21 November 2008

Weekend Fun!

I'm off to a friend's ranch house this weekend with a few friends. The Texas Ranch house is the equivalent of other people's beach/lake/mountain homes. Last time I was up there, in the spring, it was gorgeous. I'm excited to get away from the city and have a bit of a breather. I definitely need a day to de-stress and just have a fun girly weekend.

Hope everyone has a delightful weekend! I'll meet ya back here bright and early Monday morning for the 3 slowest days of our lives as we wait for the gloriousness that is a holiday vacation. Yay Thanksgiving!

20 November 2008

Unbiased Opinion

Must apologize for my lack of posting. I have been absolutely swamped at work and when I get home I'm so tired I can barely think straight or even bother to lift my hand to change the channel with the remote let alone type up a blog post.

I'm also super stressed about the big move. I know that once I get there and get working things will be great but right now I'm living in mortal fear that I'm making a massive mistake by quitting my job (with the steady paycheck), and picking up and moving to a city where I don't have a job when I have massive debt and when the economy seems to be headed down rather than up. I have a temp agency lined up but by the time I get up there (1 month from now) there might not be any jobs left. And then I'd really be screwed!!! So I'm massively stressed/freaked out/sick to my stomach about that.

Anyone out there live in Chicago? And know someone who is looking to hire someone in advertising/media/marketing?!

Do you all think I'm insane for picking up and piecing out like this? Before you make your judgment know that I'm a wanderer. I love moving, traveling, and exploring new places. I'm not scared about the city itself or making new friends or anything along those lines. It's just the job/money thing that is really worrying me. My only other options are to a.) Stay in Dallas, continue at my low-paying job where my skills are way under-utilized and continue having to work the 2nd job to make ends meet or b.) move home to Kansas and live rent-free with my parents but have to find another job (to pay my debt down) with the intent to pick up and leave again in no more than a year. Please know that I will be miserable in Kansas. The city that my parents live in is great, if you didn't grow up there. It's one of those cities where most people never leave. You marry someone from high school and the same gossip swirls around. There are very few jobs in advertising and I certainly wouldn't get very far in my career. There is nothing to do other than eat out, drink, or go the movies with the occasional concert or play that might pop up. Everyone is married, or practically married. The guys left that are single are well...less than desirable. And Dallas, well, you read about my feelings on Dallas.

I need an good, honest, unbiased opinion. Do I move? Do I risk the no job thing to get to the city that I love with the hope that something will pop up? Or do I stay here for another year, underpaid, exhausted and partially miserable? Or do I move home and live with the 'rents, pay some bills, but be incredibly miserable and feel hugely unsuccessful for living with my parents at age 25?

17 November 2008

For Which I'm Truly Grateful

In these uncertain times, I think it is absolutely essential that we take time out to realize and appreciate the blessings we do have in our lives. It's sad that it takes global economic and political upheaval and financial uncertainty to shake up our merry little worlds and make us stop to realize what good things we do have. I stumbled across this post which really makes a good point and puts things into prospective. Especially the following passage, which I think is a really interesting and thoughtful way to put things:

"As for what the world is coming to, I like to think about it like an Alcoholic loved one; someone who has allowed the darkness around to pull them down into a seemingly incurable malignancy, but who with a bit of self awareness, a willingness to see themselves as apart of something bigger, a systematic plan to make amends and deal head-on with the issues, will rise again and perhaps be far wiser and kinder, than had they never walked through the darkness."

I think we should all have a little list of the things in our life that are true blessings so that when things do get rough, and seem insurmountable, we can have a little look and realize that things are quite as bad as they could be.

Sometimes I long for the simpler time when friends and family and basic necessities were all that mattered. Remember reading Laura Ingalls Wilder books? When they celebrated Christmas, the children were absolutely delighted to receive a beautiful scarf, a small rag doll, some candy and fruit. They rejoiced in a bounty of food on the table that they grew/produced themselves and relished in the time spent with family and friends. They marveled at the wonder of nature and rested from their work to play in the snow. I recently read a wonderful book, Little Heathens by Mildred Armstrong Kalish, which really reiterated the lesson that I learned so long ago from the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Life can be an absolute joy no matter how little you have and greater joy can be found in the things we create/grow/produce with our own hands.

Sometimes I get so disillusioned with all of the materialism that I see around me and that I myself am guilty of getting caught up in. Even as I write this, I can think of at least 10 unnecessary and frivolous things that I would be delighted to purchase. But so often I dream of living in a quaint small town where the latest fashion isn't all that important, where I don't have to have so many things. I love the city, and the excitement, and the fun, but sometimes a cozy little house, with a cozy little fireplace and kitchen and with a small little vegetable garden out back sounds so darn refreshing. Give me a comfy chair, a knit throw, a mug of tea or hot chocolate, a crackling fire, a book and a homegrown meal on my table and I would be content. Include in that picture a handsome, loving and kind husband and maybe a sweet little child or two and I think I could really enjoy living a simple life.

Anyway, I'd like to make a little list of the things I'm grateful and blessed to have in the hard times (and always):

1. Most important of all, a faith that keeps me grounded, gives me hope even in the worst of times, and that makes me feel loved

2. A loving and supportive family who is always there for me to fall back on. I know that if I ever get in over my head, my parents and brother will be there to bail me out, take me home and love me back to good again.

3. Amazing friends that continue to amaze me with their kindness and generosity. I love all of my friends for the different contributions they bring to my life. Hopefully I give back to them what they give to me.

4. A steady job (that I'm insanely about to give up to move...) with a steady paycheck.

5. The opportunity to have gone to and graduated from college to provide me the qualifications I'll need to find a new job when the time comes

6. The roof over my head. A bed and blankets and pillow to sleep comfortably at night. Food on my table. Clothing in my closet.

7. Feeling safe in my home and my neighborhood.

8. Good books to read, a pen and paper to write, music to listen to.

9. A healthy body and sound mind. Health insurance.

10. Living in a country where I'm free to voice my opinion, to live my life as a woman without oppression for my gender, and which allows me to work hard to achieve my dreams.

What are you grateful for? How have the hard times affected you, and made it easier for you to appreciate your blessings?

16 November 2008

I'm Swooning Here...

Paris in the Winter by Grandy - Very busy...back soon!

I am head over heals, 100%, take my breath away in love with Paris. Sadly (VERY sadly), I've never been. But give me a Parisian scene, a travel show, book, article on Paris, a French movie (because really, I love France), a French Vogue, or anything resembling anything French and I'll swoon for sure.

Actually, I'm an equal opportunist. I'll take most of Europe. Give me Munich, and London, and Dublin and the Irish countryside, or Brussels, Prague, and Spain or of course Italy. I do love them all. (Love from afar...never been to Europe..sad..so very sad...) And of course, I love the wonderful places all over the great USA (so diverse in landscape and lifestyles!) But France, and Paris in particular, has such an old world, romantic, gritty, fashionable, livin' and lovin' life sort of feel, that I can't quite get over it.

I found this gorgeous scene (above) on Polyvore.com as I was searching other people's fun winter clothing creations and of course swooned a bit. This is kind of a "Just In Case You Were Wondering But Probably Really Don't Care" type of post. Thought I'd share with you anyway.....

What city makes you swoon?

Working For..I Mean On..The Weekends

This morning finds me up bright and early (7am!) to work at one of the sister properties of the hotel I currently work at part-time. They were in need of some additional help on the weekends and I am in desperate need of some additional cash, so here I am. Before I got my job at the agency, I worked at a hotel doing guest services. (Which can only be described as a nightmare at best) When I left the hotel for the agency I thought I would never step through the "employee only" doors at a hotel again. Yet with ever increasing debt, and my so-very-tiny paycheck, it became necessary to take on a part time job. Luckily, the hotel I worked at had an opening for a part time operator and they were willing to work with my schedule. So here I am, 1 year later, still working two jobs and so exhausted I'm barely able to function. And still quite poor.

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to adjust your living to fit your new income? I took on the second job because I was super tight on money and wanted to pay down some of my debt. Yet with the added income, I found myself splurging more on a nice pair of boots, some dinners out, a new book, etc. Living in Dallas has had a huge impact on my finances. Dallas is home to many a $30,000 millionaire. People living like millionaires (no joke) on credit when they're making $30,000/year. When I first moved down here I got sucked in. I was freshly out of college, on my own with no accountability. My new friends were living the life, having fun, enjoying all the city had to offer and I joined right in.

Now I find myself in the same position I was before. Living paycheck to paycheck, enormous debt and extreme stress about it all. I have to say, being "grown up" is not all it's cracked up to be. So many of my friends are so blessed to have jobs in industries with starting salaries in the $50,000/year range. They're buying new cars, decorating their apartments with amazing stuff, spending lavishly on meals out, and stocking up on the latest fashions like there's no tomorrow. They have NO IDEA what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck. When I mention that I'm low on funds, or that I'm working two jobs, they nod along like they understand saying they're broke too. What I really want to do is punch them in the face and tell them that they're making double what I'm making so they should probably suck it up and enjoy what they've got. Because sadly it will be YEARS before I even come close to that level.

I'm not really complaining, more like venting a frustration. But I do know how lucky I've got it. I'm blessed with a steady paycheck, a nice apartment, good food, good friends, a supportive family and a faith that keeps me grounded. And I definitely appreciate those things. But on days like today, when I'm barely able to keep my eyes open, and I haven't had a day off in a few weeks, it just feels rough.

13 November 2008

Bringing You Up to Speed

Ok, a little background on my life and what not. I'm 24. I graduated from Kansas State University two years ago come December. I immediately picked up and moved to Dallas on whim 1 month after graduation to live with an acquaintance that I sort of knew from high school. She needed a roommate, I needed a new life, it seemed like the perfect fit. It wasn't. Oh man, it really really wasn't. Long story short, she was a crazy perfectionist and yet, weirdly not perfect and was completely inconsiderate. I seriously wish for your entertainment and for my sanity I would've been blogging back then because the girl was crazy. And unreasonable. And ridiculous in every way. I could go on, but whatever, that's over and done with. Thank the Lord.

I also took a job at a a fancy boutique hotel to pay the bills as I searched for the perfect ad agency job I'd envisioned while I was in college. The hotel was near Southern Methodist University and in Highland Park, one of the most snooty and pretentious neighborhoods in Dallas. And that's saying a lot because if you asked me for one word to describe Dallas, I'd say Massively Snotty with a HUGE Stick Up It's Ass. (Yes, that's actually 9 words and yes, it absolutely must be capitalized.) Oh girl, the stories I could tell. If you ever wish to see grown men and women regress back to childhood, work at an upscale hotel. No kidding. I'm talking temper tantrums, name-calling, tears, threats, and the inability to do ANYTHING for themselves including but not limited to cleaning up the dog poop their precious Muffy left on the lobby floor, turning on the television, getting something they left in the car, paying their bill etc. etc. etc.

In case you're wondering, nothing is anonymous at a hotel. We know when you ordered porn. And we know exactly which porn you ordered. We know when you're having an affair with your co-worker. And when you bring in a prostitute (yes, it happens all the time). We know when you're doing drugs. And we know that you're the one that left that obscene mess and your dirty underwear (ewe!) in the men's bathroom. We see celebrities all the time. Some are delightful. Many are ridiculous assholes. But we know it all. Someone should seriously write a book about working in a hotel. Again for your entertainment I really wish I would've been blogging back then. I could seriously have written a whole themed blog on the ridiculousness of the "Nouveau Riche". Lucky for you, I actually do still work there part time answering some phones to earn a little extra cash, so maybe I'll have a good story to tell from time to time.

Ok, so, about 4 or 5 months in to working at the hotel I was going crazy and honestly thought I might reach across the front desk and strangle one of the temper tantrum throwing 5-year olds adult guests when I realized, "hey, didn't you go to college and dream of working in advertising? why the h-e-double hockey sticks are you working here?" (how'd ya like that little blast from the past? h-e-double hockey sticks. oh yeah, i've got a ton of those where that came from....) So I stepped up my game, got back on the job search wagon and frantically tried to find a job at advertising agency. As you may know, those are hard to come by. Especially entry-level ad jobs. Everyone thinks they want to work at an advertising agency. Seems so trendy and posh. And fun. (If they only knew...)

Lo and behold, I ended up stumbling across an open position at a small ad agency. I had two interviews, got the job, and my dream was realized. My new title? Advertising Assistant. Oh I should've known right then that they really meant Office Bitch Who We Sometimes Let do Advertising Stuff Just To Keep You Here. But I didn't and I happily accepted the position for way too little pay just to get my foot in the freaking door.

So here I am, 1 year and 4 months later, still an Advertising Assistant making next to nothing. I will say I've learned a lot, for which I'm greatful. I will also so say that I feel like I'm much smarter and more capable than that job allows me to be, that I work really hard for little recognition and pay and that more than anything I'm BORED. Part of me worries that it's the industry that I actually don't like. But another part of me argues that it's just this job and this company and I should give the industry one more chance. Not sure what exactly I'm going to do in the future, so I'm just letting it play out for now.

Also, I'm over Dallas. And it's just not me. Not my personality at all. I'm more of an Austin sort of gal. But it's too hot and humid down there, so that won't work. Anyway, I'm not bashing Dallas (well, not too much) but I'm just sick of having to dress up to go to Target, and spending tons of money I don't have just to fit in, and driving, driving, driving everywhere. I'm sick of the horrendous pollution, the ridiculous traffic, the "I'm better then you in every way, just look at my BMW and Jimmy Choos and by the way, I'm just a secretary with a $25,000 salary, thank goodness for Daddy and my credit cards" sort of attitude. I'm sick of the fake boobs (did you know that second only to LA, Dallas has more plastic surgeons than anywhere else in the country?), the Cougars, the douchey douche-bag, Ken doll, Fraty McFraterson guys who won't look twice at me because I'm not 5'4", size 0, blonde-haired trendster that I need to be to be accepted as an appropriate Texas girl. I'm SO sick of the materialism, the Republican till we die mentality, the Texas is better than ANYWHERE in the world, the anti-green, anti-save the world, drive our SUVs to the house next door, Hook 'Em Horns people that overrun this city.

So, that being said, I'm moving. I'm moving to Chicago. At the end of December. (Yes, I know it's dead in the middle of winter. I guess I just might be a bit crazy) And I couldn't be anymore excited. And scared. But really excited.

Now, if you're Texan, and you live in Dallas, please don't take offense. Texas has many a redeeming quality. As much as it drives me crazy, I actually do love the pride that Texas has for itself. I love the rough and tumble rancher meets the city sort of guy. I love country music and now, thanks to Texas, I don't mind going two-stepping from time to time. I love the Hill Country, and Austin, and the blue bonnet. And Blue Bell ice cream. And the shopping. Oh the shopping. The Big D has some phenom shopping. And thanks to Dallas, I've become sort of a foodie. I now love feasting on international goodness from all over the world. What will I ever do without Central Market? I love that Dallas is full of fun activities to do at all times. I'll really miss Addison, and Fort Worth, and Ikea. Most of all, I'll miss my beloved friends. I have been oh-so-blessed to meet some amazing people and it hurts my heart a bit to know that I might not see them again.

So there you have it. My Big News. I'm moving to Chicago. I've been dying to tell all my readers at the other blog, but since I haven't given notice to my work yet I can't. I feel bad, dropping the big "I quit" bomb right before the holidays, but I know if I tell them now they'll just let me go right away. And I need the $$.

Anywho, now that you've read the Longest Life Story in Blog History, I hope you'll swing by from time to time. I'll need loads of love and encouragement as I take this big step. And if you think I'm crazy, then tell me that too. (nicely please!)

12 November 2008

This Is The Real Me

Well hello there. Glad to have you stop by. I'm an experienced blogger (and by experienced, I mean 7 months of previous blogging) and I need a new place to express my thoughts. An anonymous place. When I first started blogging, I gave out my web address to all of my friends and even (this was a mistake!) my parents and a co-worker. Every day I find myself holding back, afraid of who might read my true thoughts. Complain about work? No sir..can't do that. Might get back to the boss. Discuss my (non-existent) sex and dating life? Absolutely not, my dad might be reading. Rant about my roomie? Sure can't cause she's reading too. I love my other blog, and have grown quite attached to it, and the bloggy friends I've made. So I'll keep it up. But this, this here is where I'll really spill. So if you're interested at all in my musings, then by all means, stop by from time to time for a quick hello. Leave me some comments, introduce yourself. Let's be friends. And get excited because you'll get to "know" the real me. The one who isn't holding back.