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equality & slack-tivism

27 Mar

If you are a member of any social network, you’ve probably watched your feed blow up in the last two days. Tons of this:

marriage equalityThose red equals signs are posted by people who support gay marriage rights. As what could and most likely will become a historical supreme court case boils in Washington, we take to social media to duke it out.

Some people are saying, the supreme court justices will never see you Facebook profile picture. They could not be more right. I’ve seen the phrase “slack-tivism” used to describe my generation who is quick to post a picture on Facebook, but less likely to actually send money or volunteer. Although social media is not the most effective of all of the ways to approach a topic, I think it is an easy and cheap way to get the ball rolling.

I’m not going to try to change your mind in this blog post or with what I wrote on Facebook and Twitter, that’s not the point. I support gay marriage for a long list of reasons. I’d love to tell you all about it over a fancy dinner. Senator Claire McCaskill nailed it here, I have to say I agree with her on this one.

Generally, talking politics or religion (although I would argue this is a matter of the former, not the later) is tacky and fruitless. We should probably stay away from those topics the first time we meet, and save them for a period in our friendship when we’re a little closer. A little more understanding of each other and where we come from, who we are.

Rick Warren

But once we get to that point in our friendship, we should talk about gay marriage. We should share how we feel about abortion and contraception. Let’s chat about the Affordable Care Act. What do you think of national debt? We should try to understand each other’s views on the war in the Middle East. I want to know what makes you go to church and why you read the bible.

If we spend too much time immersed in groups of like-minded people, we never understand. We never grow. I’m not saying we’ll change our minds, actually I’m fairly sure we will not. But Camelot’s Court isn’t healthy.

Our politicians and church leaders set a terrible example of dialogue for us. They tell us not to listen to the haters. Ok, maybe rappers say that, but either way, it’s time to listen. Even if we can’t totally agree, we can find some middle ground. Maybe then we can solve some problems.

Throwing down a bible verse or posting a photo isn’t the end, it should be the beginning of a compromise or at least understanding.

Although we may not see a decision until early this summer, at least we are having some big conversations.

Paula Dean for equalityC’mon, that’s just funny.

 

I Miss College

11 Mar

On Saturday, my friend Julie and I presented on adjusting from college life to the “real world” at the Women’s Leadership Conference. Although it wasn’t well-attended, our presentation went smoothly.

The small crowd we had looked interested and laughed with us. Some of them even took notes!

I Miss College

Julie is hilarious and presenting with her was fun and laid back. Picking out GIFs for our powerpoint was out of control.

I thought I would share some of the highlights of our presentation in case you are getting ready to transition to your first real job. Or if you just want to remember that awkward time early in your career where you felt like you were doing everything wrong.

First off, college is awesome. We loved it. But having a job? It’s not so bad.

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Ok, it’s not totally like Beyonce either, but you know what I mean.

Be realistic in your voluntary workload. Joining every committee and taking on every extra project that comes your way is hard sometimes. Be sure you can get your work done well, then take on new responsibilities.

On the other hand, don’t be afraid to be a “yes” person when your supervisor asks you to do something. Establish a reputation as a person who can get things done. When tasks are added to your plate, don’t do this:

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Make lists: list of what you have done, list of goals, list of career aspirations, list of things you like about your job and list of things you could change. Make all of these lists and more in Google Docs (they should really sponsor this blog).

Remember names. Then use them in conversation. Saying you’re not good with names is pathetic. Get good.

As for workplace behavior, become a morning person, get there on time, act like you love it (hopefully you actually love it and there is relatively no acting involved).

Perfect your stone face. Some people have the worst ideas (aka ones that are opposite of your genius ones). Those people might share them in a meeting. Whatever you do, do not do this:

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Use your stone face and maybe add a little nod. Let them know you are listening and carefully considering it. It’s unprofesh to sigh, roll your eyes (my worst habit) or look upset when people are making suggestions. Save it for your Google Doc entitled “Feelings.”

Julie introduced me to PoGo, an abbrev for Positive Gossip. It’s chance to praise people when they do something awesome, especially when they aren’t around. Become know for your compliments, not snarky remarks. Be like this:

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Making friends after college is awkward and sorta hard. We recommend becoming friends with your friend’s friends. Try new things, but please be alert for stranger danger.

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One of our reoccurring themes was to read The Defining Decade by Dr. Meg Jay. Julie recommend it to me, and it may have changed my life, or at least my view of my right now. She talks about giving purpose to your 20’s while planning for the rest of your life.

Dr. Jay stresses the importance of Individual Capital, the skills and experiences you have. Especially in your 20’s, you are constantly building and refining it. It opened my eyes to how I spend my time and what I want my future to look like. Everyone should really read it today.

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We also touched on budgets, dressing professionally and getting involved in the community.  Here’s the full powerpoint, in case these GIFs aren’t enough for you.

What advice would you give grads?

birthday cheese

4 Mar

Guess what? I have a special treat for you today. My boyfriend Josh wrote this post. It’s about the time that he bought me cheese as a birthday gift.

Yep, that happened.

buenos aires 2013

Josh & I in Buenos Aires

He kept telling me I should write a blog post about it, but I told him I didn’t want to sound ungrateful and snobby. If he really wanted a post about it, he should write it himself. Then this showed up in my inbox.

Please give Josh a warm welcome and leave him a comment, he’s new.

My name is Josh. I tell many stories, often long-winded and drawn out. This one in particular does not paint me in a flattering light. Please remember that even after this happened, Shannon still agreed to continue dating me so I do have other redeeming qualities.

This past summer I lived in Dallas, TX. During that time, Shannon had a birthday. I called her and the conversation went along the lines of:

“Happy birthday dear. How was your day? Did you get anything cool?” – Me

“Good, thanks. Yeah, I got some neat stuff. I was talking with my grandma and she asked what you got me for my birthday.” – Shan

“Oh. Honestly, I didn’t even think about getting you something.” – Me

“Hmmm. I see. I told her it was probably in the mail.” – Shan

“That’s a lot better. I should have said that” – Me

I’ll pause the story here to mention that after extensive post game analysis, it appears that this conversation was my downfall. I should have taken the advice of comedian Mike Birbiglia and “What I should have said…was nothing.” Still, keep in mind that I didn’t forget her birthday. I sent her an e card I picked out myself (Shannon adores someecards.com) and I called to wish her a happy birthday. Let’s just take stock in my ability to do that much.

After getting off the phone, I knew I needed to get her something. I was going to visit her in Columbia, MO the following weekend while in town for my sister’s wedding so I still had an opportunity to be a (semi)gentleman. The only question was, what do I get
her? As it turns out, Texas stores are dominated by mostly Texas things. After crossing off Texas Flag key chain, Texas vanity license plate and Texas Flag coaster from my possible gift ideas, I was feeling lost.

Then it hit me: The Mozzarella Company, a store that makes cheese. It was perfect for several reasons.

1. Shannon loves cheese. It’s in three of her favorite food groups. Click here for proof. I cannot emphasize enough Shannon’s love for cheese.

2. It was local. She couldn’t get it anywhere else.

3. It has a giant sign outside that says “Cheese, Glorious Cheese.” If that doesn’t scream Shannon, I don’t know what does.

4. We had a history there. When Shannon came to visit me in Dallas one weekend, we stopped by to have chocolate and cheese (yes, they do go together). The people there were super nice and Shannon commented about how much she would love to live in that store. Not live in Dallas, but the store was really nice.

So I walked in and had the clerk (yes, they have cheese clerks) help me pick out a couple of nice blocks. I made sure they were harder cheeses so they were capable of travel, and I walked out feeling pretty good about my gift.

I flew back in to St. Louis with the cheese as my carry on. (Maybe if I had bought the cheese a seat she would have liked it more). When I finally got to see her the next day after driving into Columbia, I gave my offering. Unwrapped. I honestly didn’t even
think about wrapping the cheese.

To her credit, Shannon smiled a little. Cheese would be a great gag gift. I mean, who would buy someone cheese as a birthday gift?It would be awful. It would stink (I promised myself that would be the only pun). I think it wasn’t until she realized I had nothing more to offer that the moment really sank in.

Some of the cheese Josh received for HIS birthday.

Some of the cheese Josh received for HIS birthday.

And that was it. From that point on, I was the guy who gave his girlfriend cheese for her birthday. I am constantly heckled by her family. I’m constantly heckled by MY family. I received no less than 4 blocks of cheese for my birthday. Shannon needed to ask if she should buy crackers when I mailed her a Valentines gift (A solid line, but I think she had been saving it for a while).

And the worst part, I never even got to try the cheese. Shannon said it was good though. If there is one thing to take away from this story, it is a surprising amount of thought can go into a gift as silly as cheese, and isn’t it the thought that really counts?

What do you think? Did I let him off the hook too easily? Should he be rolling out the red carpet when June rolls back around?

Thursday thunder snow

21 Feb

Yep, that’s what happened in Missouri today.

I don’t want to sound like a freak, but I kind of love inclement weather. Julie and I used to create the weirdest scenarios for our Barbies back in the day. Most of them included a flood or a snow storm because we needed a little drama to the ho-hum shopping and professional gymnastics that our Barbies usually did.

This is the view from my office window around 9:30 this morning. Did I mention there was no snow when I got there at 8?

office window snow

Here’s a great selfie of me walking across the street to the hospital.

snow selfie

Dreamy, I know.

Snow days make me realize that roughly 80% of my friends either work at schools (teachers, counselors, lunch ladies, etc.), or are professional students (undergrad, overgrad, post grad, optometry school, med school, law school, vet school, driving school, school of fish, etc.). These people are the ones blowing up my newsfeed with snow day exclamations and photos of cuddling their dogs while drinking wine by the fire.

I don’t want to say I’m bitter, but you could say I regret working with in walking distance of my office. Also, there’s the fact that I work at a hospital and we are never really closed. The other 360 days a year, I truly love my job though.

Well it’s time for some hot cocoa and whatever’s on the DVR. Stay warm, my friends.

p.s. You should get in on Bonnie’s giveaway this week. I may or may not be contributing. Ok, fine. I did.

lenten resolution

11 Feb

Wednesday marks Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. I’m a Catholic (can I get a wootwoot?) and in the tradition of my mother and grandmother (and probably even further back in our lineage), we give up things for Lent.

It’s all about making a personal sacrifice while reflecting on Jesus’ sacrifice for us. So six weeks without ____ or six weeks of a little extra ______. In true Catholic spirit, we generally take Sundays off as well as St. Patty’s and sometime Valentines. Because they are both saints.

As a child, my mom led us in the annual denial of chocolate or candy. That was usually what she gave up, so it made sense for all of us to do the same instead of picking something else and getting denied two things.

I’ve also given up soda, desserts and snacking between meals in respective Lents of the past. This practice isn’t the most fun, but it feel pretty insignificant in the bigger picture of Lenten reflection. I always try to make a more conscious effort to say real prayers and not just speed through a quick Hail Mary leading up to Easter.

This year, I want to do something that feels a little less like a diet. My friend Shannon posted this list of weird ideas from the Life Teen website on Emily’s wall. I’m not sure exactly how some of these translate to closeness with Jesus (Don’t use utensils?), but I give them props for creativity.

Awk selfie in my closet.

Awk selfie in my closet.

I was thinking about my list of new years resolutions and that I need to actually start, you know, working on them. This year for Lent I’m going to not shop.

One of my resolutions is to simplify my life. I have so much stuff. My closet is full. But I love a good deal. I’m going to learn to say no to me. I want to get better at appreciating the things I own and not constantly buying, pinning and drooling over the things that aren’t going to actually make me happier.

Aside from food, soap and gasoline, I’m not going to buy me things. Even if it’s a good deal. Even if it’s really cute. Luckily, I do not have an online shopping problem, which I think is the plague of my generation.

Shopping isn’t a problem in my life. I’m not in debt, but having a lot of stuff is not necessary. I want to get better at recognizing wants and needs. Also, I will have to move this summer, that’s never pretty.

This will also let me put away a few more pennies towards some exciting trips I have planned for this spring. I don’t make a lot of big purchases, but the little stuff adds up.  Right now, I think I’m still ok to buy gifts or little things here and there for other people.

Oh yeah, I’m not going to shop on Sundays either.

lots of chothes

#BeyonceBowl

4 Feb

One of my favorite Super Bowls of all times happened in 2000. Kurt Warner led the Rams to a victory over the Titans. The best part? The footballs made of Jell-O at the watch party and how our principal called school off for that Monday. Unreal.

My latest greatest most favorite Super Bowl memory is Beyonce’s performance. She gave me everything I ever wanted in a halftime show. And then a little bit more.

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I really think you need to watch it yourself. I had so many emotions.

Wow, when she started with that silhouette and Love on Top, I knew we were getting the real deal. Then she started walking. How does she do that? In those shoes? I want to walk like that.

Her dancing was spot-on (as always) and she sang. Clearly, for real.

She looked so powerful on stage. Someone I was watching with said she looked really mad, but I thought it was the perfect amount of angry and fierce. Beyonce was dancing her tail off for over 10 minutes, you would have a stank face too. She wasn’t on stage to look pretty (although she looked flawless), she was up there to sing and dance.

When she was dancing in front of the video screen with a million of herselves, I was trying not to drool.

Since Janet and Justin’s little wardrobe malfunction, the powers that pick the Super Bowl entertainment have picked older, more conservative acts. I get that. People love Bruce Springsteen, Prince, the Rolling Stones and Tom Petty. The Black Eyed Peas and Madonna started bringing it back. Then Beyonce happened. She Performed, with a capital “P.” Not just playing an instrument or singing, but the whole package. I think all of those acts are entertainers in their own way. But for the Super Bowl, we needed the showiest of shows.

We need fire, we need special effects, we need high energy dancing, we need surprise reunions of childhood favorites.

Kelly and Michelle showed up for a Destiny’s Child reunion. Bey came off a little bossy, but she always was the angel in front.

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I saw a few little mutterings on Twitter about her costume being too revealing. Beyonce is not as skinny as Gaga or T.Swift (or Kelly and Michelle).  I like how confident she looked in that black leather and lace leo.  She is known for having big thighs, but when she dances there is no jiggling. That is muscle, from dance practice all week.

Yes, it was sexual. But it was the most about Beyonce being in control. She looked like she owned it all.

Then, after doing my favorite dance move (from Single Ladies dance break), she belted out Halo. I found myself drinking water on her behalf. I also found myself whipping my hair around a lot before getting in the shower.

How cool was it that her whole band seemed to be ladies too?

Here are some awesome GIFs of the performance, compliments of Erin. And a few more.

Also, she announced some tour dates. Leave me a comment if you want to go with me. I’m available pretty much all of the time and I’m already working on sewing us matching black leather leotards.

bangs & bacon

3 Feb

Last night, Emily and Kristen came to Columbia to visit Mandy and I. We did our best to show them a good time.

They gave me the courage to wear my fake bangs in public. I really want real bangs, but I am blessed with curly hair. If you’re unfamiliar with the science of bangs, that means a lot of maintenance.

Instead of taking the plunge and actually cutting bangs, I spent some money at Ulta to have clip-ins. By some miracle, they had my exact no longer blonde, not yet brown color (buttered toast). What are the chances?

bangs in the mirror

Are you fooled?

Our night started at Brandon’s Bangin’ Bacon Birthday Bash. It was exactly what it sounded like: a bacon-themed birthday party.

Brandon and Michelle made 7lbs of delightful bacon treats. Bacon in chex mix, chocolate-covered bacon, a bacon loaf, bacon and banana sandwiches. All awesome.

brandon and bacon

bacon party!

Happy birthday Brandon!

birthday brandon

After catchphrase at the bacon bash we headed downtown for some dranks. Unfortunately, Mandy found a shard of glass in one of her drinks and we got a free, green shot. I’m still not sure if that was worth her almost eating glass?

What a great weekend. Emily and Kristen, you should come back every weekend:) Really.

Now I have to run, it’s time to root for Beyonce at the Super Bowl!