learning about life and love. I included it on a weekend playlist and it brought me back in all the best ways. Sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of who you were during your “formative” years! 

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Gorgeous Sunday sunset

I had a lovely, relaxing weekend. I wrote, I cooked, I sweat ~ perfection. I get in a frenzy of writing (for the book, for the blog, just to WRITE) and I have these moments of reflection. I think about my growth as a person – it’s so much more than the scale or feeling prettier or liking who I’ve become. It’s about unbecoming someone I was for so long. I once joked that this whole “journey” (eye roll, another term I hate because it was ruined by Biggest Loser) has a surprise component when you start peeling back the layers of insulation you built over the years.You discover a plethora of things you didn’t realize had such an impact on the person you are. I’ve been making great strides as of late with the unbecoming of who I was and I realized it’s because I’ve been brutally honest with myself.

I accept the mistakes and missteps I’ve made; I allow myself to have do-overs. I’ve realized that’s it’s OK (and perfectly normal) to outgrow people, things, places. It’s OK to say “that affected me but it not longer has to effect the person I am“. That’s part of life, growth. All that said I think it’s very easy to meet me today and think “Oh wow, she has a long way to go“.

Pause –

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Preach.

Who I am today is not who I may be tomorrow or next week. If you’re meeting me for the first time you may love or you may hate me….the same could be said for any other time in my life.

Last chapter of the *Sam story I worked on letting go. This chapter I have to work on unbecoming. Unbecoming the person I’ve been at work, in certain relationships and most importantly, in my mind. The process of unbecoming might be harder than the process of letting go was. It requires compassion (something I have loads of for other people, notsomuch an abundance for myself, haha) and it requires courage to step up and say “This is who I want to be”. I saw this and it just hit home. ❤

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Getting up every day and figuring out which things will contribute to my day and my overall happiness and which will detract is a chore and it requires effort but it will be worth it in the end and I know it. ❤

 

Don’t Worry Desmond Dekker

Mighty, Mighty Bosstones is a Boston ska staple and my BFF Julie’s favorite band ever. We’ve seen them live several times and they never disappoint. “Don’t Worry Desmond Dekker” is from their 2007 album Medium Rare and it’s one of our favorite songs to sing; especially live!

I am fortunate enough to have an amazing support system of family, friends, co-workers to rally behind my efforts in weight-loss, career moves, writing goals etc. However there is one person whom I would be totally lost without and I thought it was about time she got her own post. Julie and I met in 2002 at college. She was a TV major, I was finishing my audio degree and continuing on for a TV degree and I worked in Studio Ops (camera / gear / studio rental). She and her lab partner, Steve would always come rent cameras during my shift and I vowed we would be friends because she looked so nice and the school was 99% male dominated. This began our friendship (and a cycle of me making what I want happen, haha).

2004

BABIES! Our first NAB, possibly hungover, circa 2004. 😉

We graduated college in 2003 and while I went off to work she went to another school and got her Bachelor’s degree. We kept in touch, saw each other for dinner and emailed but we truly became BFF in 2005 when she moved to NYC to chase a dream and we found ourselves on G*Chat at work for hours at a time. Couple that with weekly 3 hour phone conversations about EVERYTHING (life, family, love, dreams, fears….no subject is off-limits) and something magical is born.Julie is one of those people who you can just *be* around – be yourself, be honest, be unfiltered.

2006

More NAB fun!

Julie has supported me through career changes, broken hearts, new crushes (and the over-analyzing that comes with newness), weight loss victories and failures….life. She has had my back for over a decade in all that I do (and vice versa!). We have shared so many life events times from “I quits” to “I’m in love” to “I can’t do this anymore” to “I’m lost” to “What does this MEAN?” to “Where do I go from here?“. She is the first person I text (or call) when I’m excited or sad or scared. When she’s away even for a week I have a LIST of things to be discussed and she knows me better than I know myself sometimes (and she doesn’t let me forget who I am or what I stand for – even if I have a momentary lapse in judgement, haha).

2007

My favorite picture of us, circa 2007 in NYC!

In 2009 I decided to quit my job and move to LA. She supported my decision 100% and helped me plan an EPIC goodbye party (which included a bring your BFF to work day where she got to meet all my friends prior to our huge going away bash). That ended up being a milestone in my life but not for the reason I expected. LA and I were not meant to be and the aftermath of this failed experiment was one that resulted in hours of tearful phone calls and “OMG what now?” planning. We got through it and I am 100% better off for having tried. Sunday was the 7 year anniversary of that crazy day and we just so happened to be meeting up for breakfast and a walk. I can’t believe how much more fabulous and happy we both look. ❤

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Julie is living in central Mass now and immersed in a second Bachelor’s program in nursing. Later this month she starts her internship then will be taking the boards and looking for jobs come the winter. She’s come so far from the girl I knew in 2002 and I’m so proud of her for following her dream and putting herself out there. No one is more adept at the reinvention of themselves than Julie. I am on the verge of a breakthrough – with weight-loss, with life goals, with self-discovery. But yet, we still totally fit together in a way that you can’t explain.

“There’s the people who you’ve known forever who, like, know you in this way that other people can’t, because they’ve seen you change…they’ve let you change”. ~ My So-Called Life

We have seen each other grown and evolve (and devolve only to re-evolve, lol) so many times it’s not funny. I would be lost without her and I can’t wait to see where this next chapter of our lives take both of us (hopefully it includes cute men who become our future husbands and babies because I can’t think of anyone I would like to share those milestones with more than her!).

Jewels, thank you for having my back, being my personal Google (Jewgle), allowing me to extrapolate every scenario I face 52 ways to Sunday, putting up with 14 years of freakouts and always being on Team *Sam. XO! ❤

Wake Me Up When September Ends

Green Day was a favorite band of mine when they first hit the scene in 1994. I remember being in class in middle school and learning screen printing (don’t ask me what class this was because I literally have no idea, lol) but my group made t-shirts, pillow cases etc. all with the Green Day logo. Fast forward to 2004 when “Wake Me Up When September Ends” came out I remember feeling the therapeutic waves of Billy Joe’s voice waving out of the radio singing about his deceased father. We all have months that remind of what we’ve lost….and the new beginnings that come after that loss.  

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So August is now in the books and I want to get in the habit of reviewing my goals then setting new ones….September snuck up on me so I’m a little late! 🙂

I vowed to do the following in the last, lovely month of summer:

  • Push myself outside of my class comfort zone (try TRX Barre, be open to liking classes I normally dread).
  • Shave significant time off my 3.1 mile loop around the lake in preparation for a 5k (which may be this fall or may be in the spring, TBD).
  • Enjoy more random adventures (Jewels- we’re going for a hike! Lauren – we’re taking a girly day! Kate – we’re booking our Meade tasting!).
  • Spend 1 day without any plans or agenda (sooo hard given I am such a planner!)

How’d I do?!

I owned TRX with some amazing ladies! SO much fun (and so challenging!), looking forward to taking it again soon. Thanks again Erica, Meg, Brittany and Kelsey! ❤ I also became a semi-regular at barreworke, a class I mostly dread but sometimes secretly love. Haha.

I’ve been consistently good about my walks (sans a little bout with walking pneuminia, but I’m better now!) and I decided goals are better when you commit to them 100% so I registered for as 5k! Katie and I will be walk/slogging the Feaster Five on Thanksgiving morning. Not only does this girl wake up at the crack of dawn to walk with me but she’s giving up her Thanksgiving morning to help me hit this bucket list item! ❤ Love. From my Instagram post when we registered:

feaster five

Lauren and I also successfully rocked a “Death by Danielle” class (Pilates meetings Zumba meets boxing meets squats for DAYS) and enjoyed a delicious breakfast at our favorite cafe which was super fun and needs to be repeated monthly!

TECHNICALLY I did spend a few days with no agenda…..because I was too sick to do anything but sleep. LOL. Does that count? Yeah I didn’t think so. Planning, fail! 😉

I’m all about driving towards these small, attainable goals each month….it makes it seem less daunting to meet my big goals. Oh and while we’re discussing goals we hit a little milestone in August. I have officially lost 135 pounds! Holy mackerel right!? Here’s a snippet from my Facebook:

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I have a lot of teacher friends and September marks the beginning of their year with back to school. Reflecting on my TimeHop over the last few days and it holds a very significant place in my life too – I’ve switched jobs, made huge life changes, challenged myself and fallen in love in the lovely month of September over the last 12 years! This month’s horoscope sounds VERY promising! Thanks to the LOFT as always.

If ever there were a month to make dramatic life changes, it’s this one! The New Moon Solar Eclipse right at the start of September is like one Mac Daddy catalyst to set a whole chain of non-stop transformation into motion over the next six months. You’ll feel like a brand new being by the time March rolls around. Travel is a huge part of the picture, especially starting after the 9th, as the planets start piling up in your jet-setting zone. You’re about to enter a phase of wanderlust like you haven’t experienced in 12 years. Pay attention to money matters around the Full Moon Lunar Eclipse on the 16th. Financial issues could accelerate for better or worse around this time. You’ll be delighted to know the current Mercury Retrograde, responsible for a whole host of interesting tricks and treats in the communication department, is finally ending on the 21st. Finally, the second New Moon of September falls right on the very last day of the month. Something is ending but a whole new world of travel and adventure are just beginning, Aquarius.

Travel eh?! I haven’t traveled for work or for personal reasons in a LONG time – I’m overdue for a vacation. 🙂

Now for September I am committing to the following goals:

  • More adventures ~ with an autumn theme! (Apple picking, new recipe testing, fire pits). Autumn is my FAVORITE season, I’m so excited! 😀
  • Try a spin class! (My girl Meg is signed up for this one already, thanks Meg!)
  • Finish my book plan (I’m amped UP about writing a book and now I need to get the plan down on paper and start shopping myself around).
  • Retry the whole spend 1 day without any plans or agenda (I feel like I need to PLAN to have a day of no plans, haha!). Relaxation + balance are seemingly key this month.

Can’t wait to see how the month shapes up!

I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

I was never the biggest U2 fan but a few years back I saw them live and they blew me AWAY. Such an amazing show! Since then I downloaded their greatest hits and 7 times this week while writing or working “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” has come up on shuffle out of 3456 songs. I am a big proponent of signs and I decided the universe was pushing me to write about some thoughts swirling in my head as of late.

I have a penchant for organized chaos ~ especially when it comes to my thoughts. One of my favorite parts of project management class ~4 years ago who learning how to map out projects into consumable little bites (basically illustrating all the tasks and sub-tasks needed for a project to be successful). The best way for me to do these activities at work is via post-its (rainbow-colored of course!) strewn across a white board then organized into pretty little rows so in the end it looks like this:

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Organized chaos!

Recently I did a version of this with my life (weight loss, career, personal happiness, love life, goals – all mapped). It was EYE opening in so many ways. Reoccuring themes emerged coupled with surprise thoughts I didn’t realize I was harboring. The end goal is to sort each category then come up with logical next steps / actions for each area. I have my weight-loss visions complete but I found myself stuck on pause when it came to both career and love.

I have not found what I’m looking for in either area – not 100%.

I recently took a personality test and I was SHOCKED at the accuracy with which it pinpointed the tiniest details about me! Myers-Briggs, ENFJ if you’re curious. “The Protagonist” is my role in so many different arenas, it was uncanny how spot on the descriptions were!

Protagonists take a genuine interest in other people, approaching them with warm sociability and a helpful earnestness that rarely goes unnoticed. Altruistic careers like social and religious work, teaching, counseling, and advising of all sorts are popular avenues, giving people with the Protagonist personality type a chance to help others learn, grow, and become more independent. This attitude, alongside their social skills, emotional intelligence and tendency to be “that person who knows everybody”, can be adapted to quite a range of other careers as well.

Yes. 100%!

So I am on a quest to find what fulfills me in the career arena, perhaps it’s freelance work perhaps it’s a role change – I’m leaving the post-it yet unstuck. I’m going to let the universe surprise me.

Speaking of, this week’s horoscope seems eerily accurate!

aquarius

Now when it comes to love I’ve spent the last few seasons trying a lot of different things on for size. I have not found my perfect mate but I have helped filter out a lot of what doesn’t work for me. I have the sketch of the person I want to end up with but he’s more of a feeling than a physical embodiment. He calms my craziness, he appreciates my quirks, he gets excited to see my cute face and vice versa. Each time I meet someone new (or someone old returns back into my life after a long hiatus) I pause and do a risk assessment (for lack of a better term, lol). Does this work? Could I be happy? Thus far with potential suitors the answer is no. I need more. I want more. I’m willing to wait for it….as my girl Carrie says:

 I’m looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love.’

So while I wait for that love however he’s coming to me I will leave the “action” post-it for that category also yet unstuck. I still haven’t found exactly what I’m looking for and I know I am evolving while he is out there evolving and when we find each other it will be magic. ❤

Hey Jealousy

I absolutely love 90’s music. If you were to sum up the top 5 identifying qualities of *Sam they would be sparkles/stars, iced coffee, giggling, baking and 90’s music. Gin Blossoms are easily one of the best bands from this genre (yes, 90’s music is both a decade AND a genre! ;)). I saw them play in 1998 and then again in 2013; they were incredible both times. “Hey Jealousy” is one of their best songs although my favorite is “Found Out About You“.

Jealousy is such a funny and fickle emotion. It comes out of nowhere, punches you in the gut and makes you question your sanity. Lately when I find myself green with envy I have been trying to pause and diagnose the root cause (in another lifetime I did tech support, I’ll chalk that phrase up to those years, lol). Why do I feel this way? Why am I comparing myself to someone else? Is something else bothering me? I’ve been transparent in the things I strive to improve about myself and one of them is the constant comparison. Why do we do this as women? Do men do it too? It’s fucking exhausting.

jealousy

One of my mom’s  bits of wisdom growing up was “Don’t be envious of what someone else has unless you’re willing to do what they did to get it“. Sometimes that can mean hard work and sacrifice; sometimes it can mean taking roads I wouldn’t be willing to take just to get to the desired end result. I chose to focus on my career in my twenties (if I’m honest with myself and you it was because it was the one thing I could easily control. Relationships weren’t easy for me (I was the queen of the friend zone) and I hadn’t yet figured out how good I could feel if I took care of my body. My career was the one plant I religiously watered).  Now I have friends who joke they would kill to make great money and have the flexibility in scheduling that I do. But would they have wanted to be in a job so technical it made their head swim where they had to put in the 60+ hr weeks and carry a pager? Would they want to work for people who questioned their every move and doubted their ability for years before they could prove themselves? Likely not. The view from the outside always looks better.

Speaking of the view from the outside, right around my birthday this year (January 30th, Aquarius….mostly accurate, lol), I was having a hard time accepting where I was in life. I am a planner, a project manager, and I like checklists. Well, on my checklist of life all I have checked is a career. No cute husband, no kids, no house of my own. Suddenly I was feeling super down on myself. I was at my Saturday double and I saw one of the teachers whom I adore because she is SO bubbly, Chrissy. Since I’m all about being honest she’s also someone I am crazy jealous of because she just seems to effortlessly have it all (fierce body, pretty face, cute husband, adorable baby, successful career, teaching kickass classes @ SP,  – like WTF?). She noticed I was “off” and we had a little heart-to-heart where I confessed I was dreading 34 because of my single status and she assured me I was amazing, 34 would be the best and that having a husband and a child and full-time job isn’t always as easy as it looks – in fact some days it’s down right exhausting. Her honesty was so refreshing and she totally made my day. We’ve since become closer and she’s shared with me the anxiety she lives with. You’d NEVER know it by looking at her – but she faces a seriously tough battle on a daily basis and OWNS it. Just goes to show that the view from the outside is just that – a view. You never know what someone is going through on the inside. You never know that they may be struggling in their own way while looking perfectly composed. ❤

Jealousy, as fruitless as it seems can teach you a lot about yourself. Next time you find yourself green with envy pause and pull it apart. What is it that you’re envious of? Remember my favorite quote from Baz Luhrman – “Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Some times you’re ahead, some times you’re behind. The race is long and in the end it’s only with yourself.”. Refocus your energies on yourself and improving your own view. Make this your mantra (because I promise I’m working to make it mine):

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