The Babysitter

I’m a leader, a trainer, an encourager, a believer, a giver, a friend, a teacher, a mentor, a counselor, a backer upper, a call away, a stay later, a helper outer, an organizer, a receiver, a deliverer, a conductor, a planner, a helper, a babysitter.

I’m a manager.

What does that mean? It means I come in early, I stay late. I work harder than everyone else before I arrive, while I’m there, and once I leave. I think about the traffic flows and the patterns. I clean the toilets, I dust the shelves, I create schedules time and time again. I bend the rules until they’re about to break. I’m also the enforcer when I need to be…and the listener when there’s nobody else.

I want to be liked and I want people to love what they do so much that everyone walking through our doors can feel it. I believe that they do. That comes at a cost. It’s a high one. It means lack of sleep, emails all day and all night, calls and texts with questions and problems. It means holding myself to the highest standards that way I can expect that from others. In turn, I do get good bonuses and a decent paycheck. Right now I have a three weeks worth of PTO – but I’m at a place where I can’t take it because I’m uncomfortable leaving the staff alone (plus countless other meetings and events I can’t miss).

The longer I am in this role the more I believe that I might be in Denial about what it is that I do. I’ve been told several times that I’m “too nice” or “too lenient”. Am I? …I want for everyone to be happy and enjoy what we do. …but I don’t want to be taken advantage of. Every now and then the mama bear has to redirect her cubs. My team is about to get some redirecting. Sometimes it is tough because everyone is so individual in their wants, needs, and desires for their place in the company. To truly cater to that takes a lot of time, understanding, and effort.

I love it but I hate it. It fuels me and stresses me out. I’m sure everyone feels this way at one point in time or another with their job. I’m learning to be a better leader and listener. (Or I’m trying to, anyway.) I take advice and criticism and do my best to implement whatever I need to in order to have a well oiled and productive machine when I’m there and when I’m gone.

Sometimes it just gets tiring to always be the babysitter, to be one step ahead, to always be looking back over your shoulder, and listening in on conversations to help out or redirect. Sometimes you just need a vacation.

Secure

These two are my security: my husband and my best friend.
There comes a moment in your life where you go through everything you’ve been through in your life and examine the constants. Sure you have your parents, if you’re lucky enough, but there are those people you talk to every single day who you can always count on for anything and everything. My husband and my best friend have been my constants. You hear about unconditional love and you automatically think of your pets. I have pets, and yes, they love me unconditionally but I can 100% say with all my heart that these two people love me unconditionally. We’ve been through some good, bad, and really ugly times. I can think of a few times where even I didn’t want to be friends with me anymore but these two don’t give up and I love them for that. I can conquer the world as long as I have these two with me.

10 years and counting.

 

It Started on a Map: Day 17

It all started with this map. My husband and I are coming on on our 2 year marriage/10 year dating anniversary this summer. This map is a rough navigation we started for ourselves when we were planning our trip to Florence, Italy. It was our first time ever going across the ocean and visiting that side of the world. We were fortunate enough that we had saved enough to be able to pay for our wedding and this trip. I’ll explain the stars on the map and then I’ll share some of the beautiful photos we took while there.

When we were planning were planning the trip, I got it into my head that it would be a great idea if we could find a highly reviewed B&B that was in walking distance to all the sites we wanted to see. After scouring TripAdvisor and Expedia and all the other travel review sites, we ended up getting a really good deal and stayed at Locanda dei Ciompi. It was smack in the middle of everything. Breakfast was served every morning at the cafe two doors down and we had free wifi. The remaining stars on the map: Osteria de’ Peccatori, Il Latini, and Palazzo Tempi were restaurants we discovered that we ended up frequenting throughout our 6 day stay.

In case anyone is curious what kind of camera we used for the trip, we ended up buying a Sony RX100 Mark 2. It’s a really small, compact camera that took really great photos in low lighting. It also had a neat feature where you can hook up your smartphone via NFC and control the camera using the smartphone. Quite handy for those couple selfies people were begging us for back home.

Words cannot describe how beautiful Firenze is. All I can say is if you ever get a chance, you must visit this beautiful city and just soak it in. There is rich history and culture in everything you see and eat. I hope you all enjoy the photos and if you ever find yourself in Italy, definitely check out Florence. It may not be the most romantic city in the world but it was the best honeymoon we ever dreamed of.

 

 

Dense

Love in Shades of Purple: Day 14

I woke up this morning doing what I normally do; make a smoothie, get dressed, pack a lunch and go to work.

I checked my WordPress feed to see what the daily word prompt word would be and surprise, surprise it’s my favorite color! I looked around to notice that I’m wearing a purple shirt, my smoothie as a healthy gross looking purple color, I’m texting M and her person option color is purple and my office has mini bags of purple skittles in a bowl for people to enjoy.

That got me thinking. You know how most people associate the color of love with pink? I’ve always seen shades of purple. The first time my husband graced me with flowers he automatically assumed I preferred roses. I think roses are pretty, sure but I have always been a Gerber daisy kind of girl. Every time I see one I have to take a picture of it. If they were native to my area, they would be all over my yard.

Back when I was getting married, we had to decide between real and fake flowers. Real flowers are great because you can throw them back to nature once you’re finished and they’ll biodegrade naturally. Fake flowers don’t have that option but you can keep them forever and look back on your wedding day. I ended up going with fake flowers because of the second reason. My bouquet wasn’t purple (unfortunately) but it was still beautiful none the less and I got to have the girls have Gerber daisy bouquets. They matched well. My husband was against purple in our wedding. Like adamantly did not want it; wouldn’t even try on a purple vest. Our colors ended up being emerald, which is my birthstone and second favorite color and slate.

Howeverwp-1490617892904.jpg, I’m a woman and I try to have my way in some capacity. I wanted flowers to go down the aisle. I scoured craft stores for petals that would match our color scheme. They were all either too bright or too dark. It was quite frustrating. So then we started thinking if we can’t have loose flowers maybe we can find big flower buds and cut off the stems so that they can rest on the ground. Well that was difficult too. The next best place to get ideas was YouTube; searching for terms like fake flower ideas for weddings and subjects of that nature. We came across tutorials on how to make paper flowers and my friend, who is super artistically inclined, tried to make a few of them using construction paper. The end result was my dream come true! The flower in the picture is the example flower but I was so happy with it that we made it happen. I didn’t get to have purple in the aisle flowers but we did have raspberry filling in one of the tiers of our cake so a girl will take what she can get considering that was and still is the happiest day of her life.

Now, two years later, it’s not *as* hard to convince the man to get purple things. The purple curtains are a no go but the purple sheets are fine. Purple wildflowers are also okay in my yard landscaping plans. I hope to slowly but surely convince him of letting me paint at least one wall in the house purple… we’ll see what happens.

My Best Purchase (Recently)

I have people who look at my hands all day. …from showing customers products to typing in their account information, they’re always looking. I used to be a nail biter and my mom hated it. Even now, when I’m stressed or anxious I will peel or bite them. …and then it’s just a mess all around. You can’t paint bitten nails and have them look nice.

I finally put two and two together! When my nails are in fact painted I don’t want to mess them up so I don’t bite them. That leads me to my next problem…who has time to paint their nails and pray to God that they don’t get bumped, scratched, or smudged? I’ve tried all the best and most expensive nail lacquers. (OPI, Essie, China Glaze, the list continues to bottles that are $30 +)

My family is super high energy (3 dogs and 3 cats) I also have three younger brothers and a boyfriend who is always into projects. (Last night he was sanding a picture frame as I worked out in our basement.) Needless to say, I need something that’s quick drying and long lasting, that takes Minimal effort. I figured I’d go to some salon and get a gel mani and pedi. Let’s just face the facts on that – it’s an easy $100 after tip. (That’s not even at a nice salon around where I live.)

…one of my best friends told me she has an “at home” gel manicure kit. I kind of laughed it off because I have all the Essie “gel” top coats a person can own – they don’t do squat. We ended up going to Sally’s and she talked me into it. I (well, my mom – thanks mom!) got the kit. The brand I went with is ASP. I got the LED lamp, a polish, primer, base, and top coat for $67. …I guess that might sound like a lot, but it’s really not. I would have spent that for one mani at a nice salon.

SO, since I’ve told you a little about what it is let me tell you about the end result. I’m in love. Like looooove love. If you, or you know someone, who is always paying big bucks to get their nails done give one of these a try. It took me roughly 20 minutes to prime (buff and shape) my nails, do the base coat, color and top coats before I was happily eating Do-Si-Do’s.

I painted them two days ago. I don’t have single chip, scratch, or bump. I have a funeral to go to tomorrow and the last thing I wanted was to go with unkemp hands. (I secretly can’t wait to do my toes tonight!)

Home

I’m going “Home” this weekend – which means I’ll pack up my three dogs, maybe my boyfriend (if he’s lucky) and I’ll make the three hour drive down south. My hometown is full of big trucks, football games, corn fields, and southern slang. It’s where I grew up, went to high school, had my first kiss, played sports and made some of my best friends.

It’s strange to me now. I don’t know the people like I used to. The shops have changed and so have the restaurants. Even the schools have been rebuilt and moved on. My name, my mom’s name, and my brother’s names are still etched into the walls and on plaques and trophies that line the halls. I set records and broke them in both swimming and soccer. My mom coached. I skipped school, had snow days, and stayed after to serve dinners for fund raising events.

Now, I walk into the massive gym for basketball games and see my last name written on banners, on t-shirts, and on the backs of jerseys. I get choked up watching my brothers play football and basketball. I’m proud of their accomplishments on and off the field. I go home to support them, teach them, and love them.

I enjoy my own house and my pets and my neighborhood. I love living in a new town – that’s still small. …but I love being close to so many other great things. Big cities with great restaurants, sporting events, and theaters were not things I grew up around. They are things that I want my future children to have access to, however. So, now, at 25, I am attempting to convince my parents to move up north.

Home is where the heart it…or where my dogs are…I don’t really know. To me…my home is where family trumps everything. My friends come to visit and are welcomed with open arms. Maybe you trip over an extra pair of shoes or dog toys but that’s my life and what I love. Maybe there’s take out pizza on the counter because we’re all too busy to eat at once. …but we aren’t too busy to play games, or sit in bed with grandma until late at night.

Home is where you have Secrets and share them…but most importantly where you keep them. Heart break is mended, depression is squashed, and a shoulder to cry on is just a room away.

…so whether my home is here or there, I can feel it anywhere.

Night Whispers

Over the past month and a half I’ve probably been in love with 4 different men. Here’s the best part…I’ve never met them.

If you’ve ever picked up a book you couldn’t put down you’ll understand where I’m coming from. If you’re looking for a book, or a series of books, that you won’t want to put down, I highly recommend trying Judith McNaught . If you like mystery entangled in romance dipped in rich character development this is your girl!

I just finished Night Whispers last night. I wanted to move to a different series this morning but couldn’t bring myself to leave my last relationship with Noah (and of course Sloan). The cool thing about this series is that no one book relies heavily upon another. You have bits and pieces of old relationships and characters that flutter in and out of view but none are really reliant on you reading her other books. …but I bet you’ll want to. 😉

Take this book to the beach, the waiting room, or to bed. …just make sure you grab a glass of wine and your robe because you’ll get sucked in.

“The two of them simply weren’t attracted to just any attractive, eligible man; they were attracted rarely, but when it happened, it was evidently a life-altering experience.” – Night Whispers, Judith McNaught

First Things First

I have been staring at this page for a week.

Actually, make that two weeks; wondering what the first post topic should be. Why is this so difficult? There are many topics, ideas, thoughts floating around in my brain but the decision of picking one is taking literal days. The only thing that is at the forefront of my mind is taxes and Valentine’s Day.

Taxes. Love.

Everyone hates taxes. Talk about complicated. Between the million and one different forms, schedules, deductions, it truly is the most stressful time of the year. My advice? Just don’t adult. Who needs their own home? Is that freelance job really necessary? Can you squeeze by without it? Seriously though, the best way to combat taxes, besides changing your W-4, that I’ve found to be most successful, is saving. Now, we’ve all seen the challenge where if you save 1 dollar for each day of the year, for 365 days, yadda yadda you’ll have $2000 by the end of the year. It’s a great concept, don’t get me wrong. It gets the wheels in your brain turning, thinking about saving money and not touching those savings unless absolutely necessary. The hard part is math. How do you remember to add $1 for day one then $2 for day two, etc. I, personally, have a terrible memory especially when you have a job that is very demanding on your brain power. The best solution is to come up with a stagnant amount that you won’t even notice is gone every cycle. What does that mean? Ok, here’s what we do:

Step 1: Think about how much you spend on fast food and other related activities in a week.

Step 2: Ask yourself is this really necessary. Don’t be afraid to lie to yourself by saying yes.

Step 3: Take that number and cut it in half. This will be your starting point for saving.

Step 4: If you don’t have a savings account with your bank, start one. They’re usually free.

Step 5: Take that number from Step 3 and set up and automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account for every paycheck you receive. Now, this could mean weekly or biweekly or even monthly. Either way, you decide. In my case, I did weekly even though I was paid biweekly.

Step 6: Watch your savings grow and DO NOT touch it unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. As in, emergency funds only!

Step 7: Smile! You did it! Now all you have to do is keep it up!

The first time my husband and I did this, we raised $3000 in a year. Trust me, if you set up automatic transfer, you won’t even miss it. So when tax season comes around and you end up in the owing taxes boat you can dip into your savings to pay that off, if necessary, while still growing your savings account.

Enough about taxes. Let’s talk about love!

Sadly, there’s less to say here than taxes because love is so easy! Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and whether or not you have a significant other I hope you love yourself.

What’s that saying from Parks and Recreation?

TREAT YO’ SELF! Get some dinner, eat that cake and have a great day!

 

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