Bring On The Water Works!

Summer in Florida always makes me feel like the Wicked Witch of the West. “I’m melting…melting!” I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with my boyfriend recently playing in the theme parks like a tourist. It’s been nice to catch some of the evening concerts over at Epcot and enjoy strolling around the Magic Kingdom seeing some of the really obscure attractions that most people over look. Before each trip I have lacquered myself in sunscreen as I burn so easily, but I just can’t bear to cover everything up in multiple layers when it’s so sticky and humid outside.

There are several wet attractions that I tend to stay away from as I don’t enjoy walking around with soggy bottoms for a whole afternoon. However, I think I just found the perfect solution in the most recent Victoria’s Secret catalog. This is going to be my next summer clothing project! I think I can cut it so that it is a bit more conservative and it would be light, airy and perfect for me to tackle the wet attractions in.

I did really want to make some more flowy summer dresses, but I think I’ll take this project on first. I’ve really had fun working on projects that don’t have patterns. It’s more of a challenge for me to work this way and it makes completing the clothing feel like a huge accomplishment. Maybe it’s best if I just continue on catalogue surfing and picking each project that way. It’s saving me a ton of money and yet I’m still staying current with styles for a change. I’ve been known to still own some clothing that I wore in high school, so needless to say I’m not generally considered to be on the cutting edge of fashion.

Diving back into sewing has opened up a whole new door of endless possibilities for me. I might finally be able to have some of the items I’ve seen in windows and knew there was no way I would be able to afford them. With saving for the house purchase I’ve tried really hard to curb my shopping as much as possible this year. I never head out unless there is a coupon in hand for something I might even be considering. That includes fabric shopping, of course, so now I don’t feel so bad buying some bits of fabric here and there for a few small projects.

I think it’s clear that I’m getting plenty of use out of my first infinity dress as I’ve worn it at least six times that I can think of off the top of my head and only paid $16.50 for all the materials to make it. That’s made the dress cost $2.75 each time I’ve worn it so far so I think I will more than get my money’s worth out of it. Next on my list is some kind of a light summer shorts jumper. If anyone has any suggestions feel free to pass them along and I’ll check them out!

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Filed under Fashion, Sewing

Katie Holmes, Thank You

Katie Holmes, you deserve a round of applause for taking a stand and doing what you felt was right for the best interest of your daughter!  We’ve all watched on from the outside as photos and rumors have swept around for years about the good, the bad and the recently ugly side of the Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise relationship.  This divorce has most definitely brought Scientology to the forefront of the news, but that’s not what I want to focus on.

Instead of pointing out all of the traditions and beliefs that many whom are not Scientologists are now questioning, I would like to hone in on Katie’s decision.  As someone who made the decision several years ago to admit that my marriage needed to end, I am proud that despite everything Katie knew would come forward she stood strong and strategically move forward with her plan.  She did what she felt to be important to protect her daughter and herself in the miserable process that is known as a divorce.

When I see photos of Katie and Suri out enjoying all that NYC has to offer it reminds me of my mom and I when we first relocated to New York after my parents divorced.  They both look relaxed, happy and genuinely enjoying some mother / daughter bonding time without any concern for the paparazzi storm that is swirling around them.  I know on the other side of this is a parent who’s world is crumbling apart, but it is hard for me to not recognize how empowered Katie looks when you see her smiling and living her life proudly with her daughter by her side.

As all kinds of crazy items about Tom’s religious beliefs have been brought to lift, I’m still amazed that their entire divorce process took only eleven days!  I’m sure with a child involved there were terms and visitation conditions that they went back and forth about, but I’m proud of Katie for doing what she felt she needed to do for the best future for her daughter (in her eyes at least).  It just proves that we each have a strong gal waiting to break out and stand up for what we feel is right no matter what might come from it.

While I’m sure there is no reason that Katie Holmes would be reading this, or even cares my opinion during the very big life change she is undergoing, I still felt it was important to put it out there in the universe that she’s reminded me that standing up for what I feel is best is still the right thing to do.  Thank you Katie!  Thank you for being a strong, now single, mother and reminding me that we all have the same potential inside of us.  Continue to be a shining example to us all and keep on smiling with that adorable young lady of yours.  Your future ahead is as bright as Suri’s smile!

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Filed under Culture, Dating

Welcome to the 21st Century Colleague

Happy Wednesday subscribers, new readers and loyal lurkers!  Managing to survive the week until Wednesday can sometimes feel like a big accomplishment when things are hectic and I’m here to say: “congratulations you made it!”  If you’re like me then you’re still a bit discombobulated after last week’s holiday being on Wednesday.  It’s a little strange having two Monday’s and two Friday’s in one work week when it’s been so long since I worked that kind of schedule.  Work resumes to normal this week and I’m sure we’re all back in the swing of things.

I hit the ground running Monday and within a few hours had an epiphany within the workplace.  Despite working at many places with many ages of people I didn’t realize until just two days ago how much age impacts the way one perceives their co-workers.  Although the way we were raised does play a huge part in how we interact with others, it dawned on me that the time period we’ve each grown up in plays a part in our interactions as well.  Think of your elders that might have grown up during the depression.  It’s not uncommon for people who grew up during the great depression to have trouble letting go of items even though they have no use for them now and don’t know if they ever will.  The era they were raised in has impacted their way of thinking.

Today’s example is based on an older colleague who works within the same property as me, but works for another area that I team together with frequently.  Although on the work ladder we would be considered laterally equal I try to be respectful to the fact that he is indeed older than me and therefore probably has more years of experience.  However, there seems to be a different level of respect returned to me.  I believe in his mind he actually believes that when we do team together I work FOR him and not WITH him.  I say this due to his constant requests for me to get things for him, find people for him, and do projects for him.

I could be crazy, but I think he doesn’t seem to be aware that I am not his administrative assistant when I work with him.  For most other people I would gladly run back to their office to retrieve the keys they left on their desk when they ask nicely, but when he tells me to go get his keys it tends to make my eye twitch just a bit.  Maybe it’s because I was raised to understand that we’re all equal…well, unless we’re not within the chain of employment ranks.  In this instance we are most definitely equal in employment level.  We are not equal in gender or age but truly that shouldn’t matter.  If he politely asked me to do all these things for him I know I would feel differently about it as I gladly help out others in this same way.

I thought it was just me until I realized that he treats his actual administrative assistant even worse.  She is incredibly smart, sharp as a tack and efficiently tackling each piece of her job with a smile on her face.  However, I feel like every demand he makes of her should end with him patting her on the head.  I know he grew up in a different time period where he was taught that there was a certain way to speak to different types of people, but I feel like it’s time that he get a crash course in the way things work here in 2012.  The work place is a very different place then it used to be and unfortunately he hasn’t progressed with time.

Think about the way you speak to your fellow co-workers.  Are you appropriate and respectable in your approach or do you need to update your ways to stay current?  Take a look at your colleagues and see if you can learn, either good tips or things to avoid, from the way they interact with others.

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Filed under Female Management Skills

Those Were The Days

After a rather rough day at work recently I called my mom on the way home and as soon as she picked up the phone I blurted out something similar to the following:  “Remember when my most challenging decision of the day was whether to eat the cinnamon pop tart or the smores pop tart?  Ya, I miss those days?”  Mom just laughed and told me it would all be alright.

I do miss those days.  In retrospect I now realize how things were so simple.  Now I face decisions that are much more stressful and can throw my whole world for a loop.  In March we started looking at homes to purchase.  Oh, now that’s stressful!  I’ve never had problems saying yes to a rental, but a home for purchase is a whole different story.  Then there is the daily stress of work and the stress of trying to keep up with friends as our schedules all keep getting busier.

ImageRunning is nice and peaceful, but I’ll admit that even that causes some stress in my life.  When I think about how much time I’ll need to run a few days a week then I realize how that is time that I’m not spending cleaning the house, cooking dinner or making sure Coda is getting attention.  Things were easier when decisions revolved around overly sugared breakfast choices and I’m not ashamed to admit I wish that it could all be that easy again.

I’ve let myself keep getting sucked back into a stressful state and it’s time to do something about it.  I can’t do anything about how long the home buying process will take, so it’s time to stop worrying about it.  We’ll get the house if it is meant to be or we won’t and we’ll go back to looking.  I’m putting everything in the hands of fate.  I’ve always believed that everything happens for a reason, so now it is time to stop worrying about what happens before I lose my sanity.

Instead I’m going to take on some more peaceful DIY crafting projects to distract myself.  With the coupons I used on my last projects I paid only about a third of what I would have paid to buy the dresses.  That seems totally worth the time and effort to me.  Looks like it is time to search the pattern catalogs to see what will be my next targeted creation.  The infinity dress was so easy I feel like nothing can stop me now.  That was the perfect project to get me back into the swing of things.  I’ll post pictures soon of the second dress I wore just recently to a more formal function.

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Filed under Culture, Fashion, Sewing, Uncategorized

What A Bright Idea!

SkillCloud?  No, I didn’t just slam my head on my keyboard and have auto-correct decide my opening line.  I meant to write exactly that.  I thought iCloud was awesome until I heard about SkillCloud.  For those of us who wish there was a platform for companies to appreciate us beyond our resumes, our ramblings have been heard by a team who competed in a two-day “hackathon.”  I didn’t even know there was such a thing, but thank goodness there is as it has produced this awesome creation.

SkillCloud is similar to a social network platform, but it’s reason for existence is so that employees can broadcast their talents to their employer.  I’ll use my last job in the theme park world as an example.  I was hired as a Stage Manager.  Three months after I began with the theme park a perfect storm occurred and we were without a performer for the show that I had been managing each day.  The problem in this situation was that the show could not be performed without someone in this role.  Immediately I stepped up and said I would do it as I could be replaced as the manager, but no one else who was available knew the role that was empty that day.  My suggestion was faced by three of my senior managers staring at me like I had three heads.

When I was hired my dance ability was never really discussed and my performance background wasn’t elaborated upon.  As someone who had been present at every rehearsal since the show was created and then watched it every day for a living, I knew the show like the back of my hand.  It was true I had never been on that stage and or even done the show, but I was confident that with a run through I could make it happen as that is what needed to happen so we didn’t have to cancel a whole day of shows.  Three minutes into the on-stage run through my management realized I had more than just a loose knowledge of dance.

It was only three months after this that my Supervisor realized that we were going to have to re-mount the first show I worked on for a temporary two-week run.  However, since the show was new we never had anyone else stage it except for the choreographer who created it.  As I sat in a meeting watching people scratch their heads about how to pull things together so quickly I stepped up and said I would do it.  You would have thought I grew those extra heads again as it hadn’t even been a consideration of the team that I would be able to do it.  My background in choreography and show staging didn’t exactly come up in my interview, so I’m not surprised they didn’t know about it.

Once my secrets were out in the open my choreography and staging talents were put to use for our shows on a regular basis.  It was the best way to combine my management and performance experience into one fun-filled position that I so passionately enjoyed day in and day out.  However, my hidden talents were only put to use because I was bold enough to step forward and offer up my services.  I know I tend to be more daring to do things like this than most are and that is where SkillCloud comes in handy.  If your company utilized SkillCloud would you admit your hidden skills and talents?  There is always the chance that you’re opening a door which makes you more valuable to your company.

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Filed under Dance, Female Management Skills

As Friends Transition

Have you looked at a friend of yours and wondered at what point you stopped having anything in common that you could talk about?  That moment just happened to me within the last month.  I actually questioned what prompted a friend to text message me out of the clear blue after barely speaking to me over the last 4 years.  Since it was via text message I cannot be sure of my friend’s reaction, but I can guess that it didn’t cause a warm fuzzy feeling.

It was at this moment that I realized we don’t have anything in common anymore and we probably haven’t in a very long time.  Quite a while a ago we both went in our own separate directions and have changed very much since then.  I started thinking about when we crossed paths in the last few years and realized that we lost the ability to even be able to understand each other’s point of reference in conversations.  Our lives have become so different that essentially it is like talking to a whole different person.

It made me consider if I was the only person who has felt this way.  When do you acknowledge that you’ve grown apart from a friend and become just acquaintances?  Do you even acknowledge something like that out loud?  Considering I know that the internet is a vast space this blog is publicly available on, I’m going to assume that this friend may stumble upon this at any point in time after it has been published.  Therefore, I don’t mean this to be rude or insulting but I am wondering where we lost touch?  Maybe it was the very different paths we decided to pursue or even the things we learned along the way.  I guess it is possible that others who became involved in our lives along the way could have had something to do with it as well.

I’m not sure when it happened or what caused it, but I do know I barely know this person any more.  We have completely different lives, interests, and goals.  I can’t remember the last time we had a conversation in person that was about anything actually meaningful.  To be blunt, I’m not even exactly sure why this person keeps my phone number in their cell phone at this point.  I have a few other friends I met around the same time and even in the same settling.  We’ve all been there for one another in times of need.  Those friends and I have laughed together, cried together and made stupid (but funny) decisions together.  We all still text and speak frequently about everything from serious life decisions to ice cream recommendations.  However, this other friend took a right turn without me somewhere along the way and became an acquaintance.

As someone who has only a few friends that are kept close, it’s hard for me to admit that a friend has turned into an acquaintance but I think it’s time to be honest.  Our friendship transitioned a long time ago and I may never understand why but I know you are once again onto another adventure and I wish you nothing but the best.  Maybe one day our paths will cross again and we’ll remember exchange a warm “hello,” but I think it’s safe to say that we’ve grown apart.  Enjoy each moment of your journey through life and thrive in the opportunities that come your way.

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Filed under Culture, Friends

Threading The Needle of Family Traditions

Family traditions can be hard to continue on as so many things change from generation to generation.  From as far back as I can remember my grandmother has been stockpiling fabric for her amazing sewing projects.  When I was young I used to watch my mom and grandma work together on creating me a new wardrobe for school or dance wear for all of my classes.  It was always fun to go to the fabric store and get to pick out what kind of Lycra I wanted my leotard’s made out of for that year.  Little did I know at the time that many years later I would still have some of those dance wear pieces since they were made with such attention to detail.

As a child I took sewing lessons at the fabric store and then continued to learn more by working on projects at home with mom and grandma.  Earlier this year I was passed down my very own sewing machine for the first time.  It didn’t take me more than a few weeks to decide to tackle my first project.  It’s been more than a decade since I had sewn anything, but you just don’t forget the basics.  It’s a bit like riding a bike.  I took on a very easy project as a start to get my feet wet again.

I LOVE the look of those infinity (multi-way) dresses, but I don’t like the fact that they cost between $65.00 – $85.00 before tax to get them from most retail stores.  I found a few on Etsy that I had thought about considering, but they were just barely cheaper than the retail price.  After a little online research, my mom and I had a loose set of directions to wing it by.  Without a pattern I took on my first dress with none of the proper tools of the trade and managed to pull it together.  Without pins, weights, a pattern or even a cutting board I managed to turn a pile of fabric into my new favorite dress for only $16.00.

As soon as I made it I immediately decided I knew a good friend of mine that deserved a dress equally as awesome for herself.  After another trip to the fabric store and a few borrowed tools from mom I began her dress perfect for her measurements.  I found myself holding my breath while cutting as I knew this dress was actually going to someone else.  It was one thing to experiment on a dress that I knew was meant for me, but a whole other story for me to be making something for someone else.

The first dress for myself was made out of a casual summer material and the dress for my friend is as well.  A big online fabric sale prompted me to buy material that can pass the “little black dress” test.  I have enough for one whole black dress and another that will be black and kelly green.  I have an event to go to in July so the plan is to crank out both of these dresses soon so that I can wear one of them that evening and revel in the fact that I’ll be the only one there with an original dress, that I made with my own hands and spent less than $20.00 on.  While everyone else if flaunting their fancy designer labels I’ll be enjoying how my hard work will allow me to be comfortable and creatively stylish all at the same time.

Sewing is a family tradition that I’m so very happy that my grandmother and mother passed along to me.  I know that one day I’ll pass the craft along to future generations, but in the meanwhile I’ve got some more outfits to dream up.  What family traditions did you learn from earlier generations?  Do you think they will stand the test of time with future generations?

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Filed under Culture, Fashion, Friends, Sewing